Thursday, December 19, 2013

Who is On Your "To-Who" List?

By Gary Bradt

Most of us get up each day and ask ourselves a simple question: “What do I need to do today?” Then, we spend most of our day knocking out our “To-Do” list. That’s not a bad thing, and if that describes you, keep at it.

But there is another question, too often ignored, that we should ask every day as well: “Whom do I need to spend time with today?”

Relationships are the foundation of everything we do. The stronger our relationships with clients, customers, family and friends, the better our results at work and home. And yet, we can spend so much time doing things, we never get around to being with those most important to us, professionally and personally.

Therefore, let me introduce you to the concept of the “To-Who” list. It’s your answer to my second question: “Whom do I need to spend time with today?” Your answers may vary:
  • It might be the staff member struggling with performance
  • Maybe it’s a best friend who just lost a loved one
  • Perhaps it’s a client who has stopped buying
  • A boss who controls your career
  • Your spouse or significant other
  • Yourself
Whoever it is, write down their name and commit to connecting with them that day. Write them a note, give them a call, drop by their cubicle or take them to lunch.  If they are not available to connect with that day, schedule time with them now to get together in the future.

By creating not only a “To-Do” list but also a “To-Who” list everyday, you will make sure those relationships so vital to success and happiness remain strong and stable.

So, who is on your “To-Who” list?

Monday, November 25, 2013

What Change Leaders Need to Get Right

by Amy Crocker

We're uber interested in change management around here, as our favorite change management expert Dr. Gary Bradt helps tons of organizations manage and adapt to change. So I found this little study very interesting...

Towers Watson recently came out with the results of their 2013 Global Change and Communication ROI study (CC ROI), and according to the study, most organizations are failing their managers horribly by relying on ineffective tools and training to help them manage change. Here are a couple of key findings from the study:

  • About half (55%) of change initiatives meet their initial objectives, and only 1 out of 4 companies sustain those gains over the long term, and
  • About 9 out of 10 (87%) organizations train managers to manage change, but only 1 out of 4 of those say the training is effective

So what should leaders do differently? According to the study, change leaders should focus on helping managers 1) understand why people resist change; 2) role-model the desired behaviors;
3) talk with their teams early and often; and 4) ask employees for input. And 5) [added by me] ask Dr. Bradt how to actually do the first four.

Here's a great infographic of the study too:

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Power of Trying Less

by Gary Bradt

When was the last time you worked on not caring?

Brad Faxon, one of golf’s best putters, was on the practice green once when someone asked what he was working on. A new grip perhaps? A new way to strike the ball? Maybe trying out a new putter?
“Nope,” he answered. “I’m working on not caring.”

Not caring?

What do you suppose he meant by that? That he didn’t care about his game anymore? That he didn’t care if he made putts or not?

Hardly. Instead, I think he was talking about in the moment not caring if the ball went in the hole or not. Faxon knew, with an intuition born from experience that the harder he tried to make a putt, the more likely he was to miss it. To make more putts he had to let go of thinking “I have to make this putt,” and latch on to a new paradigm around trusting the process he had practiced a million times before, and putting his energy into letting his body do what it knew how to do.

I call this process letting go of Mental Anchors.

Mental Anchors are a way of thinking that hold you down and hold you back. Like a ship’s anchor, they moor you to where you are and hold you in place. They restrain you from taking reasonable risks. And often, they trigger negative emotional energy that gets in the way, most often unhealthy levels of fear or anger.

There are as many types of Mental Anchors. Some of the more common ones in my experience are:
  • Worrying about what other people might think
  • Constantly comparing yourself to others and somehow coming up short
  • Living in a world of ‘shoulds and musts’ versus a world of ‘wants and choice’
  • Worrying about what tomorrow might bring while missing today’s opportunity
  • Holding on to old emotional pains and perceived injustices long after the events that triggered them have passed
  • Rejecting yourself before you give others a chance to
  • Assuming the worse instead of trying your best
Now here’s the good news about Mental Anchors:

They are are all made up. They aren’t true. They are a product of your mind, and nothing else. That doesn’t mean that other people won’t judge you, or that bad things won’t happen in your life. They will. It means you get to decide how to interpret these sets of facts and how you will move forward.

The second piece of good news about Mental Anchors: Since they are made up, you can change them. You are free to release old anchors and latch on to more positive thoughts. It’s all about choosing how to think and feel no matter the circumstances you find yourself in. In other words, you are not a victim of circumstances: you are the author of your responses to them.

So, how do you begin to release Mental Anchors and latch on to more positive thoughts?  Here are three easy steps to get you started down the path of letting go and latching on:
  1. Identify your Mental Anchors. Listen to that little voice in the back of your head that keeps a running commentary on the events of your life. Are his or her comments positive, or negative? How do those comments make you feel? When you find yourself feeling angry, frustrated, sad or depressed, examine the thoughts that are helping to create those feelings. Those thoughts are your Mental Anchors.
  2. Decide to let Mental Anchors go. You have to decide to drop your Mental Anchors. Holding onto them gives you an excuse for acting and feeling the way you are, and some of us don’t want to give that up. We would rather blame other people or life circumstances than take responsibility for what we think and feel and do. To let go of mental Anchors, you have to give that crutch up.
  3. Create a new, releasing thought in opposition to the Mental Anchor. Mental Anchors are like radio stations in your head. If you don’t like the channel, change the station. For example, if your Anchor is “I hate the fact that I have to spend the weekend with my in-laws,” you might want to change that to “Thank goodness I only have to spend the weekend with my in-laws!”
Letting go of Mental Anchors takes time. But the more you practice these three steps the less you will be weighed down by self-imposed, unnecessary burdens.

Finally, have fun with the process of letting go of Mental Anchors. Stop taking life and yourself so seriously.  Like Brad Faxon, learn to let go of caring so much about the outcomes you desire, and enjoy the process that leads to the those outcomes. You just might find yourself enjoying life more – and making more putts.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rebuilding Greatness through Culture of Character

by Don Yaeger

Pay attention to the way head football coach Bill O’Brien and the Penn State program have conducted themselves in the aftermath of one of college football’s biggest scandals, and you’ll see an effective step in the move from good to Great.

When rocked by a crisis, the tendency for most people—and companies—is to c reate distance.  In many cases, more energy is spent defending, debating and deflecting a scandal, than surviving one.  Over the weekend, the Penn State football team took another Great step by defeating the 18th ranked Michigan Wolverines 43-40.   With such a monumental victory, the Nittany Lions proved they are definitely surviving… and winning, both on the field and off.
I recently visited Coach O’Brien at the PSU campus and was blown away by his efforts – and the efforts of others in the PSU athletic department – to reshape the culture.  Their leadership has even changed the NCAA’s view of Penn State—provoking an unprecedented reduction of penalties.

That’s a far cry from just 14 months ago when Penn State was blasted by the court of public opinion, and crippled by a myriad of NCAA sanctions related to the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.  The crisis stripped 111 wins away from the Hall of Fame coaching legacy of Joe Paterno, resulted in $60 million to the program in fines, slashed 25 available scholarships annually from future seasons, and placed the program on a 4-year probation.

The lesson, for me, is how O’Brien and those I spoke with at Penn State have handled all those sanctions.  There’s something to be said in finding a leader who accepts punishment—even if he didn’t cause the problem for which he’s taking the punishment—and finds a way to improve.  There’s even more to be said when that improvement gets recognized and rewarded.  Coach O’Brien inherited a shamed football team in disarray, but kept his focus on restoring order and improving his players and program.  He wasted no time in establishing a culture where it was still important to be successful and win games, but it was more important to follow rules and exhibit character.

George Mitchell — former US Senator — was in charge of monitoring how Penn State adhered to the imposed penalties and the more than 100 recommended procedures the school needed to implement.  O’Brien made it a regular occurrence to make sure Mitchell and his staff knew of every effort the program was taking to get better.  By consistently documenting instances of good behavior and good faith, O’Brien helped shape Mitchell’s evaluation of the Penn State future.  O’Brien and Penn State were recognized for their efforts and ultimately rewarded.

Bill O'Brien“This sends a big message to our players,” O’Brien told me the day the penalty reduction was announced. “It shows these young people that you can be rewarded for doing things right at tough times. It reinforces all we’re trying to teach.”

It’s important to encounter moments when making the right choices are acknowledged.  Can you think of a time when you accepted responsibility instead of shifting the blame?  Did you wallow in your consequence or work toward a better circumstance?  Visit my Facebook Page for more content and, as always, join the discussion today!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

You Can't Motivate Others

Customer experience expert Gregg Lederman knows a thing or two about how to motivate employees. After all he founded Brand Integrity, an experience management firm that specializes in measuring employee engagement at mid- to large-sized companies. His Rochester-based firm provides a variety of tools and techniques for influencing how employees interact with customers, with the idea being that an engaged employee then leads to an even better experience for customers.

 “There’s an incredible engagement crisis going on in our country,” said Gregg Lederman, pointing to management consultant firm Gallup Inc.’s “State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders” report put out earlier this year. According to the report’s findings, roughly three in 10 American workers are engaged workers, meaning they’re involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their jobs.

So how DO you motivate employees?

"You can't motivate others," says Lederman. "It’s not about rewards. That’s not what motivates people. What motivates people is creating an environment where people can become motivated. If you can get the majority of your workforce to capture and share successes, we’ve proven that’s the necessary ingredient for keeping people engaged. Your job as a manager and leader is to create an environment where people can become motivated."

In addition to his good work at Brand Integrity, Gregg is a frequent keynote speaker on employee engagement and the customer experience. His new book ENGAGED!: Outbehave Your Competition to Create Customers for Life, comes out Tuesday, August 27.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Marilyn Sherman | A Passion to Help People

Marilyn Sherman - New Demo Video | A passion to help people get a front-row seat in life!
Marilyn Sherman's new demo video is here!
It's the full demo (16:50). Feel free to watch as much or as little as you'd like.
[direct link:]

Marilyn Sherman's New Demo Video | Watch Video!
Marilyn's passion is helping people reach their true potential. She inspires employees to go from an attitude of entitlement to a place of gratitude, resulting in: better customer service, increased productivity, overcoming obstacles, and creating a healthier work environment. She encourages people to do more for less.

Marilyn shares stories from 
individuals who have had front-row experiences. She teaches her audiences how going above and beyond truly makes a difference to others, as well as for their own lives. Marilyn may be referred to as a motivational speaker, but she is described as a "perspective shifter".
Join Marilyn in getting a front-row seat in your life!

Want to Learn more about Marilyn Sherman? For more information on Marilyn's programs, availability & speaking fees, please contact:
Sarah Whitten at 913.498.9775 |

Marilyn's Programs
Marilyn's Client Testimonials
Marilyn's Biography

Marilyn Sherman is managed by Standard Ovation | | 913.498.9772

Sam Richter - Speak, Inc. Homepage!

A BIG thank you to Speak, Inc. for featuring Sam Richter on their homepage!

Sam Richter is the world’s online intelligence expert. His custom programs will shock you (and maybe even scare you) about what can be found. Sam's program is VERY high-content and filled with an unbelievable amount of tricks and tools that can be used immediately in order to improve your sales.

Business and sales are all about personal relationships. When you know more about your prospects and clients, you're better able to relate on a personal level, build more meaningful connections, identify triggering events, tailor offerings, and ensure relevancy. Most important, Sam's program attendees report dramatic results in their sales efforts – whether it’s targeting the best prospects, getting better referrals, closing more deals (2x more!) and/or generating more business from existing clients.There are thousands of great speakers. There are hundreds of good sales trainers. But Sam Richter takes it to the next level. Sam's Know More! Keynote is the #1 program guaranteed to provide your audience with the highest amount of take-home value that can be used immediately to improve individual and company performance, delivered in a fast-paced, jaw-dropping, humorous, and engaging manner.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

1 on 1 With Greatness....and MJ

by Don Yaeger

End up in a small room with Michael Jordan and a young boy fighting leukemia and you’ll see true Greatness at play.  I had that chance recently and was amazed by the moment.  It was MJ at his one-on-one best with a 12 year old from California, Joseph Domingues, Jr.

Granted, the name isn’t as epic as the battles of Jordan vs. Bird or Jordan vs. Magic, but this battle of Jordan vs. Domingues featured a kid in a resilient battle against leukemia.  The day was arranged by the Make-a-Wish Foundation and was highlighted by 10 questions written, by hand, on a piece of paper that would challenge the NBA Great.

Surrounded by his parents and older sister, little Joseph Domingues grew confident as his basketball idol autographed a few jerseys and other MJ apparel.  He shook hands with the man who won 6 NBA Championships, but when the conversation turned more personal Joseph did what most might: he started shaking.  His left leg was bouncing up and down as he stuttered to answer Michael’s question and then MJ reached over, put his hand on Joseph’s leg and said, “It’s just us, pal.  Nothing to be nervous about.”  The boy’s leg went still then Jordan said “Don’t you have things you might want to ask?”

“As a matter of fact,” Joseph said reaching for his backpack.  “I did bring some questions!”  He pulled a handwritten sheet from the backpack and started rattling them off.  The nerves were suddenly gone.

“What does it take to be the best?” was Joseph’s first question and MJ had the perfect answer.  “You have to have a passion for something to be great at it,” His Airness said.  “So try everything until you find that thing you’re passionate about.  When you find it, you can be great at it.”

So True.

The questions continued with topics of his favorite teammate and who MJ would never want to play against.

After acknowledging that Scottie Pippen was his favorite teammate, Jordan quickly swatted the latter question with, “Nobody.  In basketball, I would want to play against everybody.”

It’s that kind of mindset that made MJ a living legend.  Even in a heart-warming event like this, his competitive thirst to be the best is never far removed.  The questions continued about the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest, and even MJ’s acting role in the movie “Space Jam.”  But after the written questions were exhausted, there was still time for one more.

Joseph’s last question for Michael was about the “flu game” from the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz and what drove Michael to continue playing even though he was ill.  MJ explained how important it is to push through obstacles even if you don’t feel up to the challenge.

The lesson here is about persistence and resilience.  Little Joseph Domingues waited a year-and-a-half to meet Michael.  The Make-a-Wish Foundation asked several times would he want to meet other, more readily-available stars instead, but he refused.  Little Joseph only wanted to go one-on-one with his dream player.  Here’s to hoping his fight with cancer has just as Great an outcome!

Have you had a moment, in life or in business, where your persistence paid off?  Have you stayed true to a goal of yours despite many opportunities to curb that goal for a faster reward?