Archive for the ‘Training and Development’ Category

The Company You Keep

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

© Andres Rodriguez |

Parents are full of advice for their kids. Some of it doesn’t hold up (my face did NOT stay that way, Dad), and some is golden.

A lot of the best advice we give our kids translates just as well into adult life. But too often we fail to apply it to ourselves, as if there’s something magic about the age eighteen that turns golden advice to straw. And that’s too bad.

One of the things I remember Mom drumming into my head is the importance of choosing my friends wisely. Nothing has a greater influence on the person you’ll become, she said. I’m sure I rolled my eyes at the time. But over the years, I’ve come to realize that it’s the single best piece of wisdom she ever gave me.

We’ve all had the experience of reflecting the people around us. If you are surrounded by grousers and whiners, you naturally feel yourself falling into a pattern of grousing and whining, partly because the grousing whiners will reward you for being like them. So how could you not?

On the other hand, when you surround yourself with people who are positive and optimistic and happy to be alive, you can’t help feeling the same.

I have several dear friends now who have that effect on me. When I’m around them, their smiles, their infectious laughs, and their ability to find the joy in life naturally puts me in the same frame of mind. I leave a restaurant or a party with these people and find myself smiling more, opening doors for others, letting people merge on the freeway. The effect is immediate and undeniable.

And it goes well beyond mood. If we want to achieve lasting changes in the way we approach our work and our lives, the very best thing we can do is surround ourselves with people who share those values. Want to be more punctual? Hang out with people who are punctual. Want to see the work you do in terms of service to others instead of a means to support yourself? You know what to do.

Most important of all, you want to choose friends and associates who share the deeper, more fundamental attitudes toward life. Choose to be around people who are enlightened learners, who choose wisdom, who take the high road, who have a heart of kindness, who decide to persevere. Surround yourself with people of strong character because they will hold you to a high standard. Just as the grousing whiners reinforce attitudes and behaviors that are like theirs, so will the decent and wise.

So sure, read all the books you can to improve who you are and how you approach life. But know that the greatest influence of all happens not between the covers of a book, but between people.

Chat with the Experts: Jack Canfield

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

Mark your calendar!  Next week on Wednesday, September 8, at 12:00 PM CT, we will be interviewing Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach and co-creator of the bestselling series Chicken Soup for the Soul®. During the interview we will be discussing his book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. The Success Principles, co-authored with Janet Switzer, will teach you how to increase your confidence, tackle daily challenges, live with passion and purpose, and realize all your ambitions. Not merely a collection of good ideas, this book spells out the 64 timeless principles used by successful men and women throughout history. And the fundamentals are the same no matter what your profession or circumstances—even if you’re a student, stay-at-home mom or currently unemployed.

This is usually a private teleseminar for The Emmerich Group member clients — we offer these sessions and allow them to invite their prospects and their clients to help them develop business.

Based on the enormous response to our last teleseminars, I knew you would really value another chance to hear from a best-selling author.  So, I’m inviting a handful of non-member organizations again.

This is a great opportunity to bring your whole team together for a Lunch ‘n’ Learn or team learning opportunity.

Join us for the call on September 8, 2010 at 12:00 noon CT for one hour to discover:

  • How to get from where you are to where you want to be.
  • The biggest difference between people who are successful and those who aren’t.
  • How to change the outcome of any event, simply by changing your response to it.
  • Why you should drop out of the “Ain’t It Awful” Club and instead surround yourself with success, positive and nurturing people.
  • How to complete past projects, heal past relationships and process old hurts, so you can embrace the future.
  • How to ask for and get everything you want…from people who can give it to you.
  • How to deal with fear and uncertainty.

A teleseminar like this usually costs $500-1000 dollars or far more, depending on the size of your company. We are inviting you and your team for FREE as a special gift to prepare you for a better 2010—regardless of the economy.

Registration is easy! To sign up, go to

Space is filling up quickly so be sure to sign up right away!

Clear your schedule and register TODAY!

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

Friday, July 2nd, 2010
© Peter Burnett |

© Peter Burnett |

“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.

The Leadership Delusion

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Blog102Once in a blue moon—no, make that once in a chartreuse moon with auburn highlights—there comes a book about leadership that is useful as more than bookshelf filler.  Leadership and Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute is one such book, and I recommend you snap it up.

This book goes right to the core of what causes the most chaos and lack of results in organizations and families: self-deception. Published in 2002, Leadership and Self-Deception holds up a mirror to those ugly attitudes we hold against others that are underneath the very behaviors we ourselves display. Put simply, what you do doesn’t matter as much as why you do it.

People will not follow you if your motives are selfish. The problem is, we often don’t know that our motivation is flawed. We deceive ourselves into thinking that we’re doing the right thing for the right reason when we’re really mired in selfishness.  It becomes such an ingrained habit that it’s hard to break free.

Unfortunately, we are never completely cured of the disease of self-deception. Every human being lives in self-deception a fair amount of time.  We put our needs ahead of the needs of others and treat people as objects—chess pieces on the chess board. Is it any wonder that employee disengagement scores are over 60 percent?

Perhaps the reason the television show The Office is so popular is that Michael, the boss from hell, is the poster child for self-deception. No matter how many communications courses you give to a person who is self-deceived, it always comes out sideways.

Once we get ourselves out of self-service and into the profound service of others, amazing things happen.  People will follow such a leader, gladly and with all pistons firing.

I ask our CEOs to reread this book every year, as I do, to hopefully wince less and become less self-deceived and better able to inspire lasting and positive change.

The Shackleton mindset—a refusal to fail

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
© Velora |

© Velora |

For sheer jaw-dropping drama, it’s hard to beat the story of the three-masted sailing ship Endurance, which left England in August 1914 under the command of Ernest Shackleton with twenty-eight men determined to cross Antarctica by sled.

The Endurance ended up trapped and crushed to splinters by ice floes.  The men lived on the Antarctic ice for another two years.

Total survivors out of the original twenty-eight men?  Twenty-eight.

What if you approached every challenge in your life and in your work as if you simply HAD to overcome it?  I’ll tell you what—you would do it.  You would find a way, and you would get it done.

Whenever I hear the expression, “Failure is not an option,” I think of Ernest Shackleton and the men of Endurance.  I picture them confronting these utterly impossible situations and saying, “Well, lads, let’s see what our options are.”

I then picture them reaching into a pocket and pulling out a scrap of paper.  Under the title OPTIONS are two words:  SUCCESS and FAILURE.

Like heck.  Why would failure EVER be an option?  So why not take it off the list entirely?

We’ve all heard the hundred or so reasons such and such a thing simply cannot be done, the many, many reasons failure is the only option.

Tell Shackleton about the insurmountable obstacles you face.  Just let me watch.

Better STILL—why not just take FAILURE off that list of options?

I have a friend who I dearly love but who always used to explain why something couldn’t be done. Excuses came easy to her.  Then one day her boss gave her a priceless saying to remember:  Don’t tell me about the labor pains—show me the baby.

Before a project begins, I don’t want to hear all the reasons it can’t be done.  After the project is done, I don’t care how many hours you worked.  I don’t care how many obstacles you hit.  Save it for your memoirs.  Just show me the baby.

Decide now that whatever project or challenge you currently have before you simply cannot be allowed to fail—that you must use the fortitude of the Endurance crew to make it happen.  It’s a completely different way of thinking.

But be careful—this powerful way of thinking is addicting.  Once you get a taste of achieving the impossible, it’s hard to quit!