4.05.2021

Integrity

What does it mean to have integrity?  How would you describe people that you believe have integrity?  The first thought that comes to my mind about integrity is...  Do the right thing even when nobody is looking.  Integrity is not about doing the right thing for someone else.  It is about doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do! 

What is the right thing?  Two things to consider when making decision about the right thing to do...

- What would your mother think if you told her your decision?

- Make your decision as if it will be on the front-page news tomorrow.

Keep those thoughts in mind and you will know the right thing to do.  Strive to do the right thing all the time, especially when nobody is looking.

3.29.2021

Decisions…

My wife and I have a variety of home improvement projects going on at home.  This process has reminded me of how differently we go about making decisions.  As a part of this process, I recently asked if she wanted to go to the store with me to make a certain selection.  Her response was telling, saying “No, I do not have the time it will take for you to stand there and stare at the options and over think your choice”.  She might have a point, and this was just for some picture frames!  I am proud to say, that on several of the decisions on these projects I have been able to make some speedy selections and keep the project moving.  Nonetheless, definitive and fast decision making is not my strong suit.  A good friend, and longtime MMM reader, shared the below thought with me recently…

“Remember, the road of life is littered with squirrels that could not make a decision.”

For many of you this is not a problem.  For those like me, for whom it is, we need to work on it, lest we get run over!



3.22.2021

The lost art of the “blinker”

There is a nifty feature on automobiles and trucks that allows one to indicate, by a flashing light, their intention to turn or switch lanes.  These turn signals were invented in the early 1900’s and patented in 1938.  By the 1960’s they were pretty much standard on all cars produced in the US.  There is one in your car, I am sure of it.  Yes, I said 1960, which is over 50 years ago.  I find it interesting, okay frustrating, that this device has been in place for this long and it still has not gained total acceptance within our society.  It is so simple to indicate to those of us around you, your directional intentions while driving.  In my experience the act of turning and switching lanes without the use of a “blinker” happens all too often.  Do we think that some people do not understand how to use the device?  Or are they simply too inconvenienced to flip their wrist or just a finger?  (Maybe they are on just their phone!)  I am thinking there may even be a law requiring the use of this device…

The use of the blinker, a lost art indeed…

Not your typical leadership challenging MMM, and it is a repeat of a previous publication.  I know that the MMM cannot change the world, but I was hoping for some local improvement on this topic.  Recent drives through The Woodlands and into Houston would indicate there has been no change in behavior.

3.15.2021

What a year…

Last Thursday, March 11th, marked the one-year anniversary of our lives changing in this country. Here in Houston our beloved Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was canceled.  It seemed unfathomable at the time. Latter that day the NBA season was suspended. The pandemic was in full gear. Kids were on spring break and they never returned to the classroom.  Within two weeks the entire country was virtually shut down.  We learned how to Zoom and discovered a new meaning for the word pivot. Bicycles and home gym equipment sold out within days. We became closer to our family we live with, but farther from those we could not visit.

We have faced and survived a huge challenge. Our country will not be the same. There is good to come from this and hopefully we have learned some lessons. Lessons learned are the fruit of challenging times.

How has the last year changed you as a leader? How have you and your teams adapted? Are you stronger, more flexible? Are you more understanding and patient? Has your business model changed for the better? Do you operate more efficiently?

Seek positive change. Come out of this in a better place and prepared to move forward.

3.08.2021

The past is the past…

Knowledge of the past can be useful.  We can learn from it, be proud of it, and reminisce about it.  But it is the past, and it cannot be changed.  Often, we spend too much time in the past.  We cannot re-write the past; we can only author our future.  Each and every day is a blank page, an opportunity to write the future, a chance to impact what happens next.  Those opportunities do not exist regarding past events.  They do exist for today and tomorrow.  The days, minutes and hours which are yet to happen, are blank pages in your book of life. Enjoy the quote below…

 “The best way to predict the future is create it.”

-          Abraham Lincoln

3.01.2021

Patience and Preparation

We have become a very impatient people.  I should know because patience is a serious weakness of mine.  We are impatient in lines at the grocery store and when stuck in traffic.  We are impatient with doctors healing our illnesses and lawyers solving our problems.  We are impatient with our family and friends. Most importantly, we are impatient to achieve success.  Consider this quote…

“Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”                           -       Robert H. Schuller

We do not want to spend the time it takes in preparation to achieve.  It does not matter what you want to achieve, it will require preparation.  Whether it is financial success, good grades, or athletic prowess, you must be willing to devote hours and hours of not so glamorous preparation.  It may not be fun, and it will be hard work, but the rewards of achievement can be spectacular!  Therefore, we cannot be impatient about it.

2.22.2021

Winter in Texas

I have had my fill of being part of “Events of a lifetime”. The latest being the winter storm here in Texas last week. As I write this on Friday afternoon, most power has been restored, but millions in the state are still without water. The plumbers are crazy busy with busted pipes and businesses are just trying to reopen. Even schools were closed all week.

For you out of state MMM readers, you have to understand, it was 10° here in The Woodlands on Tuesday morning. Many parts of Houston were well below freezing for over 48 hours, other parts of the state much longer. Our infrastructure is not built for this. Our homes cannot handle this. The snow was pretty, but the extreme cold is not something we know how to prepare for or deal with.

What’s the MMM message here? I am not real sure. I do know this, next time you find yourself saying, “Now I’ve seen it all”, don’t be so sure…

2.15.2021

Recognition

Great leaders recognize the efforts and successes of those that work with them. Sincere recognition and appreciation develops deep loyalty and spurs motivation. But, when it comes to our own motives, we need not be concerned about recognition.  Great leaders do not worry about accolades coming their way.  They are focused on the direction, goals, and accomplishments of their team. Recognition comes naturally to quality leaders; they need not worry.  The satisfaction of leadership comes in recognizing others and developing them as people and as leaders.  Consider this quote from a somewhat well know President. Happy Presidents’ Day!

“Don't worry when you are not recognized,

but strive to be worthy of recognition.”

--Abraham Lincoln


2.08.2021

Super Bowl of Life?

The Big game played yesterday is a big deal in the football world and certainly entertaining to watch.  Granted, this year was a little different, as our lives have been for the last eleven months. If we are not actually part of an NFL team, we cannot aspire to make it to that game.  However, there are Super Bowls of life that we can aspire to, even hope to be named MVP. There are others that we should try to avoid. Consider…

·         There is the Super Bowl of a meaningful life

…or the one for materialistic success

·         What about the Super Bowl of positive impact

… as opposed to the one of self focus

·         There is a Super Bowl for giving back

…but also, one of selfishness

·         A Super Bowl of Faith

…or the one of stubborn independence

·         The Super Bowl for being a positive spouse, parent, or friend

…but also one for never developing meaning relationships

 What Super Bowl of Life (or Bowls) are you training for?

2.01.2021

The Lost Art of Listening

If you have been around the MMM for very long, you know my passion for listening. It is likely the most discussed topic in this blog. Stephen Covey talks about how we only listen for the sake of being heard.  We really don’t listen at all, because we are too busy planning what we are going to say next.  Listening is a lost art.  It requires effort.  Unfortunately, we do not have the time or temperament to put in the effort these days.

Addressing the political and racial divides facing this country requires work.  We must take the time to understand one another, to listen to varying viewpoints and different opinions. Listening requires understanding, it does not mean we have to change our opinion. It feels like we are afraid that if we take the time to listen, and truly understand, that we will be forced to change our mind about something.  Understanding does not require agreement, but it does require listening.

It is too easy to hide behind the keyboard on social media or hop on the latest wave of hysteria without taking the time to listen and learn. Listening is a powerful tool.  It makes you a better person, it helps you broaden your perspective. More importantly is the feeling it gives to the one speaking.  There is nothing more powerful you can do than to listen genuinely and intently to another human.  We all want to be heard.  Take some time to be the one doing the listening, not just the one talking. 

God gave us two ears and one mouth.  We should use them in that ratio.  Listen….

1.25.2021

Leadership Doesn't Change

A lot has happened over the last four years, especially in just the last 12 months, but what has really changed? In some regards what is really important has not changed much at all. The below MMM could have been written today. It was actually published four years ago on February 6, 2017. The ingredients for great leadership have not changed and are even more important today.

Leadership Today

 

After just one month of 2017 and two weeks into the term of a new President, we find our country to be in interesting and challenging times.  Our political and social landscape is changing, seems incredibly delicate, and is actually very contentious.  The world of social media has forever changed how information is disseminated and opinions are formed.  That is not necessarily a change for the better.  We are quick to make judgments; we fail to research facts; we condemn too quickly.  It is way too easy to be extremist and hateful from the safety of an iPhone or keyboard.  We also think it takes too much time to truly listen, educate ourselves and fully understand issues.  The issues are passionate, significant ones.  The extremely divided opinions on many of these topics is both surprising and totally understandable.  But remember, varying viewpoints, backgrounds and beliefs are what makes this country great.      

 What does all of this mean for those striving to be great leaders?  Let me suggest…

·         Be bold but thoughtful

·         Ensure that passions and convictions are well supported by facts

·         Drawing lines in the sand and jumping to conclusions are short sighted behaviors

·         There is power in being positive even in debate

·         Every thought or opinion, political or otherwise, that crosses one’s mind does not have to be posted to social media

·         Don’t believe, nor become enraged by, everything you read on the internet or social media

·         Be careful of the momentum of the bandwagon; groups with common beliefs often feed off themselves without considering differing viewpoints

·         Most importantly…  Listen, truly listen with the intent to understand.

1.18.2021

Leadership:

 Momentum Breaker – Dishonesty / Momentum Maker – Character

Character is the sum of a lifetime of everyday choices.  It cannot be built overnight.  Years of proper choices create character.  However, it can be destroyed in a minute, by dishonesty.  We make choices 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.

As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day today, give some thought to Dr. King’s quote:

 “The time is always right to do what is right.”                                                                            – Martin Luther King, Jr.

1.11.2021

A Time to Lead

What happened last week at the capital of the United States of America was appalling and disheartening.   The violent and lawless acts that took place there do not represent the values on which this country was built.  I felt like I was watching news coverage of a foreign country, much like I felt during the violent riots last summer.  We are all are entitled to our own opinion about the causes and political aspects of this incident.  We are also entitled to voice those opinions and peacefully demonstrate in support of them. 

As leaders, how do we respond to this?  It is critical that we lead against the divisions that are being perpetrated in this country. The national media feeds upon us being a divided people. It makes great news to depict drastically different viewpoints, develop momentum behind both sides, and exaggerate our divisions.  It is too easy to get caught up in the spin!  This just results in people jumping on one side of a polarizing topic and spewing hatred and accusations.  It is so easy to hide behind the keyboard and ride a wave created by media.  Social media content that serves no purpose other than expanding the divide is all too common.  We can control the breadth and depth of our divisions. 

As a people we are reluctant to take the time necessary to learn all sides of an issue, much less the facts.  I know that facts can be hard to find and I am not suggesting that we all sing Kumbaya together anytime soon.  I am merely suggesting that we need to be careful of letting the media drive the narrative. It is possible to maintain your own viewpoint while still respecting another’s opinion.  It is also possible to formulate an opinion without referring to, or posting on, social media.  Disagreement does not have to lead to expansive divides, accusations, or hateful behavior. As leaders we must encourage education, objectivity, and the understanding of all sides of issues.

I have a great friend whose beliefs about national politics vary greatly from my own. We respect each other’s opinions, listen to one another’s thoughts, and take the time to learn why we feel differently about political topics.  Our first response is not hatred. It is not a verbal attack via social media, and it is not a line in the sand that defines our relationship.  Our friendship has grown because of our ability to respectfully discuss our viewpoints without divisiveness, even though neither of us has changed our position. Differing opinions do not have to lead to hatred.  Listening to others’ beliefs does not have to result in name calling, accusations, and ridicule.

Leaders are purveyors of hope. I have said it before, a responsibility of leaders is to provide hope. That could not be truer than it is today.  Those we work with, those we lead and those we love, all need to be hopeful.  There are plenty of reasons for hope, but that hope must look past our media driven divisions.  That hope requires objectivity and open mindedness.  It needs great leaders.  America is still the greatest country in the world.

Wherever you are today and wherever you lead tomorrow, lead with hope, lead with objectivity, lead against divisiveness, and lead with love.

1.04.2021

Hello 2021!

What a year was that? Unfortunately, January 1st was not like a like switch on 2020. We are still in the midst of a pandemic, but there is hope on the horizon. The vaccine distribution is well underway, and I feel like we can see a light at the end of the tunnel (You know what they say about that).

What does the new year have in store for you? What have you learned from the craziness of 2020?  How will you and your business emerge stronger?

Happy New Year! Bring it on…