All posts filed under: Leadership

Here’s the rarest type of employee—and why they outperform everyone else

It was after two years of really great success for me and then two years of failure that had me look in the mirror and reevaluate how I approached business. My secret sauce of being a great hardware seller hit a wall in 2008 when every purchase by customers was scrutinized to the nth degree. I realized I need to learn more…myself, from my peers and other people in the industry. I had some solid skills and was not sharing what I knew freely with other people. One day I decided I was going to give away my best ideas to my peers (and who I somewhat saw as competitors), pay it forward, and ask for help in the process. What I quickly realized is my two hot pieces of secret sauce were dwarfed in a good way by the 10 nuggets of wisdom I quickly got back. From that day forward #growthmindset was my number one focus. I believe we are at this inflection point again. The world is too complex and companies are …

Are you missing out on opportunity?

Pull your toes on the way up, push through your quads on the way down and widen the circle.   Good advice from Peloton instructor Sam Yo last week on one of my regular spin classes. He was focusing on potential range of motion, power, and output. It made me think about how that applies to life.   You can look at it like 7 pieces of a pie in the wheel of life.  Spirituality Career Finance Family Learning Health and Wellness Friend and Community   If you are not getting your full range of motion, power and output in each area, you are missing out on opportunities.   None of us will be hitting 10/10 in all areas and not even close.   When we think about how much of the pie and landscape we are covering we can put a spotlight on the areas we would like to focus on…and perhaps pull our toes up a little more.   Where are you doing well? Where can you expand that circle?   Defeating Average. …

Upskilling and the war for talent

We used to call education the four and 40. Go to school for four years, work for 40. What’s now is you are going to have to learn some sort of new skill every four years. I was listening to a great episode of Masters of Scale (Rapid Response) this week with guest Rachel Carlson,  co-founder and CEO of Guild Education. She shared “100 million Americans, over two-thirds of the workforce today in America, need re-skilling or upskilling in the next decade in order to be relevant, employable, and be able to survive in the economy of the next decade. The problem is those folks don’t know how to find what school or program they ought to go back to, let alone what they ought to study.” “So the half-life of a skill is now about four years. So if you’re learning anything skills-based, you are probably getting about four years worth. And so the future of work, the skills are going to evolve, right? “We call that the four and 40, right? Go to …

Are you anticipating where the puck is going?

“Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it has been.” I was watching Master Class last week and they have a new series with Wayne Gretzky. I was fortunate, I grew up where he played the first decade of his career in Edmonton. He is one of hockey’s greatest players, if not the greatest, depending on your view. When asked why he was so good at the game of hockey, he famously said: “I skated to where the puck was going, not to where it had been.” He was talking about anticipation. Perhaps his greatest asset. People used to say he had eyes in the back of his head.  In an episode in Master Class which I highly recommend (for hockey fans this series is worth the cost alone!), he talks about how his father Walter was ahead of his time in thinking about the game. “I remember I was watching hockey on Saturday nights and my dad would say, I want you to watch the play, and draw where the puck …

Does your boat size fit the task at hand?

I was sitting up on the patio of our building in New York City looking at the boats going by. We are down in Battery Park which is just next to Tribeca. You can see the Statue of Liberty off in the distance and it’s amazing how many different types of boats go through the Hudson.  In our new program at Salesforce, building out a Sales leader coaching practice, one of the things we have been talking about is you to best utilize your resources when working with a customer. I see similarities between the size of the boat you move in and how you bring value to a customer. Sometimes you are paddling in a two-person kayak. Other times you may need a little bit more horsepower and have 4-6 people in a speedboat. Sometimes and a little more rarely you see these pretty big yachts that are coming in from the islands and they are parked down by this little harbor and we walk down and check them out. Kayak is like your …

Are you outnumbered against fear?

“If you face just one opponent, and you doubt yourself, you’re out-numbered.” – Dan Millman We all have fear. Fear of failure, fear of not being enough, fear of other people’s opinions, fear of covid. In his book Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Dan Millman talks about doubt and fear, it’s an awesome read. After recently reading more on the fear of fear itself, I found myself preparing for a recent presentation realizing I was not being fearful of not presenting well…I was fearful of fear itself. Trippy right. Once we realize that fear is a part of being able to perform and it will always be there, you can notice it, like a cloud passing, name it and move on. We can all face one opponent. If we can harness and leverage fear, we will be less likely to be outnumbered. In fact, if you can talk openly about your fear with others, you can outnumber fear. Defeating Average. Colin.

Are you communicating ahead?

Coming off a company QBR (Quarterly business review) this week, three key learning themes came out.   Growth mindset Are you open to new ideas and new ways of doing things? In these covid times, we need to be willing to throw things out that no longer work and find new ways that do   Beginner’s mind Blank slate thinking. New problems require new solutions and as Brene Brown reminded me in a podcast recently, spend 55 minutes of the hour getting clear on the problem and spend 5 minutes on the solution   Alignment When you work for or with a matrixed organization, alignment is key. Over Communicating never hurts, and making sure your audience understands your intention by hearing back in their words Meeting people who are key stakeholders to executing on your project on a regular basis in the spirit of partnership   To Defeating information overload and landing your message.   Colin

You’re Not Listening

I was listening to a great podcast this week from Preet Bharara where he interviewed Chief CNN Correspondent Clarissa Ward. They discussed what makes a good journalist, a good lawyer, and a good parent. Clarissa Ward has been embedded in a lot of war zones.  “We do a lot of talking in our society. We don’t do enough listening, and the one piece of advice that I would want to give to my young boys she said, is to do more listening than talking.”  Preet said the same thing. “If you want to be a good lawyer,  be a good talker. If you want to be a great lawyer. Be a good listener.”  I think we can all take that piece of advice in whatever profession we reside. The more we can pause the more we can stay curious, the more we can listen to another person’s point of view. Defeating Average. Colin

The best way to stay in shape is to not get out of shape

“The best way to stay in shape is to not get out of shape.” – Kelvin Beachum, Offensive Tackle, Arizona Cardinals I had the good fortune of being on a customer panel with Kelvin last year and we caught up recently. Training camp in the NFL starts shortly and he focuses on staying in shape all year long. When he spoke I recall him sharing a few things related to health, nutrition, and mindset. This is a summary in my words. Health I stay in shape all year long. To compete at the NFL level it’s what I have to do. I have dinner with the family and then we start to wind down around 830pm. Sleep is critical for my success. More energy = More Success Nutrition I pretty much eat the same type of meals every day based on my nutritionist. It takes the thinking out of it and it’s easy to stick to. Consistency + less decisions = Prioritizing what’s important Mindset  I get up at 430am every morning and well ahead …

People miss being with one another

Who is the person you will visit when you can travel? “People miss being with each other” Delta CEO Ed Bastian shared on the Masters of Scale podcast recently. I think his sentiment in this podcast balances well, connection, and living values as leaders and in family. I have flown Delta in the past and they have made big improvements under his leadership. They are leading by their values in the way they approach the market and feedback from their customers. Questions pondered in this episode: Can your business sustain if you put finances before making the right choices for your customers during a pandemic? Can you afford not to make the right choice for your customer and survive? Defeating Average. Colin