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?

How do you get your employees and family behind your dream of growth and expansion?

Growth and expansion are TOUGH in any environment and it takes “all hands on deck” to grow effectively.  Here are some key things to consider about growth:

    • Is Your Subconscious Sabotaging Your Efforts: Not that we’re psychologists (nor do we play them on TV), but one of the primary functions of our subconscious mind is to keep us safe.  Often, this means that your dreams of growth/expansion may clash with the hidden desire of you subconscious (or that of your team members, family members, and friends) to keep you “safe” and maintain the status quo.  This is a key reason that it’s critical to surround yourself with people who are bolder and brighter than you to help power a leap forward in your business.  Without that energy, it can be very challenging to shift into growth mode. Lean on strategic advisors and key team member that also see a path forward to grow/expand.

 

    • Shift To “Heart Power”:  Most people are familiar with horsepower, a measurement of output by engines from lawnmowers to jets…but what about “heart power?”  Simply put, “heart power” is the ability to inspire others, to create a compelling “call-to-action” that entices people to leap out of their seats and charge into the fray.  One of the primary reason those closest to us may not get behind our plans for business growth is that we haven’t yet painted a vivid picture of what that growth will look like and what kind of positive impact it will create on team members, clients, and other stake-holders.  As business leaders, we must be able to effectively harness “heart power” to fuel the growth engine of our entrepreneurial ventures.  Remember, without vision, the people will perish (Proverbs 29:18).

 

  • Cut Out The Negative: Assuming you have a clear vision for growth and have surrounded yourself with some team members/advisors that are bolder and brighter than you, there’s one more step you may have to take.  Unfortunately, sometimes those closest to us are also the ones who give us the most negative flak about our business.  While they are often well meaning and just don’t want to see us take too many risks and “get hurt”, continued negativity can be very draining to deal with.  As the late inspirational speaker Jim Rohn often said, “You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”  As a result, you may have to limit contact with people who are actively trying to sabotage your success or prevent you from moving forward.  It can be tough to do…especially if they are close friends/family members…but sometimes it just has to be done!

 Missed the last VIRTUAL Jam Session? Don’t worry, you can listen to the June 2013 Replay by clicking here.

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?

BAG Screen shot 060314

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

FLASHPOINTS: Turn Your Weakness Into a Motivator!

BAG Screen shot 052714Our weakness can improve our strengths, if we use it in the right way.

Ah, the shellacking we give ourselves for procrastination. Those times when we give in to weakness and wasted precious time. It’s Facebook, Twitter, or the latest gaming forums or business blogs … whatever thief we allow to steal our time. How can we actually take advantage of this weakness? By turning it into a reward system! We can treat ourselves to engaging in this activity when we’ve completed a certain portion of our to-do list. Take an unpleasant task that cannot be deferred, give it your full attention for a solid hour, then reward yourself with the guilty pleasure of 15 minutes of procrastination! Giving ourselves permission to indulge can work to our advantage if we use it judiciously. How can you turn your weakness into a motivator?

 

FLASHPOINTS: Good For the Goose?

BAG Screen shot 052014What’s good for the goose may NOT be good for the gander.

In life, everything is relative to our personal goals and experiences … a small expense for some might be totally extravagant for others. Except it really isn’t about the expense—it’s about the value of the resulting experience. The same is true when taking action to achieve our goals. What might be bold and reckless for some might be baby steps for others. The resulting experience that the action can produce, how deep the desire is and the potential value gained are what will drive us forward, no matter how much our ego gets battered and bloodied. One thing’s for sure: if what drives us to take daily action is something worth fighting for, the fight becomes much easier. Can you articulate the value of what you’re fighting for?

Are You an Entrepreneur or a Wantrepreneur?

As we travel around the country speaking at business conference & entrepreneur gatherings, we run into a lot of people who are in love with the idea of running their own business.  They relish the idea of freedom, making their own schedule and doing something that they truly love.  Unfortunately, many of these people are what we term “wantrepreneurs” – since they aren’t ready for all the long hours and hard work that goes into running your own business.

So which are you…entrepreneur or wantrepreneur?  Here are a few ways to find out:

Failure Won’t Derail Entrepreneurs: Most start-ups and small businesses will suffer failures and setbacks along the way…it’s just part of the learning process.  Wantrepreneurs allow themselves to be knocked off course (and stay there) by the first couple of obstacles they encounter.  Entrepreneurs don’t get paralyzed by failure (or the possibility of failure), learn from their mistakes, take course corrective action and keep moving forward.

Entrepreneurs Pursue Excellence, Not Perfection: Wantrepreneurs are fascinated with perfection and can’t seem to move forward until their website, brochure, or sales presentation is perfect.  Entrepreneurs understand that “done is better than perfect”, since they understand that “perfect” is a myth on the modern business battlefield.  By seeking excellence and continually improving your product or service, you will achieve enduring success.

Entrepreneurs Don’t Get Complacent: Assuming a Wantrepreneur survives the business start-up phase, they often allow their business to stagnate once they get comfortable.  Entrepreneurs follow the Boy Scout motto…”Be Prepared!”  They realize that today’s innovative product or service may be tomorrow’s old news, so they are ready for changing market conditions, new innovations and alternative applications for what they offer.

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

FLASHPOINTS: What Are YOU Doing?!

BAG Screen shot 051314What are you doing?!

No matter what we do, whether starting a business, keeping a job, volunteering, running the local marathon or for public office, people will judge our motivations. Here’s the good news: their opinions don’t mean squat. Some things we do out of love … other things, to sustain a lifestyle. When we live with intentionality, we get the chance to change the world and earn a comfortable living while doing it. What matters is being honest with ourselves about our motivations, because eventually they’ll be obvious to everyone else, too. Why not start being truthful about them right here, right now? Do you measure your impact in dollars, accomplishments, or testimonials from others? Are you driven by ego, revenge and cash, or legacy and changed lives? Why do you do what you do?