“Real Beauty” and Real Blindspots

When I first saw the Dove Real Beauty video, it blew me away. As a marketer, I tell clients that if I do my job well, I will simply hold a mirror up from their organization to the world. In other words, we spend most of our time on the front end “discovering” the organization, and then the task of telling their story becomes easy. As I was having lunch with a friend yesterday, I realized that we all have blindspots in the perception of ourselves or our organizations. We self-reflect and come back with a picture that doesn’t resemble the reality. If you haven’t seen the Dove video, take a look here: Obviously, the “perception” of the women’s beauty was distorted and accentuated features that were unknown from the surface. While the male parody of the video is funny, it also demonstrates another flavor of the inaccurate perception of…

The Real Price of Winning at All Costs

Let me ask you a question. In the movie the Karate Kid, who is the American hero? Mr. Miyagi or the maniacal sensei of the Cobra Kai, John Kreese? You see we want winners in America, but we also expect a clean fight. Winning at all costs is sweeping the leg without any concern for the opponent: httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kr24G8jQpM Winning was the result of sanding the fence and waxing the car for young Daniel-san. The consistency of his applied training led to victory. but winning was not the goal. Then again I’m not really writing a post about the Karate Kid. The spate of scandals and investigations into corporate greed lately have had me thinking about profit as a goal. Winning, or profiting, at all costs sometimes results in sacrificing values in the name of the win. Coaches throwing basketballs at their players, corporations creating accounting fictions to pilfer every cent from…

A Little Focus Can Go A Long Way

We all do this right? We get a little place in the world to tell people what we do, and then we try to sell everything that we can do–not necessarily what we do best. Here we see that Fox’s serves Pizza, Bread, Salads, Wings, Stromboli, Hoagies/Wedgies, and lest you miss it, Frozen Yogurt. If you make the best Stromboli in the city, then it doesn’t matter whether you can make yogurt at all. Every new item or service that we offer has a cost associated with it: actual, opportunity or education. Yogurt, for example, has costs associated with the machine, inventory, operating education and opportunity of NOT selling Strombolis, yet businesses routinely tell their clients everything that they can do. Here are the reasons to tout all of your possible “products:” Increase top line revenue Crowd out competition Respond to customer demand Appeal to “some” customer interest Never learned…

Leadership Rules: A Work In Progress

I am always collecting my “rules” for leadership. Each item in this list, is a result of hard-earned lessons in my life (both as a leader and as a subordinate). It is by no means definitive nor complete. I don’t stick this away in a drawer. It is an agreement or constitution between me and the members on my team. 1. I want everyone on my team to succeed mentally, spiritually, and emotionally in both your personal life and in your professional life. – This may mean that you are prepared for a job greater than I can offer. – This may result in you becoming my boss. – This may lead to alternate and unexpected employment. 2. I intend to always be honest with you (even in hard times), and I expect the same out of you. 3. If I ever make a decision out of ego, call me…

Follow Your Heart: Easier Said Than Done

From Donald Trump to Oprah Winfrey, the “secret” to success seems always to be ‘follow your passion.’ I, for one, always get lost with this directive. To me, it’s akin to telling someone to embrace their “freedom.” Okay, what the hell am I supposed to do with that? Passion is a loaded term. That soup of spiritual, emotional, mental, physical and social longing and satisfaction each have unique answers. The challenge is to bring alignment that satisfies all elements of your person. I’ve found myself chasing mental “passion” only to drain all energy from my physical body and vice versa. So what’s alignment? As noted in the post starting the “why” series, we have spent all of our lives growing up with the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” The real question is WHY do you want to be when you grow up? Below the surface…

What’s Up With “Why?”

I spend several days a month facilitating retreats in high intensity, high energy rooms with executives of my clients’ organizations getting to the “core” of their business. Jim Collins pioneered much of this work of Core Purpose, Core Values, and Brand Promise in his 2001 book Good to Great. While others over the years have built on the foundations built by Collins, the basis of building an organizations core ideology has remained relatively unchanged. Over the past few weeks, I read Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. While Sinek points at many of the same basic tenets as Collins, the ease of his explanation, works very well to explain the need for the core purpose, or as he says “the why.” Take a few minutes to see Sinek’s TED talk.

“Why” do you want to be when you grow up?

Sounds funny right? All our lives we ask, and have been asked, “what” you want to be when you grow up, but seldom do we ask “why?” The why is so critical to success, yet the what leads so many decisions and life choices. Is it any surprise that so many people have a luke warm sentiment about their jobs or God forbid their “careers?” At least twice in my life, I followed the paths of what careers–one by pure accident and another by great intention. The results were what you might expect: longing, dissatisfaction, frustration and anger. Over the last two years, I have spent most of my consulting hours, working with clients in the profit and non-profit sectors forcing the why questions. Relentlessly, we spend difficult hours cutting through all of the “stuff they do” to get to the reason that they are doing it. It’s amazing and fulfilling to walk this journey. This…

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