Archive for the ‘Personal Presence’ Category

ESPN’s Stuart Scott Brings You the Best 15 Minutes of Your Day July 17 2014 one response

Last night at the ESPY awards, SportsCenter anchor Stuart Scott took up the mantle of Jim Valvano when he accepted the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.

Scott has battled multiple forms of cancer for seven years now. As recently as last week, he had four surgeries in seven days because of complications from his latest round of treatment. And yet, he stood on stage last night and delivered a speech on living and loving that you need to watch. It will be the best 15 minutes of your day – even if it makes you cry.

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Seven Ways to Keep Wizard of Oz Syndrome from Killing Your Organization July 2 2014 one response

wizard-ozEvery so often I come in contact with an organization where everyone is on pins and needles. They’re afraid of their own shadows. Everything is on an urgent deadline. The smallest mistakes or surprises are crises. Any sense of humor remaining is solely of the gallows variety.

Here’s what everyone of those organizations seems to have in common – the “little people” view the senior leaders as if they’re the great and powerful Oz (and by Oz, I mean the man behind the curtain, not the doctor on TV).

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her gang were petrified by the idea of meeting the Wizard. An entire mythology had been built up around him and the carnival huckster who played the role did everything he could to reinforce the myths.

The Oz Syndrome is playing out in a lot of organizations. Knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or not, the senior leaders have created an aura around themselves in which “the littles” are scared to approach. (For more on how that happens, revisit this post from last year, What Happens When Executives Freak Out.)

I get to see the impact of this and it’s not pretty. If you’ve created Oz Syndrome in your organization, productivity and engagement are leaking out like the helium from a two day old balloon.

The good news is you can stop the leak. Here are seven simple ways to start plugging it:

1. Get out of your office
2. Walk around and see what’s actually going on
3. Talk with people like they’re human beings and not functions of production
4. Don’t jump to conclusions
5. Keep your perspective
6. Be clear about what’s urgent and what’s not
7. Stop taking yourself so damn seriously

What about you? Have you seen a case of Oz Syndrome lately? What else can senior leaders do to stop it?

The Three Things You Can Control June 26 2014 no responses

cntl-buttonA good friend of mine, who I’ll refer to here as Rick, is a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He’s approaching the end of a 20 year career and just got married a few months ago to a wonderful woman. A couple of weeks ago, much to his surprise, he found out that he’s going to be deployed for six months to a base on the opposite coast and, possibly, to the Middle East.

That’s not what he expected when he got married and signed a lease on a really cool town house. He is not, however, freaking out about it. He’s not super excited about the deployment but is totally taking it in stride. He understands that a deployment at this stage in his career is not something he can control. And, as he learned from an interview with Pat Summitt, the head coach emeritus of the Tennessee women’s basketball program who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago, there are only three things in life you can control.

They are:

  • Your attitude
  • How hard you work
  • How you take care of yourself

So, Rick is focusing on what he can control. He’s already identified the upsides of the deployment, is laying the personal and professional groundwork for the next six months and is sticking with the routines that keep him physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. He’d rather not be deployed at this point in his life but he and his wife are focusing on making the best of it by focusing on what they can control.

What’s your take? What are you doing to make the best of what you can control?

Healthy Food Options On The Road June 6 2014 3 responses

salad1Are you someone who travels a lot for business or is headed out on a vacation and you don’t want to abandon your healthy eating habits? Or maybe you’re thinking the life of fast food in the airport or at highway exits is your only option and it’s all bad.

Here are a few quick tips for our road warriors readers. They’re all really simple and will help you to feel great on the road.

1. Drink water instead of soda, juices, beer, wine or liquor. Yeah I know you’ve heard it before and it sounds boring. So make it more exciting and grab a club soda or sparkling water for some bubbles. If you can squeeze in lemon or lime, even better. If you’re buying a flavored water, read the label to see what that flavoring is made from and how much sugar it contains. Drinking water is especially important if you are flying as the humidity level on a plane is at least half of what is typical. That means alcohol and caffeine will dehydrate you even more than usual. So if you don’t want to end up like a dried prune, choose water. And, if you’re going to imbibe, do so in mindful moderation.

2. Eat Whole Fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth and stay away from the processed stuff and juices. Convenience stores almost always carry some reasonably fresh fruits so choose those instead of fruit power bar with tons of sugar and a list of ingredients that is longer than your arm. If you’re flying, grab some fruit in the airport before you get on the plane (or throw an apple or banana in your bag before you leave home). Skip those cookies and muffins and grab the fruit!

3. Salads Over Burgers If you’re only option is a fast food joint and they offer salads don’t just pick the first one you see. Find out what’s in it and what the calorie count is. Some salads have as many calories as a burger. Also investigate the dressing. Do you recognize the ingredients? Are you good with the calories and grams of sugar in there? No? Then, try a squeeze of lemon on your salad.

4. Go Nuts! When given the choice between nuts and potato chips, pick nuts. They have more protein and less carbs that will tire you out. Most convenience stores carry nuts. When buying, look for dry roasted options not ones with extra oil. Also if you’re checking out that bag of trail mix because it has more than just nuts and more could be better, it’s most likely not. Grab some whole fruit to go with those nuts and you’ll be better off. Go slow when you’re eating them. They’ll fill you up more and you’ll spread out the calorie intake if you don’t down them by the handful.

5. Pack it yourself. Yes I just said it. Plan ahead and take some things with you that you already know you like and that are within your range of options. You can make them yourself or buy them, but pack your own bag. I never travel on a plane without my own meal and snacks. This way I have more control over my options.

So happy trails this Summer. Safe travels and happy and healthy eating!

What are your favorite snack hacks for Summer travel? Please leave a comment so we can all learn from each other.

Why You Should Be Brief and How to Do It June 4 2014 10 responses

book-brief

There’s a famous quote that’s often attributed to Mark Twain but actually originated with the French mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal – “I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time.”

That Pascal was one smart guy. A full five hundred years before the information flood that all of us face today, he understood that brevity is important and that it takes work to be brief.

If you want to learn more about why you should be brief and how to do it, check out a new book, Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less by marketing expert Joe McCormack.

In a recent conversation I had with Joe, he pointed out that your audience is drowning in the information flood that you don’t want to be the one to push them under for the count. Preparing your message is the best way to avoid doing that. Joe shared with me a communications planning framework he’s developed around the word BRIEF. First you get clear on the topic and then you provide the:

Background on the topic, and then the

Relevance to the audience, followed by the key bullet points of

Information about the topic. That sets you up for the

Ending and outlining the

Follow-up that needs to happen next.

In the accompanying recording of our brief conversation (how appropriate), Joe gives some guidance on how to apply the BRIEF model, how to write e-mails that actually get read and acted upon and his three best tips for being effectively brief in your communications.

Give it a listen. It’s an action-packed nine minutes.

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Would you like to win your own copy  of Brief? Joe has graciously offered to send a signed copy to one of our listeners. Want to be that person? Here’s all you need to do:

1. Make sure you are signed up to receive updates via our blog. If you’re not click here. If you’re already signed up then you’re almost done. (yes we’ll check). Or…

2. Leave a comment here letting us know you signed up and why you would like to win the book.

Bonus entry if you follow @scotteblin on Twitter and then comment here to let us know. The drawing is Tuesday, June 10th at noon PT. Enter now and check back on Tuesday to see if you won!

That’s it. Very simple. You’ll get a chance to win the book and you won’t miss out on updates. Updates come in two flavors, instantly when a blog is posted or in a digest form weekly (replacing monthly newsletter). Your choice. We will choose a winner using a random number generator.

Good luck!

UPDATE: The book contest is now closed, and we have a winner: Mary K. Parker.  Congratulations and thanks for playing!

Why Leaders Need to Learn How to Get Angry Without Being Stupid May 15 2014 6 responses

book-evans

One of the topics I regularly discuss with participants in my leadership workshops is whether or not they should show their anger or frustration when things don’t go well. Most of the time most of the people begin by saying that that’s not an effective leadership move. But, when they think about it a little bit more, though, many acknowledge that there are times when leaders need to show their anger.

Recently, I had the chance to talk shop on this topic with a fellow leadership coach, consultant and author, Henry Evans. Henry is the co-author with Colm Foster of a new book called Step Up: Lead in Six Moments that Matter.

The way Henry and Colm describe that first moment is Get Angry, Not Stupid.

In this audio excerpt from our conversation, Henry explains when and why it’s necessary for leaders to show their anger. Of course, if you’re going to go that route, you don’t want to be stupid about it. Henry offers three important tips for how to stay on the right side of that line.

Give it a listen and let me know what you think in the comments. Is it ever OK for leaders to show their anger? If it is, what are your best tips for getting angry without being stupid?

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Would you like to win your own copy of Step Up: Lead in Six Moments that Matter this week? We’re giving two copies away and this is all you need to do:

1. Make sure you are signed up to receive updates via our blog. If you’re not click here. If you’re already signed up then you’re almost done. (yes we’ll check). Or…

2. Leave a comment here letting us know you signed up and why you would like to win the book.

Bonus entry if you follow @scotteblin on Twitter and then comment here to let us know. The drawing is Monday, May 19th at noon PT. Enter now and check back on Monday to see if you won!

That’s it. Very simple. You’ll get a chance to win the book and you won’t miss out on updates. Updates come in two flavors, instantly when a blog is posted or in a digest form weekly (replacing monthly newsletter). Your choice.

We will choose a winner using a random number generator.

Good luck!

UPDATE: The book contest is now closed, and we have two winners: Coach Seattle and Cathie Murensky. Thanks for playing!

Nothing Changes Until You Do May 7 2014 6 responses

book-robbins

Have you ever felt like you’re the only one who doubts yourself? Does that little voice inside your head compare you to people who seem like they just totally have everything completely together? Well, guess what. It’s not just you. Most everyone has their own inner critic that’s way too hard on themselves.

If you want to get some perspective on what’s going on with that and how you can train that inner critic to lighten up, you should take a look at Mike Robbins new book, Nothing Changes Until You Do. Mike describes how all too often our self-talk is harsher and more demanding than anything we would ever say to another person. He suggests that instead of beating yourself up over some shortcoming, that you extend the same compassion for yourself that you would for a loved one, friend or colleague.

I had the opportunity to talk with Mike recently and really enjoyed the conversation. In it he offers three practical steps for quieting your inner critic that are easy to do and likely to make a difference. You can listen in at the link below.

Play

Would you like to win your own autographed copy of Nothing Changes Until You Do this week? We’re giving one away and this is all you need to do:

1. Make sure you are signed up to receive updates via our blog. If you’re not click here. If you’re already signed up then you’re almost done. (yes we’ll check). Or…

2. Leave a comment here letting us know you signed up and why you would like to win the book.

Bonus entry if you follow @scotteblin on Twitter and then comment here to let us know. The drawing is Friday May 9th at noon PT. Enter now and check back on Friday to see if you won!

That’s it. Very simple. You’ll get a chance to win the book and you won’t miss out on updates. Updates come in two flavors, instantly when a blog is posted or in a digest form weekly (replacing monthly newsletter). Your choice.

We will choose a winner using a random number generator.

Good luck!

UPDATE: The book contest is now closed, and we have a winner; Gina Pertee Cummings. Thanks for playing!

Accepting Reality February 12 2014 10 responses

Every so often, one has to face reality and accept the circumstances as they are. This is one of those moments for me.

I’m very excited about the work I’m doing on my next book which will be published by Wiley this Fall. And, in the category of accepting reality, I’ve come to the conclusion today that I’ll be blogging less frequently until I deliver the manuscript to my editor in May.

Since the book is all about simple and practical things leaders can do to be more mindful in their work and life, I’ll still be posting the Mindful Mondays feature most weeks between now and May. I’ll likely be posting on other days of the week as well but not as often as I have been.

Wow, I feel better already. It’s important to me (and I hope to you) that when I post on this blog it’s worth your time and attention. In accepting reality, I realize that there’s only so much writing I can do in a week while meeting the needs of my clients, writing a quality manuscript and doing a good job with this blog.

So, something has to give and, for the next couple of months, I’ll be focusing on quality over quantity or frequency when it comes to this blog. Thanks for being a loyal reader. I’ll still be here over the next two or three months, just not as often. Please hang in there with me during this hybrid hiatus.

In wrapping up for today, I’m reminded of a line I heard somewhere – you can do everything, just not everything at once. Who knows? Maybe there’s an area in your work or life where you need to take your foot off the gas for awhile. It’s worth thinking about.

How to Not Be a Weenie Leader January 23 2014 one response

weenie-leadersEarlier today, someone I care about a lot was the victim of weenie-like behavior from someone in a leadership role who should have known better. Unfortunately, weenies are all around us. You can recognize them by their unique combination of spineless and thoughtless behavior. That and their lack of nutritional value.

I doubt anyone starts out in life or even in a given day with the goal of being a weenie. And, yet, weenie-like behavior abounds. It’s enough to make you a little paranoid, actually. “Am I a weenie and just don’t know it?”

Who am I to say? For all I know, I’m a weenie too. Here, though, is a start on my list of behaviors that weenie leaders exhibit. How can you avoid being a weenie leader? Do the opposite of these things. I’m working hard on not doing these. (What else would you add to the list?)

The Power of Your Choices in 2014 January 2 2014 2 responses

newyear2014Happy new year everyone! After taking a couple of weeks to relax, reflect and renew, I’m looking forward to the new year. As the year begins, I’m thinking a lot about the power our choices have to shape the course of the next twelve months.

I started considering the power of choice a couple of days ago when I saw Google’s Zeitgeist 2013 video which is their recap of the year just ended. To be honest, I was a little disappointed in it because their 2012 year end video was fantastic and I felt like this year’s didn’t capture the zeitgeist quite so well.

So I went back and watched the 2012 video again and then watched it again. It was kind of breathtaking to notice how much had changed during 2013 around many of the events that defined 2012. There are dramatic examples of how personal choices can change the course of history in just 12 months.