Daily Brief

Rewards & Consequences: Getting The Performance You Need From Employees – Grow Great Daily Brief #229 – June 17, 2019

All of us learned the proverbial truth that what you reward gets done. And that what gets measured can be improved.

The tougher lesson learned – and one I talked about a bit in the previous show – is that we sometimes get the rewards wrong. Which means we get the wrong outcomes. Who among us hasn’t experienced more than our share of, “Oops! I didn’t see that coming?” Or, “Oops! That’s not what I wanted to happen?”

Rewards and consequences matter. They can make or break the outcomes. Especially when you’re taking square aim at customer happiness! And I encourage you to make that THE aim of your business.

But rewards and consequences apply to all human behavior. It’s the whole pleasure versus pain deal. And the whole fear versus safety thing. Sad versus happy. Pick whatever Ying and Yang you prefer.

It reminds me of that scene from The Simpsons where Homer is playing hooky from work and the plant calls his house. Marge relays the message.

“The plant called. They said if you don’t come in tomorrow, don’t worry about showing up on Monday.”

Homer gleefully responds, “Whohoo! Four day weekend.” #DoesNotGetIt

Be careful the message you send…and the rewards or consequences you implement.

Creating a meritocracy is harder than it looks. But it’s worth the effort to get it right.

Thankfully today technology can help us create “what if” scenarios so we can get it closer to right straight out of the gate.

I’ll share a personal story of rewards and consequences to help get your juices going on how you might be able to implement systems that create the results you want.

Operating a luxury retail company that delivers products to customer’s homes is fraught with opportunities to mess up. Damage to customer’s homes. Damage to the products. Damage to the company equipment, including the delivery trucks. There are lots of moving parts.

Fanatism about customers drove me to try to figure out a way to reward and penalize delivery teams so we could be remarkable 100% of the time. Scratch a hardwood floor of a customer’s home a few times and you’ll understand the pain I suffered at the time.

Armed with spreadsheet data and cooperation with our warehouse/delivery manager, we figured we could earmark a percentage of the delivery fees to go toward a bonus pool for all the delivery teams (2 man teams and we had a number of them). We noodled around with it until we got it where we felt like it should be – a program that would get us closer to the ideal we were aiming for. Stellar customer experience!

Every month a portion of the gross revenue amount of the delivery fees collected from customers was put into a pool. That pool represented 100% of what would be evenly divided among the delivery teams. That was the reward.

The consequence? We would deduct any damage to customer’s homes, merchandise or equipment. Additionally, we’d track the delivery teams responsible for the damage and grade them each month. Consistently poor performing teams would likely suffer being removed from a delivery team, or being terminated. But it wasn’t a heavy-handed affair. Just candidly stated so everybody knew the rules of the game.

The potential dollars were significant. Both plus and minus. We went back and calculated what teams would be bonused taking into account the dings they’d suffer due to damages.

Our thought was positive peer pressure would be advantageous to our customers and the company. Each team would put positive pressure on each other to avoid any damages thereby giving the teams the maximum bonus amount.

At some point early on we encountered a situation we didn’t fully prepare for. The program was working like a champ. Monthly meetings were held to celebrate giving out the bonus amounts to each member of the delivery team. Results were reviewed. Challenges to make the next month even more successful were issued.

One day a delivery team left a dolly at a customer’s house. It was about a $200 dolly. They went back to where they left it and it was gone. The customer said they hadn’t seen it. (What are you going to do? Argue with a customer? No, we didn’t do that.)

The team responsible made a noble request. They wanted the $200 deducted from their bonus only. They didn’t want their teammates to pay for their mistake. I remember being impressed with the sentiment. But we held our ground and told them that everybody knew the rules going in. We only promised to tell their teammates about their request. Honestly, I don’t remember what decision we made, but it proves the point. Rewards and consequences can be very effective when you’re driving the exact behavior you want. They can backfire on you big time if you get it wrong.

Thankfully, you can always fix it.

In my experience good intentions matter. When your employees know the objective of what you’re trying to do and they know you’re wanting to incentivize them to do superior work, they’ll deliver.

You’ll figure this out IF  you want to. Today, I’m urging you to think about the rewards and consequences you have in place. Monetary and otherwise. Figure out if they’re really doing what you want. Figure out what you implement that can drive performance higher. Reward it. Penalize behavior that negates what you’re after. Work with it until you get it right. Figure out what works best and make the game fun and fulfilling.

Be well. Do good. Grow great.


Let’s Solve The Problem By Stop Making It Worse (Listening Matters) – Grow Great Daily Brief #228 – June 14, 2019

It’s comically effective. Very much so.

“Is there anything you’ve tried that has worked better than anything else you’ve tried?”

They answer, “Yes.”

I respond with, “Then do more of that and stop doing all that other stuff.”

At which point I’ll smile and say, “Good night, everybody!”

If it goes well (and it always does), then everybody smiles and chuckles. When the room sobers back up – within mere seconds – everybody realizes the profound simplicity of it all. And how true it really is.

The next conversation is typically focused on why and how we’re making things worse, not better. It’s the antithesis of the Hippocratic Oath.

The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future — must mediate these things, and have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm.”

We’ve mostly heard it incorrectly stated, “First, do no harm.” But that prioritization isn’t really accurate. Rather, it’s more clearly stated to do good and avoid doing any harm. Very binary. Needful in the practice of medicine. Also needful in the operation of your company.

Do good.

Don’t do harm.

It’s empty advice at first blush. Sorta like telling a poor person, “Get rich.”

Unintended consequences abound. Well-intentioned actions do, too. No matter that these things may not always be congruent with our desired outcomes.

Make sure the problem is really THE problem.

Part of the challenge is the accurate identification of the issue. Do we really know what the problem is? We can make things worse because we’re fixing the wrong thing.

This is where listening first kicks in. Don’t assume you already know the problem. Be deeply curious to find out. How? By soliciting the perspective of others. And by listening to them.

It doesn’t mean you have to convert to their point of view. That’s the remarkable thing about listening that people can get wrong. Sometimes I suspect people don’t listen because they don’t want to change their viewpoint or belief. Well, that’s fine. Nobody says you must agree with or be converted to the viewpoint of the people to whom you listen. That’s up to you.

Get over it. The fear of changing your mind. 😀

It sounds ridiculous, but it’s absolutely true. Just look at the political landscape. Or pick any cultural topic. Nastiness rules the day, not listening. Makes me wonder what people are afraid of. All I can figure is it’s the fear of being convinced to change their mind. Or maybe they’re fearful they’ll learn something. Or understand something.

Listening matters. 

But only if understanding does, too. And when you’re trying to identify a problem accurately enough to solve it, then understanding really matters!

Have you ever made a problem worse because it started with you saying something like this, “I know what we need to do…?”

We’ve all done it. Jumped to a conclusion. Too often the wrong conclusion.

It’s easy. Leaping to conclusions. Filling in the gaps in our knowledge with assumptions. Mostly false ones.

Proactivity is ballyhooed. We think we need to jump on a problem straight away. Speed isn’t always the best answer when it comes to identifying and solving a problem. Being thoughtful and mindful is always appropriate.

The quality of our questions determines the quality of our business. And the quality of our decisions. Which includes the quality of our problem-solving.

Leaders – those who would be great (and those who already are) – display enough patience to learn more. To dig deeply enough to make sure the problem is properly identified. And as fully understood as time will allow.

So here are just a few suggestions you may want to consider as you approach the problems facing your business (and they can work toward helping you solve the problems of your life, too).

One, assess the time frame that’s available to you. 

Hint: there’s almost always more time available than you think.

Is there a stated deadline? Is that deadline non-negotiable?

How urgent is it that a decision be made? What’s the risk or downside to waiting? What’s the risk or downside to not waiting?

Problems aren’t all equal. Some are far more dangerous than others. Some are quite innocuous while others are screaming for attention.

As the leader, you have to perform the first triage of the situation so you know what resources to marshall.

Two, figure out who can best help you figure out the real problem.

Hint: it’s safe to assume you’re not seeing it correctly. That’s far safer than assuming you are.

Not everybody is helpful. Great leaders deploy resources to increase value – which is the entire purpose behind the business.

I know super smart people who are quite anxious under pressure. If the problem has a restricted timeline, they’re not likely the best people to lean on. But if the problem allows lots of time to ponder, they may be great. You have to know your people well enough to know who you need to help this go round.

What areas need to be represented in the room as you consider the problem?

What areas don’t seem to be needed? Be careful right here because this is where we frequently make problems worse. We exclude people thinking, “They don’t need to be involved.”

Three, figure out who seems to be the least needed to help you figure out the real problem.

Hint: put them in the room anyway. These are the exact people who can help you do good and no harm.

Worst case scenario – they’ll wonder why you brought them to waste their time. That’s your opportunity to evangelize the need to consider as many viewpoints as possible to prevent being blindsided by some unintended consequence as you thought you were solving the original problem.

Best case scenario – they’ll be major contributors providing you insights that would be unknown had they not been in the room.

Four, ask good questions, then ask great ones.

Put perspectives, opinions, and thoughts on trial for their life. Don’t fall in love with your solution or anybody else’s. Let the best solutions bubble to the top through rigorous questions.

Hint: foster debate and lively dialogue. Just demand respect always be displayed.

Five, it’s not a democracy, but find out what the room thinks should be done.

Hint: this doesn’t mean you have to agree. It’s information gathering so you can make the best decision. Let these people serve you.

Go around the room and have people commit to some course of action. Getting people to go on the record in front of their peers – and you, their boss – will be a powerful statement of what they believe.

Do not share how you’re leaning.

Hint: you’ll ruin the benefit if the group already knows what you’d like to do. Keep that to yourself until the entire group has debated it and they’ve all weighed in.

Six, decide.

You’re now armed with sufficient insight to make improved decisions. It’s highly unlikely – although anything is possible – to make the problem worse. At the least, you’ve safeguarded the company from that happening. At best, you’re armed to make a great decision that you alone could have never made.

Be well. Do good. Grow great.


The Value Of People Who Know Something You Don’t – Grow Great Daily Brief #227 – June 13, 2019

Listening is learning.

Choosing to learn is superior to choosing to be the smartest person in every room you enter.

It’s born of our curiosity. How curious are you? To learn and understand things you don’t yet know…or understand?

Have you ever stumbled down a rabbit hole to learn something that suddenly jumped onto your radar and it was as though you entered another dimension, a world you didn’t even know existed?

If you’re super curious it happens to you often. It happens often enough for me to make me realize that my experiences, knowledge, and insights are tremendously narrow. Narrow doesn’t mean useless. It means limited.

When I was a high school kid I got a job selling stereo gear. I had never done it before. I knew plenty about the equipment and about what constituted a good system. But I hadn’t really sold stuff before. And I had never worked in a retail store. But I was brought up to be polite and I knew how to interact with people. Still, there was an awful lot I didn’t know. Imagine teenaged me trying to figure it all out on my own!

Remove the people who showed you the ropes. Remove the people who taught you in school, at home, and on the job.

Talk about living in a matrix. Having to figure everything out without relying on anybody who knows something you don’t. What a royal pain that would be. And think about how long everything would take to figure out. Even basic things.

I can’t even imagine life without YouTube videos showing us how to do all sorts of things. We’re learning home repair, car repair, how to play musical instruments and how to speak a foreign language thanks to complete strangers willing to put videos up on YouTube.

Then why are CEOs, executives, leaders and entrepreneurs sometimes resistant to seek insights and knowledge from others? Especially in areas where they think they’ve got a pretty good grasp of the subject?

I mean, it’s easy to listen to others when we admit we’re outside our lane of expertise. I remember being quite young and negotiating my first lease. I was young, but I wasn’t stupid. So I hired an attorney who specialized in commercial real estate. Absolutely worth his weight in gold. When you’re operating retail companies and you’re smart – and I was both at one time 😉 – good real estate attorneys can be among your favorite people. Well, it’s easy to do that when you know how clueless you are.

But what about when you’re not so clueless? Or you don’t think you’re clueless at all?

Regularly I have a curious conversation. It goes something like this:

Me: “What would you most like to protect yourself from?”

CEO: “Blindspots. I’m fearful of what I may not be seeing.”

Me: “What are you currently doing to protect yourself?”

CEO: “I’m not quite sure what to do about it.”

I’ve got grandkids. The youngest will be 4 this summer. The oldest will be 12. Every single one of them knows the answer. I’m working hard to contribute to helping them maintain the quality they naturally have to protect themselves from blind spots.

Questions. These kids ask TONS of questions.

Curiosity. They’re obnoxiously curious.

Fearless. They’re not bashful to ask any question. Their quest to know trumps any fears they may have to appear foolish. Truth is, except for the two older of my grandkids (about 10 and 12 respectively), that doesn’t even cross their mind. Funny how the older kids grow the more intimidated they can be to ask questions that may make them appear foolish. I don’t think that’s a positive thing!

This week the two oldest grandsons have been attending football camp at a nearby high school, conducted by the high school football coaches. It’s about 2 hours every morning. They were excited to go and here we are late in the week – they’ve gone every day this week – and they’re still excited. Why?

In large part because these coaches know way more than they do. And they know it. They expect it. It’s why they’re attending this camp. They want to learn, understand and grow.

CEOs and leaders can lose their way for a variety of reasons. We’re number 1 in authority – we’re the people others look to for answers and decisions. Ego can fuel us to incorrectly think it means people expect us to be infallible. We lose our fearlessness – that fearlessness every child has to admit they don’t know and then to ask.

Formal instruction is easier. It’s one reason why workshops, seminars, and conferences can be more palatable. But too frequently less profitable. Because we’re passively sitting there absorbing new information, but that doesn’t mean we’re using what we’re learning. New information doesn’t often enough wind up being incorporated into our lives.

Formal instruction puts us in the company of others. That can make us feel better. “See, there are all these other people who need to learn this, too!”

Those forums can be profitable. And often appropriate. But tell me about a workshop, seminar or conference you attended that changed your life because of the instruction you got. Most aren’t transformational.

Transformational happens at a much more personal level. Usually in a much safer, more confidential setting. That’s especially true of CEOs and top-level leaders or entrepreneurs.

Executive and leadership coaching exists to address this. Peer groups exist, too. But what can you do today to get this thing headed in a more positive direction?

Step 1 – Let’s start with your direct reports, the people with whom you have an established relationship. Make time to sit down with them one-on-one to find out what they know better (or more than) you.

Remove any anxiety by asking them to meet with you for up to 30 minutes – just the two of you – because you want to get their feedback.

At the beginning of the meeting tell them your goal is to help them find more productive ways to contribute – and your hope is to make them feel better about their contribution.

“What don’t I know about your knowledge and know how? In other words, what do you know a lot about that I may not be fully aware of?”

See where the conversation goes.

Be curious. Be interested.

Step 2 – During the conversation with direct reports think of what you’re hearing and how this newfound knowledge might help the company with some existing problems.

Ask. Ask them how you may be able to help them leverage this know-how, or experience, or insight more and better.

Step 3 – After you’ve met with each direct report assemble them together in a group meeting. Allow an hour. Set the agenda. It could look something like this:

8:30am – Opening remarks – the purpose of the meeting is to find out what hidden knowledge and expertise we may be neglecting to leverage (so we can better leverage it)

8:40am – Sharing the insights I gained in my one-on-one meetings with each of you

9am – Roundtable discussion to share which insights may be most useful to help us address our current constraints/opportunities

9:25am – Wrap up / concluding thoughts

9:30am – Meeting ends

Along the way, facilitate good questions. One big objective of this meeting is to ready the group to lean more on their collective abilities and knowledge. The signal you’re sending is that you value their insights, experiences, and knowledge. But don’t make this about YOU. Make it about THEM.

Step 4 – Keep repeating this process as often as possible, especially the group meeting with your direct reports.

Don’t make this a one and done or nothing will change.

The quicker we understand that everybody matters and everybody has a contribution to make, the better we all become.

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”                -Harry S. Truman

President Truman was right. The ego that drives us to forsake our curiosity and our ability to value what others think and feel robs us of growth. So today, commit yourself, “No more!” Starting now leverage more fully the power of others by finding out what they know that you don’t – or what they may know more or better than you. And together see how much further and faster you can go.

Be well. Do good. Grow great!


People Who Want What’s Best For You – Grow Great Daily Brief #226 – June 12, 2019

We can be a miserable lot. Humans.

History has proven our capacity to treat one another poorly. The first children ever born demonstrate it. Cain killed his brother Abel.

According to the FBI, 24.8% of homicides are committed by family members. Just imagine how horrific we can behave toward people we don’t even care about. Or love.

Before you think I’m pessimistic about life and people, tap the brakes. I’m optimistic. Truly. And I’m hopeful.

But I’m realistic and practical. Fact is, people have stuff. Their own stuff. It’s natural for us to say we care about somebody else…until it comes down to them or us. Then, we choose us.

Jeffrey Gitomer has illustrated the point for years in his live presentations by asking the audience, “Who is the most important person in the world?” Universally, people shout out, “The customer!”

Gitomer chuckles, then says, “No, you don’t understand. There are two people on the planet. You and the customer. One of you must die. Who will die?”

The crowd laughs and in unison shout, “The customer!”

Yes, indeed. In the battle between us and death, with the customer being part of the equation – the customer will die before we do. At least if we have our way about it. Says Gitomer, “So we’ve now established that YOU are the most important person in the world.”

Which clearly explains why we’re able to treat each other shabbily.

It also explains why I made YOU the central character in today’s title. But let’s step back and begin with your leadership because that’s all about your willingness to serve others.

Do YOU want what’s best for your people? And I don’t mean in the context of what they can do for you or your business. I mean do you care about what’s best for them, period. No strings attached. No hidden or open agenda. Most importantly, no judgment on your part. Meaning, you don’t try to live their lives for them. You don’t second guess their choices. And no, I’m not talking about supporting people who engage in behavior that is detrimental to what’s best for them. For example, a husband involved in an extra-marital affair needs to look elsewhere to get any support from me. I don’t choose to support immoral, unethical or illegal behavior in spite of the person’s desire to engage in it. But otherwise, my personal conviction is that I have enough trouble living my own life. I have no desire to live yours – or anybody else’s.

Let’s make it real. You have a remarkable employee who tenders their resignation because they’ve accepted an incredible opportunity that you simply can’t best. Are you happy and supportive because it’s what’s ideal for them as they see it? Or, are you angry because they’re leaving and how you’ve got to endure the hassle of replacing them?

Don’t lie. Tell the truth.

Remember the question – who is the most important person here?

In this context, it’s them. Not you.

Work on becoming a superior leader who puts the welfare of your employees ahead of yourself. Yes, the business has needs that employees must meet. Things work well – best – when those needs are mutually met. When the scales tip in either direction, then the balance is lost and something must give. When the company needs are met, but the employee’s needs aren’t – the employee will leave. Rightfully so. When the employee needs are met, but the company needs go wanting – then a compromise must take place or the employee will likely need to find a new home so they can continue to fulfill their needs.

Now let’s talk about YOU.

Who cares about you? Who cares enough about you that you don’t question the fact that they absolutely, positively want what’s best for you?

Here’s the acid test. Who in your life wants what’s best for you and they’re willing to support your dreams and ambitions without judgment?

Does it shock you that in my experience very few people declare having somebody in their life who passes the acid test? It’s far more common for me to hear, “I’m not sure I’ve got anybody like that.” Or, “Well, that’s asking for quite a lot, isn’t it?”

Sadly, people crave people who believe in them and want what’s best for them. We all do. It’s such a big void in people’s lives.

So big in fact that some time ago I began talking about it at my hobby podcast – Leaning Toward Wisdom – in a project I’ve labeled #CravingEncouragement. I even registered the URL CravingEncouragement.com.

It’s a universal desire and void. People who want what’s best for us.

Today’s call to action isn’t so much about you finding such people as it is about you becoming such a person for others. It’s the best path forward. For us to begin the movement by leading and showing others the way. By daily committing ourselves to learn, understand, and grow as we help others achieve the things best for them. Do that and it’s bound to lead to good things for you. Somewhere along the way you’ll encounter or befriend somebody – hopefully a group of somebodies – who will reciprocate. But if you don’t, then you’ll know you’re doing a major work and making your part of the universe more powerfully good.

Be well. Do good. Grow great!


People Aiming Higher vs. People Aiming Lower – Grow Great Daily Brief #225 – June 11, 2019

Recently I’ve been leveraging the power of character strengths to help leaders and business owners figure out improved team alignment. It begins with leaders having an enlightened awareness of their own character. This isn’t a talent or skill based strength. Rather, it’s character. It’s much more geared toward the essences of who you are at a particular moment. Think of it as how you roll. Your default operating system.

When it comes to any conversation about the people who surround us alignment is important. Especially when it’s people who make up our team. But it’s important when it comes to who we allow to influence us.

No man is an island. True enough. Even loners suffer impact from others. Today more than any other time in my lifetime, people are influenced by complete strangers. People we don’t know. People we’ve never met. People we’ll never meet. People we interact with – or listen to via Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. There’s a collective noise that impacts us even though these people are largely people who don’t know us. Certainly not well enough to understand the context of our life. But still we may listen to them.

Today I’m focused on just two groups of people: people aiming higher or people aiming lower.

You may be thinking, “Who aims lower?” Plenty of people. Just look at their behavior and choice. Foolishness knows no bounds. These people aren’t aiming higher. Many aren’t aiming at all. They’re just putting one foot in front of the other pursuing whatever they most want at the time.

If people aren’t aiming higher does that mean they’re naturally aiming lower? Yes. Otherwise, you’d have to argue that being aimless isn’t aiming lower. 😀

Before we get to that though, let’s think about who we listen to. Who influences us. There are 2 groups: a) those we recognize who influence us (the people we intentionally allow) and b) those we may not be aware of (the people we may not consciously give permission, but we really do care what they think).

Think about both groups. Be thoughtful enough to improve your awareness of these people.

Now, armed with that, dig deep and be even more mindful about whether these people are aiming higher or lower. Don’t be wishy-washy. Make your determination quickly. You know the answer.

Let me help you. People either fuel you and help you reach higher, climb higher and perform better. Or they don’t. It’s binary. It’s one or the other. No middle ground.

Go through your list of people and think arrow UP or arrow DOWN. Arrow UP means they elevate you. Arrow DOWN means they sap you diminishing your energy.

Go as deeply into the roster of people who surround you as you’d like. Family. Friends. Business acquaintances. Company teammates. Direct reports. Social media connections. Cultural figures you pay attention to. Anybody. Everybody.

Brace yourself because many people who dare do this exercise find the roster filled with people who don’t help them at all. Rather, many rosters are filled with people who drain energy, deter high performance and squash courage.

Let’s start with the negative influencers – the folks aiming low. You won’t change them. Why spend any energy or time trying to convert them? People who see the storm clouds off in the distance even though the skies above us are clear…what do you suppose you can do to change them? NOTHING. Well, that’s not entirely true. You can waste your time and pump more energy into trying to get them to embrace the clear skies directly overhead. But it’s a losing proposition. Unless you just enjoy evangelizing to unbelievers who will never convert — because they don’t want to.

That’s why being surrounded by victims will rub off on you. And why fear mongers will increase your fears.

So what do you do? First, identify these people. Until you do that, nothing will improve. Next, jettison them from your life. If not altogether, then to the biggest degree possible. Squeeze them out of your life by making up your mind that there’s just no room for energy robbers.

You don’t allow thieves into your house because you know they’re going to rob you. Then why are you allowing energy thieves into your life knowing they’re stealing something more valuable than your stuff?

Contrast these folks with the people on your list who are aiming higher and pushing you to aim higher, too. These people are encouraging. Maybe not always comfortable because they’re not sitting back admiring life. But you know they benefit you. They make your fuel needle go higher!

When you’re around these people you leave feeling energized. Or challenged. They help you see things more clearly. They don’t tell you what you want to hear because that’s not their motive. Their motive is to help you grow. They want what’s best for you.

Every person who is suffering a wrecked life has too many people surrounding them who are aiming low. Like a limbo dancer, their lives are epitomized by the question, “How low can you go?” It’s remarkable how low a life can go, thanks in large part to listening to low aiming marksmen intent on hitting their target.

Every person who is experiencing high achievement has a number of people surrounding them who are aiming high. They constantly wonder how much higher they can go. What grand achievements may be possible…pursuits they may have yet to chase because they didn’t think big enough. But the high aimers in their life nudge them to consider such things, pushing them to dream bigger and to give their dreams the effort they deserve.

1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals.”

Every parent knows it. Every criminal knows it. Every cheater, liar, and thief knows it.

Our greatness as people hinges on being people with good character. That means we exercise increasingly good judgment to surround ourselves with the best people possible – the people who are always aiming higher.

Be well. Do good. Grow great!


Why You Should Ignore The Power Of Others – Grow Great Daily Brief #224 – June 10, 2019

Happy Monday! I’m picking on today’s topic because today is my wife’s birthday. And she’s living proof – at least to me – of the power of others. We began dating as teenagers and have been married for over 41 years. To imagine going through this life without her power is beyond what I’m able to fathom. Thankfully, I’ve not had to. Happy birthday to her!

If you happen to connect with me at Linkedin – I’d encourage you to do that by visiting ConnectWithRandy.com – then you’ll see the first line of my tagline says…

Helping Small Business Owners & Entrepreneurs Leverage The Power Of Others

“The Power Of Others” is a critical phrase because it’s one of the very best points of leverage any of us can have. And we can all have it if we want it.

It’s also critical because of how strongly I believe in it. Belief is a major component in our lives because our beliefs drive our behaviors. This belief in the power of others drives my behavior to serve small business owners by helping them leverage the enormous value they can derive from being inside the smartest room possible. It’s not about being the smartest person in the room. It’s about being in a smarter room.

Why not? 

It’s the question that has driven my entire professional life. It’s the point of Friday’s Daily Brief – pursuing unreasonable and impractical achievements. When others question whether something can be done or not I’m going to ask, “Why not? Why can’t we figure out a way to do it?”

Why not leverage the power of others? That’s a great question, but it’s not today’s question. Today we’re answering the question, “Why should you ignore the power of others?”

Answer 1: Because you don’t believe in it.

Many people who don’t believe in leveraging the power of others think they’re smarter than everybody else. But they don’t realize it’s not about intellect, education, skills or know-how. More often it’s about vantage point. It’s about perspective.

But if you don’t believe in the help you can seize from others – or the help you can provide them – then nothing else matters!

Answer 2: Because you won’t listen to anybody else anyway.

Some folks are know-it-alls. Maybe that’s you. I hope not, but there are many people who still won’t listen to others. You don’t have to be a know-it-all. You just have to be stubborn enough – and arrogant enough – to think nobody’s viewpoint, opinion, insight or experience is comparable in value to your own.

Answer 3: Because you’re more focused on what you know than what you don’t.

People who fixate on their knowledge tend to not be curious enough to desire more deep understanding. Or learning. Nevermind how they came to learn what they already know (somebody likely helped teach them).

We can get snarky and nickname them, “Bliss.” As in, “Ignorance is bliss.”

The gaps in their understanding go ignored, trumped by the vast knowledge they feel they already have.

Answer 4: Because you discount the value of others.

Prejudice and bias corrupt the opportunity many would have to learn, understand and grow based on the insights of others. For example, it’s common for owners of big companies to discount whatever insights might be offered by a business owner operating a company with lower revenues. “Why should I listen to anything he’s got to say? He’s doing half the revenue we’re doing.”

That level of bigotry is a valid reason to ignore the power of others.

Answer 5: Because you’re uninterested in growing your business, your leadership, and your life.

Maybe you’re the person who answers questions about growth with, “No, I’m good.” I won’t shoot down complacency. It’s your life and if being complacent is what you want, then bully for you. I’m not going to judge you.

It’s not how I want to roll. Nor is it who I want to serve but those are my choices. Each of us have to go the way we want. I want to help small business owners who aren’t offended by the label, “operator.” People who love their customers and love the work they do. Owners who are close to the work. Owners who want to grow – and owners willing to define “growth” any way they choose!

Serving small business owners (regardless of revenue or headcount) driven to achieve more — these are the people I’m attracted to serve. These are “my people.” I love them and respect them.

Imagine being surrounded by 7 other small business owners who, along with you, make up the safest room possible for every member. What is said in this room, stays in this room. What happens in this room, stays in this room. It’s a sanctuary where nobody is tempted to violate the confidentiality. A room where nobody is judging each other because everybody respects each other. Each person has a business to run and how each person chooses to operate is completely up to that person – not the group. In short, this room is ruled by compassion, courage, and confidentiality.

The group is driven by those C’s I’m always talking about:

Compassion • Connection • Communication
Collaboration • Culture

Now, bring to the forefront of your mind THE one thing that troubles you. Not the one thing troubling you right now, but the one thing that seems to be a recurring problem for you. The thing that you know is holding you back and holding your company back. A problem you can’t quite seem to conquer and keep it conquered.

You’re now surrounded by these 7 people who get it. Every single one of them. Seven other people surround you who understand what it is to endure what you’re enduring. They can each relate. That drives their empathy to become compassion. Compassion requires action. Empathy doesn’t. These people are driven to help you.

As you think about this big ongoing problem – this big constraint – you realize you’re not having to work very hard to summon up the courage to ask these people for their insights. A systematic discussion is led as the group dives in to help you finally conquer this problem. Nobody is making the decision for you, that’s not why they’re there. But they are all working hard to help you figure out what decision you most want to make. As you listen and answer their question – they’re asking questions to make sure they (and you) understand the problem as clearly as possible – you hear the stories of their experiences. Some of them have experienced very similar problems in their own lives. Hearing them share those insights is valuable and causes you to think of some things you’ve never thought of before.

The process makes you aware of why you love this group and this experience. If people think we live in a 3-dimensional world, you’ve learned that you’re in an 8-dimensional world that provides you with so many different viewpoints and angles, the clarity you now experience is vastly improved from what it was before you surrounded yourself with these people. You’re exposed to perspectives, experiences, insights, talents, know-how, and strengths that you would have never had access to were it not for these people’s willingness to surround you. And their willingness to have you be part of the group that surrounds them. Everybody wins.

Because the result of all this is another big C word, CHANGE. We all call it “growth” but that’s exactly what this change is all about. It’s about the joint commitment of each member to grow and to help the others grow.

The Peer Advantage is the culmination of my life’s experience and know-how to create the smartest virtual rooms possible to serve small business owners. I’m smart enough to serve. Smart enough to help assemble a very smart room. Smart enough to guide and direct a group intent on high achievement. And plenty smart enough to know that me plus 7 dynamite small business owners has exponentially more power than anything I know of in helping every member grow great.

I’m currently building the first group of 7 and looking for a few specific members to enroll. Now if you’re not among these categories I still want you to apply because I’m building more than one group. So what I’m about to say isn’t a restriction, but more of an immediate request.

I’m looking for a female entrepreneur who owns a construction trade company. It’s such a novel thing for a woman to own and operate a blue-collar trade-oriented enterprise I believe her insights and experiences can be highly valuable to the group.

I’m also looking for an entrepreneur who is steeped in economic and financial data. I don’t have a specific industry in mind, but I’m interested in a business owner whose business necessitates being very aware of economic trends and financial analysis.

I’m looking for an entrepreneur in manufacturing. Any type of manufacturing.

Lastly, I’m looking for business owners headquartered here in America, but who conduct business both inside and outside the United States.

Again, this doesn’t mean I’m uninterested in others. I’m interested in enrolling business owners from just about any industry or sector. I hope you’ll visit ThePeerAdvantage.com and complete the application today.

The focus of our work together is squarely aimed at hitting the trifecta of successful business building:

  1. Getting new customers
  2. Serving existing customers better
  3. Not going crazy in the process

Be well. Do good. Grow great!


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