How Wide is Your Paintbrush?

Paint brush

In our sound-bite world, I’m starting to understand why we have to be more cautious.

I’m a veteran, but since retiring from the Air Force, I have not had much occasion to take advantage of many veteran’s programs. The VA benefit in the news today is healthcare. If a surveyor offered this question, “How would you rate the services provided to our vets via VA medical facilities?” My guess, your answer would be similar to mine, “Since I don’t use those facilities it’s hard for me to say but, from what I read, it appears that our vets are receiving poor medical care and they are the “lucky ones” who are even able to access care.”

I went to a VA Town Hall yesterday due to a non-healthcare related issue. First one I have ever attended. I was amazed. There were a good number of Vets and significant others in attendance. Many had health related questions. The amazing thing: almost to a person (or vet) they thanked the VA representatives for the care they receive. They had highly complementary comments about “this” service or “that” program. I was shocked!

I think this might happen too often. I wonder how many other “institutions” are lambasted for the results of a small percentage of their group? I’m going to try to be more careful. I think I will trade in my wide brush for one that paints a clear picture.

As always, Live with an Abundance Mentality, Concentrate on Priorities, & Earnestly Pursue Your Purpose…with Passion!

Thanks General Autery

Today, I am celebrating the 6th anniversary of the passing of one of the greatest leaders I ever knew. Major General Clarence Autery would not be classified in the same category as Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, or any number of people who are recognized around the world as great leaders. However, to those of us who were saddled with the incredible responsibility of helping maintain national security as the most flexible portion of the “triad”, he was a true hero. We were tasked, in both hours and use of our skills, at a level well above what our paychecks would imply. There were times under other “leaders” where virtually every crewmember would ask to be “voted off the island” but not when General (then, Colonel) Autery was our Wing Commander. He taught us more about achieving the mission WITH (not just through) the people tasked with accomplishing that mission.
I sure miss that man…I’m glad he was one of my mentors. I hope I can someday be considered as successful as he was and still is…

Thanks, General Autrey. May you rest in peace.

Thanks to all those honoring our “vets” today

Just a quick post to offer my thanks and praise for those who are taking the time and expense to offer a token of gratitude to all my sisters and brothers who have served this great land of ours. Sure, this country has lots of “warts” but I think we try better than others to take care of those warts. Those who have/continue to put on the uniform ensure we maintain the freedoms that allow us to have a say in the process.

I’d like to specifically thank two organizations who treated friends of mine very well today: http://www.chick-fil-a.com/ & http://www.texasroadhouse.com/

I know there are many other organizations who are helping to recognize the many sacrifices our service members experience. Let’s realize that our military members serve to ensure the rest of us can “carry on”.

We are very blessed…let’s take a moment to recognize that today and realize our phenomenal circumstances didn’t “just happen”

Say YES to potential!

Frequently, well-meaning people see an issue or concern they believe must be fixed. They try to get others to follow their lead and become part of the solution. But, after a flurry of initial success, what was once a hot “buzzword” dies down and in many cases dies off. What is the common theme among those that are unsuccessful? They highlight the problem, not the solution. I could site a number of recent attempts that fit this idea, but something is urging me to deal with “Say no to drugs!” This attempt to help people live positive, drug-free lives has been around since the ’80s. Unfortunately, I hear there is consensus, among those who work with the effects of drug abuse on a daily basis, that too few are saying no to drugs. Heroin use has skyrocketed…and it may surprise some that this abuse is not limited to just desperate folks stuck in rundown urban centers. Some have told me they believe the problem is at epidemic proportions.

Here’s my take on why “Say no to drugs!” has not achieved its intention:
1. As parents, we tell our kids “no” to ensure they understand boundaries, we want them to be safe and healthy. But to be truly successful, we have to also give them “yesses” upon which they might concentrate.
2. As the book “The Secret” told us, using “drugs’ in the title of the slogan oriented our attention on that which we wanted to avoid…a huge “no-no”.

As I have always asked of the people working with me, “don’t just bring me problems, bring your proposed solution as well.” So here’s mine which goes well beyond illicit drug use.

“Say YES to your potential!” Humans have incredible potential. Most of it goes unused, wasted. This is a major aspect of what great leaders do: unlock, engage, and optimize their potential and the potential of those they lead. Try this out. Say it every day – modify it so that you are at first talking to yourself (i.e., “Say YES to my potential!”).

If you need help, find a coach, a really good coach to help you chart your course and then stay on that course. I started Ki Visions with this as a prime goal: developing not just great leaders but really good coaches who could help good people become great leaders. If you need help, please let us know.

Go out there and LIVE a fulfilling life. Make a positive difference in the world. I’m convinced this is possible if you live with an Abundance Mentality, Concentrate on Priorities, & Earnestly Pursue your Purpose with Passion!

What’s the #1 value for True Leaders?

I often get challenged to “prove” our credentials as a values based leader development company. Frankly, I love it when someone challenges our Leader Development Process’ framework. Each challenge forces me to take another look, to see if we’ve “covered the bases” and are providing the best information and insight to you. It is my quest to ensure we provide good people who want to become great leaders the best products and services possible. We need all of you to be successful on this journey toward helping the world achieve the interlinked goals of greater peace, freedom, and prosperity…

So…the most recent challenge asked me to identify the #1 value for someone who is trying to become a True Leader. See my video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrbxFXJWFf4 for the answer.

Remember, together, we can increase the relative Peace, Freedom, and Prosperity of the people of this world if we live with an Abundance Mentality, Concentrate on Priorities, and Earnestly Pursue Our Purpose with Passion!

Have a great week!

Attitude – if you had diabetes, would you consider it a blessing or a curse?

I teach. I mentor. I coach. I consult. And yet, more often than not, I am the student. I am so fortunate to have really great people in my life. Today, I want to tell you about one of those people. He was diagnosed with diabetes from a very young age. For those unfamiliar with the disorder, life is much more challenging for diabetics than those of us “blessed” (???) to be free of the disorder. Let’s just say there are those in my family that have it and I’ve always been glad I did not. Until a week ago when visiting with this friend. He is an amazing person and has accomplished great things already in his life even though he has so much more life in front of him. He believes that having this disorder, diabetes, has been a…blessing, not a curse. Initially, I found that hard to fathom. I get upset when I get a common cold; and colds go away in a few days. But, to be saddled with a disorder that will change my life…forever?! How could it be a blessing?

As with many things, it is about attitude. My friend accepted the challenge and now uses what he knows to help others. It gave him a purpose…to help those who are also saddled with diabetes live meaningful, fulfilling lives in spite of the disorder.

I often talk about the need to live with an Abundance Mentality. I’m at a loss to come up with a better, more simple explanation than the one I am sharing today. To suffer with the circumstances of our lives, to live with them such that we learn how to help others live better. That’s attitude that makes a positive difference.

In the next week, I ask you to think of a challenge in your life. Discern what this challenge is trying to teach you or help you do. I’d love to hear what you find out…send me a note.

Until then, live with an Abundance Mentality, Concentrate on Priorities, and Earnestly Pursue your Purpose with Passion!

What does “taking care of our customers” mean to you?

#leadership

Sales, customer relationships, etc., are not typical concepts covered in this blog, although they have tangential connection to our leader development process.

My point today actually deals with attitude.

We just celebrated a wonderful event in our family. To do so, we needed the help of some organizations. One item we needed did not work during the celebration. It was a fairly minor item in the scope of the celebration but…the way the organization handled it is…interesting.

Here’s the tangential connection to leadership (it has to do with the culture of our respective organizations): how do you handle circumstances where your customer does what’s asked/expected but you or your product do not?

Here’s a few options: 1) fight with the customer about not following proper procedures as outlined in the contract (font size: reminds me of the bottom of the Willy Wonka contract the Golden Ticket winners had to sign); 2) give the customer their money back, minus a service fee; 3) not only give the customer ALL their money back but offer them a discount on future items

What happens at your company? I guarantee the precedent you set becomes part of your organizational culture. The people who work with/for us absorb “clues” as to how you want customers treated. I am more than happy to let you know which of the 3 options we experienced in this and other situations and the option I demand be used for the extremely rare cases a customer doesn’t believe we exceeded expectations…but…I am more interested in your thoughts on this. Hopefully, it will help you become the best of the best!

Babe Ruth or Joe DiMaggio? Were they just fun to watch or is there something we can learn from them?

Although I love the game of baseball, this post is less about the sport & MUCH more about how we approach life. (Plus, the analogy I’ll share helped me today when coaching a favorite client of mine.) Both the Babe and Joe were incredible ball players. Arguably, more fans know the Babe’s history better than Joltin’ Joe’s. And that’s understandable but I wonder if they know that Joe was “asked” to take a 4-year hiatus from the sport to fight for freedom in World War II. How many more home runs might Joe have hit had Hitler and Tojo “played nice”?

So, the analogy…it’s one I hope to help more people adopt in the remainder of my time on this beautiful planet: swing for the fences! Joe did, the Babe did, and they both made their marks on the history books as a result. But if you’re going to pick a role model, I’d pick Joe. You might argue the Babe hit more home runs! That’s true but he also struck out…a lot! In fact, the Babe almost struck out twice for every home run he hit. Joe, on the other hand, hit a home run just about as often as he struck out.

You’re going to strike out. It’s life…get over it, get back in the batter’s box, learn what works best for you and…swing away!

I hope I get to help you unlock, engage, and optimize your potential so that you, too, make it into the history books. What do you still have inside waiting to come out? I guarantee it’s something grand. We need that contribution. Help make this place we call home so much better!

Until then, live with an Abundance Mentality, Concentrate on Priorities, and Earnestly Pursue your Purpose with Passion!

The fruits of networking

Is most of your networking geared toward increasing business opportunities? Nothing wrong with that but…

As most of you know, we are strong believers in and help you adopt the “Abundance Mentality” as one means of unlocking your potential. Even with those leader development companies whose customers could be similar to or the same as mine, we live the Abundance Mentality. As long as I believe the other company has good, positive values, I treat them as colleagues, not competitors. The relationships I have formed have truly enhanced my professional life.

Yesterday, through my network, I had an amazing re-connection to someone I haven’t seen since 1988 when we were both working in New Hampshire (FYI – that’s about 500 miles from where I sit today). Strange coincidence? Maybe. What are the odds that we both go our separate ways after ’88, land in the same town a few decades later, and have a mutual acquaintance that re-introduces us? (I had no clue Jose had moved here…)

It’s the power, and in this case the fruit, of establishing a network of people that care about you.

Your call-to-action: expand your understanding of networking to include a perspective of how other people can enrich your life, professional and personal, not just enrich your wallet.