How Important is Teamwork to Business Success?

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From Randy Pennington:

randy-pennington-headshotIt depends on your definition of “teamwork.”  It is absolutely critical if you define teamwork as everyone having a shared vision; clear roles and responsibilities; delivering their best to help the entire unit succeed; and keeping personal differences from derailing the group’s performance and results.

The problem is that many leaders and organizations believe “teamwork” also includes liking each other; hanging out after work; going along to get along; or sharing personal stories after a long-day of team-building games. If that’s your definition, teamwork is not as important as you think.

Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd created some of their best work when they weren’t getting along. William Frawley and Vivian Vance created the iconic characters of Fred and Ethel Mertz on the “I Love Lucy” series. Yet Frawley refused to speak to Vance on the set for the show’s entire run as you were watching their performance. That happens when you have superior talent who understand expectations and are committed to success.

A team that performs AND gets along is the best of all worlds. But if I have to choose, I’ll take talented professionals with a shared vision, clear roles, and a commitment to mutual success.

Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. To find out more, go to www.penningtongroup.com.

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From Scott McKain:

scott-mckain-headshotWhile I accept that teamwork is essential to business achievement, I do not believe that having functioning teams ensures your success.

A few years ago, I did a fascinating project for a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. It seemed that in their hiring of new colleagues and their selection of members for various teams, they had achieved their goals in terms of gender and ethnic diversity – something we should obviously applaud and support. However, where they had fallen short is in regards to diversity of personality and strengths. Managers surrounded themselves with people who reflected their own ideas and bias.

Teams were filled with ethnically diverse people of all races, who all happened to think exactly alike – that’s why their managers had assembled them!

Today’s headlines display a powerful example: do you believe there was diversity of thought, personality, and strengths at the NFL when their team was making decisions regarding the issues that have dominated the recent news? I don’t.

Teams are most productive when they stimulate innovative thought and propose original approaches to achieving the goals my friends have written about here.

If the team members all think alike – every person in the group is unnecessary, except one.

Scott McKain teaches how organizations and individual professionals can create distinction in their marketplace, and deliver the “Ultimate Customer Experience ®.” For more information: www.ScottMcKain.com

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From Mark Sanborn:

mark-headshotI’ve never worked with a business or organization that didn’t aspire to teamwork, which suggests that it is very important.

The rub is not as many businesses achieve it as aspire to it.

Creating a team is much more than renaming the “accounting department” the “accounting team.” The substance of teamwork is about people working together to achieve more than they could have working individually and independently.

But like anything important, it requires an attentive leader who can focus team members on collaborating and reward them for both individual and team contribution. It is often easier to work independently and unconcerned with the impact your effort has on those around you.

If you believe in teamwork, start by knocking down the barriers that keep people from working together. How do you find out what those barriers are? Just ask your employees, what keeps you from working as a team. They’ll tell you.

And since teamwork really is important, get busy removing those barriers.

Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit www.marksanborn.com.

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From Joe Calloway:

joe-calloway-headshotHere’s what I think is the easy answer and to me the screamingly obvious answer:  it’s incredibly important.  If the customer service department promises what fulfillment can’t or won’t deliver, you go out of business. Ditto if manufacturing isn’t working as a team with sales. If you can’t work effectively with everyone else to deliver to our customers, then you can’t work here. The sports metaphors are endless: If the offensive line goes one way and the running back goes the other – out of business. If the guard passes to the forward and the forward isn’t in synch – out of business. Hopefully one or more of my four friends here will have a good, juicy contrarian answers to this about independent thinking or something.  My answer is dull and obvious: if you don’t have great teamwork you will get whipped in business by the company that does.

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com

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From Larry Winget:

larry-winget-headshotTeamwork is a word like passion: sounds good but means nothing – a buzzword and not much more. Now, I know some of you team players are spewing coffee out of your nose at that because you love your team. But, let me bring a dose of reality: Teamwork doesn’t work. And that is because someone on the team won’t work. Which means the team didn’t do a damn thing.

The truth is a handful of superstar employees got the work done while the slackers were taking up space hiding from the work or covering their butts by looking really busy when they weren’t actually doing anything to get the job done. Businesses need a group of superstar employees who share a common goal and have mutual respect for each other’s abilities. Ask any superstar to name the slackers on their team. They can. A superstar always knows. Slackers love everybody. Leadership must step up their game and cut the dead weight loose. It’s not easy, but it can be done if a company is really dedicated to excellence and to their superstars. And they should be since those are the people doing the work!

Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development©, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to www.LarryWinget.com.

What is the biggest enemy of Business Success?

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From Mark Sanborn:

mark-headshotThe worst enemy of business? Indifference.

Indifference is a lack of concern, interest or sympathy and it hurts business in two areas: people and process.

A lack of concern for your employees/colleagues and your customers/clients is the quickest way to destroy commitment and loyalty. Even when you disagree with someone, it shows you are interested enough to engage them. Indifference is a dead end street. It is hard to care about others who don’t seem to care about anything or anyone (except themselves). So why would we care about their business success?

Indifference to process is what happens when you aren’t interested in the details of your business. You can’t be bothered to “look at the numbers” or “deal with the problems,” as if there was something better you should be doing with you time.

We care about what and who is important to us, and if you aren’t concerned about the people and processes of your business, you probably don’t care about profits either.

Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit www.marksanborn.com.

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From Scott McKain:

scott-mckain-headshotLack of focus is the biggest enemy of success.  It’s an old analogy; however, it makes the point:  Sunshine alone won’t set a piece of paper on fire, but if you take a magnifying glass and focus the rays, it can cause the paper to erupt in flames.  The sunshine is the same – it’s the focus that creates the reaction.

Perhaps, in today’s age of intense media, the Internet, and unlimited entertainment options, it’s easier to be distracted than ever before.  However, those who desire to be successful can’t use that as an excuse.

What are the keys to focus? Here are three:

  1. Be specific.
  2. Plan.
  3. Write it down.

How do you focus without a target? You can’t – in other words, you need a precise object in order to concentrate.  After you’ve developed a specific target, next — begin to plan on the steps required to achieve your desire.  Finally, write it down – for some reason, putting pen to the page creates a contract with yourself for achievement.

With a specific target, a developed plan, and a written commitment, you will have established the focus required to overcome the biggest enemy of success.

Scott McKain teaches how organizations and individual professionals can create distinction in their marketplace, and deliver the “Ultimate Customer Experience ®.” For more information: www.ScottMcKain.com

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From Larry Winget:

larry-winget-headshotThe biggest enemy of business success is success. Yep, you read it right. Nothing will kill success any quicker than being really successful. I have seen it many times with many people and many businesses. You experience a level of success and then you focus so much on achieving even more success, that you lose sight of what made you successful. While it is important to be forward thinking in order to build and expand on your hard-earned achievements, I believe it is even more important not to become forgetful. And success makes you forgetful.

Success makes you lazy and lulls you into a sleepy, safe place of complacency where you forget some or all of the things that made you successful in the first place: great customer service, value, hard work, paying attention to the little things, showing up early, making the calls, working closely with your suppliers, exceeding expectations, paying close attention to your money, staying on top of personnel issues, focus, prioritizing, celebrating every victory, learning from your mistakes and appreciating all of the people who helped you become successful. Remember: Look up so you can keep building but never forget to attend to the foundation.

Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development©, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to www.LarryWinget.com.

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From Randy Pennington:

randy-pennington-headshotBusinesses don’t succeed for all sorts of reasons: a bad product; lousy financial controls; ignoring customer needs; poor sales and marketing; no planning. The list could go on.

But, there is one overriding cause at the heart of all of those reasons – inattention.

It is almost impossible for a single leader to pay attention to everything as the business grows. You have to leverage the energy, talent, and commitment of others. And that means that leaders must give their greatest attention to building a culture that never succumbs to inattention.

I agree with Larry that success can make you complacent if you let it. But, inattention can also stem from lack of knowledge or inadequate resources.

The businesses that consistently succeed pay almost fanatical attention to building and sustaining a culture where every person at every level is 100 percent committed, equipped, and accountable for doing ALL the things that deliver consistent results.

I look at it this way: Running a business is a lot like having a successful relationship. No one starts with failure as the goal. And, both fail when you stop giving attention to the crucial aspects that make them successful … starting with the right culture.

Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. To find out more, go to www.penningtongroup.com.

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From Joe Calloway:

joe-calloway-headshotThe biggest enemy of business success is passion.

Now, everyone get up off the floor because most of you just fainted from shock. Isn’t passion the very thing that makes a business succeed? Actually it’s energy coupled with, as McKain points out, focus, that drives success. As an article in the Wall Street Journal recently stated, “if there’s anything that can sink a new business, it’s passion. It blinds entrepreneurs, leading them to get overconfident and make bad choices at the worst times.” Click Here to read the WSJ article.

The killer: you think that because you love your product/service, everyone else will, too.

Research from Keith Hmieleski and Robert Baron calls this “the tendency to expect positive outcomes even when such expectations are not rationally justified.” The passion to “follow your dreams” and not dispassionately understand the realities of the marketplace is a lethal business killer.

Winget and I have always said that being whipped up in a fit of passion over your business clouds judgment and reason and leads to bad decisions which leads to failure.

Passionate? Fine. But you’d better bring some dispassionate judgment along, too.

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com

Why Is Customer Service So Bad At Most Places?

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From Scott McKain:

scott-mckain-headshotCustomer service is bad at most places, because evidently that is what CEO’s and managers want.  What other reason could there be for them to accept such miserable performance?

Most care more about selling than serving.  We know that when sales decline, companies will buy ads, offer new customers better deals than existing ones, deliver training, hold major events, and take any number of extraordinary measures to pump up revenue. They are passionate and precise about customer acquisition — but reserved and reticent about customer retention.

Here’s evidence:  most companies have annual sales rallies – how many have one every year for customer service?

Educated and cared-for employees should be prepared to deliver “Ultimate Customer Experiences ®” to everyone spending money with you.  In turn, these customers replicate their purchases, and refer you to their friends and colleagues.  Your business grows.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

If everybody – from front line employees, to entrepreneurs, to major corporate executives – would create experiences so compelling to customers that their loyalty becomes assured, organizations would experience enhanced levels of both acquisition and retention.

Yet, if it’s not the priority of the leadership or owners – why should the folks on the front line get excited about it?

To find out more about Scott McKain, go to: www.ScottMcKain.com

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From Larry Winget:

larry-winget-headshotCustomer service is bad because we allow it to be bad. What do you do when you get bad service? Tell the truth. Most do nothing. Most people simply don’t have the cojones to speak up when they get bad service. They don’t tell the person delivering it. They don’t ask for a manager. They don’t leave an online review. At most, they might – maybe – possibly (though probably not) stop shopping with that business.

If you aren’t willing to speak up, then you are an accessory to the crime. You have allowed a crime to happen and stayed silent about it. Shame on you. You owe it to yourself, the next shopper and to the company to speak up in an effort to make things better in the future. You can’t ignore bad service and expect it to get better. Behavior that is ignored will be repeated. It’s a law. Write it down.

Next time you get bad service, speak up. Remember: it’s your money you are defending – money you worked hard for. Tell the company and others. Use the internet and social media. That’s how customer service will improve for all of us.

Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development©, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to www.LarryWinget.com.

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From Mark Sanborn:

mark-headshotLarry makes a great point about the customer’s culpability in enabling bad customer service. Here is the employer’s role:

1. Customer service isn’t taught. No matter how motivated an employee is, they can’t perform a job without the right skills. (And don’t confuse “smile and grin” training with true customer service training. There is more to great service than simply “being nice.”)

2. It isn’t rewarded. Most organizations pay no more attention to those who provide great service than those who don’t. As the old adage goes, what gets rewarded gets done. The corollary is what doesn’t get rewarded usually stops being done.

3. It isn’t required. If delivering extraordinary service isn’t part of the job description, don’t be surprised when you don’t get it and get push back when you “request” it. Great service shouldn’t be an option.

Require your team to provide great service. Just make sure you teach them how and reward them appropriately when they do.

Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit www.marksanborn.com.

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From Joe Calloway:

joe-calloway-headshotAt 90+% of the places I do business, customer service runs from good to absolutely great.  I travel a lot, and renting a car used to be torture.  Now I hit about 4 clicks on the rental website, get to the airport, walk into the lot and pick any car I want (I tend to rent from National), and drive away.  I recently returned some hiking boots I’d worn for a while to REI (I wasn’t happy with the fit.)  They smiled, got a salesperson to help me with another pair, and I was on my way.  The kids working at Chik-fil-A are friendly, efficient, and the chicken is good.  Amazon Prime is one button to buy and ships in two days.  Zappos service is legend. My car dealer loans me a new car to use when I get mine serviced.

“But wait!  You aren’t going to the places with bad service!”

Exactly.  Read  Larry Winget’s post on this.  If I get bad service, I fire them.  I don’t go back and I tell them why and they don’t get my money any more.  Lousy service happens when customers let them get away with it.

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com

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From Randy Pennington:

randy-pennington-headshotMy friends are correct – service is bad because leaders want and/or allow it.

From my experience, this leadership failure is rooted in one critical idea: Companies with bad service view it as a cost to be managed rather than an investment that creates a competitive advantage.

This view will never be acknowledged. In fact, most companies say that they strive for service excellence. Words are not action, however. Focus on these three areas if you want to make service your competitive advantage:

1. People: Who do you hire? How are they trained, compensated, and rewarded? Do your front-line leaders develop them and provide a great environment in which to work? Who is promoted, and who is fired?

2. Process: Is every process clearly defined, documented, and communicated? Are your processes designed to deliver the best possible result for the customer or the least expensive result for the company? Do you continually evaluate and update processes to stay current and relevant?

3. Tools: Do your people have the resources and information they need to succeed? Are they empowered to actually use the tools at their disposal?

Stop managing service as a cost. Start leading it as an investment.

Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. To find out more, go to www.penningtongroup.com.

A Waste of a Perfectly Good Meeting

meetingPeople say we have too many meetings.

As someone who has participated in thousands of corporate meetings over the past 30+ years, I have a slightly different view.  I believe we don’t have nearly enough good meetings…productive meetings.  We need more of those.

What we have is too many ineffective, worthless, what-the-hell-was-the-point-of-that meetings.

This can help you avoid wasting a perfectly good meeting:

1) Do we have absolute clarity about where we want this organization to go?  If not, you’d better have some meetings to get that clarity, or ALL of your meetings will be a waste of time

2) Do we have equally absolute clarity on how this meeting will help us get there?  If not, don’t have the meeting until you do have that clarity.

3) Does every element of the meeting contribute to the accomplishment of our stated goal for the meeting?  If not, eliminate the parts that don’t contribute.

4) Are we lapsing into just filling time slots with speakers or sessions because we decided in advance that the meeting would go from 8:00AM to 4:00PM?

5) Are we arbitrarily giving every speaker one hour?  Why?  Would some speakers be more effective with 20 minutes and others with 120 minutes

6) Are we asking attendees to sit like stumps and be bombarded by speeches and lectures all day

7) Are we creating actual thought, engagement, discussion, and participation

8) Are our speakers reading Powerpoint presentations to the attendees?  If so, why have the meeting?  Just email everyone the Powerpoint presentations.

Have more great meetings. Stop having wasted time meetings.

“Joe, you crystallize and clarify insightfully.” - The Rite Group – August 2014

“It was exactly what we were hoping for. We appreciate you and the impact that you have had on making our company better.” - Western Water Works Supply Company – January 2014

“You did a great job – your content is wonderful – know that your message resonates and sticks with people long after the event is over.” - Stan Ray – CAO – Farm Credit Bank of Texas

What is a Leader’s Most Important Job?

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From Larry Winget:

larry-winget-headshotA leaders most important job: To lead. Duh.

How do you lead? Not from behind, that’s for sure. Leaders have to get out in front with their ideas, vision, energy and presence.

As I watch movies and TV shows about the battles of old, I always see the leader, even when the leader was the King himself, sitting atop his horse and charging into battle out in front of his troops. What an inspiration that must have been to see their leader’s commitment to his beliefs, his words and to his troops by being willing to risk it all by riding ahead of them into battle. Of course, that also meant that he usually got killed first. There are consequences for being the leader. The risk is the reason they make the big bucks and why we record their names in the history books.

Few leaders today risk much. They rarely get out in front for fear of the consequences. They want the glory when it goes well but mostly they don’t want the blame when it doesn’t go well. They don’t want the responsibility for the mess because they might lose their job, or not get re-elected.

Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development©, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to www.LarryWinget.com.

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From Mark Sanborn:

mark-headshotA leader’s most important job is focusing the time and expertise of her team on doing the most important work of the organization.

All results and revenue are driven by how people spend their time (effort) and expertise (knowledge and skills). Profit, innovation, efficiency, effectiveness—everything is the byproduct of time and expertise. Invested wisely, the organization achieves great success. Lacking focus, mediocrity becomes the norm.

A leader isn’t just a person who is focused, but one who creates shared focus. There is a great deal of wasted time and expertise in companies where employees are doing low-priority work, or work that shouldn’t be done at all. But lacking an effective leader, it is difficult for them to know what they should be doing instead.

Just as a conductor makes sure members of an orchestra are all playing the right music to the best of their ability, so does an effective leader do his job. That is the most important job of the leader.

Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit www.marksanborn.com.

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From Joe Calloway:

joe-calloway-headshotWhat is a leader’s most important job? Clarity.

First and foremost, clarity about culture. Everyone must be crystal clear about who we are, what we value, and how we treat people. Clarity about culture means that those who violate the culture must leave. (Your culture, by the way, may very well invite new ideas, criticism, and disagreements.)

Then, clarity about what is most important. Here I agree with Mark Sanborn wholeheartedly. An effective leader makes clear exactly where we are going and what we have to do to get there. Everyone knows what the priorities are and is focused on the execution of those priorities.

We’ve all had the experience of working for a leader who was unclear about expectations, direction, or values. It’s the worst. A leader with no clear direction can destroy an organization.

To achieve clarity, a leader must have the ability to make the complicated simple. Steve Jobs was a master of this. He once said “if you can make things simple, you can move mountains.”

Amen. Give us leaders who can enable us to move mountains. Give us clarity.

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com

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From Scott McKain:

scott-mckain-headshotThe leader’s most important job: make great decisions for the long-term benefit of the group.

It’s important to recognize that the leader has to view both the group that he or she has been designated to lead, and the challenges and opportunities in front of them, from a strategic, “30,000 feet” level.

This means sometimes building consensus before the decision is made is the right choice – other situations call for developing support for a judgment the leader has already determined.

Note, as well, I suggest it’s for the LONG TERM benefit of the group – which is precisely why so many executives aren’t true leaders. They’re managing for this quarter’s numbers, not leading their companies to create distinction.

When the leader views the future from that “30,000 feet” level, it’s like looking out the window of an airplane – you can see much farther down the road with that perspective than someone driving to the same destination. It’s commonly referred to as the leader having “vision.”

Until women and men in positions of authority are willing to have a visionary perspective, and start making more great decisions with the long-term benefit of their group or followers in mind, we won’t see an expansion of great leadership.

To find out more about Scott McKain, go to: www.ScottMcKain.com

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From Randy Pennington:

randy-pennington-headshotLeadership is influence and the scorecard is results.

The leader’s most important – you could say only – job is to influence others to deliver positive results. Results rule! Everything else is a discussion of the best ways to do so.

Ross Perot distinguished the difference between managing and leading very clearly: “You manage data and things. You lead people.”

And when it comes to leading people, there is nothing more important than creating a culture that consistently delivers positive results for the customer and the company.

Your culture is defined by your habits. My work with leaders and organizations has taught me that the best opportunities for consistent results occur when the culture reinforces these six choices at every level every day:

  1. Value candor and honesty
  2. Pursue the best over the easiest
  3. Focus the energy to make the main thing the main thing
  4. Leverage the power of partnerships with customers and staff
  5. Continually learn, grow, and adapt
  6. Show the courage of accountability

Your organization is perfectly designed to deliver the results you are delivering today. It is your job to build and sustain a culture that can deliver results tomorrow and beyond.

Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. To find out more, go to www.penningtongroup.com.

Wow, What a Stupid Salad!

Many companies get so distracted by their search for the “wow factor” that they take their eye off the ball.  The ball, of course, being the foundational elements of your business – those basic customer expectations.  It’s easy to find yourself in search of what amounts to a “wow factor” gimmick instead of doing your job exceptionally well, every time, with every customer.  You end up on a wild goose chase and your customer ends up taking her business elsewhere because you forgot to tend to the basics.

My wife had lunch the other day with a friend at a casual dining restaurant.  She ordered a salad as her entrée.  When the waiter brought her salad, she literally said, “Wow.”  The salad was the most impossibly vertically ambitious structure she had ever seen.  This was basically a lettuce based salad that went straight up.  It was a tower.  She had never seen a salad like it.  She said to the waiter, “That’s the tallest salad I’ve ever seen.”  The waiter replied, “That’s our wow factor.”

As the waiter left the table my wife thought, “No.  That’s your ‘wow, what a completely stupid way to serve a salad’ factor.”  She told me later that the salad was practically impossible to eat.  You just couldn’t get to it without making a mess.  But somebody, somewhere in that restaurant company had decided that just being different would be a competitive differentiator.  Sometimes being different is just goofy.  First, make a good salad that people can actually eat.  Forget the gimmicks and concentrate on good food.

What is the ONE thing you would do to fix the economy?

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From Joe Calloway:
joe-calloway-headshot

Fix the economy by electing grown-ups.

I don’t quite know what to write about this, because with the attitudes of most people being firmly locked in an intransient “we’re right and they’re wrong” position, the idea that we might elect grown-ups may be a pipe dream.

When I say elect grown-ups I mean elect men and women who can articulate solutions, not just spew partisan, whip-the-party-faithful-into-a-frenzy crap (I chose that word carefully) that appeals to the lowest common denominator of people who are incapable of critical thinking.

There are grown-ups in Congress on both sides who can point across the aisle and say “we can work with her or him.”  They know who the other grown-ups are.

In Tennessee, where I live, there is one Democratic Congressman (Cooper) and one Republican Senator (Corker) who are grown-ups.  They know how to get to solutions.  They’re smart.  They listen.  They think. They are pragmatists who are interested in moving forward.

I only wish that they had more grown-ups to work with.

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com

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From Mark Sanborn:

mark-sanborn-headshotIf you want to fix the economy, remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch: if someone eats for free, somebody else has to pay for it. The belief that entitlements are “free” is not only erroneous but dangerous.

Resources spent on entitlements come from the productive sector, usually in the form of taxes. Individuals and companies who produce are taxed on their productive efforts. The money spent on entitlements may be humanitarian but it can’t be used to start or grow companies or invested productively. Entitlements generally may help people, but they don’t help grow an economy.

That isn’t to say we shouldn’t help those that need it; the problem is the increasing number of individual and programs that expect assistance and in recent years there have been more and more of them. Society should help those that cannot help themselves, but not those who will not help themselves.

The economy and all who contribute will improve when we improve when we offer to those who really need help, and not those who simply want it.

Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit www.marksanborn.com.

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From Larry Winget:

larry-winget-headshotTeach people to be more responsible and smarter with their money, get government to run like a business, create more jobs and get more people working, fewer entitlements and no more bailouts.  All good ideas.  But all take too long to have an impact. So, here you go:  A 15% across the board cut on all government spending.  No more “let’s cut this and let’s cut that.”  When you pick and choose, it becomes partisan and political and nothing gets done.  So, cut everything by 15%.  Defense, education, wages, utilities, people, roads, even paper and staples . . . all of it.  Not one exception.  No department is spared.  And don’t say, “Larry!!!  Not education.  Not welfare.  Not feeding children!!”  That’s the problem, we want to play favorites and every one says, “Cut spending, but not MY spending.”  Bottom line: Government is too big and there is way more than 15% waste in every area. So mandate a 15% cut to every budget with the condition that services and service levels are not affected. Force efficiency since they can’t do it on their own.

Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development©, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to www.LarryWinget.com.

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From Scott McKain:

scott-mckain-headshotFocus on improving the relationship between government and small business.

For all the tax and infrastructure benefits offered to gain 1000 jobs, my wager is that 200 small businesses each hiring five new people has greater impact on the local community – yet, those entrepreneurs receive none of the incentives a big corporation mandates.

What if there were no corporate taxes for businesses that gross under $2 million? How many new employees could those entrepreneurs now hire? The owner will be paying more in taxes, as it’s reasonable to assume that her personal income would rise. More people would be employed, moving them from unemployment benefits and food stamps into taxpayers. It is a true “win-win.”

What if we placed a higher premium on creating companies rather than moving money? We need to stimulate more Steve Jobs and Bill Gates…and fewer Bernie Madoffs. When there’s more money in manipulation of currency, stock, and markets than there is in building businesses and creating jobs…something is out of alignment.

When a big company offers to create 500 jobs, governmental leaders fawn over them. Let 50 small businesses create 10 jobs each, and our government says, “So what?”

Until that’s corrected…the economy won’t be.

To find out more about Scott McKain, go to: www.ScottMcKain.com

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From Randy Pennington:

randy-pennington-headshotThe easy answer is, “Do what we’ve done in Texas.”  The leaders here make it easy for business to do business.

Here are the results:  unemployment lower than the national average; 40% of all the jobs created between 2009 and 2011; large companies relocating here.

The employment statistics don’t mention the high percentage of minimum wage jobs, however.

Adding jobs is not fixing the economy. For that, we must completely overhaul our education system to grow the skills and work ethic needed to compete in the 21st century.

Here is the truth: Many of the jobs lost in the Great Recession are never coming back. They can be automated or performed in less expensive places. And, we have a skills shortage for the jobs that will grow our economy.

We spend more per student than any other country in the world, and we do not rank in the top 20 on math, science, and reading scores.  Our commitment to re-skilling adults is marginal at best – from both the unemployed and the government.

So yes, let’s elect grownups who will lead. But let’s not confuse putting people to work in low-paying jobs with fixing the economy. That requires a commitment to education and entrepreneurial thinking that enables jobs that add value. It is equal parts responsible leadership and individual responsibility.

That’s not easy. It is hard.

Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. To find out more, go to www.penningtongroup.com.

PERSPECTIVES: 5 Friends Share Insights On Success

books

What you should and shouldn’t sacrifice to reach your goals.

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From Joe Calloway:

joe-calloway-bookI found this definition of sacrifice: “to give up something for something else considered more important.” I’m going with that.

If you’ve set the right goal, you should sacrifice pretty much anything and everything for it, because if it’s your goal – then you’ve decided it’s most important.

If, for example, making money truly is your goal, and it’s more important to you than, for example, family or relationships, then take every job, never be home, and when you are at home stay in your office and do stuff that will make money for you.

If, however, you’ve set having a happy, fulfilled, loving family as your goal, then do whatever it takes to make that happen, including making enough money to provide what your family needs.

Sorry, but you can’t have it all. You can, however, have what’s most important to you. That’s just a matter of making the right sacrifices. For me, what’s most important is family, friends, and relationships. I’ll sacrifice some money for that.

Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com

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From Mark Sanborn:

mark-sanborn-bookI agree with Joe: you can’t have it all.

But I learned something important from a pastor friend who added, “….but when you know what is really important, you don’t want it all anyway.”

The unhappiest people I know are the people trying to “have it all:” the perfect home, manicured lawn, most influential social circles, the highest status car, meaningful relationships and lots of free time. They are unhappy because they don’t understand the concept of sacrifice.

When you sacrifice nothing, you get nothing. An unwillingness to sacrifice ultimately means that you don’t know or aren’t sure what is truly important.

He or she is no fool who gives up something of lesser value for greater value, and that is the essence of sacrifice. Perhaps as hard as making a sacrifice is the hard work of drilling down to what really matters to you.

Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit www.marksanborn.com.

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From Larry Winget:

larry-winget-bookAt first glance, it’s an easy question. Never sacrifice your health, family, or integrity. Past that, it gets tougher. If something is really important to you (and your goal should be really important otherwise it’s just a desire or a “would like to have” and not a goal) then you must understand that there will be plenty of sacrifice ahead of you. And if you aren’t doing some sacrificing, then your goal isn’t challenging enough. You will have to sacrifice some meals, some sleep, some family time, some money, some personal time, your old way of thinking and acting and much, MUCH more. Sacrifice is a natural part of achievement. The only way to GET is to GIVE UP. You don’t get rich, you give up what is making you broke. You don’t get skinny, you give up what is making you fat. You don’t get happy, you give up what is making you unhappy. You don’t get your goal, you give up what is keeping you from reaching your goal. Pick a goal, then make a list of what you are willing to sacrifice and what you aren’t, then go to work!

Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development©, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to www.LarryWinget.com.

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From Scott McKain:

scott-mckain-bookYou…me…all of us…have been lied to.

We’ve been told that we can “have it all” – but, that’s nothing more than a damnable lie. As all of my friends have noted, we have to make choices. We have to sacrifice one aspect of life we want, for another that we desire even more.

My first wife (who passed from cancer after twenty-five years of marriage) loved her career as much as I love mine – and we chose not to have children. Was that decision good or bad? The answer, of course, is: yes.

I know she was extraordinarily happy and thrilled in her work – and, I in mine. I know our friendships were deep, rich, and rewarding. Yes, there are extraordinary parts of life that we relinquished. The important point is that it was the right choice for us. We sacrificed the joys of parenthood for a different type of fulfillment.

Sadly, what many people give up…is themselves. Not making a decision IS making a choice. It’s deciding to delay…to defer…to somehow die. It’s giving up what YOU want for what your family predicts, a boss presumes, or your friends presuppose.

You can’t have it all…but you can be successful at something. When you make the right choices for you…the truth is that “something” can be spectacular. www.ScottMcKain.com

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From Randy Pennington:

randy-pennington-bookThis question begs for a finite answer in a world of infinite (and relative) choices. And that’s why my answers is sacrifice everything or sacrifice nothing – it is your choice.

What you will or won’t have to sacrifice to reach your goal depends on a number of variables that are completely personal to you: importance and difficulty of the challenge; time horizon to achieve it; your starting point; your life circumstances; your support system; your resources; and even luck.

When it comes to achieving goals, most of us never honestly assess the variables; make the conscious choice about what is and isn’t important; and embrace the discipline and sacrifice to achieve them.

Set an easy goal, and there will be very little or even no sacrifice. Set an insanely challenging goal, and you will have to give something up. And if you aren’t willing to give up something to reach that big audacious goal, there is a good chance that you will sacrifice reaching your goal.

Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. To find out more, go to www.penningtongroup.com.

The children’s menu.

This is a guest blog from Seth Godin.  Sign up for Seth’s blog at http://sethgodin.typepad.com

The children’s menu.

“Here, eat this food you’ve eaten a hundred times before. These chicken fingers and french fries are just like what we have at home. And turn on your iPad and watch that movie you like so much…”

Of course, chicken fingers are just a symptom. If we want to insulate ourselves from new experiences, ensure that we never eat something we don’t like, never engage with someone we disagree with, never have to hold two opposing ideas in our head at the same time—chicken fingers are a great way to start.

The new is a habit. It’s a habit we can teach to our kids and it’s a habit we can learn ourselves.

Spend a few hours thinking and walking in that local park you’ve never visited. Go visit an online forum where you disagree with the worldview of those hanging out—but instead of arguing, listen. Play some opera while you’re chilling out at home tonight. Trying eating vegan for three days…

The children’s menu is always available, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

By Matthew Goldfarb, author, Renegade Thoughts

Be The Best At What Matters Most is the second Joe Calloway book I’ve read (the first being Becoming A Category of One, probably the best book I read all last year), and i’ve got to say Joe is officially 2 for 2.

From the get go, he points out the reality that so many of us get caught up in trying to work the “wow” factor that we forget that the biggest wow factor of all is being the best at what you do. As a business owner, i know how easy it is to get caught up in the new fandangled gizmo that we take our eye off the ball in remembering that the best way to get more clients is to crush it with the clients you currently have.

I’ll admit that this book frustrated me at times, not because i didn’t love it, but because it forced me to stop in my tracks and ask myself, ‘what does matter most?” When i wasn’t sure, I asked my team members, my wife, and my mentor what matters most to them and what they thought matters most to my business. Ironically, none of them could answer, because the truth is that we have to figure it out for ourselves, and even then it’s a moving target.

I love Joe’s straight forward and conversational style. He never talks down to readers, but does challenge them to get real and stop the B.S. I knew i would like the book when in the beginning, while talking about a hypothetical burger joints interest in pulling out bells and whistles to help sell burgers, Joe makes the game changing and totally unpredictable recommendation that maybe, just maybe, the secret to more customers was to make a better burger.

Imagine that.

I’ll admit I read a lot of books, and sometimes i push through them so I can feel as though i’ve read them, yet for both of the books that i’ve ready by Mr. Calloway, I can honestly say that my interest never waned, and my highlighter never rested. I could pick out 10-35 different quotes that i thought were brilliant, but i recognize that would rob you of finding them yourself. Plus, considering that one of the big takeaways I took while reading was “figure out what’s most important for yourself”, you’d benefit more by reading it yourself.

In an age where we try to complicate everything, Be the best at what matters most proves to me that if you want to succeed, keep it simple, stay committed to being the best at what you do best, and be so committed to your values that your team will make fun of you. (And know that it is a good thing).

I could keep going on, but honestly, pick this one up.

http://joecalloway.com/6042/