Fear Not

“Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.”  Marie von Ebner Eschenbach

Early in my Fortune 100 career, there was a new assignment which required that I move and inherit an existing, high-performing team.

And even though they knew much more about how things ran, they still wanted me to help them improve. They brought dozens of creative ideas.

I was on a huge learning curve and loving every minute of it. However, you know what happened?

Nothing.

Being insanely busy, and blindly disorganized, none of their ideas moved forward. I was overwhelmed and didn’t even know it.

Crazy thing though, I thought things were actually getting better, because their ideas started to dwindle, but not because things got better.

Even crazier, they thought, “Don’t go to Jeff, he won’t do anything.”

Wished they would have argued with me, “Why aren’t you helping us?” Instead, they dodged.

And who could blame them?

Four Tips to Be World Class

How does a person or an organization become world class, and stay world class? Here are four tips to do just that.  First, however we need to state the obvious:

It’s a double edge sword isn’t it?  If consistency is the hallmark or quality, and continuous improvement is the key to becoming (and sustaining) world class status, how do you balance risk and reward?

Let’s use this example from yesterday.

As a professional speaker, there are several goals for every presentation:

  • Give a speech to change the world
  • Never give the same speech twice
  • Ask great questions
  • Get the audience to reveal the key points

Let’s review from a different angle, what you just read:

  • Have passion and faith that impossible is possible
  • Be authentic, not going through the motions
  • Know where you want to go and be prepared to get there
  • Lead, don’t manage

The second set of bullet points states the common sense theories that we all nod our heads in agreement when we hear them.

The first set illustrates how I internalized these common sense things to make them work for my particular role in the business world.

Now it’s your turn. Take the four common sense bullet points and make them your own.  Tomorrow, I’ll share how practicing what I preach led to an amazing result.

You don’t have to any of this.  And maybe that’s a leader’s biggest challenge, doing what’s easier rather than what’s harder.  So here’s a fifth tip – being world class means out working your competition.  Most people hate to admit this.  And then they wonder why they aren’t world class.


Fortune Favors The Brave

Fortune favors the brave.  It does indeed.  But what does that mean, “favors you“?  Or what does it mean, “brave“?

This sounds pretty inspiring, yet how do we apply it or gauge whether we are brave?  Try this on for size.

I believe if everyone likes you, you are not brave enough.  Courage implies risk. And risk implies challenging the status quo. Generally, people do not like being challenged.

This also applies to us when we look in the mirror.  I am often tempted to not  challenge myself to do more, do better, do differently.

Why?

Because it’s too much work, too much risk, too much uncertainty. Isn’t it?  Ever find yourself thinking like this?  Good.

Most people intuitively understand that hard work pays off, that uncertainty is part of life, that risk is a key ingredient for continuous improvement and that fortune favors the brave.

Seth Goden and 37signals

Seth Godin is like a new BFF.  Why?  Because if I…..

If I have to explain it to you, you may not get it.  Click here to go to his blog.  Highly recommend you read Seth Godin’s blog every day. It’s simple to subscribe to it and you can have it waiting in your in box each morning.

But maybe you’d rather just stick with a plan that’s certain to be safe.

Anyone here remember how Napster destroyed the Music Industry’s decade-old business model?  The Internet is changing all the rules.

Next on deck, 37signals.

Here’s my prediction, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ll most likely become a victim of a Napster-like competitor.

Or, you could just stick your head in the sand.

Don’t Get Arrested

Do what you fear, but don’t get arrested.  Sometimes, if not more often, we must do what we fear to overcome it.

This has been challenging, considering  all the places I’ve lived and worked – 35 years in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Idaho, Florida and Washington State.

Bottom line, my thirst for pushing boundaries tends to threaten others. Since turning 50 in June, I have flat out accepted this is who I am – a game changer.  Maybe this will be September’s theme.  Maybe not.

Let’s go back two days to The Ledge, at the western hemisphere’s tallest building:

Went out on The Ledge five times. Would have done it even more, except it was a very busy Friday night in Chicago.

“So what”? Exactly.  So what!  I’ve never been more impatient with the status quo.

Turbulent times call for unprecedented creative efforts.  In order to teach our son patience, I constantly remind myself to relax and be patient.  One day soon, some one will ask, “Will you share your vision with us”?

While I went to The Ledge five times that night, Walt Disney lived his whole life on The Ledge.  Wonder if we’re related. Carpe diem, jungle jeff 🙂