Right Now?

I had a team member from a different department reach out to me recently asking to meet. He wants to talk about how he can get into my department.  I have a relatively small department with no immediate openings.  But that’s not what I’ll focus our conversation on later this month.

Instead of addressing “is the time right now?”, I’ll be asking “are you the right person doing the right things”.

I’ve seen this play out too many times in my career.  People want to create an opportunity when I wish they would work on character (being the right person) and results (doing the right things).

If a person wants to be considered for a promotion, move to a different department, find a job, be considered for that next big project – they need to be focusing on what they can control TODAY to be prepared for tomorrow.  None of us can control timing.  But we can control our character and our results.

If a person is lacking in character and not achieving the necessary results, timing won’t matter.  It’s too late if you’re the type of person no one wants to work with and you’re known for not performing up to the company’s standard.

So what can a person do to be prepared?

Demonstrate integrity in your interactions.  Encourage others.  Be helpful.  Collaborate.  Innovate.  Be the right person.

Know your goals and not only achieve them, but exceed them.  Help your team members.  Find new avenues for revenues.  Do the right things.

THEN…at the right time (which you do not get to control), you’ll be ready.  Will all of this guarantee a promotion?  NO.  But I can guarantee you’ll not get far if you ignore being the right person who is doing the right things.

Right now starts today to create the tomorrow you wish to have.


2017 Goal Update

One of my 2017 goals is to read 12 books this year. For the most part, I followed Jeff Olson’s advice and read 10 pages a day. How have I done so far?

I just finished book #4.

  1. The Traveler’s Gift 
  2. Pay-off
  3. Gritty
  4. Take the Stairs

Now, most of these books are not long books. But I did read them. And I’ve accomplished more by doing small, incremental steps towards my goals (what Olson calls “the slight edge”).  

On to book #5!

Define or Refine by Jere Johnson

​This guest post is from my youngest brother.  You’ll appreciate his insights. 
There was a young man years ago that failed in his job, failed in his business, failed in public office, had a mental breakdown, lost the love of his life, and then was elected to be our President.  No, it was not Donald Trump, but our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.  However, what many people do not know was that in almost every year that he suffered a setback, he responded with a success in another area of his life.  

Everyday, people all over the world experience tremendous success and/or devastating failure. But it is how they individually respond that will determine if their circumstance will define who they are or refine who they will become. 

While watching my son at a basketball game recently, he made a poor pass and was taken out of the game and was ridiculed and embarrassed by his coach on the bench.  I could tell by my son’s body language that he allowed what the coach was saying to define who he was in the moment.

A defining moment is an event that happens to a person that is seen to clearly start a change for future occurrences.  These moments can have both positive or negative effects.  In many cases it creates a negative response or effect for the person involved.  

A salesman who loses the huge bid is defined as a can’t-close-the-deal guy or a player who misses a last second shot and loses the game is defined as a loser.  Are these defining moments actually true?  The sad reality is these moments can label a person and convince them that they will always be a loser.

But there is hope!  

Countless men and women in history used their defining moments and turned them into refining opportunities for growth and future success.  To refine something you put it to the test by making the necessary changes to become better.  Lincoln could have allowed all these past failures to define him, but he used each situation to refine and change for greater successful.

Where are you at today?  Are you being defined by what others are saying about you or are you using their comments/actions to refine you to something greater? 

The greatest person to ever walk this earth (no, still not Donald Trump) was defined by the leaders of his day as a lunatic, liar, and loser.  He was mocked, mired, and maligned to point of death.  Society’s defining moment for him was his death, death on a cross. But this is not how it was finished.  He knew that his death did not define who He was, but it was merely the beginning of His refining moment…his resurrection three days later.  This labeled lunatic, liar, loser was truly our Lord, Jesus Christ.  

Christ throughout the Bible shows us so many societal defining moments He turned to refining ministry.  How can you follow the greatest leader to ever live and take devastating defining moments, and create redemptive refining moments in your life?  

Here are some practical ways to move beyond defining to refining:
1. Get a notebook and write down every time someone “defines” you…you can’t do this or you will never do that…use these moments/times as fuel to refine and re-stoke your fire for greater goals.

2. Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from what you can do.  Coach John Wooden preached this maxim to his UCLA teams and 10 National titles later we all knew their greatness.

3. Believe in yourself.  There might be a day that you are the only one who does believe in you, but never give up on something you truly believe in.  Your next sale or shot is counting on you to come through. 

4. Next chance you get, prove them wrong and show them no matter what they say or what they do, you will not be defined by it, but take what they say and help it refine you into something greater!

I don’t know about you, but I am glad that Abraham Lincoln was not defined by his failures, but used them to refine who he ultimately became, a great man of compassion and secured freedom for all future generations.  It’s now your time…don’t let anything or anyone define your life. 

YOU refine it to an amazing successful future!

Follow Jere on LinkedIn at:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/jere-johnson-0434b095

Jere and his wife, Stacey, live in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

There is Always a Way

“…with enough resilience, enough innovation, and enough focus, there is always a way.  You have to be so focused on finding a way that you don’t even pay attention to the normal obstacles that slow most people down.”

Sue Schick, Chief Growth Officer, United HealthCare of Philadelphia as shared in Rory Vaden’s Take the Stairs.

Leadership Outside of Your Walls by Jim Johnson

Last fall, I began something with my leadership team that has proven to be very meaningful and productive.  We periodically will get outside of the office to meet with community business leaders and entrepreneurs to learn how they succeed in their areas of expertise.  These “field trips” have so far taken us to a local pickle factory (Sechler’s) where we learned how the new owner of this 90+ year old business increased profitability  through simple innovation.

We’ve met with a sales executive and process improvement executive at a local, family-owned bakery (Aunt Millie’s).  We learned how innovation has increased their local sales reach to the other side of the planet. We discussed strategies of employee engagement and how to build a lasting company culture.

Soon, we will be meeting with an executive who has vast experiences in community outreach initiatives as well as experience in serving the Governor of the State of Indiana (now Vice President of the United States).  One of our focus points will be how leaders can (should) positively impact their communities through their invest of time/talents.

These experiences have opened our minds to how we lead, how we serve our teams and our members (customers) and they have pushed us to continually challenge ourselves to innovate.

If you lead a group of leaders, I encourage you to periodically go beyond your offices and discover what gems your community has in it.  There is so much to learn from the leaders around you.