Progress Depends On Being Unreasonable

February 23, 2015

 

16412906655_5069710511_m

I recently watched a video from Robin Sharma that is, as usual, quite inspirational. Here are some notes I took as I listened:

  • Become unreasonable in every aspect of life: what I expect, what I want, etc.
  • Be unreasonable about levels of mastery and avoiding mediocrity.
  • Be unreasonable about levels of health and fitness I’ll develop these next 12 months–you can’t become legendary if you have no energy.
  • Be unreasonable about the goals I will pursue and the dreams I will realize.
  • Be unreasonable about my integrity and the values I will live by.
  • Be unreasonable about the people I will influence and the lives I will uplift.
  • Be unreasonable about the courage you will model and the passion you will share.
  • Be unreasonable in the results I will deliver and the projects I will complete.
  • Be unreasonable in the happiness I will experience.

Who is one of the most unreasonable leaders I know of? Steve Jobs. Look at the results he created.

The ideas above will help you thrive.

Photo Credit: Michael Seely, Flickr

A Recent Blog Post You Might Enjoy

Vishal Sikka Leading Change

Thought for the week:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man” – George Bernard Shaw
__
What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

Advertisements

We All Need People Who Give Us Feedback

July 7, 2014

SONY DSC

“We all need people who give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

  • What are you doing to improve professionally?
  • Are you growing or have you become stagnant?
  • Are you expanding your capability year after year or repeating the same year of experience over and over?
  • Are you happy with your career progress?
  • Are you getting assistance from a mentor or coach?

After playing trumpet for only 2 years in elementary school, I became the first chair trumpet player within weeks of starting junior high school beating out another guy who had 3 years more experience than I did. Why? I had had a private trumpet teacher who gave me a huge advantage over everyone else. He took years off of my learning curve.

Shortly after I entered junior high school, I started with my second trumpet teacher, Rocco DiStasio. Mr. DiStasio didn’t appreciate my musical accomplishments at such a young age. For three months, my lesson with him only involved playing the trumpet mouthpiece. It was very humbling and a bit humiliating. His point was the trumpet merely amplified what was happening with the mouthpiece. If I could make the mouthpiece sound good, the horn would sound excellent. He was right.

One week I arrived at my lesson with my horn. I thought I had heard him ask me to bring it to my next lesson. He pointed the case and said, “What’s that?” I responded, “It’s my horn.” He replied, “We won’t be needing that for a LONG time.”

I had an extraordinary experience performing in just about every type of musical group you could imagine. What made me stand out? Besides some talent, I had worked with the best trumpet teacher–my coach. That’s how I came to thrive playing the trumpet.

It’s really no different in the business world. If you want to thrive, you need outside feedback. If you only want to get by, you can do that on your own.

Photo Courtesy of Jameziecakes on Flickr

A Recent Blog Post You Might Enjoy

Why You Need An Executive Coach Today

Thought for the week:

“Dare. Dare to be more than you think.”  – Maya Angelo
__
What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consultinghttp://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Why You Need An Executive Coach Today

June 3, 2014

2011-10-11_17-33-29_134

The best athletes in the world rely on coaches to make them better and to help them raise the bar to new levels of performance. The athlete and the coach collaborate to produce a far better outcome than the athlete can produce on his/her own. Why should executives be any different?

In a Fast Company blog post called “To Move Forward, First Let Go,” I offered “the toughest business to consult on is your own.” The same is true for executives. It’s hard to consult about (or coach) yourself. You are too close to your situation, you greatly benefit from different ideas and perspectives, and, as my mentor, Alan Weiss, offers, “you don’t want to breathe your own exhaust.”

When an individual engages with a coach, they acknowledge they can benefit from an outside perspective. They acknowledge they can’t possibly see everything the coach can. And, they acknowledge that candid input is needed to make them more effective. Let me give you an example.

I helped coach an executive about his content and how to deliver a presentation at an all-important global sales conference. The year prior, he had been ranked the worst speaker at the event. He didn’t want a repeat. I was able to help him better connect his message to his audience. The outcome? He was the highest-ranked speaker, a complete reversal of fortune for this terrific guy.

Could he have done it on his own? It’s doubtful. He didn’t know what to do differently. He didn’t know where to start. He only felt the pain and embarrassment of his prior presentation being the worst ranked.

Why do executives believe they can do it on their own? Is it to show how tough they are? Is it to prove how self-sufficient they can be? Is it to save money? If it’s to save money, ask yourself at the expense of what?

To make my business work, I mentored with some of the best people in the world. It took me a while to learn that getting another perspective was essential if I was going to make my business work. For over a year, my ego wouldn’t allow me to admit that I couldn’t do it alone—that I needed help. I reached a point where I knew I could not help myself as effectively as a coach could.

I had had to learn the hard way that being good at something didn’t translate into executives leaping for their checkbooks so we could do business together. That required different strategies and tactics than I had knew. I had to learn a lot. And, I needed my coaches pointing out how I could be more effective and what I needed to do differently.

If you are an executive and you aren’t getting the coaching, where will you be in 6 months, a year, 2 years, 5 years? Do you think you can raise your own bar? How will you take your personal performance and value-add to the next level?

Let me help you accelerate your growth—personal, professional, company, etc.–through change.

Dave Gardner

© 2014 Dave Gardner


The News and Authenticity

June 2, 2014

9381594152_f5bb17243c_b

I’m a news fanatic. I need to know what’s going on in my world preferably without “spin.”

This past week, I was in a lobby of a San Francisco business playing Al Jazeera America on a large display. I’d never seen this station before. It was refreshing. It reminded of what the news was like when I was growing up: no agenda–just the news. I was able to contrast the same stories I’d seen on other cable news stations and very much liked what I saw.

American media, like our politicians, caters to certain constituencies, drama, and doom and gloom. For example, when Malaysian Air MH370 is ultimately found, that will be breaking news. Anything less at this point isn’t “breaking news.”

The news media has the ability to shine a spotlight on whatever they want. I first wrote of the crisis at the VA hospitals in 2012. How did this matter avoid the detection and broad reporting it deserved?

Just today, we’re hearing about an exchange of five Taliban prisoners held in Guantanamo for an American soldier whose condition was reportedly deteriorating. I’m delighted to hear about his release. Others are focused on the illegality of the action and the fact that rules weren’t followed. Yet, I’d be willing to bet if this American soldier had died in captivity, we’d be hearing that the Commander in Chief had not done enough to secure his release.

The news is all too often used as a means to support an agenda. I’m convinced true democracy requires an independent media reporting the news without spin.

In my lifetime, Walter Cronkite was considered the most trusted man in America. We don’t hear our media getting that level of respect today.

Businesses thrive when they are authentic: when they admit mistakes, learn from the mistakes and strive not to repeat them. Customers sense authenticity. They know the truth and merely want to hear it from you.

 

A recent blog post that should interest you

Vishal Sikka Departs SAP*

*a story about big company transformations

Thought for the week:

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali
__
What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

 


When An Owner Doesn’t Care About Customer Experience

April 28, 2014

Scream photo

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: customer experience

My wife needed quilting supplies and decided to support a non-chain, small business here in San Jose. They were out of a product and promised to call when the supplies arrived.

They called on a Thursday stating the item was in. My wife told them she’d stop by on Friday. The next day she drove 25 minutes (16 miles in city traffic) and was surprised they had closed at 2:00 p.m. for Good Friday. There was no mention of the early closing during the call the day before.

She called the following Monday and a store clerk agreed to ship the item and waive the shipping fee for her time and trouble the prior week. That was the right thing to do!

When the item arrived a few days later, my wife had been charged for shipping. She called the store and the same clerk refused to acknowledge the commitment for free shipping–her boss was standing next to her and eventually jumped on the call.

After a tedious conversation, the store owner agreed to refund the shipping but only after my wife committed to never do business with them again.

  • Who would want to do business with an outfit that doesn’t do what it says it will do?
  • Why would the owner expect my wife to be willing to overlook how she is being treated in this transaction?
  • What is the potential lost lifetime value of my wife’s business for $5.00?
  • Doesn’t the business owner realize there are many alternatives to doing business with his store?

Yelp confirms a number of missteps like the one she encountered. Negative customer experiences combined with the ability to easily discover customer experience information about a business via Yelp and other services mean business owners can’t hide their missteps. It’s 2014, not 1980.

The question for my readers this week is what missteps are you subjecting your customers to? You can’t accelerate growth if missteps are impacting your customer’s experiences.

Photo Credit: Flickr.com, Melissa O’Donohue

 

Thought for the week:

“The very purpose of our life is happiness, which is sustained by hope. We have no guarantee about the future, but we exist in the hope of something better. Hope means keeping going, thinking, ‘I can do this.’ It brings inner strength, self-confidence, the ability to do what you do honestly, truthfully and transparently.” – His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
__
What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

Share


When The Unimaginable Happens

April 21, 2014

3199405401_40c5b5b79f_z

 

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: leadership

This week, a South Korean ferry capsized killing perhaps 300 people. The captain and crew were ill-prepared to initiate the proper contingent actions once the ferry ran aground. The children did what the adults told them to–stay put and wait for further instructions–which, tragically, resulted in many unnecessary deaths.

In 1988, I took up scuba diving. I took advanced training as well as rescue diver training to be better equipped to deal with possible underwater emergencies. A good portion of scuba training is about “what to do if something goes wrong,” e.g., your regulator (breathing apparatus) is accidently pulled from your mouth, someone accidently kicks your mask off, your mask becomes fogged up and you can’t see, you or your scuba buddy get a calf cramp, etc.

Eventually, I had an emergency in a small tunnel in Cozumel, Mexico, at a depth of about 90 feet. I became stuck and could not move forward to exit the tunnel. Scary? Yeah! I followed my training which had become instinctual and started with “stop, think, breathe.”

I quickly figured out what I was going to do next to extricate myself from my situation. I executed my plan and, as a result, what could have been a calamity turned out to be a minor speed bump during in my dive. I was most grateful for my training and dive instructors.

When you are in a leadership position, you must have a plan for what to do when the unimaginable happens–a plan that can be executed with great speed and precision. Think of Captain Sully Sullenberger–a U.S. Airway’s pilot–who, after bird strikes disabled both engines, glided his commercial airplane to a landing on the Hudson River saving everyone on board.

It doesn’t matter if you on the high seas or part of a business dynamic–both can catch you off guard if you don’t have a plan for dealing with the unimaginable.

 

Photo Credit: DavidWatts1978, Flickr

Thought for the week:

“Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it or the fastest way to do it but what’s the most amazing way to do it!” – Sir Richard Branson
__
What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

 

Share


Self-Esteem & Self-Talk

April 7, 2014

8374723902_c18be5fd84_m

 

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: self-esteem

I overheard an executive assistant (after giving her boss an idea) say, “I’m just an executive assistant.”

What struck me was the notion that a person gives energy to “I’m just a ____.” Perhaps she was kidding. But what if she believes it? What does “I’m just a _____” do to one’s psyche?

  • It diminishes a person’s ability to feel good about contributing ideas
  • It demeans a person’s value add to the organization
  • It disempowers the person–it puts them in a box that they think they need to stay and know their place

“I’m just a ____” isn’t:

  • Uplifting
  • Empowering
  • Engaging

As Prentice Mulford offered as a book title in 1908, “Thoughts Are Things,” our thoughts impact our behavior and engender feelings about who we are and what we represent in our world.

If you ever think to yourself, “I’m just a ____,” I hope you’ll think again and reframe who you are in a positive way. This will help you thrive.

Photo credit: _scartissue on Flickr.com

 

 

Thought for the week:

The most dangerous phrase in the language is “we’ve always done it this way.”  – Rear Admiral Grace Hopper
__
What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2014 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

Share