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Triumph Over Excuses

None of us like to think that we make excuses, but we do.
One of my business partners, Dustin Hillis, defines excuses in this way: “Any reason you didn’t do what you said you do.”
I love that definition because it’s transparent, powerful, and most important of all, it’s inescapable.
It’s inescapable from accountability.
There’s no way to dodge it.
There’s no way to get around it.
There’s no way to bypass it.
There’s no way to circumvent it.
If you said you would do it and you didn’t get it done, then it’s on you.
And whatever your reason is for why it didn’t get done is your excuse.
It’s easy to hold others to that standard but we don’t like to hold ourselves to that standard.
When someone else didn’t get it done, it’s because they had some lame excuse.
But when we didn’t get it done it’s because…
“I didn’t have time.”
“I decided I didn’t really want to.”
“I need to wait until there is a better time.”
Or, the number one excuse of all is blaming others for failure.
Blaming others is a natural outlet because none of us like to admit when we’re making an excuse.
But what if instead of looking for a justifiable reason, a rationale explanation, or an acceptable excuse, we instead just spent that energy looking for a solution?
That’s what winners do. They find a way instead of an excuse.
To use Dustin’s definition, finding a way means “doing what you said you would do, no matter what.”
Finding a way means you double down on your effort to achieve the target despite the odds.
Finding a way means you get creative about organizing resources to make it work.
Finding a way means you refocus your energy into problem solving and solution finding instead of into excuse-making.
Most of all, finding a way means owning your results yourself.
It means making a decision that you are in charge, you are accountable, and you will not be stopped.
Finding a way means remaining determined to figure it out because failure is not an option for you and excuses are unacceptable.

What Leadership Really Is

It’s possible that you think of leadership completely wrong.

It’s possible that you don’t even accurately understand what leadership really is.

Because for whatever reason, we often think of the leader as the person who is elevated.

We think of the leader as the boss who should be feared and respected.

We think of the leader as the person in charge and the person who calls the shots.

And because we sometimes think about leadership in that way, then when by pursuit or circumstance we get designated as the leader, that’s how we think it should be.

We think we should be elevated.

We think we should be the boss.

We think we should call the shots.

But we are wrong.

Or that is at least an immature understanding of leadership.

Over the years at Southwestern Consulting we’ve had the opportunity to work with great leaders, coach great leaders, and we’ve been lucky to have been mentored directly by great leaders.

One of them, CEO of the Southwestern Family of Companies Henry Bedford, taught us early on that one of the jobs of the leader is to remove barriers from people on the front lines.

He taught us that leadership is not about having the fancy back corner office but that the important work is done on the front lines.

He taught us that leadership is not about having people working for you but about having people and a mission for whom it is worth working for.

In simple terms, he and other mature leaders like Ken Blanchard, have taught us that leadership is about service.

It’s not about being served; it’s about serving.

It’s not about being protected; it’s about protecting.

It’s not about being revered; it’s about revering.

But serving doesn’t mean you’re weak. And it doesn’t mean you just do whatever people want you to do.

It means you look out for the best interest of the team.

It means you protect the pursuit of the mission.

It means you strive to provide for the people in your care.

And it means you lay down and move beyond your own ego and dedicate yourself to elevating the status and survival of the collective.

In short, leadership means serving.

So if serving is beneath you, then perhaps leadership is beyond you.

Leading Like Jesus with Ken Blanchard – Episode 209 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Ken Blanchard is a prominent, sought-after author, speaker, and business consultant. He is respected for his lifetime of groundbreaking research and thought leadership that has influenced the day-to-day management and leadership of people and companies throughout the world.

With a passion to turn every leader into a servant leader, Ken shares his insightful and powerful message with audiences around the world through speeches, consulting services, and bestselling books. When Ken speaks, he speaks from the heart with warmth and humor. No matter how large the audience, he is able to communicate with each person as if the two of them were alone and talking one on one. He is a sophisticated storyteller with a knack for making the seemingly complex easy to understand.

Ken’s impact as an author is far reaching. His iconic 1982 classic, The One Minute Manager, coauthored with Spencer Johnson, has sold more than 13 million copies and remains on bestseller lists today. In the past three decades he has authored or coauthored 60 books whose combined sales total more than 21 million copies. His groundbreaking works—including Raving Fans, The Secret, and Leading at a Higher Level, to name just a few—have been translated into more than 42 languages. In 2005 Ken was inducted into Amazon’s Hall of Fame as one of the top 25 bestselling authors of all time.

Dr. Ken Blanchard is the cofounder and Chief Spiritual Officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies, an international management training and consulting firm that he and his wife, Margie Blanchard, began in 1979 in San Diego, California. In addition to being a renowned speaker, author and consultant, Ken is a trustee emeritus of the Board of Trustees at his alma mater, Cornell University, and he also teaches students in the Master of Science in Executive Leadership Program at the University of San Diego.

Show Highlights:

The important thing about leadership is not what happens when you’re there but what happens when you’re not there. @kenblanchard

Jesus understood servant leadership. @kenblanchard

There are two parts to servant leadership. @kenblanchard

You work for them – Jesus did this symbolically by washing their feet. @kenblanchard

In sales, if it’s all about you people are going to read through that. @kenblanchard

Great salesmen focus on their relationship with the person they’re working with. @kenblanchard

Results come when you develop great relationships. @kenblanchard

Jesus didn’t come to start a religion, he came to build a relationship. @kenblanchard

As a leader, you must manage the present while preparing for the future. @kenblanchard

The biggest addiction in the world is the human ego. @kenblanchard

There are two types of ego – more than and less than. @kenblanchard

The antidote for false pride is humility. @kenblanchard

Selflessness is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. @kenblanchard

The biggest obstinate to you leading like Jesus is ego. @rory_vaden

Self-doubt is a form of indulgence. @rory_vaden

@rory_vaden shares 5 takeaways from his interview with @kenblanchard

This is a special extended interview! Send an email to RoryPodcast@gmail.com with your first name in the subject line to gain access!

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

The Limit of a Leader

Your level of influence as a leader is directly limited by the size of your ego.

The larger your ego, the less your chance to reach your leadership potential.

The smaller your ego, the greater your chance to reach your leadership potential.

Ego is a conundrum that many leaders will eventually have to face.

Overcome it, and there is no limit to the impact and influence that you can have.

Because a selfless leader magnetically draws in the loyalty and commitment of a team.

But a self-serving leader inadvertently creates fractures in the team and begins to push people away.

It’s a fascinating dynamic how it all happens.

Because you often become a leader by being a top achiever.

But it’s a case of what got you here as an achiever, won’t get you there as a leader.

An achiever cares about earning respect.

A leader cares about building relationships.

An achiever is used to competing for positioning.

A leader progresses by fostering principles.

An achiever rises by pushing themselves to new heights.

A leader rises by helping others along the path.

It doesn’t mean that a great achiever can’t be a leader.

It just means that they have to lay it all down for the team.

They have to intentionally choose to put the team first.

They have to evolve and adapt and mature to the point that their personal ego dies for the sake of advancing the team.

You can have any level of personal success as long as you have a higher level of selflessness towards serving the team.

Become selfless and do it right and you and your team will reach a whole new level.

Remain self serving though and do it wrong and you may start to find yourself increasingly isolated.

The 5 Love Languages for Leaders with Dr. Gary Chapman – Episode 206 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Dr_Gary_Chapman

Dr. Gary Chapman has degrees from some of the most respected colleges and seminaries. He’s written some of the best-selling books of the past decade and appeared on thousands of radio and television programs across the country. But Dr. Gary Chapman knows more than just a lot of scholarly theories and practical advice—he knows people. He knows how to relate to people, how to have fun and how to make people laugh.

Chapman is a well-known marriage counselor and director of marriage seminars. He hosts a nationally syndicated radio program, Love Language Minute, and a Saturday morning program, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, that air on more than 400 stations. The 5 Love Languages, one of Chapman’s most popular titles, topped various bestseller charts for years. It has been published in 50 languages, sold more than ten million copies and is currently on the New York Times best-seller list. 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of The 5 Love Languages book.  Chapman has been directly involved in real-life family counseling for more than 35 years. Dr. Chapman also serves as senior associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Chapman is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in anthropology from Wheaton College and Wake Forest University, respectively. He has received M.R.E. and Ph.D. degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and taken postgraduate work at the University of North Carolina and Duke University. Chapman and his wife, Karolyn, have been married for more than 45 years and reside in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Chapmans have two grown children, Shelley and Derek.

Show Highlights:

The 5 love languages applied to leadership with @DrGaryChapman

Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21

Actions speak louder than words when acts of service is your primary love language. @DrGaryChapman

It’s universal to give gifts as acts of love. @DrGaryChapman

Quality time is giving someone your undivided attention. @DrGaryChapman

We have long known the power of physical touch. @DrGaryChapman

Out of the 5 love languages, each of us has a primary love language. @DrGaryChapman

When you realize the importance of quality time, it is easy to carve out time for it. @DrGaryChapman

All 5 languages can be learned. @DrGaryChapman

64% of people who leave a job say they left primarily because they didn’t feel appreciated. @DrGaryChapman

If they feel loved, they will stay. If they do not feel loved, they will leave. @rory_vaden

10 phrases you can never say too often as a leader. @rory_vaden

5 acts of service you should engage in to increase the morale and retention in business. @rory_vaden

 

This is a special extended interview! Send an email to RoryPodcast@gmail.com with your first name in the subject line to gain access!

Learn more from Dr. Gary Chapman at 5lovelanguages.com and appreciationatwork.com

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

Why Your Organization Isn’t Growing and 5 Behaviors to Groom Future Leaders

Why Your Organization Isn't Growing and 5 Behaviors to Groom Future Leaders

A leader’s job is not to create followers.

A leader’s job is to create other leaders.

And it’s a frustrating place when an organization is stuck, stagnant, and not growing.

But often time a core cause of that is because the leader isn’t engaging in practices that develop other leaders.

How do you do that?

Here’s 5 simple ideas:

1.Teach Problem Solving – If you answer every question your team asks you then you aren’t creating leaders because you aren’t creating critical thinkers. Instead, you’re creating dependents.

One of the practices at Southwestern when building organizations is that the next time an experienced team member brings you a question or a problem ask them “What are your options? What’s your best option? What do you think we should do? Go with that.”

After you do that enough times they’ll start figuring it out on their own.

2. Delegate – Delegating is not just about helping you be more productive and saving you time. Delegating is also about giving other people a chance to step in and learn and practice critical skills that they will need in order to take the next step.

We are often afraid to delegate because we think “they won’t be able to do it as well as I can.” But as Spencer Hays once said, “You don’t build company if you build people, and those people build companies”

Give someone a chance to help. Give them a chance to step up. Throw them in the deep end and see if they can swim. It’s one of the best litmus tests of all for determining who your real leaders are. Work side-by-side with them through the whole process.

Plus, very often you’ll be surprised that people often rise to the level of leadership you allow to be available to them.

3. Teach Leadership – If you want to develop leaders you have to spend time teaching them the principles of leadership!

You have to teach them the art of dealing with people. You have to teach them how to recruit, interview, hire, train, motivate and work through other people.

The best way to do this is to mentor, by having people with you and watching you and helping as you lead processes and lead people.

If you or someone you know needs leadership training and they are in sales leadership or sales management then you should request a free call to talk with one of our sales leadership coaches. If you are not in sales leadership and just need general leadership knowledge then you should consider joining this virtual training.

4. Help them build a Vision – The amount of our endurance and the intensity of our self-discipline is directly proportionate to the clarity of our vision. When we have a crystal clear picture of what we want in business and life then there is a naturally strong connection to the sacrifices we are asking ourselves to make today that forward us towards a future that we care about. Every business endeavor needs to start with a 5 or 10 year vision with year-by-year numbers and metrics, broken down by month or week in the first year.

So your job as the leader is to help make sure that you make the time to map out a detailed month by month vision of what will take them to the level of achieving their goals and becoming a future leader.

But it’s not enough to just help them create a vision; you have to also then hold them accountable to hitting the regular metrics and check points that are required to stay on track with that vision. Vision and accountability are two sides of the same coin and in order for a leader to develop other leaders you must be skilled at providing both to you team.

5. Spend time with them 1 on 1 – One of my favorite Dustin Hillis quotes is that often when it comes to things like leadership, “One on one time in the field with your people is the key to successful leadership and transference of knowledge.”

While it is important to teach the practical skills, and to get the formal education on leadership, nothing can be a substitute for spending one-on-one time with the people in your organization that you identified as potential future leaders. Mentoring them and discussing with them their daily challenges, big picture ideas, and long-term visions will always be a great way for them to learn.

Most of all, invite them into issues and struggles that you are dealing with so that they can see you in action. They will learn an extraordinary amount just from watching the way that you handle situations. Remember, “tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.”

These of course are not the only five behaviors that must be taken to develop leaders, but they are five great ones that are immediately actionable to help you get on the right track.

The journey to develop other leaders beyond yourself begins largely as a matter of intention and a decision to do so.

As you make that decision and do these five behaviors, your leadership philosophy will spread and your leadership influence will multiply.