Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What Is A Leader?

Yesterday I was very proud to announce the promotion of one of my partners, Christine K of Durham.

Christine has displayed many leadership qualities in her short time working with our organization. She constantly asks questions, listens and implements well.

Many of my partners and myself have regularly commented on how Christine is a leader, and it got me thinking, What is a Leader?

So, as I do here regularly, I searched out to some of my mentors and read and read and read on what it is that they "deem" a leader...

I pulled together a few leadership points and felt the urge to feature them here for anyone looking to become a leader, or for those who feel they already a leader and want to just "double-check"...


Everyone influences others to some degree. Yes?

Now, that doesn't necessarily mean you a very good leader does it... but that is altogether a different story!

Even if you are in need of some help in the leadership department, and we all are, here are some skills that we can all work on (immediately) to help us all become the leader we truly want to be. Then you will be able to influence those around you like never before!

1. Good Communicator. Extraordinary Leaders are those who can take the vision they have and communicate it in ways that their followers can easily understand, internal, and own. Then, and only then, can they carry it out! So focus on speaking and writing more clearly, and with the passion that you have for the vision you have. Use different ways of communicating, including different ways verbally and non-verbally. Above all, communicate often!

2. "Sees" the End Result Long Before Others. I think the greatest compliment on my leadership skills I ever received came from a gentleman who told me that "you see things about 6 months before the rest of us." Without tooting my own horn (okay, a little bit maybe...), that is a skill of a leader. They are always looking out ahead of themselves and their situations. Followers are worried about what happens today, while leaders are thinking about and strategizing about what they see for tomorrow. Be constantly looking ahead. Practice making projections. Get good at "seeing" the future. When you can do this better than others, they will look to you for leadership!

3. Ability to Define Goals for Self and Others. Do you know what your goals are? Can you define them? Can you articulate them clearly (see number one)? Can you do this for those who follow? Can you define and set their goals? A Extraordinary Leader works at clarity and definition of goals so that they can be internalized and acted upon by others. Work hard at this skill and others will follow!

4. Ability to Set Strategy and Course of Action. What will you do to reach the goal? Many people can say where we should go, but it is the Extraordinary Leader who can lay out a plan for everyone to get there! Work at laying out a plan for you and your followers. Remember that there are people with different skill and passion levels, and take this into account! Get good at this and when people want to get to their goals in a hurry, they will call on you to lead!

5. Ability to Teach Others. One of the greatest leadership development companies in the world has been General Electric. This is because their CEO, Jack Welch, has always emphasized the need for current leaders to teach others. He himself spends what others would consider an extraordinary amount of time in the classroom teaching. But remember, he is an Extraordinary Leader and he is developing Extraordinary Leaders to follow behind him. Work hard at your teaching techniques, and be sure to use as many situations as possible for the opportunity to teach those who would follow.

6. Ability to Inspire Others. You may have a great goal, but if you want to be an Extraordinary Leader, then you will have to put a little oomph under your followers! This is the ability to inspire! Work at helping them to see the big picture, the great end results, and how good it is going to be for them and others. Above all, make it exciting. If it is a good goal, it should be exciting. If it isn't exciting, then dump it and get a goal that others can get excited about!

7. Delegates. An Extraordinary Leader is rarely a person who is doing everything him or herself. Extraordinary Leaders get there job done by teaching others. They figure out the way, communicate the way, and inspire the followers to go that way, and then they get OUT OF THE WAY! Delegate to your people. Empower them! Set them free to soar!

According to some of my mentors, this is what an Extraordinary Leader does. Leaders who do it any other way are just extraordinarily tired at the end of the day with very little to show for it!

So, my advice...Print off the Top 7. Put them on your fridge, bedroom door, vision board etc. Read them and (more importantly) implement them daily.

Now, who's up for becoming Extraordinary!


Saturday, November 27, 2010


Some people regularly ask me "how is it you do what you do on a consistant basis?

I have always answered - even back in the Music Industry days that...

The key to success in life and business is having influence !!!

You can have all the right ideas or products or services, but if you aren't able to get people to listen to you and act on what you say, you are dead in the water.

It's all about making a connection. A connection that allows you and the potential customer and/or prospect to connect on a level of trust, value etc., as soon as possible.

That connection can be completed if you are knowledgable in what you are discussing/presenting; Are deemed trust-worthy; And most importantly, you are able to convey an confident attitude - Not a cockey or arrogant attitude - A confident attitude that creates an urgent "I want to associate myself with this person feeling within the customer an/or prospect.

Remember, people follow leaders.

Look in the mirror - Whatever it is you are trying to convey, are you being perceived as a confident leader?


Strengthen Your Brain...

Strengthen Your Brain Muscles

Just like your body, you can improve your mental fitness with these simple exercises.

Take a deep breath. Breathing is the only bodily function that we do both voluntarily and involuntarily. Inhale and exhale deeply to improve your physiological and psychological well-being.

Tell a good story. Sharing experiences in a compelling and fun way sharpens your mental recall.

Mix up your routine. Take a different route to work, or sit with your legs crossed opposite the way you normally would. Changing your typical way of doing things tells your brain to wake up and pay attention.

Write. Writing notes, a blog, stories or in a journal helps your memory, clarifies your thinking and engages your creativity.

Laugh. Endorphins released when you laugh lower your stress and can help your long-term health.

Perfect your posture. Try solving a problem while slouching down at your desk versus sitting upright and see how it impacts your outcome. Proper posture improves blood flow to your brain bringing mental clarity and improved memory.

What have you done to Strengthen Your Brain today?

I woke up early and blogged about it...(comments below)


Friday, November 26, 2010


Relationships, we all have them.

Some good, some not so good.

We were designed to be in relationships, in fact, they are what makes the world go round.

As we come up on the many holidays and celebrations that begin in November and run through December and into January, the question I ask is this;

What will you do to create the type of relationships you desire?

...feel free to leave your answer(s) and/or comments in the comments section below...


Thursday, November 25, 2010

To Be Great, Be Grateful

Again, I was taking a solid look at many of my mentors' blogs, e-newsletters etc, and found this (US) Thanksgiving piece that I connected with - maybe you will too...

To Be Great, Be Grateful

Did you know your brain is NOT designed to make you happy? I know this might be alarming to you, but your brain has only one primary responsibility—to keep you alive. Thus your brain is constantly on the lookout for danger and attack warnings. Your brain is programmed specifically to seek out the negative.

This is a problem if you desire love, prosperity and happiness—those things beyond simply safety.

Left unguided (as most do), your brain will stew in the negative all day, every day of your life. The conundrum is—what you think about comes about. Where your attention goes, energy flows, thus the direction your life takes.

This is where the power of gratitude comes in. If you want to direct your life in a positive direction, you have to redirect your mind towards abundance and what’s positive by forcing it to focus it on what you are grateful for.

If you want to become great, you have to focus on being grateful. You can change any situation in your life by simply redirecting your mind to focus on what’s right about it versus what is wrong.

I have a (US) Thanksgiving Challenge for you.

My challenge to you is to think of an area of your life you are having difficulty in and want to improve.

For the next 21 days, take three minutes at the end of the day and write down, in detail, (what) about a problematic situation that occured that day that you appreciate, what’s good and what you’re grateful for surrounding that negative or problematic situation. This could be about a confrontational co-worker at the office, your job as a whole or your troubled marriage… anything or anyone that frustrates or negatively affects you.

I promise you, when you change how you look at a situation (from a negative to a positive), the situation changes.

Who is up for this simple challenge?

Come on, reading this blog won’t help you.

As Johann Von Goethe said, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply.”

Ideas without implementation are useless. Ideas executed have the power to change the world—particularly your world.

Take the challenge. Not for me, for you. Will you? 3 minutes a day for 21 days.

Whose in?

Declare that you will and what you are committed to being grateful for during the next 21 days in the comments below.

Don’t be a silent “lurker”, encourage others by sharing your declaration in the comments section.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Evaluating Your Associations...

Recently I took a look at the power of influence in our lives and how it is possible to be nudged off course a little at a time until, finally, we find ourselves asking, “How did I get here?”

We then asked three key questions:

“Who am I around?” You've got to evaluate everybody who is able to influence you in any way.

“What are these associations doing to me?” That's a major question to ask. What have they got me doing, listening to, reading, thinking and feeling? You've got to make a serious study of how others are influencing you, both negatively and positively.

“Is that okay?” Maybe everyone you associate with has been a positive, energizing influence. Then again, maybe there are some bad apples in the bunch. All I'm suggesting here is that you take a close and objective look. Everything is worth a second look, especially the power of influence. Both will take you somewhere, but only one will take you in the direction you need to go.

This week, let's discuss three ways to handle associations or relationships that are holding you back.

1) Disassociate. This is not an easy decision, nor something you should take lightly, but in some cases it may be essential. You may just have to make the hard choice not to let certain negative influences affect you anymore. It could be a choice that preserves the quality of your life.

2) Limited association. Spend major time with major influences and minor time with minor influences. It is easy to do just the opposite, but don't fall into that trap. Take a look at your priorities and your values. We have so little time at our disposal. Wouldn't it make sense to invest it wisely?

3) Expanding your associations. This is the one I suggest you focus on the most. Find other successful people who you can spend more time with. Invite them to lunch (pick up the tab) and ask them how they have achieved so much or what makes them successful. Now, this is not just about financial success; it can be someone who you want to learn from about having a better marriage, being a better parent, having better health or a stronger spiritual life.

It is called association on purpose—getting around the right people by expanding your circle of influence. And when you do that, you will naturally limit the relationships that are holding you back. Give it a try and see for yourself.