DIY- Do It Yourself


I think I should sue The Home Depot, HGTV and let’s throw in Bob Vila for that matter.  Because of them, I have spent (literally) blood, sweat and tears trying “fixing” things and making “improvements” around my house.  From doorknobs that turn the wrong way to light fixtures, leaky faucets…  well you get the point.  Here is the not-so-funny, funny part; I keep trying.  I know my level of capability, but I keep trying and I have finally figured out why.

  1. I know what needs to be done.
  2. I have a basic understanding of how to do it.
  3. I have the tools necessary to do it.
  4. It’s not Rocket Science.

These are the reasons that I always approach every project with.  Yet I come up short, half way through I want to quit or destroy the very thing I am trying to fix and even if I complete it, I am not sure that it’s necessarily any better.  So I am missing something right?

I know this guy who decided to build his own house.  Now he had worked as a sub-contractor on homes doing masonry and brickwork.  He had been around the homebuilding process and had good understanding of how it should be done.  That said, the house he built, namely the stonework is impressive.   However, the guest bath (for example) the faucet does not work and the door opens the wrong way, so it’s nearly impossible to get into the bathroom, much less shut the door.  My Realtor friends know all too well about homes like these.

So the point already…

It’s not a question of whether or not you CAN do it yourself.  It’s a question of whether or not you SHOULD?

In my line of work, I talk to people who are self-employed, in sales or run companies all the time.  They are often tasked with being everything, because they can.  There is constant persuasion that “I can, you can, we can” but the question we need to ask is Should.  Based on my experience, the people who ask for help, always get more done.  I say this from what I have observed and practiced.  Whenever I ask for help, I get things done.  When I try to do it myself, I may get it done, but like the doorknobs in my home, they turn, but not quite right.

What we need to always keep in mind is that LIFE is a team sport and ultimately, you can “do it yourself,” it’s just that you weren’t meant to.


Passive/ Aggressive


I’m getting old.  I know that the “ripe old age” of 34 my not be technically old, but at least 2x’s a week I become more aware of the distance from now back to age 21.  I am learning Krav Maga.  If you don’t know, it is the martial art of the Israeli Special Forces. It isn’t a Bruce Lee/ Chuck Norris/ Van Damme kind of thing so you won’t ever hear any gutteral “kiyah’s” or sounds of a dying cat (Bruce Lee) and no… there are no crane kicks  Daniel San.  Krav Maga approaches real life hand to hand combat.  We practice real life scenarios and how to train our bodies to automatically react to them.

In virtually every scenario the very first move we make is to take a passive posture.  Especially if the attacker has a weapon.  Hands up, head down, slightly cowering and telling our attacker, “Hey Man, whatever you want.”

This passive posture is intended to allow the attacker to “feel” in control.  This will cause them to relax and let their guard down just enough. Then we attack.  Though the moves vary, this is what we accomplish in the attack.

  1. Get out of the line of fire.
  2. Trap and control the weapon
  3. “Short circuit” your opponent.
  4. End the fight.
  5. Get away.

So what’s my point?

We are verbally, emotionally and professionally attacked on a regular basis.  When this happens, we find that often we are either too passive or too aggressive in response to the attack.  We either leave that moment of confrontation thinking of the things we wish we would have said or the things we wish we never had said.  Either way, one thing is clear: we simply have never learned to fight.  Think about it. I know for me, the only training I learned was reciting “stick and stones,” which isn’t even accurate, because last I checked, words DO hurt!

For those who are aggressive.  Learn to be passive too.

I know that you have no problem with being the bad guy.  They already think you are right, so what do you care?  How many relationships does one burn through before the realization that your alone is all too obvious.  Choosing to be right means choosing to distance yourself from the person you love, care about or need to work closely with.  At some point the solution of move on to someone else will have cost more than you were prepared to pay.

The simple solution here is 3 steps:

  1. SHUTUP!
  2. Think-is this really worth hurting someone else so you can vent?
  3. Choose your words. Don’t word vomit all over someone.

As for the Passive’s

First before first, you start with a passive posture.  Stay calm, allow them to feel in control.  This will keep communication open and they won’t be motivated to simply just win or dominate.

  1. Get out of the line of fire.

It’s not about you, it’s about them. So don’t take it personal. Usually people need to react and defend themselves or simply tell you why they are right and you are wrong.  It is usually not thought out so be prepared for dumb things to come out of their mouth.  Think elementary school and you call a kid stupid and their response is “well your a stupid poo poo head.”  You just can’t allow yourself to be offended at this kind of response.  So invite them to say what they need to say and don’t use what they initially say in your confrontation.  This is not what the confrontation is about

2.   Trap and Control the Weapon.

The temptation in a confrontation is to get off topic, either by something dumb or offensive they just said to you or when you state your offense, they find an offense you committed to negate theirs. Whichever it is, stay focused on the issue you were offended by before hand.  Be sure to say all that you premeditated to say.  Ask them to allow you to finish before they respond and if they interrupt, wait for them to stop talking and go right back to what you were saying.  Also, state how their offense made you feel or how it hurt you.  Opinions, motives and perspectives can be argued, but how it made you feel cannot be argued. Keep in mind that their is a possibility that you were offended due to past hurts or insecurities and this is a sensitive subject for you.  Be sure to state that.

3.    Short circuit your opponent.

In a confrontation most who commit the offense make this statement, “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings or offend you.” or “My intentions were never to offend you.”  98% of the time this is true.  They didn’t intend to offend you, but that does not negate the result that you are left hurt or offended.  This means that they have caused an accident with their words.  Now it may be different in your state, but in mine if I cause an accident (which I didn’t intend to do) I am responsible.  Even if I run into a car who slams on their brakes and I run into the back of them, I am responsible.  I can’t go up to the other driver and say, “I didn’t mean to run into you” and walk away without and responsibility.

This is where the “short circuit” comes in. You are hurt or offended and you state that though they didn’t intend to hurt you, you are still hurt/ offended.  They now either accept responsibility or they somehow make it your fault, but either way you have left it as their choice and they choose you or themselves.

4.   End the Fight.

If they recognize and accept their responsibility they will apologize.  Now you have a pivotal moment in the relationship. You now have the power. The biggest mistake I have seen made is that people then start unloading all of their offenses, because they have swallowed so much over time.  This is a mistake.  And worse, you have just become the aggressor.  This is essentially kicking them while they are down.  If this is a spouse, you can cause serious damage.  So after they accept their part and you reconcile the issue, end the fight. Hug it out, be gracious and grateful for their ability to take responsibility.

5.    Get Away.

When what you set out to confront has happened and you received a positive response you are going to feel great.  However, the other person may not feel that way.  They might take responsibility and they might think of a couple things to go ahead and blast you with.  They best thing to do is get away.  Especially if you do not get the response you are hoping for.  You have said what you needed to say.  You have stated your offense and given them the opportunity to choose their response.  You cannot control or determine their response, but provide them the opportunity to make a choice.  Be sure to give them time to process.

** Some people are poor at apologizing verbally.  Some need time to process before they can apologize or accept responsibility.  So be sure to not be hung up on hearing words.  Words are not what you are after, you are after behavioral change.  If you don’t hear the words, but see the behavioral change, isn’t this what your looking for?**

You will have people that will be quick to apologize and slow to make behavioral change and you will have people that will not apologize, but quick to make behavioral change.  Some will never acknowledge to you that they offended you, but you may overhear them tell someone else that you a certain topic is sensitive issue for you (Which is their acknowledgement that they offended you).  You might very well deal with someone who not only refuses to accept responsibility, will not make behavioral change, but also may come back to you with a list of offenses themselves.  This means this person lacks maturity and you have to teach them how to accept responsibility.  Yes, of course this means you have to be the bigger person in this area. So have grace and patience, because there is someone else in your life that is or is about to be the bigger person for you.  Maturity is not tied to age, but to experience and wisdom.  Don’t be so shocked when a 50 yr old acts like a 5 yr old sometimes.

I almost forgot.  To close the distance between your opponent, go for a groin kick.

If your in Grapevine or Keller and want to know more about Krav Maga, check out

O’Doyle Rules

O'Doyle Rules

Bullies @ Work

8th grade @ Bowman Middle School this “kid” whose name was Taurus (yes that’s right, his name was Taurus) was truly a man-child.  This person is so memorable to me because he was a bully…he was my personal bully.  He was the new kid at school and a kid this muscular, this athletic couldn’t possibly have an issue with me right?  Sigh.

In 8th grade I was, well a Beverly Hills 90210 extra.  Swooping gelled hair, rayon shirts, bowling shoes and friends with more girls than guys at the time.  One particular female friend of mine had seemingly become the unreciprocated love interest of Taurus.  So man-beast developed a strategy: push around, threaten and provoke goofy white kid to impress said love interest.  As you can probably guess this strategy backfired and after a couple months of my keen elusiveness of hiding in the teachers lounge, he grew bored with me.

In 8th grade, bullies are part of the junior high, middle school dynamic.  Immaturity, hormonal imbalances, etc all create a petrie dish for bully incubation.  However, when we become adults and enter the workforce, we would assume that those days are behind us.  Yet often we find ourselves in situations that seem just like we have been transported back to those adolescent years. Yet often a bully at work isn’t so obvious or blatant and often a bully is your boss, superior or a co-worker that has more pull or tenure than you.  They usually have this pull, because of their own ability to manipulate and patronize the big boss.  So if you stand up for yourself, you might lose, if you go above them, they will find a way to make your life miserable until you want to quit.  If you say nothing, then the way they treat you will only become worse and then before long you are at the same place of wanting to quit again.

So here is what I have learned so far on dealing with bullies at work without getting fired:

1. Bullies are protecting an insecurity.  Their insecurity tends to be professional.  They fear losing their job and being “out-shined” by someone else.  It’s why they will constantly point out to the big boss how well they do their job even when they didn’t do the work.

2. Insecurity breeds a need to control people.  In order to protect someone from hurting them or taking from them, bullies must control the other person.  It’s why they have all the answers, why everyone needs to perform a task “their way and you had better do it exactly their way.  Otherwise you will be verbally abused and made to feel inferior so you will doubt your ability to have good ideas or think for yourself.

3. The method to control people is to manipulate them.  Manipulation simply means that I am going to make someone to do something regardless of whether they want to or not.  Manipulation usually happens through Domination first (it’s the easiest and a bully’s preferred method), Pity second (I will make you feel sorry for me and also blame you), third Ignore and Defame (I won’t speak to you, but I will tell the big boss and other people who can do your job about your incompetence and every mistake you have made).

From there they usually you will get indifference, contempt, disgust, petty retaliations, all of which begin to expose their insecurity and that’s when they start getting themselves in trouble. You just need to make notes.

Breaking manipulation is about being constant in your work and in your demeanor.  I know we most of us are tired of this request that we “be the bigger person.”  This statement is not actually a request.  It’s a statement of the obvious.  A bully is never asked to be the bigger person, because everyone knows that they are the smaller person.  So if you are reminded to be the bigger person, it’s because you already are that person.  You just have to be yourself.

At this point is when you can express your concern to the big boss and be sure to write down the dates, times and words spoken to you from them.  Remember that this is not about getting them fired, but about getting them to act more professionally.  The bully is often a good employee from the big boss’ perspective so they are not planning on a termination.  However, if you will express your concerns of maintaining a happy, healthy, productive work environment to the big boss, they will likely welcome the candor.  Unless of course the big boss IS the bully.  If this is the case, then it might be time to start looking for other work.  In a professional work environment a bully can only get away with what is allowed.

And one last thing….a bully never thinks that they are one.

The Funny thing about Goals…

Is that they are not very funny.  More importantly, they are usually not fun.  Let’s be honest.  How do you get excited about becoming more responsible?  Yes, of course we need to be more responsible and disciplined, but how in the world do we get motivated and excited to do it?  Especially for those of us who are emotionally/ creatively driven?  The logic based, “Get Up and Just Do” people in the world look at the 80% of us that “don’t feel like” getting up, eating healthy, having that difficult conversation, cleaning out the spare room and confronting our biggest fear today, wonder how in the world we accomplish anything.

So for those of us that need to feel like doing it, here is what we (and yes I am talking to me) need to do

1. Stop making goals for other people
Especially people you don’t know.  Weight loss goals based on “looking good” is vain. When was the last time you met a vain person you liked?
The goal is to be healthy, to physically be able to enjoy life with the people you care about for as long as possible.  By the way, if you will focus overall on health, guess what  the bonus will be

2. Failure is an option.

 Let’s call it what it is shall we?  Over this next      year, there will be at least a week, two weeks and even a month, where we will abandon or quit our goals this year.  It is going to happen.  Just don’t quit altogether.  That is when failure actually happens.  We usually fail because we placed unusually high expectations on our performance and therefore we set ourselves up to fail.  So give yourself a break!
3. Goals are about progress
Not about do or not do.  When we are trying to adopt new behaviors and beliefs it is going to take time. Be sure to monitor your progress.  This is where journaling becomes important (at least update your FB so you can look back).  You need to reflect on the days where you did make the right choices.  Impatience can provide great drive, but can cause a lot of discouragement so be mindful of your progress.
4. Goals have to be in your face!
 In my head is not in my face.  By the way, if I have my goals in my head, then that’s where they will stay. If I keep them in my head, it’s because I am afraid of failing at them. So….
I need to take some pictures, cut out a magazine or draw a visual representation of my goal.  I then need to add 2 things:

  • How much time/ money this is going to cost me?  Remember that your time is more valuable than the money it will cost.  Make sure you can commit.
  • My deadline for completion.  Be sure to calculate quitting and failing a few times in your deadline.  I can pretty much tell you that for the most part it will need to be longer than 90 days out.

5. Goals should be fun!

  Well maybe the process isn’t necessarily fun, but the rewards for doing it should be.  Reward yourself for completing milestones in your goals throughout the year.  FYI, rewards should not sabotage the very goal you are working on.  For example, don’t reward yourself with Cheesecake during your health goals.  Get a massage for your sore and tired muscles instead.

A life without goals is a life driven and decided by everyone else, but me.


Steve Jobs is getting more credit than he should and he would agree.  Steve didn’t create the ipod, ipad, iphone or many of the Apple products we use today.  What Steve did create really was an intimate marriage between art and technology that was uncompromising.  Within this union, many talented individuals became better designers, programmers and people that birthed these products that have changed our lives.  His commencement speech at Stanford was one that changed my life, in fact it was “the straw” that encouraged me to launch Elevate.  For that, I will forever be grateful.  My macbook, ipod, iphone, ipad and myself will miss Steve Jobs.
Below is the transcript form the speech.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first six months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.
This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960′s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much.

The Boss Card (why good people quit)

The current and past couple years, our economy has been tough on the workplace.  Layoffs, terminations, downsizing, “right-sizing,” etc, has plagued even the strongest of The American Blue Chips.  We know why these people are leaving us.  We asked them to go.  Yet, what about the people that quit? Every year thousands of Americans just up and quit their jobs.  Many of which, because they know they are about to be fired, but equally as many quit and we don’t always know why.

I had a client recently that was experiencing a high turnover rate with an administrative position.  Some were fired, but more quit this position than were pink slipped.  My first question was Why? Why are the people who seem capable of performing, leaving? Her response, “I guess they can’t hack it.”  Obviously.  I then asked this question, “What have you done to make people quit?”There was no response to this question except this common response what I call “The Boss Card.”  She said,” It doesn’t matter what I do, I sign the checks.”

Haven’t we all heard this response before?   Any and every time that I hear a leader, manager or owner use “The Boss Card” I cringe a little.  The reason is this: Every time a leader uses the boss card it pulls ownership away from the employee.  See, every leader wants their staff to take initiative, get results, be productive, meet deadlines and clean the bathrooms.  Yet every time a leader plays The Boss Card, he inadvertently tells the employee that they are a body, a clock puncher, a servant and before long the Boss ends up with an office full of clock punchers. When The Boss Card gets played, then your employees will come 3 minutes late and leave 4 minutes early, take an hour and ten minute lunch and the bathrooms will always be a mess.

However, when I encounter a great leader, they refuse to play this card.  Instead, they place the responsibility and ownership on the employee. The paradox of it is that it empowers the employee.  The reason is this: We are all looking for a place to belong, to do work that is bigger than ourselves, to do work that has purpose.  Being a great leader is not paying more money than the competition or giving cash bonuses.  It’s providing an atmosphere where a group of people can share in working toward a common goal.  To maintain a culture that good people are NOT easily replaceable. Not to pander, but because they truly are NOT easy to replace.  It is this atmosphere that attracts great people and great employees.

For the leaders that play The Boss Card, they are the ones that suffer the most.  They usually are heavily stressed and just look exhausted, at least behind closed doors.  They are trying to solve so many problems for everybody that they are not getting any work done themselves.  The answers to most of the problems can be solved by the employees if The Boss would simply empower them to make decisions.  Yet every one of these “Bosses” tell me the same thing: “They can’t handle this” or “I can’t trust them with this.”  The truth is, the leader doesn’t actually know if they can or cannot.

Have you ever watched those TV shows where the kids are monsters or the dog is a terror, the bottom line is that it’s never the kid or dog with the problem, it’s the parent/ owner.  This is the same in business.


A memo for the leader:

General George Patton said “don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with the results.”


  • This is not YOUR business, company, division or corp.  It belongs to everyone, you just happen to be the one ultimately responsible for it.  You can only call something yours if you do not need anyone else to run it.
  • Anytime an employee has a problem, ask them what they are going to do to help solve it.
  • Incentivize initiative and responsibility.  By the way, incentivize doesn’t always have to be money.  It’s more about recognition that $$.  We need “At a Boys” more than the cash, but the cash certainly helps too.
  • If you have a mid level manager or supervisor playing The Boss Card (ie. your poorest performing branch, division) give them 30 days to flip it around.  You will know if they have made the changes by the attitude of the employees under them.  Oh, and check the bathrooms.

Good to Great

Many of us are reassessing our goals and what we want to accomplish for the year.  For most us, we are responsible, we show up and we work.  We are not bums.  At least anyone who is actually attempting to set goals is not.  The big question I always get and even the one for myself I am always answering in my own head is,” How do stay motivated to meet my goals?”  I have realized a couple of things in answering this question.


  1. We have enough personal responsibility to do good this year.  We know what to do, we know what works, we will provide for our family.  This is all good, but not great. When we set our income goals, it’s never to do good.  It’s to do better than good.  Yet our behavior still produces good.
  2. We set ourselves up to fail when we reach for greatness.  The only real problem with this is that when we fail, and we will, we are surprised, in shock.  Instead of anticipating it.  If I have failed at something lately, then I haven’t tried to accomplish anything great.
  3. We excuse ourselves from being great.  I loathe the statement,” I tried to give it my best.”  This is code for “I tried something great, but it was harder than I thought and so I gave up.”  There is no trying their is either success or failure.  I want to own failure, so it will make me great.  Our failures and mistakes offer the perfect teacher… Humility.  Humility produces teachability and when we are teachable, then greatness is simply a matter of action.
  4. The end game each day is this: You either have excuses or results.  Period.  Own your lack of results, why you didn’t do it and if you have more than a few days like this, then please reach out for help.  We all need an honest friend, a wise mentor and a coach who knows what our greatness could look like if we only….


Just know if you show up, you will be good.  You will find a way to pay your bills.  Now if you expect to live above paycheck to paycheck, then you will have to reach to greatness.  By the way, great people do what others are not willing or too scared to do.  So if you know you can make 50k this year and you want 100k, 50k is good and 100k requires you to be great.  So get help, READ,READ,READ and humble yourself before your circumstances humble you.


Jim Collins book, Good to Great is a fantastic read for any manager leader and biz owner. If you haven’t read this book you need to.