’18… Lessons from the Links

It’s the start of another year and if we are going to play ’18 at our best we need a few mental pictures to help us start. For me, while I’m not an avid golfer, playing 18 immediately brought the sport to my mind.

So what are the lessons we can pull from Golf to have ’18 be our best year ever? (Let’s go Par 5!)

1. The game is mental, first. If your mind is not in the right space, you will never be fully present, be able to fully concentrate, and be in the right state of mind to achieve success. The disruptions and distractions of a cluttered mind, chaotically focusing on everything else but the next shot, is a recipe for failure.

Action points:

Where are your thoughts? Where is your ‘Head Space’? How’s your EQ (Emotional Intelligence)?

  • Clear your mind of all the clutter by writing it all down on paper.
  • Clearly define your desired end state. (What do you want to happen and by when?)
    • Par won’t cut it – we can’t make ’18 the best while settling for status quo.
  • Work on your EQ: Self-awareness and Self-Management.
    • What are the reinforcing thoughts of a champion? (Think on these things rather than the negative, defeating self-talk.)

2. Play YOUR game. All golfers have strengths and struggles within their game. Some are better in their long game – as they ‘tee-up’ the first shot, they can rip it. But their intermediate or short game suffers (They have trouble finishing). Others struggle with using their woods but are killer with their irons and on the green.

Action points:

Where are your strengths? Where are your struggles? How can you play to your strengths?

  • Take time to learn your strengths, your approach. What parts of the game are you great?
  • Identify areas of your game that you want to improve and work on those AND while you are working on them, whom can you link up with that is strong where you struggle?
    • Business allows us to play “Best-Ball” which play into one of my Fullerisms: “Lead where you are strong, Team where you are weak!”

3. The next shot. Speaking of the next shot, that has to be a significant focus. We study the course, layout our plan, know the landscape we will be facing. We prepare for the entire course BUT the only shot we can make is THE. NEXT. SHOT. You can’t play 18 all at once. You play 18, one hole at time, and even more than that – one stroke at a time. Worrying about the next hole or the difficult part coming up can ruin THIS shot and you can only play this shot from where it lays. Where are you now? (What is your lie?)

Action points:

Where does your ball lie? What is the best next shot?

  • You can’t play someone else’s lie. You can only play your own.
    • You are going to get in the rough. You will have to play from ‘less than ideal’ circumstances. Get over that and get ready to take the next shot.
  • You have options, consider all.
    • Where is the pin? (Situational Analysis)
      • Can I aim for that? Or do I need to get to a better place where I can make a better shot?
    • Which is the best club to use? For me, for now, in this situation?
      • Again, from where I am right now, what is the best – ‘Next Shot’?
    • What does my Caddy or coach think? Can I get an outside opinion?
  • TAKE. THE. SHOT. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take AND there is a time limit in professional play.
    • Remember to focus on EQ (Self right first).
    • Trust in your training and do what you know how to do.
      • You will play like you practice.
        • Practice makes permanent. You won’t get better by repeating poor performance. You will reinforce bad habits. Practice the right things, the right ways, so that when it comes time, you’ll have the right muscle memory.
        • Spend time working your way out of difficult circumstances and ‘normalize’ to tough situations. The goal is to not get there in the first place but if you find yourself in a tough spot – it helps tremendously to have been there before and have practiced multiple ways to get yourself out of a jam.

4. Character Matters. You can find yourself in a rough spot and want to cheat. DON’T. Golf is the only sport where it is normal to call a penalty on yourself. When keeping score, the most important aspect is keeping your self-respect while keeping score. To win at a game and fail at life is a shame. We have all fallen short – we all need life ‘mulligans’ AND, having said that, they should be the exception not the rule.

Action points:

What are my Values? My non-negotiables?

  • Determine your values before you get into potentially compromising situations.
  • Stay out of areas of vulnerability.
  • Make your values known – loud and proud – as a defense mechanism, a first wall of accountability.
  • Am I playing life in such a way that honors those that have played before me and sets the standard for those that will follow?

5. Who you play with matters. There are two sides to this point. First, we are more likely to become more like those with whom we spend time. If you want to elevate your game, elevate those around you. Second, the game is best played with great friends. Life is lived best when lived with others that bring the best out of us.

Action points:

Who is in your group? With whom am I paired?

  • Surround yourself with ‘A+’ players and work like crazy to be worthy of being in their group.
    • Can you find a Mentor? Mastermind group? Colleagues? Coach?
    • Surround yourself with people of Growth – personally and professionally.

Attitude isn’t everything but it’s pretty darn close!

  • Love what you do and who you do it with

OK – Let’s drain this putt and head for the clubhouse!

For 2018, let’s have a blast – let’s enjoy the game that we are in and enjoy the people around us. Line out what you want out of the 2018 course. Know yourself, your mental state, your EQ, and your skillset. Practice your craft. Even from the rough spots! Don’t worry about all 18 holes and the 80-100 strokes it’s going to take to get there – focus on self, par won’t cut it, focus on the NEXT shot, and give it all you’ve got!

May the winds be fair and the greens be favorable!

I have the best clients! THANK YOU!

This past week, I was received the letter of induction into the CSPTM. Earlier in the month, I received a call that said my clients, you guys, had awarded me the highest rating since they have had the new scoring. I am, truly, honored to serve the best clients on the planet and will continue to take the Leadership and Culture message to as many as we can reach!



Advice to New Hires

In the podcast on the first 100 days, we started the business discussion around new hires. The question was, “If you are new to a position, what should your first 100 days look like?”

The first 100 days is that learning time frame. It’s a time to know and to become known. This boils down into two questions:

  • What creates Influence?
  • How do I influence here?

What creates Influence?

I’ve used the B.A.R.K.S. acronym for years to help individual contributors and leaders to work on building their influence, building the trust of others.

B – Be Consistent.

A key component is to become a known commodity. Being consistent allows everyone to know and count on you. Early on, you are an unknown. It is important to become know is a consistent, go-to player. People trust what they can count on.

A – Attitude

Of all the areas to be consistent in it’s attitude. Even while you are learning the organization and moving toward making a business impact, you can, immediately, make a difference by modeling the best attitude. Be that positive voice that can-do attitude!

R – Real

While being that voice of positivity is important, authenticity is just a key. There will, almost always, still be the ‘feeling out’ period. The period of time when we put our best foot forward and insure that others only experience the best we have to offer. In the midst of that, if your actions and attitude seem fake or over-the-top, it will hurt not help. Being Real, being authentic allows people to trust your character, your intentions, and your motives.

K – Knowledge

Knowledge is a key influence factor. We need to trust your character AND your competence. Where you have knowledge, share that knowledge. The experiences and insights that you have gained can be offered in a way that demonstrates that you have a level of subject matter expertise. As an additional point, when you are new to an organization, it is a great time to offer your knowledge in a way that says, I know ‘x’ but how does that apply here? Is there something different here that might change the context of what I know to be true? or true in this situation?

S – Serve first

Having a serving attitude and being one of the first to jump in, go the extra mile goes a long way to earning respect becoming known as a value-added contributor.

The B.A.R.K.S. methodology is a great basis for building that trust bank account and developing an internal brand that says I’m the real deal and delivers results while contributing to a positive culture!

Learn the Organization

When you are new to an organization, it’s important to learn how to succeed in that organization. Every leader and every organization has a little different approach. Each leader and each organization values things just a little different. This is termed, “Lens Theory.” We all have different views and we see things through our ‘Lens’. When you apply this organizationally, it means that there are things that matter to your leader and what is means to be a valued contributor in THIS organization.

  • Learn your Organization
  • Learn your Leader
  • Learn your Team
  • Learn your Role

Key points in learning the Organization are around people and process. Who are the influencers? And How do things get done around here?

Results are key to influencing within an organization but what that means and how it is accomplished can be interesting between different business units. In addition to learning how to get things done, you may discover who has influence. When you take the time to learn who has influence, who has formal and informal power, it can go a long way toward your success!

Obviously, one of the first influencers you want to learn is your immediate up-line. Learning what your leader values, their personality, their priorities, their methodologies are key in adding value the right way.

I know it’s a blinding flash of the obvious, but here’s a good 1-liner to remember:

“Adding value in a way that the leader doesn’t value – doesn’t add value!”

We have to learn to lift our leader – to add value to our leader – in ways that the leader prefers.

Wrapping up for today, it’s key to be very intentional during your first 100 days. This can be a critical time to build your reputation inside an organization. In quick, ‘Fullerism’ fashion:

Learn how to ‘Bark’ and how to “bark’ here!

Have a great week!

The First 100 Days…

In 1933, then President, Franklin D. Roosevelt coined a phrase discussing the actions during the first 100 days of a congressional session. It stuck as a ‘yard stick’ of effectiveness.

The beginning of any new venture is when there is a lot of passion, energy, and enthusiasm. Belief is high, optimism is high, and people are expecting change. Sadly, for a President, it is reported to be the highest favorable rating period. SO – if the next 100 days is when I have the greatest opportunity to make my mark, the time when I have the most grace, the most belief, energy, etc. – then I should leverage THAT to accomplish as much as possible.

A conversation around this became week’s podcast and, although Brett and I were remote for the first time, there is a wealth of leadership insights in this quick 20 minutes or so.

**Disclaimer ** None of the podcast or blog contains anything around politics – just concept and leadership lessons.

Brett pointed the conversation into 3 different groups: Individual Contributors, Leaders, and Senior Leaders.

For all 3 groups a key is to learn the organization: “You can’t lead in an organization that you don’t know.”

For our time on the blog, I’d ask you to consider your present scenario. What are 3-5 items that, if they were complete in the next 100 days, would create significant impact in your 2017?

I want to encourage you to take a fresh look at the next 100 days of your life and/or business.

With a renewed energy of someone coming into your scenario for the first time:

  • What needs to change?
  • Where should you focus?
  • How and where should you channel effort and energy?
  • What are the next 3-5 steps for each?
  • What resources are needed?
  • How can I get my team to a greater level of understanding, buy-in, commitment, and effort?

Let’s call a sprint! A 100 day, focused effort, renewed energy, bust through the barriers sprint! It will pay amazing dividends for the 2nd half of the year.

There is so much more about this on the podcast. In listening to it, again, I captured 3 pages of take-aways!

This morning, I am committing to focused energy by attending a local event on how to grow your speaking/consulting business, as I did a few weeks back when I attended a week-end conference.

Do I want to give up my Saturday morning? NO! Would I like to chill, rest, hang out? YES! But I am dedicated to paying the price that others won’t, to attain what other’s don’t!

For more on this topic, click the mic to check out the full podcast. Have a great week!


The Roles of Leadership

Last week we discussed ‘Chasing the Dream, Building Your Team’ and the more I thought about that lesson, the clearer is became that I wanted to build on it. I’m often asked, “Where do I start?” and if you are in leadership (and most places in life), the answer is… Start with Self!

While we discussed looking at the roles within the team and who played which role, the most important role for any team is the leader. As the leader goes… so goes the team.

In this week’s podcast, I set out to give my list of some of the roles of a leader and I would love for you to weigh in with your thoughts of the roles a leader could/should play.

In leadership, there are principles and practices; characteristics and competencies. One of the places we start with is what are the needs of the organization? What are the needs of the team? We take stock of the present situation to determine the need. It is essential that Leadership direct all things (people, process, resources) toward an outcome and that cannot occur without an understanding of present reality. Which leads to my first role of a leader:

  1. Assess the Present

In order to lead, in order to attain any destination, we have to look at where we are presently. If we don’t assess the present (with an understanding of what got us here) than we might not make the right moves for the present scenario. Please spend the time to gain full awareness in assessing the present. So what components of the present should we assess?

  • Assess the Situation
  • Assess the Team
  • Assess the Resources

Assessing the present opens up to knowing your product or service, knowing your process, market conditions, customer satisfaction and in the midst of all of that – the team you have inherited to get you there. (Their capabilities, their capacity, their commitment; the present culture)

While keeping an eye on the present is great, we can’t focus only on the present. While keeping one eye on the present, we keep the other on the future possibilities. This is the second role of a leader.

  1. Inspire the possibilities of the future

People need to believe that tomorrow will be better; that the promise of the future is greater than the past. A mark of a good leader is to be able to cast vision for what the future might look like, to inspire the workforce that they can achieve greatness AND to create buy-in that you are the leader that will help them achieve it. ** Belief and Buy-in **

See the envisioned future, raise the bar, and infuse the team with the right mindset (spirit).

  • Believe in your people
  • Develop your people
  • Map the methodology

Once you’ve set roles 1 and 2, the next role is to determine and communicate the next step

  1. Determine the Direction

Leaders orient the team in the right direction. When the true leader speaks with confidence and points the team in the right direction, dynamics start to change. Leaders must set the direction.

This, however, does not mean that you must know the 32 next steps in the process. Many times in leadership, you find out THE next step, take that step and look for the next. It is ok to step out your envisioned future, expecting that after taking a step – the next one will reveal itself. You will be 1 step closer with a little more knowledge and trust that the next door will open.

  1. Setting the expectation.

Another Fullerism comes to mind which is, “What you permit, you promote; what you allow, you endorse.”

Without the right expectations, clearly communicated, how will our teams ever fulfill their roles?

These are just 4 of the 10 roles of a leader. For more on this topic, click the mic to check out the full podcast. Have a great week!