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Elevating our leadership | “I don’t care that they stole my idea…I care that they don’t have any of their own.” – Nikola Tesla

Lunch with a friend

Get out of your office or your cubicle, step away from your desk and invest time in building relationships and partnerships with people. This thing, the entire life and our careers and businesses within it is a people game first. Everything always starts with people so look for ways to build partnerships, synergies and proactively resolve any difficulties or challenges in person.

Invite your colleagues and partners out to lunch and you will see that the value of those 60-90 minutes will quickly surpass weeks (or even months) of e-mails which have been sent back and forth.

Greatness does not tolerate laziness

If you aspire to go beyond mediocrity and dream of greatness, you will need to act accordingly and work hard each day. During this (possibly never ending) journey, you will need to prioritize and sacrifice some of the activities that are not as productive and valuable towards realization of those massive goals. There will be weeks, months, even years where you will not be up to date on the latest and hottest TV/Netflix/Hulu/Amazon shows or be up to date on the most scandalous behaviors across our pop culture or our political arena, and that is OK.

Don’t be lazy if you want to do better for yourself and your family as that disposition will lead you everywhere except towards hard work which is the answer to most of our challenges.

Sabotaging your job interview

Have you ever intentionally sabotaged your job interview? And I don’t mean you could have been a bit less lazy with your resume or a cover letter, I mean, intentionally, half way through the process decided that that opportunity wasn’t it and you have found ways to “throw” the interview and the entire search process?

Well, I did, twice and here’s why.

Making a bad hire

Hiring is tough. It takes too long; we reject great potential colleagues; advance those who are not; and during this process we don’t have the complete picture of those who are applying (nor do they of us) and for those reasons, it is inevitable to make mistakes.

We have all hired someone who wasn’t the right fit for our culture, our strategy, our goals…and so on. The question is how do we deal with that situation when it arises? Here are my thoughts.

Top 3 reasons why people settle

There are many reasons why many of us decide how to respond and react to opportunities. They range in many respects, but overall, many can be grouped under one of these three primary areas:

1. CONFIDENCE – if you lack confidence in your own abilities, it’s a no go from the start. No matter what you want to accomplish, if you are not confident that you can pull it off, no one else will believe in you either. Others won’t invest in your idea or partner with you. With this mental state it is very difficult to acquire customers, close sales, improve and grow.

2. ACTION – Confidence is important, but confidence alone won’t help you get closer to your targets if you don’t act on those ideas, goals, plans and strategies. You must act to have a chance at success.

3. PERSISTENCE – You are confident, you have started taking daily actions towards your goal and a massive failure occurs. Now what? How you respond after failures (yes multiple failures and setbacks) will determine the final outcome.

Rules of engagement

Learn the system and the rules of the game before you begin playing it. Same applies to your organizations, industries or markets. Learn what works, what doesn’t, how are decisions made and who is able to influence the outcomes and contribute to performance. Once you have done your homework, leverage what you have learned for your future actions in service of business success as well as personal career growth and advancement. Learn the game, first.

Why relationships matter

Whether you are a senior executive with decades of relevant experience in your field or a rookie who started today, you should always proactively invest in building relationships and meeting new people. Go out there, meet others, provide value, speak at events, ask questions and most importantly, listen and learn from those who may be further ahead in business, career and life.

Who you know and even more importantly, who knows YOU, will directly or indirectly impact the opportunities which will become available to you for years to come. Get out of your office and away from your desk and meet people across your organization, across your industry and across other industries and markets. Not only will you learn what you can do to help your business improve, but you will also learn what you need to do to continue improving yourself, as that is a never ending journey.

I should have said “no”

I should have said no! How many times have you felt this way? The moment (or soon thereafter) you have committed to someone on a project, task, event or a service, you have regretted it. The ability to say no to people and manage your time improves with age and experience (like many other things), and it should be something you are comfortable saying up front in an honest and sincere way.

If you think about it, it is better to say no up front than to cancel last minute, dreading the day or event worse, not showing up. Be honest with people, they will appreciate it in the long run and you will be living a more purposeful and intentional life and career.

Delusional optimism

Being optimistic, positive and confident is always a better option then the alternative. However, it is important not to ignore challenges, problems and issues you and your organization (perhaps even the entire industry) are facing today. Delaying, postponing, deferring challenging conversations and decisions will almost always come back to haunt you with even a higher price tag.

Face the music, be brave, lead others and have the challenging conversations which must be had and then, most importantly take action and keep adjusting to the market demands and currents in which you function and operate.

Discipline and why it matters

The mother of all success is discipline. Think about your major accomplishments over the last year, five or ten and you will see that they (whether personal or professional) were heavily dependent on your ability to be disciplined.

Did you complete a degree; get that new job; change your career entirely; move across the country or across the world; have you started a new business or perhaps improved your health or your finances…they all required discipline.

Without discipline, our goals will remain our dreams and nothing more.