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Why Competition is Over Rated

Competition

You don’t have to beat other people to dominate in business. 

There doesn’t have to be a loser in order for you to be a winner. 

And the business world today, seems to be rewarding those who have more of a selfless focus on serving than those who have a relentless focus on competing. 

Those getting ahead seem to have more of an intrinsic drive to improve than an extrinsic drive to defeat. 

Success in business today doesn’t really allow time to be concerned about how you rank compared to other people. 

Because in order to survive and compete in this fast moving generation, you need every extra ounce of that energy focused on how to improve your customer experience. 

You have to have more of your creative capacities going into innovating and less going into comparing. 

It’s not about finding ways to defeat your competition; it’s about finding ways to serve your customers. 

The speed of communication, the speed of technology and a growing overall climate of customers becoming accustomed to having their needs and preferences hyper-tailored to, means that we need every resource possible focused on keeping up with and surpassing their expectations. 

If we do that we’re more likely to win. If we don’t we might be in trouble. 

Many of the industries that have experienced disruption have resulted from the traditionally stable providers benchmarking against their competitors more so than thinking about how to better solve the customers problem. 

That line of thinking encourages the status quo inside an industry and opens the door for those outside the industry to come in and find a better way. 

It’s as if innovation is sometimes forced to come in from outside an industry when the age old players inside the industry are squabbling for market share instead of obsessing over customer needs. 

AirBNB, Uber, digital cameras and Netflix were all created from players outside an industry. 

When it could’ve been hotels, taxi companies, Kodak and Blockbuster that figured out a smarter way to serve customer interests. 

The point is that when we focus on beating other people, we might risk missing out on something more valuable. 

When we focus on serving other people we activate our senses. We come alive. We invent. We innovate. And we combine time tested principles with modern tools to find a smarter and better way to solve customers problems. 

The same is true of personal success. 

Our success is irrespective of what is being accomplished or not accomplished by those around us. 

Our success is measured by how we perform compared to ourselves. How we perform compared to our potential. And most importantly how we perform compared to our capacity to best serve those around us. 

We are only trying to beat who we were yesterday. 

We are only trying to crush the way we’ve always done it. 

We are only trying to compete with the best possible ways to get ourselves and our clients to the next level.

The Essence of a Leader

leader

Everyone wants to be a leader…until that moment where they have to truly step up and lead. 

Because we often associate leadership with impressive titles, more pay, and additional job perks. 

Yet leadership isn’t made in corner offices or fancy boardrooms. Real leadership happens on the front lines. 

And what most leaders don’t understand about leading is that it isn’t telling people what to do; it’s showing them what to do. 

Which means that essentially a big part of leadership is simply this: “I’ll go first.”

Whatever I’m asking you to do I will do. 

Whatever needs to be done won’t be done by you; it will be done by us. 

And whatever sacrifices need to be made will be made by me first. 

I’ll be the first to risk. 

I’ll be the first to invest. 

I’ll be the first to do the work. 

I’ll be the first to create the model. 

I’ll be the first to invent the path where there is none. 

I’ll be the first to take the heat. 

I’ll be the first to make the difficult decisions. 

I’ll be the first to take the blame. 

I’ll be the first to learn. 

I’ll be the first to change. 

I’ll be the first to cut. 

I’ll be the first to meet that standard. 

I’ll be the first to break that belief barrier. 

“I’ll go first.”

That kind of leadership isn’t assigned; it’s assumed. 

That kind of leadership isn’t demanding; it’s inspiring. 

That kind of leadership isn’t bestowed; it’s activated. 

That is the part of leadership that can’t be taught in classrooms; it can only be revealed in battle. 

But if you’re willing to be that kind of person…

If you’re willing to step up…

If you’re willing to go where no one has gone before…

Then you don’t need a title. 

You don’t need an office. 

And you don’t need perks. 

You are already on your way to developing the essence of a great leader. 

4 Ways to Know You Might be the One Who’s Crazy

crazy

At least half of what we worry about is a complete figment of our own imagination. 

It’s an astounding capacity of the human brain to be able to take one iota of negativity, one hint of upsetting feedback, or one small challenging circumstance and exponentially multiply it through mental mushroom in the wrong direction. 

I’ve found that this can especially be true when it comes to interfacing in communication with other people who are a different behavioral pattern from us. 

People who we don’t naturally connect or communicate well with can sometimes be the sources of our greatest stress. Because their communication to us and ours back to them for some reason just regularly gets misinterpreted. It’s literally “miscommunicated.”

Like two people speaking two different languages, it doesn’t matter how many times we say the same thing over again or no matter how loud we say it, we just can’t seem to get through to them. And similarly we can’t seem to understand they’re explanation or defense to us. 

In the absence of understanding their words, the challenge then becomes that we are left to our own devices of doing our best to interpret what they were actually trying to say. 

And that’s a slippery road. 

Because once we have conflict and misunderstanding with another person  based on our inability to communicate with them, we inevitably start to question their intentions. 

“Why are they saying that?”

“Why would they do that?”

“Don’t they know that _______?”

On and on it goes…

So how do we resolve these issues? 

I’m not sure I have a good quick answer for that. 

But I have learned what will make it worse and what not to do. 

What you don’t want to do is mental mushroom. 

You don’t want to start trying to read into their words more than they are saying. 

One thing you can be sure of is that if you can’t understand what they’re saying to you when they speak to you, you certainly won’t be accurate at formulating their intentions in their absence. 

Here’s a few signs that you’re allowing things in your head to spin out of control making it worse than it really is:

1. If you add words to what they actually said when you recount the conversation. And if someone challenges you on that, you respond with “well c’mon that’s what they really meant.” Chances are, no they did not. Chances are that the words they actually used to say what they said is closer to their legitimate intention the is your interpretation of what they said. 

2. If you start spending time thinking about their motives. Once you rabbit trail down asking “why would they say/do that?” You’ve pretty much gone overboard. Not only will you not find accurate answers; you’ll also drive yourself crazy as there is no end to the amount of time you can spend thinking about this and the number of stories you can invent.  None of which will bring you any resolution. 

3. When you start forecasting negative extremes way out into the future. If your spouse says one thing that rubs you the wrong way and your mind immediately launches into asking “does that mean we need to get a divorce?” then you can be pretty confident your creativity is now running the show and not your logic. Your creativity likes to work way out in the future and with fantasy more than it does with the reality of here and now. Creativity working in the positive direction is vision but creativity working in the negative direction is fear. 

4. When you have grand visions of conspiracy. The moment your brain starts correlating one person’s behavior with another, or one circumstance with another, that is a strong indication that your mind is creating more of a movie to keep you entertained than it is informing you with data you need to come to a resolution. 

Interpersonal communication is essential for anyone to be a great salesperson, entrepreneur, leader, friend, or spouse. And of course in times of conflict and disagreement you will always be certain that it’s the fault and intentions of the other person that is the problem. 

But chances are it might sometimes be you who is driving yourself a little crazy. 

The First 10 Books You Should Read as a New Leader

books

Not counting the 2 books that I’ve written, and the Bible, which I would genuinely recommend as a fabulous resource, here are the first 10 books I think all leaders should have to read, the order I’d suggest reading them in, and why…

1.Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

This book strikes directly at the core of what leadership is: caring for and looking after others. I wish all leaders would shape their paradigm around what leadership is by reading this book because if every leader understood this, it would change the world.

2. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell

A true classic that outlines the fundamentals of all leadership. If you understand them early on in your leadership career you’ll be in great shape.

3. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Leadership is always and only about your skill with people – and I don’t know how anyone could survive in that role without having read the world’s seminal work on dealing with people.

4. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Similar to the previous, this book is fundamental to being able to understand, communicate with, and influence people. Technically, this is a book about romantic relationships, but don’t underestimate it’s power as a leadership necessity.

5. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Now that you have some strong foundation of what leadership is and some of the basic skill sets you need to develop in order to work through people to create results, you need to know the 1 thing that makes every team fall apart and this quick and easy gem of a masterpiece will make sure you never forget it.

6. Start with Why by Simon Sinek

It was hard for me to put this one so late in the list since I think it is so crucial, but all of these are crucial and so it’s the order that I’m really laying out here. This book unlocks the hidden secret of the world’s greatest leaders and just about the time you start to feel overwhelmed with all there is to do as a leader this will help remind you of the simplest and most powerful job of the leader: vision.

7. Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

This book is the perfect follow up to Start With Why as it connects the dots of making the leader’s vision become a reality by building “mechanisms” inside the business that make the core principles come alive. Good to Great is, of course, what Jim Collins is better known for, and that is a great book too but not one that I would count as core to the initial 10 books a leader should read.

8. Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels

The leader of one of the largest churches in the world, Willow Creek, Bill Hybels shares rich personal stories and compelling truths about the importance of being a great leader. This is one of those rare times to sit at the feet and learn from someone who has actually done it as a leader – not just someone who writes about it.

9. EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey

The power of this book is that it’s practical. Unlike many of the others in this list, it’s less about philosophy, and more of a how-to manual to actually implement sound leadership practices on a daily basis. Plus, similar to the previous one, you’re learning directly from someone who has built a huge organization that truly changes the world so you have to take advantage.

10. Leadership Gold by John Maxwell

This is the perfect way to round out your first 10 leadership books because it highlights and punctuates all of them in an inspiring and uplifting way. Written by Maxwell later in his career, this boils down an entire lifetime of leadership lessons into one simple text.

I don’t personally see how anyone could reach their true leadership potential without reading these 10. If nothing else, it’s a tremendously powerful start on your way to becoming a great leader!

The First 10 Books You Should Read as a New Leader

leader

So you’re a leader, now what?

What do you do? 

What actions do you take?

How do you know what to do as a leader? Where do you learn leadership?

Most companies don’t have a lot of resources dedicated to formally training their leaders because they are either spread too thin, or frankly just don’t know how to actually teach leadership. 

So, you can find a mentor, take classes on it, get into coaching and of course learn from your own experience.

But still one of the best ways to learn what to do as a leader is to simply read books!

Books have some of the most concentrated wisdom available in all the world and you can glean from a person’s years of experience and/or research for free at the public library. 

So what books should you read if you’re a leader? 

Not counting the 2 books that I’ve written and the Bible, which I would genuinely recommend as fabulous resources, here are the first 10 books I think all leaders should have to read, the order I’d suggest reading them in, and why:

1. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek – This book strikes directly at the core of what leadership is: caring for and looking after others. I wish all leaders would shape their paradigm around what leadership is by reading this book because if every leader understood this, it would change the world.

2. 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell – A true classic that outlines the fundamentals of all leadership. If you understand them early on in your leadership career you’ll be in great shape. 

3. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale CarnegieLeadership is always and only about your skill with people – and I don’t know how anyone could survive in that role without having read the world’s seminal work on dealing with people.

4. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman Similar to the previous, this book is fundamental to being able to understand, communicate with, and influence people. Technically, this is a book about romantic relationships, but don’t underestimate it’s power as a leadership necessity.

5. 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni – Now that you have some strong foundation of what leadership is and some of the basic skill sets you need to develop in order to work through people to create results, you need to know the 1 thing that makes every team fall apart and this quick and easy gem of a masterpiece will make sure you never forget it.

6. Start With Why by Simon Sinek It was hard for me to put this one so late in the list since I think it is so crucial, but all of these are crucial and so it’s the order that I’m really laying out here. This book unlocks the hidden secret of the world’s greatest leaders and just about the time you start to feel overwhelmed with all there is to do as a leader this will help remind you of the simplest and most powerful job one of the leader: vision.

7. Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry PorrasThis book is the perfect follow up to Start With Why as it connects the dots of making the leader’s vision become a reality by building “mechanisms” inside the business that make the core principles come alive. Good to Great is of course what Jim Collins is better known for, and that is a great book too but not one that I would count as core to the initial 10 books a leader should read.

8. Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels The leader of one of the largest churches in the world, Willow Creek, Bill Hybels shares rich personal stories and compelling truths about the importance of being a great leader. This is one of those rare times to sit at the feet and learn from someone who has actually done it as a leader – not just someone who writes about it. 

9. EntreLeadership by Dave RamseyThe power of this book is that it’s practical. Unlike many of the others in this list, it’s less about philosophy, and more of a how-to manual to actually implement sound leadership practices on a daily basis. Plus, similar to the previous one, you’re learning directly from someone who has built a huge organization that truly changes the world so you have to take advantage.

10. Leadership Gold by John Maxwell This is the perfect way to round out your first 10 leadership books because it highlights and punctuates all of them in an inspiring and uplifting way. Written by Maxwell later in his career, this boils down an entire lifetime of leadership lessons into one simple text.

 I don’t personally see how anyone could reach their true leadership potential without reading these 10. If nothing else, it’s a tremendously powerful start on your way to becoming a great leader!

What other ones would you add to this list?

How to Separate Yourself as a Leader

separate

It’s easy to be a critic.

Anyone can tear down other people.

Anyone can point out what is wrong with the world.

Anyone can highlight the negative.

You know what’s hard?

Being amazing.

Doing something amazing.

Changing something to be amazing.

That’s why we don’t respect people who tear down, cut down and put down other people and their ideas.

A few weeks ago I got to hear Craig Groeschel speak and he said something powerful, “Real leadership is about being about what you’re for; not about what you’re against.”

Leadership is talking about what is positive and what is possible.

Leadership is about promoting what is good.

Leadership is about finding solutions and finding a way.

We respect that because that takes work, and courage, and creativity to be for something.

The whole world is out there telling people what they shouldn’t do.

If you want to separate yourself as a leader, then focus on inspiring people about what they should do.

Show them another way, a better way, a higher way.

Be about what you’re for, not about what you’re against.