Brainstorming & a Shock Test

In a little over an hour, my leadership team and I will gather in a room to start a brainstorming session.  We’re going to talk about how we can become better/do better.  But instead of talking about ethereal topics, we’re going to put a timeline on our path to improvement.  We’re going to get specific on how we plan to improve.  We’re going to own our journey and our results.

MS Leadership TeamLast week, we all attended the Global Leadership Summit (#gls17, #fwgls) here in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  We were exposed to a lot of great content.  It’s time to put that content to work for us.  Today’s brainstorming session will kick-off this process.

Shock Test?  Yes.  We’re going to discuss what we would do/be differently when a deadline is applied to something we are expected to provide every day.  More on this later…

Today is about being intentional, creative, and influential.



It’s about leadership.

Global Leadership Summit – Day 2 Highlights


Here are some of my notes from Day 2 of the Global Leadership Summit (#gls17) from this past Friday.  I attended the remote site in Fort Wayne, Indiana (the largest remote site in the world).

lazloLazlo Bock (former VP of People Operations at Google)

“Often there is a gap between the values leaders talk about and the values they live.”

“Find the best people, grow them fast, and retain them.”

“The experience of our work should have purpose. Give work meaning.  Have a mission that matters.”  Lazlo cited a survey that found:

  • 30% of employees feel their work has meaning
  • 30% of employees need to work solely for the paycheck they get
  • 30% of employees feel work is kind of fun
  • 10%  (he didn’t mention them – they’re probably outside on a break….)

“We must remind our teams of our mission all the time.  It’s not a one-and-done thing.”  How?  Lazlo said that the best way to get our mission into our team members’ heads and hearts is through story-telling.  But not just any stories – LIFE-CHANGING stories.  These kinds of stories make a personal connection with our mission (I bet this work with our customers, too).

The Meaning of our Mission Matters.  Here’s a way to uncover how we are connecting our mission to the people who carry it out as well as to our customers:

  • Ask:  “Why do I do what I do?”…everyday.
  • Ask others why they do what they do.
  • Have customers share their stories.  Make it easy for them to do this.
  • Repeat this process often

“Instead of giving quick answers to a team member’s inquiry on your opinion on an issues, ask them first: “What do you think?”

“Hire people better than I am.”

julie funt

Julie Funt – CEO, WhiteSpace at Work

“When talented people are too overloaded/busy, work suffers. We tolerate overload.”

White Space – that strategic pause taken between activities to reflect and think.  Great leaders use white space.  It can take the form of a personal retreat to an hour break to minutes.”

What White Space is not:

  • meditation
  • mind-wandering
  • mindfulness

“White Space is the permission to think the unthought thought.”

“We must ‘de-crap-i-fy our workflows.”

“Lollipop of Mediocrity – lick it once, and you’ll suck forever.”  Brian Wilson

Mental Filters to help simplify our lives using White Space:

  • Is there anything I can let go of?
  • When is good enough good enough?
  • What do I truly need to know about this?

Use this codes in dealing with emails (a major factor to overload):

  • NYR – Need Your Response
  • NYRT – Need Your Response Today
  • NYRQ – Need Your Response Quickly
  • NYR-NBD – Need Your Response Next Business Day

marcus buckinghamMarcus Buckingham – Author and Founding of the Marcus Buckingham Company

“You learn nothing about success by studying your failures.”

“At work, we need more BEST teams.”

When it comes to performance reviews, one size does not fit all.  One size fits one.  This is how we need to view performance reviews.”

In writing a performance review, these are key goals:

  • Give your team member a chance to use their strengths.  Encourage this!
  • Help them clearly understand what is expected of them.  They want to know this!

As leaders/managers of people, practice frequently (weekly) “Strength-Based Check-Ins” about “near-term” future work.  This is done in a brief 1-on-1.  Ask:

  • What are your priorities this week?
  • How can I help?

Do not give feedback in these brief 1-on-1 meetings.  People want “coaching attention”.

Asking great questions will help them get better!”



Highlights from the Global Leadership Summit Day 1

Here are some of the notes that I took from yesterday’s Global Leadership Summit from the remote location in Fort Wayne, Indiana. #gls17, #fwgls

Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor, Willowcreek

“Incivility and disrespect towards an employee cuts work production by 50%, and the worker takes it out on the customer.”

“Call out the best in your team. They really want this from their leaders.”

“The culture of an organization will only be as healthy as the top leader wants it to be.”


sheryl sandbergSheryl Sandburg, COO, Facebook

“To build joy in your life, at the end of every day write down three things that brought you some level of joy. Whether it was some big things or small things. But write them down at the end of each day.”

“If the leader is serious in developing themselves and becoming better, they need to get real, honest feedback.”

marus lemonisMarcus Lemonis, CEO, Camping World and star of the TV show, The Profit

“What is the purpose of business and life? To create a connection. And to create connections, we must be vulnerable and transparent.”

“Take a chance on yourself.”


fredrikFredrik Haren, Author

“Companies are not doing enough to foster creativity in their employees.”

“Idea = a Person (Knowledge + Information)”


andy stanleyAndy Stanley, Pastor

“When we do something successfully at work, do an autopsy on that success. Understand why we were successful in that venture.”

“What shared assumptions do we have that keeps us stuck?”


“If an organization wants to become uniquely better, then they should do the following things:

1. Be a student and not a critic. Do not criticize something you do not understand.

2. Keep your eyes and your mind wide open. Listen to outsiders. They are not bound by your assumptions. Close minded leaders close minds.

3. Replace HOW with WOW! WOW ideas to life. Don’t HOW them to death. We gain nothing by not knowing what our team is dreaming about.

4. Ask uniquely better questions.

  • Is this unique?
  • What would make it unique? Remember, unique attracts attention.
  • Is it better…really better?