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Showing posts from July, 2018

The New Season Is Upon Us - Observations From A Dance Dad

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A new dance season is fast approaching for my girls, they had auditions last week and they are anxiously awaiting the announcement of the new teams. It is always a nervous time as they wonder if they are good enough to make the team they want or if they will be on the same team as their friends. A while back I posted about what I hope my girls are learning from dance, but now I'm thinking about what I hope they remember as they learn about their teams and that they keep with them through the ups and downs in the upcoming season. Beyond dance, I believe that all great teams have these same qualities.

You are on the team that you are on for a reason - learn from it. God has something to teach you in every situation. If you made the team you wanted, learn how to be humble and gracious to those that didn't achieve what you did and work every day to justify why you are there. If you didn't make the team you wanted, stay positive and determined to do the best job you can for your…

Honestly, I Can Tell You The Difference Between Average, Good and Great

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If you are able to wade through the mudslinging and unruly behavior on Twitter and find the good content you can find a jem like this recent tweet from @coachswhite:
AVERAGE players want to be 'Left Alone'...
GOOD players want to be 'Coached'...
GREAT players want to be 'Told the Truth'...I love the simplicity of this and how it can go beyond sports. You can substitute the any word you want for "players" - employees, managers, coaches, teachers, parents, kids, students.

Whatever role you play, do you want to be told the truth or do you want to be left alone? Do you want to be average or do you want to be great. Some people are happy being left alone and don't care if they are considered average. But you can't be left alone if you want to be great.

Often we say we want the truth, but when we hear it, we dismiss it. Or we defend ourselves and explain why everyone is wrong. Or we respond that people just don't understand us to really know the…

The Ultimate Team Sport

It is an exciting time of year to me, football season is just around the corner. Training camps are getting started in the NFL and college football is going through their media days. The hope of every fan is at its peak as they anticipate what the coming season could mean.

I never played the sport much growing up, but I become a bigger fan every year. I think what I find most interesting is how much of a team sport it is. In basketball the star can go 1-on-1 and take over a game. Baseball is a series of individual match-ups between a hitter and pitcher strung together. There is a team element to all sports, but not like there is in football. Each member of the team on the field needs to be doing their job, all 11 have to be on the same page for the right things to occur. You don't win championships in football unless you are a highly effective team. Having superstars will only get you so far if you can't work together as a team.

It is true in business too. The companies that a…

Questions To Shift Your Paradigm

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One of my all time favorite quotes that makes me pause and reflect is from Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel. Intel is famous for making a pivot that changed the landscape of technology, when they switched from being a semiconductor company to building microprocessors. The exercise they went through to get there started from the following question:
If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what do you think he would do? Why shouldn't we walk out the door, come back in, and do it ourselves? Intel was a successful, profitable company building semiconductors, but they started to see sales slip. Rather than wait to be fired for declining sales only to be replaced by a new CEO who would look at what needed to change to turn things around, they did it themselves. The result was an even larger, more successful and highly profitable company.

There are so many ways we could apply that question in our own lives. Too often we get complacent when things are going well that we…

Creating A Learning Environment

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I just went through a leadership training course from my work and it talked about developing team members, helping them grow and achieve higher levels of success. I believe it is important for all people to continue learning throughout their life. The act of learning something new, whether related to work or not, exercises a part of our brain that keeps us moving forward. It also helps us be ready for those times in our life when we are forced to learn something new, be it a job change, learning to parent a teenager or how to deal with a difficult boss. Things change but we also should never settle for where we are at as good enough. If you are a leader or a parent, you should help create an environment where learning is expected and regularly discussed.

We need to be supportive of people that we interact with. Even if it is learning something you don't necessarily see value in, the fact they are learning something new is important, so support it. You also need to encourage it. A…

Endless Ways To Learn Something New

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I read a fair amount. Last year I finished 31 books, which seems like a lot but I know people that read lots more than I do. The number one comment that I have received from people when they find out I am a reader is that they just don't have time to read. There are times that I don't have a lot of time to read, or I just get out of the habit so recently I tried to find some new ways to continue to learn, consume more information and read more. I thought I would share some of the things I've learned, hopefully they are helpful for you to discover new ways to

I've always preferred physical books over electronic, and probably always will, but there are some
benefits to eBooks that I've learned. Now I am always reading at a minimum two books at the same time, one electronic and one physical. I don't always have the ability to carry a book with me, but I always have my phone. You don't need to buy a Kindle, just find the Kindle app and you can read on any devi…

Clear Communication And Today's Attention Span

Apparently I am wordy. That probably isn't enough details, so let me expound on it. 
I've received some feedback that I can write an email that is deemed to be "too long". I went back and looked at some of my longer emails, ones I heard comments about and measured them. The longer ones were all between 150 and 400 words. To give some context to how much that is, a typical page is around 500 words. A typical reader can reach 200 words per minute at a comprehension rate of 60%. (If you are interested in finding out your reading and comprehension scores this was a fun, and quick exercise at readingsoft.com).
So an email that takes 1-2 minutes to read and comprehend is too much. Unfortunately this is partially the nature of the world we now live in. Research showed that our attention span decreased from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to just over 8 seconds in 2015. I need to accept that and find ways to get better at being concise. 
Now, does that mean that details don'…

Stop Thinking About Being The Greatest And Just Strive For Greatness

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Yesterday was the 4th of July and if you are like me your social media feeds were probably blowing up with patriotic statements and love for our country. I love this country too, and all of the benefits that we are automatically granted by being one of the lucky 327 million people out of 7.6 billion to be born here. One thing I read a lot that made me stop and think today was "America is the greatest country in the world." But are we really the greatest? There is a lot of good things that happen in this country, and it is filled with great people. But so are a lot of other countries. I have no doubt we are a great country but the greatest? When you look at rankings on education, work-life balance, national debt or health care costs we aren't the greatest. Heck the US couldn't even qualify for the stinking World Cup. I think we live in a great country but I'm not going to ignore the fact that there are things that other countries are doing far better than we are.…

If It Helps The Organization Then Do It

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On organization is made up of individuals, and those individual people, you and me, are what makes an organization successful. But only if our focus is in the right direction. When we get busy our natural fight or flight instincts take over and it becomes about survival, "I need to take care of my stuff, I don't have time to worry about anyone else." It isn't about butting in, it is about making sure you are focused on serving that of which you are a part of.

As an individual, your first priority is to figure out how you can best help your team be successful. Some days that means doing a task you don't like, or staying late because it will help the team get better. Next, as a team you need to figure out how to help make your department successful. Up through the layers of your organization you go, your organization might have 2 circles, or it might have 20. Each group or team you are a part of should be focused on how to help the next layer up be successful. If …