Wednesday, July 29, 2015

When Do You Get Your Best Ideas?

I’m rolling around in bed this morning at about 6:30 and a great idea popped into my head. It reaffirmed my feeling that I get my best ideas lying in bed in the morning before I start my day.

The idea generation process is a great way to start your day. I try not to get into the worry cycle early in the morning because it sets a negative tone for the day. I tell myself, “I’ll have time to worry/think about that in a little while.”

When do you get your best ideas? Are you walking/driving/showering/reading? If you know when you are most creative you should put yourself in that state on a regular basis. If you get your best ideas in the shower, be willing to pay for more hot water!

Not all of your ideas will work, but the more ideas you have, the better chance you’ll have a winner.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I'm On Vacation....Come Steal My Stuff!!

The first day back from vacation is always one of two things: 
- A frenzied scramble to catch up on emails, postal, paperwork, emergencies you didn’t hear about, all the snarky stuff that happened while you were gone, and cleaning out all the dust, bugs and mess that piled up.
- Sitting in your chair thinking, “Ok, you’ve put off all the planning for the next year, now what?”
I’m sitting in the middle of a combination of the two.

Here’s the point of the day: I just got back from vacation…and I didn’t tell many people I was going. Didn’t mention it in a blog before I left, didn’t put it on FaceBook, didn’t announce, “Hey Y’all! I’m going on vacation!”

In today’s world, it’s probably not good to announce you won’t be home for an extended period. Increasingly, security experts are saying such an announcement might work as well as putting a sign in your front yard that says, “Come steal our stuff!”

I know the summer is two-thirds over, but, other than reaching out to important clients and some close friends who’ll watch your home for you, it might be a good idea to not announce, “I’m sooooo looking forward to vacation/long weekend/long business trip!”

Oh, and thanks for the welcome back.

Friday, July 10, 2015

You Can Have Magic Mike...I'll Take the Minions!

Today, Friday, July 10, is a BIG DAY!

Now, let’s admit up front that I’m a 63-year old male, I consider myself at least minimally intelligent and, as much as I fight it, I try to do things on a regular basis (work, relationships, good deeds) that might be considered mature.



Ok, Ok…settle down….you…not me. Let me explain:

In case you’re just back from the International Space Station, the Minions are the little yellow and blue guys with big eyes (eye), shaped like ibuprofen capsules who have voices that sound like they are constantly sucking on a helium balloon. They costarred in the Despicable Me movies and now have their own flick. If you get a chance, search online for what the Minions—color, eyes, language—really mean; extraordinarily interesting.

Yes, I know this is silly, but these little guys have hit a button in me that says, “Joy!” 

I can NOT hear them talk without smiling. I’ve watched their trailers and clips on multiple times. And yes, there are some adult versions that go so far beyond hilarious that I laugh until I can’t breath. 

And, I’m not going to make excuses for this.

If you find something positive that gives you a sense of joy don’t let your definition of maturity keep you from enjoying it. If you like dancing by yourself to Barbara Streisand music, go ahead. If you like coloring in Little Mermaid coloring books, have at it. If you think Duke University basketball is just the…uh…wait a minute…if you’re headed down that road, seek medical attention…IMMEDIATELY!

Seriously, I have friends who think my Minion-mance is silly (Elaine just shakes her head), but I’m not givin’ it up. If it’s a good thing and makes me bust out laughing, I’m going to do it.

So…have a great weekend, and Papagena! (Go to and check them out…Listen for the word when you see one of the Minions talking to a fire hydrant and then search the word.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Looking for a Good Road?

The great explorer and missionary, Dr. David Livingstone, once received a letter from a aid group. It read, “Have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to know how to send other men to join you.”

Livingstone wrote back, “If you have men who will come only if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come even if there is no road at all.” Livingstone was saying that the people who wanted to work with him would have to show the initiative to come to him, he wasn’t going to show them the golden road.

Earlier this summer I got a call from one of the members of the fraternity I was in when in college. I now serve on the chapter board. He was wondering if I knew of any of our alumni who might have an internship available; I had already pointed a couple of members to opportunities. 

I told him that I didn’t know of other opportunities, but that the board was starting an effort to get in touch with other alums and we could use his help in putting together that effort. I pointed him to an alum who has the information he needs to get started. And, that’s the last I’ve heard from him.

I keep telling young people—and people of all ages who come to my seminars—that initiative is the most scarce, but most appreciated skill/value/quality, in today’s workplace.

If you are waiting for someone to show you the best/easiest/fastest road to success you’ll probably be waiting a long time. Because, the person who is clearing the road, the one who is making it happen, is more than likely up at the front of the road still hacking their way through the jungle. They don’t have time to walk all the way back to you, take you by the hand, and walk you back up to where something needs to be done.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Go Women!! Won the World Cup!


Team Captain Carli Lloyd said she imagined scoring three or four goals in the championship game. Sometimes dreams come true!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Fly the Flag!

No matter what your political leanings, you’ve got to admit that the last couple of weeks have been both difficult and extraordinary in America. 

From heart-wrenching sorrow in Charleston to Supreme Court decisions that pushed both ends of the political spectrum to shouts of delight and disgust, we’ve shown the world wonderful examples of how free people live. 

As Michael Douglas said in The American President, “Democracy ain’t easy. You’ve gotta want it bad.” 

This July 4th weekend, take a moment to revel in the red, white and blue, and appreciate how truly fortunate we are.

Have a great, safe 4th!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Children or Adults...Any Difference?

Not long ago in a management seminar I asked the group if any of them had children. As you can imagine, lots of hands went up. 

Then I asked two questions: “How many of you believe there are adults on the workplace who act like children?” (almost every hand in the room went up) And then, “How many of you believe you can use some of the same parenting techniques you use at home as management tools for employees?” (only two hands were raised)

The discussion got pretty interesting after that. We put our heads together and discovered that three parenting strategies work wonderfully with people whether in or outside the workplace.

First, Set Expectations. Make sure people know exactly what you expect from them. If you tell someone you want them to do a Good Job and you don’t tell them what your definition of a Good Job is they will certainly use their definition…which might be different than yours.

Second, Catch People Doing Things Right. We all want affirmation and appreciation. In fact, appreciation is the #1 response we humans want for  our actions. Spend some time Catching People Doing Things Right and you’ll be surprised how a lot of your people problems shrink or disappear.

Third, Hold People Accountable. Whether children or adults, if people aren’t consistently held Accountable they will stray off-course. They get distracted by all kinds of issues, internal and external, and the next thing you know they are not meeting your expectations. So, on a regular basis, you need to keep checking in with them to hold them Accountable for their actions.

Some of the same strategies you use with children will work with adults, in and out of the workplace.