Sunday, January 20, 2008

Just Another Maxim Monday

Lots of pithy sayings and quotable quotes to pass along today...

Don't give up the thing you want the most for the thing you want right now.

There's a big difference between "success" and "significance." Ask yourself--do you rather be successful or significant?

You can't be a success at what you do if you're a failure at who you are.

There's never a time limit for any problem worth solving.

Motivation is the art of getting people to do things they already SHOULD do. Inspiration is the art of getting people to do things they didn't know they COULD do.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Swinging The Big Axe

My wife works as a creative arts producer for our church and her boss (our worship leader) just announced that he'll be leaving later this year to start up another church. He's a very talented guy who has tremendous vision but has trouble with follow-through. Which is why my wife is the perfect assistant for him--Sally is the most organized person on the planet.

We were talking Sunday about his move up on the leadership ladder and he recalled the first time he had ever been evaluated for a prominent position. The senior pastor at his old church pointed out to him that he needed to work on handling details better, to which our worship leader said, "I guess I like to swing a big axe."
Here's my reponse to him and something any "visionary" leader should keep in mind:
If you're going to be walking through the woods swinging the big axe, you had better know who's going to be stacking the wood behind you.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Resolve To Serve

Wondering what you as the leader of your organization can do better this year? Why not resolve to serve your customers with the respect and attention they deserve?

A majority of companies lack a commitment to customers and a continuing poor understanding of the value of customers. A survey conducted by the Strativity Group uncovered these results:
-- 54 percent of senior executives admit they do not deserve their customers' loyalty.
-- 87 percent of execs don't know their average annual customer value.
-- 67 percent agree that their execs do not meet frequently with customers.
-- Only 33 percent say that they have the tools and authority to serve their customers.

The average consumer will probably show more loyalty to the businesses that show them more loyalty. The organizations who make a consistent and passionate effort to show their customers how much they appreciate them will be the ones who thrive, not just survive.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The L Factor

I'm a political junkie. I watch all the cable shows. Read the daily blogs. Named my dog C-SPAN. :-) I won't ever join the fray because I know just how much of a bloody business it is and even the most honest politician has some dirty birds clucking in the bushes.

So as I'm watching the tremendous groundswell of support that Barack Obama (D) and Mike Huckabee (R) are enjoying lately, I keep hearing this phrase used as the reason:
"It's his likeability factor."

I couldn't agree more. If our society obsesses over celebrity, it's only natural that our leaders would be chosen more for their personal appeal than for their experience or position papers. A friend who works for a prominent pollster told me that their research shows that "Hillary will never be elected President--most people secretly don't want to look at that face or hear that voice every day for four years?!?"

Nothing can justify a superficial decision-making process...but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. The truth is that is happens all too often. My belief is that if you're aspiring to a leadership position in any field, you need to be aware of your own "likeability factor."

Tim Sanders has a terrific book on the subject (which isn't exactly a revelation: people who are well liked are more apt to get what they want out of life than those who are disliked.) However, according to, Sanders does offer a valuable look at the four personality traits he says contribute to a person's likability—namely, friendliness, relevance (do you connect on interests or needs?), empathy and "realness" (genuineness or authenticity).

Check it out HERE. It's a Puzzle Principle trait worth focusing on.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Moment of Truth

Have you seen an advertisement on Fox for their new prime-time game show, The Moment of Truth? According to a casting notice on the Internet, "Contestants who are up for the challenge are hooked up to a lie detector and asked 21 increasingly personal and delicate questions. If a player answers all 21 honestly, as determined by the polygraph, he or she could win $500,000."

(Check out the trailer HERE.)

You can guess what all the buzz will be about--a contestant is strapped to a polygraph and in front of his family, friends, and 20 million strangers admits to stealing from his children's piggy bank...or says she's secretly attracted to her husband's best friend...or tells the world that he hired a hit man to take out dear ol' Grandma for the inheritance.

Even more gut-wrenching is the fact that there's a button where the contestant’s friends and family sit that they can use once during the game to “rescue” the player from a difficult question. Except, according to executive producer Mike Darnell, the friends and family never seem to use the button for its intended purpose. When one contestant was asked if she would be more attracted to her husband if he lost 20 pounds—which is considered a relatively easy query—her husband lunged for the button.

Darnell told the press, gleefully, “This is the first game show where you technically know all the questions and you know all the answers...and yet this is the hardest game show I’ve ever been a part of in my entire life.”

Why? Because the only reason a game about scruples is simply because the players have none.

This is the exact reason why I came up with The Puzzle Principle. When your set of core values is so solid and so accountable that it provides a morally-impregnable solution to each and every scenario your life or career is confronted with, the answers are easy. And, more important, above reproach.

When the "Moment of Truth" appears in your life--how easy will the answer be?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Too Much Menu, Not Enough Plate

Forgive me, friends, for I have sinned--it's been over eight months since I last blogged. Not the kind of track record that leads to success.

My excuse is honest, if not creative. After taking the Managing Director job at the Sacramento Theatre Company in April 2007, I found there was just a little too much housekeeping needed to clean up the place, and on top of my consulting duties and a joyful season as PA announcer for the Sacramento River Cats, I had to let something go.

Until now.

There have been some amazing things I've learned about leadership, non-profit management, personnel issues, and communication that will not only help provide significant material for this blog but will also fill up the pages of a book I know you'll want to read.

If I ever get around to it. :-)