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The Real Value In Hitting A Bucket Of Balls!

GolfHave you ever noticed that when you allow yourself to look beyond the obvious, you can learn some cool stuff from the most interesting places.  Last weekend we headed across the state of Oregon into Idaho to visit family for the Easter Weekend.  I learned a few unexpected lessons while there.

I guess my journey over the last few years has taught me that we miss out on a lot of opportunities and lessons simply because we don’t take the time to look around and really see what’s going on.  It’s amazing what you can learn when you start looking!

My brother-in-law, Scott, suggested that he and his son Sam and me and my son Scott go hit a bucket of balls at the local golf course.  Spring seems to finally be showing up and it sounded like a great idea.

We picked up our buckets from the clubhouse, filled them up and headed over to the driving range.  I have a set of clubs and have been playing golf on and off since High School but the lack of consistent play pretty much leaves me reinventing my game on an annual basis.

As I watched the others hit and began hitting my own bucket, I actually tried to focus on my swing and then it struck me that golf is a lot like most of the challenges we have in life.  I may lose some of you here, but golf is only a game, really, it is.  Some of us just take it more serious than others.

What I found interesting is that we can use some of the same principles in improving our golf game as we can in improving our life and here are four of them:

WHAT DO I NEED TO START?

Well, if I want to improve my golf game, I better start playing more consistently.  Dusting off the clubs two of three times a year does not a golfer make.

If I want to improve my life, I need to follow through more consistently and I’m not referring to my golf swing.

WHAT DO I NEED TO STOP?

Several years of slicing and hooking have centered my focus on trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong.  I should be focusing on what I need to do right.

In life, I need to move away from deficit based thinking and focus on the assets I have instead of the deficiencies.  Making what I already do right better, will eliminate the bad stuff without even thinking about it.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO LESS OF?

Like many golfers, I spend way to much time thinking about the next swing.  Too many moving parts and too many options.  Limit the things to work on to one or two and take care of them first.

In life, it is no different.  Too many things I want to do, which translates to not doing any of them very well at all.  Less shiny squirrels and less options reduces the noise and clutter and brings clarity to any situation.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO MORE OF?

Simple – create better habits.  Habits come from repetition.  Driving range, putting green and chipping from the fringe.  Practice, practice and then practice.

Now I realize life is not practice but this I know – the more I do something, the better I will get at it.  This goes for good things and bad.  What do I need to do more of?  The things that really matter.  The things that make a difference.

Look at that – a simple bucket of balls at a golf course and look what I learned from it.  A couple of questions to leave you with …

What opportunities are you currently missing out on in your life because you are simply not taking the time to notice them?  [Tweet This]

Maybe the more important question is what are you going to start, stop, do more of or do less of in order to see them and act on them?

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Barry Smith  4/25/14   photo courtesy of amazon   © Building What Matters 2014

Leading The Starbucks Way – Part 2; Connecting With Trust

starbucksThis month in the Platform Builders Mastermind Group, we are diving into “Leading The Starbucks Way: 5 Principles for Connecting with Your Customers, Your Products, and Your People” by Joseph A. Michelli.

Sure this book is about Starbucks, but it’s much bigger than that.  Michelli shows why Starbucks has become the coffee bean superpower of the world.  And it has nothing to do with the beans.  I guess that’s not entirely true, but their success is built much more around who is serving rather than what is being served.

I will admit, I have invested my fair share in the Starbucks brand but I never gave a thought as to what goes on behind the grinder, so to speak.  Michelli explores 5 Principles that give Starbucks the advantage over their competition and I for one, will pay much more attention to what is going on behind the counter next time I visit my local Starbucks.

Definitely a great look at what has made Starbucks so successful, but at the same time, the bar has been set very high for them to continue to live up to their reputation.

In this, the second of three posts, I will recap Michelli’s exploration of Principle 2 – Love To Be Loved and Principle 3 – Reach For Common Ground

PRINCIPLE 2 – LOVE TO BE LOVED

In a word, this section is about trust.  Both trust of the product and the service and more importantly, consistency in delivering them.  It’s not surprising that there is more content about the people than the product in this book.  That is where the trust is built.

Think about when you have purchased a product that you believed in but received less than stellar service.  You might stick with the product, but if your are like me, you will look elsewhere to get it.

“If you select people with genuine talent for serving others, give them opportunities to become more knowledgeable and passionate about your products, and insist upon product and consumer experience excellence, you are well on the way to gaining the pride and passion of customers.”

While in construction, I often chose service over cost because at the end of the day, I needed someone that would deliver WHEN they say they would and make me feel like I was their most important client.  I realize I probably wasn’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be treated like you are.  Truth be told, I was pretty loyal to those vendors.  Hmmmm!

PRINCIPLE 3 – REACH FOR COMMON GROUND

A deep look into the Starbucks way of connecting with their customers, explains much about the forward motion of the organization.  It’s one thing to communicate with your customer, but are you really connecting?  And I’m not just talking about words.

Starbucks looks at ALL aspects of the environment, the architecture of the store, the neighborhood, the customer base, and the competition.  These all factor into the experience that we have when we enter a Starbucks.

“The goal of leadership is to create the right environment for human connection to occur and to help staff members manage the inevitable issues that surface.”

There is certainly risk when you bring the human condition into the business model, but then again, if you want to be the best at what you do, you better be willing to risk something to get there.

I don’t want to feel invisible!

This is probably my favorite quote from this section of the book; “The number one request or desire of every human around the world is to be seen and heard.”  (Tweet This)

TODAY’S QUESTION:  How effectively have you sought partnerships while building your business and have you positioned yourself to provide services or products that are relevant to your market?

Click here to read Part 1

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===> JOIN THE “LEADERSHIP BY INVITATION” LAUNCH TEAM <===

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Barry Smith  4/17/14   photo courtesy of amazon   © Building What Matters 2014

What If Plan “B” Could Become Plan “Better”?

Ed blogLast week on our Platform Builders Mastermind call. we spotlighted one of the Maxwell Team mentors, Ed DeCosta, who recently release his new book ASCEND: A Coach’s Roadmap For Taking Your Performance To New Heights.  

If you want some “no-nonsense, get results” strategies for reaching new levels of achievement, you will find it in ASCEND.  But it’s not the book that inspired this post, it was something Ed said on the call.

Ed made the statement that “Sometimes Plan B needs to be Plan Better.” [Tweet This]

I don’t think Ed even realized the genius in the statement when he made it, but genius it is.  That comment changed my entire thought process on the idea of a “backup plan.”  You see, that’s what I’ve always thought a Plan B was – the option when the desired one doesn’t work.  Not any more!

If you have been settling for Plan B, Knock it off!

Maybe you are a lot smarter than me and have already figured this out, but for me, Plan B has always been the backup plan just in case Plan A didn’t work out.  Right?  Look, being smarter than me is not any kind of earth shattering accomplishment but changing your perspective on this just might be.  If you have conceded that Plan B is always less desirable than Plan A,  Knock it off!

What if we looked at Plan A failing not as a failure, but as an opportunity to learn and seize the opportunity to make Plan B – Plan Better.  What if Plan Better doesn’t work? Well, you can call it whatever you want, but by learning lessons instead of conceding defeat, we can continue a path towards success.

Start learning lessons instead of conceding defeat!

Full transparency here, I just came into this awareness less than a week ago and although I have not had a chance to put it to the test yet, I do have some big “Plan A” activities that will be put to the test this week and this I know – if I have to go to the backup plan, it will be Plan Better.

I think our culture has conditioned us to believe that acceptance of thinking that our results are “good enough”, “better than than they use to be”, or “at least different than they were before” are reasonable outcomes.  Nonsense!

Start setting yourself up for success!

The whole idea of setting goals and stretching outside our comfort zone are to produce what we have not achieved before.  Why do we settle for less than we desired?  Why is better OK when best is what we are shooting for?  Why do words live “CAN’T”, “NEVER”, and “ALMOST” remain in our daily vocabulary?

I think it’s because we have lowered our standards.  And by doing so, we have lowered our own self-image.  Ed and the other Maxwell mentors all adhere to the belief that we will never out perform our own self-image.

When Plan A doesn’t work, we immediately jump to the next best choice instead of creating a BETTER one.  Peter Drucker had some thoughts on this when he said:

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” [Tweet This]

TODAY’S QUESTION:  Are you following a downward progression in your decision making process that will ultimately net you less of a result than you originally desired?

TODAY’S CHALLENGE:  Learn from the Plan A’s that didn’t work out and set yourself up for success by making Plan B – Plan Better!

***********************************************************************

===> JOIN THE “LEADERSHIP BY INVITATION” LAUNCH TEAM <===

Click here to get a copy of my Kindle Book “The Manifesto Of An Influential Leader”

Don’t miss a single post from Building What Matters by subscribing at the top left of this page. 

Help support us by clicking here and Liking our facebook page

Barry Smith  4/14/14   photo by author   © Building What Matters 2014

Leading The Starbucks Way – Part 1; Savor And Elevate

starbucksThis month in the Platform Builders Mastermind Group, we are diving into “Leading The Starbucks Way: 5 Principles for Connecting with Your Customers, Your Products, and Your People” by Joseph A. Michelli.

Sure this book is about Starbucks, but it’s much bigger than that.  Michelli shows why Starbucks has become the coffee bean superpower of the world.  And it has nothing to do with the beans.  I guess that’s not entirely true, but their success is built much more around who is serving rather than what is being served.

I will admit, I have invested my fair share in the Starbucks brand but I never gave a thought as to what goes on behind the grinder, so to speak.  Michelli explores 5 Principles that give Starbucks the advantage over their competition and I for one, will pay much more attention to what is going on behind the counter next time I visit my local Starbucks.

Definitely a great look at what has made Starbucks so successful, but at the same time, the bar has been set very high for them to continue to live up to their reputation.

In this, the first of three posts, I will recap Michelli’s exploration of “The Starbucks Connection” and Principle 1 – Savor and Elevate.

THE STARBUCKS CONNECTION

The story starts with Howard Schultz stepping back into the role of Chief Executive Officer in 2008.  Schultz introduced his “Transformation Agenda” establishing a forward-looking vision that enhanced the companies established mission.  Michelli shares that:

“While the Starbuck mission was “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, and one cup and one neighborhood at a time,” the transformation vision set an energizing and rallying objective, “to become an enduring, great company with one of the most recognized and respected brands in the world, known for inspiring and nurturing the human spirit.”

Whether you are a fan of the coffee or not, I guarantee you will look at the organization differently after giving this book a look.  The investment that Starbuck makes in their people is impressive.  Their commitment is to not only continually improve the product but the way they connect with the customer.  It’s not too hard to figure out why your local Starbucks is always full.

PRINCIPLE 1 – SAVOR AND ELEVATE

There are many great quotes about the Starbucks philosophy throughout, but the message is consistent.  Connect with your customer and create an experience that will be remembered long after that last sip from the cup.

This is done by being passionate about your product and the service provided to deliver it and do it in a way that inspires the customer to share the same passion.  Here is a great quote that represents the Starbucks culture:

“We take the ordinary … and give it new life, believing that what we create has the potential to touch others’ lives because it touched ours.”

It is clear that Starbucks culture is built around both the customer and the product and it’s hard to tell which is top on the priority list but one thing is clear, they are completely committed to make both the best.

This is probably my favorite quote from this section of the book; “all business settings are a stage from which all experiences emerge.”  (Tweet This)  What if we all looked at our business that way?  People are going to pay for your service or your product or both.  The real question becomes, will they enjoy it?  The answer to that will determine whether or not they come back.

TODAY’S QUESTION:  Your brand is really a representation of who you.  What are you doing to use that brand to create an experience that will get your customer or client to share in your passion?

***********************************************************************

===> JOIN THE “LEADERSHIP BY INVITATION” LAUNCH TEAM <===

Click here to get a copy of my Kindle Book “The Manifesto Of An Influential Leader”

Don’t miss a single post from Building What Matters by subscribing at the top left of this page. 

Help support us by clicking here and Liking our facebook page

Barry Smith  4/10/14   photo courtesy of amazon   © Building What Matters 2014

Leaders Eat Last – Part 4; Serving Those That Serve Others

Leaders Eat LastThis month, in The Platform Builders Mastermind group, we are working our way through Simon Sinek’s recently released “Leaders Eat Last – Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.”

Sinek, the author of Start With Why, provides a deep look into what creates the most effective teams and more importantly, what keeps them working together, even during the most difficult of times.

This is one of those books that will take you a little bit longer to read because so many thoughts require you to take another look, just to make sure you understood the power behind them.  A phenomenal effort by Sinek, Leaders Eat Last not only looks at the dynamic of the team but of the individuals that make up that team.

What really sets this book apart is Sinek’s unique look at why some people make good leaders and others don’t and the “why” behind the results they get.  In this post, the final of four, I will attempt to capture the basic thoughts of the eight parts of the book.

PART 7:  A SOCIETY OF ADDICTS

AT THE CENTER OF ALL OUR PROBLEMS IS US – A very enlightening chapter that explains a lot about some of the cultural problems we are facing and how they translate into the way we lead.  Our desire for immediate gratification has taken many of us off our A-game.  

Sinek makes a great observation when he says, “Leadership is about taking responsibility for lives and not numbers.  Managers look after our numbers and our results and leaders look after us.”  Seems like we currently have a shortage of leaders.

AT ANY EXPENSE – The demand for results, and achieving them now, has thrown us completely out of balance.  Dopamine is a good thing when taken in moderation.  Unfortunately, the recognition for achievement had created an addiction that is as contagious as the plague.  

I have to go back to one of the statements I made in an earlier post.  We have moved from a collaborative to a competitive culture and the desire, and demand, to keep up with the Jones’ has resulted in a somewhat overlooked epidemic of dopamine addiction.

THE ABSTRACT GENERATION – This chapter really hit home for me.  I have often described Generation Y as the entitlement generation.  I don’t know that I would go back on that statement entirely, but I do have a very different perspective after listening to what “Simon says.”

Our culture of immediate gratification has created a generation that expects things to happen now – so why wouldn’t they expect that?  The difference is that I understand more of the why behind their actions and attitude and realize that success will not come from changing them, but from embracing them and using the strengths they do bring to the table.

PART 8:  BECOMING A LEADER

STEP 12 – An interesting comparison the the alcoholics anonymous 12 step approach to recovery.  The great point made by Sinek here is that service is the key to breaking the dopamine addictions in our organizations.  Serving puts the real focus back on the people and not on the numbers and the interesting thing is that focusing on the people has actually shown to produce the numbers.

SHARED STRUGGLE – This was a great chapter!  The idea is that we ultimately perform our best when we are backed into a corner and have no other choice than to depend on those around us to get through the current challenge.  The power of working collectively as a team, sharing in the struggle, has a special way of bringing out the best in us.  Oxytocin anyone?

WE NEED MORE LEADERS – How about this gem from Sinek: “Leadership is not a license to do less; it is a responsibility to do more.”  We have lots of “leaders” in our lives, unfortunately not all of them are leading.

Sinek continues to finish strong, suggesting that leadership is about committing to the well-being of those in our care and having the willingness to make sacrifices to see their interests advanced so that they may carry our banner long after we are gone.”  And then closes the book with what I consider a very powerful “call to action” for all of us …

LET US ALL BE THE LEADERS WE WISH WE HAD

– Simon Sinek (TWEET THIS)

We were honored to have Simon join The Platform Builders on a call this week as we wrapped up our mastermind study on the book.  All I can say is WOW!  He added so much value to our tribe in just a short while.  One golden pearl of wisdom and inspiration after another.  There will several takeaways but I will leave you today with this one, “True fulfillment comes from serving those that serve others.”  (Tweet This)

That statement came along with the story of his trip home from Afghanistan on a Military flight in which he shared the back end of the plane for nine hours accompanied by only the flag draped casket of a fallen soldier.  His reflection … “You want to talk about a life impacting experience that puts things in perspective!”  We still have much to hear from Mr. Sinek and I for one, can’t wait!

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===> JOIN THE “LEADERSHIP BY INVITATION” LAUNCH TEAM <===

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Barry Smith  3/28/14   photo courtesy of amazon   © Building What Matters 2014

Scan-Snap-Savor And Re-Program Your Results!

KC_Leadpositive_lead-300x300One of the segments we added to The Platform Builders Mastermind Group this year was a “Leadership Spotlight.”  During one segment of our call each week, we feature an author or leader and focus on their current projects or activities.

This week we had a great call and were honored to have Dr. Kathryn Cramer join us who recently released her seventh book, LEAD Positive: What Highly Effective Leaders See, Say and Do.

The latest in Dr. Cramer’s Asset Based Thinking (ABT) series, LEAD Positive pack a tremendous amount of great content on how to be courageous, resilient, and optimistic as we as leaders, can produce significant and lasting change in both our personal and professional lives.

This book is full of concepts and ideas that will no doubt change the way we think, and result in raising our leadership lid.  Dr. Cramer suggests that we, by nature, are wired to “avoid harm” and therefore react faster to the negative than we do to the positive. Over time, this creates a negative bias in our thinking.  But we have the power to change that!

One of Dr. Cramer’s ABT exercises really caught my attention.  The Scan-Snap-Savor exercise, although simple in concept, has the potential to completely change the way we think.  See what you think …

SCAN

Dr. Cramer suggests that we look for a positive fact that is either happening right now or in our immediate past.  Then focus your attention on one of three areas, self, others, or situation.  In Dr. Cramer’s word’s, “The self scan requires you to look for your own leadership strengths, capabilities, efforts, and skills that are showing up in the present moment to move things forward.”

To me, this sounds like “short-term version of the Law of Reflection.  Dr. Cramer points out that, “The situation scan leads you to zero in on the emerging dynamics working in your favor.”  How cool is that!  All we have to do is think positive and the energy pulled from that thinking will produce positive results.  The power of positive thinking ring a bell for anyone?

SNAP

I recently heard Dr. Cramer describe this part of the equation as taking a mental picture of that positive fact that you focused on the the scan step.  When we develop that positive image in our mind just like downloading pictures onto you computer.  They are stored there for your future use.

Again, a pretty straight forward concept – visually snap the picture and download it to your cranial hard-drive.  (Tweet This)  I see it like this, if you don’t take the picture, you are going to have to recreate the image to access that “positive” memory.  In today’s warp speed society, we simply choose not to take the time or energy to do it and default to the negativity bias we already have.

SAVOR

This is the difference maker.  Before you store away that mental snapshot, spend 30-60 seconds “savoring” it.  Remember a hundred years ago when film had to be developed in a liquid solution?  It had to soak in that stuff until it fully developed.  Dr. Cramer has brought that concept back to life and you don’t even need a dark room.

Follow her advice and, “Let the full measure of the experience sink deeply into your implicit memory.  Savor it.  In less than 90 seconds, you have allowed yourself to step outside the hustle and bustle of the day.

Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  Maybe it’s time you trade in that old camera that doesn’t seem to be working for you and pick up a new one that takes the type of pictures that will get you the “POSITIVE” results you have been looking for.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE:  Pick up a copy of LEAD Positive and start using your manual focus option.  You just might like the increased quality of the pictures you’ve been taking!

***********************************************************************

Click here to get a copy of my Kindle Book “The Manifesto Of An Influential Leader”

Don’t miss a single post from Building What Matters by subscribing at the top left of this page. 

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Barry Smith  3/26/14   photo courtesy of the Weaving Influence   © Building What Matters 2014