Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A 10 Year Old Leader Who Believes

I've got to give a big 'ol hat tip to Phil Gerbyshak and Stephen Hopson for sharing this 9 minute video. I know 9 minutes sounds like a long time, but it's definitely worth it to see this inspiring 10 year old leader. He gets it! It all starts with belief! Belief in youself and belief in others. Please take the time to watch.




Do you believe in yourself? Your coworkers? Your kids? Believing is the first step!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Age Of Conversation 2: 1 Book, 237 Authors, 1 Charity

updated: you can get the book here http://stores.lulu.com/ageofconversation

It's finally here: The launch of the book "Age of Conversation 2: Why Don't They Get It?" Several months ago, Drew McLellan and Gavin Heaton decided to put together another great cast of bloggers to write the second installation of the Age of Conversation. I'm honored to say that I was included in this second edition.




AOC2 is a book written in one page articles by 237 different authors. It tackles various marketing topics from conversations to creative branding to business model evolution. This is going to be one amazing book, and it will be released on Wednesday, October 29th, at 8:00 AM (EST) on www.lulu.com. Oh, and the amazing part of this book is that ALL proceeds will be going to Variety - The Children's Charity. That's Right!! Not one person involved in this project is going to make a dime. We are giving all money to charity. So, get out there and get yourself a copy or two. It would make a great Christmas gift for your book loving family and friends!! You can pick up a hardback, softback, or e-book.


Do you need a teaser?


Is social media starting to take the place of our face-to-face conversations, or is it just a tool to help us network more efficiently? Is it "bad" that we are becoming a society that loves to talk online? Have you hopped on the online conversation highway, yet?


These are all questions that I discuss in my section in the book. Of course, I'll let you grab a copy for yourself and take a look! So, again.......hop on over to http://www.lulu.com/ on Wednesday and pick up yourself and a couple friends a copy of the book. It's sure to not disappoint. In the meantime, please say hello to my fellow authors:



Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

updated: you can get the book here http://stores.lulu.com/ageofconversation

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

3 Keys to Achieving Success












You can be successful!! In fact, I would argue that you already are successful!! But, in the event that you aren't successful (or don't feel you're successful), let me give you 3 key steps to achieving success:

  1. Create a Personal Definition of Success - How do you define success? What does success "look like" to you? Is it money? Is it power? Is it positive relationships? Is it career advancement? Is it faith? There really is no wrong answer, here. The only wrong answer is no answer at all! I used the word "personal" because I feel it's important to realize that you can't let someone else tell you what success is. Everyone has a different view of success (which is sometimes hard to remember in this age of movie stars and millionaires) You must be able to "explicitly" define what "success" is to you! Once you can do that, then you can take the next step: Clearly identifying action steps to help you achieve success!


  2. Clearly Identify Action Steps to Help You Achieve Success - It would be great if "defining success" was all we had to do. Unfortunately, it's not. We also have to actually achieve success. Therefore, you need to write down clear and precise action steps as to how you are going to achieve success. Create a gameplan. Create a vision. Whatever you want to call it. The purpose is to have something written down to remind you of how you plan to achieve success. Now, plans can change, so re-evaluate your plan as you journey down the path to success.


  3. Embark on Your Success Journey with Perseverance and Determination - Once the plan is set, start walking! Heck, start running if you want. Whatever you do, though, enjoy the journey. It will be fun. Also, keep in mind that life happens! Things change. Be adaptable. Don't get discouraged. If something comes along and knocks you off the path; get up, dust yourself on, and continue. If the road's closed, then realize that your plan can change! Revise your action steps and continue forward. Most importantly: BELIEVE! Know that you are going to succeed! Know that you will be successful!

Can you think of other "steps" needed to achieve success? How do you define success?


And remember: "SUCCESS IS ONE ACTION AWAY!" I saw this quote on the "Two Scrolls" blog. It was in a post written by Ty Canning. I would recommend you check it out! It's a great post.

note: picture courtesy of http://www.forex-trading-insight.com/images/Key_to_success.jpg

Monday, October 20, 2008

Motivational Monday: Excellence

"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration"
- Thomas Edison

Excellence is achieved through hard work and dedication. You must possess the desire for excellence, along with the determination to see that excellence through to fruition. What are you doing to unleash your inner genius? Thomas Edison achieved his genius through hard work and intense labor. He realized that frequent failure was his friend, as it opened new doors to discovery. Through dedication and determination, Edison achieved excellence!

What are you doing to go beyond your potential? How will you ensure excellence is achieved?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Leadership Quote #2: Kouzes and Posner on Articulation and Leadership

There's nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can't clearly articulate why we're doing what we're doing.
- James Kouzes and Barry Posner

I think this is a great quote from James Kouzes and Barry Posner. Articulation of your vision and goals is a huge part of being an effective leader. If, as a leader, you can't effectively articulate why it is your team is doing what they are doing, then you can't get good "buy-in" from your team. There's really two main keys to this quote that I see worth dwelling on:
  1. The word "articulation." It really goes beyond communicating. Many leaders can communicate their vision. They can talk about their vision. They can inform the team of their vision. But, if they can't articulate the details of their vision (the true reasons of why "we're doing what we're doing"), then they can't effectively get everyone going in the same direction.
  2. The word "demoralizing." It sounds harsh, doesn't it? I think it's properly used. It is demoralizing for a team to be working towards a common goal where they have no idea why they are working towards that goal. When a team hasn't truly "bought in" to the direction they are heading, they become demoralized. That is, team morale starts to fall when people don't know why they are doing what they are doing. There's no passion. There's no purpose.

What abou the rest of you? How do you ensure that you are effectively articulating why it is you're doing what you're doing? How do you ensure morale stays high on your teams? Do you agree with James and Barry?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dad-O-Matic: Where Dad's (and other parents) Go For Conversation


I just wanted to take a quick minute to plug a new writing project created by Chris Brogan. Chris has created the site Dad-O-Matic, where you can find me and other dads as we share stories, advice, product reviews, and anything else related to parenting. It's an honor for me to be able to participate in this great new project, and I sure hope all of you (my faithful followers) will stop on by every once in a while. Maybe you're a new dad, an old dad, a dad-to-be, a want-to-be-a dad, a mother, a parent, a guardian, a child, or someone that just values great conversation. No matter where you are at in this point of your life, I can say with certainty that Dad-O-Matic is an amazing site, and will not dissapoint!


So.....Swing on over and help us continue the dialogue!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

You Don't Need a Title to Be A Leader: Leadership Lessons from a Book

I’ve been reading a book entitled “You Don’t Need a TITLE to Be a Leader,” written by Mark Sanborn. It’s an engaging book that reads easy and fast. Besides the fact that Mark shares some very inspiring tales of “untitled leaders”, the amazing thing I’ve found is that Mark’s take on leadership seems to be in line with my view on leadership. So without just listing out all the similarities between our views on leadership, I’m instead going to spend the next several posts pulling out the real value points of the book and sharing them with all of you.

Today’s point: The difference between leaders and managers!

Mark states that “As all leaders know, untitled or not, leadership is power with people, not power over people.” Mark then goes on to list out the differences between managing others and leading others:



So, are you a manager or a leader? I must admit that the last couple months have found me more worried about managing my team than actually being a true leader to my team. I think this can happen very easily for many, as they try to “get more performance” from their employees. The problem is that as they “manage” they are using more of a positional power to influence their subordinates. Their followers are being obedient and therefore performing just enough, but obedience alone won’t allow them to reach that next level. “Leading” subordinates (as opposed to just managing them) relies more on a referent power base, one that garners respect and admiration for the leader. “Leading” helps empower followers to truly buy in to the leader’s vision and direction. It creates an atmosphere of eagerness and passion, and encourages followers to kick it up a notch.

What are your thoughts? Should a supervisor/director/C-level executive be a manager or a leader? Or, are there times where even good leaders need to pull out their “manager mentality?”

Monday, September 15, 2008

Reenergizing For The Road Ahead


I know it's been a week and a half since my last post, so I thought I'd let you know what's been going on. I just returned from a four day jaunt to fabulous Las Vegas, where I tried to keep my computer use to a minimum. In a city that never sleeps, it wasn't real hard to accomplish. Instead, I spent my time in a constant sensory overload, with my beautiful wife. A getaway.....just the two of us (which is rare these days with two beautiful daughters). Needless to say the grandparents and sister-in-law had a fun time spending the weekend with the girls.

I know...I know...That picture above looks more like New York. Well, I stayed at the New York New York hotel and casino in Las Vegas. I thought it'd be fun to get a little taste of the east coast while vacationing out west.


So, as the work week is back upon us, I'm playing a tad bit of catch up, while trying to reenergize for the week ahead. Stay tuned!! Stay with me!! I'll have some great content in the days to come!


By the way....How do you "reenergize?" What's your strategy or approach to rejuvenation? Sleep? Caffeine? Exercise? A walk in the park? We all have times where we need to make a conscious effort to reenergize for the road ahead. So what are your tactics?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah Palin and Sarcastic Leadership


I must admit that I have not watched much of either political convention. Although I have caught glimpses of both conventions, I decided to sit down and watch Sarah Palin's speech at the Republican National Convention last night. For me, it was an intriguing speech, not by the content of what was said, but more by the context and delivery of how it was said.


I thought palin's speech was riddled with dry, witty humor. More than that though, I felt Palin's speech was loaded with sarcasm. Now, although I most likely will not be voting for this party in the election, I have to admit that I found her sarcasm rather entertaining and funny. See, I have a bit of a knack for sarcasm, and I thought it was neat that she was not afraid to use it. My question to you is: Did she go too far? Was there too much sarcasm in her speech? Should she have stayed away from the sarcastic comments altogether?


See, I'm very intrigued by what your thoughts will be, because almost a year ago (in fact it was my fourth post ever), I wrote about Sarcastic Leadership, and had some great discussion. Many felt that sarcasm needs to be left out of leadership completely, while others felt it was a small ingredient in a large meal; okay to use in small doses. Over the past year I've come to see that sometimes sarcasm is best left out of the leadership recipe, as many people see it as demoralizing and childish. With that said, though, I still love sarcasm, and I still use it when warranted.


So, help me out....I need your opinions! How did Palin do? Was there as much sarcasm as I saw? And, was it okay to use sarcasm? How about in general? Can sarcasm exist in leadership?
note: picture courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Leaders Are....

L - loyal, loving

E - energetic

A - audacious

D - disciplined, dedicated

E - empathetic

R - reputable

S - servants


Leaders are.....loyal and loving, energetic, audacious, disciplined and dedicated, empathetic, reputable servants!!

I know there are many other traits of effective leaders. Why don't you give it a try? What kind of acronym can you come up with?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Motivational Monday: Hard Working Leadership


"Leaders aren't born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal." - Vince Lombardi



I don't feel that I was born a leader. Instead, I am continually growing; ever evolving into an amazing and effective leader through continuous hard work, dedication, focus, learning, and practice. It's a process that I have come to love; a journey worth pursuing. Mistakes have been made and failures learned from.

I'm not there yet, but I know the prize is within reach. I'm confident that soon, I will be known as an "effective leader," and will leave a legacy of amazing leadership. Projects will be accomplished, peers will be inspired, and lives will be touched. Why? Because I'm determined to make a difference; to inspire and motivate others; to lift up others above myself. I'm determined to be an extreme leader!



How about you? Were you born a leader, or did you have to work at it? I know it's a big debate, and I'd like your take on it? Also, what are you doing to ensure your success as a leader? Do you have the confidence needed to accomplish your leadership goals?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lustful Leadership

I know what you are thinking: “that’s an odd choice of words.” Those are weird terms to be putting together. And no, I’m not advocating affairs with subordinates. Instead, my point to this post is to bring awareness to, (or better yet) to dive into why it is you want to be a leader. Is it Lust? Or, is it Love?

Confused yet? Let me explain:

I started out on my young career wanting to be a manager, wanting to lead a team. My main motivation was that “being a manager” would look good on my resume. It would look good in the eyes of others. It would look good professionally, and it felt good personally. Essentially, I was in “lust” with leadership. It was all about me. It was about the appearance that being a manager would portray and the feeling that being a manager gave me.

That’s not true leadership; not to me anyway. Leadership isn’t (and shouldn’t) be about me. It’s about you. It’s about them. It’s about my team and my followers. Real leaders “love” leadership. See, when you’re in love with someone, you want to help them. You want to build them up – to improve them. You want to enable them to become better than you. So it is with leadership. Loving leadership is about lifting others up above you. It’s about providing the necessary skills to ensure that someone becomes “Greater Than Yourself,” which just happens to be what one of my “unofficial” mentors has taught me ("unofficial mentors" being that he doesn’t know me real well or know that he has inspired me. In fact, I’ve only met him once……over the phone).

Steve Farber, in my opinion (as well as many others) is a leadership guru. He has written two amazing books, and is looking at a March 3rd, 2009 release for his third book, “Greater Than Yourself.” From what I have gathered, the book will be another fable about how a leader’s goal is to make other’s greater than themselves. The challenge is: to seek someone out and ensure that he or she becomes more successful than they. A true leader wants her followers to be more successful, more knowledgeable, more ____ (you fill in the blank) than herself. To me, that’s Loving Leadership; not lusting leadership

So, why do you lead? Does it feel good? Does it help you professionally? Or, does it provide a means to inspire, motivate, and lift others up above you?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Leadership Quote #1


"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Harold R. McAlindon



Are you comfortable in your position as a leader? Are you traveling down paths that already exist? Be bold! Take a risk! Be a leader! It's time to carve a new path, and lead your team to greatnesss. Your excellence as a leader comes when you step out of your comfort zone and blaze a new trail!


Friday, August 01, 2008

Leading from the Back: 4 Rules to Developing Other Leaders

A good leader needs to be able to sit in the back seat once in a while and turn the wheel over to someone else. He or she knows when it’s time to relinquish the lead and let someone else shine for a change. This is a very important skill, in that it allows you to fulfill your number one goal as a leader: to enable and encourage others to become leaders.

So, what does leading from the back seat look like? No, it’s not your vision of a back seat driver. You know the one, that is always telling you how to drive, and you just want to pull the car over and let them take the wheel. I’m not talking about that. No, the back seat leader is one who just steps back from the limelight in order to allow a teammate, colleague, follower, etc, step up and take the lead. The back seat leader empowers others to find it within themselves to take over. That’s what the back seat leader does. And, when doing so, it’s important that the back seat leader follow these 4 guidelines:

  1. Be a Support Character – When you relinquish the lead to someone else, make sure they know that you are there to support them. You need to be able to answer questions, help make points, etc, without taking the spotlight from them.
  2. Be a Cheerleader – Cheer them on. Let them know that they are doing a good job. If they aren’t doing a particular good job, then encourage them by giving some direction.
  3. Provide Your Expertise – Part of supporting and cheering, is also being there to provide your expertise if needed. Make sure to wait until asked for your expertise, as to not step on anyone’s toes.
  4. Influence and Motivate the Laggards – It’s important that you stay towards the “back of the pack” and help motivate those dwelling back there. This will help the new leader keep focus on his/her tasks. They can be confident that you will help bring those lagging behind, up to speed.

Leadership is all about developing others, so it’s important that as a leader, you take a back seat and let others take the lead. Remember, though, that when doing so, don’t be like that annoying back seat driver we’ve all come to dislike. Instead, follow the four simple rules above and you will help empower others to lead.

Monday, July 28, 2008

4 Steps to Help You Knock "It" Out of the Park


I’ve been thinking about excellence in performance lately, and I realized that there are 4 key things that I focus on when trying to knock it out of the park. What’s it, you ask? “It” is anything you want it to be. Maybe it’s a project, a task, a job, a duty, a proposal. It really is anything you want it to be, and you can help yourself knock it out of the park by going through these 4 steps:


1) VISION – Create a vision of what you want to accomplish, and then visualize yourself accomplishing it. It’s simple! Before you step into the batter’s box, visualize the pitch coming, visualize your perfect swing, and then visualize the trajectory of the ball as it leaves the park. That is, take time before you start in on your project/task/proposal, and visualize where your journey will take you. This will help you get to the next stage of focus.

2) FOCUS – To knock it out of the park, you have to have focus. When you step into that batter’s box, you have to focus on the task at hand. You have to see that ball flying through the air and focus on your swing as you connect with the ball. For a project/task/proposal, you have to be able to focus on the necessary parts of the job. You can’t let crowd noise (distractions) get into your head. Block everything out and just focus on what you are about to do. If your focus gets blurry, then back out of the batter’s box and take a break. Perfect focus will help you with execution.


3) EXECUTION – You’ve visualized success, and you are focusing on the task at hand, so now it’s time to execute; to perform with excellence. You’ve already visualized how you are going to perform the task, so now that the task is there, it’s time to make any necessary adjustments and execute. The ball is in flight, and you now need to take all those fundamentals that you have practiced for years, and begin your swing. The thing about this step is that it takes a lot of training and practice to be able to master it. Just as a batter takes batting practice daily for his one moment to knock it out of the park, so you have been practicing daily for your moment. The perfect execution will automatically bring about your follow through.


4) FOLLOW THROUGH – This is where it’s all at. Just as a baseball player can’t expect to knock it out of the park with a half swing, neither can you expect to knock it out of the park with a half swing. You’ve already begun your execution and are nearing completion of your project/task/proposal, so now it’s time to follow through. Finish up strong! Make sure you see it to the end, and then afterwards, follow up with everyone else involved to watch it fly out of the park! This step is critical, especially if you came up just shy of the fence. This step is where you see the mistakes you made in vision, focus, and execution, and then fix those mistakes for the next time you get up to bat!


The above are four critical steps to knocking anything out of the park, to performing with excellence and success. You have to have a vision. You have to focus on that vision. You have to execute. And, you have to follow through. I would speculate that Babe Ruth followed these when he stepped up to the plate.

note: picture courtesy of http://ramletsrule.blogspot.com/words/8-13-05%20dlee%20home%20run%20swing.JPG

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weekly Feature Wednesday: Confident Writing!


Today's WFW post takes us overseas to the beautiful United Kingdom. There we find an amazing writing coach, Joanna Young, and her blog, Confident Writing.


Joanna offers up a wealth of knowledge and expertise on writing. She will challenge your mind and inspire your writing with monthly group writing projects, guest posts, and fabulous quotes. Her writing tips help you dive into who you are, and why you write. Her posts really focus on how you, as the reader, can improve your writing. Joanna offers a variety of writing courses and workshops, and is focused on helping others achieve excellence in their writing.


Confident Writing is a definite must read (and must subscribe to). Joanna's work, via her blog, has already had an impact on my writing, and I know she'll have an impact on your's too. Whether you're a blogger or not, everyone will have to be able to write well sometime in their life, and Joanna's blog can help. So, go check it out, and be prepared to learn!


Final Note: You will also be able to read a sample of Joanna's writing in the upcoming book Age of Conversation: Why Don't They Get It, where she joins me and 235 others as we discuss various topics including conversation, marketing, business model evolution, and others.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Motivational Monday: Achieving Excellence Through Adversity

The following video is an amazing story of perseverance and passion. Nic Vujicic, an australian, was born without arms or legs, yet has found a way to provide hope and inspiration to millions of people around the globe. This amazing leader has achieved excellence beyond comprehension! If you can't find inspiration and motivation on this Monday, from this video, then I'm not sure what else I can do.



Nic truly is an amazing man. If you'd like more information on his passion for purpose, then visit his site Life Without Limbs. In the meantime, have an inspired and wonderful Monday!

note: the youtube video was courtesy of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3LFBqvvW-M

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Smileless: A 24 Word Statement w/ a 1 Word Question

Will you help me? There are some things I just don't understand, and need help understanding. Like this:

Smiles are powerful expressions of warmth and kindness,
so simple and easy to share,
yet sometimes difficult to find,
in a fast paced environment.
WHY?

What are your thoughts? Why does it seem that in so many fast paced environments (rush hour traffic, dinner rush at a restaurant, board meetings, etc), that smiles become so hard to extract?

Do you smile enough? Do you emit shining rays of happiness and gratitude when you come in contact with others? If not, please remember this: Smiling will brighten other's days! Now that's worth it!! For 3 steps to help you smile more, check this post out.

note: this post was inspired by
Liz Strauss' 25 Words of Work/Life Wisdom

Laughter's Healing Power - A 25 Words Challenge

Liz Strauss challenged me the other day to take part in her writing project: "25 Words of Work/Life Wisdom." The challenge (and it definitely has been a challenge) is to look for something you see too much or too little of, and put your thoughts into 25 words. Well, for this long winded fellow, it surely was a fun little challenge!! After considerable thought, I decided I'd touch on how I feel about humor/laughter:

Laughter's Healing Power

Laughter is a truly healing medicine,
reducing unneeded stress,
softening sometimes unbearable pain,
and brightening someone else's day.
Are you helping to heal the world?

Thanks Liz, for a wonderful exercise. There have been some great entries already. Won't all of you join in the fun?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Weekly Feature Wednesday: Making Life Work For You

In my first ever Weekly Feature Wednesday post, I will be featuring the blog of April Groves, entitled "Making Life Work For You."

The title of the blog is spot on when it comes to describing April's passion for people. Her inspiring posts are geared towards how individuals can make life work for them. She makes her blog all about "you" and not about "her". She offers tips and inspiration to business success, as well as life success. She is being featured here, because she has shown that she is a humble leader that is more concerned about inspiring and improving those around her, than self promotion.

To me, it seems that one of her mottos would be "To Each, Their Own" (please realize that I never actually verified this with her, it's just my observation). She opens her blog up to anyone, and really keeps an open mind during conversations and discussions that arise through commenting. The discussions she has inspired are amazing, including this one that occurred on a post about balance.

"Making Life Work For You" is definitely worth a subscription!! Please take a minute and swing by April's blog. You won't be disappointed. In closing, I'll leave you with a a powerful excerpt from her latest inspirational piece:

"We, as individuals, have 60,000 thoughts a day, 95% of them are repeat thoughts and 80% are negative."

Isn't that scary? Doesn't that make you want to change your thought patterns? It does me! Luckily, April charges us with the following:

"The time for beating yourself down is over. Life is far too short to be your own worst critic. Time is too valuable to paralyze yourself. Your talents are too important to be trampled on by the lies in your head. You are a warrior!"

Monday, July 14, 2008

Motivational Monday: Some Cowbell to the Rescue!

It's sometimes hard for me to get going on a Monday. I'm not sure what it is, but my motivation just isn't there. I've found, however, that a little laughter is all I need to get jump started! Laughter can provide the motivation I need to push on! Well, that.......and of course, a little more cowbell.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_AUAGCv7SI

note: I couldn't embed the video, so here's a link for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Scheduled Blogging

So I've come to realize that I may just need to get more organized: in life, in work, in school, in parenting, in blogging, in so many facets of life. For that reason, I've decided that I'm going to try and schedule my blogging. Starting next Monday (July 14th), I'm going to start down my journey of scheduled blogging. I've picked three days a week that I will post on this site:

  • Mondays will be titled as "Miscellaneous Mondays", "Motivated Mondays", or "Other Rambling Mondays" - On this day, I will be posting various things. Some will be off the wall fun things to start the week. Some will be motivational pieces. And some will be just other stuff.....wherever my self-diagnosed-adult-onset-ADD brain takes me.
  • Wednesdays will be titled as "Weekly Feature Wednesdays" - On this day, I will be featuring other blogs that I find inspirational and worth featuring. It may be a post that inspired me, a whole blog site that is laid out well, anything that features another blog.
  • Fridays will be titled as "Leadership Lesson Fridays" - On this day, I'll stick to the main theme of this blog, which is to teach/learn/inspire on anything leadership related.

This is something I've wanted to try for some time now, and I sure hope you'll join me on the journey. I'll do my best to not disappoint. In the meantime, I wish you all a fabulous week!

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Anticipation Mounts for One Massive Conversation

The excitement is building as time gets nearer! That's right, folks, the second edition of Age of Conversation is getting closer and closer to hitting the book shelves. The editors have rounded up the writings of 237 authors and contributors, and are feverishly working to finish the editing process. It won't be long now!! Can you feel the anticipation growing? I can't wait to get my hands on this work of art! What exactly am I talking about here? What's the hype all about you ask? Well, check out the first edition of the Age of Conversation, or better yet, why don't you purchase a copy here!

I'm getting excited, aren't you? I can't wait to see what these 237 authors have in store for us:

Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Perseverance: As Taught By An 11-Month Old


If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you will have realized that I love learning life lessons from my children. As a friend and professor of mine has said “Sometimes children make the best professors.” What an accurate statement! You’ll remember that I’ve been taught a variety of lessons from my two daughters, ranging from adversity to persistence to smiling. Well, it’s time to add one more to the list! This story is my lesson on perseverance, as taught by my 11 month old daughter:

If you have kids (or have been around kids) you realize that you’re always coming up on different milestones. You remember the first word they said. You remember when they started crawling. You may even remember their first “all-out-on-the-floor-wailing-and-screaming-fit.” Well, my 11month old (she’ll be one year on July 3rd) has hit the “walking milestone.” She can now stand up on her own and take 2-3 steps before she falls to her knees and cruises to her intended target.

As I’ve watched her through this stage over the last few weeks, I have really seen what perseverance can do for a person. My daughter started by walking along furniture, until one day she decided to “let go” and immediately fell down. This didn’t stop her though. She continued to try, time after time, day after day until she was able to stand by herself, in balance, without falling. Then, she was ready to take a step. I remember her looking around, trying to figure out how she was going to get to her toys now that she was standing. She tried to take a step and down she went, falling to her hands and knees. Again, she stuck with it, immediately getting up and trying again, time after time, day after day, until she was able to take a couple steps. Yes, she’s fallen. She’s bumped her head. She’s scraped her toes and knees on the pavement. Yet, she has persevered; bound and determined to walk to where she wants to go.

As a parent, it’s a proud moment seeing the will in your child’s eyes, and the perseverance in her actions. It’s been an amazing journey for her as she continues to strive towards walking, persevering through all her falls, and bumps, and bruises.


Couldn’t we learn something from this? I mean, after all “Sometimes children do make the best professors.” Don’t we all fail sometimes, whether in work, or play, or life? We fall down. We get bumps and bruises along the way. When it happens though, what’s our response? Do we give up? Do we quit trying? Or, do we do what my 11 month old daughter would want us to do, and keep pushing on, ever persevering towards our ultimate goals?

Something to ponder on today!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Selfish Blogging



It's time to be honest. Honest to you and honest to myself. See, I originally started blogging for selfish reasons. I wanted to try and build a professional network. I wanted to pick the brains of experts so I could learn more about leadership and motivation. I wanted to be center of attention. It was all about what I wanted.

Then, I hit a point where I realized that the conversation and dialogue was what I was truly after. I loved the thought of being able to communicate to people thousands of miles away, while I built my network up even more. Still selfish.

Now, I'm coming to the realization that I still am a selfish blogger. I'm always thinking about what interesting piece I can write to generate more traffic. How do I get more people to read my blog?

This is all wrong for me! What my focus should be on is what do my readers want to see, and can I provide them something of value. It's not about me. It's about them. It's about you. Who cares how many people read my blog. Shouldn't it really be about how many lives I can have a positive impact on through my blogging? I think it's time to change my focus! Instead of trying to generate traffic, or trying to create awe inspiring posts, it's time to just be "real." It's time to put my thoughts out there in the hopes that someone is affected positively. It's time to be more authentic. It's time to be more like these bloggers (who are out there providing inspiration to others):
Of course, we'll always check our technorati rank, and our analytic stats, and we'll always give out some link love, and there'll be some selfish tendencies, but maybe we should decide why we are blogging. What's your true motivation? If your reason is to make a profit or get more attention, then that is fine. To each there own. I've just realized that those aren't my main motivations. All I suggest is to take a look at your focus, decide what path your blog should go down, and then set it on "cruise control" and enjoy the ride! Whatever motivation you have, own it.

So, do you need to adjust your focus?



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Doings of an Effective Leader

"Effective leaders are not preachers, they are doers."
- Peter Drucker

Following the theme Mr. Drucker laid out for us, I'd like you to help me finish this phrase.

"An Effective Leader..............."

  • Creates vision
  • Instills confidence
  • Reduces chaos
  • Actively listens
  • Elicits teamwork
  • Commands respect
  • Shows compassion

What am I missing? I know there are many more doings of an effective leader! I'd love to have your input!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A-maze-ing Monday

Have you ever had a case of the Mondays? Well, I think many of us get that way sometimes. It's hard to get back at it after a fabulous Father's Day weekend. So, I thought I'd break up the Monday monotony a bit. Here you go....Enjoy!


note: drawn by "me"- Eric Peterson

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Place to Call Home

I've been trying to get a friend to start blogging, as I think he has a lot of knowledge to offer the world. Although he hasn't fully jumped into our sphere yet, I'm hoping that this may be a start! Everyone knows how the housing market has been lately. My friend has decided to put his house on the market, and felt that a dedicated blog might be a good way to advertise. I must give him props as he is thinking outside the box (the box of hiring a realtor). Although he has thoroughly enjoyed the last few years in a great neighborhood in the Urbandale/Waukee, Iowa area, he is wanting to move his wife and 2 kids closer to the rest of his extended family.

With that said, if you are looking for a fabulous house, in a great neighborhood, in a wonderful suburb of Des Moines, Iowa, then please give this house a look! It really is an amazing deal (and no, it's not in danger of flooding)!!!


note: I really want to help this friend out!! Any spreading of the word would be greatly appreciated by myself (as well as my friend)!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What Kind of Sports Car Are You?

I'm a Chevrolet Corvette!



You're a classic - powerful, athletic, and competitive. You're all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do.


Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz, and share below in the comments!

note: Thanks to Phil Gerbyshak and Troy Worman for sharing their "sports cars"!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

"Duck, Duck, Goose!"


Do you remember playing this game when you were young? To jog your memory, you would get a group of people and sit in a circle. One person was “it” and would go around touching everyone on the held while saying “Duck, Duck, Duck.” Finally, the person would touch someone’s head while saying the word “Goose,” which caused the person sitting on the ground to get up and chase the “it” person around the circle. The object of the “it” person was to get around the circle and sit down, without being caught by the “goose.” What a great game that was!! But, where am I going with this?

Well, it seems that game was really all about favoritism. You did it. I did it. Everyone did it. Maybe you had a crush on “that girl” (or “that guy”), so you always chose them to be “the goose.” Or, maybe you always chose your best friend as the goose, or that one kid that looked goofy when he ran. Whatever the reason, everyone seemed to play favorites.

Times haven’t changed have they? We’re all grown up now, and we still fall into this trap. Doesn’t favoritism come into play in our working environments? Have you had a manager always give the “fun” job, or the “challenging” job to a certain individual? Or, maybe it seems that a coworker always helps out a certain person, but will never help you. It’s around us all the time. You’ve seen it in your organizations. It’s really just a form of office politics isn’t it? But, how do you deal with it? Do you accuse? Do you shy away? Do you get even? What’s your strategy for dealing with favoritism in the workplace?

This brings me to my next post: Should a leader play favorites? Is there a place for favoritism in the workplace? Hmmmmm……Something to ponder for a couple days!

note: picture courtesy of http://blogs.sun.com/kevin/resource/duckgoose.jpg

Friday, June 06, 2008

To Lead, You Must Love

“You can’t lead the people, if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people, if you don’t serve the people.” - Cornel West, University Professor at Princeton

I came across this quote while I was drinking my morning cup of mild brew the other day. The quote was #284 from “The Way I See It” series on Starbuck’s 12 oz cup:

I personally think this quote is great. I know it uses the “L” word that is hard for people in the business world to incorporate into their daily language, but think about it. Doesn’t a leader need to love/respect/appreciate his followers to truly be an effective leader? Doesn’t there need to be some sort of relationship? Or, will the people follow out of obedience? And if so, does a leader want obedience or true commitment? To me, obeying an order is much different than committing to a task. True leaders gain commitment from their followers, not just compliance!

But then again, some leaders just want a task completed (which doesn’t take much commitment). Or wait; are these leaders, or actually just managers? What are your thoughts?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The King of Excuses


That’s me to a “T”! I just recently figured this one out (although I’ve suspected it for some time now). Yes, I am that guy; the one with an excuse for everything!

My enlightenment came after 6 long weeks of taking a break from blogging. A fellow blogger, who I respect greatly, said “It’s been over a month since your last post. What gives?” In my response to him, I realized that I really am the “King of Excuses.” I always have them. Yes, they may be true, but they are still, in fact, excuses. Let’s take a look at a few, and then tell me what you think:



  1. In response to why I haven't been blogging - “I’ve had some health issues the past month. I had strep throat, pneumonia, and an abnormal EKG all in the same week.” (I’m glad to say that everything is now okay! I just have to get another chest x-ray to make sure the pneumonia’s gone)!

  2. In response to where I’ve been lately“The spring weather has played a part. I’ve finally gotten to spend more time with my girls, playing outside daily.”

  3. In response to why I didn’t work out with a friend a few mornings“I had a rough night’s sleep. I just couldn’t get up this morning.”

I could go on and on! I started thinking back over the past few months and have realized that I do have an excuse for everything. Every area of my life is touched by my excuses. Maybe they are “good” excuses, and maybe they are “bad” excuses. Either way, they are still excuses.

Do any of you have this problem? Is it a problem at all? Why does it seem that many of us just can’t say “No?” Instead, we have to offer a reason (an excuse) as to why we are saying no. Why does it seem that many of us just can’t say “I’m sorry I failed you,” or “I’m sorry I hurt you?” Instead, we have to try and explain (give an excuse) as to why we failed or hurt. Finally, are excuses really only a selfish way to make yourself feel better for something? Do excuses offer any benefits to the other party?

This one’s really got me thinking. Stay tuned for more of my thoughts/struggles with excuses!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

An Argument for Joyful Leadership

Erika Andersen, over at The Simplest Thing that Works, had a truly wonderful post on Joyful Leadership. As she sat at her computer and googled the words "joyful leadership," nothing came up!! Why, is the question she asks? Do leaders not find joy in their leadership? It really is a perplexing question, especially after all the examples Erika shows us as what joyful leadership is all about. I'll give you two here below, but you'll have to check out her site for the rest!

  • When you're the leader, and your team rallies around a common goal to achieve something that's beyond their individual capabilities: that's joyful.
  • When you invite and challenge someone who works for you to step up into a more demanding role, and he or she does it and succeeds: that's joyful.

The other thing I really enjoyed about her post, was that she recognizes there are times when leadership is stressful, frustrating, even demoralizing. But, there is still joy in it!

You really should be reading Erika's blog! She has great insight into leadership and managing others! Go take a look...and leave a comment for her while you're there!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Practice What You Preach!

I really do believe in that statement! As a leader, it is very important to "practice what you preach," or as others might say "walk the talk." A leader can't be all fluff. There has to be substance, and he or she has to follow the rules they set. So, I decided I was going to put some of my preaching to practice!

I wrote a post a couple weeks back on "avoiding funks." In that post I touched on what I call "Mastering the Art of Scheduled Downtime." People really do need to master this art. It's one of the only ways to help prevent burnout in work and life. No one is made to go 100 MPH all the time. It's too much. It causes brain drain. People need to build in breaks and they need to maintain balance.

So, I took my own advice, and I scheduled some "downtime" from blogging. It's obvious that I took a couple weeks off (without providing notice to any of you), but it was needed! The downtime served a couple purposes:

  1. It allowed me to take a break. I was stressed. I had a lot going on with work/school/vacations, and something needed to go to the back burner for a while.
  2. It helped me maintain balance in other areas of life. It allowed me to focus on those work/school/family areas and not have to worry about my writing.

Looking back, should I have made my readers aware of my absence? I don't know. I've heard that taking a week off can really hurt a readership (let alone two weeks), but it needed to be done! Now, I come back refreshed and ready, with new ideas, new things to share! And, all I can do is hope that my readers will understand! And, I think they will. Why? Because they have been in my shoes before!!

You've got to schedule breaks! You can't go full bore, nonstop, all the time! It's draining! Leaders know this, and so do I. And, I hope that you will come to appreciate....no, savor.....no, MASTER.....the Art of Scheduled Downtime!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Relaxin' in Sin City?





They say "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," so I suppose I better honor that and not give much away.


See, my wife and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary last weekend by taking our first trip to good ol' Sin City. And yes, the saying is true......especially when it comes to that green stuff!! We left a lot of our money back there (not all on gambling!)! Food seems to be a little more pricey down there, especially if you want to eat at one of the hotel/casinos.


It wasn't all bad though. We actually did have a relaxing time. We were able to spend some time laying out by the pool, where I got to read Seth Godin's book, The Dip! What a book it is!! It has some great insight into when people should actually quit what they are doing! A book on quitting, you ask? Yes, it is a book that actually recommends quitting! I know what you're thinking, but you've got to give it a read!


The highlight of the trip, though, (besides alone time with my wife and M&M World.....oh yes, I love M&M's, and nothing beats a four story M&M store), was seeing Cirque de Soleil's Mystere show. Wow! What an amazing show. It was the first time my wife and I have ever taken in a Cirque de Soleil show, and I must say I can't wait to see the next one! It really is an awe-ispiring show!


So, that's where I've been this past week, and is the reason I'm just getting my bearings back on this blog! If you've never been to Sin City, I do recommend going. There are all sorts of things to do besides just gambling, but be ready to spend a little money doing them!!


note: mirage picture courtesy of http://www.rbgilbert.com/images/mirage.jpg

Friday, March 28, 2008

Increasing Productivity through Preventive Maintenance: How to Avoid Falling into a “Funk”


Have you hit that slump yet? Maybe it’s the winter blues. Maybe it’s spring fever. Maybe it’s just a case of the Monday’s! Whatever “it” is, you just can’t seem to be productive. You’re working hard, but your productivity is down. Boy oh boy…What to do?

We all hit that stage at some point don’t we? I know I’ve had those days, weeks (hopefully not months or years!). It’s what I call “in a funk!” What should we do? Well, the best approach is to be proactive and not reactive. Reaction is a needed skill to help put out fires, but proaction is much more crucial. Proaction is a critical skill needed to prevent the fires from happening. Proaction helps forecast those “funks” and helps us do what it takes to prevent those funks.

Let’s take a look at a manufacturing floor. Machinery will inevitably fall into a “funk:" that downtime caused by malfunction, breakdown, broken parts, etc. In the manufacturing business we try to forecast and prevent (that’s the keyword today) that funk. We call it preventive maintenance. It’s where we “schedule” downtime in order to work on the machinery to help avoid future breakdowns! Preventive maintenance is essential to keeping machinery running and avoiding those “funks.”

So, how does this relate to humans/managers/workers. Well, I think it is essential for us as humans to master the art of “preventive maintenance.” That is, how do we take a proactive approach to preventing those “funks” or “ruts” that we all seem to fall into at times? What steps can we take to ensure our productivity stays at a maximum level?

1) Master the art of scheduled downtime – That is, make sure you schedule breaks for yourself. If you’re feeling overworked, then take a break. Maybe you like to sit in front of the t.v., maybe you prefer to read a book. Whatever “it” is that brings you into a state of relaxation, you must schedule “it” into your days and weeks.

2) Master the art of a new approach - Break up your days. Try something new. Take a different approach to those monotonous tasks. Andrew Clark gives us a nice list to try:
"Try writing left-handed. Walk around your office with your shoes off (with the approval of your co-workers)… Try something out of the norm to get the “out of the norm” out of your head."

3) Master the art of balance – How do you find balance? What gives you balance? For me, it’s spending time with my wife and daughters, and also participating in adult league sports. I make sure and find time to take an active part in these two “pleasure” centers, as well as my career. Don’t exhaust all your energy on one aspect of life (for many, this would be career), but make sure and save some of that energy for other areas. (Note: On the flip side, make sure you don’t get overextended and pulled into too many directions)!

4) Master the art of ESP – You know….that 6th sense? Really, this just means that you need to be able to foresee when your “rut” or “funk” may be starting to form, and head it off. Look for those familiar early warning signs so that you can be proactive in stopping the funk from ever starting!

Those are four tips that I’m sure will help you fight off those winter blues and lost productivity. What are some tips you have? What else can our readers add to their list?