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Stop doing, shake your globe, ponder, dream, start reaching your full potential – live on purpose and do it with a smile!

Archive for the category “servant leadership”

4 items that make SMART goals work

4 items that make SMART goals work 

I am going to get a lot of hate mail from life and business coaches about this one, but to me SMART goals are so old school. SMART stands for the goal to have the following characteristics:

  • Specific: Is the goal stated specifically enough that you will know you have reached it?
  • Measurable: Is the goal able to be evaluated, either qualitatively or quantitatively?
  • Attainable: Can the goal be achieved?
  • Relevant: Does the goal align with the goals of your company of function?
  • Timed-based: What, specifically, is the target date for its completion?

They do have a place in business, although they should be used sparingly. What is the problem with them? SMART goals are stupid because they are almost exclusively result based focused and very rarely if ever people-focused. People are the ones working on the goals though.

So here is my peace offer to everybody who staunchly insists SMART goals are a must. Because SMART goals are like a boat with no sail, kick your game up with adding a SAIL component to your goals. I recently read about this in Tasha Eurich’s book “Bankable Leadership. In short you help include the people side of your goals like this:

  • Stretch: Is the goal challenging enough to make the person raise their game?
  • Ability: Does the person completing the goal have the ability (or reasonably learn to accomplish it?
  • Importance: Does the goal feel personally important to the person blessed with this goal?
  • Learning: Does the goal help grow their skills in a way that they want to grow them?

Now we have a really powerful goal set because you made it personal to the folks having to worry about executing them. The business of business is business. That is unlikely to change, but businesses cannot function without people. It cannot be ignored that people do business with people. Humans have needs, wants, desires, dreams, and their own goals. Kick up your SMART goals with blowing some wind into SAIL goals.


10 Questions for the progressive business leader – create a work place that will be attractive to Millennials

10 Questions for the progressive business leader – create a work place that will be attractive to Millennials 

What is a servant leader? This is a leader-manager who understands that he is the one who serves his team and not the other way around. It is great to see and hear that more and more old-fashioned toxic working environments with their command-and-control antics are being thrown to the curb. Our newest part of the workforce is drawn to an employee centric company culture. Attaining Millenial talent is tough. Retaining them is even tougher. It does not need to be that way though.

Servant leadership has a solid foundation in self-awareness of the leader. But how can you pursue it? The best tool in your servant leadership tool box is reflection and meditation. Know thyself is a phrase that you should make your mantra. Please find below a variety of questions we should ask ourselves frequently:

  • What can I do to have my feedback meetings on time? Timely feedback reviews and making them a priority is key to team members feel that they are taken just as serious as an “important” customer, or project.
  • How can I show that I really am listening to my conversation partner? Being present in any one-on-one or team meeting is one of the main commitments we must make to our team members. Body language and mimics and the phone not being on DND can be a major obstacle in creating great rapport.
  • How should I prepare a meeting such that my team members can constructively partake in it? Is my meeting about a conversation for understanding, interpretation, exploration of opportunities, or for action? How does the meeting facilitator make sure the meeting is about the “is” condition and not about the “should-be’s”? How can I make sure we start and stop our meetings on time?
  • How do I as the leader get the respect of my team members? How do I get to know what they do every day and would I be able to do what they do?
  • What is my best method approach to getting buy-in and collaboration from my team members towards minor and major changes in the organization or the team?
  • How do I make sure a yearly feedback meetings, one-on-one meeting and department meetings are held periodically?
  • How do I best provide feedback on how and when to deliver performance feedback to the people I serve as quarterback?
  • How and what do I do to show that I appreciate each individual’s personal contribution to the team’s effort?
  • When an employee says something, what is he/she really saying? What and how (also how much) something is said is often indicative of personal, process, product, or team issues.
  • How can we best facilitate change – any change? How do we guide our employees through resistance, sorrow, exploration of opportunities, and finally the commitment to change? The direct path from A to B for change is a leadership illusion.


Here is my request to ponder the questions and finding answers for them that we can implement expediently. Can you see the underlining issues dealing with communication, prioritization, meeting preparation, job shadowing, servant leadership, and perhaps a few more challenges that any leader-manager struggles with? No one is an exception to the rule, and I know that I am frequently challenged and reminded of my own short comings. Key to becoming a great leader-manager is a greater self-awareness. We owe this to the people whom we serve and Millennials demand of us to pay more attention to their needs.


12 things people say that lead to a busy and unfulfilling life

12 things people say that lead to a busy and unfulfilling life 

Busy is bad. If you do not believe that you are solidly on the way to oblivion. Busy may make us feel like we are moving ahead and we are making a difference. Problem is when we do not have enough quiet time to really ponder what we should be doing and who we should become, we can veer off course and therefore be heading toward a life and identity crisis. Up until recently I caught myself saying that I was too busy doing this and the other thing. I still hear it from other folks: “I am sorry, I would love to pursue something else, but I am too busy right now. I do not have enough time.” Well, it is not like they do not have time – they just do not make time for what they would and should be doing. Compare and contrast the following 12 things other people have said that did eventually lead to such life crisis moments.

  1. “I am too busy right now making a living; I cannot think about live right now.” Sadly I meet people every day who actually think that they can push off not stopping regularly to think, reflect, read, or otherwise reset your mind. Do you enjoy being constantly on the run, always plugged in, or always need feel you are “on”? To get ahead in life sometimes the best thing you can do is to stop running. Make time for your brain and body to reset and refocus.
  2. “If I do a little bit of both I can compromise splitting time between work and family.” Just because stuff fits into your tight schedule does not mean that you should do it. Work and family are in constant conflict and very often that mean that you try to go to work events and you may make it to a movie you want to watch with family. Problem is just that trying to make both events happening you are not really present in either interaction. Do not compromise. Choose one or the other and be fully in the moment and present. It is ok to choose family over work.
  3. “If it is the popular thing to do, I should do it too.” Let it be the next best thing on social media, new smart phones, checking e-mail and social media every other minute, the newest show on Netflix, etc you want to be just a popular and “in” as the next person. Meanwhile there is a quiet little voice in your head that is telling you that life could and should be different. You fight it though and you go with the flow and you are busy and on – 24/7. Well, listen to that voice and stop. You need to follow your road to full potential. Quit doing stuff just because it is popular. There is also a joy in missing out sometimes.
  4. “Everything is important.” Just flat out do it all. It is too difficult making a decision what takes priority. Come on, you can fit everything in – it is important. This does not work in math and it does not work out in life – ever. Why even try then? Pick your battles and prioritize the things that you want to get done and then delegate or outright say no to things that do not add value.
  5. “I am part of the team and I must say Yes and I do it with a smile.” Sure, you do not want to let down people and perhaps you like your boss and you do not want to let her down either. Result is that you work yourself into oblivion. Saying yes to everything though is a form of madness. You get what you tolerate. You will go postal eventually and there are always more tasks coming your way. Stop that avalanche though by starting to say “no”.
  6. “It is not enough to help people, I need to save them.” This is a really tough one. You listen to someone’s life story and you feel a lot of compassion. Something should be done. Something must be done. Why stop there? Heck, I can do this and step in and make this person’s problem go away completely. Challenge is that your time and resources are impacted and the person may be helped now, but it may not last. The person did not learn from your helping intervention and heads for the same mess again. Lesson learned here is to help, provide a blessing, but do not rob people of their problems. They can fix it just like you can.
  7. “If I said I would do it, then I have to do it.” Let me make this really short and simple for you: If you should not do it what you are doing, then you should not do it – no matter when, what, and how you said it. It is a waste of your potential.
  8. “I must finish this project. I will stay up late to get it done.” Ah, the martyr approach to life. You will hear about it the next day at work about how folks worked all hours of the night to get a project out the door. They look exhausted and tired. Hello? It is no weakness or laziness if you do not get the work done. There are some instances that warrant working extra, but you are literally killing yourself if you routinely work like this. Sleep is for high performers that are super productive when they are working on manageable tasks.
  9. “When things do not fit right I just make them fit.” When others say that it cannot be done, you feel like this is something you need to do just to prove them wrong. It may be fun to add such a personal challenge. It is stupid to constantly force this kind of a load on you and others. Cramming and manipulation leads to unwanted other results. Do not do it.
  10. “I HAVE to do this.” Ownership of a problem is one thing. Stubbornness and believing that you do not have choices is just stupid. You have to take a breath, eat, and sleep. Everything else is your choice.
  11. “More is better than less.” I can only say that I have never seen I headstone that read: “If I only could have had more time to stay at the office.” Would you like to be the first one to change that? Less is more in the vast majority of the cases you come across.
  12. “I have plenty of time to do the other things.” Oh yeah, really? Life holds no guarantees for anything or anyone. Life is tricky and there are so many instances where you just do not know if another day is coming around for you to enjoy. Make sure to pursue the significant things and give those a priority. Spend the time with people that mean the most to you. Make your life count.

As my friend and mentor Brett Blair always says: Busy is bad. I could not agree more with that. Busy is a mental sugar rush that usually will leave you feel empty after it is gone. Pursue significant instead of success. Pursue fulfillment over happiness. The word “no” is your friend so wield is wisely and more often. You can do it!


1 simple strategy helping make life changing decisions

1 simple strategy helping make life changing decisions 

How do I make the best out of the present? Sometimes we get our brains tied into a pretzel: We get mentally stuck and therefore frustrated because we are not making any progress. There are two extremes that we keep thinking about that cause this issue. Many times we are totally focused on either what should happen in the future, or what has happened in the past. What we forget to do is being present in the present.

Projecting the future based on the past is a total waste of precious time and nerves. We should be learning from the mistakes we have made in the past, but trying to glean what the future holds in store for us is a rather futile thing to do. On the other side is dreaming away at imagining what should happen, or even worse would be asking yourself what-would-happen-if? There are an infinite number of things that your brain will be able to come up with.

A way out of this brain churn and burn is simply trying to be in the moment and then to make a decision right away rather than waiting for a better moment to come along. One of those moments was making a decision whether or not moving to the U.S.A. and working here would be a good step to take for me. This was over 25 years ago. If I had paid too much attention on my historic and epic bad luck I probably would not have gone forward with it. The same can be said for looking at the many unknown things that did scare me, and in hindsight they should have scared me witless. Even though I clearly had not known much about what would and could happen to me, I did make a timely and ultimately really good decision to go forward with it after all. “All” I had to do was to look at what my heart, head, and instinct told me to do. It did turn out to be the best thing in my life thus far.

Take a leap of faith and trust your decision as long as it is not stuck in the past or the future.


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