Friday, May 25, 2018

Believe in yourself....

“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.” Michael Jordan

Last month when I flew into Boston’s Logan airport and drove north to Maine, I passed the NECCO Candy company – it claims to be the oldest continuously operating candy company in the country and is primarily known for their chalky sugar wafers and Valentine's Day candy conversation hearts. I used to love those as a kid, getting them at the candy store or when going door to door on Halloween. That company went bankrupt a few years ago and I saw in yesterday’s news that it was bought at auction for $18M by a The Spangler Company, a rival that makes Jelly Bellies: I’m not sure if that’s a good price, but somebody certainly saw the value and expects great things from that purchase. Companies, like people, go through good times and bad – throughout those cycles the best managers keep employees thinking positively, performing productively, believing in themselves, and doing great work. Inspire your employees to expect great things of themselves and watch as they do them today.

Michael Jordan (b. 1963): Legendary retired professional basketball player and principal owner and chairman of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Dare to dream....

Sometimes you never know when you’re going to meet someone special: that happened to me recently at a conference for HR leaders in Maine.  I was introduced to SSG Travis Mills, one of 5 quadruple amputees from the war in Afghanistan. His unflinching optimism was palpable and listening to him put all kinds of things in perspective. Most of us have issues, some of which affect us as we carry on our lives – Travis is able to put his aside and dream only of the possibilities.  It’s hard to imagine what went through his mind when he learned the extent of his injuries and began his recovery; to hear him tell it, there was no option to adapting to his changed circumstances and figuring out how to use them to help others.  Today he coaches individuals and companies on how best to overcome obstacles and achieve goals. Google him and read his story – it will stir your soul to want to achieve great things today.

Bill McCartney (b. 1940) is a former American football player and coach and the founder of the Promise Keepers men's ministry

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

It's the little things that count....

“We have one precious life: do something extraordinary today, even if it's tiny. A pebble starts the avalanche.”K.A. Laity

I’m a guitar player: acoustics, mostly, and they’re temperamental here in the Las Vegas heat. I take them to a luthier regularly: he’s a real craftsman and very much in demand. Whenever I drop off one of my instruments he has a shop full of many others, in all stages of maintenance and repair, yet he’s always happy to receive another and does so with a genuine interest and smile. I never ask how long it will be and he always completes the work in less time than I expect: it’s a fairly straightforward transaction that leaves me feeling satisfied and appreciated.  I compare this to similar kinds of things we all do, like taking a car in for service or having a prescription renewed – those routine needs never seem to come with a smile anymore.  And whenever I get the guitar back home and open the case, I always find a hand-written card from him thanking me for allowing him to be of service. It’s a tiny thing, but in today’s world that’s an extraordinary example of how things should be.  Life is short – do something great today.

K. A. Laity is an award-winning author, scholar & critic

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Don't settle for ordinary when extraordinary is possible....

I’ve worked on many start-ups and the common element among all of them is their founder’s burning desire to create something great.  They usually begin with an idea that grows over time and stays true to their principles and ideals: these entrepreneurs really believe in what they’re doing.  Some started hotels, others developed technology, and one had a great retail idea: all of them were driven to achieve something beyond ordinary. The technologist who developed my extraordinary applicant tracking systems worked day and night, often sleeping at the office in order to maintain schedules, every day having more ideas and breakthroughs as we stayed on-task, on-budget, and on-time. He, like the other entrepreneurs I worked with, were as curious about the ‘what-ifs’ as they were passionate about each day’s progress; they rarely accepted results that were ordinary. You can adopt this same standard to everything you do, big or small. Bring your burning desire to the creation of great things today.

Joseph Bitner Wirthlin (1917 – 2008): American businessman, religious leader and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church

Monday, May 21, 2018

Discover what it takes to blossom....

"The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”Wilma Rudolph

Years ago, I learned that internal marketing to employees was as important as external marketing was to customers.  Having a clear and consistent voice and style was important as employees came to rely on these more than the traditional cascade of information from supervisors.  And as the tools available transitioned from newsletters and posters to intranets and mobile apps, the key was having the right person in this role. The last person who did this for me started as an intern, learned the ropes, and developed a style all her own. Early on, her enthusiasm, eye for detail, and straight-forward writing convinced us she had the potential for greatness and over time she blossomed. Raw talent grows when you support someone, listen to their ideas, and give them the freedom to try: we all have people working for us who thrive if nurtured effectively. Look for the up and coming superstars on your team and help them reach their full potential today.

Wilma Rudolph (1940 – 1994): American sprinter who became a world-record-holding Olympic champion and international sports icon 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Win one for your team every day....

fly Southwest Airlines: they go most of the places I need to get to and I’m amazed at their enthusiastic approach to what’s for them a routine day at work. The way they board the plane: it works, and even though no other airline does it that way they continue to take that innovative approach. The way they make light of the routine messaging: it gets me to listen every time.  Everyone used to make fun of them for only serving peanuts: but now that’s all anyone serves and it’s okay. You might say that’s cheap but then they’re the only ones that allow two bags for free and to change reservations for free: they seem to understand what’s important and what’s not.  As a frequent traveler I appreciate their simple but consistent approach to service. And even though the people that started this service concept are gone, their successors continue to suit up and provide it every day. Bravo!

Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige (1906 – 1982): American professional baseball pitcher who became a legend by how good he was and his longevity in the game

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Keep your eye on the ball....

Sports metaphors abound in the business world.  Coaches talk about keeping your head in the game and your eye on the ball. When on the field players have to focus and keep going: imagine what would happen if they looked someplace else when the ball or play came their way. Coaches, players, and fans decry those lapses. But we seem to accept it when employees come late, make excuses, do shoddy work, or don’t seem to care: those should be equally unacceptable failures. Set the tone at work by clearly explaining the rules and expectations, never wavering in your support of those rules, and following up appropriately: catch those who stay focused and coach those who don’t. “Walk it off, straighten up, and shut up”don’t work anywhere: “listen up, tell me more, and let me help”do. Good coaches are empathetic and fair, and good employees respond well to that. Praise those who continually try – they’re the ones unlocking their potential today.

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (1874 – 1965): British politician, army officer, and writer, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom