If you have visited here before you may have noticed the change in the name of the blog from Discover Leadership! to Boldly Lead!

There were two good reasons for this:

  1. There is a training company called Discover Leadership and I did not want people getting us confused.
  2. Boldly Lead is more in line with the brand and the attitude of this blog.

Of course, you can also visit our website: BoldlyLead.com and check us out on Facebook (Ahhamoments), Twitter (BoldlyLead), and LinkedIn (Paul Simkins).

Since I have your attention here, can I ask a favor from you?

Can you drop me a line at psimkins@BoldlyLead.com and let me know what kinds of topics on employee engagement and leadership you would like me to address here? It is very important to me that this blog remain relevant to your needs.

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Why Powers Risk

WHY Power WHY power makes us do things that others question.  It has been almost three years now since I took this very risky venture on several fronts.  I chose to work for myself instead of for someone else.  I chose to change my primary business from technical training and development to cultivating leadership and personal growth.  I chose to invest in being a Founding Partner in the John Maxwell Team and a certified leadership speaker/trainer/coach.  I chose to pour my resources into developing that business.  For a variety of reasons, it is still not a booming success but I know it is coming and continue to work towards that.

Why Powers Purpose?

The big question I usually get is WHY I chose to make the change to leadership development and fostering personal growth as opposed to sticking where I was with training and development consulting (I still do that by the way).  I can only say that it is the answer to that very same WHY that drives me. Over the years I have worked for several companies, large and small, and through that with many client companies.  A consistent issue I saw in many organizations is that there was plenty of management going on and very little leadership.  And there is a difference, which I have talked about in an Ah-Ha! Moment of the Week video.

And what I saw from this was that most of the problems of the organization was due to that lack of leadership.  I truly believe that

Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership

and that the level of effectiveness of leadership is what determines how a company succeeds and grows or withers and dies.  Small businesses today especially need to embrace this because in this hard economy it becomes real easy to lose vision what you are trying to accomplish and how you are going to get there.  You get lost in the trees of survival that you can no longer see the forest.  Then, when things do clear you are totally unprepared to take advantage of the growth opportunities before you.  I believe in small business and I believe in YOU and that’s the WHY that drives me every day! It’s why I became the TOP-LINE GUY to help you achieve BOTTOM-LINE RESULTS!

Action Plan

  1. What’s your WHY?  Is it specific?  Just making money is not enough; just serving people is not enough.  You need a WHY that will drive you through hard times.  A WHY that will compel you to take risks, financial and otherwise.  A WHY that will set the stage for you to swallow pride and independence enough to seek help to excel.  A WHY that will drive you to learn what you need to learn and gather who you need to gather.  A WHY that demands a legacy to go far beyond where you will ever take it.
  2. Write that WHY down.  Remind yourself of it every day.  Let it infiltrate your organization in the vision, in the mission statement, in the customer service, in employee relations; in everything you do.
  3. Not sure how to make all that happen?  Not sure of your WHY?  Seek a coach or partner who can help you identify it, define it, and live it.  There’s a reason that highly successful organizations have coaches; because that’s how they became highly successful organizations.
Now this is an interesting perspective I ran across.  If I am reading it right, it seems to suggest that there are physical conditions that affect our ability to show courage and other characteristics necessary to be an excellent leader.  What do you think?  New age mumbo jumbo?  Medically-validated?
Is courage teachable or learnable, or is it ingrained in you at an early age?  At what point does it become to late to develop?
What do you do when you want to bolster your courage?  What other characteristics do you think you could build or reinforce through focus techniques like what is mentioned here?
Improving Leadership through the Brain-to-Belly Nerve (via Investorideas.com News )

Improving Leadership through the Brain-to-Belly Nerve Business Execs Should Embrace Mind-Body-Business Connection, Says Veteran Consultant; Offers TipsIdeas get bigger when you share them…     September 18, 2013 (www.investorideas.com newswire…

Continue reading “Improving Leadership through the Brain-to-Belly Nerve”

Networking – Not Connecting

It is inevitable, whether you like to be in groups or not, that for a small business to succeed you or someone representing you are  involved with some networking groups.  These groups are typically formed with the primary purpose of introducing people and collecting contacts and therefore, in theory, generating leads.  There are lots of these groups around pretty much anywhere you are; literally hundreds of them.  BNI groups abound, groups like WOAMTEC that cater to a specific gender or genre, community service clubs like Rotary and Kiwanis have networking aspects to them, chambers of commerce sponsor groups, trade associations create them, and sometimes just someone with a mind for a target audience will create them.

I have belonged to several over time and visited many others.  They all have the their advantages and disadvantages and most are at least a little productive eventually.  The biggest issue I have with most of them is that the participants really don’t know what they are doing and it becomes more of a mingling than a networking.  The fatal flaw is that you aren’t connecting, you are simply meeting and greeting.  Some of the common mistakes I see are:

  • business card poker is NOT connectingPeople who show up and pass out their business cards like they are dealing poker.  Sometimes they include some type of greeting but usually it is just their brief pitch.  The assumption that I am going to do business with you or refer you to anyone else just because I have your business card is a fatal flaw.  That’s supporting your printer, not connecting.

Keep the card in your pocket, I don’t want it.

  • Shooting for quantity of contacts over quality.  I have seen people come in, make a point of talking to every single person in the room briefly, collect cards, and rush out confident that they have done their job.  Like the example of passing out the cards above, you have done nothing to further your cause other than collect some additional names you will probably add to your list to spam until they get sick of it.  Again, not connecting.
  • The assumption that you are going to do business with anyone in the room.  Yes, on a VERY RARE occasion that may happen, but it’s not the purpose of your being there.  Think about it:  did you go to the meeting to buy from anyone there?  What makes you think they did?  The purpose of networking is not to do business.  We’ll talk about that purpose (connecting) further down in the post.
  • Relying on your “elevator speech” as the entire moment of contact with anyone in the room.  I am not a big fan of elevator speeches for this very reason.  In case you don’t know what an elevator speech is, it works off the theory that if you were in an elevator with someone you really wanted to contact you basically have 30 seconds to impress so you need to present a clear, concise summary of who you are and what you do.  It works off the assumption that if someone in the elevator or at a networking group asks you what you do they really want to know.  Chances are they don’t; they really want to tell you what they do.

Connecting – Not Networking

I have spent time going around to networking groups and pointing out these fatal flaws and proposing that they do something different.  If you tire of this merry-go-round that gets nowhere, why not try connecting instead of networking.  Connecting is all about building REAL relationships with people, not just acquaintances or business card collections. You make friends, not contacts.  And that’s what networking is really all about.  You don’t have to go anywhere new, you can still attend the same events, but your intentions, purpose, and approach are different.  The only thing that will change is you.

The idea is that you want to spend more time being interested than interesting.  At the heart of it, people want to know that you find them fascinating.  They don’t want to know that you have a new, revolutionary product or service; they want to know that you can help them, that you care about them, and that they can trust you.  Take this approach and in just a short time I believe it will amaze you at how things change for the better.  Better authentic relationships with people, leading to better referrals and increase in closings.  Just changing this mindset makes a world of difference.  As Dale Carnegie said,

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Be one of the first to arrive and the last to leave to maximize your contact time.  Budget your time so that you aren’t rushed.  Being hurried shows up in your attitude, your speech, and your body language.  No one thinks you care for them when you are in a hurry and you aren’t really connecting if you are in a hurry.
  • Set your goal before you walk in the door to focus on 2-3 quality contacts.  If you meet more, and your certainly will, then great.  But focus on actually initiating a relationship with 2-3 people where you are really connecting with them.
  • Ditch the elevator speech.  Marketing Guru Seth Godin says no one buys anything in a elevator.  Give short, concise answers to inquiries about you and quickly turn it around to ask questions about them.  You want them to talk the majority of the time you spend with them.  People who let other people talk about themselves are regarded by them as the best conversationalist in the world.
  • When you do talk, share more personal information than business information.  Real connecting with people happens on common ground and that is always personal.  You may find you went to the same school, at both natives to the area, have kids, etc.

Commonality makes connections.

  • Here’s the biggie: instead of looking for what you are going to get from each relationship, look for what you can give.  What can you do for them, especially if unrelated to your business.  Can you connect them with someone who can solve a problem you don’t address?  Perhaps they need a good medical specialist or are looking for a new church or a good place that serves authentic viking food.  How can you add value to them.  Ironically, when you do that you will eventually receive value in return.  It is really true, what goes around comes around.

Action Plan

  1. Think about your next meeting.  Pick two or three people you will focus on building a relationship with this week.
  2. In your conversation with them, find one thing you can do for them THIS WEEK and then DO IT.

Rejoice – Enjoying What We Have

We All Ride a Roller Coaster

I try to be transparent with what I share here.  The more you can see me, warts and all, then the more likely you are to realize that success in business and life is attainable; that we all have flaws, shortcomings, and challenges we face.  Steve Jobs, despite his incredible vision and gift for marketing, had big character flaws.  Same with Bill Gates, and many others.  Ray and Maurice McDonald didn’t have the vision to make their restaurant a household name; it took Ray Kroc to do that.  We ALL have hurdles to face and have up times and down times.

I share that because recently I have been having a down time.  For a variety of reasons, things have not gone well in different parts of my life and I have gotten down on myself and doubts began to creep in.  When that happens for me, I go back and look for things that remind me to re-focus and think positive.

Warning:  The rest of this post will have a decidedly spiritual bent to it.  I apologize if it offends you; I do not apologize for who I am and what I believe.

REJOICEI ran across this:  I have a card I received at a men’s group meeting years ago that I keep around. It is shaped like a stop sign and, in fact, on one side looks like a stop sign.  On the other it carries this verse from the Bible, specifically from Philippians 4:4-7:

“Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS (emphasis mine)!  I say again, REJOICE!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Changes in Attitude

For me, of course, it is a reminder of where I have put my faith and my life.  It is also a reminder that no matter what else I have things I can take great joy in throughout my life daily.

Let’s expand it beyond and see what we can find for everyone.  When we have an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE, we are better able to keep things in perspective.  When we rejoice in the things we have that cannot be taken away, that the world cannot touch, then we provide a solid base for how we regard everything else that happens in our life.  Once we have that perspective and are thinking in gratitude, therefore thinking positively, then we are better equipped to handle the crisis and not only survive but come out ahead.  Zig Ziglar often said

“The more you express gratitude for what you have the more you will have to express gratitude for.”

gratitude - thank youAdopting the principle of rejoicing yields big returns; perhaps not always in the way we expect.  Certainly, we all wish we had more money, more resources, more opportunities, more clients, more of whatever is on our mind right now.  Yet when we rejoice in what we do have, we see that not only do we have a full cup but that it actually overflows.  On the other hand, when we focus on what we don’t have we can lose what we do have.   I remember years ago watching a comedy sketch where a man asks another man who is holding a cup of coffee for the time.  The second man turns his wrist to look at his watch and pours out his cup of coffee.  Like the man, we lose focus on what’s in our hand to look at something else.

Consider This

What would your life be like if, for say at least a week, when someone asks you how you are you respond with “I am rejoicing!”  Don’t reflect on what people will think about you, center on what it will do for you.  Certainly it would be hard to say that continually and be negative.

I am going to try that for the next two weeks.  I invite you to try it with me and let me know how it goes.

Action Plan:

  • Begin a gratitude journal.  Get a notepad or journal or use an online one like Penzu.  Every day for at least a month, write down at least one thing you are grateful for.  Each day you have to enter something you have not previously added; in other words, each day is unique.  Look at the list often.
  • Respond to any greeting of “how are you” with “I am rejoicing!” for at least a week.  If someone asks you why, use the gratitude reason of the day or some other response if you wish.

I welcome your thoughts here about the ideas shared in today’s post!