Leadership Insights

workshop-groupWhen conducting workshops on various leadership topics I tend to list several points for being effective in the area being discussed. Inevitably someone will ask, “Of all the points you listed, which is the most important?” Listed below are several leadership topics followed by my typical response.

TIME MANAGEMENT:   What gets scheduled gets done. Schedule your action items in specific time slots. If you get blocked on an item re-schedule it.

COMMUNICATION:   Stay in the moment. Wherever you are, be there. Give the other person your undivided attention. Make appropriate eye contact. Eliminate distractions. Ask questions.

MOTIVATION:   Help people feel “special.” Pay attention to them; spend time with them; get to know them; take a sincere interest in things they are interested in; listen to them; and encourage them.

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Helping People Feel Important

meeting-one-on-one2Successful human relations is really the art of making other people feel good about themselves. – Dr. Walter Doyle Staples

There are many ways to help other people feel important. Being courteous, polite, and helpful is a good beginning. Here are some additional suggestions:

  1. Be alert.
  2. Be alive.
  3. Be available.
  4. Be attentive.
  5. Be appreciative.
  6. Be approving.
  7. Show affection.
  8. Be accepting.
  9. Be affirming.
  10. Be a friend.

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workshopIntegrity is the cornerstone of trust, and trust is the cornerstone of all relationships. Therefore, trust and integ­rity are essential in order to develop your personal leader­ship.

Integrity is doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. It can also be defined as doing the right thing even if no one will ever find out or even if you don’t get credit for doing it. Integrity is saying what you will do and doing what you said.

Integrity demands that when you make a mistake, you own it, admit it, fix it, and move on. People who don’t understand the power of integrity spend more time and en­ergy covering up or denying a mistake than they would if they ad­mitted it, fixed it, and moved on.


Unfortunately, most people think they hold them­selves accountable, when in reality they are usually looking for someone or something else to blame.

When my son was 3 or 4, he was sitting on the floor in front of the TV eating a meal. His food and milk were on a tray over his legs. His older sister was sitting several feet away. When my son accidentally spilled his milk, he turned immediately to his sister and said, “See what you made me do!” His sis­ter hadn’t done or said a thing and wasn’t close enough to touch the tray anyway. Even at a young age, people have a tendency to look for someone or something to blame other than themselves.

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businessIs it your mother or father? Husband or wife? Brother or sister? Your boss? Politicians? Of course the answer is: YOU are in charge of YOUR future.

What do you want your future to look like? Do you want it to be better than the past? We cannot change the past, but we can change the future – starting today. In order for your future to be better, you need to be better.

Our belief about what is possible for us in the future is as important, if not more important, than our actual abilities. Each of us is capable of infinitely greater accomplishments than we allow ourselves to believe. It’s not our situation that determines what our future will be, it’s our reaction to our situation (today, tomorrow, and the next day) that will determine our results and our future.

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  1. planningBe nice.
  2. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
  3. Don’t shovel the river, let it flow.
  4. There’s no such thing as “all of a sudden.”
  5. This, too, shall pass.
  6. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
  7. People do things to gain a benefit or avoid a loss.
  8. People do things for their reasons, not ours.
  9. There’s no such thing as knowing too much, but you can say too much.
  10. Leaders are readers and readers are leaders.
  11. Watch what a person pays attention to and you can tell what their subconscious  intentions are.
  12. Fix problems rather than fixing blame.
  13. Fix issues, not people.
  14. It’s easier to act your way to a new set of feelings than it is to feel your way to a  new set of actions.
  15. You can when you think you can.
  16. Our only limitations are those we place on our own mind.
  17. Writing crystallizes thought and crystallized thought motivates action.
  18. Smile, and the world smiles with you.
  19. Honesty is the best policy.
  20. Talk with people, not at them.
  21. We become what we think about.
  22. If you know, do. If you don’t know, learn.
  23. Enthusiasm is contagious and is the oxygen of the soul.
  24. People respond to us, and judge us, by how we look, how we act, what we say, and how we say it.
  25. Life is about relationships; the better our relationships, the better our life.
  26. People are more important than things.
  27. What’s easy to do is also easy not to do.
  28. We have to get it into our head before we get it into our feet.
  29. Words are powerful.
  30. Showing appreciation is powerful – and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

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I first read Paul J. Meyer’s “Million Dollar Personal Success Plan” in August 1968. In 1972, I purchased a franchise for one of his companies. It was called Leadership Motivation Institute at the time. I joined the LMI Home Office staff in 1974, went on to be the president of LMI and worked with Paul J. Meyer until June of 2000 – a total of 28 years. During those 28 years, I taught Paul’s “Million Dollar Personal Success Plan” to thousands of eager listeners.

The main points were about having Goals, Plans, Desire, Confidence, and Determination. All of the points are powerful. I am devoting this Coaching Tip to his fifth point: “Develop a dogged determination to follow through on your plan, regardless of obstacles, criticism or circumstances or what other people say, think or do. Construct your Determination with Sustained Effort, Controlled Attention, and Concentrated Energy. Opportunities never come to those who wait; they are captured by those who dare to attack.”

Developing your determination will help you persevere through hardships, adversity, and other types of set-backs. In the process you will grow as a person and develop new skills that will help you accomplish even greater goals.

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The eight P’s of personal achievement are: Plan Purposely, Prepare Properly, Proceed Positively, and Pursue Persistently. Let’s look at these one at a time:

Plan Purposely Another way of saying this is, “Prior planning promotes professional performance.” Most people spend more time planning a vacation than they do planning what they want to accomplish in other areas of their life, including their career. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Prepare Properly The Scout motto, “Be Prepared,” is something everyone should heed. It’s been said that luck is “preparation meeting opportunity.” People who outperform their peers, excel in their career, achieve acclaim, and appear “lucky” have been better prepared.

Proceed Positively You can plan purposely and prepare properly, but unless you take positive action, you will not enjoy the success you are capable of achieving.

Pursue Persistently For small goals and easy accomplishments, planning purposely, preparing properly, and proceeding positively might be enough. However, for larger goals, more difficult tasks, and when obstacles and roadblocks get in your way, it is time for stronger measures. Persistence, or dogged determination, will help you break through hindering circumstances, past conditioning, obstacles, and roadblocks. Persistence will also help you get past the negative influence of what other people say, think, or do.

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The Magic of TEN

  • Ten is a perfect score in Olympic gymnastics
  • The Big 10 and PAC-10 Conferences
  • Our decimal system is based on ten
  • Ten Commandments
  • Top Ten lists
  • Phil Rizzuto wore number 10
  • FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List
  • 10 Downing St. is a famous address
  • “What a Difference TEN Minutes Can Make” is a booklet by Rex Houze


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Whether you are selling a product or service or want to sell people on your ideas or want to get people to follow your lead, being enthusiastic will help you be more successful. Enthusiasm is an outer expression of your inner passion. When a sales manager overheard a sales person say they were enthusiastic about their product, the sales manager said, “Why don’t you let your face know it.”

Enthusiasm is a zest for or an extreme interest in a subject, cause, or life itself. It is more than excitement or inspiration although excitement and inspiration are usually a part of a person’s enthusiasm. Enthusiasm usually starts by being curious about something. When you are curious about something you naturally take an interest in it. Then you gain knowledge about it. And, finally, when you develop belief in what you became curious about, your enthusiasm will blossom.

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Developing Your Perseverance

Persistence, determination, and perseverance are all closely related and are the key to having a successful life.

Persistence is holding on to something important and not letting go despite hindering circumstances. Determination can be defined as firmness of purpose; resolve. Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, and endurance. Perseverance is being able to handle difficulties calmly and without complaint. Perseverance is trying again and again until you succeed.

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