Holiday Season Leadership

The holidays represent a great opportunity for each of us as leaders.  Not as a political leadership occasion or a chance to excel in a leadership role at work, but the holidays are full of “lead by example” opportunities at home. 

·         Christ like love can be shown for our family and others
·         Materialism can be de-emphasized (not the normal thought at Christmas)
·         Tithing and charitable giving can be taught
·         Patience can be exemplified (long checkout lines, full parking lots and traffic)
·         Understanding and flexibility can be displayed in family gatherings
·         Giving can be emphasized
·         Good sportsmanship can be demonstrated during football and card games
·         Prayer can be a focus
·         Lessons can be learned from those less fortunate

Our families and those around us during the holidays can learn so much by watching our behavior as leaders.  Embrace your leadership opportunities this holiday season!

The MMM will take a brief holiday break. Watch for our return on Monday January 8th, 2018.  Wow, I cannot believe how this year has flown by!  Be a blessing this Christmas!


Are you always right?

Is your way the only “right way”?  Do you often think that you know the best, if not the only, way to do something?  Sometimes our egos allow us to think that we are always right.  Maybe it is when we are young, fresh with a degree in hand, and we just know that we can conquer the world.  Maybe it is when we are older and have years of experience and just know that we have already conquered the world.  Well maybe we are just wrong! 

If you believe you always know the right answer or have the right solution you are wrong.  There are a lot of ways to solve problems, create answers, produce results and settle arguments.  There is not just one way, and one person does not always know the right way.  If you tend to think you are always right or find yourself intolerant of others ideas and perspectives, you may need to step back and reconsider.  You may need to consider other viewpoints.  You should listen more open mindedly.  You should actually seek counsel instead of dictate solutions.  You should think about the meaning of the old adage…“There is more than one way to skin a cat.” 

Seldom is there just one right way to do anything.  Even when there is, one person never always knows that answer.  Your way is not the only right way.


Beware of the pedestal…

In life we tend to put certain people up on pedestals.  We set those apart that we admire or idolize.  We hold them up, often to a higher standard or a loftier set of expectations.  I suppose it is human nature regarding people that make positive impressions on our lives and that can be dangerous.  Not everyone who positively influences our lives deserves such elevation.  Not everyone in positions of authority or popularity, deserve such special treatment.  In fact, most do not.  The risk is that when those people show us their weakness, or even their simply human side, we are devastated.  We find ourselves let down and disappointed.  Therein lies the risk of the pedestal.  We set ourselves up for disappointment when we place people on pedestals.  Most of the time people end up falling from their perch, often very hard.  There is nothing wrong with admiring people.  There is nothing wrong with emulating certain aspects of a persons’ character.  Just know that nobody is perfect.  Everyone is human, and as such, has flaws. Beware of the pedestal.


Self-imposed Limitations

Last week I was listening to one of the last few days of the Mike & Mike sports talk show on ESPN radio. (I am going to miss those guys.)  They were interviewing Coach Mike Krzyzewski, the head basketball coach of Duke University, better known as Coach K.  It is very early in the college basketball season, but his team, #1 ranked Duke, had just beaten then #2 ranked Michigan State.  They asked Coach K. what he felt like he knew about his team and if it was too early to determine the identity of the team.  I was impressed by his response.

If you have already said who you are, you may not become what you are supposed to be.
-       Coach K

Isn’t it true though?  He went on to say that he did not want to limit the team by establishing an identity too soon.  They might appear to be a good defensive team now, but they might ultimately be a great scoring team.  I thought it was a great answer!

Are you guilty of this?  I know I am.  If you say you are a $5 million revenue widget sales company doesn’t that prohibit you from becoming a $12 million widget and accessories sales, distribution and installation company?  The same is true of our personal identities and goals.  Don’t limit yourself.  Don’t box yourself in without allowing for time to develop.  Don’t keep your team from becoming what it is supposed to be!


Thirteen Years of the MMM!

I wrote the first Monday Morning Minute on November 21, 2014.  This week marks thirteen years of sharing thoughts and challenges with you all on a weekly basis.  I hope somewhere along the way you have found something motivating, encouraging or challenging, maybe all three.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving and a great start to the holiday season.  Be blessed my friends…   



Perspective can be powerful thing.  A little dose can make one's own problems or situation seem quite insignificant, or at least totally different.  The tragedies we have seen in this country in the last three months are difficult to understand.  There were the natural disasters of three major hurricanes striking the USA and its territories causing the loss of lives and untold damage. Then recently there were the human inflicted mass shootings, of which there have been two horrible episodes within weeks of one another.  The loss of life and degree of mass destruction is difficult to understand.  Some of you may have been impacted by these events.  But if you are alive reading this MMM, and did not lose a loved one, you were not impacted to the same degree as many.  It is a reminder of just how little we really understand and really control here on earth.  Our plans are not God’s plans and our understanding is not God’s understanding. 

These events, and the perspective gained from them, can make a person really see their own challenges in a totally different light.  What you do in your job or daily life is important.  How you spend your time and your resources is importantly and hopefully positively impactful on others.  But, the next time you become frustrated by the challenges of your job, your boss or co-workers, your kids or family, or just an inconsiderate driver, consider a little perspective.  Consider what they may be going through.  Better yet, consider what you have been blessed enough to not have had to experience.  Perspective is powerful.



How about them Astros? Congratulations to the team and the city of Houston. This championship is great for the city. Championships are always great, but given the long drought of titles for Houston, never having a baseball title, and all we have been through with Hurricane Harvey, this one is special. Great job Astros! Thanks for what you have done for this great city!


Energy Leaks

Have you ever heard of something called an energy leak?  It is a feeling, behavior or attitude that drains you of energy.  Energy leaks are wasteful. They drain people of positive energy and momentum for no good reason.  Some examples of potential energy leaks...

·         Jealousy
·         Judging others
·         Holding grudges
·         Petty bickering
·         The blame game

There are many, maybe hundreds, more.  Everybody has energy leaks.  Yours may be different from those listed but we all have them.  The interesting thing is that we are generally pretty aware of them.  For some reason we think these thoughts and feelings might make us feel better.  Or we think that we cannot change them.  Maybe we even derive some misplaced satisfaction from them. 

The truth is… energy spent on these feelings and behaviors is a waste.  It produces no positive outcome and sucks the energy right out of you.  Use your energy on positive thoughts, feeling and behaviors and stop wasting time on energy leaks!



The MMM has on more than one occasion focused on the leadership quality of integrity.  Reputations and relationships rise and fall based on integrity or the lack of it.  I try to live a life where integrity is not only important to me, but is also clearly visible to others.  I think it is one of the greatest keys to leadership, not to mention one of the finest qualities we can pass on as parents.

In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities:
integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don't have
the first, the other two will kill you.
--Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet sums it up nicely but I would not limit it to employees.  I look for integrity in people that I develop relationships with in all aspects of my life.  So many great qualities are found where there is a solid base of integrity.


Conversations in Your Own Head

Do you talk to yourself?  Maybe not literally out loud, but do you have conversations with yourself in your own head?  I know I do, and I have to believe that most people do.  Is there a voice in your head that you cannot help but listen to?  How do those conversations go?  Are they positive, encouraging and uplifting?  Or are they negative, downgrading and discouraging.  All too often for me they can be the later. 

Why are we so hard on ourselves?  Maybe not everyone is.  Those that have mastered the ability to be positive and self-assuring in their own minds are likely to be more successful and maybe happier all around.  It is not easy to do.  We should understand that we need to be our own best friend, our own greatest supporter and biggest fan.  Why not? 

I am not suggesting arrogance here.  I am suggesting that we need to be positive about ourselves in our own minds.  We need to talk ourselves up, be encouraging.  Nothing but good can come from that. There are plenty of negative influences out there today.  We do not need another one in our own head!  Listen to your positive self in your own mind!  



I have written in the MMM before about wisdom and our ongoing pursuit of it.  I have also written about how impatient we are as humans.  Impatience and wisdom do not go well together.  Consider the following which addresses both points…

Wisdom is not proven by argument or debate.  Wisdom is proven over time.  Some people adamantly proclaim that their opinion is best.  Regardless of how convincingly these people defend their viewpoint, time is the best judge of their wisdom.  The result of a practice proves its validity, not how loudly it is promoted. 1

Be wary of those who seek to have their own wisdom acknowledged before it can be proven over time.  Also, be patience with your own understanding of wisdom. 

Have a blessed week.

1 – Taken from: Experiencing God Day-By-Day, Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby


Strengths as Weaknesses?

Strengths to an extreme can become a weakness.  It is an interesting concept right?  Think about what we consider strong character traits, and then consider how those same traits to an excess can actually be negatives.  This is true in leadership roles as well as our personal lives.  When using your core strengths you risk becoming blinded by your own success.  Remember the MMM last week about “Blind Spots”?   Consider some examples…

·         A driven and results-oriented person taken to an extreme can be a jerk who walks all over people.
·         If you are laid back and easygoing, in the extreme you’re a wimp who lets people walk all over you.
·         Outgoing and expressive people can become flakes who can’t get any real work done.
·         If you are detailed and precise, taken to an extreme you become an anal retentive perfectionist.

Be careful to monitor how you use your strengths.  They have clearly gotten you where you are, but to an extreme they can be a risk.  Ask yourself if you unknowingly overplay a strong suit to the detriment of a bigger goal.  Are you aware of this potential or is it hiding in your blind spot?


The Blind Spot

I am a fan of the leadership teaching and writings of Dr. John Maxwell.  I recently reread a great article of his regarding “The Blind Spot”.  He began with the following definition.

The Blind Spot – An area in the lives of people in which they continually do not see themselves, or their situation, realistically.  This unawareness often causes great damage to the people and those around them.

It is true isn’t it?  We get so incredibly caught up in our own world that we cannot objectively see our own situation.  It is like we have blinders on regarding our own behavior and surroundings.  Have you ever heard someone say “Can’t they see what they are doing?” or “Don’t they know how they are being taken advantage of?”  It is easier to spot negative circumstances or behaviors in others than in ourselves.  The challenge is to look at ourselves and our situations as objectively as possibly.  It is much easier said than done.  It requires the relaxing of one’s defenses, and the willingness to be vulnerable.  But, it can help you avoid harm to yourself or your business as well as some potential embarrassment.  Think about it; are you aware of your blind spots?



Maybe it is my age, hopefully it is also the technological world we live in, but I have a hard time concentrating for an extended period of time.  There are too many distractions.  It’s incredible how quickly we learn of news events in this world of social media, smartphones and the internet.  Then there is the rest of the generally worthless information we can access immediately!  Interruptions are constantly available at our fingertips.  How important is it to overcome distractions and be able to focus?  It is critically important for success. 

Times may have changed in regards to how we access news and information and what we do with it.  One thing that has not changed is that results are all that matter.  If we are not producing results in our professional life we are not succeeding.  That is largely true at home as well.  Use your time wisely.  Do not let the distractions of our instant gratification world distract you.  

“The ability to concentrate and to use your time well is everything if you want to succeed in business; or almost anywhere else for that matter.”

-Lee Iacocca



Sixteen years ago on this date The United States of America was changed forever.  Those old enough will remember exactly where they were that morning.  The attack, now known simply by the date of its occurrence as 9/11, was nothing like this country had ever seen before, and hopefully will never again.  The images were horrifying and unforgettable.  We were unified as a country and we rallied together in the subsequent days, weeks and months.  Unfortunately I feel like a lot of that unity has faded away, but that is a story for a different day. 

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to visit the 9II Memorial & Museum in New York City.  It is a fascinating collection of stories and memorabilia located at the base of the Twin Towers.  I found it to be incredibly well done, powerful, but somber and reverent.  My granddaughter, who was not even born at the date of the attacks, was riveted.  She came home with an understanding, and true feel for that tragedy that she will never get from a textbook.  I encourage you to visit if you have the chance.

Take a moment today to recall the events of sixteen years ago.  Think about the lives lost.  Ponder the unity that grew out of tragedy.  Reflect on the actions of the first responders.  Consider where we are in the war on terror.  Ensure that the events of that day are not forgotten by the next generation.  Most of all be proud of the great country we live in and the freedom we enjoy.     


Proud to be a Houstonian, Proud to be a Texan

The greater Houston area, as well as most of the Texas coast and east Texas, have been ravaged by a storm of historic proportions over the last week.  The widespread devastation is unprecedented. 

The best in humanity can be seen in trying circumstances.  Our response as people caring for one another has been impressive.
  •   First responders and emergency personnel have risked their lives for others.
  •  The volunteer based Cajun navy has rescued thousands.
  •   Volunteers and donations at shelters and churches have been overwhelming.
  •   Neighboring communities and states have sent all forms of aid.
  •   Cities far and wide have shared nurses, emergency responders and supplies.
  •   People are showing up to clean up the homes of perfect strangers. 

But here is what impresses me the most…  None of these people see race or color when they show up to help.  Volunteers are not concerned with how someone voted; they just see people who are in need.  Ordinary people have gone to extraordinary lengths in order to help others, regardless of race, neighborhood, political party or job title.  Those impacted have not blamed the government.  We are not waiting on FEMA or crying for government assistance.  We are helping one another, rolling up our sleeves and working towards recovery.    

The national media has tried to divide us.  We have been asked to place blame.  Reporters have wanted us to suggest that the city or county could have done more.  It has been implied that poor decisions were made by our leaders.  As a people, we have stayed above that.  We have focused on the task at hand, helping others.  What I have seen is a sincere response from people out of love and caring, a deep desire to help this entire area through a horrific disaster.

We do not know how long this recovery will take, but we are off to an amazing start!  The outpouring of support and assistance will bring Houston back.  It makes me proud to be a Houstonian, proud to be a Texan.  #texasstrong  


Leadership - Listen with your eyes…

Effective listening is essential to good leadership.  Many MMM’s have focused on the importance of attentive interactive listening while others are speaking.  But that is not the only form of listening.  It is also critical to listen with your eyes.  You can learn a lot by paying attention to things you see around you.  Listen for body language.  Pay attention to attitudes.  Watch how people interact with others.  Look for team members exerting positive or negative forces in the workplace.  Notice when someone’s mood or personality changes dramatically.  Watch closely how associates react in meetings.  This is not an area of strength for me.  I have been surprised many times being told about something going on right in front of me that I should have already noticed.  But I am trying to be more aware of listening with my eyes.  I recognize how important it is to my leadership.  A lot can be learned by opening your eyes and closing your mouth.  Great leaders know the importance of listening with their eyes.    



Momentum Breaker – Dishonesty / Momentum Maker – Character

Character is the sum total of a lifetime of everyday choices.  It cannot be built overnight.  Years of proper choices create Character.  It can, however, be destroyed, in a minute, by dishonesty.  We make choices each and every day which either build or destroy our character.  Many of you have heard me say before…  “Do the right thing, even when nobody is looking!”  It is a matter of integrity and it builds character.  A trustworthy leader has a much easier time generating momentum than a leader with a reputation of being manipulative and deceitful.  Great leaders know how to build positive momentum.


Leadership - Praise in public, scold in private.

Nothing is gained by handing someone their head in front of their co-workers.  On the other hand, praise for individuals in the presence of their teammates can be a powerful motivator.  I don’t recall the first time I heard this phrase, nor who said it.  I was young, maybe just a teenager, but it made an impression and has stuck with me.  It makes all the sense in the world.  Public praise builds confidence.  Public scolding has the opposite effect.  I know there are a lot of leaders who might disagree.  They feel the exhibition of power via a public chastising of one individual can send a message to others.  They are right; it does send a message, the wrong message.  It is not necessary to lead by fear and intimidation.  There are ways to communicate a firm message to a group without calling out one person.  The positives of scolding in private far outweigh any benefits of doing so in front of a group.  Truly successful leaders understand this concept.  The best part of adhering to this philosophy is the resulting loyalty.  People appreciate being treated this way.  They respect leaders who deliver positive feedback in public and the negative one on one behind closed doors.  


Leadership -MBWA

A great leadership concept was introduced in the late 1970’s in the book “In Search of Excellence”.  It is called Management By Wandering Around (MBWA).  The basic idea is that you have to be out among the troops to know what is going on.  That concept has stuck with me over the years.  I am not always good at it, but I try.  You really can’t know what your staff is doing unless you spend some time in their space.  You have to feel the pulse of the team, hear the heartbeat of the staff, and listen to the noise in between productivity.  Leaders who stay holed up in their office are considered out of touch for a reason.  A leader who spends no time touching base with his people cannot be in touch with what is going on.  It is really quite simple, but you have to get up and wander around to put it into practice!  MBWA…  



Positions and titles can cloud the judgment of leaders.  Often when leaders reach a certain level, or status, they seem to think they are required to independently have all the answers.  It is like they believe that with the title comes the obligation and ability to answer every question immediately and correctly themselves.  They put undue pressure upon themselves to respond with authority even when they may not be confident of the answer.

Great leaders do not fall trap to this thinking.  They know that quality leadership requires a decision making process.  That process may require time and it may involve other resources.  Good decision making does not come as the result of a title or a position, but is the result of experience, wisdom, and thoughtful processing of the circumstances.  Making the ultimate decision is different from feeling like you must have an immediate answer to every circumstance.  Great leaders are always prepared to step up and make a decision.  But in doing so they know they don’t have to respond immediately and have all of the answers themselves.  They know to consult experts, conduct research and fully consider all options.  Our responsibility as leaders is to make sound, well thought out and rational decisions, not to simply have an answer.


Leadership - Foresight

Several years ago my wife, Fran, and I spent the 4th of July in the birthplace of this great country.  We were in Philadelphia and toured Independence Hall and visited the Liberty Bell.  It was really special to actually be there on the 4th!  It is hard to fathom that we were in the same building where our founding fathers literally crafted our independence over 200 years ago. 

Their story is one of incredible courage and unbelievable foresight.  At the time no country in the world was ruled “by the people” the way they conceived this country to be.  They had to be courageous to stand up against the British.  They had to have foresight to see the great potential of a free country ruled by its’ people.  They also had to have an understanding of the potential impact of what they were doing. 

Leaders who do not see their potential impact may actually miss leadership opportunities altogether.  I am thankful for, and actually in awe of, how our forefathers made thoughtful, courageous and impactful decisions.  Those decisions have served this country well over the years.  While our own individual impact may not be quite so far reaching (although you never know) we certainly can impact the world around us.  To do so we have to be courageous.  We must think and act with foresight.  Most of all, we need to grasp the potential impact of our leadership decisions. 

Our founding fathers took decisive action in the face of a leadership opportunity over 200 years ago.  Today we live in the greatest country in the world as a result of their actions.  God Bless America!     



One of the most critical attributes of a great leader is consistency.  If you know me well you know how I feel about consistency; this is not the first MMM devoted to the topic.  Steady and consistent leadership develops loyal followers.  It maintains calm, and stabilizes expectations.  Consistency means that when the question is the same, the answer is the same, no matter if the names and places change.  The answer is the same no matter the emotional, financial or legal implications.  Dependable answers and consistent responses create a stable environment where expectations are clear.  This does not mean that different times may not require different responses.  It does not mean that business circumstances can’t dictate changes in policy.  It does mean however, that people know what to expect from their leader.  John Maxwell says “If people do not know what to expect from a leader, they will come to expect nothing.”  As leaders we should want people to know what to expect from us.  Great leaders have sound values and convictions.  Those things do not change and therefore they are consistent in their leadership.  A great leader is the rock of consistency for their team, followers, business or family.



Last week the MMM concluded with this statement…  The fact is, leadership opportunities surround us daily.  Do not take your leadership opportunity lightly.  It is the opportunity to literally change the outcome of the world around you.

Did you think about it?  Do you believe it?  Do you live it?  I know that I often fall into the trap of letting the world happen around me.  I tend to wait for things to resolve themselves.  I sometimes wait for people to change themselves or to come to some resolution on their own. That is a weakness.  It is passive leadership.  Actually, it is the absence of leadership.  I need to be  a more proactive leader.  None of us should just let the world happen “to” us.  More importantly we should not just let the world happen “to” those we love and causes we care about.   We should seize the opportunity to:
  • Lead by teaching our kids how to make wise educated decisions and live productively.
  • Lead by example in how we handle adversity and challenges at work and home.
  • Lead civic and social initiatives that improve our communities and the lives of others.
  • Lead confidently through change and challenges at our places of work.
  • Lead with integrity by doing the “right thing” no matter the circumstances.

Lead like this and you will change the world around you.



We are all leaders.  In some role, somewhere, each of us is a leader.  It may be at home with our family and/or kids.  Possibly it is in a community or volunteer role.  Perhaps it is at our church or in our neighborhood.  It is certainly at work where leadership roles can be both formal by title, and informal by influence.  For many people, it is in most, if not all of these roles all at one time.   We are all leaders.  No matter the nature or significance of the leadership role it comes with responsibility.  Leaders have the opportunity to change, impact and influence people and the world around them.  Young children learn from the leadership of their parents; corporate managers learn from their CEO’s and there hundreds of examples in between.   The fact is, leadership opportunities surround us daily.  Do not take your leadership opportunity lightly.  It is the opportunity to literally change the outcome of the world around you. 

I will take the next few weeks and spend some time on the topic of leadership which is the fundamental purpose of the MMM.


Work like you are going on vacation tomorrow...

Do you know what I mean?  Seriously, don’t you feel like you get really productive before you leave for vacation?  I try to keep my desk at the office pretty neat.  But it is never as neat and clean as it is before I leave town.  Somehow before leaving town I always find a way to get a lot of work done.  I become more productive.  Some people that work for me might tell you that I just delegate better before I leave town, maybe so but… 

I really do tend to get more focused and accomplish more right before I know I am going to be away.  Why can’t we work like that all the time?  Why can’t we always run our lives the way we do the week before we leave the office, making decisions, cleaning off the desk, returning calls, getting stuff done? 

By the way, I am currently out of the country for a few days.  Yes, I got a lot done before I left town!


Who am I?

Ten years ago this week I lost my father here on earth.  This MMM is a repeat of the one originally issued 07.02.07.  I will repeat it annually near the anniversary of my father’s passing as long as I write the MMM. This year it just so happens that yesterday was Father’s Day.  If you have not done so already, spend time with your father, hug him, call him, listen to his stories, tell him you love him, and call him again.  If you are a dad, be a good one, understand the importance of your role, love greatly and be present for your kids and family.  

Who am I?

I lost my dad way too early,
Who am I to doubt it was part of God’s plan?

His mother lived to age 98, why couldn’t he?
Who am I to question God’s timing?

He loved my mom and all of us so dearly,
Who am I to ask God why we don’t have him anymore?

He was married for 50 years, had nine grandchildren and a great grandchild,
Who am I to not thank God for the time we did have?

He had wood to carve, golf to play and trips to take,
Who am I to ask God why not?

He was kind, loved and respected,
Who am I to ask God why him?

For his disease there were no more options,
Who am I to ask God why no cure?

There were things I had not done or said,
Who am I to ask God for more time with him?

I never heard a bad word spoken towards him,
Who am I to ask God why not someone else?

He deserved so much more,
Who am I to question that God knows what he truly deserved?

I lost my dad far too soon,
Who am I to question God’s plan?

Barry D. Blanton
In loving memory of Don Blanton

January 6, 1935 – June 23, 2007


Life Balance

"We praise people who want balance in their lives, but reward those who work themselves to death."
-       Roy Neel

What a confusing message, the difference between who we praise and who we reward.  Roy Neel is the former Deputy Chief of Staff for President Clinton who quit that position to take a job that would allow him to spend more time with his family.  It really is funny the way we get things backwards in our society.  Neel saw that and did something about it.  Good for him.  We should all do what we can about these inconsistencies.  How can we expect our children to understand balance when we reward the opposite behavior?  How can we as adults feel good about choices that lead to balance if the rewards are based on different criteria?  In your own world, your home, your department, your company, think about the behavior you reward versus the behavior you praise.  Shouldn’t they be the same? 



It is so important to recognize the efforts and successes of those that work for, and with, us.  Sincere recognition and appreciation can develop deep loyalty and spur motivation.  But when it comes to our own motives we need not be concerned about being recognized.  Great leaders don’t worry about accolades coming their way.  They are focused on the direction, goals and accomplishments of the team.  Recognition will come naturally to quality leaders, they need not worry.  The power of leadership comes in recognizing others and developing them as people.  Consider this quote from a somewhat well know President…

Don't worry when you are not recognized,
but strive to be worthy of recognition.

--Abraham Lincoln 


Happy Memorial Day!

Freedom is not free.  It may be an overused statement but it is totally true and so appropriate to remember on Memorial Day.  Don’t forget the meaning of the holiday and make sure that your kids and grandkids are aware of it as well.  We live in a great country but a lot of lives have been lost for our freedom.  Just remember that as you enjoy the day and welcome the summer! 

Have a blessed holiday…    


Word Power!

Word Power!

The spoken word is so much more powerful than we know.  Words can both hurt and heal.  They can destroy and build up.  What we say can educate or simply berate.  Words can sting but they can also soothe.  We can use our words to encourage or deflate.  Our words can make someone’s day or…

The problem is that we are often too quick to spout something without thinking of its impact.  As the saying goes we speak before we think.  This often results in our words coming out on the negative side of all of the above options.  That means we can leave a trail of anger, disappointment, and hurt feelings around us. 

Consider the power of your words.  Choose them carefully.  More to the point, today consciously choose to be positive with what you say.   


Fill in the Blank!

I am a good ______________.

What comes to mind when you consider how to complete the above sentence?  Are your first thoughts about your career?  Maybe they are about a hobby or a sport.  I believe that we are all basically good.  It is important for us to remind ourselves of that, and to remind ourselves to strive to be good in the different roles in our life.  What if you had to complete the sentence and it could not be about your profession, a sport or hobby?  Think introspectively about yourself as a person.  What about things like friend, listener, and advocate?   Or what about family roles like parent, daughter or sibling?  What does it mean to you to be good in these roles?  What about just using the word person?  Think about it.  Fill in the blank about yourself and strive to live out that statement! 


Unintentional Influence (part two)

The below MMM is an oldie but a goodie!  It is a story from 2010 about my granddaughter and unintentional influence.  It is a great illustration and worth sharing again as a follow up to last week’s article on this topic.

MMM from 04.26.10

Last week the dog next door was barking incessantly, as it is prone to do.  Those of you who know me know that I am not dog person.  I went over to the wooden fence separating me from the dog and gave it a good kick and yelled something in an attempt to quiet the dog.  It worked momentarily.  Later in the week my wife tells me that the dog was barking again and my 4 year granddaughter, Grayson, kicked the fence and yelled at the dog!  Okay so I am not longer in the running for grandfather of the year.  But I also need to remind myself about unintentional influence.

Great leaders are always aware of their influence.  An obvious step is to understanding influence comes in situations that clearly require your leadership, projects, crisis’s, conflict etc.  But leadership is a 24/7 role at work and at home.  As I have said before, we are all leaders in some role or another, home, work, church, relationships, or in the community.  We all have influence.  It is our responsibility to be careful about our unintentional influence.

The story about Grayson’s action reminded how important my influence is at all times.  Grayson watches every single thing the adults around her are doing.  People we work with as business and civic leaders are watching us as well.  Not that I think they would kick the fence just because I did.  But they might do something unprofessional or disrespectful thinking it was okay if they had seen me do it.  John Maxwell speaks of the importance of intentional influence.  I think it is just as important to look at it is the inverse, unintentional influence.  I did not intend to influence Grayson when I kicked the fence.  I meant to get the dog to stop barking.  (Granted, probably a bad way to accomplish that.)  But I unintentionally influenced Grayson.  I sent her a message I did not intend to send.

Make sure your influence is positive at all times, in all situations and in front of all types of followers!  Be mindful of your unintentional influence.


Unintentional Influence

I have written before about unintentional influence.  It is the impact our behavior has on others without even knowing it, especially children.  The below says it better than I ever could.  I have seen this before and you may have as well, but it is worth sharing and it is a great reminder...  

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking
Written by a former child
Author Unknown
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn't looking I heard you say a prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always talk to and I learned to trust in God.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don't.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't feel good and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it's alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I looked at you and wanted to say, 'Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking.'

Each of us (parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher or friend) influences the life of a child. How will you touch the life of someone today?