Can You Walk On Water?

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many people are familiar with the story about Jesus walking on water. But did you know Peter, one of His disciples, walked on water too? The bible recounts how Peter saw Jesus walking on the water. Peter, on a boat, called out to Jesus as He walking by. He said, “Lord if it’s really you, call me to you.”

Jesus told Peter to come to Him. So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water. It wasn’t until Peter took his eyes off Jesus that he began to sink.

Peter noticed and was distracted by the wind and the waves around him. He lost focus.

Regardless of your beliefs, one point of this story that can be applied to us all is this…

When we stay focused on our goals and vision, we will accomplish extraordinary things. However, the world around us is filled with distractions, wind and waves if you will, that want to take your eyes off your target. The wind and waves of life will always be there. Let’s accept that fact.

The solution is simple. Identify your target. Acknowledge that distractions are going to be all around you. However, never take your focus off your target.

Do you know what your target is? Is it so clear to you in your mind (and on paper) that when you focus you can see exactly what you are going for?

If you don’t have a clear target, coupled with laser focus, chances are you won’t be walking on water.

How’s Your Vision Viral Lift? Um…What the Heck is That?

I have had many conversations with my clients about the effectiveness of their leadership over the years. I’ve written some really good stuff about what leadership REALLY is and how to get good at it. Check it out if you want. Click here =>

In a nutshell, a leaders job is to create and articulate vision, goals and objectives. In doing so, they should create an enthusiastic collective focus. In other words, good leaders get people engaged and inspired to follow and support the vision of the organization.

Let’s not over complicate your role and responsibilities as a leader. If your people are not bought into the direction of the business you are not leading. Oh yes, they show up everyday to work. They may even offer some lip service to suggest they want to see the company succeed. But the reality is they are there for the paycheck. And that my friend is not leadership. You are just paying people off. Sorry for being so direct.

Now you might be okay with that; paying people off that is. And I’m not going to deny the fact that getting a paycheck is a key motivator to get people to show up and work. However, there are literally hundreds of 1,000’s of non-profit organizations, churches and religious organizations that rely entirely on volunteers who are passionate about the cause and will freely give of their time and money to be involved.

Can you imagine if you could actually get people excited, motivated and compelled to be at work. Do you think you might have a more fulfilling and successful business environment? What if you could create an environment where people wanted to work for your business. Not because you pay or offer better benefits than everyone else but because people wanted to be a part of what your business is doing.

Leadership is hard work. Leadership requires listening and understanding what motivates people. Leadership requires communicating in a way that creates understanding and buy-in. Leadership requires diligence, focus and consistency in order to get your people engaged.

The question I often get asked is how do you know your people are engaged? How do you know your leadership message is inspiring people? How do you know they really care?

One of the ways to evaluate your leadership effectiveness is to observe the quality and quantity of your Vision Viral Lift. I made the term up so you won’t find it on Wikipedia, yet.

Vision Viral Lift is like a popular video on Youtube, a big story in the news or a public relations message. The message is spread through word of mouth and communication from individual to individual. When a Youtube video is good, interesting, absurd or whatever, people talk about it and share it with others.

I never once saw an advertisement for Google Earth. A friend introduced me to it. If you haven’t seen it it’s awesome. You can see satellite imagery of any location in the world. Check it out =>. This is an example of viral lift.

One of the indicators that will help you assess how well you are leading is by observing if there is a positive Vision Viral Lift in your business. You will hear people talking about your goals, vision and direction, independently and enthusiastically.

Here are a couple to tips to get you started to create some Vision Viral Lift.

1- Study your people. Think about what really matters to them. Consider what will motivate them to want to get engaged in the growth of your organization other than more money or a paycheck. Be creative and consider what will emotionally drive people.

Call me if you want some ideas to spark your thinking. 623 551 5469.

2- Write down your vision as it relates to your employees primary motivators. Create a compelling written story. I didn’t say it would be easy.

3- Come up with some creative and some direct methods of sharing your vision with your people. Don’t stop with one or two times. Keep telling the story until they either understand it fully and embrace it or understand it fully and reject it. The fact it there is no in-between. You have the responsibility of helping them understand until they can make a decision if they want to follow you.

Here is my number again. 623 551 5469. If you would like to talk more about this topic or need help creating your Vision Viral Lift, give me a call. I’d love to help you.

The One Thing Leaders Must Stop Doing

Confused I often write that the key to leadership is creating a compelling vision and creatively and effectively communicating it until there is an enthusiastic collective focus among the followers.
This is key. We need clarity and focus. We need a mission we can grab a hold of. We need a sense of purpose. Good leadership does this. And they do it well.
A leader must also be effective at minimizing and eliminating distractions. Distractions cause division and disharmony. Distractions cause conflict. Distractions create doubt. Distractions leave people disillusioned and then they cease to follow. Distractions cause people to question the leadership.
Leaders work on vision and create focus. When this work is not done effectively, watch out because people will get distracted.

You Better Watch Your Language

Dancer My 14 year old daughter Maddison has been dancing since she was 4 or 5. She is quite good, I think. At very least I enjoy watching her. I enjoy watching her mature in her technique and abilities.
Last weekend she participated in a dance competition with her team. It's not unusual at these events to have workshops in the morning and afternoons before the evening event. These workshops are often taught by the guest judges that are brought in for the performances.
One of the judges that was there had a very impressive resume having choreographed and worked with long list of celebrities. She has worked with Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Esteffan and Madonna to name a few.
The morning after the competition, Maddison was talking to my wife about the workshops, demonstrating some of the techniques that she had learned the previous day. Here is what fascinated me. The language of dance is universal. Now I don't know dance at all but, not surprisingly, they have universal terms to describe the various moves and positions.
When the judge was working with Maddison and the other girls, she was using the exact same language or terms that they had learned in their studio here in Arizona. It made communication and understanding very easy. As a result, they were able to learn and accomplish a lot in a very short period of time.
In order for you to be effective in your business, you need to have a common language; one that the people in your business can easily understand without having to struggle to interpret. Most businesses don't have a common language. Even when we say something like "marketing" it could have different meanings. When speaking of core values often people will say we value integrity in our organization. What exactly does than mean? I could ask 10 people to define integrity and I might get 10 different interpretations and answers.
Common language begins with your vision and your goals. I recommend coming up with terms in your organization that are unique to your business. Come up with terms that people can really understand.
One of the powerful attributes of Level 7 is our use of unique and yet a common language that people that are engaged in the implementation of it understand and can embrace. Over time, the people in your organization begin to understand the language of Level 7 and ultimately begin operating according to its principles and actions.
When someone says something like, "What is the result we are looking to achieve" or "let's focus on the system," we know they are learning the language of a productive and effective business.
And what that amounts to is a beautiful dance. (You know I had to tie it back to the analogy)

What Pat Boone and Garth Brooks Have in Common

Pat-boone1 I heard a story this morning about how Pat Boone, who had a popular gospel television show years ago, attempted to reinvent his image. If memory serves me correctly, he made an appearance on the Grammy awards dressed in leather with fake tattoos. He was attempting to launch his new album In the Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy. The album was made up of heavy metal hits sung with a jazzy, big band style.
It flopped and so did Boone's attempt to reinvent himself. Not only that, the producer of his television show canceled the program.
A few years later country music phenom Garth Brooks attempted to reinvent himself by launching an alter ego character referred to as Chris Gaines. Gaines was a fictional alternative rock persona created by Brooks to explore rock and roll styles far removed from his success as a country singer.
Brooks attempt to reinvent or launch a new image failed too.
Apparently, attempts to launch a new image overnight don't work.
Relevance to business you ask? You knew I would get there.
The fact is most businesses could stand to reinvent themselves. In some cases, an overhaul is needed. They need to overhaul they way they lead, the way they manage, the way they relate to their customers and present themselves to the market place and the way they interact with their employees and so on.
Reinvention can work and is necessary at times. But it takes time. It begins with defining the results or new image you want to create.
Then the business must take consistent, systematic steps to make the transition. It requires a plan that can be implemented over time.
Need an action plan to reinvent your business? Click here! 

The Best Exit Strategy

EasyExitSign I had a great conversation at lunch yesterday with a couple clients in the process of implementing the Level 7 System in their businesses. Joe Cerino of HAR Adhesive Technologies and Hank Newman of Recon Logistics and I were talking about "exit strategies."
We agreed that "exit strategies" can have a different meaning to different business owners.
For some it might mean literally building a business and then selling it to get out.
For some it might mean building the business to a point that it is no longer dependent on them but keeping it and drawing an income from it.
For some it might mean building the business so they can 'exit' from certain work in the business so they can pursue other types of work in the business like high level business development and growth strategies.
In conclusion, we all agreed the best exit strategy is one that allows the business owner the opportunity to choose what they want to do with the business when they get there.