When Is The Right Time To Quit?

This weekend an interesting event happened, a professional football player, Vontae Davis, decided to quit at halftime of the game he was playing in. This has brought all kind of speculation and ranting from individuals that I'm sure have no idea the actual circumstances or the whole truth. But the opinions have already formed. Some believe he is one of the lowest forms of life, you simply never quit on your team. Others give him their respect and understanding, believing it is only a game and if he felt it was the right time for him to quit that is his choice.

The odd way I start looking at events like this leads me to start asking myself the question, "When is the right time to quit?" Countless projects, relationships, activities and agreements in your life fall on either side of that question. There are times that it is the right thing to quit, to stick with something would be an exercise in futility. Many times we can look back and wish we would have quit earlier. Oth…

Embrace The Challenges In Your Life

If you have a pulse I'm willing to bet you wish that things were easier in your life. You wish your class wasn't as hard, the kid you sit next to in school isn't so mean, your employees weren't so challenging, your business was flourishing and your family sat around singing Kum Ba Yah while they told each person why they were the greatest mother/father/brother/sister/son/daughter/husband/wife there ever was. There might be moments like this but there are also moments where things are the exact opposite. No matter who you are you will make mistakes, you will have challenges, you will deal with difficult people and you will have your fair share of failures.

We want things to be perfect and easy. They never will be, and worse, we spend a lot of our precious time complaining about how bad things are rather than embracing the opportunity before us. We will be thrown things that challenge us, frustrate us and make us angry or sad. What matters isn't about what happens, be…

How Hungry Are You?

As I've been thinking about culture, teamwork and high performing teams recently everything I think of comes back to three key concepts found in Patrick Lencioni's The Ideal Team Player.

Humble - Check your ego at the door and put the needs of the organization above your own.Hungry - Always wanting more, proactive and never settling for the way things are.Smart - While book smarts are important, it is more important to develop an aptitude on understanding and working well with other people. I believe that you can learn humility and people skills, but hunger is something that you either have or you don't. The drive to work hard. The desire to achieve greatness. The passion to be successful. The need to never accept complacency. 
If you are just going through the motions, doing something because you have to, because it is your job, you have already limited yourself in what you can achieve. If you aren't hungry, don't be surprised if someone passes you by.

Are Your Actions Louder Than Your Words?

Actions speak louder than words. A famous quote that everyone has probably heard. Yes, it means don't talk about what you are going to do, actually do it. It also means, in another cliched saying, if you are going to talk the talk you better be ready to walk the walk.

If you are going to have policies, values, mission statements, handbooks and core beliefs, you better be ready to actually hold them to be true. If you don't, the people you lead will quickly see through you and begin taking the things you say as empty promises. It will be hard for them to believe anything you say. What is the truth and what is just another story you tell them? You can't use your policies as a reason to fire the employee that doesn't contribute, yet ignore them and make an exception for your superstar. There is no quicker way to lose the respect of those around you. Once you've lost their respect it is hard to get the best effort from them and sooner or later you start losing team memb…

The Magic Of New Beginnings

It is an exciting time in our house. That time of year my wife and I get super pumped up. Yes, football season is upon us, but that isn't what I'm talking about here. It is the start of school. That magical time when routines return. When the phrase, "I'm bored" is rarely heard. When we as parents start to get some level of sanity back.

This year is an especially momentous year in our house. Never before have we had so many new beginnings at the same time. Our three daughters are facing their first year of high school, their first year of middle school and starting kindergarten respectfully. To add on to that, my freshman will be old enough to take her driving permit test in two days. Lots of new beginnings.

To go with those new beginnings there are a lot of nerves, lots of excitement and a fair amount of worry. It comes with the unknowns. As adults we are the same, starting a new job or moving to a new city we also can be nervous, excited and anxious. But new beg…

Are You Happy, Frustrated Or Just Don't Care?

This is an over-simplification, but people fall into three general buckets. Whether we are talking about customers, employees, students or any team members you lead.

Happy - They are satisfied with your leadership and they like their position or status within the tribe. Things aren't perfect but they feel like they are listened to and you will try to make things better for them. Obviously you want to have everyone in this area, but know that it will never actually happen.Frustrated - There are levels of frustration ranging from the person that is calmly talking about why they aren't happy to the person that is so frustrated that they anyone that will listen. If they feel heard something productive can come from this.Don't Care - They have given up on you. The employee that just shows up and does the bare minimum. The player on the team that never gives their best effort. The customer that really wants to leave but can't find a better alternative but they've given up…

Trust Is The Cornerstone Of Successful Teams

My most recommended and most read business book is Patrick Lencioni's The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. I was reminded of it once again as I was reading a tweet from @simonsinek:
A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other. This is exactly what Lencioni talked about as the cornerstone issue in dysfunctional teams often stems from a lack of trust between people. When you don't trust each other you don't openly talk about issues and work together to find a resolution. If you spend all of your time covering yourself so you are protected when things go south you aren't working on pushing things forward.

Do you trust your manager, your employees, your teacher, your coach, your kids or your parents? If not you are never going to function effectively.

I've been having a lot of conversations lately about culture and how the environment established by the leader impacts the team. If you want to fix the culture, if you w…