Thursday, September 28, 2017

How Critical is Clear, Concise Communication?

The Communication Cycle -
Recently, my child reminded me of an important leadership/project management fact: The importance of CLEAR, CONCISE Communication. Previously in this blog, I've shared the Communication Cycle and the 8 Diffusers of Communication (1-7 here, 8 here). What my youngest inadvertently taught me was that the verify step is incredibly important and that even if you think you are being clear, the intent of a task or requirement can still be easily misunderstood.

During a parent-teacher conference with our son's 2nd-grade teacher,  Mrs. W pulled out an assignment she wanted to share. Her thoughts were that our child is easily distracted (he apparently tried to sneak books to read under his desk when bored) and doesn't always pay enough attention to follow directions. The assignment was Write About Your First Week of School. Here is my son's paper:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Everyday Objects or Pop Culture Icons?

Bored Panda shared a group of photos that showed everyday objects. I was amused by a lot of these pics:
This Truck Carrying Rolls Of Plastic Looks Like Cookie Monster

And a couple were disturbing:

Meth. Not Even Once. Rip Thomas The Tank Engine

See the full collection HERE.  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Leadership Quote - Richard Branson

Created by Erin Morey
Richard Branson's name carries the same mystic as only a few others: Elon Musk, Steve Jobs.

The best way of learning about anything is by doing. - Richard Branson

Human beings are typically creatures of comfort, meaning we rarely step outside our comfort zone. As we get older, we gravitate toward activities that we are good at, often forgetting that everything we are good at we once were terrible. I am guilty of this too. I have projects that sit for days, weeks, months, etc. because I don't want them to be terrible. But no matter how many books you read, lessons you listen to, or videos you watch, you will not fully gain the skill until you try. 

Woodworking definitely falls into that category. I've read a lot of woodworking books, watched videos, attended classes, and yet my hands rarely make the tools do what I know they should, at least the first time. As I gain more practice, I am better able to use the knowledge from books and videos, and my hands become more sure and my skill grows. Now I try to pass some of that to my children. The picture is my youngest sanding his pinewood derby car for Cub Scouts. 

In the same vein, leadership skills grow not just from reading books or blogs, but the use of the techniques identified, and self-assessment to determine how to be better. As I speak at conferences, I often encourage the members of my audience to pick one thing that was learned (and only one) to implement immediately, and to not let the "self-help" of the conference become "shelf-help" as notebooks rest on bookshelves and the day to day life of the attendees resumes. 

To wrap this up, what are you putting off, because you are afraid of how it might turn-out? Do you have a project you want to do, but feel you need to learn more before you start? Well, perhaps you have learned enough and the best way you will grow from here is to do!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Texas (American) Hero - JJ Watt

A post shared by espn (@espn) on

Hurricane Harvey has been a fairly constant posting topic for this blog the last couple of weeks. A while ago, for a Wacky Wednesday, I posted a link to JJ Watt's crowdfund to support victims of Hurricane Harvey.  As of the closing of the program more than $37 million has been raised! Not bad for something that started with a goal of $200k.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Snipers, Door Kickers, and Girl Scouts

My sons are selling popcorn to support the Boy Scouts, and are doing a fantastic job. While I was poking around the internet, however, I came across an interesting photo:

Image may contain: one or more people and text

This caused a laugh because I often call the Girl Scouts outside the various stores in our areas Snipers because they are there to snipe our dietary plans. Usually, the moms laugh as I reach for my wallet and buy some Samoas.

I have to admit that these tactics might be a little too aggressive, but definitely amusing...

If you want to support Boy Scouts by purchasing popcorn from my boys, please use this link and the following codes:

Oldest Son:
Youngest Son:

Monday, September 18, 2017

Leadership Quote - Robert Louis Stevenson

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant - Robert Louise Stevenson

We return to Robert Louis Stevenson this week for our quote. How are you judging your day? By the rewards you received or the effort you put in? Today especially people want the instant gratification of seeing rewards without necessarily doing the work.  Simon Sinek mentions in a video about "Millenials in the workplace" that people are often at the starting point of their career, relationship, or goal and they see the summit of where they want to go but don't see the mountain:

The full interview can be found here

With that in mind, what are you planting for tomorrow? You and your teams should be working towards tomorrow's harvest. Be aware of the mountain, and climb a little bit of it every day. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Leadership Quote - William James

Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact. - William James

The quote this week is from William James, an American philosopher, and psychologist. With all the focus over previous weeks related to reacting to life and how the best-laid plans can be ruined by Nature or Fate, I felt it was worth noting that you decide how you react, and if you decide that life is worth living, then it will be for you. 

From the leadership perspective, you must do what you can for your team to decide the "life is worth living" as well. Work with them to remove obstacles and see the value in what they do. Team members are happier when they understand the impact of what they are working toward and that their role has value. Communicate that to the team and help them remove obstacles, and their lives will be immeasurably happier. 

As an FYI, this is my oldest son running into the waves, enjoying a previous summer break, and truly enjoying life in that moment. How often do you have moments of pure joy like that? Perhaps it's time to find more?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Leadership Quote - Charles Swindoll

Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent of how I react to it. - Charles Swindoll

This week's quote is from Charles Swindoll, an evangelical Christian pastor, and author, and relates well to the theme from the past weeks. Last week I shared a quote related to and the story of the missed total eclipse, with a quote about how Nature can impact plans. This week we discuss that life is mostly how you react to things rather than the careful planning you created in your life.

Way too often we've had plans for how our life will move forward, and yet rarely does life give you what you expect or plan for. Most often you have to adjust to what life gives you and then find ways to move forward, good or bad.

As a leader, your reaction is contagious. When you react with anger, your team reacts with anger or fear. If you react with confidence (even if you don't feel it) your team will be more comfortable and confident that they can handle the situation. During the eclipse, when the cloud arrived, my friends and I still had a good time enjoying the sight of Jupiter, the bats, and what felt/looked like sunset at 1:27 in the afternoon. So, how are you going to react?

Friday, September 1, 2017 - Top Leadership Blogger

Earlier this week, I was thrilled and a little humbled to learn that I was included in a list of the top leadership bloggers from The link to the article can be found here (my efforts are the 25th in the list of 57).

This is the second year in a row where I've been recognized as a top leadership blogger. When I first started this blog, it was meant to be a way to explore the various lessons and experiences I've had over my lifetime, to help solidify my thoughts on leadership. Apparently, I must be doing something right, as the lessons are helping others too.

Thank you for this recognition, I am humbled to be included with some of the other names on this list, like Tony Robbins, John Maxwell, Stephen Covey/Franklin Covey, Allison Green, and Michael Rogers. I only hope that I can continue to provide insight and clarity for years to come as we continue to explore this calling of leadership!