Posts Tagged ‘Learning’

Good morning and Happy Friday! It’s going to be another beautiful Fall day here in West Virginia, and I will get to enjoy the colors of the changing leaves as I drive to Huntington to help some people work through a communication conflict. I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with these folks a few weeks ago, on a “fact finding” missing of sorts, and I’m confident we will work through the issues and develop some new guidelines for working together moving forward.

It’s really been a great week, filled with opportunities to share the gifts I’ve been given and add value to others in many ways. I spent a few hours with a small group of emerging leaders in the banking industry on Wednesday, teaching a couple of Laws of Growth (awareness and intentionality — my favorites, and truly the foundation for success in my humble opinion!) and a couple of Laws of Leadership (influence and connection). I learned vicariously from a couple of my coaching clients this week, as they discovered some personal truths. I watched John Maxwell’s book launch web cast. And I will soon be teaching Leadership Fundamentals to a couple of new supervisors.  I love what I do…

As I look ahead to the weekend, I have some bookkeeping to catch up on, some writing to do, and yoga, yoga, yoga! I will help my mother-in-law prepare to move into her new home. And I have a great new book to read, John C. Maxwell’s latest — Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn — about learning through adverse times.

What are you up to this weekend?

What do you need to do to take care of yourself?

What attention do the others in your life need from you?

What exciting things do you have coming up next week or in the coming weeks that you need to spend some time preparing for?

How will you feel when you get to and through some significant upcoming event, knowing you thoughtfully and intentionally prepared for it?

Looking forward to “seeing” you Monday.

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Another week gone by…the air is crisp in the mornings, soft in the evenings, and the leaves are turning amazingly beautiful colors. I love this time of year! I hope wherever you are on this Friday morning, you are surrounded by beauty as well.

It’s been a full week for me, with several coaching and mentoring sessions, working on developing some meeting/workshop agendas and materials, and planning for some lessons I will teach next week around self-awareness, intentionality, influence, connection, communication, personal styles, conflict resolution, and relationship building.

I will spend time over the weekend continuing to prepare for those upcoming lessons/workshops, as well as having fun with my family attending a local annual festival. In addition, I need to read John Maxwell’s newest book: Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn. John will officially launch this new book next Thursday, October 10, via two live webcasts (one at 4 PM EDT and one at 9 PM EDT), accompanied by special guests, Dave Ramsey and Nick Vujicic. You are welcome to attend; you don’t want to miss it! Here’s the link (webcast.johnmaxwell.com).

I will be following up on the webcast by offering a Mastermind Group (facilitated in-depth study) on the book, so if you’re interested in joining us, connect with me via comment, email, phone, or Facebook.

Further, my weekend will include some time and focus invested in the three areas of discipline I’ve committed to work on through the Maxwell Plan for Growth: exercise – yoga at least three times per week; writing – a minimum of 15 minutes a day, in addition to this blog; and getting more intentional about budgeting.

What are you doing with your weekend?

Whom do you need to connect with, nurture, spend time with?

What do you need to do to nurture yourself?

What can you do to prepare yourself for a great start to next week?

What can you do to set yourself up for success in the coming weeks and months?

Enjoy your weekend; I hope however you choose to spend it, you’re intentional about it.

“See” you Monday!

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Have you given much thought the need to adjust your strategy to adapt to changing dynamics in your business environment? I have been, prompted by a recent call with one of my mentors who brought up Kodak.

You remember Kodak, don’t you? For a while, it was Eastman Kodak, then just Kodak, and anyone with a camera — the ones that require actual film — will remember Kodak. Back then, we had to go to the store to buy rolls of film; then, when we’d taken our pictures, we took them back to the store or a film shop and dropped off the role of film to be developed…which often took a week to 10 days! Eventually, someone invented the 1-hour photo developing system, and that revolutionized photography (for us amateurs, anyway), for a while. Then along came digital photography. No longer did you need to buy film or have it developed; now the market was all about memory cards for your camera, and the pixel capability of your camera.

Clearly, this new business model didn’t fit with Kodak’s old model — sell film, photo paper, and developing services. So, how did Kodak respond?

At one point, albeit way too late in the transformation of its industry, the former giant attempted to reposition itself as the Memories company, with print-at-home photo paper and systems…but it was too late. Kodak had missed the boat and ended up filing for Chapter 11 Reorganization.

Are you even aware of what Kodak is up to — if anything — these days? I have to admit, I wasn’t sure if the company was even in business any longer. Turns out, a simple search indicates it is. Today, “Kodak has transformed itself into a technology company focused on imaging for business.”

According to its web site,

“Kodak sharpened its focus to commercial markets as part of a 20-month Chapter 11 reorganization in which it successfully removed large legacy costs, streamlined a complex infrastructure, and exited or spun-off businesses – including its remaining consumer imaging and document imaging businesses – that were no longer core to its future. People around the world will continue to see the Kodak brand through its commercial businesses and licenses with select business partners.

As a result of its reorganization, Kodak today is leaner, financially stronger and ready to grow – poised to take advantage of the digital transition underway in packaging markets; the growing demand for graphic communications products and services in emerging markets; and dynamic growth in the market for printed electronics, sensors, fuel cells and other printed products with functions beyond visual communications.”

This is a prime example of the need to adapt one’s strategy as the dynamics of business and industry shift, and they are constantly shifting. The point: One must adapt to survive, and this is as true for you — as leaders — as it is for your organizations.

Today, spend some time reflecting on the changes you’ve experienced in your industry in the past few years. What were some of the most dramatic? And what adaptations were required for your organization to remain relevant?

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We all know someone who is currently having a hard time with some aspect of their life. Spend some time today thinking about someone specific who is in this situation…discouraged due to difficulties they face.

Ask them how they are doing. Spend some time and energy in encouraging them in their areas of strength, giftedness, and passion.

If you have the opportunity, encourage them by sharing one of your stories about a tough time you went through and the lessons you learned as a result.

I know, it makes us feel better to share stories of our successes, but the truth is, we learn more from others when they share stories about the times they have stumbled and how they worked through whatever it was. Those are the times we discover what we are truly made of, what we are capable of, and learn the lessons that will help us move forward.

Afterwards, spend some time with your journal and write down some thoughts from your conversation. Write down how it felt before, during, and after.

Write about the impact you were able to have on the other person.

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Today, we’re going to spend a little more time on the topic we jumped into yesterday. Get out your journal, and list three benefits or lessons you learned from the two experiences you thought about yesterday.

First, what was the failure in your personal life?

Benefits or Lessons Learned:




What was the failure in your professional life?

Benefits or Lessons Learned:




Now that you are clear on the lessons in each of those situations, what can you (or maybe you already are) do differently going forward to face similar situations differently, and to realize a better outcome?

How does your attitude play into what will happen in the future?

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This last week of month 9, we are going to focus on the power of your attitude. As Thomas Jefferson once observed,

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.

Are you familiar with the story of Christopher Gardner? If you’ve seen the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, you will recognize it. Gardner lost it all — his wife, his home, and family savings in a bad business investment. He was living on the streets with his son when he entered a competitive stock broker internship program, which, by the way, offered no pay for six months. Determined to prove himself and provide his son a good quality of life, we went on to become  a top performer for Bear Stearns, and eventually opened his own firm with offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. He also has become a motivational speaker and philanthropist who has received numerous humanitarian awards.

Imagine what would have happened to him and his son if he had given up when he found himself on the street. We read the stories every day, and there are numerous possible outcomes to this kind of story, and few of them are good. Had he adopted a negative attitude, not only would his and his son’s lives be very different, but so would the lives of the many people he’s helped since he dusted himself off and got to work.*

I know we don’t like to spend a lot of time in consideration of the times when we’ve failed, but they are gems in terms of lessons learned. Spend some time today considering a failure you’ve experienced in your personal life and in your professional life. Describe them.

What attitude did you take in response to these failures?

What happened as a result?

Looking back on it now, how would you say your attitude served you?


*From Intentional Leadership by Giant Impact. 

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Let’s focus on others for a bit. Take some time today to notice others who demonstrate a positive attitude and acknowledge it. At the end of the day, send a personal note (hand-written would be much more powerful, but email would suffice, if you must!) to the one person whose attitude stood out the most.

At the end of the day, answer these questions:

How did it make you feel when you went the extra mile to recognize people with a positive attitude?

How do you think it made them feel, especially the person who received your note?

Do you think they will be more likely to display the same kind of attitude more often around you and others? Why?

When you are int he midst of difficult circumstances, do you think making small positive choices such as recognizing others’ attitudes will make a difference in your own life?

I’m certainly not perfect in this area; like most people, there are times when life gets to me, and it’s reflected in my attitude and demeanor. I try to catch myself and make an adjustment quickly, as I know it’s my choice. I try to be mindful throughout the day that my attitude has the potential of making or crashing someone else’s day, and I’d much prefer to be well thought of when I’ve taken my leave…which means to me I need to focus on and demonstrate a positive attitude. I have to say, that on those occasions I grudgingly have pushed myself to adjust and do or say something nice, I’ve immediately felt better for the effort.

Let me know how it works for you.

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