Doing & Being Anyway…by Jim Johnson

You know these people at work. They live under the radar. But more than that, they get special recognition and even rewards for things they do when many others in the organization consistently are doing the same thing. They get promotions. They get or give themselves new titles. They undermine the company culture, but somehow they are seen as the “darlings” of the executives.

Truth: doing the right thing and being the right person does not guarantee you will win at work. You’ve been around long enough to know that life is not fair and sometimes, you end up on the short end of the deal.

Question: is living up to standards, achieving and exceeding goals, being professional and mature…is it all worth it?

Quick answer: YES! Refusing to live and act to the lowest common denominator is worth it! Doing the right thing and being the right person is always right.

It is not easy, but it’s worth it. You know that. I know that.

Being reasonable with unreasonable people is difficult.

Being certain in an uncertain work environment is difficult.

Living up to standards while others around you are trying to constantly redefine the standards to make sure their behaviors fit it…that is difficult.

While I’m not that old, I have learned some things about folks who seem to “get by” and get ahead for all the wrong reasons. It will not last forever. It won’t.

Doing the wrong thing and being the wrong person will create:

* the lack of trust from others. That leaves that person having to constantly look over their shoulder as alliances change.

* the lack of respect from others. They become a joke behind their backs.

* the manipulation of the numbers, goals, results (or at least the understanding of those things), and that will not last.

* isolation. The wrong people end up alone or with very few around them as other “followers” get tired of the games that get them no where. Followers don’t always win in these situations. It’s usually about the “wrong” leader getting ahead and no one else.

* a removal from power. When those around the wrong people have had enough, actions can be taken to remove that person from power.

The choice is yours. Do the right thing and be the right person. Looking in the mirror with no regrets is healthy and will lead to success. It will.

You are Your Own Business by Jim Johnson

You are your own business. I heard this from a favorite radio personality, Charly Butcher of WOWO radio. Have you ever thought of your job that way?

Most of us probably live our lives at work fairly passively. We do our jobs, and expect the paycheck. We get assignments, we’re assigned projects… we just do our jobs.

But what will set you apart from others at your office who have been living just like you?

It basically comes down to being actively involved in your job rather than being a passive participant.  What if you took a different approach to your job?

Look at you as your own business.

– Act as though the money you spend is your money. Will you use that resource the same?

– Protect your personal brand. Always be aware of your working relationships.  Pay attention to how you communicate and interact with others.

– Find efficiencies that will make you more effective and will allow you to bring more value.

– Increase sales and revenue. Businesses do not thrive if revenues disappear. Exceed your goals. Find new revenue streams. Understand which delivery channels are performing and which are not.

– Champion innovation. Read. Think. Experiment. Inquire. Try something new. Interact with other innovators.

Think about this idea. Try it. I think it can transform how you approach your work and will improve your results.

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Blind Eye by Jim Johnson

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A pit fall of any leader is turning a blind eye to things that can ultimately hurt you, your integrity, and your reputation.

 

  • Ignoring poor performance of a staff member over and over.
  • Allowing certain staff members to “get away” with coming in late, taking longer lunches, gossiping, surfing the internet while others on your staff work hard to do right and be right.
  • Allowing some staff members to regularly share negative thoughts and feelings about their coworkers and then you begin to believe these things, too – and you haven’t personally invested in those other people.
  • Allowing yourself to say what’s on your mind without filtering your thoughts and words first.
  • Blowing up and getting angry in public.
  • Playing favorites.
  • Saying one thing, but doing another

 

Many leaders succumb to some of these things during their career.  The successful ones aren’t blinded to these and other shortcomings.  They know what they need to do in order to minimize and/or eliminate their blind eye:

  • They hold their staff accountable to their performance.  They have regular coaching sessions which keep results and behavior standards in the fore front.
  • They hold everyone on their team to the same basic/core standards.  If arriving to work on time is good for the team (and it is), it is good for ALL of the team.
  • Do not allow a staff member talk with you negatively about another staff member.  As the leader of your team, it is YOUR responsibility to monitor and deal with each of your team members.  It is the responsibility of your team to focus on their own personal performance.  If a staff member insists on bad talking another (I’m not talking about ignoring violations such as stealing, harassment, etc), try saying this next time:  “I understand you have a personal issue with that person.  But it is not appropriate for me to talk with you about that person’s performance.  That’s not your job.  That’s my job.  Your job is to focus on your results and performance.  So, we can talk about what you’re doing right now to move this department/company forward.  But what I won’t allow is for you to talk to me about someone else’s performance.  That’s not your job.  So, how are you doing with….?”  Become a broken record on this point.  Your staff will quickly realize that their responsibility is on their own personal results.
  • Seek out a trusted resource at your work place and allow them to ask you tough questions.  “What am I being blind to?”  And if they tell you, act on that!  Seeking truth and then ignoring it will quickly ruin your integrity and reputation.

We all have blind spots.  All of us.  If you are fortunate enough to discover them, intentionally act to remove them.  Will most people see this happening?  Perhaps not.  But you will move yourself towards becoming a respected, trusted leader who is recognized as authentic, approachable, and effective.

 

“Authenticity is the alignment of the head, mouth, heart, and feet – thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing – consistently.  This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust.” 

Lance Secretan

Cleaning, Passion, Growth…Adam Ross interview by Jim Johnson

On September 11, 2013, I sat down with Adam Ross, owner of Ross Cleaning & Restoration (www.rossrestoration.com).  Our families attend the same church and our children attend the same school.  Prior to this interview, I had not known what Adam did.  On the first day of school, I noticed he was wearing a branded shirt with his company’s logo on it.  I sent him a couple of emails and we set up our lunch interview appointment.  I think you are going to find his story interesting.

HISTORY

Adam told me his father is an entrepreneur/small business owner.  Adam grew up watching his dad start and grow several businesses.  It appears it got into his blood.  Adam told me he started off attending college, but it became quickly apparent that school was not for him.

In 1999, Adam worked for Stanley Steamer.  Then the following year, while working for Carpet One, he saw ad for Steamatic in newspaper and looked into buying the Las Vegas franchise.  He decided against but then opened Steam-it in 2002 which he later sold in 2005.  Adam and his wife moved to Vegas in July ’05 but then returned in January ’06 with a baby on the way. In 2007, he opened Ross Cleaning and Restoration.

STAFF

Ross Cleaning has 2 crews right now.  I asked how he builds his business.  Angie’s List has played a big part in promoting the business, Adam explains.  “There are over 90 carpet cleaning companies in our area.  On Angie’s List, Ross Cleaning has over 70 reviews – the vast majority are very positive.  My nearest competitor has only 6 reviews.” This customer-driven website has brought in a lot of new business.

I asked Adam about his staff.  “I’ve always had good luck with staff.  I felt the need to always have a “right hand man” and I have a great one now,” Adam told me.  Adam is proud of his professional, clean-cut team.  It sets his business apart from most of the others.

BRANDING

I asked why people would choose Ross Cleaning over other companies.  What makes his company different/better?

Adam explained that they are very good at cleaning carpets and they charge fair prices. He is very proud of the fact that he and his crews build great relationships with customers – many of whom have been customers for years.  Adam intentionally seeks out business opportunities.  As a result, his company has solid business relationships with area apartment complexes and property managers.

Customer retention has been key to Adam’s success.  “The first time doing business with someone, I don’t make a lot of money.  My goal is to get hired the 2nd time by them.”  Adam relies heavily on “promoters”  who tell friends and families about the positive experience they’ve had.  “It can’t be just a one-time cleaning…ever.  With over 90 carpet cleaners in town, consumers have a lot of options.”

Adam has learned that he can’t simply rely on the basics of cleaning.  He needs to diversify.  “Everything we do compliments something else.  From carpet cleaning to air duct cleaning to mold remediation, we have to be better than others.”

One point Adam made was his skill and ability to build relationships with new and existing customers.  He can walk into a home or business and see items that reveal what is valued by this person.  Adam has learned to use his observation skills to start-up a conversation with folks that will eventually lead to a more solid, long-lasting relationship.  “We clean some million dollar homes and they leave us alone in their house to our work – they trust us.”  .

Adam hires intentionally:  his team has to also believe in the business as much as he does.  “We invest a lot in our business, education staff, and equipment.  We are professionals.  It breaks my heart when we get a review that’s not so good.  I take it personally…everytime.”

GROWTH

I asked about Adam how, when he started, he went about building his business.  In the early days, he had to go out every day to look for work. “I’d do the work for free just to get my name out. I had to keep moving.  This really helped me spread the word.  I had to practice and preach about my new business.”  In other words, Adam took action even if he didn’t feel like doing it. “I was always good with numbers – bills were coming in and I knew I had to work to pay them.”

Finally, I asked how Adam approaches growth now.  “I had to learn to start working on the business instead of in the business.  I had to hire more people to do the tasks.  I had to let go of control and focus on things I was really good at.”

As a result, Ross Cleaning & Restoration is now debt free.  But that doesn’t keep Adam from losing focus.  “Employees are like family. We know each other’s secrets.  I worry about the next week’s sales, that we hit our numbers.”

Take-a-ways for Leaders/Managers in a Traditional Work Setting:

  • Be passionate.  It’s your business.  Throw yourself into it!
  • Be wise in your hiring. Hiring the right people is critically important in building your business.  The right people will build your brand.  They will bring you success.  They are the living, breathing brand promise with every interaction with your customers.
  • Customer retention is key.  When you make a sale, look to deepen the relationship.  Get “hired” the 2nd time.  You cannot survive on “one-sies”.
  • Learn more about your business.  Keep up on new developments.  Apply what you’ve learned.
  • Build relationships, not just a portfolio.  Your customers are people with needs, dreams, and drives.  Learn what those are. Be the solution for them.
  • When in doubt, act.  If sales are slow, go out and work the streets.  Don’t let a slow down slow you down.  Just keep moving, acting, thinking, doing, creating.  If you don’t, your business will not grow.
  • Work on your business and not just in it.  Focus.  Help your team to focus.  Everyone on your team cannot all be doing the same thing at the same time.  Do what you do best.
  • Act like you own the joint.  It’s far too easy to hold a mindset of “oh, the company will take care of ____”.  When you spend money, think and act like it’s your money.  When you have to dedicate time to a project, it’s your time you are investing.  Act like an owner in all you do.

To learn more about Adam’s company, visit their website at:  http://www.rossrestoration.com/.

The Mind & Spirit of an Entrepeneur by Jim Johnson

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What is it with entrepreneurs!?  Have you ever asked yourself that before?  You see folks who have built a business up and are their own bosses.  Many of us admire them while others of us think those folks are crazy!

I’ve decided to interview local entrepreneurs here in my town, Fort Wayne, Indiana.  I want to learn how they became an entrepreneur and why they made this decision.  I want to learn what drives them, what scares them, what inspires them.  I want to learn how they achieve.  I want to learn how they deal with obstacles and failure.

cubicle aisle

 

Most of us work for and in traditional companies.  We come in daily and punch the figurative or literal time clock.  There are no entrepreneurs down a cubicle aisle, right?  Or are there?…

  •  What if managers/leaders in a traditional company began to think and act more like an entrepreneur?
  • What would that look like?
  • How would that impact their performance and bottom line?
  • How would they treat their staff differently?

I think I’m going to learn – and you’re going to learn – a lot about ourselves and much more from entrepreneurs through this process.  I’m excited about this adventure.  Please share these posts with others.  Please drop me a comment as you follow along.  I appreciate your feedback and insights.

My next post will be the interview I just had with Adam Ross on September 11, 2013.  Stay tuned!

Developing Personal Accountability

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I enjoy this site and newsletter. Here’s a good article on personal accountability:

http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/developing-personal-accountability.htm#np

From Mindtools:

This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you’ll find here at Mind Tools. Click here for more, subscribe to our free newsletter, or become a member for just $1. – See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/developing-personal-accountability.htm#np

Personal Brand – Perceptions of Others by Jim Johnson

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In this last post on Personal Brand, I want to address the most difficult circle for many (most?) of us – the perceptions that others have of us. In marketing terms, let’s call this our “Market”.

Do you remember the old Burger Chef fast food chain? Growing up, we called it the “Barf-n-Choke”. Can you tell what our perception of Burger Chef was? Does it exist today? Not here in NE Indiana. The Market decided what it thought of Burger Chef with its feet – they left.

As you consider how to strengthen your personal brand, you are forced to seriously consider the perceptions others have of you. This area is the most difficult for me. Part of me wants to act like Clint Eastwood in “High Plains Drifter” and just jump on my horse and ride – and occasionally shoot bad guys. But if I’m serious about my personal brand, I have to pay attention to this area of my life. So, I’m dismounting…

As I see it, perceptions can come from 3 primary groups of people: Haters, the Herd, and Helpers. Let me explain what I mean.

HATERS

I know this term seems harsh, but I wanted another “H” word. But you already get the drift of what I’m going to say about them. These are people who judge first and don’t ask questions. They are a small group of people who delight when someone fails. They don’t see the good in others. They put others down in an attempt to lift themselves up.

Secret: Whatever a “hater” throws your way, find the truth quickly in what they are saying, use that to strengthen yourself, then avoid/ignore them. Don’t get caught up in senseless arguments with them. They revel in this. If need be, agree to disagree. Don’t waste personal energy obsessing with trying to convince them to change their opinion.

For some folks, they place a large price tag on cutting others down and have a very, very tiny price tag on love and cooperation. Don’t let them put that big, ugly price tag on you. You’re worth more than that!

Another secret: If you find yourself feeling hurt over and over again by a “hater”, you have a choice in how you handle this. A counselor friend of mine once told me this – you can do one of three things:

  1. Rehearse It – play those hurtful “tapes” over and over in your mind. It will only further damage your confidence and self-worth. Don’t do it!
  2. Nurse It – have a perpetual pity party. Don’t you just love to be around a person like this? No? Then don’t be that person. Say what my older sister says…”I’m over it!”
  3. Reverse It – OK, so something bad happened. Maybe you played a part in it or not. Let it go and move on. Learn from it. Become better for it. “Repent” from it (yeah, I wrote repent = to turn around, do a 180 and walk away from something).

HERD

This is the largest group of people you encounter every day. It’s the barista at your favorite coffee shop. It’s the co-workers you pass on the way to your office. It’s the other parents at your daughter’s dance studio or son’s baseball team. It’s folks you attend church with. It’s your neighbors. It’s your vendors.

Do you know what general impression they have of you? Here’s another question to ask yourself:

What do you want people to think about you 5 minutes after you’ve left their presence?

This question comes to the core of an idea that author Peter Bregman wrote about in his book, 18 Minutes. In one of the chapters, he writes that too often that we have an event happen in our lives (i.e. interaction with someone). “It” happens and we then react to it – good or bad. Bregman encourages us to change the order of this, or as Covey wrote, “keep the end in mind.”

EVENT –> OUTCOME –> RESPONSE

How do you want an interaction to end? Think about what this person who just dumped something on you will think about you 5 minutes after you’ve walked away? Now respond. That can make a difference, right?

You want to keep moving your Herd towards the next group…

HELPERS

Helpers are those folks in our lives who we trust. They can know us best. They will be fearlessly honest with us – yes, love hurts sometimes. They hold us accountable. They don’t judge…they critique. They build up. They expect the best from themselves and those around them.

In marketing terms, Helpers are our Net Promoters. We need more Helpers in our lives.

Some key points as we conclude:

  • Think of your Herd and Helpers as “buyers” of your personal brand. You need buyers. Concentrate most of your emotional energy on them. Learn from them. Become better because of them.
  • Don’t believe all of your good or bad press!
  • Truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

How’s your personal brand looking these days? Are people “buying” you? Are you proud of your brand? Need to strengthen it? Try focusing on the 3 circles and see what happens.

I hope you sell-out…to a better, improved you!

Thanks for visiting and reading! I appreciate it! JJ

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Personal Brand – What I Say & Do by Jim Johnson

personal brandUnderstanding your personal brand means paying attention to not only who you think you are (self-awareness) or other’s perceptions of you, but focusing in on what you do and say around others. This is your brand in action.

Have you visited a restaurant that a friend recommended? You had heard that the service was great and the food even better. The atmosphere was supposed to wow you. You had even seen ads on TV promoting these attributes. Then you visit – and are disappointed. Your waiter was indifferent. The food was good but not great. And you were placed at a table that was so uneven, a ball would easily roll off if placed in the center (that actually happened to me once!).

You, of course, would begin to question all that you had heard about this place. The expectations and promises were not fulfilled. You probably would not revisit the restaurant and may even begin to question your friend’s opinions.

“Talking’s the Easy Part”

A friend of mine is a counselor. He spends most of his work time listening to and counseling others. He has a saying that puts situations into perspective. Someone may tell him, “I’m going to change this time!” Harold replies, “well, talking’s the easy part.” It’s the action that will make the difference.

In developing and understanding your personal brand, you need to be very aware of this. Saying one thing but doing another can so easily destroy your credibility. At work, your boss is watching you. Your team is watching you. Your colleagues are watching you. They hear what you say. They are also watching to see if you follow through.

So how do you strengthen your personal brand? The following list is not exhaustive, but you can at least start here.

Action Plan for your Personal Brand:

* Be accountable. If you promise something, follow through. If you have goals to achieve (don’t we all?), achieve them. Own your results. Don’t fret over someone else’s performance. Be accountable to yours.

* Standards. It is so easy to live life toward the lowest common denominator. You may see other managers just doing enough. They seem to be living life “under the radar” and get away with it. You see others gossip and it doesn’t appear to affect their reputation. Living with little to no personal or professional standards will always catch up with a person. Set your standards high and stay consistent.

* Be fair. Don’t play favorites with your team. Your credibility will be destroyed faster than you think. Expect fairness from others.

* Get results. Know your goals. Make sure your team knows the goals. Lead. Push. Coach. Cheer. Achieve.

* Put in the work. Being successful is hard work for most folks. Don’t be afraid to put in the time and effort needed to exceeding your goals. As the leader, be the example.

* Add value. While you’re working on hitting your numbers, keep your eyes and ears open. If you learn something that will be helpful to another team leader, share it with them. Be known as a person who is a trusted resource for others. Share an article or book you’ve read. Share the story behind the numbers that someone may not be familiar with. Offer assistance with a project or presentation.

Know who you are. Be aware of what you say & do and how that can either build up or tear down your personal brand. Next week I’ll tackle the perceptions of others.

“How can I add value in this person’s life today?” Mark Miller @LeadersServe (on Twitter)

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The Honest Truth About Teams by Lolly Daskal

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There’s a good reason we spend so much time thinking about teams.

Every organization in every industry pursues ambitious projects, works hard to get and serve clients and customers, and tackles new markets, new ideas, and new innovation.

Competition is fierce, and it takes a great team to deliver the kind of performance that keeps organizations successful.

There are no quick answers about how to build a great team. But after years of observing many team dynamics, I have come to recognize a few elements that make up a top-performing team:

A compelling vision and meaningful purpose: Top-performing teams have a defined vision and purpose that resonate with its members and draw them in.

Clarified roles and skills: Top-performing teams clearly identify the role and expectations of each member based on their talents and skills. Research shows that collaboration improves when the roles of individuals are clearly defined and understood.

Strategy and goals: Top-performing teams need a clearly defined strategy, plan, and goals. Strategy provides a map that shows where the team is going, and planning and goals tell how they’ll get there.

Commitment and accountability: Top-performing teams need for each member to hold a personal commitment and individual accountability for their role, while still supporting one another.

Mutual trust: Top-performing teams spend time cultivating trust, investing in relationships, and collaboratively developing and refining their mission, purpose, roles, and challenges.

Challengers and collaborators: Top-performing teams need diversity in personalities and talent. They need members who don’t just settle for pleasant conversation but who respectfully challenge and ask, and members who build relationships and bring people together.

Communication and dialogue: Top-performing teams need channels of communication that are open, authentic, challenging, courageous, and real. There is no room for passive aggression and backbiting. Team members are free to speak from the heart and embrace dialogue even in disagreement.

There will never be a perfect team, because teams are, after all, made up of imperfect people.

Every team his its own strengths and frustrations, But the best teams have a vision. They communicate well and they know their goals, skills, and talents.

When teams are given the tools to truly collaborate, they can create true excellence.

Lead From Within: We are not trying to mandate perfection but to build teams whose hearts are beating to the same rhythm.

For coaching, consulting, workshops and speaking. Please feel free to contact me.

About Lolly

Lolly is the founder of Lead from Within, a global consultancy that has counseled heads of state, consulted to CEOs of large multinationals, and coached budding entrepreneurs.

Over 460,972 people follow Lolly’s wisdom on Twitter and subscribe to her blog; her inspirational speeches are greeted by standing ovations worldwide.

http://m.lollydaskal.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lollydaskal.com%2Fleadership%2Fthe-honest-truth-about-teams%2F&dm_redirected=true#2638

Smart Tribe Leadership

I’ve just begun reading Christine Comaford’s book, Smart Tribes (Portfolio/Penguin, 2013).  Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter. This is a timely book for me personally and professionally. 

the “American workforce where 71% of workers are emotionally disengaged and simply working for the money, we know it’s essential to fix our state of so-called leadership…True leadership inspires people with vision.  Vision pulls people not only to take action but also to care about the outcome, to take personal ownership of it, and to bring their ‘A game’ every day. 

The team benefits tremendously too.  As the leader grows in focus, team members feel the leader is increasingly more aware and cares about them more….As the leader’s influence grows, the team members feel the leader is more capable and collaborative.  Over time as results are sustained, team members feel safer and more loyal.”

Sounds great, doesn’t it?!  You can find this book on Amazon at this link.  

 

Click here to learn more about Christine and her work. 

 

Follow Christine on Twitter @comaford

comaford