Fear

 

One of the most frequently used expressions during the election season was FEAR.  Isn’t it ironic, maybe even fearful, that regardless of who would win the election in the greatest nation in the world that citizens would be full of fear?

 

Fear is a natural reaction to an unknown and I believe that the environment in which we choose to live creates a “known” that is not entirely true.

 

Most people choose a one-channel media source – conservatives tend to believe everything they hear on a conservative network and liberals tend to believe everything they hear on a liberal network.  Even more concerning is that many people’s primary source of news is from comedians and social media. Those opinions may get laughs and likes but are not legimate news outlets. People chose to listen to what they want to hear, socialize with people who believe what they believe, and worship with those who agree on the same social issues.  That is not necessarily bad, but it creates an insulated personal world where reality is not nearly as bad or as great as it is portrayed on whichever side you believe.

 

The antidote to fear is knowledge.  Check your sources or as Reagan said, “trust but verify.”   Some things are worthy of fear but I believe that most of our fears are based more on assumptions and off based opinions than factual information.

 

Together we can make America greater by dealing with reality, not the reality of fear mongers. Our nation is not going to move backwards to oppression. We are not going to lose our amendment rights. We are not going to arrest and haul off law abiding citizens. We are not going to punish our citizens who work hard.

 

America can become greater by creating more jobs. We can be greater at valuing lives of all colors – even the lives of unborn babies.  We can do better by living in a country of law and order. We can make our inner cities safer.  We can protect ourselves from radical terrorists.

 

Don’t you think we can do better?

 

Regardless who would have won this election, our nation would continue to move on.  We have issues to solve and wounds to heal. We will have plenty of other issues and wounds to heal after the next election and the next and the next.

 

In the meantime, there is no good reason for students to be skipping school, celebrities threating to move out of our country, or gangs vandalizing in protest. That does more harm than good.

 

I love the United States of America, even with our quirks.  Please join me in praying for our leaders and let’s all do our best to make America even greater.

 

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Arnold Palmer

Arnold Palmer. I remember the first time I saw him play. In the 1977 Houston Open I was following my hero. In a crowd of hundreds of people, I would have sworn he made eye contact with me on every hole. He had that kind of charisma.

Sometime today mix up an “Arnold Palmer” and toast a man who knew how to win with class. Cheers!TwoRuleOfLeadership

Hate Mondays? Some tips on beating the blues…

Become a Monday lover. Yep, you. “If you’re an energetic and ready-to-go Monday person,” David Cottrell said, “the people around you will become one, too.”

This is just one of the tips you can find in Gail Rosenblum’s recent article in the Star Tribune regarding Monday Morning Blues. I enjoyed the interview and wanted to share the full article with you:

http://www.startribune.com/rosenblum-hate-mondays-some-tips-on-beating-the-blues/392810431/

Achieve Extraordinary Leadership Results with Class

Leadership is demanding. If you want to lead a great team, you have to be great. If you want great, long-term leadership success you have to win with great class.

The good news is that the rewards for being a great, rather than average, leader are heavily skewed. People want to work for the best, buy from the best, and deal with the best in almost every situation in our society. The rewards for being a great leader are enormous. People flock to winners.

What you do with your life will be your legacy. No one requires you to win with class. It is something you do to help someone along the way, to support your colleagues, your friends, and those whom you may not know. It is a gift that comes without a price tag. Your legacy is priceless.

In some cases, you may never know how much you impact the success of others.
Not too long ago, while touring Boston, I passed a cemetery where Ephraim Wales Bull was buried. I had never heard of Ephraim Wales Bull, but the tour guide said he was the person who created Concord grapes. However, he never profited from the grapes because he died before they were marketed in jellies and jams.

The reason I share the story of Ephraim Wales Bull is because the epitaph on his gravestone reads, “He Sowed, Others Reaped.” I think that should be our mission as leaders—to keep sowing and allow others to reap. That is what leadership is all about.

If you want to achieve extraordinary results with class, read and apply The First Two Rules of Leadership: Don’t be Stupid. Don’t Be a Jerk.  It will help improve morale, decrease turnover, increase everyone’s job satisfaction, and you will have a whole lot more fun leading.

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Don’t be a Jerk. Win with Class

The joy of leadership is in the gift of knowledge that you give, not in what you receive in return. The purpose of giving is not to receive back in full measure. If you give solely with the expectation of receiving something in return, you are really not giving—you’re swapping. If you receive something in return of your gift, what you receive is a bonus—not a repayment of debt.

There are people surrounding you today who could use your experience, advice, and counsel. Just look around . . . people are desperate for help and do not know where to go or who to turn to. You have the experience to make a profound difference in their life just by sharing your knowledge.

The average person has great intentions of making a difference. Intentions do not accomplish anything. The people who find success make the conscious decision to step out and make a difference. I hope you will make that decision.

If you want to achieve extraordinary results with class, read and apply The First Two Rules of Leadership: Don’t be Stupid. Don’t Be a Jerk.  It will help improve morale, decrease turnover, increase everyone’s job satisfaction, and you will have a whole lot more fun leading.

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Don’t Be a Jerk. Lead with Confidence

“Something can be done and there is something I can do.”  —  Unknown

Your attitude toward life is the most important choice you make.  It will reflect your past, describe your present and predict your future. The great news is that your attitude is something you can always control.   You are the conductor of your attitude – no one else can compose your thoughts for you.

Successful leaders choose not to inflict the poison of negative attitudes on themselves. People who are positive and confident attract others like a magnet. They add energy to those around them, whereas negative and cynical people zap that same energy, draining the room of confidence.

Your attitude is powerful.  It can convince or discourage others who are watching you.  A positive attitude can mean the difference between a survivor and a victim because it impacts every part of your life.  It is the linchpin for successes and failures.

I cannot name one successful person who I would describe as negative and cynical. Not one. Can you? Do you think it is coincidental? I don’t think so. Optimism and confidence are two traits that you will find in great leaders, regardless of industry, profession, or age.

A confident, enthusiastic attitude is more important to your success than how you dress, how you look, how much skill you have, how much education you’ve accumulated, and how gifted you think you are. The good news is that you have an opportunity to choose the attitude you have for each situation every day.

If you want to achieve extraordinary results with class, read and apply The First Two Rules of Leadership: Don’t be Stupid. Don’t Be a Jerk.  It will help improve morale, decrease turnover, increase everyone’s job satisfaction, and you will have a whole lot more fun leading.

Subscribe to David’s blog here: https://davidcottrellblog.wordpress.com/

Don’t Be a Jerk. Attack Complacency

“Hey, we are doing pretty good. Why would we want to make any changes?”

“Don’t you think we could do a little better?”
  —  Employee questioning his leader

Many people would rather do anything than change . . . even when things may not be going well.

Do you remember reading a book in high school titled The Road Less Traveled? Three words were on the first page of the book: “Life is difficult.” The reason the road was less traveled was because it was difficult. People would pass it by looking for the road without difficulties—Easy Street. Responding to change is like going down the road less traveled. It’s not Easy Street but it gets you where you need to be.

Mediocrity is success’s worst enemy—a greater enemy than failure. If viewed with the right perspective, failure leads to success because it forces you to move in another direction. Mediocrity, on the other hand, hinders success because it keeps you in your comfort zone and prevents your team from moving forward. Nothing big is won in the comfort zone. The risk is small, but so is the reward.

Learning and growth happen when you are uncomfortable. Think of your most defining moments in your life. Were you hanging out in your comfort zone? Probably not—I bet you were hanging over the edge.

If you feel your team settling into a comfortable routine, ask yourself, “Are we getting complacent? Are we too comfortable?” When you are complacent, you have to let go to grow. You have to be willing to purposely seek learning opportunities at the edge of your comfort zone. It’s not natural to choose to be a little uncomfortable, but the best leaders do it anyway.

Don’t be a jerk.  Attack complacency.

If you want to achieve extraordinary results with class, read and apply The First Two Rules of Leadership: Don’t be Stupid. Don’t Be a Jerk.  It will help improve morale, decrease turnover, increase everyone’s job satisfaction, and you will have a whole lot more fun leading.

Subscribe to David’s blog here: https://davidcottrellblog.wordpress.com/

Don’t Be a Jerk. Encourage

“My manager never returns my calls. She only calls me when it fits her agenda. That drives me crazy.”

“I don’t think she really cares.”  
—  Conversation overheard at airport terminal

Oftentimes leaders get so focused on the “big things” that they forget to take care of the basics, like showing the people on their team that their leader actually cares about them. As the poet Robert W. Service said, “It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” Many times the “grain of sand” that keeps someone disengaged at work is lack of attention and encouragement from their leader.

William James, recognized as the father of American psychology, stated that the most fundamental psychological need is to be appreciated.. Everyone has the need to be appreciated. The unspoken question from your team is: do you care about them as a person—as more than just another cog in the company wheel?

When people are in the midst of uncertainty, are overworked, feel they are carrying a disproportionate share of the load, or believe they are being mistreated, they immediately assume you do not care. That isn’t fair, but that’s just the way it is.

The main reason that great people leave good organizations is simply because their need for respect and appreciation is not being met. Their perception is that they work hard and do the right things, yet nobody pays attention. People leave people long before they leave organizations. They give up hope that their leader will ever meet their needs. They conclude that a leader they know nothing about will be better than the one they know.

One of your top priorities as a leader is to be available for your team. If you are always busy in “management land,” you send the signal that everything else is more important than your team. That is a bad signal to send to the people you need to perform in order for you to be successful.

Everyone needs to know that they are okay.  Don’t be a jerk and leave them guessing if they are okay or not.  Encourage.

If you want to achieve extraordinary results with class, read and apply The First Two Rules of Leadership: Don’t be Stupid. Don’t Be a Jerk.  It will help improve morale, decrease turnover, increase everyone’s job satisfaction, and you will have a whole lot more fun leading.

Subscribe to David’s blog here: https://davidcottrellblog.wordpress.com/

Don’t Be a Jerk. Make a Decision.

“Why don’t they do something about this? Everyone knows it is a problem. Why do they stick their heads in the sand?”

“Because that is what they do.”   —  Two frustrated employees.

One of the most important attributes great leaders develop is the ability to confidently make decisions and move forward. Thinking before doing is always, of course, the right thing to do. However, thinking without ever doing leads nowhere. Don’t get stuck in an endless thinking loop without transitioning to action: “Ready, aim…aim…aim…” will get you shot and frustrate everyone on your team.

What about when adversity strikes?  How can you move forward even through the toughest adversity you can imagine?

A few months ago I was at a meeting of highly successful leaders and the topic of adversity was discussed. Within that group, people had faced cancer, suicide, divorce, loss of children, drug abuse, loss of spouse, significant health issues, loss of jobs, bankruptcy, and other major areas of disappointments. Each person had faced a major crisis.

Remarkably, every single person agreed that overcoming personal or professional adversity was a critical turning point in their success. Think about that. Adversity turned them toward success. Regardless of how the adversity arrived, those successful people took action, faced, attacked, and conquered the adversity that struck them. Adversity polished them up to become more successful.

When confronted with adversity, you can choose to see the positive alternatives and become even better than you were before—or you can choose to sit and dwell on your circumstances for the rest of your life. Spending your energy complaining, justifying, and blaming others for the problem changes nothing and will drain the energy needed to begin working your way through your adversity.

One of the greatest dangers while facing adversity is to panic, freeze, and stop moving forward because you perceive the situation as insurmountable. Regardless of how bleak the situation appears, there are alternatives that will help you move forward if you choose to see them. Make a decision to keep moving.

If you want to achieve extraordinary results with class, read and apply The First Two Rules of Leadership: Don’t be Stupid. Don’t Be a Jerk.  It will help improve morale, decrease turnover, increase everyone’s job satisfaction, and you will have a whole lot more fun leading.

Subscribe to David’s blog here: https://davidcottrellblog.wordpress.com/

Don’t Be a Jerk. Listen up!

“Why do we keep shooting ourselves in the foot? If you would only ask us before you make decisions affecting our team, we could then save ourselves a lot of rework, mistakes, conflicts, and money.”   —Anonymous feedback to upper management

When I go out to eat, I enjoy great food and great service. It is hard to enjoy great food without great service or great service without great food. They go hand in hand, but I think the most important ingredient of a great meal is a great waiter. A great waiter is present, patient, active, and interested in the people sitting at our table.

Have you ever observed the flurry of activity that a waiter has to manage? Every table they serve has different needs. Some tables comprise senior citizens, others are full of teenagers or young families. And, every table of people are at different stages of their meal: some haven’t ordered yet, some are in the middle of their meal, some are eating dessert. Regardless of who is at the table, they all have the same need—to know that the waiter cares about them and their situation right now.

The best resources that a waiter possesses are a friendly smile and the ability to ask and answer great questions:

How are you doing today? What can I get you?
Do you have any questions? How do you want your meal prepared? How is your meal?
Is there anything else I can get you? Are you ready for your check?

Think about each of those questions from a leadership perspective. In your environment, the words may be different but the questions that good leaders ask their team are basically the same:
How are you today?
Is there anything you need from me?
Do you have any questions?
What can we do to make your work environment even better?

Great waiters do not assume that they know the needs of each person. They pay attention, take notes, confirm the order, and follow up after the meal. When your meal is complete, you know your waiter cared about your dining experience. Great waiters teach great leadership. Watch them in action the next time you order at your favorite restaurant.

Don’t be a jerk.  Listen up.

If you want to achieve extraordinary results with class, read and apply The First Two Rules of Leadership: Don’t be Stupid. Don’t Be a Jerk.  It will help improve morale, decrease turnover, increase everyone’s job satisfaction, and you will have a whole lot more fun leading.

Subscribe to David’s blog here: https://davidcottrellblog.wordpress.com/