Monthly Archives: November 2015

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.


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