Joined on the show this week by Neen James, an attention expert, consultant, speaker, and author of the new book, Attention Pays: How to Drive Profitability, Productivity, and Accountability.Learn more here!
Notes + discussion guide from today’s conversation with Neen James:
1. Getting attention vs. paying attention. What is the definition of attention in the context of this conversation? And also, it’s a little about KEEPING the attention too.
2. Paying attention is active, it’s a process of giving. And you need to pay attention personally (who), professionally (what), and globally (how).
2a. “Attention is a choice!”
3. But what do you pay attention to?
4. What is the over-trilogy, and why does it matter to us?
5. Importance of dedicating 15 minutes each day to determine three must-dos that will move you forward towards your true goal. This is where you prioritize your priorities. How do we actually do this? (And you need to write them down!)
6. “You cannot manage time, but you can manage your attention.”
7. “We are good with external accountability, but not good with internal accountability.”
8. “If you don’t know why you are doing something, you are less likely to hold yourself accountable to do it.”
9. How do we improve our focus? First, understanding what is really distracting you.
10. “Listen with your eyes!” (advice from a five-year old…)
11. “You have to be influential Monday to Monday…”
12. “Do you people realize how powerful they are?”
13. “You can, or you can’t…you choose.”
14. How does any of this lead to profits? (one hint: add-on sales!)
Find Neen James’ book here:
About Neen James:
Neen James is the author of Folding Time™ and Attention Pays™. In 2017, she was named one of the Top 30 Leadership Speakers by Global Guru because of her work with companies like Viacom, Comcast, and Abbot Pharmaceuticals among others.
Neen has boundless energy, is quick-witted and always offers powerful strategies for paying attention to what matters so you can get more done and create more significant moments at work, and home.
Neen is the kind of speaker that engages, educates, entertains, and delivers the real-world solutions that apply in your organization, your home, and your community. She also provides one-on-one consulting in a variety of leadership topics and loves serving her audiences.
I would have thought by now; more business leaders would be using the transformative capability of creativity to invigorate their companies. Instead, creativity remains widely misunderstood, and I’m not sure why.
Uninspired leaders may think that buying a couple of bean bag chairs or a foosball table for the company break room qualifies as a creative culture. Fortunately, creativity doesn’t work that way. I guess since creativity doesn’t follow a predictable formula, it can cause trepidation and an unwillingness to embrace its influence.
It all starts at the top. A inspired leader will set the tone for the company, which ultimately affects the culture. If the culture is one of collaboration, trust, patience, mutual respect where everyone has a clear idea of the mission they signed on for, then creativity is more likely to make its presence felt. The best leaders know that for creativity to work, certain conditions must be in place if they want to see trackable results. A note of caution. If the sole reason for setting up a creative culture is to just make more money, it’ll fail pretty fast. Money is an outcome, not a strategy. Yes, I realize that money is essential to maintain and grow a business, but it shouldn’t drive every decision.
Here are five essential elements that go into setting up a creative culture. They all work together to set the conditions for creativity to flourish.
1. Authenticity. I believe it’s the one element that must be present inside the people leading the company if there’s any hope at all of creating a culture where innovation can thrive. If management is constantly reminding people how they are not living up to their potential or that everyone needs to work harder, or spends their day making people feel uncomfortable, the business will struggle to survive. That approach may have worked during the height of the industrial revolution, but not anymore. People today want to work for companies who value their commitment and dedication they bring to their career.
2. Vulnerability. There’s nothing worse than a boss who thinks they have to have all the answers. The best leaders empower others to find solutions. Leaders that trust the people they hire will be amazed at how those individuals will rise up to solve the businesses challenges. Author Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston who writes and lectures on the topic of vulnerability, said this, “To declare oneself “not vulnerable” would be inauthentic and would leave a leader living in a perpetual state of denial and stress. So it’s better and more courageous for every leader to acknowledge the fact that vulnerability is there.” When you embrace vulnerability, you shouldn’t be surprised when members of your team, immediately step up to offer their help and assistance.”
3. Risk. One of the absolute worst things a leader can do is stigmatize mistakes. Everyone make mistakes. It’s a part of the process of coming up with big ideas. Not everything you try is going to work, and that’s okay. Success and failure are not opposites, they are two sides of the same coin. Some of the world’s most significant discoveries happened due to unintended outcomes. The wheel, the printing press, post-it notes, the microwave oven, penicillin, teflon, play-doh, were all created by accident while their inventors were working on solving a different problem. Creativity will not prosper in any organization if everyone is terrified of making a mistake. British Comedy legend and Monty Python member John Cleese agrees. “Nothing will stop you being creative more effectively as the fear of making mistakes.” A leader who allows people to risk being wrong, is one who understands that mistakes can often be a stimulus to a better idea.
4. Flexibility. A crucial element in creating the right conditions in a creative culture, flexibility allows managers to be open to trying new approaches. Flexibility breeds innovation and a sense of excitement within the organization. People do their best when they are empowered and encouraged to seek out new alternatives to issues and challenges without fear of reprisals. In any worthwhile business endeavor, it’s important to remain steadfast in the mission, but flexible in the approach. Business author and management consultant Tom Peters sums up flexibility like this, “Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.”
5. Diversity. Our differences will always make us unique. If everyone is looking at a problem from the same perspective, more than likely no new insights will emerge. In problem-solving, it’s important to know that ideas can come from anyone. A diverse environment will go along way in helping people look at problems from multiple angles. Try not to put people in silos. Value everyone’s opinion, because the more input, the increase the odds solving the challenge. Stephen Covey, author of ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, said this, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.”
While this may seem like common sense advice, too many business leaders are not willing to invest in the creative health of their employees. My hope is that in the coming years, that will start to change.
In 2014, Forrester Consulting was asked by Adobe® to quantify and qualify just how creativity impacts business results. The study was surprised to discover that companies that embrace a creative culture outperform peers and competitors on many key business performance indicators, including revenue growth, market share, and talent acquisition.
I’ve outlined just five of the elements that go in to building a healthy, creative culture. In the best companies I’ve worked in, all five elements were present. Yes, it’s a process that requires everyone’s full participation, but one where the benefits far outweigh the risks.
WILLIAM CHILDS | Creative Director | Brand Storyteller | Columnist | Optimist
Bill is an accomplished creative leader with a history of delivering award-winning campaigns for a variety of businesses. Relentlessly dedicated to the skillful and creative translation of strategic business objectives, he’s known as a collaborative mentor and champion of fearless creativity. With a career spanning three decades, Childs knows how to take an acceptable idea and turn it into an exceptional one. His reputation of setting high creative standards while helping to create a culture of genuine collaboration and engagement is one of things he’s most proud of across his career. Recognizing and mentoring talent, and building high-performing, cohesive teams is one of his passions. Email.Website.Twitter.LinkedIn.
(from the book): Being a Modern Elder is all about reciprocity. Giving and receiving. Teaching and learning. Speaking and listening. Everyone gets older, but not everyone gets elder.
Joined on the show today by Chip Conley: Hotelier, author, social alchemist, disruptor, student, sage, and Modern Elder. He’s the author of a new book called Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder.Learn more at ChipConley.com.
NOTES + DISCUSSION GUIDE FROM MY CONVERSATION WITH CHIP CONLEY:
This book is for the person who can and should become a modern elder. But this is also for the young professional who should learn how to tap into the wisdom of a modern elder, yes?
The bigger problem is a feeling of irrelevance in the current workforce, yes?
Long view vs. short view…tapping into an elder can help with the long view…
Wisdom is a growing national resource…
They can teach us emotional intelligence, self-reflection, and empathy…
Knowing you can be relevant longer, we need to keep learning new skills…
Modern elder: judgement, insight, emotional intelligence, holistic thinking, stewardship
FOUR LESSONS: evolve, learn, collaborate, counsel
Evolution can accelerate as your age.
Reframe your identity.
Human to human, not B to B, or B to C.
Be a confidant to younger people, learn true pulse of the organization.
Personal network effect.
At this stage, you focus on the essence more than the actions….the being more than the doing.
Facilitating intergenerational collaboration (fostering true innovation).
Shift away from the age-old lifecycle: education, work, retirement.
Now it’s raw, cooked, burned, and raw again…
Anti-generational thinking, or, perennials.
Rewire vs. retire. When did you peak? Or is that still ahead of you?
Find Chip Conley’s book here:
About Chip Conley (from his website):
Rebel hospitality entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author, Chip Conley disrupted his favorite industry… twice. At age 26 he founded Joie de Vivre Hospitality (JdV), transforming an inner-city motel into the second largest boutique hotel brand in America. He sold JdV after running it as CEO for 24 years, and soon the young founders of Airbnb asked him to help transform their promising start-up into the world’s leading hospitality brand. Chip served as Airbnb’s Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy for four years and today acts as the company’s Strategic Advisor for Hospitality and Leadership. His five books have made him a leading authority at the intersection of psychology and business. Chip was awarded “Most Innovative CEO” by the San Francisco Business Times, is the recipient of hospitality’s highest honor, the Pioneer Award, and holds a BA and MBA from Stanford University.
“Making a wrong decision is understandable. Refusing to search continually for learning is not.” Philip B Crosby
“Don’t think just do.” were the words I heard between a doubleheader at my son’s High School. How can that be a good method to operate, I thought out loud. “You need to have a plan before you take action. You don’t launch the ball towards the infield. The infield doesn’t just throw the ball towards the pitcher every time there’s a hit. You have to think about the situation and have a plan of action.” I said looking at my son. “Yeah but these guys take too long when the ball is coming at them. Just do it!” My son stated in frustration glancing towards the dugout. The defeating part for my son was knowing that there is a problem and not having the time to critically think about the solution before the next game.
How many times does this same frustration manifest itself at your work, where the people surrounding you seem unfocused and aggravatingly slow? Where one finds themselves pondering how to fix the problem or to give up and agree with the old adage “If you want it done right do it yourself.”? The former takes critical thinking where the latter will heap on additional responsibilities and lead to employee dissatisfaction. The real questions for business leaders and managers is how to create an environment that functions profitably at the speed of business.
Outside of the military or first responders, organizations do not have situations that require acting on instinct. Even inside these occupations instincts are shaped through a set of per planned responses to a given event. For the military, there are battle drills. Battle drills are rehearsed until they are muscle memory and can be executed within seconds after a command is given. They are simplistic, easily remembered, and work well for times when thinking is not an option. Battle Drill’s leverage the flight or flight response in our brains and only at advanced levels of training are these basic instincts overridden. This is when the flight response is approached from a position of critical thinking that takes into account the probability of effects and reactions of executing an action. The military teaches the acronym OODA (Observe Orientate Decide and Act) loop. OODA is trained as a loop because it loops back on itself repeating the process until a positive outcome is achieved. Essentially it is a sped up version of critical thinking for the warfighter. At a simplistic level, it’s a profitable method for teaching members of any team how to quickly make better decisions in bad situations.
The game of baseball is not unlike a company, business, or team in the corporate world. Like baseball teams, they need the right people in the right positions at the right time to win or create positive ROI. Highly effective organizations have individuals that can substitute one person to cover another when needed. To reach this level of performance managers and leaders need to ensure that training is done in a method that will teach the necessary skills to be effective at a particular task and provide latitude to be creative in unfamiliar territory. To do this effectively critical thinking skills are required. In an article on critical thinking by the International Institute of Directors & Managers, it had this to say.
For organizations with a need to change how they play the game to keep pace with an ever-changing environment, leaders must train themselves to resist the urge to “Just do it” or act on instinct. The leader that masters critical thinking in stressful situations and implements processes that include critical thinking within difficult constraints will create better ROI. The organization that teaches these methods to their team members will outpace the competition. Below are some actions to take to help with decision making and critical thinking gathered from the book Intrepid Professionals:
Write down a list of people who are dependent on and influenced by the decisions you make. You impact the people immediately around you. You impact the people they touch. You impact future generations who are watching you. You are an impact whether you want to be or not. Does that awareness change the way you make decisions?
Decisions are nothing more than a pivotal time in your history that either validate the path you are on or divert your path on another course. It is necessary for growth, learning, and mastery of anything great. Write down five things that you know about yourself in regard to decision making. Now, write down five abilities you know you possess or will be working on as you face the next decision. Lastly, imagine that big decision happening now. What precisely are you going to do?
How are you preparing to make the next decision? What is your habit when your planned outcome is challenged, blocked, or simply fails? Think back to the last quick decision you made; review why you took your actions. What can you learn from the results of the last decision you made about past measurable outcomes such as profit or loss?
CHRIS SCHAFER is a retired Green Beret and the COO of Tactical16 Publishing. He is an expert in leadership and business development with 13 years of experience. Chirs Co-Author the book Intrepid professionals. A book that equips executives, managers, entrepreneurs and self-improvement seekers to understand and leverage principles of the military mindset. Chirs has advised foreign militaries, worked in 20 countries, and with numerous U.S. agencies including the FBI and DEA. He resides with his wife and children in beautiful Colorado.
Joined on the show today by C. Lee Smith, the CEO of SalesFuel. Learn more here!
Notes and discussion guide from my conversation with C. Lee Smith:
1. Important to develop a sales person, yes. But also very important to develop a sales manager. Critical!
2. What is sales enablement? (What tools and support can you provide to ENABLE a person to sell effectively).
3. What are the key problems with sales management? Just because people are good at sales doesn’t necessarily translate to being good managers. Poor training of managers…
4. “Sales managers should be positive reinforcers, not enforcers.”
5. “Sales reps are quick to leave a poor manager.”
6. “Leadership isn’t about managing tasks, it’s about developing people.”
7. Why is culture so important to a sales team? “Culture is NOT what management says, it’s what the employees perceive it to be.” We discuss the four facets of culture…
8. Recruitment vs. retention.
9. Leaders have to model the behaviors they want to see in their teams.
10. Talent development never ends. Training and learning should be an ongoing process.
About C. Lee Smith:
Uniquely geared to service the fast-changing sales landscape, C. Lee Smith is one of the country’s foremost experts on sales teams, development, assessments and performance. His other areas of expertise include consumer behaviors, advertising, small business marketing and audience segmentation.
His creativity, thought leadership and ability to lead teams has steered 28 years of SalesFuel growth and Smith has never needed to look back. The hallmark of Smith’s leadership is steadily creating new tools for clients to maximize sales and revenue when the way buyers and sellers interact with each other is constantly changing.
2017 marked the launch of his latest creation, TeamKeeper®, a data-driven talent retention platform for sales management. TeamKeeper leverages data to provide personalized recommendations for discovering, developing and engaging employees. The new offering is a first of its kind, giving sales managers access to actionable data and tools to develop a customized management approach for each employee. It empowers sales managers to discover characteristics about candidates and employees, aids with coaching, and improves employee engagement – increasing revenue and improving top talent retention.
Lee is also the creator of AdMall® – the nation’s leading provider of consultative sales intelligence for local advertising and digital media sales – used by more than 2,000 media properties across America. Additionally, Smith is the driving force behind online audience optimization via his annual AudienceSCAN® survey, SalesFuel’s exclusive study of American shoppers, audiences and decision makers.
He is the founder and publisher of Media Sales Today, an ezine and thought leadership website. His newest blog creation, SalesFuel Today, includes daily management advice, new sales intelligence from SalesFuel, hot conversation topics, trending customers from AudienceSCAN and the motivational tip of the day. The company’s SalesFuel Insights mobile app is another key tool, delivering timely sales advice and marketing insights directly to your mobile device.
Another prong of support and education to help stakeholders evolve is Smith’s creation of SalesFuel’s annual, proprietary State of Media Sales™ survey. Since 2009, it has provided the most comprehensive independent study to identify the current landscape and emerging media sales trends and is widely anticipated within the space.
The genesis of all this occurred in 1989 when Smith created the company while working full-time at The Columbus Dispatch newspaper. Developing AdTracker computer software to aid cable television sales teams, his first sale to Time Warner’s local team in Lima, Ohio propelled him out of the paper and into entrepreneurship. Smith’s passion for sales is driven by his love of rallying teams around new, sometimes challenging, techniques and ideas, as well as a keen hunger to understand his client’s end clients.
Smith has an Executive Leadership Certificate from Cornell University and is a Gitomer Certified Advisor, one of just 151 professionals worldwide licensed to train and consult using the works of Jeffrey Gitomer. Smith is a speaker and panelist at industry trade shows and events. He did his undergraduate work at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
His thought leadership puts him in the media regularly, including this recent article in Martech Advisor. When not planning SalesFuel’s next breakthrough tool for his clients, you can find Smith on his bicycle riding with his team, The Honey Badgers, raising money for many charitable organizations. He has also served as Public Image Chair for Rotary International’s District 6690 which encompasses 59 Rotary clubs in Central and Southeast Ohio.
Joined on the show by Tanya Hall, the CEO of Greenleaf Book Group, and the author of Ideas, Influence, and Income.Learn more about Tanya here!
Discussion guide / notes from my conversation with Tanya Hall:
1. How do you truly “make money” from a book?
2. A book as cornerstone to a broader content strategy.
3. A book as a business tool, a “word-of-mouth” tool.
4. “You want your book to pre-qualify you as a potential vendor.”
5. With regards to your book, how do you get clarity on both your message AND your audience?
6. How to produce an actual manuscript (the process of writing)? A detailed outline, defining the structure…
7. How to choose a publishing option (traditional publishing house vs. self-publishing).
8. Building a platform (your ability to reach an audience that is interested in what you have to say), and why that’s necessary. You not only have to write the book, you have to help promote it.
9. For most of us, publishing a book provides the impetus to actually build a platform, which is where we can truly leverage business development opportunities.
10. Things to think about with regards the actual book launch. You get one shot, so plan well. This might take a year of work.
11. How to use your book to leverage other streams of income (keynotes, workshops, consulting, online learning platforms).
Find Tanya Hall’s book here:
About Tanya Hall:
Tanya has been empowering authors to tell their stories since she joined Greenleaf Book Group in 2004. As the company’s Chief Executive, Tanya fosters a culture of innovation centered on creating new opportunities to better serve authors.
As the first hybrid publisher, Greenleaf Book Group has been at the forefront of innovative publishing for 20 years and continues to grow in response to author needs, morphing from a book distributor to a full-service publishing house that now includes an author branding department.
Having worked closely with retailers while building Greenleaf’s sales and distribution channels, Tanya knows first-hand how the power of a book can be amplified through a strong author brand—and, in turn, how a brand can be amplified by a book. She writes regularly on personal branding, leadership, and the publishing industry for Inc.com and hosts the podcast Published, which guides authors through all areas of publishing. She regularly speaks and writes on the publishing business so that potential authors will have a clear understanding of the industry and how to succeed within it.
Before joining the publishing industry, Tanya worked in digital media and as a television producer for Extra! and E! Entertainment Television. She lives in Austin with her two daughters and a house full of animals.
Amy Charity joins us on the show today, a retired professional cyclist and the author of The Wrong Side of Comfortable: Chase your dream, Discover your potential, Transform your life.Learn more about Amy Charity here.
Discussion guide and notes from my conversation with Amy Charity:
1. A classic conversation about a person who successfully left a corporate career to pursue a personal passion…taking a risk to left a comfortable life to pursue the unknown.
2. “It’s never too late.” Amy started her professional biking career in her mid-thirties.
3. How do people get unstuck and find the spark that finally enables them to pursue their passion? Don’t be afraid of taking little steps that slowly move towards success here. Small steps matter.
4. What is the wrong side of comfortable? Getting out of the comfort zone, and into the learning zone. “It’s only when you are on the edge that you are learning.” You HAVE to expand what YOU think is comfortable!
5. Grit, perseverance, positive mindset: essentials to success. “You have to want it badly enough to really get after it.”
6. “Effort counts twice.”
7. Life is a sport of suffering. Why are we so afraid of suffering and obstacles? You have to keep perspective in that you will ultimately come out of hard times, and be ok.
8. Feeling uncomfortable may be a sign that you are making the right decisions. In fact, you need to seek the wrong side of comfortable.
9. The importance and attributes of teamwork.
10. Ways to change your life WITHOUT quitting your day job, or ideas on how to do something radical even at sixty-five years of age. You have to ask yourself what you will be more proud of at the end…
You can find Amy Charity’s book here:
About Amy Charity:
Amy has 14 years of experience in the financial sector, working in banking, venture capital, and at a hedge fund. At the age of 34 she left the financial industry to pursue her passion and a career in professional bike racing. Amy raced for the U.S. National Team and signed a contract with one of the top ten women’s professional racing teams in the world. Her team won a National Championship in the Team Time Trial and raced the World Championships. Her extensive corporate experience, combined with her athletic achievements, make her an expert in teamwork, motivation, and pushing boundaries to maximize performance.
Joined on the show today by Tim Cole, the founder and CEO of The Compass Alliance. He joins us to discuss his book, The Compass Solution: A Guide to Winning Your Career.
Today’s discussion guide with Tim Cole:
1. What is meant by winning your career? (Hint: most people survive their career)
2. Why are so many employees disengaged? Per research, 70% of people are disengaged in their job.
3. Building a career of significance, not just one of financial security.
4. Most people just stumble along in their careers. Why do we gamble with this? We’ll spend 100,000 hours working in a typical lifetime…
5. You need to apply critical thinking to your career. Most do not. So, what actually is critical thinking?
6. Most employees are engaged in a transactional arrangement where they get paid to do work for an organization. There is no real meaning with the work.
7. How burnout happens: First, a loss of purpose followed by a loss of direction, followed finally by a loss of inspiration. This is when you become disengaged with your work, aka “full burnout.”
You can find Tim Cole’s book here:
About Tim Cole (from his website):
Tim is the Founder and CEO of The Compass Alliance and the Author of The Compass Solution, A Guide to Winning Your Career. Tim has invested three plus decades in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry – through dozens of restructures and five mergers.
He has held multiple leadership and senior executive positions and played a major role in the ascent of a mid-sized firm into one of the largest in the world with direct involvement in the launch of 20 plus pharmaceutical brands – six of which became global blockbusters.
His experience spans sales, marketing, training, human resources, and leadership development. Along the way he’s managed billions of dollars of portfolio and thousands of people. Tim was able to do more than survive what is arguably the most highly competitive industry in the world. He developed markers that were to guide his career even as he saw scores struggle to “climb the mountain.”
Now Tim focuses his time and energy on sharing the secrets and lessons he learned in the corporate world to help others achieve sustainable, successful and fulfilling careers. Tim Cole grew up in the Carolinas and traveled much of the country before making Charlotte his home. He and wife Nancy have two grown sons, a daughter-in-law, and one grandchild.
Discussion guide from today’s conversation with George Schofield:
1. What’s so different about retirement today and in the future?
2. Why should we keep our marketable skills up to date throughout our lives?
3. How can we handle and manage the explosion of change all around us?
4. Discussion on creating revenue streams as a means of staying engaged in later years, and supplement income.
5. “New aging.”
6. “Active intent.”
7. Asking yourself the question, “Who would you like to be?”
Find George Schofield’s book here:
About George Schofield:
As an entrepreneur, consultant, author and public speaker George works with businesses and individuals to develop new and smarter approaches to life planning and retirement in the New Normal. We’re all under pressure from new forces including reconfiguration of the workplace, the role of formal education, exponential changes in technology, our own increasing longevity, and the dramatically reduced shelf life of expertise and skills. He guides clients in creating a handcrafted life in the modern world – designing their futures, identifying skills they’ll need, and preparing for inevitable twists and turns along the way.
Joined on the show today by Alex Lassiter, Co-founder and VP of customer experience for Gather. Learn more here!
What is Gather? Gather is streamlining the way private events are planned, empowering thousands of restaurants and venues with innovative software to grow their event business.
Today’s discussion guide:
What is the Gather platform, the technology behind it, and why you and your co-founders felt there was a need for it in the restaurant and hospitality space?
What sets Gather apart from other event management platforms?
What trends are you seeing in the marketplace and how are you taking advantage of them?
What was behind the decision to call Atlanta Gather’s home, and what’s appealing about the Atlanta tech scene?
How do you build a culture of customer service and innovation?
Gather allows chefs and restauranteurs to focus on their art, verses having to get sidetracked by event management and running the business!
About Alex Lassiter:
Alex is the co-founder and vice president of customer experience at Gather, an event management software company. Thousands of restaurants, venues, and hospitality companies use Gather to manage and grow their events business, serving as the anchor between management, events teams and their customers.