Get on with your new job

new jobWhen you transition to a new job you have to leave the old job behind.

This doesn’t only mean if you move to a new company, this is for where you are now. It’s probably easy to think of leaving your old job behind if you change companies, but this is also for those who are promoted, transferred, or take on more responsibility within the same company. You have to leave the old job behind to succeed at the new job.

“I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.” – Albert Einstein

The key to success in this is not to just think of this when you accept a new job, it’s too late then. Plan for it to happen and it will. Your new job will need your undivided attention. There is work to do now. You have to leave your old responsibilities ready to run without you.

If you want that promotion, transfer, or more responsibility, start taking action right now in the areas of Education, Delegation, and Succession.


Provide the opportunities for your team to learn and apply what they are learning. Encourage them to take classes, and attend seminars. These are important activities for them to know what you know, and more.

There is a Japanese proverb that says, “Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.” While you will not be able to spend your days teaching your team personally, since you have your own job to do, you can invest your time sharing your knowledge and wisdom as you lead. Recognize that your team is watching what you do and listening to what you say and be purposeful in your actions and words so that they learn from you as well.


When a manager delegates, employees learn how to make appropriate decisions within their level of authority. John Maxwell says, “If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”

This is an example of what Stephen Covey said about the importance of delegation, Organizations don’t grow much without delegation…because they are confined to the capacities of the boss.” Leaders have to delegate if they want their team to be able to do what they do so they can move on to their new job.


Succession planning is of equal importance to setting the vision and strategy for the company or team. I fact everything that leaders do should be about succession planning, including setting the vision and strategy. Leaders should use every opportunity to teach and grow leaders in the organization to be able to take on their job.

One of the things we often miss in succession planning is that it should be gradual and thoughtful, with lots of sharing of information and knowledge and perspective, so that it’s almost a non-event when it happens.” – Anne Mulcahy

If you aren’t teaching someone else how you do what you do, you are letting opportunity pass you by. Your main role as the leader is to prepare a successor while you lead the team. It shouldn’t be something that is part of your long term plan to get to when you are near the end of your season – that’s too late.

Wait for it, Work for it, and Win it

patience persistence and perspiration - napoleon hillYou have big dreams. You know what you want to accomplish and it’s impactful, life changing, and rewarding. You want to get there now because when you do it will make such a difference in people’s lives. But wait for it…Success will come, but only if you are willing to be patient and wait for the big payoff, be persistent and never give up, be willing to perspire and work hard.

 “Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” – Napoleon Hill




Get the whole dream right, not just a quick imitation that won’t have lasting success. Daily accomplishments will lead you to your dreams. Don’t settle for anything less.

Arnold H. Glasow started his own business just after the depression marketing a humor magazine to businesses across the country. After sixty-years selling his humor magazine, he published his first book at the age of 92 titled, “Glasow’s Gloombusters,” which contained many of his humorous uplifting sayings. One of Glasow’s sayings stressed the importance of patience,

 “The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.”


You have admirable goals. You have a great team who supports your goals. But your plan failed. Now what? Create a new plan. If your goals are indeed admirable and you have broad support to achieve these goals, then don’t stop now.

Bjorn Borg was the first male professional to win 11 Grand Slam singles titles: six at the French Open and five consecutive at Wimbledon. Borg credits his success to his persistence,

“My greatest point is my persistence. I never give up in a match. However down I am, I fight until the last ball…I have turned a great many so-called irretrievable defeats into victories.”


Accomplishing things that matter is hard work. If it wasn’t, everyone would be doing it every day. Great ideas require great work to achieve great success.

Bil Keane, the creator of The Family Circus comic strip, worked hard to achieve his dream. He published his first cartoon in 1936 when he was 14 years old, in the amateur page of the Philadelphia Daily News. During his 3 years in the army Keane drew cartoons for the Yank, the WWII Army Weekly, and Stars and Stripes, the Department of Defense newspaper. After the Army, he drew for the Philadelphia Bulletin for 13 years. In 1960, at the age of 38, Kean premiered The Family Circus cartoon and along with the cartoon, published 86 books over 37 years.

Keane talks about his hard work creating the Family Circus when he said,  “In Roslyn, Pennsylvania, we started our real-life family circus. They provided the inspiration for my cartoons, I provided the perspiration.


Unity is diversity with a common goal

unity is strengthMy family went white water rafting in Colorado.   On the boat was the very experienced guide – who had led expeditions for years, two guides in training – who had been on daily excursions for weeks, and my family – who had never rafted before. This was a group with very diverse experience in white water rafting.

They key to our success was to all work together with a common goal: make it to the end with no one falling out. Along the way we would challenge our capabilities, form bonds with the other rafters, and have lots of fun.

The experience guide gave us specific instructions before and during the most stressful times. This prepared us for what was coming and the enabled us to maneuver through the rapids, “Row once…row twice on the right…row once on the left…” The guide and the guides in training then encouraged us with compliments on our efforts when we had made it through each turn.

Our unity to the common goal with our diverse team gave us strength, significance, and ultimately success. These same three areas can also improve your team’s performance.


Athos, Porthos, Aramis – The Three Musketeers, were joined by the loan swordsman D’artagnan to protect the king in the book by Alexandre Dumas. Their motto was “All for one and one for all.” Along with defending the king with their lives, they would also fight for each other.

Just like the different experience of people on our white water rafting excursion, unity to a common goal brings teams of diverse talents together and makes the team stronger than the individual strengths of each person.


The guide on our white water rafting excursion put is in the right seats for our level of experience, gave us encouragement and positive re-enforcement at every turn, and led us to success. This was an engaged team, we felt like we played a significant part in the success of our goals.

The average companies today have employees who are not engaged. The most recent Gallup surveys show that only 30% of employees are engaged, 50% are not engaged, and 20% are actively disengaged. Imagine how our white water rafting would have gone if we had three people following the guides rowing instructions, five with their oars out of the water and two rowing in the opposite direction.

Gallup’s research shows that employees want significance. When companies focus on allowing their people to “have the opportunity to do my best” and “understand the mission and purpose of the company” employee engagement increases.


Our white water rafting excursion was a success. Not just because no one fell in the water, but because we accomplished something we had never done before, and weren’t sure we could. My family takes trips like this all the time, pushing the limits of what we have done before, always with the help of other people who have already done what we are attempting. It is more than the individual accomplishment; it is the long term impact of stretching to achieve more.

There is an African Proverb that says “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” You see if you want your teams to go farther than they have ever gone, a unified team of diverse people will get you there.


Why so complicated? Simplify.

complicated simpleWhen Ford sold the Model T in 1908 it was the first mass-produced car for the middle class. Henry Ford had a simple vision, “I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best material, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise…” When demand for the Model T increased dramatically in 1913, Ford switched to using only black paint to increase the efficiency of the assembly line and to keep prices affordable. It is here that Henry Ford is often quoted as saying, “Any customer can have any color paint as long as it’s black.” It was a simple vision.

By 2006 Ford was selling cars under nine different brands in six continents. It had become a much more complicated business and Ford lost $12.6 billion that year, the year that Alan Mulally became the CEO and began what would become one of the greatest turnarounds in business history.

Mulally re-focused Ford to simplify the business and return to profit using the same process he used as the CEO of Boeing, the same process that other great leaders had used in the past: Simplify the Message, Simplify the Schedule, and Simplify the Measurements. If you find yourself in a business that has gotten to complicated, take a look at this three-step process.

Simplify the message

Steve Jobs was a master at simple messaging. From the Apple logo to every new product release, the message was clear and easy to understand. Jobs said, “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Alan Mulally started with harkening back to the simpler time of the Model T. Henry Ford envisioned, “Opening the highways for all mankind,” According to Mulally, you have to figure out a way to, “Get every employee to understand the vision of the company, buy in to the plan, and feel supported in their jobs.”

Mulally introduced a simple message called One Ford. “One Ford optimizes our collective strength by aligning our efforts toward a common definition of success, with a clear focus on the skills and behaviors we must develop to accomplish One Team, One Plan, One Goal,”  This would bring all the global businesses together to more efficiently and effectively achieve success.  This included simple behaviors that were fundamental to One Ford: Foster Functional and Technical Excellence, Own Working Together, Role Model Ford Values, Deliver Results.

Simplify the schedule

Jim Rohn is best known for being a bestselling author and motivational speaker. He began his career as an entrepreneur in the direct selling business where he learned his craft and developed methods for success. Rohn’s simple method for success is stated as follows, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day”

Alan Mulally joined as the CEO of Ford during “Meeting Week.” This was the time of the month when all of the corporate meetings happened across one entire week; finance, sales, products and others. Mulally sat through the week then cancelled all of the meetings and replaced them with one weekly “Business Plan Review,” meeting where the strategic focus of the company would be reviewed all in one day. If problems were identified in this meeting, follow-up meetings would be scheduled to dig deeper and identify solutions.

This new meeting structure brought the entire company into focus for every executive to see, offer opinions and solutions in line with the One Ford message of working as One Team, with One Plan, and One Goal.

Simplify the measurements

Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was the author of 51 books that sold over 600 million copies that were translated into 20 languages. His books covered deep, complicated subjects in simple ways that everyone from the youngest toddler to the oldest adult could understand. Seuss said, “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

When Mulally joined Ford in 2006, the automotive business was complicated, and it would remain complicated. But Mulally could handle complicated. When asked how he would handle auto manufacturing when a car has 10,000 moving parts, the former Boeing CEO responded, “An airplane has two million, and it has to stay up in the air.” The questions would remain complicated while the answers would be simple.

Gone were the long presentations during “Meeting Week” from every division and they were replaced with color coded charts in the “Business Plan Review” that showed the same data for each division so everyone knew if they were on track or not, where they were not, they would talk about how to get on track. Mulally is known to tell his team to, “Let the data set you free.” These simple measurements would foster greater unity across the whole team in line with the One Ford message of working as One Team, with One Plan, and One Goal.


You are not in this alone

wright brothers dreamsWhat do you want to do in school, work, or your life? What is your dream? I hope it is so big that you have no idea at this moment how you can ever accomplish it. The good news is you are not in this alone.

Orville and Wilbur Wright dreamed of human flight from the time they were boys. They didn’t know exactly how it could be achieved, but they were determined that they could do it – but not alone.

In 1899, Wilbur Wright wrote a letter to the Smithsonian Institute. He explained how he had studied the work of early aeronautical scientists and asked for all papers that the Smithsonian had published on human flight, and a list of all other works in print. Wilbur and Orville studied all the scientific books that they received, as well as one book titled Empire of the Air, by Louis Pierre Moullard which discussed the possibility of achieving human flight by studying the birds in flight.

Wilbur then began communicating with and questioning the most well-known aeronautical engineers of the time including Octave Chanute, who gave the brothers the idea to perform their experiments on the coasts of the Carolinas (where their famous Kitty Hawk flight took place).

Using the knowledge they received, their ingenuity and talents, along with the help of mechanics, carpenters and land owners, the Wright Brothers decided that human flight would come only from the combination of the right machinery (as observed from the scientists) and skill in operating the machinery (as observed from bird watching). The rest is history.

What do you want to do in school, work, or your life? I hope it is so big that you have no idea at this moment how you can ever accomplish it just like the Wright Brothers dreamed of human flight. Remember, you are not in this alone.

Recruit others into your dreams.

Wilbur Wright had Orville Wright as they built the first manned airplane. Steve Wozniak had Steve Jobs as they built the first Apple computer. Ben had Jerry as they founded the ice-cream empire. Each of these partners had the same dream but different strengths and roles in the ultimate success. Surround yourself with others who can help keep the passion for the dream alive.

“It takes teamwork to make the dream work.”

Research the existing facts of success and failure.

Learn from what others have done that is the same or similar to what you are trying to do. Their success or failure will help you determine what to do or not to do. Just like Wilbur Wright read all he could about human flight and saw the limitations of current airplane designs, Steve Wozniak read all the research he could find on the growing field of personal computers as he built the first Apple Computer. Remember your goal is to deliver on your dream, one that is bigger than you know how to deliver on your own.

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” – Albert Einstein

Reach out to those that have been on the same path before.

Reading all the research that has been compiled and studying all the success and failures is very important and an integral step in the process of achieving your dreams. But nothing compares with talking with and working side by side those who have been on the same path that you are now on. The Wright Brothers, especially Wilbur, spent significant time with others who had and were pursuing the dream of human flight across several countries.

Find mentors who are willing to invest time to help you accomplish your dream just as they did. You will find that those who have a passion for their dreams, usually have the same passion to help others achieve their dreams.

“A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years of mere study of books.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The proof is in the results

ResultsEverything has a bottom line that shows the results. In accounting this is where the sum of all the debits and credits are called the net profit. It is the difference between what you achieved and what it cost you to achieve it.

You may be in a business selling computers, or a nonprofit providing assistance to the homeless, or coaching a college football team. It doesn’t matter what you are trying to accomplish, leaders are in it to win it and there are measurable results. As you win it, leaders provide the opportunity for their team members to learn, develop their strengths, and grow into greater roles. These too have measurable results.

I have a philosophy that if you accomplish both of these results leaders will be more successful, I like to say, “Don’t use people to complete projects, use projects to complete people.” You can get both of these right.

Peter Drucker, the founder of modern management, said, “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.” This doesn’t mean you don’t make speeches or worked to be liked, it means you make speeches to encourage and celebrate results, and are liked because of the results your leadership brings.

Here are the three ways to set yourself up to achieve positive results:

Set big goals

“Big results require big ambitions.” – Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher circa 500 BC

If you want to make a difference in the world and in the lives of as many people as you can, then go big. Don’t settle for what is easy, challenge yourself and your team to be the best at whatever you do over the long-term.

Set short steps

“You don’t get results by focusing on results. You get results by focusing on the actions that produce results.” – Mike Hawkins, author, speaker and consultant on coaching leaders to lead as coaches.

Now that you have set big long-term goals, you will only get there by taking definite short-term steps. Everything you plan to do must lead you and your team closer to the end. Never get discouraged, just keep moving forward, adjusting your plan as needed.

Set clear expectations

“Don’t tell me how busy you are. Show me what you’ve gotten done. Words don’t matter. Results do.” – Larry Winget, Author of six NYT bestselling books on personal development.

Even short-term steps require the measuring of results. Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. Make even the smallest step worth something. Give it your all.


I am speaking at the Project Management Institute in Chicago later this week.  I will be discussing Leadership in Project Management using the strategies outlined in my best selling book The Leadership GPS – Your Turn by Turn Guide to Becoming a Successful Leader and Changing Lives Long the Way.

In honor of my appearance at the PMI, I am offering copies of my book at reduced prices for a limited time. Regularly priced at $19.99, the print version is selling for only $7.00.  And regularly priced at $9.99 the Kindle version is selling for only $3.50.

Please click on the links below to be taken to Amazon to purchase copies of The Leadership GPS.

The Leadership GPS Book on AmazonThe Leadership GPS – Print

The Leadership GPS – Kindle

The Delegator

Team with his leaderMalcolm Forbes, the former publisher of Forbes magazine, had a saying that might sound like he was joking, but there was much truth in it, “When in doubt, route.” Here is how he described what he meant, “If you don’t know what to do with many of the papers piled on your desk, stick a dozen colleagues’ names on them and pass them along.”

This is a real life example of what Stephen Covey said about the importance of delegation, Organizations don’t grow much without delegation…because they are confined to the capacities of the boss.” You see, successful leaders have to be Delegators – you don’t know how to do everything, and even if you did you don’t have the time.

But, there is a misperception of how successful delegation works. Some people think that if you are a delegator you are giving away the responsibility to achieve success. This is not the way it works. A Delegator does not give away and go away, they are here to stay, but in a different way. Here are the three steps of a Delegator.

The three steps of a Delegator:

Establish the vision

Even though you are delegating much of what you do, one thing that you can’t delegate is establishing the vision for the team – this one is 100 percent yours. You decide and describe where the team is going and what success looks like.

Eli Broad founded two Fortune 500 companies in different industries (KB Homes and SunAmerica). When running KB homes, Broad signed off on every decision about the land they would build homes on, “I made sure always to know where we were buying, what the market was like there, and what the lot would do for us.”

Broad didn’t exert that type of control on everything, “Once you’ve identified your crucial tasks and sorted out your priorities, try to find a way to delegate everything else.” He went on to say, “The trick to delegating is to make sure your employees share your priorities.” This is the key to establishing the vision.

Agree to the strategy

Now you should be ready to share control. This is the big picture of how the vision will be accomplished. Here the delegator works with the team to develop the strategy, ensuring it aligns with the vision. This step is 50/50 between the delegator and the team. Open dialogue, and differing opinions are heard to come to the right answer.

Leaders don’t need to have every answer, but they do need to find every answer. That is the shared part.

John Maxwell is an international bestselling author on Leadership and he also founded and leads several companies (Equip, Maximum Impact, and The John Maxwell Team).

John says that delegating the big picture strategy is important because it allows him to do what is important to him. He recognizes the other end to this delegation, “Assignments are not always done ‘my way’. But I have discovered that most things can be accomplished effectively in many ways.”

Activate the plan

Now you are ready for the strategy to be accomplished using the strengths and talents of each person on the team. These are the short term actions that if successful will lead to accomplishing the vision.

Here is where some Delegators incorrectly give up all control and hope that success will come. The real success comes when you understand that you will accomplish what you inspect, not what you expect. While you should let your team make 100 percent of the day to day decisions, you have to stay connected to see that everything is heading in the right direction.

Wayne Huizenga, the founder of AutoNation, Waste Management, and Blockbuster described his role as a delegator like this, “I give authority, but I stay in touch. Otherwise it doesn’t work.”

Manage through stability, lead through change

Change leadershipWhen nothing is changing, you manage. When change comes along, you lead. Here’s the punch line: Things are always changing.

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different…”- C.S. Lewis

Borders Booksellers overinvested in managing their store locations but underinvested in online capability and ended in bankruptcy.

PayPal saw the future and led the company from its beginnings in cryptography, then transmitting money via PDAs, and after a few more years became the successful online payment system we know today.

How do you lead through change?

Envision the future

When I travel in new cities I always use my GPS to drive. Not just for the obvious reason of not knowing where I am going, but also to plan ahead for the changes. The GPS lists the next few turns so I know which lane to switch to and how much time I have to get there.

I use this same method to prepare my team for the future. We all talk about our destination and the next few changes that are coming up so that we are always prepared for what’s next.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy

Engage those that are ready

Change only happens when people are ready for change to happen. Don’t give up if everyone is not ready for the change. Start with those that are ready and show the results of change, then others will follow.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw

Energize the process

The process of change is not one and done but a series of next steps. You need to build a process where the outcome is change. Don’t let change surprise you. Be a team whose core competency is change leadership. Have a plan that you execute every time.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” ­– Winston Churchill


Believe you can succeed

believeIf you don’t believe you can, you will look for evidence that you aren’t. If you do believe you can, you will look for opportunities so you will.

Read on for the stories of three people who faced significant challenges in life but believed they could succeed – and did.

Theodore Roosevelt

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

From an early age Theodore Roosevelt suffered from severe bronchial asthma that would wake him in the night panicking as he gasped for breath. These attacks lasted well into his childhood and along with other illnesses left him thin and small for his age. At the encouragement of his father he began the process of exercising and weight lifting to transform himself into a muscular man unafraid of any challenge.

Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States. His political career took him from a New York State Assemblyman, to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy to the Governor of New York to the Vice Presidency before becoming the 26th President.

Gail Devers

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”

Gail Devers was diagnosed with Graves’ disease early in her running career. The treatment caused her feet to swell and form blisters to the point where she could no longer walk and had to be carried or crawl. Her doctor considered amputating her feet. She was determined to run again and after the treatment ended she returned to training.

Gail Devers went on to win three Olympic Gold Medals in running. She also won fifteen other gold and silver medals in world running championships.

Marie Curie

“Life is not easy, for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

Marie Curie’s family lost their property and fortunes in late 1800’s political struggles in Poland. The left her and her siblings without the financial wherewithal to pursue higher education without significant effort. After working as a governess and tutor for five years to pay for her sister’s education, Curie was able to attend the University of Paris and obtain her degree in Physics by studying during the day and tutoring at night often eating nothing more than buttered bread and tea due to a lack of finances.

Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the only person to win twice in multiple sciences – both Physics and Chemistry.

Vision – Strategy – Implementation

vision strategy implementationGreat success is only accomplished when we first establish a picture of what success looks like when we are done. Vision is the “what” of success that is described to get buy in.

A great vision can only be fulfilled if you have a plan to reach it. Strategy is the “how” of success that is designed to be executed.

Describing success through a vision, and designing a plan to reach it through a strategy brings nothing unless you actually do what you designed, to achieve what you described. Implementation is the “who” and “when” of success.

In a recent speech, Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Boeing and Ford said, “The thing I’ve found over the years…is the absolute importance of three universal principles: a compelling vision, a comprehensive strategy, and a relentless implementation process to deliver that strategy and vision,”

Describe it – Vision

Success doesn’t happen overnight. As we move through the days, weeks, and months of activity we all need something to remind us why we are doing what we do. Vision is a motivator. When we hit the wall it gives us strength to keep going. Vision is a beacon. When the path we are on is blocked it provides direction to get back on track.

“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed, the vision pulls you.”- Steve Jobs

Design it – Strategy

You know where you are and you described where you want to go. Now you need to decide how you are going to get there. Projects are complicated and require many steps in the right order to succeed. Strategy is an organizer. When we need to put the puzzle pieces together, it shows us how they all fit. Strategy is a balancer. When we have multiple priorities, it provides guidance on which to choose.

“Without strategy, execution is aimless.” – Morris Chang, the founding Chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, known as the father of Taiwan’s chip industry.

Do it – Implementation

The difference between what you are and what you want to be is what you do. No lumberjack ever talked a tree into falling down. Implementation is an energizer. The first step is always the hardest but once started the next steps come easier. Implementation is a celebrator. Once you have made some steps forward you can look back and see how far you have come.

“Organizations are successful because of good implementation, not good business plans.” – Guy Kawasaki, Silicon Valley marketing executive and bestselling author.

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