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.

The Three Laws of Motivation (Law #1)

You’re excited about the opportunities on the horizon. Time to focus and mobilize your people, then let them loose!

So best not to screw things up. Which is why for the rest of the month I’ll cover the three laws of motivation.

Law #1: You don’t cause motivation

Your people aren’t machines who wait passively for someone to push the right buttons and – voilà! – now they’re motivated. They have their own motives, their own wants and needs. Motivation isn’t something done to employees. It’s something you help unleash and channel.

Motivation is what results when you have the right people in the right environment. If you don’t have the right people you can be the best manager in the world and they won’t be motivated. And if you don’t create the right environment then even the best people will feel frustrated.

Don’t focus on motivating people. Focus on creating the right environment so the right people will be motivated. Convey a sense of purpose that is meaningful to them. Make sure they’re equipped to succeed. Provide coaching and support. Ensure they feel valued.

Poor managers are quick to attribute failure to having the wrong people. Strong managers take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask, “What can I do to create a better environment?”

Your thoughts?


Rational Resistance to Change

Why are people resistant to change? Short answer: because it makes sense.

Change means uncertainty. Will I like it? Will I not like it? Will I be good at it? Will I not be good at it? Will I be more secure? Will I be less secure? Will I have more status? Will I have less status? People want to know how the change will affect them. Uncertainty means there is a range of outcomes, some positive and some negative. They are understandably apprehensive, even fearful, about the negative outcomes.

So what can you as a leader do to soften the reaction to change? Communicate. A lot. Explain the what, why and how of change. Paint a picture of what similar change has meant for other organizations and individuals.

Reducing uncertainty reduces fear. You won’t eliminate it. But you can mitigate its effects.

Your thoughts?


Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Want your people to feel better about themselves and their work? Then take them through some gratitude exercises.

I see you cringing. Now before you become cynical – no, your workplace will not devolve into a cult of incessant hugging and crying – consider this: recent research in the field of positive psychology shows that when people express gratitude they feel happierinteract more positively and stay healthier than those who don’t.

So suspend your preconceptions, summon up your courage, and try at least one of the following:

1)    Start your next meeting by having each person write a list of all the things about work for which they are grateful.

2)    At the end of a meeting, take 10 minutes to have people ‚Äúmingle and move on‚Äù, expressing one thing they appreciate about each person they connect with.

3)    Ask each of your people to meet with / write to another employee for no other reason than to express thanks for something they hadn‚Äôt been thanked for.

4)    Invite a supplier into your office. Have each employee who interacts with that supplier (or their products) express a specific gratitude.

5)    Invite a customer into your office. Have each employee who interacts with that customer express a specific gratitude.

There, doesn’t seem so bad after all, does it?

You’re welcome.

Your thoughts?


The Question

At the front end of any major implementation – new CRM system, lean initiative, an acquisition – ask your people one key question: Why will this fail?

They know your organization’s history; they know your culture. Make it permissible for them to tell you why they think the implementation will fail. If you don’t ask, they will nod their heads up-and-down during your kickoff announcement then go back to the break-room and grumble, “That’ll never work.” Isn’t it better to know they feel that way before you start? And why?

Planning for success is not the same as planning to avoid failure. You have to play both offense and defense. Training people on the new CRM system is playing offense. Not punishing them when they make mistakes is playing defense. Communicating the reasons for a new CRM system is playing offense. Communicating to overcome insecurity and uncertainty about the new system is playing defense.

Plan to succeed and plan not to fail.

Your thoughts?


Are You Empowering or Abandoning?

“I don’t like to micromanage,” says the executive. “I like to give my people the freedom they need to be successful.”

We all know that to get the most from our people we need to empower them. Right?

Some employees are discovering there’s a dark side to so-called empowerment. It’s when their managers fail to provide sufficient direction. When they don’t identify boundaries. When they don’t supply the needed tools. And when they come down hard for results that were never defined to begin with.

These employees don’t feel empowered. They feel abandoned. Set up to fail by managers who lack focus and discipline. Managers who have fooled themselves into thinking that management no longer involves managing.

How can you ensure that you’re empowering and not abandoning? First, make certain your people clearly understand the goals, what’s expected of them and why. Next, ask yourself if they have the knowledge and skills to be successful. Then determine if they have sufficient resources

Empowering your people when any of these elements is missing could be disastrous. The right results happen when you create an environment in which everything aligns with winning.

Yes, empowerment can be effective. But it’s not enough.

Your thoughts?


Are We Making Progress?

You know that in most cases money isn’t what gets your people jacked up. In fact, money is a very limited motivator. It’s well established that the intrinsic motivators – clear goals, recognition, making progress, a supportive environment – are much more robust. But which one has the most impact?

Most managers rate “recognition for good work” as the number one motivator. Rings true, doesn’t it? The only problem is … it isn’t. “Making progress” is. When your people sense they’re making progress at their work, their drive to succeed is at its peak. They feel an emotional high. And when they can’t make progress because of obstacles – within the organization or outside of it – their drive gives way to helplessness and frustration.

People want to achieve. It makes them feel good about themselves. It makes them feel their work is meaningful. And it makes them feel valuable. Give your people the opportunity to succeed. Remove the obstacles and distractions that keep them from succeeding. And then, yes, remember to recognize them.

Your thoughts?


Yes Silly, Fun IS a Business Strategy

Fortune Magazine, among others, publishes an annual list of the best companies to work for. A characteristic common to many of these companies? Fun. They’re fun places to work, they have fun activities. (Like sumo-wrestling contests where everyone from the CEO to the service rep can be found crashing into each other in their plastic sumo suits!)

But wait a minute. Isn’t business about making money? Well, it turns out that the best companies to work for typically outperform their competitors financially. Why? Because fun helps employees feel good about their workplace. So they go above-and-beyond. They take initiative. And that’s what leads to better performance and results.

Think Southwest Airlines. Their former CEO, Herb Kelleher, was known to attend company parties dressed in drag. Ever flown Southwest? Unsurprisingly, their flight attendants are fun. But how do they do financially? Very, very well compared to their competitors.

Fun and business results aren’t incompatible. In fact, fun can help you achieve business results. So go back to the office, identify the people who are fun, form a Fun Committee and get out of the way!

Now, where did I put those panty hose?

Your thoughts?


The Paradox of Leadership

If you want to be an effective leader then you have to act like one. Yet that’s not as straightforward as it might seem. Here are a few counter-intuitive examples:

1) Admitting Mistakes Enhances Your Credibility

If you try to justify or defend your mistakes people will think you’re a weasel. Taking responsibility enhances your credibility because they see you’re not just acting in self-interest. The next time you make a mistake, ask yourself two questions: What did I learn? What would I do differently next time? Asking these same questions when your people make mistakes promotes a culture of learning, not blame.

2) Recognizing Your Weaknesses Can Make You Stronger

News flash: You’re not perfect. Not a big deal but ignoring your weaknesses could be. Unearth your weaknesses, acknowledge them and take action to address the ones that are holding you back. It doesn’t mean you have to be great at everything. But make sure your weaknesses aren’t self-defeating and surround yourself with people whose greatness complements you.

3) Putting Them First Helps Your Cause More Than Putting You First

People can sniff out a self-serving leader a mile away. When you strive to see through their eyes, understand their perspectives and feel with their hearts, you will be viewed as a leader who cares. People follow leaders who respect them, understand them and care about them.

4) Firing People Can Raise Morale

When you don’t hold accountable the person who isn’t meeting performance or conduct expectations, it demoralizes and demotivates everyone else. Yes, it’s your responsibility to give the person the opportunity, resources and support to succeed. But if they still don’t succeed, do what you know you need to do … and don’t be surprised when it boosts the morale of everyone else.

Your thoughts?


Ruthless Consistency: A Philosophy for Winning

Inconsistency kills.  When you as a leader act inconsistently you kill your credibility. You demotivate your people. And you undermine your ability to win.

What does inconsistency look like?  When you say one thing but do another. When your work environment sets up your people to fail.  When you put the wrong people in the wrong positions.  When your strategy is out of touch with market realities.  Every example of organizational failure I have come across is a result of inconsistency.

What’s the solution?  Ruthless Consistency.  If you are truly committed to winning – however you define it – then that commitment must be consistently reflected in what you say and what you do.  In what you don’t say and don’t do. The decisions you make, the actions you take.  All the time.  Every time.  Ruthless Consistency.

It means developing and sustaining the right focus for your organization.  It means getting the right people in the right positions.  And it means creating the right environment so your people can and will do what it takes to win.

Do you have the right commitment to make this happen?