“Who is late will be punished by life.”
When it comes to being “lean”, we can have no better habit than starting on time and well.
When the work day starts, it is imperative for every person to be in place with machinery ready to run and material ready for processing. If any of the three aren’t ready, it results in multiple people standing around and waiting. That kind of waste sets the tone for the day.
Having all three in place also enables us it have an opportunity for a ” great first hour”. Through years of experience I’ve noticed the best teams consistently start well every day. They set the tone by getting good results early. Establishing the momentum early creates the opportunity for a great day.
A slow start can be overcome. But, more often, a slow start leads to mediocre or poor performance.
If you aren’t happy with how your team is performing, examine how you are starting at the beginning of the day and when you return from breaks. Make improvements there. It will show results.
An author named Jon Gordon put this on Twitter. It’s worth repeating:
11 Traits of the Best of the Best
- The Best know what they truly want.
- The Best want it more.
- The Best are always striving to get better.
- The Best do ordinary things better than everyone else.
- The Best zoom-focus.
- The Best are mentally stronger.
- The Best overcome their fear.
- The Best seize the moment.
- The Best tap into a greater power than themselves.
- The Best leave a legacy.
- The Best make everyone around them better.
“Leaders get what they create and what they allow.” -Dr. Henry Cloud
The status quo is not the leader’s friend. Status quo, trying to keep things the same, usually results in complacency. It assumes that what is happening today is good enough for tomorrow.
Dr. Cloud’s statement suggests that leaders have to be alert to change. On one hand, they have to be vigilant about assuring the correct processes are followed. They have to instill a discipline that has the team consistently doing the things that garner results. When the team falls short on those processes, there has to be action to bring them back in line.
At the same time, the leader has to assure that the team is always searching for things which allow us to move better and faster. That’s the creation piece.
The competition will pay attention to how we perform. If we are winning they will take steps to compete by duplicating us or getting better than us.
If we get cocky and let our discipline drift, they will execute better.
If we get cocky and let our creativity lapse, they will invent better.
We must work hard to maintain excellence through execution and creative invention.
“Any fool knows that to work very hard at something you want to accomplish is the only way to be happy.” Eugene O’ Neill
This is a starkly obvious statement. It underscores the value of choosing a course you want to pursue and leaning into it.
It is filled with intention. Working hard takes intention. If you aren’t fueled by your choice of goals, you won’t work hard. Without the fuel, it will be easy to take a day off. You will be more prone to go less than full speed. When setbacks or plateaus come, you will be inclined to withdraw or change direction.
To know what you want to work hard at accomplishing is a blessing. Some struggle to find it. Others don’t know it’s important to choose a direction.
These targets for happiness are diverse and expansive. They can be located at work, at home, in the church, in the classroom, on the playing field or serving the community.
But as diverse as those targets may be, the unifying force is they fuel your quality of life. Take an inventory. Make a choice. Pursue it hard.
One of my favorites:
Basketball great Karl Malone recounts a story where his grandmother advised him on how to conduct himself. “Charles,” she said. “Make sure they are always glad to see you coming.”
That simple sentence of advice says so much. Why are people glad to see you coming?
Encouraging words that come from your mouth?
A sense of humor that makes them laugh?
A listening ear that shows you understand?
Open arms that offer a comforting embrace?
A willing hand that’s available to lighten the load?
Wisdom that helps show the way?
An open wallet available when generosity is called upon?
Intimidation and fear will achieve results, but it isn’t a sustainable strategy for leadership.
Long term leadership includes the ability to build relationships. Make your teammates glad to see you coming.
“The good old days are happening now.” Clare Booth Luce
It’s common for folks to reflect on the past and to conclude that things aren’t as good now as they were then. Economies are weaker. Values are deteriorating. Politics are fruitless. We work ourselves into a frenzy about what used to be and long for it again.
The quote above by early 20th century publisher Clare Booth Luce reminds us that we are guilty of convenient memories. To choose to focus on how the past was better than the present is at best ill-advised if not dishonest.
An accurate assessment of life points to the reality that every day has it’s challenges and tensions. Conversely, along with challenges and tensions, comes incredible opportunities for blessing.
Luce’s reminder that we are in the midst today of something we may remember as the “good old days” later reminds us to focus on today.
Whatever has gone before us has had an impact. But what is important now is what we do to make today count.
Don’t get stuck because you long for the past. Make some new memories today.
Have you been following the story about NFL player Ray Rice and his involvement in domestic violence?
He hit his fiancée, now wife, in an elevator and knocked her out cold. Initially, he got a two game suspension.
That decision was hotly criticized. Eventually, the NFL conceded that the decision wasn’t strong enough. They announced future domestic violence incidents would warrant a six game suspension. A second act would result in lifetime suspension.
Then a video came out of the actual act. It’s stark violence stunned our sensibilities. It wasn’t right. It didn’t seem tolerable. Outrage is being expressed.
In the aftermath of this, I heard some facts:
One in three women have experienced domestic violence.
One in five have been subject to inappropriate sexual advances by dates or family members.
Here’s the most shocking one to me: if a boy observes domestic violence in his home, he’s twice as likely to do it himself as he matures.
I’m one who observed domestic violence as a boy. I’ve helped my son be a man who doesn’t have to default to domestic violence because he didn’t observe it. I have helped my daughters to understand that there’s no place for it because they saw conflict resolved in a caring and mature way.
I suspect amongst our PalletOne team that there are both perpetrators and victims of domestic violence.
We saw it as kids or found ourselves with those who think it’s ok.
It occurs to me that this drama gives us an opportunity. Like the “two game suspension” NFL, many of us have become calloused about domestic violence. It’s bad, but it happens.
But, what if we took a stand? Not in my house. Not my kids. Not again. Let’s change directions.
I watched David Fehrety interview Hall of Fame football coach Lou Holtz on The Golf Channel’s show “Fehrety”.
If you can find it on the internet or On Demand television I recommend it to leaders to watch. It is full of leadership insights.
Holtz makes 150 motivational talks a year. He is gifted in boiling down leadership concepts into simple words that help you to retain. I got HQ Note material for two weeks listening to him.
He spoke about a recipe for success. According to him, people with a record for success exhibit three character traits.
Trusted. They do what they say they will do.
Committed. They are honor bound to strive to do the best they can do all the time.
Caring. They care about others in a genuine, authentic way.
Holtz says he endeavors to be that person first. Then he tries to surround himself with those people.
He says it’s a formula for success that hasn’t failed him. It rings true with me. How about you?
Thirteen years ago, I was holed up in an office in Bartow working some final details to achieve our purchase of PalletOne from IFCO Systems.
One plane had hit when I went in the meeting. Two more while I was in it. I raced home to watch history unfold.
I was reminded of many things that day:
Things change in an instant.
Man’s depravity knows no limits.
Extraordinary events provokes the ordinary to become heroes.
Sometimes it takes events like that to organize our priorities.
Unfortunately, our priorities don’t always stay aligned.
In sum, we live in a great country. A country that can be counted upon to respond to heroism when challenged.
God bless America!
One of my friends told me about an exercise.
A woman described herself to a criminal sketch artist. The artist didn’t know it was her. The woman never looked at the drawing.
A friend came in next to describe the woman to the sketch artist. Again, the sketch artist didn’t know the subject. The friend never looked at the picture.
When the sketch of the friend was compared to the sketch created by the woman’s description, the friend’s portrait of the woman is so much more beautiful than the one produced by the subject.
My friend was moved by the exercise. It highlights the tendency of many of us to be super conscious of our shortcomings and imperfections. We let that consciousness cause us to doubt and to fear. It creates a hesitancy to speak, to act and to grow. It creates a life of discontent.
It reminds me of the old story about a Cherokee legend:
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”