Success requires us to start; it also demands that we persevere to the end and finish strong

persevereWhen I coach people who are beginning a new endeavor, new job, or new project I start with this quote from Lao Tzu on starting strong, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” I add to that thought a thought that we must persevere and finish strong.

“You’ll never get there if you don’t start; you’ll also never get there if you don’t finish.”– Denis McLaughlin

Starting something new is difficult and we may need encouragement to step out.  Equally important though is the determination to persevere to a successful end. Zig Ziglar put it this way, “Where you start is not as important as where you finish.”

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Are you a die-hard leader or a fair-weather leader? Part 2

Earlier in the week we discussed bob feller quotethe four things that die-hard baseball fans value more than winning: Pure Entertainment, Authenticity, Fan Bonding, and History and Tradition.

What can we learn about being a die-hard leader from loyal baseball fans?

Pure Entertainment – The die-hard leader is excited about the process it takes to win, not just winning.

Authenticity – The die-hard leader is committed to what is best for the team.

Fan Bonding – The die-hard leader has earned the respect and admiration of their team through demonstrations of character.

History and Tradition – The die-hard leader always makes decisions based on a foundation of core values.

Hall of fame pitcher Bob Feller said, “Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day…”

“The team with a die-hard leader will not only know how to be successful, but to stay successful.” – Denis McLaughlin


Imitate or Innovate, that is the question.

fork-in-the-road2Leaders have a choice to make. Should they imitate what has already been successfully done, or innovate away from the past and chart their own course?

Can a career be summed up in three words: Imitate or Innovate?

In my career I have found that the answer to the question on whether to imitate or innovate is – it depends.

Imitation is preferred when you are following success. Innovation is preferred when you are defining success.

Sometimes your job is to do it the right way; sometimes it’s to invent the right way.

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Exit row seating – are you ready, willing, and able to assist in the event of an emergency?

safety_emergency_exit_boratEarlier this week we talked about being prepared in times of crisis.  Like the oxygen mask in an airline, a well-designed plan can assist you in taking what could be a catastrophe and keep it from rising above a minor inconvenience.  I heard back from several readers who are frequent flyers and have experienced the loss of cabin pressure. Their summary of the situation was in a few words – no big deal.

Like I said on my previous post, I fly a lot.  I am not bothered in the least by any sudden unexpected changes.  However, I have witnessed panic in first time flyers when there is turbulence.  Utter terror sets in if the oxygen masks drop down due to a loss of pressure.

This is where today’s post picks up.  When you are a leader, it’s not about you and your comfort.  It doesn’t matter if the current crisis is no big deal for you; it’s about your team and what you can do to help them through their response to the emergencies.

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Why do we question our success? – Part 2

CoachteamYou have to admit, even the best coach doesn’t make an athlete a success. Neither does any leader make their team a success. In all cases, the leader makes the environment where people can be a success.

A large part of success comes from what you focus on. Since the leader sets the vision for achieving the purpose of the team, they also determine where the team will be focused.

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Why do we question our success?

Have you ever see a toddler become a success learning how to use a spoon to feed themselves? It goes something like this

Miss their mouth -> Spill

Closer to their mouth -> Spill

Spoon in the mouth -> Spill

Spoon in the mouth -> Success -> Success -> Success…

Once the toddler perfects the method of using the spoon, they continue the same process with all current and new food. They forget how not to be a success and remember only how to be a success.

As we age, we seem to lose that innate ability to accept that once a new skill is learned it can be repeated in the same and different circumstances.

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The Tough Steps To Success

Instead of focusing on the long climb, focus on the next step.

My family and I have moved many times, all for job related reasons.   We have built homes and bought homes; lived in warm climates and cold ones. We even spent one Christmas in a corporate apartment – I took the presents and the tree with me when I drove ahead of my family so Santa could visit.

No matter how many times we have reached success – found a home, school, grocery store, church, friends etc…It never gets easier.

The secret, we have found, is to plan out the steps, then take them one at a time.

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The Balancing Act of Success

It’s that time of year again: annual reviews, when all leaders document the successes of the past year.

Many times leaders feel like the circus performer balancing plates; there are so many demands, which ones do I focus on?

Leaders are required to deliver shareholder returns, customer satisfaction and employee engagement; all which are integral to the successful company.

How did you do last year balancing the success of those that invest in your company – Shareholders and Customers – with those that are your company – Employees?

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The Story of Successful Leadership: Worth Repeating

Last weekend my family and I attended a Christmas Story concert put on by the Trans Siberian Orchestra.  TSO, as they are affectionately called, puts on a $20 million dollar show filled with rock and roll guitars, moving stages, lights, and songs; all dedicated to telling the Christmas Story.

This is the traditional Christmas Story, familiar to everyone in the audience, but told in a unique, energizing format.

TSO has been touring for over 14 years and is more popular today than when they started.  Why?

For anyone who grew up in the 1980’s, the music takes you back to your youth.  But the audience was filled with all ages, so that isn’t the only draw.

Their popularity comes from the story they tell. The Christmas Story tells of a long awaited success.  It is the culmination of hope.  It is the happy ending that has come after many years of suffering.  Regardless of your background or beliefs, this is a human story.  This type of success story is one that everyone wants repeated in their life.

Make your Story of Leadership a Success worth repeating.

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