Destiny is not a matter of
chance; it is a matter of



You’ve come to the right place.

Here you’ll find models, methods, practices, and processes
to help you develop the right focus, create the right environment,
build the right team, and embody the right commitment.
To get the right results.

They Hear What You Do

Ever experienced a situation when a leader says one thing but does another? Kills their credibility, doesn’t it? Why? Because their actions are inconsistent with their words. It seems dishonest.

When a person’s words and actions are in conflict, which tell you more about that person? Of course, their actions.

If you want to change behavior, then lead by example – consistently role model the desired behavior. Good teachers know that showing is more powerful than telling. Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

As a leader you are continually being watched and evaluated. In the end, your people may listen to what you say, but they hear what you do.

Your thoughts?




The Minds of Future Leaders

What do you need from the emerging leaders on your team? Author and professor Howard Gardner has identified five minds that must be mastered to meet future demands:

The Disciplined Mind – mastery of an applied discipline (such as marketing) and the underpinnings of that discipline (such as psychology)

The Synthesizing Mind – the ability to organize and integrate extensive and varied information

The Creating Mind – the drive to ask “what if” questions, and take action to explore the possible

The Respectful Mind ‚Äì understanding, appreciating and working effectively with diverse individuals 

The Ethical Mind – a sense of obligation to act as a responsible worker, colleague and citizen

To successfully deal with increasingly complex environments and challenges, these are the minds you should test for and select for.

Your thoughts?


Watch Out, it's STEEP

Strategy. Focus on what you can control, not on what you can’t. Right?

Not so fast. There are critical factors you can’t control that you still need to be concerned with. The STEEP factors. STEEP stands for the social, technological, economic, environmental and political factors that can kill your business just as dead as running out of cash.

Here are the types of questions you should ask:

How is the demographic shift to Millennials in the workforce (a social factor) influencing your ability to recruit and retain employees?

What opportunities does technology now provide to better connect with and gain information about your customers?

How are the ripple effects from Europe’s economic struggles likely to impact your business?

How could this year’s drought (an environmental factor) directly or indirectly affect your business?

How would it affect you if the Republicans were to win the presidency and both houses (political factors) in the upcoming U.S. elections?

You can’t control any of these factors. Yet you can – and undeniably should – anticipate them so you exploit or mitigate their effects. The goal is not to perfectly predict or control the future. The goal is to identify the most likely scenarios, think through their implications, and then take the necessary actions.

Your thoughts?



Package Your Opinions as Questions

You’re a take-charge leader. In meetings you almost always have a point-of-view and you present it with authority. When you disagree with others you speak up and definitively say why. As you should. Because you’re the leader.

So how do you think this affects your team? Do you think they feel valued? Encouraged to think for themselves? Encouraged to challenge you?

But wait, you counter, if I have strong views shouldn’t I express them?

Sure. But before you do why not demonstrate a desire to understand their views:

     ‚ÄúAmy, tell me more about your thought process.‚Äù

      ‚ÄúDerek, help me understand why you feel that way.‚Äù

Even if their answers don’t cause you to modify your views, you’ll have sent a clear message that you value their opinions.

Now take one more step. Package your opinions as questions:

      ‚ÄúWhat do you think of the idea that ‚Ķ‚Äù

     ‚ÄúWhat would happen if ‚Ķ‚Äù

      ‚ÄúIs it possible that ‚Ķ‚Äù

Now you’re creating engagement. And an environment that promotes thinking, exploring and challenging. That’s what you want from your leadership team.

Your thoughts?


Conscious Decision-Making

I just read in a health magazine that each of us makes at least 200 health-related decisions every day. Like taking the elevator instead of the stairs. This means we have a tremendous opportunity (73,000 opportunities per year!) to take advantage of – or not – the multiplier effect. Simply put, small things done many times can have a huge effect.

Cut out your daily bacon-double-cheeseburger for a year and expect to see the benefits. On the other hand, if you eat dessert every night for a year do you think you’ll see the costs?

Equally true with organizational leaders. Take 10 minutes to walk around and say hi to your people every day. Always arrive at least 5 minutes early for meetings. Say thank-you whenever someone follows-up to a request in a timely way. Think you’ll see benefits?

Here’s the secret: Those decisions have to be conscious decisions until they are so engrained they become sub-conscious habit. Make conscious decisions.

Do you want to see the benefits for your organization? You decide. Consciously.

Your thoughts?


The High-Performance Leader

High-performance athletes continually push the limits of the possible. What can we learn from them to become high-performance leaders?

1. A Holistic Approach to Success

It takes more than speed to be a great sprinter. It takes more than strength to be a great weightlifter. And it takes more than experience to be a great leader.

Success in any field increasingly requires a range of abilities, traits and skills. In athletics, that might include cardio endurance, muscular power, agility, balance, emotional control, attentional control and tactical thinking. For leaders, it means vision, interpersonal skills, pressure management, drive, time management, the ability to execute … to name just a few.

A commitment to high-performance leadership is a commitment to identifying the factors that drive success, assessing how well you measure up, and then taking action to excel in the areas you need to excel, and become sufficient in the areas you need to become sufficient.

2. It Takes a Team

High-performance athletes have coaches, trainers, nutritionists, massage therapists, sport psychologists and more. Every element of performance requires expertise and for every element there are specialists.

You can’t become a high-performance leader on your own. Recognizing this is strength not a weakness. Do you have top-tier coaches, advisors and consultants on your team?

3. Everything is Positive

Really? Does this mean you paint a happy face on every loss, failure and disaster? No, it means you reorient your mindset. Every result is information. Every experience can be used to drive improvement. Ask: What can I learn from this? How do I use this to become even stronger?

High-performance rarely happens by chance. It almost always happens by design. Are you committed to becoming one of the elite?

Your thoughts?


Three Strategic Propositions

You know what a value proposition is – it’s how you attract and retain customers. When it comes to strategy, your value proposition is critical … but it’s not enough. There are two other propositions you need to consider:

Your people proposition is how you attract and mobilize the right people so they can effectively deliver on your value proposition.

Your financial proposition is how you organize your business to generate a sufficient return from executing your value and people propositions.

All three are necessary. Two out of three isn’t sustainable. So when you’re thinking strategy, think three propositions.

Your thoughts?


Competitive Triangulation

What ultimately counts in business is how good your products, services and people are. Right?

No, that’s not what ultimately counts. What ultimately counts is how good your customers think your products, services and people are. Right?

No, that’s not what ultimately counts. What ultimately counts is how good your customers think your products, services and people are versus how good they think your competitors’ products, services and people are. Right?

Right. It’s about competitive triangulation – the triangle that connects you, your competitors and your customers. What ultimately counts is the perceived value gap between you and your competitors from the perspective of your customers.

Too many organizations approach strategy with an internal focus: What should we do better? What better things should we do? Some go further and include the voice of the customer: What does the customer want and need? How does the customer view us? The most successful organizations approach strategy from a competitive context: How much value does the customer think we provide compared to our competitors? How are the customer’s value drivers changing?

You can be very good and still lose business if you’re not thinking competitively. Strategy is about competing. So compete.

Your thoughts?


Always Expect More

At what point is performance good enough?

Imagine you’re a race car driver. You pull into the pits to get four new tires. How long should that pit stop take? If you drove NASCAR in the late 1960’s, 22 seconds was a lightning stop. Is that good enough?

Taking 22 seconds today would get a pit-crew fired. The current standard is under 13 seconds. Is that good enough?

What if you redesigned the jack that lifts and lowers the car? Or the wheels, lug nuts and air wrenches? What if you selected as pit-crew members only those who have the best hand-eye coordination? Those with exceptional quickness. Go even further and imagine that every possible factor has been accounted for, that every possible improvement that could be made has been made. Now what would you say is the fastest possible pit stop to change four tires on a racecar?

McLaren are consistently one of the top teams in Formula One auto racing. They recently set a record for the fastest ever pit stop to change four tires. Are you ready? 2.31 seconds. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Is faster even possible? Surely, that time must be good enough.

But it’s not. Not for McLaren. They’ve estimated that if everyone does everything perfectly, then it’s possible to do a four-tire-change pit stop in … 1.48 seconds.

Again, at what point is performance good enough? Answer: Never. Always expect more.

Your thoughts?


A Nuclear Disaster of Cultural Proportions

Now just over a year since the meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, a parliamentary panel has released its investigative report. They pointedly wrote that the disaster could and should have been prevented. But that was just the start:

“What must be admitted – very painfully – is that this was a disaster ‘Made in Japan.’ Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture; our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the program.’”

True at Fukushima and true with many organizational initiatives. The roots of failure are often found in the soil of culture.

What about the culture of your organization? Do you promote blind obedience or well-intended questioning of authority? Do you insist on unwavering commitment to the program or detached reassessment of the program?

In short: Do you want your people simply to do or do you also want them to think?

Your thoughts?


From Leadership Icon to Leadership Team

At some point, the realization smacks every entrepreneur in the face. For your business to continue to grow and thrive, it has to evolve beyond you.

The more your business depends on you the greater its exposure. Is the vision and roadmap locked in your head? Are you the sole keeper of key customer information? Do critical supplier relationships depend on you? Are you the brand? So if a bolt of lightning strikes you, what happens to the company?

Need more convincing? You’re not scalable. You can’t do it all. At some point your business will outgrow your capacity to do it all. And that’s good.

That’s why you need to extend your company’s leadership beyond you to a true leadership team. People with the right skills, traits and motives to oversee and transform the various aspects of the business. Yes, you’ll need to relinquish some control. Yes, they might not do things exactly as you would. And, yes, for some things they simply might not be as good as you. But you still can’t do it all. So find the best people you can, support them, develop them, and then let them help you win.

Your thoughts?


From Watching the Cash to Wagering the Cash

You know that to survive in business you have to watch your cash. Many companies die not because of the P&L but because of cash flow. But this mindset can be a double-edge sword. It can lead to an overly conservative view towards investment. And insufficient investment means limited growth.

Keith McFarland, author of The Breakthrough Company, (think “Good to Great” but for mid-sized companies) researched fast-growing companies to identify which ones ultimately produced superior, long-term financial results and why. A key conclusion was that breakthrough companies are those that place increasingly larger bets, with the skill to place the right bets. An example of a big bet: Tony Hsieh of Zappos moving the entire company from San Francisco to Las Vegas to find the right employees at the right cost to staff their call center – a critical component of the Zappos business model.

How do you place the right bets? A combination of information and intuition. Utilize information but don’t ignore the insights that underlie your intuitions. Value your intuitions but don’t disregard the richness of information. Embrace the dynamic tension that results when considering both information and intuition – the two “I’s.”

So, yes, watch the cash. But be prepared to roll the dice.

Your thoughts?