Quit Accepting Mediocrity

You invite mediocrity into your life when you choose to accept it. Living in mediocrity has mostly to do with the fact that you find it acceptable. Mediocrity or excellence is just a part of a person’s character as honesty and integrity. You change by getting tired of the status-quo. You change by making excellence a habit.

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True Measure of Leadership

Most people measure leadership by counting the number of people they lead or by looking at how much they accomplish, but after having kids I’m realizing that leadership needs to be measured by what happens when I’m not around or after I’m long gone. The true measure of leadership is looking at the results of those I have led.

In what ways would your leadership look different if you measured it this way?

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Stop using gimmicks

Everyone who grew up on Cracker Jacks knows about that prize inside. It may have made you grab that box of caramel popcorn, but let’s face it, you cared more about the prize inside more than the caramel popcorn! That’s what I call a gimmick. It’s something that may draw you to do something in the short run, but causes you to diminish the value of what’s important in the long run. Cracker Jack may have had the best caramel popcorn on the planet, but I had no clue because I wanted that sticker.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to find out that most of your customers or clients are there because of a discount you offered. I know it’s very tempting to offer that 30% discount off of your product or service to get that immediate (but short term) response, but it’s this kind of buying behavior that doesn’t foster loyalty and raving fans. It doesn’t work because your brand then simply becomes a means to an end.

Great marketing is about revealing the potential that your organization has in delivering a product or service. It’s about educating people to the point where they value much more than the product or service itself, but what those products or services represent, that is the potential of your brand.

Stop thinking that your marketing efforts are successful with those short term gimmicks because, ultimately, it’s only causing people to miss what you’re really about.

There’s a reason why Apple and Disney products rarely go “on sale”.

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Actually Teaching a Man to Fish

I’ve always appreciated the old adage, “catch a man a fish and feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime”, but I think it’s always left me incomplete. The question I always had was how then do you actually teach a man to fish?

Now, I don’t have this whole thing down, but here’s what I’ve learned do far.

  1. Avoid resolving tension too quickly. You have to allow people to struggle in figuring out some things like which bait to use or getting the hang of casting. If you create the right kind of tension, people will ask the right questions.
  2. Continually create challenges that they can overcome. At first, start small like being able to cast to exactly where they want to put the bait. It may seem like it has nothing to do with actually catching fish, but they will soon realize that the basics do matter. Later, you can take away all the food they have and make ‘em starve until they catch a fish. They need to know what it’s like to hunger for getting something right.
  3. Fish with them. You can give a person all the books and instructional videos you want, but the best kind of teaching is done by example. Teaching by example takes time and showing them how to keep the right attitude when that “big one” gets away.

How have you learned to teach people “how to fish”?

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The Year of Discipline

I never really found setting goals for the year that effective in reaching potential. On numerous occasions I have found goals to limit one’s potential rather than keeping you on course for reaching it. It’s almost like goals were self imposed limitations of what I could achieve.

So instead of setting goals, I give myself themes for each year based on the season of life I’m going through and the particular circumstances that I’m facing or think I would face. For 2012, I really worked on “focus”. Not the kind of focus as in concentration, but focus as in narrowing intensity much like a magnifying glass. I spent much of my time thinking about, not what more I could do, but actually to think about less things, but with more depth. This meant that I had to cut things out of my life. It was saying “no” to more things. It was doing more with less. It was refining my priorities. It was really great to, well, focus on “focus” as it moved me into a lifestyle of focus and is something that I will continually will do.

This year’s theme is “discipline”.

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Systems Thinking

Bouncing Tennis BallImagine me holding a tennis ball in my hand. I then turn my hand and drop the tennis ball onto a hard surface. What does the tennis ball do? The tennis ball bounces a few times before coming to rest.

Here’s the question. What caused the tennis ball to bounce? Think it about it for a bit before reading on…

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