Why Suger-coating is Bad For Your Team’s Health

Posted on


Your Life is made up of your daily decisions.  Sure-coating (minimizing the reality of a situation) reduces clarity and judgement.  It never helps you and others make better decisions.

Rather, it hinders good decisions because you never fully address the reality of a situation.

What’s the alternative?  CANDOR.

Candor is Honesty with Skill.  And true Candor requires both.

Honesty without Skill is rude and insensitive.

Skill without Honesty lacks clarity and truth.

It takes both to maintain trust in the relationship and make great decisions.


(New Post) You Don’t Have Time for Negative People

Posted on Updated on

Negative-PeopleRecently, I caught myself wasting time dealing with a negative person.

I’m not talking about someone on my team or organization. It was actually a business partner in another organization who was caught making negative comments behind others’ backs.

After being bothered about it for quite some time, I decided not to let the issue waste any more of the team’s time. As well, this individual would not be given the chance to disparage others again.

Do you have to deal with a negative person that takes up too much of your day?  You don’t have time for negative people in your life.

Negative People are a Negative Impact

I often come up with my best ideas on my run, when my mind gets “in the zone.”  This is my time to “get away” and just think.   However, on this particular day, all I could think about was the nasty conversation that occurred with the business partner who had been caught saying negative comments about others. It caused much team friction, and too much time was spent addressing the behavior.

To call it what is was: It was a complete waste of time, energy, and feelings by all involved.  And the worst part of the episode was the individual in question got what they wanted… a reaction.

Don’t Let the Critics Steal Your Time

Critical. Negative. Toxic.  Call them what you will, but negative people have a way of stealing the time of others.

They don’t have anything positive to contribute. They just want to complain. In fact, their greatest pleasure is not in their accomplishments, but in minimizing those of others.  Negative people don’t have anything positive to contribute. Don’t let them waste your time.

The best way to deal with negative people is not to deal with them.

It’s best to let them go on their way. (Both literally and figuratively.)  Don’t let them have your time, attention, or energy.

Here are just a few of the Negative People You Don’t Have Time For:

  • Naysayers – The naysayers are a dangerous lot because they want to destroy your dreams before they even begin. They will tell you what you can’t do and what can’t be done. The truth is that they can’t or won’t do, so they don’t want you to succeed either.
  • Complainers – The complainers spend complaining than actually doing.  They aren’t where they should be because of someone else. The rules aren’t fair. There is always an excuse.
  • Bullies – If you think bullying ends in school, you are mistaken. Some people in the workplace enjoy nothing more than abusing others. Of course, just as on the playground, bullies fold when someone finally stands up to them.
  • Critics – Critics just love to tear down others and their efforts. They sit on the sidelines pointing out all the flaws they can see… real or not. This is another group of non-doers who are jealous of those who are doing.
  • Caustic People – Some people are nasty just for the sake of being nasty. These are some of the most toxic people you will encounter. They never have anything nice to say, but always manage to say something negative.

No Time for Negative People

Don’t let negative people tell you what you can’t do. (Ignore them.)

Don’t let negative people bring down your mood. (Don’t listen to them.)

And definitely, don’t let them waste your time. (You don’t get more).


Break These 9 Bad Leadership Habits

Posted on Updated on

habitBad Habits = Bad Teams

Here Are 9 Habits you Must Break to be a Fully-Engaged Leader:

1- Overloading

Have you ever been in the middle of one task and then started another, only later to realize that you didn’t finish either? Multi-tasking seems like a good idea at the time, but often leads to nothing. Concentrate on the important task until it is finished, before starting something else.

2- Making Excuses

We have become desensitized to accountability. When something doesn’t get it done, we immediately look for something or someone else to blame. As the cliche goes, “Life isn’t always fair.” Get it done anyway.

3- Email Obsession

How many times do you check email in a day? 10, 20, 50, 100? Stop checking your email. Instead, do your work.

4- Focus on the negative

The news is best consumed in small doses. If you read the news these days there is simply too much. Too much negativity. Too much inaccuracy. Too much wasted time. Don’t endlessly surf the news websites, and instead let the news

5- Complaining

Don’t be one of those people who goes through life complaining instead of doing. If you aren’t happy about something, then do something about it. You can leave your job. You can start new relationships. You can even change things about yourself if you try hard enough.

6- Unhealthy Eating

Eating junk food on a regular basis is a sure-road trip to an unhealthly lifestyle. However, it is also responsible for derailing your energy level in the afternoon. Instead of being a post-lunch zombie, eat a healthy meal that will actually fuel your body.

7- Skipping Exercise

When things get hectic, one of the first things to go is exercise. Don’t use “I don’t have time to workout,” as an excuse. (See #2) You do have time to work out. Don’t underestimate exercise’s ability to power your motivation and energy level.

8- Being Chained to your phone

Who is in charge, you or your smartphone? Don’t answer it just because it rings. Don’€™t jump at every beep, chirp, and vibration. Remember, it is there for your convenience, not the other way around.

9- Doing it just “Good Enough”

When you don’t give something your all, you end up with a half-done job. As Jeffrey Mayer said, If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it again? Always bring your A-game, and do it right the first time and do it with class.

It may be time you replaced a few of those bad habits with a better ones.

Question: What bad habits do you have that impact your productivity and engagement?

The Yes Manifesto

Posted on Updated on

imagesThe answer is Yes.

Yes, chasing a dream is scary.

Yes, leadership is scary.

Yes, working with people is risky.

Yes, there will be fear.  Yes, there will be doubt.  Yes, other people won’t understand it.

Yes, sometimes you won’t either.

Yes, the odds will be stacked against you.  Yes, you will want to quit. A lot.

Yes, you will fail sometimes.

Yes, you will feel like someone more talented has already done exactly what you want to do.

Yes, you will not know exactly where you are going.

Yes, you will feel unqualified.

Yes, there will be awkwardness.

The answer is yes for all of these things.

 But yes is also the answer to all these questions too:

Does the world need your dream? Yes.

Do you need to chase it? Yes.

Is today a better day to begin than tomorrow? Yes.

Does working on a vision a little always beat not working on it at all? Yes.

Are you capable of more than you think? Yes.

If you don’t try will you regret it? Yes.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

If you’re going to do anything meaningful, get ready to say that little word a big amount of times.

Because for those who dare to be more than ordinary, the answer is yes.


(My thanks to Jon Acuff for these thoughts)

How To Move from Average To Exceptional

Posted on Updated on

average-menIf you just wanted to be average,  you probably wouldn’t be reading this post.

In fact, your fear of mediocrity, combined with your ambition to be faster, stronger, and smarter than mere mortals, are all part of what keep you growing personally and professionally.

Be that all as it may, however, the possibility still exists that you may be — dare I say it — average. Or — even worse! — less than average.

A man named Dr. Ericsson is considered the world’s leading expert on expertise. In several studies, he discovered that it usually takes around 10,000 hours of time for someone to become an expert at something.

10,000 hours of writing to be an expert writer.

10,000 hours of yoga to be an expert yogi.

An expert in Leadership?  Lead a team successfully for at least 10,000 hours, and do it the right way.

A subject matter expert in your area of passion?  Yep- 10,000 hours

10,000 hours of anything equals expertise.

So why aren’t more people experts?  Because of stats like this:

“By age twenty-one, the typical American has spent ten thousand hours playing computer games.”

I read that sentence from the book Willpower, and it surprised me.

Now I don’t hate video games. I think they can be fun part of an awesome life.  But if you play 10,000 hours by the time you’re 21, do you know where you are headed?

And you were meant for something more.

Go be an expert. Go work on 10,000 hours. Just make sure that you don’t end up at typical along the way.



Rapper 50 Cent- A Leadership Lession

Posted on Updated on

Stay in the “strength zone”  – those things that you are good at and have a passion for.  When you do, you’ll receive greater satisfaction and you’ll be much more engaged.  Plus, you’ll see much better results.

However, the next time you think that you need to be amazing at everything in life, please watch this video of rapper 50 Cent throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game.

Can he sell albums? Sure.

Can he perform concerts? Sure.

Has he made millions from endorsements? Sure.

Is he good at throwing a baseball? Nope.

You don’t have to be amazing at everything.   Your personal worth is not based on your performance or the opinion of others (even though we think it is).

Want to avoid a situation like this?

1. Say “no” to things that seem like opportunities but really aren’t.

2. Practice. A lot. Your competence will lead to your confidence.  (So don’t let the first pitch you try be the one that is televised.)


The 9 People You Can’t Lead

Posted on Updated on

frustrated-woman-facial-expressionThe fact that you’re reading this tells me you desire to grow  – and be the best leader you can be.

Likely, you are a very good leader.  But, there are people whom the BEST leaders (including yourself) can’t lead.

I have a desire to help everyone. But, I have learned the hard way that I cannot help or support everyone who comes to me for input.

The following are 9 kinds of people that are so entrenched in certain habit patterns that you and I cannot help them advance to the next level unless they make the necessary shift in their attitude or behavior.

1. Those who do not take responsibility for themselves.

The first step toward self-improvement is to remove all excuses for mediocrity or failure. Those that continually blame other people for their failures will never go to the next level.

Leaders can complain about their spouses, the income level of their congregations, the lack of staff, etc., but I have learned that within every challenge is the seed of opportunity for success, which requires the creativity of problem solving.

2. Those who create distance so they are not accountable.

There are certain people I have met in various organizations who only let others get so close before cutting off the relationship. Many can go from one mentor to the next because they fear becoming too close to a leader who will hold them accountable.

Whether it is fear or rebellion, those who live like this have put a low ceiling on their lives and will not grow past the infant stage concerning their potential in life.

3. Those who insist on having a negative outlook on life.

There are some have a propensity to expect the worst in life so they are never disappointed by anyone or anything!

This is a weird way some folks attempt to shield their emotions from the pain of disappointment; it is a very common practice with many people.

Neither you or I can empower a person who refuses to think positive thoughts about themselves and about life.

4. Those who refuse to have a vision for their future.

There are many very talented and anointed people I have been in relationship with who live their lives without any strategic plan or vision for their future. They are just living from day to day to prepare for their retirement.

Those who are successful have a compelling vision that drives them daily and that feeds their souls even more than the desire to make money.

5. Those who live in self-deception.

There are many people who are living lives of denial regarding their relationships with their family, colleagues and the people they serve (including God).

The sad thing is that denial is the first step to outright deception, in which a person concocts an alternate, false reality that continually feeds their mind and emotions the things they want to hear about themselves and their key relationships.

When you confront people like this, they become upset and blame you for not understanding them or for wrongfully accusing them of something. Only they can removed the blinders from their own eyes- you cannot do it for them.

6. Those who do not want to pay the price for success.

There are many that want the perks of success but don’t want to pay the price for success.

Whatever we do in life, we are called to sacrifice our time, invest our talents and be committed to a long, grueling process with many setbacks until we reach our peak performance. This kind of sacrifice is needed in every area we desire success in, including our marriages, relationships with our children, leading a company or a church, etc.

Consequently, I have found that I am not able to empower a person to the fullness of their destiny if they don’t want to work hard at self-improvement.

7. Those whose primary agenda is individualistic and not others-oriented.

There are some people whose only agenda in life is to advance their own agenda.

They don’t want to work with a team or flow in the context of a local church. They want others to pour their lives into them, but they are rarely ever willing to pour back into others.

Those who only want to use other high-capacity people to advance their own agenda (even if it is ministry related) have greatly limited their own lives. Thus, I back away from these people until they change.

8. Those who refuse to keep their word.

I have been with very talented individuals with a strong sense of calling on their lives but who find it difficult (for whatever reason) to remain faithful to their obligations. Or they broke confidence by continually talking behind other people’s backs.

Some things can be trained – but you cannot train character.

9. Those who lack transparency, humility and integrity.

When someone gets to the place where their humble enough to admit their faults and confess areas of personal growth, they are ready for the type of leader that can be a powerful coach in their lives.



6 Habits of Stinky Presentations

Posted on Updated on

presentation-sleeping-300x198Every Leader has to present on some topic on a regular basis.

But, my gosh.

Sometimes I just shake my head and wonder how good leaders can be such ineffective speakers.  When I prefer to provide a blood transfusion over listening to another painful 20 minutes of a presentation, something must be wrong.

The fact: Great presenters are effective because they’ve worked hard on the right stuff.

Please notice what I didn’t say. I didn’t say that they’ve been speaking for a long time makes them effective. Sometimes time is a great deception – just because we’ve done something for a long time doesn’t mean we’re good at it.

Likely, we’ve done the same poor presentation habits for years.  There are some people who are naturally gifted at speaking, but most of us have to work really hard at it.

Here are 6 Habits of Stinky Presentations:

Habit 1: You have 17  points to cover. (Instead, have a clear goal for your presentation).

The headline of this post rips off Stephen Covey, and one of the most effective habits of presentations is inspired by him: “Begin with the end in mind.” You need one goal for what you want your audience to know, feel or do immediately after the presentation.

Here’s a tip: Summarize your goal in one declarative sentence. If it’s a run-on sentence, it’s time to revise.  Here’s my question for you: What’s the One Thing you want them to know, and what’s the One Thing you want them to Do.

Habit 2:  Have over 40+ powerpoint slides with more than 5 lines of text on each slide.

Seriously, just email the slide deck instead.   Because after 5 minutes,  I won’t be paying attention (and neither will anyone else).  People will start reading your slides rather than listening to the message you’re communicating.

Instead, use slides minimally  – just to communicate a visual or image ( or quote).  The rule of thumb is to use p to 4 lines of text only.

Habit 3: Don’t Prepare or revise (Instead, Prepare early and often.)

As soon as you know you will speak somewhere, it is time to start preparing.  But if you think preparation means opening PowerPoint or Word, think again.

Nancy Duarte recommends you storyboard your speech on Post-It notes. Brainstorm your points and sub-points, and write them on Post-Its. Then put them on a wall so you can easily reorganize your speech or toss the points that don’t fit your goal into the recycling bin.

You need to start this process early. Speech preparation is an iterative process.

Habit 4: Don’t get Personal or share stories   (instead, find stories everywhere.)

Audiences love stories. They spice up bland, boring, data-driven presentations. Stories engage audience members and help them relate the content to their lives.  Successful speakers always look for stories, and they know stories don’t have to be extraordinary. The best ones come from ordinary experiences.

Stories are everywhere, and successful speakers always look for them.

Habit 5:  Talk AT your audience   (Instead, Involve your audience).

Audience members want interaction during presentations. They want to feel involved. Ask them questions that make them think.  Use the word “you” a lot. Use your stories to relate to their worlds. No matter what your presentation topic, think strategically about how you can involve your audience more in your speech.

For the love of all good things, avoid the “me, me, me introduction.” No one cares about you. People care about how your information will serve them.

Habit 6: Speak beyond 45 minutes   (Instead, always respect the time limit.)

Rarely is someone good enough to speak beyond 45 minutes in any one setting (unless facilitating a workshop). Stop going over the time limit. It’s disrespectful of your audience’s time and attention. Aim to end early when as prepare your speech. That way if there are questions during the presentation, you have time to answer them and still end on time.

Bonus Habit: Practice your bootie off.

A clear goal + solid preparation + practice = presentation success.   You need to practice your presentation. Practice it out loud, in the car, on a boat or in a moat. Visualize your speech. Make time to practice and know you can’t wing it.

Successful speakers know speaking is hard work. There’s no shortcut to success. Get out there and speak. Share your message. Speak as often as you can.



5 Qualities Google Looks for in Next-Generation Leaders

Posted on Updated on

google_logoIn a recent interview with the New York Times, Lazlo Block – Chief People Officer at Google makes these great observations about how they hire leaders.  He states:  “There are five hiring attributes we have across the company.  If it’s a technical role, we assess your coding ability, and half the roles in the company are technical roles. For every job, though, the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information. We assess that using structured behavioral interviews that we validate to make sure they’re predictive.”

The second, he added, “is leadership — in particular, emergent leadership as opposed to traditional leadership. Traditional leadership is: were you president of the chess club? Were you vice president of sales? How quickly did you get there? We don’t care. What we care about is, when faced with a problem and you’re a member of a team, do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead. Just as critically, do you step back and stop leading; do you let someone else? Because what’s critical to be an effective leader in this environment is you have to be willing to relinquish power.”

Third and fourth are humility and ownership. “It’s feeling the sense of responsibility, the sense of ownership, to step in,” Bock said, to try to solve any problem — and the humility to step back and embrace the better ideas of others. “Your end goal: is what can we do together to problem-solve. I’ve contributed my piece, and then I step back. And it is not just humility in creating space for others to contribute, it’s “intellectual humility. Without humility, you are unable to learn.” It is why research shows that many graduates from hotshot business schools plateau. “Successful bright people rarely experience failure, and so they don’t learn how to learn from that failure,” said Bock.

Finally, hunger. The passion to be a life-long learner. To be teachable. Poor hires “commit the fundamental attribution error, which is if something good happens, it’s because I’m a genius. If something bad happens, it’s because someone’s an idiot or I didn’t get the resources or the market moved…What we’ve seen is that the people who are the most successful here, who we want to hire, will have a fierce position. They’ll argue like h***. They’ll be zealots about their point of view. But then you say, ‘here’s a new fact,’ and they’ll go, ‘Oh, well, that changes things; you’re right.’” You need a big ego and small ego in the same person at the same time.

Horace Mann, the founder of the American public school system, first called his schools, “Normal” schools, because their purpose was to prepare kids for the norms of society. I think Google may have put their finger on the norms of 21st century society. Are we getting our students ready for it?


Use These Tools to Defeat Negative Thinking

Posted on Updated on

imagesYour negativity bias is a leadership liability, but you can change it.

In her new book, Lead Positive: What Highly Effective Leaders See, Say, and Do, the psychologist and consultant teaches leaders how to train their brains to approach themselves, others and the situations they find themselves in from a base of positivity.

Cramer explains that our negativity bias — the neural circuitry of the brain that compels us to respond faster and more intensely to problems than possibilities — blinds us to the assets and advantages inherent in a stressful situation. When a leader is caught up in that negativity, it can trigger a downward spiral that affects everyone around them.

Cramer’s approach — called Asset-Based Thinking (ABT) — helps leaders shift three things:
  • What they see: how to see more of the possibilities than the problems of any given situation.
  • What they say: how to connect the positive things you see to what you say to others.
  • What they do: how to use the positive trajectory of what you see and say to act intentionally.

She argues that by shifting what you see, say and do toward assets and possibilities, you will solve problems faster, inspire others, react better to stressful situations, improve organizational culture and get better results over the long term.

How do we learn Asset-Based Thinking? Cramer offers three tools as a way to start:

1. Take the See, Think, Feel test. Feelings are a great marker of your thinking. Tune in to your emotions in any situation. If you are feeling negative, you are locked in to the negativity track. Trace your feelings back to what you are thinking about and seeing. What are you focused on? If you recognized you are focused only on the problems, what is not working, what you fear, it’s time to shift your perspective and trigger positive feelings.

2. Make an ASA shift. To get away from a negative bias and onto a positive thinking channel, you need to acknowledge, scan and act. In the moment (see No.1) or as you reflect on a situation you could be handling better, first acknowledge that the negative aspects are probably true or real but they are not helpful. Next, scan for something positive — just one potential upside for you or your team. What is the value/reward in dealing with the situation effectively? Then, act — take one step toward the potential gain. Small steps of productive action will interrupt the negativity track before it takes over.

3. Scan, Snap, Savor. Build your positivity reserves by taking in the good of any given moment. Get in the habit of scanning for what’s working in any situation. It could be how others are making a contribution, how a situation is playing out in your favor, or your own leadership strengths, capabilities and efforts that are showing up to move things forward. Take a mental snapshot, zooming in and focusing on just one of the positive elements of your scan. Then savor it. Relive it for 30-60 seconds. In less than 90 seconds, you give yourself a lift, boost your confidence and create new neural pathways.

Of course, the ability to shift away from a negative bias to a positive one isn’t about ignoring a problem or being foolishly optimistic.

“If you’re losing market share or an external factor has affected shipping, you can’t pretend it isn’t happening. You can’t call a dog a frog,” Cramer says.

“Asset-Based Thinking is about putting aside the fix-it reaction in order to move into a more responsive, creative mode,” she explains. “The positive side of an experience will have a ripple effect, moving you and others to find solutions to complex problems.”