Encouraging Words Can Transform

Author Jon Gordon says ” Believe in others more than they believe in themselves and you will be more than a coach/teacher/leader. You will be a transformer of lives.”

My experience is we often neglect describing what we think of others.

We forget to say how much we care.

We forget to acknowledge the talent we see.

We don’t recognize the effort put forth.

We don’t describe the potential we see.

Not often enough.

Gordon’s quote reminds me of the power of the encouraging word. It reminds me of the power of an attitude of gratitude expressed toward others. It reminds me of the awesome opportunity I have everyday to transform the lives of others.


Clear Expectations Make For Termination With Integrity

As a Florida Gator football fan, I’ve watched with interest the process of terminating the coach on Sunday.

Here’s what I noticed.

There was a high regard exhibited between the boss and the fired coach.

From all appearances, there was genuine concern for each other. The decision to terminate wasn’t reached in the back room or behind the veil.

The integrity of the relationship was maintained.

Expectations were clear. At Florida, coaches are paid well and have great resources. Championships are expected and rewarded. Not achieving them results in change.

Accountability abounded. Because the expectations were clear, the outcome was defined. The coach said so. He admitted he had enough time and resources. He admitted the agreed upon expectations weren’t met. He resigned. The boss accepted the resignation.

That’s how relationships ought to work:

  1.  Build relationship through candid, caring communication. Nothing but the truth. Integrity always.
  2.  Clear expectations abound. No confusion about what can be achieved. No confusion about deadlines.
  3.  Accountability governs. Everybody owns up.

Terminations are sad but,  often necessary occurrences to serve the best interests of the team. Watching this process reminds me of how pros do it.


Inspiration From A President

In an opening page of “41″, a book written by former President George W.

Bush “43″ about former President George H.W. Bush, the son offered this description of his father:

“The scene captured the character of George Bush. He was daring and courageous, always seeking new adventures and new challenges. He was humble and quick to share credit. He deflected attention from himself and refused to brag about his accomplishments. He trusted others and inspired their loyalty. And above all, he found joy.”

The scene was the immediate gathering following “41″‘s parachute jump on his 90th birthday. He did a dual jump with an experienced paratrooper. Pretty cool for 90.

Trust that inspires loyalty.

Selfless and humble.

Courageous and adventuresome.

Full of joy.

As I read it, it inspired me. Made me want to be a better husband, father, leader, CEO.


Commit To Your Role

“You can become a star by buying into a role. “ – Doc Rivers, pro basketball coach.

Are you fully committed to your role?

Some folks let their desire to have another role keep them from doing their assigned role well.

Some folks focus on the little hassles that accompany their assignment and let those hassles detract from the satisfaction of completing a job well done.

Some folks diminish the significance of their role as compared to others they see. By failing to acknowledge the contribution the role makes, concentration on effort and focus on execution wanes.

Coach Rivers says that bringing your complete focus and effort toward fulfilling your role has a way of making a difference. By being faithful to every assignment, you earn the trust of your teammates and leaders alike. As trust builds, so does the nature of your assignments and responsibilities.

You make your team better when you perform your role well. Your confidence grows when you perform your role well. Your influence expands when you perform your job well. Your sense of satisfaction and your legacy of effectiveness grows as you perform your role well.

Are you committed to your role? Doesn’t it make sense to activate that commitment?


Are You Ready For Heroism?

John F Kennedy, former President of the United States, was asked how he became a war hero. “That’s easy,” he said. “They sank my boat.”

In World War II in the Pacific, Kennedy’s patrol boat PT 109 was sunk. It was run over by a Japanese destroyer. Two of his crew were killed. The balance drifted and swam to a small island. They dodged observation from the Japanese for days and got by on water and coconuts until they were saved.

But, Kennedy’s explanation reminds us that you can be called to heroism at any time. His opportunity for heroism came because his boat got in the way of a destroyer on a dark night. And, then he did what he had to do to help his team survive.

No doubt, the experience became a defining moment. I suspect after leading his team to survival, the future problems he encountered, though very large, didn’t seem as daunting.

Kennedy would have preferred that his boat had been spared the sinking. But, his humble response to how he became a hero reminds us that our opportunities for heroism might be right around the corner. When they come, may you have the “stuff” to respond with courage, resilience and persistence.


The Golden Rule: Why It Works

In my Bible reading this morning: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

It’s famously known as the Golden Rule. I bet if I asked you to recite it, you could.

As I read and meditated on that familiar passage, it occurred to me that the Golden Rule is like so many truths. We know them, but we don’t necessarily do them.

The Golden Rule works. It calls us to humility, because it teaches that our own ideas and thoughts aren’t superior to others.

It calls us to generosity, because it says we should share resources rather than horde them.

It causes us to service, because in order to treat our neighbors as ourselves, we have to take time to walk in their shoes. We have to try to see it their way. We have to try to feel as they feel.

Once we are filled with that knowledge, we are compelled to help in a different way.

We all navigate life inside our heads and behind our eyeballs. We are driven by our appetites.

The Golden Rule calls us to add the perspective of our neighbors, colleagues and friends to our own. To do it on purpose.

It broadens our thoughts. Causes better decisions. Improves the world where we travel.


The Importance of ‘Walking Straight’

My music genre of choice is Country. Lyrics are frequently “laugh out loud funny”, but sometimes poignant.

I heard performer and writer Billy Currington sing a song yesterday. The refrain went like this:

“Walk a little straighter Daddy

You’re swaying side to side.

Your footsteps make me dizzy and no matter how much I try, I keep tripping and stumbling.

If you’d just look down here you’d see.

Walk a little straighter Daddy

You’re leading me.”

We have many daddies at PalletOne. Some raise their families at home.

Circumstances have caused others to raise them part-time.

Currington’s lyrics remind us how important the role of “Daddy” is. Little ones pay attention. They watch and copy. And, if the path we lead them upon is crooked and swaying, we shouldn’t be surprised if they have a tough time succeeding in life.

Many of us didn’t have ideal leadership from the men in our life. We know the impact that created.

So, how are you leading? It’s not something you do later. It’s something you do now.

If your path isn’t something that makes you proud, there is good news. You can begin today.

Opting out as a leader of your children isn’t an option. You will be an influence whatever your choice. I hope you aren’t swaying, but walking straight.


Be Flexible To Change

“People learn something every day, and a lot of times it’s that what they learned the day before was wrong.”

-Bill Vaughan

Have you ever had the experience of finding out what you were certain was so wasn’t necessarily so?  As Vaughan’s quote suggests, it happens.

We work hard to arrive at solutions to problems. On any given day, we come up with the best solution we can and implement it.

But, we have to remember a couple of things.

1. Try as we might, our information will never be perfect. We can know some of what we need or most of what we need, but never all of what we need.

There’s always a chance we can learn something more that would cause us to arrive at a new conclusion.

2. The world is broken and full of change because of it. Economies change. Bad weather arises. Factories shut down. People leave. Nothing stays the same. Therefore, the calculation of what is the right decision can change with the circumstances.

So, we have to remain agile and flexible. We have confidence in our team. We are decisive about planning and strategy. We work to implement with a forward lean.

But, we remain humble. We remain alert to all opportunities to learn. We scan the horizons for change and the potential of change. We are flexible to move in a different direction when new knowledge compels us.

Our tendency is to want to arrive at a decision and stay the course. In most cases that works. But, it is essential we remain open to the fact that a good idea today can be obsolete tomorrow.

 


Losses Make Us Stronger

I listened to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s interview with Charlie Rose last week. He is ending his first term as governor and running for reelection. He is also promoting a new autobiography in which he highlights both his successes and disappointments.

Here’s a statement that caught my attention:

“There are very few success stories that don’t have losses in the early chapters.”

As we have slogged through this recession, I’ve marveled a number of times at how much I’ve learned as well as how much our company has learned. I don’t ever wish for losses and setbacks, but there is no question that they can makes us better.

Here are some of the ways:

Losses can cause a stark, candid reflection of yourself or your organization. A significant setback can cause you to stop and consider where you are and what you need to change to improve things.

Losses cause a return to accountability. When you suffer a setback, it’s important to accept accountability. You won’t come back from it if you don’t make a decision to be accountable for improving matters and moving ahead.

Losses create an education about grief. Losses cause you to grieve. There’s a process of sorting through frustration, anger and shock to get to the new reality. Those who have experienced grief understand it better when it comes along again.

Losses cause a re-prioritization. Priorities can be skewed. You can put the wrong things first. Losses help you set things in the right order.

Losses provide motivation. No one likes losing. Setbacks provide powerful juice for bouncing back.

Losses broaden your perspective. They make you wiser. You get a greater sense of timing and cycles. You learn failure doesn’t have to be fatal. You learn that setbacks aren’t permanent nor are they pervasive.

Losses give you an appreciation for the present time.  Losses are inevitable. Thus, today is what is important. No matter where you find yourself, what is important is what you can do to make it better now.


Work With The Customer In Mind

“Work is simply taking the raw material of creation and developing it for the sake of others.” Tim Keller

As a “lean” company, we strive to add value. The goal is to perform tasks and to produce products for which someone is willing to pay. The “lean” theory says if we are doing something or charging for something a customer wouldn’t want to pay money, it is waste.

Keller’s quote reminds me. The work we do, each of us, is intended to add value for someone. So often, we go about our work in a routine fashion without any regard to the customer we serve.

If we keep in mind who we are creating our product or service for, it can be an inspiration. It can cause us to be more accountable. It can add pep to our step because of the pride we take in our work. It can sharpen our eye to enhance the quality of our work.

If you feel “blah” about your work, stop and reflect upon who it is you serve.


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