Showing posts with label Passion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Passion. Show all posts

July 25, 2019

@Bagels and Business with CEO Hair Cuttery, Dennis Ratner



Hair Cuttery has 1,000 company-owned Salons in 18 states in the USA.  

Dennis Ratner, the founder and CEO is a huge success story.

- Puts people first. 

- Gives back to the community. 

- Believes in vision, planning, and execution. 

- Dennis said: "Effort = Reward" and to be "Relentless" in pursuing your passion.

- Great roles model. 

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 18, 2018

Sing Louder

So I heard this interesting saying the other day:
If you can't sing better, sing louder!

It's funny that people actually do that type of thing all the time. 

My colleagues boss told someone I know: 
You're a fake it till you make it type of person

This can apply to all sort of activities and not just singing.

-- Public speaking, your job, sports, cooking, etc. 

Often, people have to do things that they really just don't do very well.

- Maybe it's not their forte. 

- Maybe they're just not into it. 

But rather than call it for what it is.

Instead, they pretend and make a show out of it. 

They exaggerate what they think they are supposed to do. 

Or they try to compensate with something tangential. 

Hey, maybe no will notice.

But people eventually catch-on and do know when you're lip-singing and faking your way through or just screaming out the lyrics to mask how horrible you singing is. 

Better to be honest and admit what you can and can't do.

Take some classes or get some training.

Practice, practice, practice. 

Or even consider doing something else that you do enjoy and are good it. 

Either way, you don't want to be the one singing loudly their whole life.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal. Note: this blog is not connected to this or any particular musician)
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November 20, 2018

How Does It feel At The Top

A colleague told me something interesting about what it feels like at the top.

He said:
The 360 degree view is good, but it get's windy at times!

I thought this was pretty smart, and one reason that many people opt out of moving into senior and executive positions in their organizations. 

Yes, it's great to be able to lead and have more visibility, influence, and impact. 

But at the same time, this does not come for free or without risks. 

At the top of the pyramid or corporate offices or whatever, there is opportunity. 

Yet, your dealing with other top honchos with strong personalities, egos, and often harsh ways of dealing with others and conflict can be perilous for many. 

My father used to tell me his philosophy:
Better a little less, but you know what you have. 

There is definitely wisdom in those words. 

Maybe as with most things in life, there is a time and place for everything. 

It is great to have the opportunity to lead.

It's also not bad to have a time to follow and contribute in that way. 

What's important is that whatever role your in at the time, that you do it with integrity and passion to do good. 

So how does it feel at the top--sure, it's a nice view, but it can get very windy too. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 14, 2018

When Do You Become Old?

Is being old an age, a feeling, or both?

Some people seem to get old before their time.

They go about echting and kretzching--at 40 and 50, they are saying this hurts and I feel crummy about that!  Nu, I'm not 18 anymore!

Other people never, literally almost never seem to get old.

One lady I know is going to be 94 this month and she is going strong mentally, emotionally, and physically.  It almost seems impossible.  

This guy in the photo has a funny shirt on that says:
"I thought growing old would take longer."

Yeah, it does sort of creep up on you, but really, really fast.  Like where the heck did that come from!

I know inside for me, I always still feel like a kid. 

I have the same funny side, playful side, and curious side; the desire to be productive and accomplish something meaningful with my life and time, and to love and be loved. 

Yeah, things hurt a little more than they did years ago--can't believe the things I used to be able to do--Yes, at one time, I use to break cinder blocks with my bare hands, true!

But now, I can do other things like swim and hike and I love to write things that I am passionate about or to be a little creative too!

Maybe we do not get old...maybe we are just like caterpillars that morph into something else like butterflies during this life and into the life beyond. 

Age is experience, learning, growth--lots of mistakes--and then recovering and trying again and harder.  

Life is wonderment and excitement and appreciation for every amazing beautiful thing. 

No, life does not get old. 

Suffering and loss gets old quick and wish it never was. 

But we are physical bodies with eternal souls, so we go on and on into the wild blue yonder. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 9, 2018

Persuasion x 3

I liked this categorization of three types of tools of persuasion developed by Aristotle: 

- Ethos: Appeals to a sense of ethics, morals, and character. 

- Logos: Appeals to a sense of logic, reason, and rationality.

- Pathos: Appeals to a sense of emotion, empathy, and passion. 

I don't know about most people, but I don't get convinced easily. 

You need to show me, prove it to me, or convince me it's right. 

Some others, and I don't know why--it's like you can sell them the Brooklyn Bridge, as they say.  

I think that's dangerous!

Without critical thinking and evaluation, people can get led astray to do the wrong things...a perfect example is Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler (may his memory be forever cursed).  

Hitler appealed to the Germans people at the time:
- Emotionally to bring them back from the loss, destruction, and destitution that World War I inflicted and of course, to scapegoat the Jews, Gypsies, and political opponents and send them to the death camps. 
- Logically, that they were a strong and powerful people, the "Aryan nation," and they therefore, deserved to conquer and rule Europe and the World.
- Ethically--let's just say, this one didn't really apply to Hitler, probably the most evil and destructive man this world has ever known, except that even Hitler tried to fool his people falsely proclaiming, "G-d is with us!"

It's a war of good over evil out there, and we need to make our arguments to influence and persuade for the good, but we also have to be careful not to let others, who are not so good, manipulate us for their own selfish and depraved ends. 

Ethos, Logos, and Pathos--potent tools or weapons in the direction of mankind and civilization. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 20, 2017

Settle Down or Trade Up

So I always hear this question from people...


Should I be happy with what I have or should I seek out something better?


It's the age old question of whether to settle down or trade up.

When it comes to any decision in life...choosing a school, degree, career, place to live, an investment decision, or even your spouse and life partner--how do you know when you are making the right decision?

Maybe you like or love what's in front of your eyes, but you still don't know 100% if there's something better out there for you.

Every choice means you are settling in some way, because let's face it, nothing is perfect in life!

When is good, good enough for you?

There are trade-offs with every decision.

And it's a matter of what YOU can live with!

A guy may say, "I like this girl, but I'm not sure whether she's the one for me or that I really want to settle down with long-term."

Someone else says, "I'm studying to be an accountant, but you know I really always liked psychology."

And yet a third person says, "I like working at company ABC, but maybe I can learn something new or do better financially for myself and family if I go somewhere else."

So when do you settle down and when do you try to trade-up?

The dilemma is fateful because you don't want to lose what you have, but you also don't want to potentially miss out on something even better for you.

Listen, we're not prophets!

No one knows whether your investment in something is going to pay off in spades or land you flat on your butt. 

All you can do is try to weight the pros and cons of every decision. 

If you treat life like a roulette game in Las  Vegas, the one thing that is pretty sure is that at some point, you will lose it all to the house. 

So choose wisely and make sure you are passionate about your choice and that can live with it over time. 

Know that you made the best decision you could by looking at it from all angles. 

And most important of all, be grateful for everything you have--these are blessings from the Almighty Above and you need to have faith that He/She is guiding and helping you all along the way. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 31, 2017

Born Or Forged To Lead

So are we born to lead or are we forged to greatness through adversity and lots of hard work?

Some people definitely seem to have innate leadership characteristics:

- Charisma

- Integrity

- Decisiveness

- Passion

- Determination

- Agility

- Intelligence

- Inspirational

- Confident

- Articulate

Other people maybe weren't born with it, but they learn to become great leaders through:

- Hard Work

- Willingness to learn

- Continuous improvement 

- Motivation to advance

- Finding a meaningful mission 

- Belief that they can make a difference

- Faith that G-d is guiding them

Like with most things in our life, it's a combination of nature and nurture. 

Good raw material starts us off on the right track and then forging it with fire and a hammer and polishing it off into a great sword with hardness, strength, flexibility, and balance. 

As Joanna Coles, Chief Content Officer at Hearst Magazine says:
"I'm an overnight sensation 30 years in the making."

Birth is just the beginning... ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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January 12, 2017

Wonderful Thank You


This is one of the most beautiful thank you songs that I have ever heard.

This was played for a departing leader with beautiful photos of all the good and caring work that they did over many years.

The passion, commitment, and tenacity were evident through out, and even though I hadn't known this person for long, it brought tears to my ears.

What certain people can accomplish with their lives--helping others, making a better world. 

What we can accomplish through kindness, caring, selflessness, generosity, and tenderness. 

It's the definition of inspirational--that we can live a life where the "thank you" is really and totally besides the whole point. 

Live life and live it well! ;-)
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October 8, 2016

Content Filtering - Should We Restrain Ourselves?

So the Rabbi today spoke about thinking before you speak, and not letting your emotions overcome your logic. 

He mentioned, for example, how some people have so much rage--road rage, email rage, etc.--and you can't let your rage dictate your actions. 

People can certainly get under your skin--just look at the candidates for President doing that to each other.

But rather than just react and blurt out stupid or horrible things in a tit-for-tat, we need to stop and think.

The Rabbi recounted the old advice of counting to ten before saying or doing something rash that you will regret. 

The joke was about the one guy bullying another, and the victim counts to ten like he's supposed to, but then rather than take things down a notch or two, he surprises the bully when he hits ten by punching him right in the nose! (lol)

Another cute idea the Rabbi put out there was for marriage counseling--that husbands and wives should drink this "special water" that they hold in their mouth--this way when they are fighting, they have to pause and can't say anything provocative and aggressive to each other. 

The speak then turned high-tech to some of the new apps for content filtering that help you not to send emails or texts that you are sorry for afterwards. 

And I leaned over to my neighbor in synagogue and said that is so funny, because I just saw this 16-year Indian old girl on Shark Tank who developed this app called ReThink that does just that. 

When you write something negative like ugly or stupid etc., a pop up box comes up and ask whether you really want to say that--it gives you pause to rethink what you are saying and doing. 

She notes from her studies of adolescents that when given the opportunity from this pause, "93% of the time, [they] decide not to post an offensive message on social media."

I remember one colleague at work used to recommend, "write what you want [with all your emotions], but then delete it, and write what will be constructive to the situation [with your logic]."

Getting back to the election, a lot of what the candidates are saying now and from decades ago is stupid or shameful--"locker room banter"--maybe we need to have a filter on our mouths even when we think other people aren't listening. 

Realistically, we can't and shouldn't have to go around filtering every word we say and holding back on every deed we do--there is something to be said for simply following your moral compass in the moment and reacting naturally, talking and doing from the heart and based on instinct, inner belief, and passion. 

But if you are getting angry, then it is best to hit the pause button and filter yourself before someone else has to count to ten and pop you one in your big dumb coconut face. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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January 17, 2016

Love 'em OR Leave 'em

An age old question, "Love 'em or leave 'em?"

I heard one young man say, "I love her...but I'm not in love with her."

So what's the difference?

He's been seeing two girls, one is steady and stable, earns a good income, and is head over heels for him--when he is sick, she makes the chicken soup. 

Then there is this other girl, foreign, cool accent, good-looking, intelligent, has similar interests, but no serious income--however, there is some serious hots there. 

What do you do?

Girl #1 or #2.

Who's the better bet--Ms. I love her or Gal I'm in love with her?

One women said that years ago, mothers would tell their daughters, "If they bring home a paycheck and look better than a baboon, marry them!"

Back then, marriages were often arranged by the parents or the village elders ("Matchmaker matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch...").

These days, there is much more a sense of the need for compatibility, chemistry, and passion--I can't live without him/her.

Without the mutual respect and passion, it might as well be in the bedroom like, "Let's just get this over with" or something pathetic like that.  

In some ultra religious circles, I've heard some women sadly simply referred to as "baby machines."

Yet on the flip side, I remember hearing this story when I was young about this famous model (it could have been about Bo Derek, but I can't remember for sure), and they interviewed her husband who was known to have married her for her unbelievable gorgeous looks, and they asked him, "What would you do, if she had a terrible car accident, and was horribly disfigured?" And his cold, hard response was, "I would leave her!"

Ok, so looks are skin deep, and passion is important but doesn't replace shared values, genuine commitment, and selfless giving to one another. 

Maybe the answer is it's not 1 or 2, but 1 and 2--we need someone that will make the chicken soup when we are sick, but who we also find hot in the sack. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 14, 2015

Getting Your Message Out With Impact

There is an old Jewish parable about the body parts arguing which is most important. 

Each makes it's case that without that part, we just couldn't function. (No jokes here now!)

But in the end, the tongue that harnesses the power of speech demonstrates that it is most important, because it is through our words that we may live or die. 

- Say the right thing--something smart and influence the masses--and you can change or even save the world.

- Say the wrong thing--something stupid, inflammatory, and damaging--and it can literally mean your or someone else's life.

From an early age, we come to recognize that communication is so important to our success. 

Hey, I need a bottle or diaper changed...please!

Or answer the (interview) questions well, and you can land yourself in the best schools and jobs and even with the best ladies. :-)

Those that succeed with communication, can we make themselves and their positions heard, understood, and accepted.

What are some common communication strategies people employ?

Well as we've all learned, it's not always the one who is the boldest, screams the loudest, or repeats themselves the most that wins the argument--although at times, that too can work when force of debate, undeterred passion, and a little crazy can hammer the points home. 

Having the best laid out and most rationale argument--some people will rightfully be influenced by logic and common sense. 

Sincerity, integrity, honesty, and appealing to people's gut and emotions--this certainly goes a long way as many people are driven by their feelings as well as their instincts and genuine character assessment of others. 

Making people confront what scares the hell out of them--fear is a big motivator for action and everyone is afraid of something and usually many things. 

Oh, of course, the religious argument that "It's what G-d wants" and there will be fire and brimstone if you don't do it that way--well reward and punishment, heaven and hell, divine justice--that certainly will move masses. 

"The pen is mightier than the sword."

For those who can effectively harness the power of their speech and intellect, the sky is the limit. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 18, 2015

Traits To Be Prez


The personality to be President:

1. Experience, Diplomacy

2. Direct, Honest, Strong, Results-oriented

3. Passionate, Dedication, Survival of the Nation

A short interview with Andy Blumenthal

(Source Video: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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July 21, 2015

A Dumb Dumb World

So I took this photo on the Metro in Washington, D.C.

One person is on their "smart" phone, and the other is reading a book called "Our Dumb World."

This is a contrast supreme. and I was intrigued. 

I couldn't exactly ask what the man was doing on his smartphone... but presumably email, texting, news, a video, maybe even some gaming.

The other person reading about the dumb world--what's that all about?

So I looked this book up, and apparently the satarists at The Onion make some laughing-stock fun in their "fake" atlas of the world. 

So stupidity is out there every day...

But stupid isn't the worst part of it..."stupid is as stupid does"-- not sure you can blame someone for doing dumb things when they're done innocently and by accident.  

But what is really bad is when dumb things are done with intent and malice--for power or to get what you want when you want it.

Leadership often treats the masses as the dumb people who can be fooled some, if not all, of the time. 

But people are smarter than you think, eventually seeing through the amalgam of lies, deceit, and spin--thrown at them through the old world media as well as in social media. 

That type of dumb becomes a foolish legacy--not a laughing matter. 

Real, ongoing passion and care for the people and the progress of our nation within the larger world context...we can see it in the eyes, hear it in the words, feel it in our bones--it's tangible and it lifts us to achieve greatness.

Those things are smart--and what we need more of in the "real" world atlas. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 20, 2015

Death To PowerPoint

Ok, we've all heard of "Death by PowerPoint" (well, I'm advocating death to PowerPoint).

It's the unfortunate occurrence that happens when a speaker presents a wad too many slides (OMG, some people seem to go on and on forever--get them off that podium)!

Or when they present too much information, too little information, or just don't know what or how to present at all. 

Their (slide) presentations leave the audience basically wanting to just kill themselves, if not the inconsiderate S.O.B. speaker.

But aside from lousy speakers, you have a crappy presentation mechanism, which is PowerPoint slides.

Hello out there, tell the truth...

Can any of you remember much of a darn thing that anyone has ever conveyed to you by PowerPoint?

Think of webinars, conferences, and meetings galore with slide after slide of 2-dimensional boredom.

Is your head hurting you yet or are you just glad you can't remember any of it--natural selection of memory saves you the pain...why thank you.

Then consider what someone has told you in great thoughtfulness, confidence, or with genuine passion, caring and sincerity.

- Perhaps, the wisdom of a parent or teacher who took you aside to tell you a life's lesson.

- Or a Rabbi or Priest who shared with you something spiritual and uplifting to guide you on your path.

- How about someone in the office who was passionate about an idea or project and who motivated you as well.

Most of the communication between people that really means something never makes it to a PowerPoint slide.

Imagine for a moment, if something meaningful was conveyed to you by slide presentation--you would think, how ridiculous it is to use PowerPoint for that?

- I love you--will you marry me?

- We're having a baby, how wonderful. 

- Just got that promotion, yes!

- So and so is sick or just passed away, how terrible. 

PowerPoint just doesn't happen here in real life--thank G-d!

And no matter how much organizations such as TED would like to make a (show)business out of presentations using PowerPoint...(ah, nope).

Real communication happens when one person talks from the heart to another person who receives it in their heart. 

The greatest orators in history...never used a slide presentation.

Other presentation products like Prezi tried to take slides to the next level with a storytelling format using a virtual canvas, but that didn't pan out to well either...see many Prezis lately (and without getting dizzy)?

PowerPoint slides, and the like, are for distraction...now I don't have to pay that much attention to the rambling, numbnut speaker anymore.

The bottom line...we don't listen with our eyes!

Rather, we hear words of wisdom and see when someone is genuine, sincere and worth listening to.

The rest is PowerPoint... ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Chris Pirillo)
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September 22, 2014

For Everyone That Loves Reading

I thought this was a great picture for everyone that loves reading.

Whether you read from traditional paper books, newspapers, magazines, and journals, or you prefer reading from a tablet, smartphone, eReader, or browser. 

Reading expands our mind, challenges our thinking, and builds on our knowledge. 

Here's to reading...just about everything you can get your hands on. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 28, 2014

Talent = f {Intelligence, Energy, Integrity Squared}

I really like this quote from Warren Buffet. 

Three traits to look for in recruiting the best people:

  1. Intelligence
  2. Energy
  3. Integrity

But what good are the first two without the third one?

So Integrity first (or squared for emphasis)...then intelligence plus the energy to use it plentifully and you have yourself an organizational winner!

Related to this, I saw someone on the train today with a tee shirt (from Sweet Green...not sure why this is their slogan) that said:

Passion 

   X

Purpose

This seemed like a good motto to me define the energy (#2) in Buffet's top 3 items for recruiting. 

With a clear intent plus the compelling feeling to achieve it, you got energy to apply.

The resulting function: 

Talent = f {Intelligence, Energy (or Passion x Purpose), Integrity Squared}

Now that's a recruiting formula we can all follow--thank you Mr. Buffet. ;-)

(Source Photo: LinkedIn)
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December 30, 2013

Up Up And Away



Had a wonderful time with Rebecca Blumenthal today.

We went air ballooning over Las Vegas. 

I was surprised at how large the balloons were and how easy the ride was--didn't even feel it when we lifted off the ground and before I knew it, we were 4,000 feet above sea level. 

I shot the video standing in the balloon as it was being inflated--never knew you could do that!

And I took the photo of the balloon with the Vegas Strip in the background--you can see the Stratosphere on the left along with the other fancy hotels and sites. 

The view from above was beautiful, the air outside was cool, but under the burners of the balloon we were warm and toasty. 

Sheldon Grauberger was a terrific aeronaut and guide today and you could see, completely, the total passion he had for this sport.

He told us how he actually trains others for free--he "pays it forward," since he was taught almost 20 years ago similarly. 

The sky, mountains, city, breeze, and peace and quiet floating overhead was so amazing. 

I sort of felt like the young boy, Pascal, in the movie, The Red Balloon.

He dreams of a better future and is carried off by the balloons into the wild blue yonder to live happily ever after, please G-d. ;-)

(Source Photo and Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 11, 2013

The G-d Watch - Live With The End In Mind


I used to have this manager who was within a couple of years of retirement.

She kept a jar of beans on her desk. 

Each bean represented one day of work. 

And every day, she would take one bean out of the jar. 

This was her way of counting down to the end of her career (and the beginning of her retirement).

Anyway, trust me when I say, that we were counting down too--even without the beans. :-)

At work, some people may even say of someone just hanging on or just hanging-out waiting to retire that they are Retired In Place (RIP)--a pun, on rest in peace. 

Uh, not funny, but when people know the end is coming (either for career or their life), they often change their behavior--they focus on what what's coming next. 

With the end of career, perhaps they are imaging sunny skies, palm trees, and margaritas in retirement.

And with end of life, people are often thinking about judgement day--and how they spent their lives: in love or hate, purposeful or without direction, doing good or taking advantage.

So it's very interesting to me how this company, Tikker (funny name, as a watch often makes the sound tick-tock, but also a person's heart is referred to as a ticker), developed a watch (the Death Watch) that not only provides the time, but actually counts down--years, months, days, and even hours, minutes, and seconds--not that they can be so precise--to your expected death. 

The watch is supposed to give people new perspective and encourage them to live a better life.

Someone who is going to purchase the watch fills out a questionnaire with information on family health history, age gender, and race, and then they get their estimated date of death, for the countdown! 

With the DOD (date of death), we now know what we are dealing with--for better or worse--and of course, subject to change, by the One Above.

But like the boss looking to retirement who took out a bean a day from the jar, we too can look towards our own mortality--not in a sad way, but in a fundamental human way--one that guides us, with the end in mind, to make better decisions for the time we have in life. 

Despite, what almost every young person seems to believe, we are not immortal--and the stupid things we do when we are young or throughout of lives comes back to haunt us (whether smoking, drinking, overeating, or other bad stuff). 

And so we must choose to live every moment, not as if we have forever, but rather with purpose, passion, and poetry--until the clock runs out on all of us, as it inevitably will.
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September 11, 2012

Radiate Possibilities

Today, I had the opportunity to see one of the best leadership videos I have ever seen, called "Leadership: An Art of Possibility." 


It features Ben Zander, an Orchestra Conductor who is not just a leader of making music, but of driving people to excellence.

Zander's passion and energy bring out the best in people--and you can literally see them transformed as their playing comes alive, their faces shine, and they glow under coaching of this conductor extraordinaire. 

His leadership principles are:

- Speak possibility--create a shift in being (transformation) by seeing the possibility in everyone, and lead people by empowering, not commanding; help people get in touch with their inner passion, so they remember why they love what they do and why it is ultimately important.

- Quiet the inner voices--communicate that everyone can get an A and everyone has value; assume the best of everyone, eliminate the fear of judgement, barriers, and mindset of "I can't do it," so people can genuinely perform. 

- Enroll every voice in the vision--make every person feel and realize that they can contribute and make a difference on our journey together; shift from a mindset of pure individuals to that of living in a connected world; like in a symphony-- we create a "sounding together."

- Look for shining eyes and radiating faces--you know you are positively reaching people and impacting them when their eyes and face light up; and you need to ask yourself what you are missing, when you aren't getting this guttural reaction. 

- Rule #6 ("the only rule")--Don't take yourself so %@&$! seriously; mistakes happen and life goes on; really feel the joy, relief, ease, spontaneity, and community around what we do. 

The art of possibility is a paradigm shift where we move from having an external standard to live up to, and instead move to fulfilling the possibility we can live into. 

In essence, Zander's leadership philosophy is about removing the barriers that inhibit us and releasing our deep inner talents, so we can achieve our marvelous potentials--and self-actualize. 

As Zander states: the conductor actually does not make a sound, yet by empowering people, he leads them to make the most beautiful music together. 

If you get a chance to watch this video, I believe it is extremely valuable because the passion, love, and energy that Zander demonstrates turns every face into a presence radiating their own joy and excellence--it is truly leadership unleashed. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 17, 2012

Don't Communicate Like A Dump Truck

I don't know a lot about huge dump trucks.

But I wondered what this meant when it says on the back of this multi-ton vehicle--"Do Not Push".

Don't worry, I won't! :-)

In life, we often communicate things that either we aren't really clear about, don't mean, or end up being misunderstood for.

In fact, probably one of the toughest "soft skills" to learn is communication skills.

I don't know why they call it soft, since when you communicate poorly, you can get hit over the head--quite hard.

One of the biggest issues is people who talk too much (i.e. they dump on others), but aren't very good at listening. Hey, they may as well be talking to themselves then, because communication is a two-way street.

Good communications skills include the three C's: clarity, conciseness, and consistency, and I would add--last but not at all least--a T for tact.

Communication skills also overlaps with the ability to effectively influence, negotiate, and create win-win solutions, so actually communication is at the very heart of what we need to do well.

When communicating, don't be pushy and don't be pushed around (i.e. get dumped on)--and don't get hit by that over-sized dump truck--communicate early, often, honestly, and with passion.

(Source photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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