Monthly Archives: November 2014

Preview of future coming attractions

future coming attractionsMy family enjoys the whole experience of seeing movies at the local theatre. We like to arrive early to take in the atmosphere of the posters for all the movies that are playing, get our popcorn and other snacks, and find our way to one of the seemingly endless doors that lead to the big screens. Once seated we wait in anticipation for the show to start.

For us, half of the show is the preview of future coming attractions, the other half is the feature presentation. We like to see the previews for two reasons that apply to successful leadership. First, it allows us to make our personal future plans when we know where the industry is going. Second, it give us a glimpse into what to expect in the present (the feature film) because the future previews are geared towards what is thought to be the expectations of the audience.

Here are four reasons that successful leaders provide a preview of future attractions:

Leaders know the future is inevitable, Successful leaders understand that the future is coming whether we want it to or not. C.S. Lewis said, “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever they do, whoever they are.”

Tomorrow comes for the entire world. In fact for some it has already come. Peanuts comic strip creator Charles Schultz once joked, “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today.   It is already tomorrow in Australia.”

Planning for the future doesn’t guarantee success, but it does give you a definite plan of action to follow which brings a much higher chance for success than not.

Leaders envision the future. Now, in the present, is the time to dream of your future. Create a vision of what your perfect world would be then make plans to reach it. Eleanor Roosevelt told us, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Some of the people thought to be the wisest were also the biggest dreamers. Albert Einstein, the physics genius once said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” And Winston Churchill, the former prime minister of England during WWII said, “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.”

Leaders plan for the future. The only part of time that is already written is history. You are living today and tomorrow has yet to come. You have choices to make that will determine your future success.

“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryan.

Remember, the future will come whether you plan or not. You will play a part in the future that is created, so why not play a part in creating it?

“Control your own destiny or someone else will.” – Jack Welch

Leaders lead to the future. So the future is coming, you created a dream of what it can look like and you have plans to reach it. The final step is to take people to your dream. The best leaders don’t shout “GO”, they shout “FOLLOW.” Robert F. Kennedy taught us, “It is not enough to understand, or to see clearly. The future will be shaped in the arena of human activity, by those willing to commit their minds and their bodies to task.”

So if you want to lead your team to a successful future, do it now. As Pope John Paul II said, “The future starts today, not tomorrow.”

Negotiation – basic assumptions that work.

Mutual benefit or win-win concept of handshaking drawn with chalk on a blackboardYou’re involved in negotiation more than you think. I am not talking about large scale, multi-million dollar contracts, or even buying a house or car; I am talking about everyday life. We negotiate at various levels all the time: setting electronic game limits with your children, where to eat dinner, meetings at work. These are all times where we negotiate.


Here are a few basic assumptions that I use with every negotiation, big or small:

– Everyone wants to be successful.

– Winning doesn’t have to mean someone has to lose.

– Most people agree on a positive end state but may disagree on how to get there.

With those assumptions in mind, these four steps will lead you through a successful negotiation:

Before negotiation, do your research. Stick to the facts and only the facts. There is no room for emotion in fact gathering. Now I am not saying this is easy, but it is needed. Howard Baker, former U.S. Senator and Presidential Chief of Staff, was known as the “Great Conciliator” for his success in brokering comprise and passing legislation. He said, “The most difficult thing in any negotiation…is making sure that you strip it of the emotion and deal with the facts.”

What is the desired end state? Keep your focus forward. Remember your goal is to accomplish something good here.

What has happened? What has gone well, what didn’t go as planned? Be ready to discuss these facts later.

What didn’t happen? What items didn’t get done at all? Be ready to admit if you or your team missed something.

What needs to happen? What has to be accomplished to reach the desired end state? This is not a list of who has to do it, just a list of what.

Begin negotiation by confirming alignment on the desired end state. It is much easier to picture what things look like when they are done and working then it is to picture how to get there.

Everything begins with a purpose. What are we trying to accomplish (not how, that comes next)? It is rare that two parties can’t agree on a mutually beneficial end state – even if it is just words at the moment.

“Begin with the end in mind.” ­– Stephen Covey

Continue negotiation by moving through the roadblocks to success by asking questions that draw out the issues. Listening is one of the most powerful tools in a negotiation.

Listen to the other party state their case and do not take anything they say personally – you should already know these issues anyway from your research. Brian Koslow, President of Strategic Coaching, Inc. and Best Selling Author advises that personalities can cloud your vision:

“During a negotiation, it would be wise not to take anything personally. If you leave personalities out of it you will be able to see opportunities more objectively.”

When you have elicited all the issues from the other party it is once again your time to talk. At this point you should share the facts you learned that describe what has been working that is leading you both closer to the end state. Only after you do this should you restate what isn’t working in a factual basis with no judgment or blame. But ready to accept responsibility if you or your team dropped the ball.

Complete negotiations by restating the desired end state and the original plan to achieve it. Restate what has been done that worked, then discuss what has not worked. Lastly suggest and ask for alternatives to get to the agreed upon desired end state.

Think of this part of negotiation as asking for the sale, and the desired end state as your product. Remember, selling is a process of matching the needs of your customer with the benefits of your product. If you believe in your product and think of the other party in a negotiation as your customer, than you must ask for the sale. As Zig Ziglar said, “We miss 100 percent of the sales we don’t ask for.”


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