Why “Excellence” is the Next Five Minutes

Is “excellence” a word that would describe everything you or your business does or produces? If not, you are in danger of becoming a commodity, being stuck in the race to the bottom, and going extinct!

In fact, Tom Peters, in his new book The Excellence Dividend, believes that a mindset of excellence is the antidote to job automation and product “Commodityville”.

Early in my career there was an incident in our office when one of the junior engineers handed a proposal to his manager for a final review before sending the proposal to the customer. The manager basically came unglued and ripped apart the junior engineer after he found a spelling mistake . . . in the client’s name!

Friend of a Friend

Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform Your Life and Your Career

The book review for this week is Friend of a Friend by David Burkus.

Burkus takes the reader through the myths, science, and art of networking. He uses research and studies backed up by solid anecdotal evidence to come to his conclusions. His underlying premise is that: “we are not growing or creating a network . . . we already exist inside of a network.” The people that succeed are those who recognize this and learn to see and navigate their network the best. We can then supercharge our network by bridging the gap between multiple groups or networks of people who don’t generally connect.

My takeaway from this book is that the most successful individuals oscillate between working with a variety of teams and acting as a bridge between their primary team or elsewhere in the organization or network. Finally, remember that “YOUR FRIEND OF A FRIEND IS YOUR FUTURE!”

What Negative Value Statements Are Damaging Your Business?

A few months ago, I attended a key note by Marshall Eizenga where he explained that each of us holds value statements or value definitions in our minds. These value statements define how we think, act, react, and respond to the events around us. As such, value statements have a profound impact on our success and the success of the things (e.g., our businesses) and the people that we influence.

There is no one set of “correct” value statements. Rather, we are all products of our environments and our value statements are created throughout our life. They are a product of our experiences and our interpretations of these experiences. Each of us can experience the same thing but form completely unique value statements. These value statements can be either positive or negative.

Positive value statements can be very beneficial to us and the organizations that we lead. Negative value statements can be extremely damaging to us, our businesses, and the people that we influence.

For Example . . .

Your Success is Determined by Your Leadership Ability

The effectiveness of your leadership determines your level of success in all of your endeavors. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, who your parents are, what your education is, or who you know. You will only go as far as your leadership ability is capable of taking you!

If you don’t believe this, just ask the litany of leaders who have failed publicly over the last number of years. People like Martin Shkreli (Turing Pharmaceuticals), Elizabeth Holmes (Theranos), Martin Winterkorn (VW), or Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini (FIFA).

Your Leadership Ability is the Lid on Your Success

Leadership ability is the lid on your success. If you increase your leadership ability, you effectively raise the level of your success!

Back in the late 1990’s when I started to actively lead large teams I realized that I needed as much leadership help as possible. Fortunately, I met many great leaders who actively mentored me as my career developed.

I also discovered other leaders like John C. Maxwell who provides amazing leadership resources like his book “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.”

Although I first read this book in the late 90’s, this collection of profound leadership wisdom continues to provide me great insight and guidance to this day! I have never met Mr. Maxwell but I consider him to be an important mentor who has made a huge impact on my life!

Following his 21 irrefutable leadership laws will profoundly impact your leadership abilities! I have outlined each of these laws below.

“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”

Adventures of a Curious Character

My book review this week is Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman by Richard P. Feynman.

Besides winning the Nobel Prize in physics in 1965, Feynman was an eccentric, larger than life character with a list of achievements and accolades that are hard to fathom. He actively worked on the development of the atomic bomb, traded ideas with Einstein, Bohr, and Nick the Greek, cracked safes guarding highly sensitive atomic secrets, played bongo drums for a ballet, along with a host of other eclectic activities and accomplishments. This is a highly entertaining book full of funny stories, technical theory, and valuable life principles.

My takeaways from this book are the principles that Feynman discovered and exemplified throughout his life. I have listed a few of them below: