Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Amateurs Wing It, Professionals Prepare...

Have you ever been to a meeting, presentation or event that you walked away saying to yourself "that was a total disaster". I'd be willing to bet that there was a serious lack of preparation on the part of the leaders involved in the event.

Many leaders believe that they can "wing it" and create a success. The best leaders don't buy into this and spend serious time preparing for meetings, presentations, and events. They subscribe to the philosophy that PROFESSIONALS PREPARE.

Preparation is not taught in college, graduate school or on the job leadership training. It is a critical leadership dimension that is often overlooked, but never forgotten once you see it not occur and lead to an unsuccessful event.

What does preparation look like?
Here are some tips to assist you, A LEADER, to prepare and increase the odds that you will be viewed as a professional,organized and "buttoned up" leader.
  1. When planning for a leadership role in an event, break the event into 15 or 30 minute intervals. For each interval, plan the work/discussion so the entire event planning does not overwhelm you. You eat an elephant one bite at a time and this interval approach can break that huge preparation into much more manageable pieces.

  2. Keep in mind the adult attention span. Most resseach I have seen states that adult attention span is 45 minutes (I know, it feels like 45 seconds sometimes...). Prepare to this attention span. Don't create 2 hour brainstorming sessions or a 4 hour conference call on one topic. You will lose people, their energy and support.

  3. In your preparation, focus on the sections that will lead to success. These include goals and objectives, processes to meet the goals and objectives, tasks, time allotted, budget, resource requirements, change management plans and monitoring/validating techniques,

  4. Buy a lunch and listen to a leader that is successful in leading events. Guarantee that leader prepares! Ask for tips and techniques on what they do to prepare for an event. You may learn something new to add to your preparation or validate what you are already doing. I am a huge proponent of setting aside the ego and asking successful people for their advice. No need to re-create the wheel. Just ask open ended questions and listen!!

  5. Use a colleague, team member, or mentor to critique your preparation and give you feedback. Again, set your ego aside and let others "poke holes" in your preparation. You will only get better if you listen and take action on the advice. Remember it's business, not personal.
Use these tips to be seen as a top notch, professional leader not an amateur. We all want to be involved in successful meetings, presentations, training and events. It takes the leader's preparation to ensure this will happen. Make it happen - spend the time preparing, consider it part of the role of a great leader.

It has been called "The Secret" on steroids. If you would like to discuss or have questions, please shoot me an email at chris@destinyahead.com

As always, Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will!!!!

Your Self Image

A critical part of your self-image is your self-ideal. The self ideal is the ideal image or picture you have of yourself on a daily basis. In other words, your self-ideal is composite of the very best person you could see yourself being and living your life to the fullest.

Your self-ideal is made up of two major dimensions - your wishes, hopes, goals, and fantasies about your life and the qualities you admire most in yourself and in other leaders.

Find Positive Role Models

In a longitudinal research study conducted years ago, the researchers found many men and women who had successful and prosperous lives had been avid readers of the biographies and autobiographies of successful people. We have a natural tendency to identify with the hero in any story. People that immerse themselves in the stories of men and women who have accomplished great things, tend to absorb their values, behaviors and qualities into their personality.

Define your Life Values

The life values you choose and the way you define those values, shape and influence your personality and your achievements more than any other single factor. Take time to develop absolute clarity about the key life values and qualities you admire the most and wish to incorporate into your life. This will allow you to shape and direct your personality and determine the success you achieve in the future.


The second part of your self-concept is your self-esteem. Self-esteem is the feeling or emotional component of your personality. Your level of self-esteem determines the energy and power of your personality which drives your performance. Your self-esteem is affected by many factors. The most important is the difference between your self-image and your self-ideal. How are you versus how you want to be.Whenever you feel your current performance and behavior is consistent with the best person that you can possibly be, your self esteem goes up. You feel more exhilarated and fulfilled. You have more energy, enthusiasm and optimism.

Using this Information Activity
During this think reflect and write down the values, skills, and qualities of other people that you most admire.
What actions could you take to incorporate those characteristics into your personality?

Until next time, Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will...


Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Golden Rule Principle…

The third ingredient in the recipe for tremendous success is to have a philosophy of servant leadership. I am a big fan of Zig Ziglar’s statement – “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want”.

Some practical behaviors we can put in place in our lives to be role models of the Golden Rule philosophy include:

• Asking others their opinion on decisions that impact them
• Using other opinions and feedback to make decisions
Sincere recognition for extra effort – “thank you” or other encouraging words go along way
• Genuinely listening to other people. Be in the moment with that person and give them 100% attention
• Do not promise or commit unless you will honor the commitment
Share the credit and acknowledge the contribution of others
• Don’t hide information, if appropriate. Give complete answers to a question if possible
• Offer to help people
• Learn about others by asking them about their interests and goals

We have many different facets in our life – business, family, social, physical, spiritual and so on. They are all interwoven into our life and have an impact on our overall success. Making the philosophy of the Golden Rule principle will lead to your success as well as the success of others. Definitely a win/win outcome.

Next week, I’ll discuss the fourth and final ingredient in the recipe for success.

Until next time, Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will...http://www.destinyahead.com/

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In last week’s post, I discussed the first ingredient in the recipe for success. The “right” mental attitude focuses on a “can do” attitude, a problem solving mindset and an optimistic view of situations. This is the foundation for success and allows us to accomplish some amazing things.

The second ingredient in the recipe for success is having the right skills and knowledge needed in your profession. For example, sales people may be highly enthusiastic and positive but they may not know their products and services and are unable to answer questions from prospective customers. With the ever changing world of technology, many of us must stay up to date on new social media and technological advances to maintain an edge in our profession.

We must constantly develop our skills and knowledge along with maintaining the “right” attitude in order to succeed. Think about what skills and knowledge are required in your profession. Write down your strengths and areas of development. Make it a personal challenge to set daily goals and action in place to increase the skill and knowledge in your areas of development and watch your success skyrocket.

Next week, I’ll discuss the third ingredient in the recipe for success.

Until next time, Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will...http://www.destinyahead.com/

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lessons Learned as a New Entrepeneur

As Americans, we are experiencing a significant economic slowdown. With unemployment at close to 10%, currently over 10 million Americans have started their own home-based business and many more are considering it.
There are many distinct advantages associated with a home based business such as freedom, flexibility, working from home, direct control of your income and being your own boss. Being a home based business owner also means, you are closer to your family on a daily basis and other responsibilities. The most successful home based business owners are organized, disciplined and action oriented.

Here are some tips I have learned about being successful as your own boss:

1. Determine your priorities: Write down your tasks in the order of importance, and focus on the urgent ones first thing in the morning. By following your list of priorities, and assigning a time frame to complete, you can ensure that you do no miss out on any income generating task that is important.

2. Plan your day the night before: Plan your day the evening before so that you are ready to act as soon as breakfast is done. Set goals to be accomplished, calls to make to prospects, marketing to complete. During the day, keep updating your plan as you achieve each goal.

3. Help your family understand: Family pressure can be one of the major reasons that many home-based businesses fail to succeed. You need to help your family understand that you are at work, even though at home. Make sure you set aside quality time for the family. Remember, this is your business and not a hobby.

4. Go the Extra Mile: You will have to work harder and longer in the beginning with your business. This effort will help your business build a strong foundation to help it grow and stabilize.

5. Reduce distractions: Try to avoid television and radio. Create a peaceful and quiet atmosphere in your home so that you can focus on work.

6. Set aside time for YOU: You can improve your productivity by spending a few minutes to refresh yourself. Get some exercise, go outside and enjoy the sun, or take a walk. It will do wonders for your focus.

7. Focus on Personal Excellence: Raise your standards by having high expectations of yourself. Hustle and do not let yourself become idle for too long. The best entrepreneurs are always hustling and putting in the effort to take massive action.

These tips will ensure you get off on the right foot in your home based business. In my opinion, being a successful Entrepreneur is 90% discipline, organization and action.

The Recipe For Success

Success has as many different definitions as there are people. We each have different responses to what success means to us. Success involves every facet of your life from your relationships, career, health/wellness, spiritual life and peace of mind.

In this article, I’d like to hit the first of my four ingredients into the recipe of success.

First Ingredient in the Recipe for Success

The "right" mental attitude is critical to the recipe for success. A positive mental attitude is the beginning to your success. We have all met people that have a great “can do” attitude and I bet others view them as pretty successful. The “can do” attitude helps people achieve their goals and build relationships with friends and business associates. We all enjoy being around positive people that are problem solvers and are "good finders" (look for good instead of bad in every situation).

Things to keep in mind about attitude:

  • Keep an attitude of acceptance, forgiveness, respect, and consideration in your relationships. It goes a long way in your success.

  • An open mind toward new experiences in your life will help you adapt to change. The world is ever-changing and unless you change with it, you will be destined to be mediocre.
    Be self aware of your own abilities and yourself. Be positive and realistic. Through your lifelong personal development journey, you will have a strong grasp of your possibilities in life. I doubt very seriously that I could be a PGA Golf Pro having not played in ten years. Keep it all in perspective with reality and stay positive on the goals that are challenging and realistic in your life.

  • Consider a mentor to help you set realistic goals, provide encouragement and motivation to help you achieve your goals. Mentors can also be great to learn from, share lessons learned along the way, and be a role model of success.

A positive attitude sprinkled with realism, and an open mind is the first ingredient in success. This ingredient will allow you to use your own abilities, see the future vision of your life, and develop the skills and abilities to have what you deserve in life.

Stay tuned for the next 3 ingredients to the recipe of success!

I'd love to hear your comments on the first ingredient for success. Please feel to subscribe to our blog on the right hand side of this page and pass along to friends/co-workers that may have an interest in success.

Until next time, Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hello, my name is Chris and I Love Leadership

For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by LEADERSHIP. I enjoy reading biographies about great leaders and the characteristics that make them successful. Also, I have kept a personal journal for the last 10 years of observations of behaviors that I have seen in outstanding and "not so" outstanding leadership. My readings and personal journal will be the foundations of a book that I have planned to complete within the next 5-10 years.

If I were to sort and categorize those characteristics and behaviors I believe that make successul leaders, there are several that would be a common theme across a high percentage of successful leaders. Here's a brief snapshot of the dimensions of successful leadership from my observations and readings:

  1. Integrity - #1 characteristic. Without this, a leader is not a leader because they have no followers. In my opinion, this is the cornerstone of outstanding leadership.

  2. Desire - Outstanding leaders have a strong and burning desire to be leaders and to succeed. Almost an obsession-like focus. Most people are looking for leaders, these people want and know they are leaders.

  3. Results Orientation - Leaders are in leadership roles primarily to make things happen through other people - get results. They are very goal oriented, planful, organized and focused when it comes to achieving challenging results.

  4. Focused on People - I have met and worked with many good leaders that talk the talk on people focus but don't show the behaviors. They may be 3s on a 5 point scale. The best leaders ( the 4.5s and 5s on a 5 points scale) deeply care about their team and each individual. Outstanding leaders take the approach that their team is their #1 customer and the #1 customer needs to be treated as such. They realize that nothing happens without their team and the development of their team is crucial to the success of the mission.

  5. Vision - Vision can be an "overused" word in leadership. I view vision as the ability to innovate and create the needs and plans for the future while the team is focused on the current mission. Without vision, the organization becomes stale and complacent. Complacency is a tragic flaw in leadership. Outstanding leaders have the "pedal to the metal" 95% of the time, if not a 100%.

  6. For my sixth and final dimension, I will select passion. The "cream of the crop" leaders have a burning within them about their expertise, people and business. They gather as much knowledge as they can about their business on a daily basis. They enjoy what they do and thrive on teaching their team and others. Their work ethic is second to none because they are so passionate about what they do. Outstanding leaders can get others "fired up" about their business because they can transfer their passion to the audience.

I realize that I have not mentioned dozens of characteristics and behaviors such as communication, interpersonal, social, technical and financial/business skills. This list is my top 6 and ones I have observed in my career.

I would love to hear your comments on this list and other views of leadership. That's what makes leadership such a great topic - we could discuss and debate for hours. If you are ever interested in doing that, give me a call I'd love to participate.

Until next time, Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will...