All posts filed under: Leadership

Something good is about to happen

Optimism is scientifically proven to be a differentiator between long term sustained excellence and sporadic success. If you can’t envision slightly above the horizon on where you are currently pointed, how do you expect to get there? Creating a written vision that you review daily helps manifest it happening. I review mine every morning, in addition to the obstacles I need to overcome to get there. Visualizing success gets you halfway to your goal.  It’s 5 minutes a day as part of my morning routine.  It took me a few hours to create it over a few coffees.  When you are clear on the vision and optimistic on the target, you are more likely to land the plane. Defeating Average. Colin

Why you should give your secret sauce away

After 10 years of selling, I had figured a few things out. I had a process I followed what was working. Like a good BBQ sauce, I felt I had a recipe that was successful. Then one day it stopped working. I hit the financial crisis in 2008 and the way companies were buying changed. I didn’t pivot fast enough and had a rough year.  I also didn’t put up my hand and ask for help. I went it alone.  What did I take away from that year? People didn’t want BBQ sauce anymore. They wanted almond butter and I didn’t have a recipe.  In addition, if I had brought my BBQ sauce to the potluck party earlier and shared while it was in style, others would have shared their recipes back. I may have avoided a big slide. What am I saying? The selling world is complex.  If you give your secret sauce or go to nuggets away freely you are likely to get five to ten in return.  Ones that will keep you on …

Two questions to narrow your career focus

I was talking to a friend recently and they shared two questions they recommend when coaching people on finding the bullseye for their next role in a company or job transition. What gives you energy? What brings you life? Doing what you are good at, where you have strength and passion is a good place to start. Often, we need other people to help raise our gaze up to 30K feet above the clouds and daily monotony to see clearly. I find writing the answers to these types of questions down and journaling against them for two weeks will give you the insight you are looking for. Defeating Average. Colin  

Are you a chicken or a duck?

In this time of anxiety and adversity, we need leaders who build trust, are authentic and calm during the storm. We are all feeling the pressure, angst and frustration. I see two types of leaders at this moment. The Chicken They ride the emotional roller coaster and show it on their face They are squawking at everyone and let them know they are feeling the pressure They waste a lot of emotional energy They have trouble attracting people to work for them The Duck They paddle hard under the water on solving problems and are calm on top of the water They ask good questions and provide a safe space for brainstorming challenges They focus on what they can control and waste less energy They are a talent magnet We’ve all had the moment where we are the chicken. It takes focus and practice to operate with grace. Defeating Average. Colin

The Moment Before You React

  “When we’re growing up there are all sorts of people telling us what to do when really what we need is space to work out who to be.” -Ellen Page   I heard someone recently say, the space between when something happens to you and when you react to it is your opportunity to choose and grow.  It may be a millisecond, it may be a few seconds, but being present and aware of who you are and who you want to be in that moment is the compass to guide you there. Defeating Average. Colin  

Trust you can connect your dots

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs  I have always believed in paying it forward. Early in my career, I met two mentors who showed me the way. They shared with me, “give before you get and you will get more than you could ever imagine.” This is one of my rules that continues to serve me well. I can connect my dots back to decisions I made to follow their guidance and honor the advice they instilled in me.  I may not have known it then but I was seeding a lot of people who wanted me to be successful. I have had many occasions in the last two years where people I have helped 10-15 years ago for no …

Trust builds better outcomes

I had the pleasure of spending some time last week with an old colleague, David Droogleever on his podcast Softer but Stronger. We shone sunlight through the magnifying glass and put the spotlight on Trust. We discussed: Leading from your values Being a trust detective Dissolving reticence to team building and mitigating trust leakage How trust build better outcomes What an example of a north star is and how to find it. We had a good conversation and recommend taking in his podcast. Defeating Average. Colin  

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Why making your bed first thing in the morning may be the one thing you are missing

My friend interviewed Admiral Bill McRaven recently. He was the 4-star seal commander in charge of the Bin Laden raid. They discussed a speech he did at a graduation ceremony at the University of Texas at Austin so I went back to listen to it. It 16 minutes and highly recommend it. You can click on the link above.  Here are his 10 recommendations on living a great life.  1. Make your bed. Doing one thing right first thing in the morning leads to doing more small things right. One success leads to more success. Life is about doing the small things right.  2. Find people to help you paddle.  Seals had to row for hours to storm the beach during one test. Only the teams rowing at the same cadence and speed would make it. You can’t accomplish anything alone.  3. Respect everyone. They had seals from all different backgrounds and diversity which made everyone better. Each person has unique skills that contribute. Respect all people.  4. Life is not fair, move forward. Upon inspection of uniforms each day, …

This is the moment for action

As Tony Prophet, our Chief Equality Officer at Salesforce, recently shared, “There is no perfect way to reach out to the black and brown community. I had a friend who called me recently and said, ‘I don’t know what to say, Tony, I just want to let you know I am thinking about you and support you.’ That was very meaningful to me.” Tony has made a huge contribution to our company and community. He also gave all of us space and permission not to overthink the perception of our support, but to lean into action and just do it.  In the last week, I’ve reached out to my black and POC friends to let them know that I’m thinking about them and their families and that I am here to support them. Each time wasn’t graceful but it was authentic.  I’ve always been a proponent that the only way to grow is through getting comfortable being uncomfortable. Talking about the systemic racism that has plagued the US (and my own country of Canada) can be awkward. …

Can you operate in chaos?

There are moments in time when we have the opportunity to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.  Stronger, smarter, and more powerful. We have never been to a more anxious moment in most of our lifetimes. It could feel like your effort and ideas don’t matter, things won’t change, and we can’t connect with the people we love.  But remember this: A community organizer, lawyer, and junior senator from south Chicago lead us through the 2008 economic crisis and is viewed as one of the most popular Presidents in history. Many of the innovative companies in the world were created in recessions including Netflix, Air BnB, Trader Joe’s, Microsoft, Disney, IBM, HP.  13 Massive Companies That Started During a Recession Special mention to Salesforce which was started the year before the dot.com bubble burst.  There is always opportunity in crisis.  Look for gaps in the market.  Partner with positive people and get around the same table to create change.  Believe in yourself and the examples of inspiring leaders past and present.  Know this: Like a Phoenix, you …