Monday, March 29, 2010


Greetings from Disneyland...the happiest place on Earth!

This is indeed the magic kingdom! Little girls dance in Cinderella dresses, kids sprint through cartoon worlds, pirate ships are launched into a sea of imagination and screams of jubilation fill the air.

There is another commonality to Disneyland: A parent's reflective joy in seeing their child having unimaginable fun!

There is a community in Disneyland. Parents feed off their children and kids use their new found spirit to invite new friendships on the fly.

So when we speak of building a positive work environment why not use the Disneyland formula:
* Create A Ripple Effect
* Give for the Sake of Giving without expectation of return
* Foster an Environment where Creativity is Celebrated
* Use Appreciation to Empower

If a woman sees her son laughing his face off on a roller coaster, I guarantee all the frustration of parenting escapes in that moment. She is filled with the irreplaceable joy of giving life and growing it. So when they hop off that ride and she holds the door for a guy who is frustrated that the vacation is not going as planned maybe he will remember why he is at Disneyland. That hug that Gentlemen gives to his wife may help her remember why she loves him. And so a Ripple Effect is produced......why can't your office be the Happiest Place on Earth.

Do you thank with one hand and ask with the other? If you ask of your employees at the same time you pat their back transparency enters the picture and your genuine intent becomes bravado.

Anyone can run a business based on a preconceived formula: Use the other girl's technique and just charge less. This is employment by commodity! The core values of said business are: cowardice, mediocrity and predictability. This is a punch the clock, check in the box, one way ticket to death:
- If you dislike your job - quit.
- If you have no joy in life - try something new.
- If you are too afraid to try - the only person to blame is yourself.

In order to inspire an environment of empowerment - YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE! You have to walk into every day with the intent of doing something extraordinary and have the Balls to make it work.

The easy thing to be is negative. If you are 'too cool' to be part of something bigger you are a coward not a maverick!

Give, Appreciate and Help People Grow!

Don't Forget to Remember!



Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Joy of Competition

It's Tournament time.....64 teams will battle it out for one spot. Countless hours in the gym, unlimited potential and an uncertain future all come down to one game at a time - win or go home!

In business, I always look to competitive people with admiration because they place higher standards upon themselves than any boss or company will. Anyone who has been a Champion knows the thrill of preparing, doubting, overcoming and achieving....this is what business is all about.

Through sports, I learned to give all out effort for roughly 60 minutes and walked from many-a-gym with a trophy in my hand. The discipline, drive and system for preparation I learned on the field carried over well into my sales career.

The Danger of Competition: A game lasts an hour, a season a quarter, but a professional career will span 30 years. When we are used to putting our head down and funneling pure effort for 60 minutes our time to shine is clearly defined. We also know that we want to hit our peak condition just before the playoffs. In business, however, the season is not as clearly defined. Challenges arise without announcement and the need to strategically direct our unapologetic motivation becomes paramount.

"You need to slow down man!"...advice of a poor leader who could not handle my manic energy. The intent was right, but when your competitive drive is fueled by proving to the naysayers wrong...challenging convention becomes a way of life.

The Answer: As Leaders, we need to understand how to take effort, direct it toward strategy and produce results. Essentially, we have a group of athletes for whom we are creating a season's schedule. They are ready to compete; we just need to help them take that drive to run 100 yards and help them get there 10 yards at a time.

Here are a few tips for channeling competitive effort to produce results:

1. Set short term goals

2. Create the goal line and use long term goals to get there

3. Recognize even the slightest achievements along the way

4. When accomplishments become measurable - reward them!

5. Establish a next step for organizational advancement - and help them get there!

The Final Score: Never tell a competitive person to slow down - help them understand that winning together is far more meaningful to their effort than crossing the finish line alone.

LEAD...let those with you know that they are part of a team that will not accept a loss.

Don't Forget to Remember!



Monday, March 15, 2010

The Environment

No, this is not another green initiative plea to Save Mother Earth.

I mention not the air we breath outside but the mood inside the office.

It is undeniable that we become a product of our environment. The professional behaviors we learn at our first big job will serve one of two purposes:

* The foundation of our professional integrity

* A example of what not to do

On our first day of work in a big office we are energized, full of hope and ready to learn. If we are taught how to take accountability, channel our motivation and learn from our failures; we are several steps ahead of the game.

The best professionals are positive, strategic thinkers who stay upbeat, find a solution and dedicate themselves to turning goals into realities. Someone at some point encouraged them to act in such a matter. They put aside their inherent desire to complain, put their head down and got things done. Once you learn how to do this you never look back!

The worst professionals I know complain about everything: lack of support, poor resources, short comings that were not their fault. Most likely, it was a reactive nature of their first boss that taught these otherwise well intentioned people to fail and make excuses.

As Leaders we have to understand that every leaf that falls from our tree effects the environment in which we put our foot down....and then some.

If you are a manager, director or VP and pursue any part of your day with negativity, excuses or reactive behaviors....the inevitable failure of the earthlings will be your fault and you will be cast off into the cosmos with Lex Luther to sail through eternity in screams of misery!

It doesn't matter how many degrees you possess, how many years you have been excelling as a professional or who you know......the less than intricate rules of leadership are as follows:

* Stay Positive

* Allow people to fail and learn from failures

* Help people redirect their complaints into action items

* Recognize accomplishments (no matter how big or small)

Don't Forget to Remember!



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

To Be Young

It seems a recurring theme in the world of Human Resources:

"...Generation Y, The Entitled Generation..."

I remember when I was in college and Matthew McConaughey accepted an MTV Movie Award noting that the young people in the world "impressed the hell out of (him)" and that he was amazed by us every day. For the first time in my life I felt like part of the world: empowered to take the baton and run with it.

In high school, I spent 4 years competing as a wrestler and rose through the ranks. In college, I spent 5 years in a fraternity and ended up President. When I was released into the professional world something strange happened: 4 years became 40. You see, our careers last significantly longer than a wrestling season or fraternity presidential term, so it takes longer to validate our achievements. Could it be that Generation Y is not entitled or impatient but used to receiving recognition in a more expedient manner?

It seems the case studies, industry articles and seminars put Generation Y not in a position of empowerment but rather throws them a 'wait and see' warning. As a young professional, I received some of the worst advise I ever have:
"slow down, you're making us look bad"
"it will take time, you have to be patient"
"if you keep this up, people are gonna start talking about you"

I am not sure why we see fit to wrangle young people's motivation and deter it. In fact, the aforementioned is not a characteristic of sage-like advice but a sign of insecurity.

In the workplace I see young people with energy, ambition and open ears...what more could you ask for as a leader?

I propose a workshop not on how to control Generation Y but on how to keep our immaturity in check:
A. Stop worrying about being replaced
B. Feel good about teaching young people to succeed
C. Help young people channel their motivation
D. Determine the difference between manic effort and a guided foundation for success

If you discourage the young people in your organization from using their energy for good: your time is limited, not theirs!

Lead with the intent of a legacy carried on by people who want to act and to be rewarded for their effort. Let your legacy be carried by your teachings, your actions and your intent to make the world a better place by empowering the young and ambitious.

So that when that door swings shut for the final hear tears dropping not cheers from the rafters.

Don't Forget to Remember!



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Break the Mold

In an interview yesterday I was asked what was the best Tweet I ever saw.

Here it is:
@benjaminmccall - If I personally belived all statistics, then I wouldn't have accomplished anything! Break the mold.

Ben, like me, seems to be a guy who believes that convention is what got us in this mess in the first place. I am concerned that organizations are using this down time not to re-invent but to scale back. I am continually concerned that when things get better organizations will go back to the same old thing and hope it works this time.

In my consulting efforts I am always asked for 3 things:
Case Studies
Best Practices

People thirst for defendable statistics to take the guess work out of decision making. Essentially, "tell me what other companies are doing and we'll do that because if they decided it will work, it must".

If there is no where to go but up why not take a chance......if the other stuff didn't work why try it again....if everyone else is doing something and failing, does that make it right?...if Jack Welch jumped off a bridge.......(you get the idea)!

I know we're freaked out but FEAR will not move us forward, in fact, it will drag us back.

Be Bold, Be Couragious, Take a Chance.....Break the Mold!

Don't Forget to Remember!



Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Motivation

It's Monday......

I remember a time in a my life when I dreaded this day. Not Any More!

I have made many changes in my life but my renewed joy for Monday is the result of two things:

My climb out of Monday Morning Misery has produced one undeniable truth:
If you think today will suck, it will!

I left my headphones off this morning and listened to a group of retirees complain for 1.5 hours: the economy, mislead young people, a directionless country and Toyota's inability.

Their day will suck...and it might stand to reason that 70 years of unlimited potential has been wasted on these human beings. At what point did they give up, at what point did they stop pursuing their dreams and become 'the victim', at what point did they stop living and start dieing?

The effort you put into negative thought does less for the mind than uplifting thought. Uplifting thought requires no more effort but produces results.

Nothing has Ever Been Achieved as the Result of a Complaint!

How will you spend today, this week, this year? What will you do with the results? If you keep frowning not only will you fail but you will fail alone.


Let go of that which you cannot change and accept it!
Strive toward that which will ensure your happiness!
Use that which people most admire about YOU to differentiate YOU in the workplace!

It is as easy and as hard as that!

Don't Forget to Remember!



Friday, March 5, 2010

Best Picture

The Big Awards show is Sunday....all the stars will come out to get hammered because their campaign of kissing pundit ass to receive a coveted award is over and they can get back to living their abnormal lives.

To me, these awards shows are as much about who you are and who you know as they are about the art you make. James Cameron dedicated many years of his life and millions of dollars to making a film that will change the action film if it wins best picture it will confirm that technological advances and innovative film scaping have taken the place of a good script and good acting. Avatar has 'captured the imagination' of the world through production and special effects. But the flying dragon fiasco failed to create a dreamscape anywhere near what Spike Jonze and Company conceptualized!

So, my vote for Best Picture was cast for Where the Wild Things Are. This film is nothing short of a Masterpiece. For the imagination put into it and the recreation of the boundless ideas behind my favorite book as a child. The critics were not kind to this movie, which shows how very little THEY know. Have we become so jaded as a society that 3D is what drives our entertainment perspective? That we are now so lazy even in the lazy practice of cinematic observation that we need the characters in the room with us....?

Last night, I sat with my son and daughter and watched Where the Wild Things Are. We laughed and cried; they asked me questions regarding Max's frustration (empathetic to his plight). It was not an easy watch for them at times and they ran upstairs to pretend they where monsters during a fair part of the films mid-section. But when Max boarded his boat and returned home to his Mom, we smiled universally.

Where the Wild Things Are is a conveyance of the difficulty of childhood and parenting alike. It is a tribute to our imagination and where it can take us when times are tough. This film makes kids want to be grown ups and grown ups want to be kids. There is an empowerment of imagination and warning in the danger of worshiping to false idols.

I love books because they allow us to create a world in our minds that is not convertible to any type of media....except in this case. Spike Jonze, David Eggers, Tom Hanks and crew may have actually found a way to take a child's mind and throw it into the universe of the silver screen. A tribute to the great minds of our time....worked for not bought!

As the Monsters howled in blissful unison sending Max back home, my thoughts were strong: That being a kid can suck and that parents are as scared shitless as a kid in the forest. But moreso, that I was happy to see my old friend Brett this week, that I love to get emails from my friend Bob, that I am so grateful to have had a mother to read Where the Wild Things are to me and that I am happy to pass along the story to my kids.

When Catherine Keener fell asleep, her son safe in the kitchen, so did Marley Bobbie Kovacovich in my arms. My son looked up at me and asked for a chocolate sandwich. All of us back in our kingdom together, safe from all the monsters out there, but sympathetic to their need to just be part of the world.

Avatar can SUCK IT! Where the Wild Things Are is the Best picture released in 2009!

Don't Forget to Remember!



Monday, March 1, 2010

Real American Heroes

The United States and Canadian Hockey teams engaged in a classic Gold Medal match on Sunday...and I didn't watch a play.

I had more important things to do. My nephew was playing in the Catholic League 4th Grade Basketball Championship.

My son and I entered the arena to see this kid levitate above the court he played upon. Graceful in his dribbling, elegant in his shot taking and calculated in his defensive coordination. He and the boys from his block walked in to a gym across town and handed the home team a beat down!

As the game dramatically unfolded, one thing became evident: unapologetic effort! At times the dribbling was out of control, elbows were thrown and screens moved inappropriately. But the drive to succeed in these boys (and a girl) was flabbergasting. At no point did the energy run out. there was always a kid on the floor for a loose ball and fear of injury was unthinkable. It was just some kids from neighboring towns throwing down for their block in an effort to put a trophy on their bedroom shelf.

When the final whistle blew the team of marry pranksters celebrated with high fives, accepted their trophies and thanked their competitors. The smallest boy on the team carried the pride of his family on his shoulders getting knocked down and bouncing back up as his Father has; having just lost his job!

How much we can learn from these little people:

To determine our goals and drive toward them without compromise
To dedicate ourselves to our challenges
To be Humble in Victory and Accountable in Defeat

There are those who say Sunday's gold medal game saved Hockey. But, a rink filled with pros is far from Lake Placid. Give me the amateurs...those who play for the sake of achieving prizes no one will ever take from them: A trophy, some pride for a neighborhood that has seen it's share of heart break and a little more confidence to carry with them onto this marry-go-round called life.


Don't Forget to Remember!