FLASHPOINTS: Catch Me If You Can…

BAG Screen shot 062414 (1)Don’t play Follow The Leader;  instead, play Catch Me If You Can.

When playing in the big leagues of business, it can be a challenging to walk among the shadows of industry titans. Sometimes, it seems we’re forced to follow in their footsteps and do as they do to improve awareness and market share of our product or service. We’re often tempted to take action by following a similar path, releasing a similar product, or even running a similar marketing campaign—because, hey, if it worked for them, it should work for us, right? Wrong! This is where practicing innovation will set us on our own path to living a life of significance. Focus less on competing, and more on collaborating—and do things your way. Are you playing Follow The Leader or Catch Me If You Can?


FLASHPOINTS: Play Is More Fun Than Work!

BAG Screen shot 061714Play is more fun than work!

I read somewhere that by the age of twenty one, the average millennial will have spent 10,000 hours playing video games … for us older folks, we shout in glorious victory when we get in the fastest moving checkout line! Why? We all enjoy the challenge and the reward of competition. According to game designer Jane McGonigal, the positive traits that gamers develop include: the drive for productivity, “urgent optimism” and the ability to “weave a tight social fabric.” Sounds like great attributes for any high-functioning team!  And so enters the concept of gamification: since gaming is here to stay, doesn’t it make sense that we apply the dynamics of a game to a non-game environment to reap the benefits of increased stimulation? How can you apply gamification to your team?

FLASHPOINTS: How Will History Define Your Leadership Legacy?

BAG Screen shot 061014Make your life about the other people in it.

At the core of many great leaders throughout history is the concept of servant leadership. This concept encourages leaders to lead by being of service to their team members. When our role exists to be of service to others by supporting and developing them, we bring out the best in those on our team … and team member gratitude, productivity and loyalty skyrocket as a result. As an added bonus, it’s absolutely rewarding to see folks move closer to their fullest potential while in our charge. When contemplating the leadership strategies we hope to deploy, its helpful to think of leaders we admire most: what qualities, traits and values do/did they possess? How will history define your leadership legacy?


FLASHPOINTS: Stop, Drop…and Reflect?

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When on fire, we know to stop, drop, and roll. In life, we must stop, drop, and reflect.

Reflection could be the most underrated resource in our lives, businesses, and projects. It may not take much time to “take five” to quiet our minds and unwind after a stressful day or interaction or to ask our clients and stakeholders how things are going, but it does take effort. It’s easy to postpone this critical task, instead focusing on the urgent matters that vie for our attention. Regular reflection and introspection, however, provides the opportunity to fine-tune our thoughts, communications, relationships, products and services, which leads to increased confidence that our efforts are bringing value to those we love and serve. The only thing worse than being misunderstood or missing the mark is not even knowing it. What project or area of your life requires additional reflection and introspection?

Are the Leadership Styles of 20-30 Years Ago Effective Today?

This question comes from a caller who asked us to settle an argument he was having with his father-in-law regarding changing leadership styles settled. Our first point is that arguing with your father-in-law is probably a no-win proposition!  Our second point is that leadership styles that worked 30 years ago simply aren’t effective in today’s dynamic business environment.  We suggest you focus on the following:

1.   Lead with the Three E’s: Top down leadership just isn’t effective in today’s work environment.  Fancy titles and big corner offices don’t motivate many younger team members; they’re seeking significance in addition to success.  Consider leading them with the 3E’s:

* Evaluate: Use objective evaluation assessments to discover the real strengths of your team.

* Empower: Don’t waste time telling team members how to accomplish a task.  Give them the desired objective or outcome and empower them to use their strengths to accomplish the task the best way that works for them (provided it’s ethical and legal, of course).

* Engage:  Allow team members to self-select for projects and initiatives that really speak to them and best utilize their strengths.  Consider allowing them to spend 10-15% of their time working on their own projects or supporting community projects they are passionate about.

2.   The-Times-They-are-a-Changin’: The command and control leadership style of past generations, with its rigid “carrot and stick” reward/punishment system is being replaced by a more inspiring and encouraging leadership style.  Today’s workforce is more socially conscious, socially aware and serious about making in impact that isn’t always measured in dollars.

3.   You Shouldn’t Be the Smartest Person in the Room: Many leaders of yesteryear were always concerned with being recognized as the “smartest person in the room.”  No longer!  Today’s leader understands the need to engage those that are bolder and brighter to create enduring success.  In fact, you should strive to never be the smartest person in the room!

To learn more about today’s most effective leadership styles, please listen to the replay of our November 2012 Virtual Jam Session

Are You Ready For Great Leadership?

Great leaders inspire people to act. They possess a fierce resolve and dogged determination to do what needs to be done to build remarkable organizations, and have a disproportionate affect on the success of their organization. Great leaders have a profound impact on company culture and the morale of every team member. They give team members a sense of hope, purpose & belonging.

Great leaders create a following of people who act, not because they are manipulated or have to, but because they are inspired and want to.

Once You Conduct a “Work Climate Survey”, Act on the Results

This takeaway comes from a business owner who submitted a question about declining company morale. We suggested he conduct an anonymous “work climate survey” to find out what’s really going on in the company. The owner did and got some surprising results back and now wants to know what to do with the information.

To listen to the full question and answer, click here: Virtual Jam Session replay.

  1. Beware High Performing, but Disrespectful Team Members: A strong, cohesive team is crucial for enduring success. Team members must be “coachable” and able to grow with an organization. Somebody who is a star performer, but happens to be a real jerk can quickly poison a team and cause huge problems. Don’t be afraid to part ways with top performers who lack the emotional intelligence to work effectively the rest of your team.
  2. Address Issues and Challenges in a Direct, Respectful Manner: Some leaders are more concerned with “being loved” than actually leading their organization. If challenges exist (and they do…even in the best organizations), deal with them directly and don’t beat around the bush. Tiptoeing around challenges can quickly frustrate the rest of the team and cause people to question your leadership ability. Make sure you are factual, avoid personal attacks, empathize, and solicit feedback on potential solutions.
  3. Leadership is Not the Same as Management: Leadership is all about inspiring your team to achieve extraordinary results. Leaders carry an organization’s vision, cheerlead during tough times, pitch in when needed, and recognize that the organization is far more than simply the sum of it’s parts. Smart leaders understand that they don’t have all the answers and are continually improving themselves through coaching and other professional development.

For more information on getting the most out of your “work climate survey”, be sure to listen to a past Virtual Jam Session replay.

Boutique Vet Shifts Hotelier’s HQ to Platinum Triangle


Check out this amazing article written by Kari Hamanaka in last weeks OC Business Journal

HOSPITALITY: Plans to add 2 OC properties to roster this year


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Anaheim-based entrepreneurship consultant and hotel developer/manager BROUGHTONcompanies recently moved to new digs in the Platinum Triangle district of the city as it looks to re-enter the OC market.

Broughton is owned by founder and Chief Executive Larry Broughton. It consists of broughtonHOTELS, which handles boutique properties, and Bandera Hospitality on the branded side of the business.  There’s also BROUGHTONadvisory, which offers consulting to clients on entrepreneurship, team-building and leadership, with a client roster that includes the Pentagon and Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

Hotels, Sales

broughtonHOTELS either owns or manages 15 hotels spread across Los Angeles, parts of Northern California and Chicago. The company employs about 400 workers across headquarters and its individual properties.  Its 4,500-square-foot office in Anaheim, just steps from where dirt is being turned for the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, houses 14 workers. The company moved from Newport Beach in order to be closer to most employees’ homes and public transit links, including a Metrolink station.

Another spur for the move was Broughton’s personal interest in the area.  “I’ve been intrigued by what’s going on here in the Platinum Triangle for awhile,” said the San Francisco transplant and veteran of the U.S. Army’s Green Berets.

He sees the Platinum Triangle location as a good fit for a growing workforce and has plans to add as many as six employees over the next year in human resources and finance, among other departments. Staff at the headquarters will help support eight projects currently in various stages of acquisition or development.

Broughton declined to elaborate but said the company’s current list of projects includes a boutique hotel in San Diego that’s about 85% done.

There also are a couple hotel repositioning projects each in Orange County and Los Angeles on the boutique side, and a hotel buy in Silicon Valley that broughtonHOTELS hopes to close on this month. Plans there include a renovation from a branded property to an upscale boutique.

The recent moves come as investors return to the market, a development that’s pushing up prices for hotels in urban centers such as New York, San Francisco and other markets along California’s coast, Broughton said.

“There’s money that’s been sitting on the sidelines wanting to get into the market, and when these deals finally make it to market, then people, I think, are overpaying,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons why we tend not to look at any deals once they go to market. If they go to market, that means we haven’t done our job by keeping our finger on the pulse. We would rather do deals that are off-market deals because we don’t want to get into bidding wars with anybody else.”

Broughton said he looks for properties as large as 300 rooms on the boutique end and more rooms on the branded side.  broughtonHOTELS’ smallest property is the 23-room Spanish Garden Inn in Santa Barbara. It’s smaller than most deals Broughton likes to do, but with an average daily rate of more than $350 and occupancy in the 90% range, “you can actually make a little bit of money on those.”

Broughton’s sweet spot has generally been in the boutique business, breathing new life into old properties.  It’s a strategy other hotel operators in OC are trying—some on a larger scale. Newport Beach-based developer Irvine Company converted the Hyatt Regency Irvine to Hotel Irvine Jamboree Center.

Broughton has a background in boutique hotels. He spent 13 years as vice president and partner at San Francisco-based boutique operator Joie de Vivre, which operates the Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach, among other properties.

OC Can Be Tough

Orange County can be tough for boutique hotel operators to break into, Broughton said.  “I think one of the hindrances to the Orange County market is the availability” of hotels that lend themselves to conversions, he said.  “If you’re going to take the brand off of a hotel, you better have a good operator,” he said. “It’s disappointing that there aren’t more. You would think that—with the affluence here—there would be more boutique hotels.”

Orange County abounds in exterior corridor motels with rooms that open onto balcony-style, open-air hallways—and those can be challenging to take upscale.  “We’re not putting people on the moon every day—we’re not performing brain surgery—but there are millions of small decisions that need to be made each day in the hotel industry that people aren’t even aware of, and it’s a very intimate industry,” Broughton said. “When somebody buys from us on the hotel side, the experience lasts not only from the time they book their reservation—once they walk through the doors they’re with us for 24, 36, 48 hours.”

FLASHPOINTS: How Will You Improve the Lives of Others?

BAG Screen shot 012814Service is at the core of every leadership role. 

 It’s often through others that we realize who we really are in life.  Great leaders realize that they must be of service to others; that they must encourage others, in order to achieve greatness.  Have you ever noticed yourself offering kindness and compliments to others that you often withhold from yourself?  Isn’t it interesting that we often place the happiness of others ahead of ourselves, even in everyday life situations?  Although it’s a fine line between service and co-dependence, that’s what leadership is all about – it’s the perfect example of being of service to others.  It’s humbling to know that our courage, commitment, generosity, and passion can cause lasting improvements in the lives of others.  How will you show courage, generosity, or passion to someone today?


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Communication is an exchange of ideas, both verbal and non-verbal.

Gone is the day when a command & control leadership style of barking orders in a morning meeting effectively directs workflow for the day.  Long gone is the day when being a good manager simply meant having the right answer.  We simply can’t do it all alone!  Inspiring those around us to become proactive, critical thinkers & independent leaders means we must involve them in the creative & problem-solving process.  Remember though, effective communication is a two-way street.  To make and sustain significant change, it’s important to listen.  Sounds easy, but listening is so much more than just hearing what people say.  Can you sense their stress, loss of motivation, feelings of purpose, excitements, disappointments, and fears – even when they’re not spoken aloud?  Can you hear me now?