Are You Busy Right Now? …


Most of us juggle multiple roles as needed and sometimes at the same time.  Even within a role, you have sub-roles.  

At work, you may be a colleague, an employee, a boss, a collaborator, or a rival … all within an hour or two.  At home, you may be a spouse, a parent, a child, a sibling, or an in-law, each of which requires a different perspective and approach.

The trick here is to know which role needs our focus and energy at a particular time.  Work at your vocation in the office, but let your home be a haven for being a spouse, a partner, a parent, and sometimes a child.


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Learning Old Lessons Again …

Ghost Writer - Wikimedia CommonsI was working with some words this morning …

It’s a weekly task where I take someone else’s thoughts, add a graphic, and make the package suitable for framing, or more correctly sharing online.   Usually the words come from one person.

This week, the words came from a guest poster and I could immediately sense the difference.   The flow was not as smooth, the phrases not as clear, and the overall impact was less.

My first thought:   Well, this is not good.   It’s not as good as usual.  It’s not what I have come to expect.  

My second thought:  Well, this person is learning.  They have not done this as much as the usual word-provider.  This is how they will get better at doing it.

My conclusion:   Sometimes we react from a position of assessment, where we are judging the worth of a thing against the yardstick of excellence, when we should be allowing for growth and learning.

This is a reinforcement that much of life is a process of learning and continual improvement.  I’ll bet even the masters of word and image and thought had a few clunkers and missteps along the way to their greatest accomplishments.

So … I will send a few well-chosen words of positive and critical analysis to help the person do better next time, while I let go of the idea that everything has to be as good as possible every time.

Learning anew an old lesson about learning in the Heartland ….




A Few More Words About “Leaders Open Doors” by Bill Treasurer

Leaders Open Doors_MECH.indd

Additional comments about a book I really like, if you missed all the hoopla last week:

“Leaders are most effective when they elevate people to a higher standard of performance by opening many doors of opportunity.

Adopting an opportunity focus means viewing challenges as things to be expected, valued, and embraced.

Moving others toward opportunity, however, also mean purposefully nudging them out of comfort zones.

Opportunities are uncomfortable things, and open-door leaders help people and organizations grow to the extent that they inspire them to do the uncomfortable.” 

The above quote is just one of many that I have pulled out of Leaders Open Doors by Bill Treasurer, since it first appeared on my radar just about a year ago. He writes clearly and effectively about leadership from a distinctly open, human, and ultimately very collaborative viewpoint, which jives nicely with my thinking.

The updated version now available includes a new foreword and some stories at the end from people who have found value in this book. The stories are real and they illustrate the power of this little volume.

Two things really stand out and make me happy to suggest this book to anyone who wants to improve their ability to lead others through serving them.

First Bill really gets leadership on a very personal level.

His examples come from real life and he includes both some triumphs and some “fall on your face” failures from his own leadership journey. Read this book and you will learn some things about how to be a leader who is there for others.

No lofty discussions of strategy or corporate structure here, just a simple formula that involves being aware of the needs of those with whom you work and creating a culture where you fill those needs. Everyone wins.

… and he does all this in a highly positive manner … the guy emanates energy.

Second, Bill is one of the “Good Guys”.

The proceeds from his book sale go to help children with special needs. This is a cause near and dear to his heart and to mine. A group of us have adopted a BHAG (that’s “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” for those of you who are not fluent in bizspeak): $50, 000 raised through sales of this book in the next year. 

This is a very good thing to do and I like to support doing good things, but we need your help to make this a reality.

Frankly, I cannot think of a better combination:

Become a more effective servant leader and help children with special needs at the same time.

Buy and read this book, use this book to improve your leadership abilities, and share this book with those in your circle of influence – you will be a better person for doing so.

Continuing to enjoy the value in Leaders Open Doors in the Heartland ….



Leaders Open DoorsBill Treasurer is chief encouragement officer (CEO) of Giant Leap Consulting and the author of Courage Goes to Work, an international best-seller that introduced the new management practice of courage-building.

For over two decades Treasurer has designed leadership and succession programs for clients such as NASA, Saks Fifth Avenue, UBS Bank, CNN, Hugo Boss, the CDC, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the U.S. Veterans Administration. Prior to Giant Leap, Treasurer was an executive Accenture, a $29 billion management consulting firm. He became Accenture’s first full-time executive coach.

Treasurer is a former captain of the US High Diving Team, a cancer survivor, and the father of three children. He is a champion for the rights of people with disabilities, which includes his daughter.



Updated Disclaimer: Yes, I received a copy of this book for review.  As always, my comments represent my honest and unbiased assessment of the book’s value for others.   I continue to recommend and gift this book to those interested in becoming better leaders.

Guest Post: “Contented Workers” by Chris Edmonds

Today’s guest post is by S. Chris Edmonds, whose new book The Culture Engine:  A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace is available beginning this week.  Originally published on April 7, 2014 at

Contented Workers

How happy are your company’s employees?   The Gallup organization recently revealed the results of their research on the US communities with the most contented workers.

The Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index measures respondents’ perceptions in six areas:


· Life Evaluation: Present life situation and anticipated life situation

· Emotional Health: Daily feelings and mental state

· Work Environment: Job satisfaction and workplace interactions

· Physical Health: Physical ability to live a full life

· Healthy Behavior: Engaging in behaviors that affect physical health

· Basic Access: Feeling safe, satisfied, and optimistic within a community


Gallup and Healthways survey 500 Americans each day. They’ve conducted the Well Being Index since January 2008. The Well-Being Index is being updated in 2014 to assess respondents’ perceptions in five areas that analysis showed would be better measures of well-being. We’ll see these new focus areas in results issued next year.

The community with the most contented workers was Provo-Orem, Utah, with an overall well-being score of 71.4 on a 100-point scale. Rounding out the top three communities are Boulder, CO (with a score of 71.3) and Ft. Collins-Loveland, CO (71.1).

The three communities with the least contented workers are Huntington-Ashland, KY/WV/OH (this metropolitan area spans portions of three states) with a score of 59.5, Charleston, WV (60.0), and Redding, CA (62.0).

Numerous studies of well being and employee engagement prove that employees with high engagement and well being produce more, innovate more, and serve customers better.

What can leaders do to boost employee well being in these six areas?

Company leaders can influence communities to enact policies that inspire residents to engage in healthy activities. Getting communities to enact policies might take awhile.

Company and team leaders can certainly work to ensure job satisfaction and healthy workplace interactions. Check out my free Change This manifesto to learn how.

Team leaders don’t need a formal mandate. They can enact informal approaches that inspire team members to embrace healthy activities. Arranging lunchtime or mid-afternoon walks with interested team members can inspire physical activity. Enrolling a team in a charity walk can inspire bonding, service, and physical health.

Bringing in a yoga teacher and providing space for interested team members to do a class before or after work is increasing in popularity.

Learning new and interesting things can be as simple as bringing in outside experts for lunchtime presentations. A nutrition expert can demonstrate simple, healthy meal preparation or inform about the season’s freshest produce.

Team leaders are only limited by their own assumed constraints. If they think healthy living is something team members must do on their own, they won’t try some of these approaches. If they believe that everyone (including themselves) can benefit from exposure to healthier practices, they’ll be creative with some of these approaches.

You want to create a variety of healthy approaches for team members. Don’t mandate these activities – simply make them available, easy, and interesting.

By arranging participation in these and similar activities, your own well being – and that of team members – will grow, right before your eyes.

What do you think? How contented are you? How contented are your work peers, today? How can leaders inspire healthier opportunities daily to boost well being and engagement?




clip_image002Chris Edmonds is the founder and CEO of the Purposeful Culture Group, which he launched after a 15-year career leading and managing teams. Since 1995, he has also served as a senior consultant with the Ken Blanchard Companies.

Chris has delivered over 100 keynote speeches to audiences as large as 5,000, and guided his clients to consistently boost customer satisfaction and employee engagement by 40+% and profits by 30+%.

He is the author or co-author of six books, including “Leading At A Higher Level” with Ken Blanchard.

His next book, “The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace” will be published by John Wiley & Sons in September 2014.


Guest Post: “Can Social Help You Out-Zappos Zappos?” by Mark Babbitt

In honor of the launch of A World Gone Social by Ted Coines and Mark Babbitt this week, here are some thoughtful observations about the power of social by Mark.

share_15Can Social Help You Out-Zappos Zappos?

Author: Mark Babbitt

Think your small organization can’t compete with big guys? Think size is a disadvantage, as it was throughout the Industrial Age?

Let us introduce you to an eight-person company that beat the pants off of some of the largest, most iconic companies out there: Nike, New Balance, Adidas/Reebok, and even online retailer Zappos.

Yes, They Out-Zapposed Zappos

It all started simply enough when Ted Coine, my co-author of A World Gone Social and impulse buyer par excellence, woke up and decided he needed new running shoes, stat! So he called one of his most revered companies, the online retailer Zappos, to get some advice and place an order.

We have admired Zappos for years. The CEO, Tony Hsieh (pronounced “shay”), intentionally created a quirky, customer-obsessed culture with an intentionally relentless focus on culture. So as you read, please keep in mind that we strongly believe Zappos is a remarkable company – and we’re certain the company was having an off day when this story took place. We’re also absolutely certain that, in the Social Age, too many bad days can ruin your company—yes, even Zappos.

As we were saying, Ted woke up with running on his mind. So he called Zappos—at five o’clock in the morning Las Vegas (where Zappos is headquartered) time. His only expectation, given the reputation of Zappos and despite the early hour, was quick counsel from a human knowledgeable in all things footwear.

Within just a few moments, it was clear that Ted’s expectation would not be met.

The clerk at the other end of the line was not exactly well informed on product and was far less trained and much less focused on finding Ted a solution to his un- fortunate shoe issues. Frustrated, Ted said a polite good-bye—and ended the call without placing an order.

But Ted Coiné, the author of Spoil ’em Rotten!: Five-Star Customer Delight in Action, didn’t let it go.

Knowing Zappos is famous not just for its extraordinary service but also for the active presence its employees maintain on Twitter, he decided to throw them a meatball—a pitch so slow and right down the middle of the plate that even the newest Zapponian could easily hit a home run.

He sent a tweet to @Zappos, asking for someone to call him.

No answer. Nothing.

Disappointing—but also intriguing! Had Ted found a chink in the armor of the mighty Zappos? Ted decided to turn this should-be-easy sale into a mini-research project—one that went on for a couple of hours that morning. Ted tweeted again, asking the Zappos social media team to have a sales associate call him, informing them that he wanted to buy a pair of shoes. No one called.

Meanwhile, Ted expanded his reach. He first tweeted to Nike, the brand he already owned, and Reebok, a brand he also admired, then went directly to the running Twitter account for New Balance, another brand he liked, and the customer service handle for Zappos:

Let’s see who calls me first to sell me some running shoes (if anyone). The race is on! @newbalance @NBRunning @Zappos_Service cc @zappos

Again, nothing. Eventually, Zappos did reach out to Ted on Twitter. For some reason, however, the company refused to call him, even after he sent a private tweet (known as a DM, or “direct message”) with his phone number. Instead, the Twitter-empowered Zapponian provided Ted with the same customer service and product order phone number he had already dialed several hours earlier, when he spoke to that less-than-helpful clerk. Ted wasn’t even offered the direct extension of a knowledgeable veteran employee who would be happy to assist.

Meanwhile, in the Social Age

In what has become standard practice on social media, another company—a smaller, hungrier company than the one from the land of Zapponia, a company that generates sales by closely monitoring social media channels—was hard at work. It knew that many of its potential customers buy shoes online. It knew that many of them loved Zappos. And it knew that many who loved running would order Nikes online from Zappos.

@tedcoine We’d love to sell you some shoes! Check out our Men’s at . . . and give us a call (617) 431–3800

It turns out this socially enabled, shoe-selling start-up—specifically, an intern at the start-up—was using a low-cost monitoring tool called Sprout Social. On the Sprout dashboard (which can be closely watched from any desktop, laptop, iPad/ tablet, or smartphone), that intern was most likely monitoring a combination of keywords. In this case, perhaps those keywords included “shoes,” “running,” and “purchase.” The intern might have even been monitoring “sell me some running shoes” or maybe even “Hey, @Zappos . . . call me!”

This intern was Alex Stoyle, who followed the basic rules of social media monitoring and selling:

  • Rule No. 1: Actively listen.
  • Rule No. 2: Respond quickly.
  • Rule No. 3: Meet customers where they are now.

Alex saw Ted’s tweets (he listened). He reached out to Ted (he responded quickly). He asked Ted, via DM, for his phone number (he met the customer where he was then). Alex called Ted.

Alex Made the Sale

Alex’s employer, Topo Athletics, had just opened a few months before, with a unique design that set them apart. Ted was reluctant to try this new shoe out, so Alex walked him through the technology and the benefits. When the well of Alex’s product knowledge ran dry, he put a coworker, whose specialty was product design, on the line with Ted to answer more questions. Satisfied with the science behind the shoes, and now really rooting for the little guy, Ted placed his order.

And Ted told 300,000 of his closest friends:

I’m placing my order now with Alex at @topoathletic. This #intern grabbed my business from 4 multinational corps!! #bravo !!!!

It should be noted that, as of this writing, Ted has never heard from New Balance, Reebok, or Nike. He never heard from Zappos.

And while all these well-established, well-respected companies—which most likely have entire social media command centers backed by the best enterprise-level software available—were ignoring a potential sale, an intern at a tiny eight-person company won the day, and Ted’s business.

Alex showed them all how it’s done… in the Social Age.



Please include with your post:


promo_02Mark Babbitt is the CEO and Founder of YouTern, a talent community that enables college students, recent graduates and young careerists to become highly employable by connecting them to high-impact internships, mentors and contemporary career advice. Mark has been featured as a keynote speaker and workshop director by the Tiger Woods Foundation, Smithsonian Institute and National Association of Colleges and Employers. He is an in-demand speaker at colleges and fraternities, including UCLA, the California State University system, New York University, Delta Sigma Pi and Alpha Kappa Psi.


promo_03Together with Ted Coiné they will be releasing their book A World Gone Social on September 22, 2014.