The Kings Speech

"Your greatest test… is yet to come!" ~ Stanley Baldwin

The Kings Speech was a film that moved me on many levels. As an Englishman, Romantic, Businessman, Salesman, Father, Friend, Soldier, Leader and as a Movie Lover I found it to be truly extraordinary. But rather than expound upon the multiple insights and inspirations it sings to our soul I will humbly offer 3 Simple Lessons that we all might draw upon and quietly say to ourselves "I really should do that better".
  • True Learning ~ comes when we set aside ego, stature and self.
  • True Friendship ~ comes after being tested.
  • True Strength ~ comes from striving to overcome ourselves.

The Kings Speech was a True Movie.

Sakura, Soldiers & Sales

"In the cherry blossom's shade there's no such thing as a stranger." ~ Kobayashi Issa
Springtime gives birth to the Cherry Blossom or "Sakura" in Japan and around the world. A fragile and beautiful flower that has, for generations, come to symbolize the transience of life because of her short blooming time. The sumurai celebrated her falling blossoms as metaphors for fallen warriors who died bravely in battle and in China the cherry blossom is known as a symbol of feminine beauty and love. Fragile, beautiful and brave but destined to flower for only a short time - the cherry blossom or "Sakura" sings to the soldier, the salesperson and the soul. Japanese mythology often also connects cherry blossoms with death; a legend goes that originally, the flowers of the tree were white and then after a body was buried beneath it, the petals turned pink. But why salespersons? - Well the cherry is known to symbolize education and learning. If sales, or indeed life, is about anything it is about learning. Sakura - The Cherry Blossom - evokes both the "new beginning" of spring and the transient passing from one stage of life to another. Life and the Cherry Blossom ~ Learning and Beauty ~ Sakura, Soldiers & Sales ~ I Can See It ~ Can You?

3 Clocks.

"Lost time is never found again.
" ~ Benjamin Franklin.

Have you ever noticed that there are common traits among those who are enormously successful? Of course you have. There are industries built around selling and teaching those traits to others. Most of us know what those traits are and yet we go through our lives without maximizing their value. Why? ~ Well life gets in the way doesn't it. We all know that time can't be replaced it just keeps going and going but...

Have you noticed that some people seem to run on different internal clocks than others? ~ They somehow seem to get more stuff done.

They seem to be more dependable. They get more accomplished in less time and they seem to have less problems don't they? ~ How do they do it? ~ What's the secret? ~ How do they manage time so well? ~  Perhaps they have three internal clocks that others pay less attention to. ~ Maybe they are just little more aware of, and care about, three simple alarm clocks that we all have inside us.

Lets call these 3 clocks ~ Respect ~ Urgency ~ Caring.

Respect Clock

The respect clock drives some people to be early, not keep others waiting and be the kind of person we can depend, rely on and trust. The respect clock is selfless, strong, and supportive. She's the clock that drives the pure professional. She gives respect and earns respect.

Urgency Clock

The urgency clock wants to get things done. She is driven and ticking. She recognizes that minutes lost can't be reclaimed. She recognizes that life is short. The urgency clock knows that time is short and making a difference requires taking action now ~ today.

Caring Clock

Some people just care more than others - it's plain and simple. The caring clock measures how much we care by whether we wish for her to go faster or slower. Those that don't care are watching and wishing her to go faster so that they can go elsewhere or avoid where they are.

Those who care more want time to move slower or even stand still. They savor each moment. The caring clock reminds us to make a difference in the time given to us. To be more than just a grain of sand falling through the hourglass. Her time is respected and remembered.

Three internal clocks that drive us ~ Respect, Urgency, and Caring.

Two Rules That Help.

"I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught." ~ Winston Churchill.

A favorite popular song begins with the words "Ever seen a blind man cross the road, trying to reach the other side?" and later goes on to talk about unappreciated help, gifts and guidance given to a young girl.

The words may well resonate with discouraged coaches, teachers, leaders and managers who have experienced their heartfelt advice and insights fall unheeded by the wayside. The frustration we often feel reminds us of Sir Winston Churchill's words when he said "I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught."

So how can we deal better with this challenging paradigm and still help, teach, coach and grow those we care about? How do we not just give up and selfishly say ~ to heck with it? What are two things we need to remember as those we try to help resist our best intentions?

A Blind Mans Arm and The Drowning Swimmer.

A Blind Mans Arm

When offering to help a blind person cross the street you offer your assistance and your arm. You DO NOT grab their arm. If they want your help they will reach for you. That action, that gesture, is an affirmation of trust. When helping ~ Offer your arm ~ Don't grab.

The Drowning Swimmer

A drowning swimmer will fight you. Those in the most dire straits. The ones that need your help the most will fight, claw, scratch and resist you. They will flail against your assistance. The question then becomes how much do you want to help? How willing are you to sacrifice your interests and keep trying ~ or when do you let go?

Helping others is what makes us human. It is the essence of true leadership. In this simply guys opinion helping others all comes down to two things - Offer your arm and be willing to hang on for the flailing.

Who You Foolin?

"To thine ownself be true" ~ William Shakespeare

There was a catch phrase that was really popular in some circles a while ago "Fake it till you make it". It meant building this artificial edifice around oneself to convey an appearance. I thought it was crap and got into some disagreements with those who purported the exterior, the superficial, and the appearance was what mattered in order to... (whatever). If you are ever in a position where your primary objective is to influence the efforts, actions and behaviors of others to accomplish something - and aren't we all? The way to do that is to set an example pure and simple. If that example is fake, untrue or misleading what are you saying? The premise is flawed and we all, as the saying goes, "reap what we sow". All of us are watched, and observed constantly. Our words, actions and habits are judged - yes judged. We are judged by the factory employee who comes in early in the morning and looks into our office. We are judged by the salesperson who calls us on the phone and evaluates us through our buffers (try to have as few as possible). We are judged by administrative and creative staff every day in what we do, how we interact and how we do what we do.We are judged, long after they are not around, by the people we have worked with in the past and those vendors who we deal with and have dealt with us. Do we honestly think -" fake it... " isn't seen for what it is? Do we honestly believe that misdirection, however temporary, is a good long term strategy to build relationships and succeed in any endeavor?

I say ~ "To Thine Ownself Be True".

Joy & Sadness.

"It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference." ~ Tom Brokaw.

What is the thing that elevates leaders to experience their greatest joy and what is it that drives a stake through their heart and saddens them to their very core? What causes a leader to close their eyes at night and smile as they drift into blissful sleep? ~ Or lay awake tossing and turning in agonizing defeat and despondency?

I've worked with a few leaders, admired, read about, and humbly attempted to understand what makes them tick. Ive spent over half a century trying to learn from some pretty awesome men and women and all I can come up with is a common feeling. ~ A sentiment shared.

Joy and Sadness come from a simple question asked during the quiet solitude of introspection ~ "Did I Make A Difference?" When we feel we've made a difference in someones life we smile with unbridled joy. When we've made no difference. When we've made no impact or not influenced someones life for the better it's sad. It's then we feel like complete and utter failures. Leadership is influence after all.

So what rules do great leaders keep in mind as they strive for more joy and less sadness? ~ What do the very best leaders advise?

"Be The Change You Want To See " - We are only true to the gift, privilege and responsibility of leadership when we lead by example.

It's A Today Thing - What we did yesterday or are going to do tomorrow always defers to what we are doing now - Make A Difference Today.

Never Give Up - Keep going even when failing miserably. We can only experience the next joy by keeping going. The next person and next opportunity may be the one that makes a difference. The next joy makes up for the last sadness. ~ Never, Ever, Give Up.

How To Execute.

"Our job is to execute."
~ Mark V. Hurd

We all know them. The planners and the thinkers. The big idea people that talk about stuff but can never seem to execute. The full of... fluff and hot air people. The "some day - if only - here's what YOU need to do - well because" - people. ..and we also know their opposites.

The "Say little - git 'r dun" type people. If we really want to succeed in business. If we want to lead or coach others it's helpful to become known as someone who can get things done, someone who 'executes'.

Execution is the essence of business.

Creativity is cool. Work ethic is wonderful. Experience is esteemed but - Execution is the key. How well we execute separates Professionals from Pretenders. Men from Boys. Competitors from Children and Respect from Ridicule. So what do we need to focus on to earn a reputation as someone who "executes?" ~ Focus on 3 Things:

Instructions ~ Instructions are often viewed as optional requests. Whether they come from customers, supervisors, management, or any stakeholder in your arena, a primary foundation in learning how to execute effectively is to identify and carry out instructions - no matter how insignificant they seem. Executing simple instructions (or requests) is key to becoming known as someone who "executes".

Expectations - Everyone has expectations. But very few people take the time to clarify and communicate their expectations to others. If you want to be known as someone who executes you need to clarify your understanding of the expectations others have of you and those you have of others. Talk them out and establish time lines. Time lines that you both expect things to happen - Metrics matter. Time lines matter.

Goals - What are your goals? What's Your Objective? In every circumstance there is an ideal outcome. What's your ideal outcome? To become known as someone who executes you need to know what you are trying to execute and by when. Execution is all about accomplishing things to meet or exceed expectations within expected time frames. Execution is about goals and getting things done.

Go Ahead Execute - Git 'r Dun.

Grin When You Fight.

" I like a man who grins when he fights" ~ Winston S. Churchill.

Have you ever listened to someone and thought "Man that doesn't sound like much fun - But I guess I should do it - because it's probably good advice? " Then not done it. ~ Or you tried for a while but...

We all have. Me? I used to fight a lot in my youth - went into the army and they taught me how to fight a little better, with more productive results. Then the sales thing - used to wing it all the time - had a great time improvising - Then they taught me Miller Heimann, corporate sales processes - every activity should lead to a next action stuff.

And ultimately this whole leadership thing - used to just give it the old - Lead from the front, first in and last out stuff and then someone insisted on GE executive leadership tenets, measure what you manage, and CEO type guidance. Through it all one thing rang true - Try to get out of your own way as best you can and most importantly ~

Grin when you fight. 'cause if you're not having fun - no process, no advice, no system in the world will stick with you for long.

Whether you're soldiering, selling, supervising or serving if you really want success ~ Remember To Grin When You Fight.

People Can Tell...

"People can tell when you are not giving it all you've got." ~ Larry Bird.

There is a strange thing that goes on inside each one of us - and it can destroy us if we let it. We see it clearly in others, but oh so often, deny it in ourselves. We want to accomplish something and then we start thinking... We start giving it less than all we've got. We rationalize, reason and resist. Why? Hell I don't know. But we can certainly tell it when we see it in others. Whether we create, build, service, support, coach, teach, administer, consult or sell ~ people can see when we're not giving it all we've got. But for the life of me I can't think of a good reason why we don't give it all we've got. In life and in business. Some say it's to avoid disappointment. Some say it's fear of failure. Some say it's apathy. Some say it's doing what comes easiest and some say it's just habit. Does it really matter why? 24 hours - 7 days and a whole bunch of minutes. How many of them do we not give it all we've got? Who are we really kidding? ~ Give It All You've Got.

People can tell when you're not.