Archive for the ‘Self-Growth’ Category

Become Who You Can Be Without Losing Who You ARE

Friday, October 15th, 2010

One of my favorite movie lines of all time is from The Greatest Game Ever Played, a golf drama based on the true story of the 1913 US Open. Twenty-year-old Francis Ouimet was challenging his idol, Englishman Harry Vardon, who had won the Open in 1900. When Harry’s wealthy sponsor said Francis could not possibly win because he was not from the upper class and therefore would fold under the pressure, Harry responded, “If Mr. Ouimet wins tomorrow, it’s because he’s the best, because of who he is. Not who his father was, not how much money he’s got—because of WHO HE IS!”

And so it is with business.

It has little to do with the economy, the market, the competition. It has much more to do with self-improvement—with who you have become as a leader and who your team has developed to be.

The great competition isn’t “out there.” The great competition is always between the ears—in the mind and the character of a leader.

Weak leaders don’t understand that, of course, because they are at the mercy of the external.

People forget that this is how it is with everything—we get our results because of who we are. A millionaire can lose all his money and recoup it in weeks because of who he had to become to grow and keep a million in the first place.

Make a list of five commitments for a breakthrough this year. Be specific. Then become the person who could accomplish those five with ease, and they are as good as complete.

Making a Masterful Difference in the World – Video

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Roxanne Emmerich receives NSA Philanthropist of the Year award

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Roxanne Emmerich was recently honored by the National Speakers Association (NSA) Foundation with the Philanthropist of the Year Award at the 2010 NSA Convention in Orlando, Fla.

The Nido R. Qubein Philanthropist of the Year Award is the highest honor the NSA Foundation bestows on members of the National Speakers Association. This award honors continued commitment to the NSA Foundation as well as ongoing efforts to share the principles of philanthropy with NSA members around the world.

Roxanne Emmerich-Philanthropist of the Year AwardAccording to Stephen Tweed, CSP, and NSA Foundation Chair, Roxanne is “a successful business woman who epitomizes the concept of giving without the expectation of receiving anything in return. She has given generously of her time, her talent, and her treasures through scholarships at her university, the YMCA, the United Way, programs for women in the state of Wisconsin, as well as support of the National Speakers Association and the NSA Foundation.”

Roxanne is committed to not only spin around the results of companies but to also turn around the lives of people and do everything she can to help disadvantaged college students secure scholarships so they have opportunities and options that would not otherwise be available to them.

As she accepted her award, Roxanne challenged everyone to give unconditional love and make the masterful difference you were called in your heart to make. What are you going to do today to make a masterful difference in the world?

The Limits of Compassion (and yes, there are some)

Thursday, July 15th, 2010
© Beatrice Killam | Dreamstime.com

© Beatrice Killam | Dreamstime.com

I am human.  And I’m willing to bet that four out of five readers of this column are human, too.

As humans, we come equipped with massive contradictions and imperfections.  Our emotions battle with our intellect.  Our community spirit wrestles with our selfishness.  We think thoughts both lofty and low and emit smells both lovely and, uh…not.

But when we come together in the workplace, we’re making a deal with each other to bring our higher, stronger, better selves to the game.  It’s not that our weaknesses cease to exist, but they do cease to ride shotgun on our day.

There are days when I’m running on two cylinders or less—not enough sleep, not enough breakfast, too many pressures, bad news, whatever.  You have to figure at least one out of every four people around you feels about the same on any given day.

Now suppose we all had permission to give full expression to those feelings—you’d have 25 percent of the people in any given workplace whining, sighing, crying, or screaming their way through the day. The drain on productivity would be impossible.  Forget about achieving anything great or being of profound service, even on your own good days.

A little expression of fatigue or frustration once in a while is fine, and we can all be there for each other at those times.  But then there are the people who seem to have woven dramatic emotional displays into their job description, day after day after day.

Not okay.

Approach this carefully by all means, but for the sake of everyone’s sanity, DO approach it.  Start by expressing genuine concern.  Is there something going on in this person’s life that they’d like to talk about?  Is there anything you can do to help?

If he or she waves off your attempts to help and continues to be a vortex of negative energy, ramp it up a bit.  Ask Human Resources or your immediate manager if anything can be done to assist the person—and drop a mention of how long it has gone on and how difficult it is to work well in the presence of such displays.

If you have offered personal concern AND attempted to get help at a higher level and no improvement is made, it’s time to call in that mutual contract, that unspoken but rock-solid agreement to bring our higher, stronger selves to work.  Let the person know gently but firmly that something’s gotta give, that she MUST take advantage of offers of help, that the situation is impacting the work and attitudes of those around her.

If no improvement is forthcoming, it is incumbent on you to return to management with a stronger insistence that something be done.

When the squeaky wheel deserves the grease—and when to just change the tire

Friday, July 2nd, 2010
© Peter Burnett | Dreamstime.com

© Peter Burnett | Dreamstime.com

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”  Whenever my mother said that to me, it meant “Stand up for yourself!  Speak up!  Don’t let the world run you over!”

And as usual, she was right.

But there’s another kind of squeak that really shouldn’t get a bit of attention.  It still does, but it really shouldn’t.  It’s the squeak-squeak-squeak of excuses and complaints.

When someone tells you why they didn’t meet their goals, why they missed the meeting, why their productivity is down for the third decade running, THAT’S a squeak worth ignoring.  But too often we rush in with the grease, assuring the squeaker that it’s okay, that everybody has those decades, blah bah blah.  In the process, we enable the next squeak, and the next.  Worse than that, we’ve pretty much GUARANTEED it.  Hey, why stop squeaking if it brings all that yummy attention?

Yes, it’s true—everybody whines once in a while.  It’s part of being human.  But when someone is a serial whiner and a compulsive excuse-maker, it’s usually an indication that the person has not aligned his or her personal plan with the company’s interests and is busily boohooing about how uncomfortable that is.

If someone is a professional and doesn’t have a quarterly plan they’ve developed with specific numbered goals and deadlines for initiatives, all tied into the organization’s objectives, it’s time to get out the jack and change that tire.  Hard to hear but true. Companies don’t have time to babysit and spoon-feed during difficult times.

There’s another kind of squeak, though—one that deserves all the attention you can give it.  It doesn’t come after the fact (“I didn’t meet the deadline because…”) but BEFORE things go wrong.

Let’s call it “positive squeaking.”

Positive squeaking happens when a team member has her eye on the ball so well that she notices a project going off the rails BEFORE it’s too late—and squeaks her team, herself, even her boss back onto the rails in the interest of the objective.

Positive squeaking calls it tight, insists on deadlines, rejects excuses.  Positive squeaking doesn’t say, “It’s not my fault—I sent an email last week and never heard back.”  It picks up the phone.  It walks down the hall and knocks on office doors until it gets answers.  Heck, it camps out on doorsteps.  It won’t take silence for an answer.

Annoying?  Sure it is.  All squeaks are.  That’s why they get the grease. But a squeak that’s insisting on the objective and refusing to take excuses—well, that’s a squeak well worth greasing.

Follow through to get the bang for your training buck

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
© Jgroup | Dreamstime.com

© Jgroup | Dreamstime.com

One semester in middle school, we had the option of taking a bowling class for gym. And I remember clearly, as my ball headed into the gutter time after time—the instructor kept harping on one thing: “Be sure to follow through.”

Follow through? Why? It never made a lick of sense to me. Once the ball is out of my hands, what difference does it make what my arm does?

Finally I got sick of scoring in the low peanuts every game and thought I’d try it. I let the ball go and allowed my arm to continue in a perfect arc.

I can still hear the sound of that strike.

According to the American Society for Training & Development’s Benchmarking Forum, the average annual expenditure per employee on training was $1424 in 2005 (the last year of complete data). But the most successful and productive companies invest $1616 per employee.

Coincidence? You wish. Training provides the best ROI of any investment you can make in your business, period. But there’s something else those high-performing companies do—they follow through after the training is complete. The best way to get results from your training dollars is to expect and measure immediate application of what is learned. Measurement and celebration of the results from the training program need to start within 24 hours of a session or the application of the learned material drops like a stone.

When you work with a training consultant, make sure they don’t pull up stakes and head for the hills five minutes after the last session is over. Good training ALWAYS includes a specific, detailed follow-up plan—or it’s not training. It’s flushing.