Thursday, December 10, 2009

The I's have It

When leading a team to excel daily there have been hundreds if not thousands of blogs, books, and recommendations on how to lead effectively. They come in all shapes and sizes of steps and directions. I, too, have my own thoughts and have narrowed it down to just a few key points.

Informed – when your team is truly informed and all aspects of your vision are transparent and understood, the first step is complete. Without a true understanding of why a vision is important your team just doesn’t have enough information to begin the creative process on their own. Information engages the right-brain so that the left-brain can begin to tactically plan.

Improvement – Your desire to make things better and shatter prior achievements is a key indication of your leadership. No desire, no improvement.

Inspired – your team must be inspired and engaged to achieve. This is when your “influencing” skills are needed. Inspiration includes a “cause” to motivate the team to excel. If your team believes in the vision for the reasons beyond simply “doing it” the power of the human spirit engages and passion is born.

Nelson Mandela
Indira Gandhi
Mother Teresa
Martin Luther King

There is nothing more powerful than a passionate human.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just Who Are You?

I wrote this blog sometime ago but recent blogs from some of my favorite TR bloggers Chris Reed and Jon Gillespie only served to bring it back up. It is somewhat of a rant but I believe a check in on your values and a confirmation that your online brand doesn’t need “management” if your values are aligned in all aspects of your life. Feel free to disagree, as a matter of fact I welcome a counterpoint!

Much has been spoken about the separation between our personal and professional lives online. You have heard all of the suggestions and advice Here are just a couple.

Beware what you post as everyone can see it and you don’t want it to adversely affect your professional career.

Social Media can be abused by posting parts of your personal life that might bring your professional qualities into question.

I could go on and on but you get the picture….you are on stage and what you communicate, show, and display can have negative impacts on your goals, aspirations, and desires.

Here at TR, one of our guiding communications is about being the “authentic and unapologetic you” Now if you are living that principal the above presents an oxymoron. If you are being the authentic and unapologetic you what exactly is it you are doing that can be placed in this media format that you wouldn’t want others to see. Is your personal life so careless and dangerous that you wouldn’t want someone to know something about you?

Take some of the icons of social media presence that I admire such as Chris Brogan, Gary Vaynerchuk, Joni Doolan, Amanda Hite, Guy Kawasaki….I could go on. Do you think they censor their communication, posts, and photos worried about what you may learn about them? I think not. When they are living their brand do you think they decide not to do something because it may adversely affect their perceived image to us little people? I think not.

So is your brand different in social media than you live daily? If it is, you have to ask yourself, what am I doing? Do you think our role models in this media format create the image we want to see or do you think they just live their lives knowing their values, connections, business, and relationships ARE who they appear to be anywhere just not in social media. I think, yes!

So if you find yourself thinking, I better not write this, I better not post that photo, I better not display myself this way or I could get in trouble….well, maybe you aren’t ready to develop a brand worthy of this vehicle. Your values are your values and they aren’t dictated by what others might see, they are dictated by who you want to be. Are you a Tiger Woods just waiting to be uncovered?

Don’t edit your photos, don’t edit your writing…..edit your values and be your TRUE authentic and unapologetic self.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

2010 is here, now!

It’s resolution time and some people may already be producing those resolutions that will be quickly ignored when the New Year vices are in full swing but I wanted to put out a reminder to resolve to do things a little differently. Here are some tips based on what I have learned from this year….either I missed out and wanted to do them or I did them and it worked!

Make Social Media goals part of your 2010 and I don’t mean add 10,000 followers on your Twitter account. Make a resolution to increase your network by a certain amount of “meaningful” connections. It includes, meeting people online, working with them, and if at all possible make sure a percentage of them you physically get in front of and get to know! (Online Dates don’t count)

Find a social media platform you feel comfortable and blog, blog, blog, blog! Don’t be afraid, don’t worry about your grammar, don’t worry about whether people will “get it”, don’t worry that people won’t feel the same way you do, just don’t worry. The best way to solidify your strengths is to teach others about them. You will do better yourself and you will help someone else get better. (Call me, you can guest post for me anytime! TR is sooooo coool) Oh, and thanks….haven’t had free time since you got me started!

Find someone that is scared to death of the whole social media thing and help them to understand it. Introduce them to all of your connections, e-mail them blogs that will have meaning to them, invite them to a Tweet Up, do something that brings someone else into the world that you have learned and taken so much from…didn’t someone help you get into this wonderful land? (@sexythinker, thanks for making me learn to type weird $%^& like @sexythinker….who would have thought)

Attend a conference in your area of interest. Only the coolest people go to conferences and the relationships developed there create the best networks of support and future opportunities. (Read Chris Reed’s “Badge of Honor” for some validation of this point-hang in their Joni…..I will be there!)

Create another stream of income….no matter how small. Consult, create, coach, develop, open….hell deliver papers on Sunday morning if you have too. Find a way to enhance your current income base. Trust me, a couple more bucks coming in is a great motivation to create more bucks coming in. (Plus you can give yourself the title “entrepreneur”…Freakin’ Pat Katz…..he put the multi in multiple streams of income)

Join or participate in an organization that helps feed other people beside yourself. There is nothing more fulfilling then helping someone else. Grab your best friend, find the local mission, kitchen, soup line and SERVE. God blessed you with food, now bless someone else with it. (Thanks Faith Mission and Share Our Strength!)

I could type more…..
What other ideas do you have for New Year’s resolutions that aren’t the norm like lose weight, stop drinking, etc., etc., etc.

I need more! 2010 is the year of great things….let’s start now!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Values Based Leadership

I got the chance a couple of weeks ago to attend the CHART Regional meeting in Louisville, KY at the enormous and expansive Papa John’s Corporate Campus. What a great opportunity to network and I got to meet some “internet” faces. It is always so cool to come face to face with people you blog and twitter with daily. No pun intended but people are so much larger than life in person!

I got to meet Jeff McLanahan, and Terry Mayhem from Papa John’s. Also one of my favorite e-learning gurus from DiscoverLink, Jeff Tenut. Then to top it off, in walks John Schnatter, Papa John himself and he looks just like he does on his commercials. Right behind him is Jude Thompson, COO/President at Papa John's. Now I gotta be honest, I didn’t expect a ton from these two…..small room, no real big wigs in site besides them so I expected the courteous welcome and exit stage right. But what came next was a lesson in leadership centered on VALUES and developing people. Yep, values and people. I love those two things more than anything and I was fixin’ to get inspired. I couldn’t stop my pencil from writing! Let me share just a few of the quotes that came out of his stories and there were a lot of them!

“To get from the #3 pizza sales to #2 it is going to take our people”

“My job is to get 1000 people pulling on the same rope”

“If everyone wins they get excited about themselves and produce more”

“Anxiety is contagious and that’s not something you want to catch”

“If people get isolated they stop communicating”

“It’s good to be on a winning team”

“We are partners”

“We can double team things when we work together”

“I don’t know how business went from 2+2=4 to equaling 8 but you can bet that math caused our current economy”

“If you don’t take care of the peasant farmers they will rise up and burn down the castle you live in”

“I haven’t laid anyone off, it was expensive, but I haven’t laid anyone off.”

Did you hear what I heard?
1. It’s the people stupid
2. It’s not about you
3. If you are confused about what to do, refer to number one!

And while you are it, tell them the truth….

Better Ingredients, Better Pizza

John Schnatter and his team believe it and it is self-evident in his team’s body language and engagement. The next time I need a quick pizza, I am going to give his product a try. Mission accomplished John and thanks for reinforcing my belief that values and a focus on people can happen in a major corporation while you make a ton of cash!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Walk with a Purpose

So, I have been on a restaurant binge lately also known as my own version of a personal stimulus package. I’ve hit every restaurant that I enjoy both chain and independent. I’ve gone to each one of them alone, blackberry on fire, and watching how the leadership in those restaurants has chosen to lead their team. If the managers and the owners of these establishments knew they were being watched like a professional quarterback in a two minute warning down by 1 point they would be careful of how they might be perceived but then hey, I digress…on to my point.

What I have seen is a sad display of “walking about” accomplishing nothing, waiting for something to actually happen like maybe a fire will start and they might be able to douse it with their own brand of restaurant management.

Here is what it looks like…host, bar, disappear, bar, host, disappear…disappear, bar, bar, host, and disappear. Who the heck knows what they are doing when they disappear? Are there cash registers or guests in the back of some restaurants I don’t know about?

Why not follow some kind of path that improves the business? I’ve heard it called…

15 Minute Rotation
The Critical Path
The Moments of Truth
The Guest Path

Call it what you want but why not touch every aspect of the business while you are walking through your business? I mean, we’re fighting for every guest and subsequently their return visit, why wouldn’t you check every potential opportunity your guest might experience in your business in an attempt to exceed their expectations?

Try this….

Host – make sure they are smiling and presenting themselves the way you would present yourself – thank guests and staff
Servers – dressed sharp, engaging the guest, selling, refilling, bussing, hit the table tops and check with guests to make sure a return visit is all but inevitable – thank guests and staff
Bar – fast drinks, clean glasses, friendly face, building business, cost control – thank guests and staff
Restrooms – clean, smell great, fully stocked with supplies
Outside – lights on, first impression great, thanking guests coming and going
Back of the House – awesome product, clean environment, food safety, thank staff

Repeat, and then repeat again, then again, again, again….you get the idea.

Now you can expand your stopping points, add bullet points to check on, set anticipated time frames, you name it. If you have a deficiency in your business and want to improve it, put your restaurant leadership on it, over and over again.

So you’re open…say ten hours a day, it takes 30 minutes to complete one of these rotations, you can complete 20 of these rotations a day. For sake of conversation let’s say things come up and you can only get 15 rotations actually done through your restaurant. You have decided that fast drinks delivered under 3 minutes is your focus and you put your leadership on it by checking it 15 times a day with either positive reinforcement or coaching to improve….how long could it possibly take to accomplish your focus?

You get results where you put focus….
Walk with a purpose…..
Make your restaurant better tomorrow, by engaging it today….

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Your Stock is way down!

There is a ton of stock on the market right now that is worth a lot less than it was just a few short months ago and it still have a strong long term value. There is also stock on the market worth a lot less than a few months ago and it should be worth a lot less. It never was worth anything to begin with, it was overinflated in value, and never should have had the value it earned.

Now what kind of person are you?
-A stock with a current low value because of market condition waiting to climb again?
-A stock with a current low value because of market condition and you will never gain value again because you weren’t worth anything to begin with?

Here is what I know….

Over 3 million jobs have been lost in the last six months and unemployment rates are expected to top 10% in some areas. There are more than a few employees to chose from just like your broker knows there is quite a bit of stock out there that can be bought cheaply that will eventually rise above it’s current purchase price.

Now if you are a pessimist you are thinking, great I have to do whatever my boss tells me to do because he can just replace me with someone else tomorrow, right? Well, no, replacements have cost and your boss doesn’t want to incur additional cost right now because it will take unnecessary dollars from the coffers that are better left earning interest. However if the cost of replacing you produces more ROI in the long term, the boss may be willing to make the investment in a different stock….is the picture getting clearer now?

If you are the optimist, you understand that the best undervalued stock you can own is your own stock…and that’s where you come in! You are already employed, you already have value, and you can increase your own value by understanding how to produce the best ROI.

Do you produce additional sales with your skills?
Do you produce additional profit because of your systems and leadership?
Do you improve the productivity of your team by your presence?
Do your guests come back more often because of your presence in the business?
Do your ideas and improvements create value for the business environment?
Are you helping those around you to get better because you care more about their success than your own?

The good news is that if you invest in your own value now and even diversify your skills by doing more, when this thing turns around, your stock price will be go up again, and then you will be in the driver’s seat for best value. Now that you have had that paradigm shift…..

When all is said and done isn’t it really about just being great no matter what the economic conditions? I mean let’s face it; if you had no value to begin with you probably aren’t reading this blog anyway? If you base the level and/or quality of work you do on how tough the economy is then you probably should find a job in government where you are less likely to be whacked!

There is no better time than now to give everything you have….