Act on Some of the Facts

Making any decision without having all of the information and facts beforehand can be very tough. I spoke with a young man recently and he told me that some of his professors had changed the rules on him in the administration of his classes. The syllabuses of a couple of his classes had been altered, which switched exam dates. He was also notified of these changes after the semester’s grace period. The grace period in which he could get his tuition money back after dropping a course had passed. Because of the changes, he would have two to three exams on one day.

I agreed to him that it was not a fair thing for them to do and that he wasn’t given all of the facts in order to make an adequate decision. This young man had to make a decision to take the courses the way they had been altered or to drop the courses, forfeit his tuition money and delay another semester until graduation. It was interesting because I was about the same age as this young man when one of my undergraduate professors told me that you are not going to have 100% of the facts needed to make a decision in the real world. He told the class that if we’re lucky, we might have 50% of the facts in order to make a decision. I had told this young man about what my marketing professor had said and he thanked me for this piece of advice.

Months later, I had thought about one of the most drastic decisions anyone has had to make in the 20th Century without having all of the facts before him. Harry Truman became president of the United States in April, 1945 after Franklin Roosevelt died. Roosevelt never informed Truman about the Manhattan Project. Suddenly, Truman had access to three atomic bombs and the authority to use them in World War II against the Japanese. And you think that making some decisions can be tough? Truman had the fate of history in his hands while pondering what to do.

The point is that Truman, like many other decision-makers, was faced with very limited information and had to make a decision and follow-through quickly. At some points in our lives, this happens to us all. But even if you do not decide to do something, your indecision is your decision. Not to decide is to decide.

So, how do you make a decision when you do not have all the facts? Follow this process:

1. Review the facts that you do have. Truman had access to three atomic bombs. Each bomb had enough power to destroy an entire city.

2. Analyze your facts. Truman witnessed the testing of one of the atomic bombs in the desert and was made more aware of the actual intensity of the bomb.

3. Analyze how your facts will affect your future decisions. Truman was given an estimate about the number of American soldiers that might perish in another major battle with Japan. Truman’s option was that the atomic bomb could be used in lieu of attacking a Japanese city and would avoid excessive American casualties.

4. Take action. Truman ordered that the remaining two atomic bombs be used against the Japanese on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Using both bombs in battle ultimately ended World War II quicker and avoided additional American casualties.

Great decision-makers, like Truman, act when necessary and take full responsibility for their actions. Although the outcome may or may not have been what Truman had planned, a decision was carried out. If Truman did not make a decision, the war would have lingered and more American lives would have been lost. Although the decision may not have been a popular decision at the time, Truman knew it had to be made.

None of us have crystal balls and have access to future information and events. Truman was no different. Although we don’t know the exact outcome of a decision, we can take conscious action and make a decision. If we don’t decide, someone or something will decide for us. We decide by decision or indecision. Which one will you choose?

Abe Lincoln: An Extraordinary Leader

Perhaps noted as one of the greatest United States presidents of all time, Abraham Lincoln’s early life may not have reflected his potential greatness. He failed in business. He lost election to the state legislature, Speaker of the House, nomination for Congress, appointment of land officer, U.S. Senate twice and nomination for Vice President. After those eight major failures, Lincoln was elected President of the United States. How many of us would have kept going like Lincoln did?

Many problems that we think of today pale in comparison to what happened in the late 1850’s and middle 1860’s. Lincoln dealt with eleven southern states that had seceded from the Union. Eleven states formed the Confederate States of America during his presidency.

Americans may think that there are divisions among our country today. There was an enormous division during the Civil War era. Americans literally died on both sides of the war: North and South.

There were several key challenges that Lincoln faced as U.S. President:

1. Lincoln was president during the American Civil War, which lasted four years

About five weeks after Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th United States President, the American Civil War began. Lincoln was president when the country was literally falling apart.

Division may exist between families. Unfortunately, some family members may go years without talking to one another. Are problems within families really that terrible compared to the unrest during the Civil War? Some families were divided so much by the war that one son may have fought for the North while another son of the same family fought for the South.

2. The most American casualties happened during the Lincoln Administration

600,000 to 700,000 Americans died in the Civil War. The American Civil War casualties exceed the United States’ losses in all of its other wars from The American Revolution to the present.

Do any of us think that we have such an enormous responsibility? Lincoln had an insurmountable responsibility of having the most American casualties during his term as president. More Americans died from war during Lincoln’s presidency than all of the other American presidents combined.

3. Lincoln suffered from Depression

Lincoln, who lived in the nineteenth century, did not have access to antidepressants, such as Prozac, to take as prescription medication nor could he go to a drug store and purchase St. John’s Wort over the counter.

Lincoln never had the luxury of having access to modern treatments. Lincoln’s job was to deal with a country that was divided by war. At times, your problems may seem as monumental as Lincoln’s struggles, mainly because you are the one who is currently enduring a particular problem. All of us have common and unique problems. Can you imagine if you weren’t so lucky and had limited access to treatments like Lincoln? Fortunately, we do have the luxury of modern medicine.

4. Lincoln was assassinated

The North, The Union, defeated the South, The Confederacy. The South surrendered to the North on April 9th, 1865. Lincoln was assassinated five days after the Civil War ended and died the morning after he was shot.

Do you think you feel unappreciated by the work you’ve done? Lincoln united his country as president, issued the Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery, inspired numerous people while suffering from depression, was one of the most kindest and good-hearted presidents our nation has ever had and what was the thanks that he got? He was killed.

Numerous times, Lincoln was a leader. He kept America together so we could still be called “The United States of America.” He led by example. In his second inaugural address, Lincoln said that he wanted “malice toward none” and he wanted “to bind up the nation’s wounds.” Unfortunately, Lincoln never got to see any of his efforts and results implemented. The United States owes Lincoln a huge debt of gratitude.

Like Lincoln, every one of us has overcome problems and has achieved greatness in our own way. You may not remember some obstacles that you overcame, such as when you learned to walk or talk. There are challenges you overcame that you probably do remember very well, such as finishing a project, winning a race, graduating from school or establishing a career. Every one of you has a potential for greatness like Abe Lincoln. It is up to you to find the greatness within yourself.

A Whack Up ‘long Side The Head Of Human Resources: The Leadership Obligation

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When we perceive the simple center in the seemingly complex, we can change our world in powerful new ways.

Albert Einstein perceived the simple E=MC2 in the complexities of physical reality and changed the history of the 20th century.

Big Daddy Lipscomb, the Baltimore Colts 300 pound all-pro tackle in the 1960s perceived the simple center of what was perceived to be the complex game of football.  "I just wade into players," he said, "until I come to the one with the ball.  Him I keep!"  — and changed the way the game was played.
Likewise, human resources, despite its complex activities, should have a fundamentally simple mission, yet it is a mission that is being neglected by many HR professionals.  I call that mission the Leadership Obligation — helping the organization recruit, retain, and develop good leaders.

Clearly, without good leaders, few organizations can thrive over the long run.  What characterizes a good leader?  A good leader consistently gets results — in ethical and motivational ways.  Because they interact with all business functions and usually provide education and training for those functions, human resource professionals should be focused primarily on recruiting, retaining, and developing leaders that get results.  Any other focus is a footnote.

Yet working with human resource leaders in a variety of companies for the past two decades, I find that many of them are stumbling.  Caught up in the tempests of downsizing, compliance demands, acquisitions, mergers, and reorganizations, they are engaged in activities that have little to do with their central mission.  Ignoring or at least giving short shrift to the Leadership Obligation, they are too often viewed, especially by line leaders, as carrying out sideline endeavors.

Many HR leaders have nobody to blame for this situation but themselves.  By neglecting the Obligation, they themselves have chosen to be sideline participants.

Here is a three-step action plan to get the HR function off the sidelines and into the thick of the game.

Recognize.  Link.  Execute.

Before I describe each step, let me define leadership as it ought to be.  For your misunderstanding leadership will thwart you in applying the Obligation.

The word "leadership" comes from old Norse word-root meaning "to make go."  Indeed, leadership is about making things go — making people go, making organizations go.  But the misunderstanding comes in when leaders fail to understand who actually makes what go.  Leaders often believe that they themselves must make things go, that if people must go from point A to point B, let's say, that they must order them to go.  But order leadership founders today in fast-changing, highly competitive markets.

In this environment, a new kind of leadership must be cultivated — leadership that aims not to order others to go from point A to point B — but instead that aims to  motivate them to want take the leadership in going from A to B.

 That "getting others to lead others" is what leadership today should be about.  And it is what we should inculcate in our clients.  We must challenge them to lead, lead for results with this principle in mind, and accept nothing else from them but this leadership.

Furthermore, leadership today must be universal.  To compete successfully in highly competitive, fast changing markets, organizations must be made up of employees who are all leaders in some way.  All of us have leadership challenges thrust upon us many times daily.  In the very moment that we are trying to persuade somebody to take action, we are a  leader — even if that person we are trying to persuade is our boss.  Persuasion is leadership.  Furthermore, the most effective way to succeed in any endeavor is to take a leadership position in that endeavor.  

The Obligation applies to all employees.  Whatever activities you are being challenged to carry out, make the Obligation a lens through which you view those activities.  Have your clients recognize that your work on the behalf of their leadership will pay large dividends toward advancing their careers.

Recognize: Recognize that recruiting, retaining, and developing good leaders ranks with earnings growth (or with nonprofit organizations: mission) in terms of being an organizational necessity.  So most of your activities must be in some way tied to the Obligation.

For instance: HR executive directors who want to develop courses for enhancing the speaking abilities of their companies' leaders often blunder in the design phase.  Not recognizing the Leadership Obligation, they err by describing them as "presentation courses."  Instead, if they were guided by the Obligation, they would offer courses on "leadership talks."   There is a big difference between presentations and leadership talks.  Presentations communicate information.  Presentation courses are a dime a dozen.  But leadership talks motivate people to believe in you and follow you.  Leaders must speak many times daily — to individuals or groups in a variety of settings.  When you provide courses to help them learn practical ways for delivering effective talks, to have them speak better so that they can lead better, you are benefitting their job performance and their careers.

Today, in most organizations, the presentation is the conventional method of communication.  But when you make the leadership talk the key method by instituting "talk" courses and monitoring and evaluation systems broadly and deeply within the organization, you will help make your company more effective and efficient.

Link: Though such recognition is the first step in getting off the sidelines, it won't get you into the game.  To get into the center of things, you must link your activities with results.  Not your results — their results.

Clearly, your clients are being challenged to get results: sales' closes, operations efficiencies, productivity advances, etc.  Some results are crucial.  But other results are absolutely indispensable.  Your job is to help your clients achieve their results, especially the indispensable results.  You must be their "results partner."  Furthermore, you must help them get sizable increases in those results.  The results that they get with your help should be more than the results that they would have gotten without your help.

For instance, when developing company-wide objectives for leadership talks, you should not aim to have participants win a speaking "beauty contests" but instead to speak so that they motivate others to get increases in measured results.  When you change the focus of the courses from speaking appearance to the reality of results, you change the participants' view of and commitment to the courses and also their view of and commitment to you in providing those courses.  So have the participants define their indispensable results and link the principles and processes they learned in the course to getting measured increases in those results.

Execute: It's not enough to recognize.  It's not enough to link.  You must execute.  "Execute" comes from a Latin root exsequi meaning "to follow continuously and vigorously to the end or even to ‘the grave.'" Let's capture if not the letter at least the spirit of this lively root by insuring that your activities on behalf of your clients are well "executed," that they are carried out vigorously and continuously in their daily work throughout their careers.  If those activities are helping them get results, you are truly their "results partner."

For instance, in regard to the leadership talk courses, HR professionals can lead an "initiative approach."  At the conclusion of the course, each participant selects an initiative to institute back on the job.  The aim of each initiative is to get sizable increases in their indispensable results by using the principles and processes that they learned.

The initiatives and their results should be concrete and measurable, such as productivity gains, increases in sales, operations efficiencies, and reduced cycle times.

The participants should be challenged to get increases in results above and beyond what they would have gotten without having taken the course.  They should be challenged to get those increases within a mutually agreed upon time, such as quarterly reports.
In fact, if the participants don't achieve an increase in results that translates to at least ten times what the course costs, they should get their money back.

Don't stop there.  Getting an increase in results is not the end of the course, it should be the beginning — the beginning of a new phase of getting results, the stepping up phase.  The more results participants achieve, the more opportunities they have created to achieve even more results.  The leadership talk course should have methods for instituting results' step-ups.

One such method can be a quarterly leadership-talk round table.  Participants who graduate from the course meet once a quarter to discuss the results they have gotten and provide best practices for getting more.  Human resources should organize, direct and facilitate the round tables. In this way, the results the leaders are getting should increase quarter after quarter.  

When HR professionals promote such leadership talk courses, courses that are linked to getting increases in indispensable results and that come with the "results guarantee," those professionals are truly seen as results partners in their organizations.

I have used the leadership talk as an example of how you can greatly enhance your contributions to the company by applying the Leadership Obligation.  Don't just apply the Obligation to such courses alone.  Apply it to whatever challenge confronts you.

When you recognize how that challenge can be met through the Obligation, when you link the challenge to getting increases in measured results, and when you execute for results, you can transform your function.

You don't have to be as distinguished as Einstein or as awesome as Big Daddy Lipscomb, but you will in your individual way perceive the simple, powerful center of things.  You'll be in the thick of the most important game your company is playing — helping change your world and the world of your clients.

2006 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc.   All rights reserved.

A Vital Leadership Question: "What Does Our Organization REALLY Reward?"

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Boost Your Leadership Skills Simply By Answering The Question, "What Does Our Organization Really Reward?"
By Brent Filson

The difference between leaders is ears.  Good leaders not only ask good questions, but they actually listen to the answers.

Ask people in your organization: "What does our organization REALLY reward?"  Listening to the answer may help you achieve marked increased in results.

Rewards and punishments make up the drive shaft of any organization. But my experience of working with thousands of leaders during the past 23 years reveals that most of their organizations reward the wrong things.

Such organizations may pay lip service to rewarding people for what is viewed as the right things: getting results, getting the right results, getting the right results in the right ways.  But what they may really reward, often in terms of promotions and job perks, are such things as the care and feeding of top leaders' egos, political conniving, tyrannical leadership ....

Here is a way to transform wrong rewards into right results.

(1) Ask people in your organization what your organization REALLY rewards. The answers may surprise you.  But don't get caught up in those answers.  Don't make value judgments.  At this stage, you are just an observer.  Simply compile the list.

(2) Gauge each item on the list against results your organization really needs.  Does it help get results?  Does it detract from results?

Do it this way: Pick out a single item from your list. Describe the problem in the item and identify who controls its solution. Execute a "stop-start-continue" process.  What reward do you stop, what do you start, and what do you continue?

You'll get results, but don't expect overnight success.  Not only are many of these wrong rewards ingrained habits but changing them seldom achieves quick results.  Still, keep asking, What does my organization really reward?  In the long run, when tackling the challenges that comes with listening to the answers, you'll be getting more results as well as sharpening your leadership skills.

(3) Ask, "What does your leadership really reward?"  When your leadership rewards the wrong things, you're getting a fraction of the results you're capable of.  However, since we see the faults of others more clearly than our own, it may be more difficult identifying and dealing with your own issues rather than your organization's.

Do a 360 degree assessment.  Select a single item from the list and apply the start-stop-continue process.  Don't simply eliminate the item.  Such items can be grist for the results mill.  Identify the problem in the item then have the solution be a tool that gets results.

Guaranteed you will get results.  After all, you are eliminating a negative aspect of your leadership and replacing it with a results-producing one.  When you make this a long term endeavor — going from item to item — results will come to you in new and often unexpected ways.

(4) Encourage the people you lead to question the rewards aspects of their own leadership. Be aware of their reactions to your encouragement.  Do they see the questioning as meaningful to their jobs?  Do they want their colleagues involved in such questioning?  Do they want to have senior management question their own leadership?

If people want the questioning to be a regular part of their daily work, continue it.  If they feel it has little value, call a time out.  After all, if people believe they are powerless to change things in the organization, seismic questions like this will only frustrate and anger them, creating a hot house environment for cynicism to flower.

As you go forward:

--Cultivate among the people a common, self-reinforcing fervor for the questioning.  Don't force things.   Be an observer and a supporter.  Observe their reactions to the questioning and support their efforts to make it succeed.

--Encourage the development of networks of people taking the initiative to engage in the questioning together.

--Now and then, and especially in the beginning, set aside special times and places to have them focus exclusively on such questioning, making sure they continually link the answers to getting increases in results.

--Keep that linkage alive.  This is not an academic exercise.  It's not meant to simply have people feel good or, on the other hand, vent their frustrations.  It's sole objective is to get MEASURABLE INCREASES IN RESULTS.  If results are not forthcoming, have people refocus on the need for the questioning; and if you still are not receiving results, curtail or even eliminate it for awhile. You can always reactivate it when the time and the environment are more conducive to having it succeed.

--Avoid having the process deteriorate into name calling and finger pointing.  The idea is not to use the questioning to get the goods on people or as a platform for emotional outbursts against the organization but instead for what it is meant to be, a powerful tool to get more results continually.  

Mind you, people shouldn't be spending inordinate amounts of time on the questioning.  Nor should it be seen as a major, discrete effort, like an operations or marketing program.  Just the opposite: It should be a natural part of everybody's leadership activities.  Constantly asking, Are we rewarding the right things? should eventually come as second nature.

2006 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc.   All rights reserved.

The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS.  He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. – and for more than 20 years has been helping leaders of top companies worldwide get audacious results.  Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get a free white paper: "49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results," at

A Powerful Leadership Tool: Delighting In The People You Lead

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Leadership entails getting results, and getting results entails human relationships. The more closely the people and the leader bond, the more results will usually accrue.

However, most leaders and the people they lead look at those relationships as a one way street: charismatic leaders being commonly defined by sentiments bestowed on them from the people.  But great leadership is really a two-way street, also involving sentiments going from the leader to the people.  

We never know how good we are as leaders until we are delighting in the people we lead and, through that delight, leading them to get continually better results while they become continually better as leaders and as people.

For instance, I recently received an email from my old company commander inviting me to a reunion.  He wrote, "I was the luckiest rifle company commander in the Marine Corps when I was surrounded by the best group of infantry officer lieutenants I ever knew.  And they were all in our company!"

I had not heard from him in many decades, but I remember not so much what I did but what he did.  He went against the grain of the leadership style and conduct of some officers I knew -- officers who got the job done by being pretty much focused on themselves and their careers.

My ex-company commander, however, got the job done by being inspired by the troops, not by himself.

Out in civilian life, I've seen other leaders take a similar delight in and be inspired by the people they lead, and I have come to realize that this penchant is really a powerful, though rarely used, leadership tool.

However, to use the tool properly, three things must be kept in mind.

1. Delight must happen within the context of high results-expectations.  In your delight, don't be hampered by the bigotry of low expectations.  My company commander was known for having his men undergo the most difficult training and take on the toughest assignments.  He delighted in his troops not just for what they wanted to do but what he challenged them to do.  After all, leadership is not about having people do what they want to do.  If they did want they wanted, you wouldn't be needed as a leader.  Leadership is about having people do what they may not want to do and be committed to doing it.

2. Delight must be truthful.  Don't try to manipulate people through your delight. When the circumstances called for it, my company commander was brutally honest with us.  If we weren't measuring up to his high standards, we'd know about it from him in forceful and vivid ways. His honesty was a leadership lesson: have the troops see themselves as they should be seen, not as they want to be seen.  Sure, he riled us up many times.  But because his honesty helped the troops become better Marines, it was eventually accepted and even welcomed.

3. Delight must be practical.  My company commander was always linking the delight he found in the troops with lessons learned in accomplishing missions and best practices that came from the lessons.  His delight wasn't meant to have people feel good about themselves but to motivate them to take actions to be continually better.  In that striving to be better and, getting better in the striving, we bonded.  Clearly, going where we had to go and doing what we had to do, we were often miserable; but through it all, there was, in the back of my mind at least, the compulsion not to let him down -- and not to let each other down.

You may not have thought about delight as a leadership tool, but it is one of the most effective because it goes right to the heart of getting results through the cementing of right relationships.  Keep these three factors in mind when expressing your delight, and your leadership will be blessed daily with new opportunities.

A Monster Of A Leadership Challenge: The Creature That Ate Your Career

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In the 1964 movie, "Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster", King Ghidorah was a gigantic, dragon-like creature that came from outer space.  It had three heads on long necks, bat-like wings, no arms, and twin tails.  It terrorized Tokyo until Godzilla, in a role reversal as protector rather than destroyer, defeated it in a terrible battle and chased it back into outer space.

As a leader, you don't have to go to the movies to face Ghidorah.  You do it every day.  Ghidorah is the three-headed monster of fear, failure, and self-doubt.  How you deal with the triple threat will determine to a great extent how your career develops.

Though fear, failure and self-doubt are each separate, they cannot be separated: The prospect of failure can lead to fear of failure, and fear of failure can lead to self-doubt, which closes the cycle by leading back to fear of failure.

Of course, this is not strictly linear.  Three-headed Ghidorah is comprised of any number of combinations.  For instance, self-doubt may lead to failure or failure may lead to self-doubt, which leads to fear.

Don't concern yourself with the combinations that can afflict you.  Concern yourself instead with how to deal with Ghidorah.  The first thing to understand about how to deal with the monster is that if you're NOT dealing with Ghidorah,  you're doing something wrong.  Leadership is not about living an easy life for ourselves but a hard life for other people and for the organizations you serve.  Fear, failure, and self doubt are a natural outcomes of good leadership.

That's especially so for leaders who are trying to motivate people to meet extraordinary challenges.

You'll never know how good you are as a leader unless you are motivating others to be better than they think they are. In that endeavor, you'll inevitably get at least some of the people angry.

Most people are settled into a comfortable status quo and resist and resent being challenged to break out.

But if you aim to get great results, people not only have to be pushed but more importantly, they must be challenged to push themselves.

So, if you're not getting some people angry with you over the pushing, you're doing something wrong as a leader, you're not challenging people enough.

The second thing is that if you face Ghidorah head on, you'll find that fear, failure and self-doubt are your benefactors; for Ghidorah can be your partner in achieving limitless results.

For instance, I worked with the CEO of a company that proved results are limitless.  In the 1930s, the company was making tea bag paper.  Over the years, they kept changing and improving their products so today they are making high tech thermoplastics.  Going from making tea bag paper to high tech thermoplastics involved innovation, hard work, and great leadership.  My bet is that  fear, failure and self-doubt were driving factors in that three-generation, results-are-limitless evolution.  

Don't simply overcome Ghidorah.  Instead, use Ghidorah -- use fear, failure and self-doubt as your results-partner.  To do so, you need to cultivate your inner, submerged strengths.

An assault by Ghidorah is an opportunity for us to manifest strengths we did not know we possessed.

"I'm afraid I might fail." – We can manifest perseverance.  

"I doubt if I can do this."  -- We can be innovative.

"I have failed." -- We can evince patience, tenacity, and resilience.

My leadership processes, which today may look simple, clear, and robust, were developed with my grappling countless times with Ghidorah.  There is not a process I teach that did not have its birth in a failure of one kind or another.  Often, I really didn't understand the process until I first failed in trying to put it into action.  I have to give Ghidorah much of the credit for their success.

Over time, as we keep manifesting our strengths in the face of Ghidorah's assaults, we tend to avoid getting carried away by appearances or our mercurial desires but instead will gradually actualize a centered leadership.  The more we assess our strengths in times of affliction, the more easily assessable those strengths become.  

But that's not all.  Here's the final secret: We manifest these strengths not just for ourselves but also for the people we lead; for when we face Ghidorah, we show others the path; and in doing so, help them tap into their own inner strengths, creating a motivational bond between you.

King Ghidorah was brought to life on the movie screen by a stunt actor inside an elaborate costume, with a team of puppeteers controlling the beast's many appendages.  When tough challenges call forth Ghidorah in your leadership, you may see that the creature is, similarly, not substance but the dazzle of our minds and emotions, reminding us that leadership begins not when we grasp at outward appearances but when hold to our center and the resources flowing from that center.

A Leadership Secret: Replace Goals With Processes Using The Shared Dream

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I bring leadership processes that help leaders get more results faster continually.  The results will come in a specific length of time.  The results will go beyond what the leaders are achieving now.   The results can be measured, validated, and used as springboards for even more results. The results can be translated into money saved/earned.  The results can't be achieved without the help of Leadership Talks.  And yet ...

Yet ... getting this big jump in results scares many leaders and can lead to burn out in the people they lead.

You'd think leaders would welcome such results.  No such luck. Here's why: They see results as a point not a process.

Seeing results in this way prevents you from getting the more substantial results you're really capable of.  Look, results are limitless.  Those who don't know that don't know much about leadership.  Those who believe that must believe in the process-reality of results.

Let's look at the difference between a goal and a process.  You've been dealing with goals and processes your whole career, but it's important to your success to see the difference in leadership terms.

A goal is the result or achievement toward which effort is directed.  A process is a continuous series or actions or changes. A goal can hinder results.  (The word goal derives from an Old English word, "gaelan"  meaning "to hinder.") A process can multiply them.

I worked with the head of the head of manufacturing of a global company.  Responding to relentless cost cutting pressures, he was continually setting formidable quarterly stretch goals on quality and productivity.

The line workers were meeting the goals; but upon reaching one summit of goals, they inevitably faced another (the next quarterly goals) and were getting burned out.

I suggested that to avoid this burn out, they look at the results not in terms of quarterly goals but in terms of processes.  I gave him a two-step process to do it.

(1) Define your goals.  The manufacturing division had to deliver numbers to corporate, productivity increases, quality advancements, etc.  Those numbers were goals they had to absolutely meet.  Meeting them was vital to their jobs and careers.

Viewing them as the right goals and adhering to their commitment to meet those goals are necessary first steps in translating those goals into processes.  

2. Apply the Shared Dream.  The Shared Dream can be one of the most powerful tools in leadership.  Yet few leaders I know are aware of it, if not in name at least in activity.  

Leadership processes are the best processes, and the Shared Dream is one of the best of the best.  Because it is one key way we can translate results into processes.

Translating results into processes involves:
*a team effort; it cannot be done simply by fiat.
* the ardent commitment of all parties concerned, people can't be left out or left behind.
*continual and systematic support, evaluation and monitoring of the processes.
*the application of the Shared Dream.  

What is the Shared Dream?   It is simply the uniting of your vision as a leader and the dream of the people you lead then using the union to get great results.

For instance, the manufacturing division was supposed to get 3 to 5% reduction in costs per year, irrespective of inflation.

To make the yearly goals, the division had to meet quarterly benchmarks.  The problem was that the cost reductions were the division's and the company's vision, not really the line-workers dream.

The employees dream, we found out through a number of facilitated on-the-site meetings, was predominately job security.  (That was a pretty obvious finding but one we needed to nail down with interactions with the employees.)  Lower cost overseas manufacturing was cutting into the company's margins.  The threat was real that they would close shop in the states and take the manufacturing overseas.

So, there was a gap between vision of the division leaders, constant cost reductions, and the dream of the division workers, job security.

Of course, you might say that cost reductions were in fact all about job security.  But the employees didn't see it that way.  "That's the malarkey the suits feed us," said one worker.  

The idea was to have them move from being goal-oriented to being process-oriented.  That change of viewpoint needed a change of commitment.

Without a Shared Dream, with the goals not transformed into processes, people were getting burned out, going through the motions, anger, suppressing, tired, wanting out.

The division leader got together with the employees in a number of on-the-job meetings and talked about their dream.  They came up with the idea that if their manufacturing was competing in the world market place, the best way to compete was to become  "world class" manufacturing enterprise.

The people researched the requirements of being world class manufacturing, using top world manufacturers are benchmarks.  They came up with eight quantitative measures that defined "world class."  These measurements included continual productivity and quality increases, speed of throughput, etc.

By the way, when I say "people" I mean this came from the rank and file.  Representatives of workers groups participated.  

Together, the leaders and rank and file, put together action programs to meet those targets.  Those action programs were processes.  In essence, they put together a Shared Dream.  They changed results into processes.

"Let's meet those targets together!" is a Shared Dream if they and you want it badly.  It's not a Shared Dream if it's your vision — you have to get quarterly decreases.

Your vision is not motivational unless it matches their dream.  Just because it is your vision does not mean it is their dream.  Don't confuse your order for their dream.  A gap between vision and dream handicaps organizations.

Here is the Shared Dream process.
-- Define Your Vision
-- Define their dream.
-- Combine the vision and dream to get the Shared Dream.
-- Test the Shared Dream.
-- Describe the rewards and punishments of achieving or failing to achieve the Shared Dream.
-- Make the final cut at describing the Shared Dream.
-- Implement the Shared Dream as a trigger for turning goals into processes.
-– Monitor and evaluate the progress.

One might say, "That's a lot of trouble to go through.  Why don't you just tell them what they have to do and make them do it?"

But that's the point.  Your ordering them is far different in terms of results outcomes than their motivating themselves to make it happen.  And it won't happen unless you go through the rigorous process of turning their goals into processes using the Shared Dream.

2006 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc.   All rights reserved.

A Leadership Secret: Appreciating The Difficult People

PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link.  Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to:

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For decades, every summer, welcoming his scholarship players, Alabama coaching legend, Paul "Bear" Bryant, asked: "Have you called your folks to thank them?  No one ever got to this level of excellence in football without the help of others."

Bryant didn't just appreciate the importance of other people in the development of a young athlete; he wanted the athletes to appreciate it too.  Such appreciation is also a lesson in leadership.  Nobody becomes a successful leader unless others want you to be; you need help; and part of your growth as a leader is to recognize and show appreciation for that help.

But you'll give your leadership and ultimately your career a real boost by extending your appreciation not just to the people you like and who are on your side but also to the people you may dislike: the difficult people in your life, those people who for right or wrong reasons cause you grief.

One of the most effective ways of dealing with them is to appreciate them.  I mean truly appreciate them.  When you do, you may find that you are dealing with them in surprisingly productive ways.

The word "appreciation" comes from a Latin root meaning "to apprehend the value."  In other words, your appreciation of difficult people must be centered on your genuine understanding of the value they offer  you and your organization.

You are not just understanding their point of view.  You are actually appreciating it; and you are using that appreciation as a tool to get more results, more results than if the difficult people had not entered your life. Otherwise, your appreciation, at least as far as leadership is concerned, is a waste of time.

Here's a four step process to make appreciation a results-generator.

(1) Team up.  To get appreciation rolling, know that you must be a team, you and the difficult person, in the development of it.  Mind you, you're not trying to get the difficult person to appreciate you. You have little control over the other's appreciation.  You do, however, have control over yours.  So, focus on cultivating yours.  That cultivation happens only in a relationship -- a team relationship with the other person, not necessarily a personal relationship.  In a team-relationship, you don't have to like the other person.  You simply have to work with them -- actively and wholeheartedly, irrespective of personal feelings.  And the goal of your team is to forge out of the difficulties you're having with one another a leadership process that achieves results.  

(2) Identify.  When you're dealing with a difficult person, you're often entangled in strong emotions.  The first thing to do is, with the person's help in a face-to-face meeting, get at the precise causes of the difficulties.  Try to remove yourself from your emotional entanglements. "Break down" what's happening the way football coaches break down the plays of opposing teams studying game films.  This breaking down is a collaborative process, and it should go like this: First, have the person describe the exact moments when you were having trouble with each other.  It's important to keep focused simply on the physical facts of those moments. What were the specific actions and words that triggered the emotions? When the person gives h/her side of the story then and only then can you give yours.  Only when both of you are clear as to those moments and agree on what took place can you start to talk with each other about your feelings connected to those moments of physical action.

For instance, that person may contend you are not listening to what h/she says to you.  Have the person describe the exact moment when you were not listening.  Where were you?  What was being said?  Precisely, what gave that person that impression?  

(3) Agree.  You and the person must agree on what is important in regard to the difficulties you are having.  A gap between what you think is important and what the other person thinks must be closed.  The test in closing it is results.  Does the difficulty you are having with the person go right to the heart of the results you need to achieve?

The person says you don't listen.  Do you agree?  Is that person's perception important?  Until you can come to agreement as to whether you were or were not listening and the importance of that, you'll continue to have difficulties.  Which means you won't be able to go to the next, and most important, step.

(4)Transform.  Transform the specific into a results process, a process that will get you increases in results. Without such a process, the previous steps are useless.  For instance, let's say you both come to an agreement that you need to be more attentive when the person is speaking.  Then, you might develop a "listening process."  Such a process may involve applying "continuers." This is a process taught in medical schools to help overbearing doctors be more empathetic with their patients.  When interacting with patients, the doctors are taught to say, "uh huh" three times when the other person is talking before saying a word.  

Of course, "continuers" are one of many listening processes you can draw on. And clearly, "not listening" is one of many problems one might have with the people you lead.  Whatever process you come upon in whatever difficulty you are having with people, that process must achieve specific increases in results -- more results than if you had not used the process.

As for the "not listening" example: You may pick out one actionable item from what was being said that can lead to results increases. I worked with a leader who did this.  Several people he led accused him of ignoring them, and consequently those people were bucking his leadership.  They all sat down around a conference table and went through this four-step process.  They developed a process to actively and systematically listen to one another and come to agreement on what was spoken and what was heard.  Then they selected actionable particulars that came out of their communication.  They made sure they followed through on implementing those particulars to achieve increases in hard, measured results.

Like the poor, the people who cause us difficulties will always be with us. No matter how experienced and successful you are as a leader, difficult people will always be lined up outside your door, wanting into your life.  Moreover, there are probably a lot of them inside the door too, trying to cut you down to size, thwart your plans, besmirch your reputation.

Instead of clashing with them or avoiding them, try appreciating them.  When you use this process, you may find that they're not liabilities but assets.

2006 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc.   All rights reserved.

A Leadership Screw Driver: The 90 Day Improvement Plan

PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link.  Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to:

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I was talking with first-line supervisors in a utility company about how to deal with poor performing employees.

"You've gotta put the screws to him!" suggested one supervisor to his colleague who was having trouble managing one particular poor performer.

"I've put so many screws to him he's dead weight!" the supervisor replied.

We all knew what "putting the screws to him" meant -- using rewards and punishments to force change in behavior.

The trouble is, rewards and punishments are the least effective ways of dealing with poor performers.  That's because poor performers are usually smart, motivated, and tenacious -- when it comes to poor performing.

To change the behavior of poor performers, avoid the outside-in approach of rewards and punishments and cultivate an inside-out approach.

Aesop understood that.  There is the Aesop's fable of the wind and sun competing to see who can remove a coat from a man. The wind tries to blow the coat off, but the man clutches it tightly to his body. Then the sun grows hotter, and the man, perspiring heavily and getting hotter and hotter, gladly rips the coat off.

The leadership lesson is clear: You can bluster and blow to get somebody to accomplish a task, but that's not as effective as setting up a situation in which the person gladly does it.

Here is a way to deal with poor performers using Aesop's lesson: the 90-Day Improvement Plan. A business leader tells me that he uses such plans as tools for change. Each plan is comprised of two pages: the first page pointing out that the individual must improve and the second page detailing the precise ways that improvement must take place.

"Be specific about improvement," he says. "For instance, one leader I gave an Improvement Plan to was very bright but was not getting results. He tended to deal with future, strategic issues;  whereas our business wants results now, preferably yesterday. We identified specific ways he could improve his performance in getting results, such as precise calls to make and exact, quick-closing targets to pursue."

The objective of 90-Day Improvement Plans should not be to get rid of people. "Their objective is to improve performance," he says. "Though I do write on the first page, ‘If the objectives are not met, further actions, including dismissal, can be taken.'"

He sometimes combines Improvement Plans with the force-ranking of all his leaders into a 20/60/20 continuum. The bottom 20 percent get the Plan. He says, "My objective is to have the bottom 20 percent be indispensable leaders."

Mind you, in developing a 90-day Improvement Plan, keep Aesop's fable in mind and seek not compliance but commitment.  The Improvement Plan must not be imposed from without but agreed upon.  Here is a four-step process to do that.

First, all parties must agree to develop a 90-Day Improvement Plan.  If people are forced to do it, it won't work as it should.

Second, ask the poor performers to describe what should be in it.  Remember, you can veto any suggestions.  However, it is best if its key components come from the other people.  Only after they have run out of suggestions do you incorporate yours.

Third, develop the Plan together, and agree on its action steps.

Fourth, implement it.  Have weekly or bi-weekly meetings to insure the Plan is being carried out.

If the Plan is forced upon someone, it becomes just another screw, another imposed reward/ punishment.  However, if it is put together with mutual consent, indeed with mutual enthusiasm, it becomes the screw driver by which poor performers may very well gladly put the screws into themselves.

A Leader Should Be Willing To Take Responsibilities

Who would forget the ever-famous line of Peter Parker’s grandfather, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The society expects Spiderman, a comic book, TV, and movie superhero, to be responsible for saving his town, or even the world, in some instances, from evil because he has super powers.

From all the episodes he appeared in, he never let us down. With the power he possesses, he makes sure to be responsible in using it for the good of the people around him.

Leadership is not at all different from being superheroes. Yes, you may not have super powers like Superman and Spiderman, but you have the authority to lead other people towards success. This is so much greater and stronger since it is a power that can be used by real people in this real world.

Hence, being a leader requires great sense of responsibility, the second quality a successful leader should attain.

The power to lead your people towards aiming your vision comes with responsibilities like making sure they are on the right direction, being aware of each and everyone’s tasks and mistakes, and putting them back on the right track when they get lost.

Who said it is easy to be a leader? Well, it is not…It comes with tons of responsibilities. True leaders are willing to accept them all.

There are instances where sometimes it makes us feel better to blame somebody or something else when something goes wrong in a task. However, this should not be practiced, especially by a good leader!

A leader should take full responsibility of a task - not just before he accepts to take it, but also after it has been accomplished. As much as he is responsible for his team’s success, he should also be responsible for any failure. He represents the whole team so whatever happens to it, he is the one responsible.

Making excuses and blaming something or someone else for failed jobs is not a quality of a good leader. What he should do, instead, is to accept the fact that something went wrong with the organization, even if it is not his fault. It is normal to make mistakes. In fact, mistakes are opportunities to learn something better. As a leader, he must ensure that the team members learn from these mistakes and that these errors will not be repeated next time.

You may not have full control over other people and are not expected to have full control over their actions, but you have full control of your own reactions. Knowing what to do over unexpected and unpredictable situations will make you responsible, hence giving you the feeling of power.

A Key Element In Public Speaking: Timing Pauses

Timing is essential when speaking in public. The cliché: It is not what you say but more on how you say it, applies so much to public speaking.

Where you put your pauses during your presentation is one of the important aspects of maintaining an audience that is free from drowsing off. Couple this with humor and you are definitely on a roll.

Timing is the element involved during reactions that are spontaneous especially on developments during your delivery that are unexpectedly expected.

Do not forget, though, that when you expect any laughter to burst any time soon, avoid speaking as your voice and whatever it is that you are saying will most probably be drowned out by the noise of the audience.

Make sure to remember that laughter is extremely difficult to get and so very much easy to discourage. Try as much as possible to maintain eye contact with the audience for a little time longer when you deliver that punch line.

The audience size could also affect the way you use your timing. When the audience is small, the presentation you have will most probably be delivered in a lesser time compared to if you have a large audience. The reaction of a large audience will get to be a little longer and not as quick as if the audience is small. You also have to wait until the seemingly ripple effect of your punch line gets to that audience in the back row.

Believe it or not, putting that much needed silence in your presentation is one of the hallmarks of a skilled and good presenter. No public speaker should jabber constantly away in the hopes of keeping an audience glued to anything it is you have to say. Ironically, this is one effective way to keep their focus off you. The use of silence adds that much needed polish in your presentation making you appear as a confident expert.

Short pauses are effective to use in order for you to separate your thoughts. These pauses last from half a second to two. You do not have to literally count though, just keep in mind to slow down. This gives the audience a chance to absorb all of what it is you are getting across. It also helps if you change the inflection in your voice during the end of a thought as this could also signal to the audience that another thought is coming their way. Pauses are also an effective means if you want to highlight something. Put it before any word or thought you want the audience to focus on, they will most definitely get that.

Budgeting For Your Success

Just one of the advantages of starting a home based business is that it usually cost less than starting a business that requires office space or other facilities. Most people are already paying for a home or apartment anyway, so starting a business from that location entails very little extra overhead.

Aside from eliminating the need to pay for office space, warehouse space, a restaurant, storefront, etc., the average home business also typically requires a much smaller starting investment. This is especially true of network marketing, where most business opportunities cost under $1,000 to get started in, though some network marketing opportunities do cost more.

Some home business opportunities involve an initial cost well under $100, and may even advertise “free” signup.

Unfortunately, the lure of such low entry costs often causes people to overlook the bigger, long term picture.

This short article will cover three areas regarding budgeting that many people commonly overlook:

1) Make sure that you understand the total direct startup cost. “Direct” is defined here as what you’ll pay to the company you are signing up with.

2) Learn and develop a realistic budget for what your indirect and ongoing monthly costs will be. These include such things as setting up a home office if you don’t already have one, phone costs, additional training and seminars, travel, leads, advertising, etc.

3) You MUST reinvest back into your business in order for it to grow!

Let’s take a closer look at the three areas outlined above.


This includes your signup fee, any basic kit of sales and/or training materials that you are required to purchase (or strongly advised to), any training that you are required or advised to purchase at the time of signup, and, a big one to avoid in most cases, a required initial amount of product or inventory.

Try to get as much information ahead of time about what you’ll really need to spend in order to be successful. Very often opportunities emphasize a low startup cost, but either the company, its literature, or those representing it fail to fully inform prospective representatives of additional expenditures that you need to make in order to advance and/or maintain your position with the company.

Again, be extremely careful, if not shy away from altogether, opportunities that try to get you to invest large amounts ( more than a few hundred dollars ) in inventory, samples, etc., or that commit you to purchasing expensive leads. I use a few hundred dollars as the threshold here. Obviously, however, if you are dealing with certain high-end products, just purchasing one may cost more than that, so adjust accordingly. The point is to make sure that you don’t buy more than YOU really need for your own personal consumption.

If you sign up with a company that sells $1,000 therapeutic massage chairs and you can afford to buy one, fine. Just don’t get talked into buying more of them on the premise that you need to keep them on hand to demonstrate and/or sell to others. Almost all modern, reputable direct selling companies take orders and ship directly to your customer, so, with rare exception, there is very little need to purchase or stock inventory.

Likewise, if you spend even as much as several hundred dollars on nutritional products for you or your family, that’s fine too. But if you then purchase hundreds or thousands of dollars more of the product just to qualify for an increased level of compensation or bonus money, again, not a wise thing to do at all. Businesses make money by selling legitimate products and services to others at a fair and honest profit. You DO NOT make money if you are the only one buying all of the products and services yourself!

It is very common for some companies to offer various levels at which you can start and/or continue to qualify monthly. This is especially true of nutritional companies. Determine ahead of time which level you can be satisfied with and whether or not your budget will allow you to continue to make whatever purchases are required each month to stay qualified.

Another common requirement with companies of all times and especially those in the telecom and financial services industries is that some kind of training package must be purchased in order for you to qualify for certain promotions in compensation and bonuses. This is usually an option that you can elect to add either at the time you sign up, or later, though sometimes you may lose certain opportunities by not doing so in the beginning. Again, be sure to get all of the information about what the requirements are. In these kinds of programs even though the purchase of the additional training is, “optional,” if you do not you will not be promoted and thus you may miss out on substantial extra income and bonus money.

In each of the above scenarios it may also be a requirement that in order for you to step up in the compensation plan that others whom you have either personally sponsored or are within your organization have made this same additional investment. And, since leadership is by example, always keep in mind that it will be easier to interest others within your organization if you’ve made the same investment.

To recap: Make sure when you research an opportunity and signup that you understand not just what the “basic” or minimal costs are to get your foot in the door, but that you understand the true cost of getting off to the right (and best) start that will give you the maximum chance of being successful.


A very large percentage of people getting involved in a home business or network marketing for the first time make the mistake of overlooking what their after-signup and ongoing costs will be. If done correctly there is no reason why these costs need to be high. However, without the additional investment you quite literally may find it extremely difficult to get your business off the ground successfully.

As you can learn by reading some of the articles and free reports on, it is usually NOT the best idea to start by trying to talk to your friends, family, or co-workers. Therefore, you’re going to need to purchase (or generate) some kind of leads. Here again, through articles and training available from you’ll learn why you should never pay more than 5 to 50 cents a lead unless it’s a lead you generate yourself. However, even if you assume an average cost of 20 cents per lead, which is 500 leads for $100, you’ll probably go through at least 500 to 1,500 as you work your way through the learning curve on your way to profitability. So, if, hypothetically, it only cost you $39.95 to sign up, you would still need to budget at least $300 more dollars to purchase enough leads to have a reasonable chance at becoming profitable. These same guidelines apply whether you are dealing in small amounts like those above, or much larger amounts.

In addition you have to, at the very least, figure in the cost of telephone calls, and, if you conduct your business via local meetings, perhaps even the cost of renting conference room facilities, etc.

Regardless of whether you are dealing with smaller amounts of hundreds of dollars, or with larger amounts running into the thousands, remember that lack of capital is one of the leading causes of failure in all businesses of any type. If you cannot afford to invest the money that will truly be needed to get your business off to the right start, then you may want to seriously evaluate whether or not you might be better off waiting until you can.


More often than not when someone ends up having more money come in that was the case previously, especially if it’s a significant amount, they often spend all or most of the money instead of seriously giving thought to how much they should invest back into their business. Big mistake!

If you don’t reinvest back into your business, you may not be able to sustain sufficient growth and revenue to make your business viable. That’s why the old saying, “it takes money to make money,” still has a great deal of truth to it.

Because most home businesses require relatively little overhead you can indeed keep more of what you make. Whereas in a traditional business (such as your local grocery store) as little as 5 cents out of every dollar may end up as profit, home businesses and network marketing often enable you to earn as much as 30% to 50% profit, or more.

The more money you are already accustomed to making then, in theory, the less this may apply to you. If you are already earning a high income and/or 6-figures, then you’ll need to adjust these examples accordingly.

However, for example’s sake, let’s say that someone who earns $2,000 a month all of a sudden gets a check due to their home business efforts for $1,000. Perhaps prior to that he or she had some bills they were behind on, or maybe there is a dream vacation they’ve been wanting to take, etc. It certainly may be tempting to spend most or all of those new earnings.

However, it’s very likely that you incurred some expense in earning that initial check, including your initial signup costs? If so, then for starters it might be a good idea to “repay” or at least put back into your budget at least that amount.

Let’s say for examples sake that your expenses looked something like this:

Signup costs: $500
Products you purchased: $200
Leads and/or advertising: $200
Total = $900

It’s very likely that you may have incurred even more expense initially getting started. However, if your first check was for $1,000 then you realistically need to consider the fact that you’ve really only made an initial profit of $100. Especially if you are tempted to spend that initial check on something else you might not be happy about the prospect of having only earned a net profit of $100.

However, when you consider that you’ve now successfully added $100 to your budget that wasn’t there before, that’s not bad at all. Especially when you consider that, as mentioned above, the average profit for a traditional business may be as little as 5 cents on the dollar ( 5 percent). AND, most traditional businesses involve substantially more startup costs and may not show a profit at all for months or even years. So, to earn $100 ( or a 10 percent ) profit in just your first weeks or months in the business, again, really isn’t all bad at all.

What you do with that remaining $100 is up to you, but below I’ll offer a few suggestions as to how you might want to be thinking as the weeks and months go by and you continue to grow you business.

If your first month you earned $1,000 and made a profit of $100, then in your next month, as long as you continue to do the same things, it’s very realistically possible that you may earn at least as much if not more. Keeping in mind that these are only hypothetical examples. Some people earn much, much more in their first weeks in their new businesses, while most probably earn much less. It’s not at all uncommon for a first check in a network marketing business to be less than $300.

However, using the same kinds of numbers we are already working with, let’s assume that your second month looks something like this:

Earnings: $1,100.00
Signup costs: N/A
Products you purchased: $200
Leads and/or advertising: $200
Total Earnings = $1,100
Total Expenses = $400
Total Profit = $700

Just by virtue of the fact that you don’t have to factor in your initial signup costs your profit margin is already improving. You’ve also earned a little more money this month as your business starts to grow.

So, you now seemingly have more money in budget. At first you only made a true profit of $100, but now you seem to have an extra $700 this month?

Well, if you are tracking your expenses then you can easily see that, at least currently, your expenses are running about $400 a month each and every month, and that, at least so far, you are making a net profit of $700 a month.

So, what do you do next? Extenuating circumstances may prevent you from reinvesting back into your business as much as you would like to. You may have pressing bills that need to be paid, for instance. However, barring extenuating circumstances, it’s definitely time to start thinking about how serious you are about your business, how much you want to reinvest, and how quickly you want to try to make your business grown.

First, there is an age-old rule that money financial planners, money managers, and home business experts would likely tend to agree on. It’s called the 10-10-10 rule.

Always put at least 10 percent of your earnings (preferably your gross earnings, as opposed to taking it out of your net profit) into savings and “safe” investments for the future, and for retirement.

Reinvest AT LEAST 10 percent back into your business.

And, depending upon your own personal faith and beliefs, apply at least 10 percent toward helping others, whether family members, your church, your favorite charity, etc.

The more money you make the more opportunity you have to change the numbers by reinvesting more back into your business and yourself.

As business and success philosopher and speaker extraordinaire Jim Rohn points out, the more money a person make, assuming they are managing their money wisely, the higher their percentages will be.

For instance, while the average person might save as little as 10 percent of what they make and spend the rest, Jim Rohn saves and invests as much as 90 percent of what he makes, and lives off the remaining 10 percent. Easier to do when earning a higher income.

As you continue to work to achieve greater success in your business you will continue to adjust your own personal numbers. In general, however, the more money that you invest ( wisely ) back into your business on those things that make it grow and produce more income, the better off you are likely to be. Eventually, you will reach a point where you have both enough money coming in to reinvest significant sums back into your business and your future, AND have plenty of extra money left over to do the things that you enjoy in life!

If you are comfortable using a computer then picking up a good financial management and/or accounting program can assist you greatly with issues regarding budgeting and managing your personal and business finances.

There are a number of good products on the market. However, after having used them all since the very first such software appeared over a decade ago, my personal preference is for the Intuit line of products.

If you make less than $100,000 a year then their Quicken line of software can handle both your personal and business accounting needs, while keeping them both separate if necessary. If you make more than $100,000 a year, or plan to, then you may want to consider using Quicken for your personal finances and their QuickBooks like of software for managing your business finances.

You can visit Intuit’s Website to learn more, and their products are also carried by most major retailers that carry software, such as Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Max, Office Depot, etc.

Up to 25% Off Quicken Products + Free Shipping

Another product/service worth considering is a very unique and powerful subscription service offered by EverydayWealth. It offers many features similar to the software above, but doesn’t require you to install any software on your computer and goes beyond what most financial software does by actually playing an active role in showing you how to leverage your current financial position and even your current debt, into greater wealth. Most people aren’t wealthy, but most people do have debt, and EverydayWealth allows you to literally turn your debt into increased wealth.

Bringing More Money Into Your Life: A Short Review

Money, financial success, prosperity, abundance, all terms describing an area of life that is almost an obsession in modern society.  It can also be of great concern to those pursuing self development, self actualization or various paths of self help.  This article is to briefly touch on a few key points concerning this area of self development and hopefully give some direction to those wishing to pursue this further.

First of all, one of the characteristics of money relevant to today’s article, is that money is a multiplier.  In other words, whatever your current overall condition of being is, if you suddenly have more money that condition will be amplified.  If you are generally happy and handling your life in a positive manner, more money will help you in that direction. If you are unhappy, neurotic or otherwise dysfunctional, more money will also help you in that direction.  This is why there are happy, well adjusted “poor” people and also the cliché of the miserable rich person.  Which person is really “rich’ or “poor”?  As the popular music group the Beatles sang “Can’t Buy Me Love”….  This shows us that the environment we create from what is inside us is a more powerful creator of our condition of reality than money!

Many of us are concerned about the lack of money.  What can we say about this popular topic?  Those who are working on dealing with this issue may want to check as to whether they have ever asked to specifically improve their financial condition.  Who or what to ask are beyond the scope of this article, but the point needs to be noted.

Another area regarding the lack of money can be described as “abundance blockers”.  It is not uncommon for a person to be double minded about money issues.  While they consciously profess a desire to improve their financial condition, a part of the person, usually subconsciously, works against that desire.  Financial success may be associated with such negatives as excessive work, less family time, more responsibility, shallowness, lack of spirituality, or hurting the people around you.  Attitudes expressed by family members about finances, that you may not even agree with, may be unconsciously influencing your behavior  with little awareness on your part.  Various techniques to identify and remove such blockages can be sought out by the individual wishing to advance in this area or others.  Some individuals can identify a life cycle that they  have repeated multiple times.  A typical cycle involves an individual advancing financially or other ways and then suddenly falling back to prior levels due to unconscious blockages or scripts they are acting out.

Another aspect of this subject to be aware of is the idea of “financial freedom”.  Better finances are supposed to give you more freedom in life.  Perhaps more freedom is not best for you at this time.  Perhaps a lesser degree of freedom would help you to develop considerably beyond where you would be if you had financial freedom now.  Something else to consider…
This article has attempted to reveal and review some of the relevant issues involved in bringing more money into your life and improving your finances.  For a more comprehensive treatment of this self development topic and many more, see our FREE ebook  “Manifesting Mindset” as described below.

Breaking the Habit: Overcoming your Shyness

Do you often feel uneasy in social settings?  Do large gathering of people make you want to retreat back to the safety and solitude of your home?  Do you often break out in a sweat or get nervous when at a large function?  If any of these sounds familiar you probably are one of the many people who suffer from social anxiety disorder.  The good news is with time, counseling and practice you can join the ranks of the hundreds of thousands of people who are breaking the habit and re-introducing themselves to social settings with ease.

Many of us yearn to be able to get up in front of large crowds of people and be in the spotlight.  We see others around us who are at ease with being the center of attention and the respect they earn for doing so.  Yet when it comes time for us to take the stage or be the center of attention we often feel ill or uneasy about the entire situation.  While some may think of this as purely a habit that has no consequences except for our embarrassment, the truth of the matter is people who are uneasy about themselves or react badly in social gatherings tend to be passed over in life for promotions, advancement and just being a "part of the group".

There are a number of methods and simple at-home exercises you can do to help you overcome your anxiety and re-join the crowds and social activities you may have had to give up out of fear.  A number of online support groups as well as local support resources provide the information and help many people need to regain control of their fears and stare them down.

If you believe you may be suffering from this disorder start by reaching out for help either online or locally.  You don't need to be afraid of interacting with society - there are those out there who can help you.

Breaking Bad Habits Of Failure

People living today are extremely lucky. 50 years ago the internet never even existed, and cable TV was something you read about in sci-fi magazines. Now, thanks to the internet, you can find information on virtually anything you want, instantly. Something which was only a dream just 10 years ago.

Yet with all this information available to us, people still fail to become successful in life. Why is this? After all, there is so much self help information available telling us how to be successful, but most people still fail to achieve success. And why do people still suffer from depression, when there are so many books telling them how to live a great life?

The fact is, information is not the problem. And no matter how much technology advances, people will always have the same problems.

What Are The Reasons People Fail To Achieve Success?

If you ask someone why they never succeeded in what they were trying to do, they will most likely tell you it was someone else’s fault, or something happened that was beyond their control. However if you compare that persons life against someone else’s life, you could probably find many examples of people who suffered under far worse conditions yet still became a success.

This shows us that the real reason people fail is not because of something outside of them, rather the reason lies within.

Internal Reasons For Failure

When you continue to do the same thing over and over again it is called a habit. You are probably familiar with bad habits such as smoking, but are you familiar with the habits of failure or the habits of success?

Creating Habits Of Success

Since success or failure is ultimately achieved through the actions you take, habits therefore play a tremendous role in determining whether you will achieve success or failure in life. For example. If you read everyday, that is a habit. This habit is likely to expand your knowledge of a subject, and vastly improve the chances you will master and be successful at it.

However, let’s say that instead of reading everyday, you prefer to sit down and watch TV for a few hours. Do you think this will help you master any subject? Or become an expert in your field? In all likelihood, the answer will be no.

So if you look at achieving success or failure in terms of the actions you repeat on a daily basis, then it is quite simple to understand why some people succeed, and others complain of failure. People who are successful continually do things on a daily basis that will increase their chances of success. Whilst unsuccessful people do not.

This does not mean successful people never fail, they do. But what they don’t do is give up, because they have developed habits of success.

Change Your Habits!

The message you should take away from this article is that in order to experience change in your life you must first identify your habits. Think about what do you do on a daily basis, and ask yourself if those things help you achieve what you want in life?

If the answer is no, you must then change those habits, because by doing the same thing over and over again you will only get the same results over and over again.

Beyond Expectation And Enjoy Success

The basic but important principle of success in life and business is to give better service with a positive mental attitude above and beyond what is expected Nature applies this principle in the production of foods that grow from the soil. The farmer is forced to go the extra mile, clearing the land, plowing it and planting the seed at the right time of the year. He receives no pay in advance for his labor but he works in harmony with nature's laws with the necessary requirements. Nature takes over and germinates the seed he plants and develops it into a crop of food.

For every grain of wheat or corn planted, nature yields hundreds of grains. Nature goes the extra mile by producing enough of every living thing to ensure the survival of the species. Nature discourages the habit of getting something for nothing!

In the animal world, there is no fresh lunch.
Animals in the wild must either forage for leaves and berries or hunt down their prey to survive. Nature supplies the source of food for every living thing but every creature must work to obtain that food.

Going the extra mile in the workplace
An efficient and courteous server in a restaurant is a prime
example of going the extra mile. Most people will notice the extra attention along with good service and leave a generous tip. Anyone may earn a living without going the extra mile but they will not enjoy the economic security and luxuries.

Colonel Sanders of 'Kentucky Fried Chicken' fame pitched his famous recipe over a thousand times before it was picked up and promoted. We all know the rest of the story! Had he given up at any time he would have been stuck with his minimal monthly pension. The Colonel proved that going the extra mile with a positive mental attitude will help anyone achieve their goals.

Advantages of going beyond expectation:

1. Job security when employment is scarce
2. Extra compensation for services rendered
3. Builds a positive mental attitude
4. Develops personal initiative
5. Has a positive effect on co-workers and employees
6. Helps to develop a definite purpose
7. Creates a sense of direction in life
8. Prevents procrastination
9. Helps to keep a clear conscience
10.Stimulates the soul

So if you go the extra mile and make it a daily habit you will stand out in a crowd and enjoy endless success for the rest of your life!

Best Leadership Advice: Business Success Secrets From 7 Top Leaders

Fortune magazine once published an article entitled "The Best Advice I Ever Got." It was a great article that offered wit and wisdom about achieving business success. I liked it so much, that it motivated me to produce my newest book, Leadership:Best Advice I Ever Got, which describes the best leadership advice 136 successful CEOs, coaches, consultants, professors, managers, executives, presidents, politicians, and religious leaders received that most helped them become effective and successful leaders.

<b><u>Here are 7 secrets to leadership success:</b></u>

<b>1. Leadership is about making things happen</b>

If you want to make something happen with your life, in school, in your profession or in your community, do it. Perceived obstacles crumble against persistent desire. John Baldoni, Author, Leadership Communication Consultant and Founder of Baldoni Consulting LLC, shared this advice that had come from his father, a physician. He taught him the value of persistence. At the same time, his mother taught him compassion for others. Therefore, persistence for your cause should not be gained at the expense of others. Another bit of leadership wisdom!

<b>2. Listen and understand the issue, then lead</b>

Time and time again we have all been told, "God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason"...or as Stephen Covey said..."Seek to understand, rather than be understood."  As a leader, listening first to the issue, then trying to coach, has been the most valuable advice that Cordia Harrington, President and CEO of Tennessee Bun Company has been given.

<b>3. Answer the three questions everyone within your organization wants answers to</b>

What the people of an organization want from their leader are answers to the following:  Where are we going?  How are we going to get there?  What is my role? Kevin Nolan, President & Chief Executive Officer of Affinity Health Systems, Inc. believes the more clarity that can be added to each of the three questions, the better the result.  

<b>4. Master the goals that will allow you to work anywhere in today’s dynamic business world</b>

Debbe Kennedy, President, CEO and Founder of Global Dialogue Center and Leadership Solutions Companies, and author of Action Dialogues and Breakthrough once shared this piece of advice that was instrumental in shaping her direction, future and achievements.

She was a young manager at IBM just promoted to her first staff assignment in a regional marketing office. For reasons she can’t explain, one of her colleagues named Bookie called her into his office while she was visiting his location.  He then began to offer unsolicited advice, but advice that now stays fresh in her mind. He mentioned that jobs, missions, titles and organizations would come and go as business is dynamic-- meaning it is always changing. He advised her not to focus your goals toward any of these, but instead learn to master the skills that will allow you to work anywhere.

He was talking about four skills:
<li>The ability to develop an idea</li>
<li>Effectively plan for its implementation</li>
<li>Execute second-to-none</li>
<li>Achieve superior results time after time</li></ul>

With this in mind, Kennedy advises readers to seek jobs and opportunities with this in mind. Forget what others do. Work to be known for delivering excellence. It speaks for itself and it opens doors.

<b>5. Be curious</b>

Curiosity is a prerequisite to continuous improvement and even excellence. The person who gave Mary Jean Thornton, Former Executive Vice President & CIO, The Travelers this advice urged her to study people, processes, and structures. He inspired her to be intellectually curious. He often reminded Thornton that making progress, in part, was based upon thinking. She has learned to apply this notion of intellectual curiosity by thinking about her organization’s future, understanding the present, and knowing and challenging herself to creatively move the people and the organization closer to its vision.

<b>6. Listen to both sides of the argument</b>

The most valuable advice Brian P. Lees, Massachusetts State Senator and Senate Minority Leader ever received came from his mentor, United States Senator Edward W. Brooke III.  He told him to listen to all different kinds of people and ideas. Listening only to those who share your background and opinions can be imprudent.  It is important to respect your neighbors’ rights to their own views.  Listening to and talking with a variety of people, from professors to police officers, from senior citizens to schoolchildren, is essential not only to be a good leader in business, but to also be a valuable member within your community.

<b>7. Prepare, prepare, prepare</b>

If you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail. If one has truly prepared and something goes wrong the strength of the rest of what you've prepared for usually makes this something easier to handle without crisis and panic.  One of the best pieces of advice Dave Hixson, Men’s Varsity Basketball Coach at Amherst College has ever received and continues to use and pass on is this anonymous quote, "Preparation is the science of winning."

Along with this are two expressions from Rick Pitino's book Success is a Choice, which speaks to preparation. Hixson asks his teams every year: "Do you deserve to win?" and "Have you done the work?"  This speaks to the importance of preparation toward achieving your final goal. If you haven't done the work (preparation) the answer to the second question is an easy "no!"

Great advice comes from many sources: parents, other relatives, consultants, bosses, co-workers, mentors, teachers, coaches, and friends. The important point to remember is to stay open, listen to everyone, but also develop your own leadership style.

Belief and Success

Life has different colors. It presents us with various problems from time to time. Sometimes the obstacles are small and sometimes they are so big, that one stops on the way. Looking and thinking about the obstacles of such magnitude, one starts believing that they are unsurmountable.

At this point in our life, what about asking ourselves few questions about our belief? What if someone tells you- believe in yourself, believe in your abilities, and believe that whatever may be the obstacle, you have the strength to overcome it. Believe and you will find a way.

Our beliefs

The focus is on belief. What do we believe about our abilities? Do we believe that we can overcome any obstacle? Do we believe that we have the ability? Do we have strong faith in our persistence? Do we know how to think and find out ways? Do we know how to pray and seek answers? Do we think that we are the winners? These are the questions that we should ask ourselves.

What is belief and how does it help us succeed?

Belief, a very strong belief in our ability gives us the strength and the positive attitude that helps us find out answers to every problem. If we believe that we will be able to find the solution, we will be excited to work towards it. If we doubt our ability, then we have already lost the war. Belief is a very strong medicine and it works in wonderful ways. Believe that you will be able to find out all solutions. Believe that you will overcome all problems. Believe that you will emerge successful. Belive that you are a winner. Believe that you deserve success. Believe that you have the mental and physical strngth to fight against all the odds. Believe. There can be no bigger magic than strong belief.