John Robert Wooden — October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010

coach john woodenJohn Wooden was the greatest college basketball coach in history. The record winning streak of the UCLA Bruins of 88 games, including 10 NCAA titles, gave John, the “Wizard of Westwood” plenty of statistical and practical evidence that the players who start the game are not a big factor in who’s going to win. What counts is staying in the game, playing at full capacity, and doing your best.

Do what you do best and stay persistent!

And so it translates into the game of business. Let’s say you don’t launch a new product or discover a new sales technique before the competition—it doesn’t mean you’re going to lose. Don’t let somebody else’s innovation inhibit you! Remember that your ability has gotten you where you are today. Concentrate on what you do, and don’t slow down because you didn’t get to market first.

Knowing when other’s can help pave the way, take note of their mistakes and learn from them.

Take advantage of being second. Capitalize on the lessons learned from your competition and use the valuable knowledge to make your product or service better. Heck, think about Apple’s success. They didn’t even the MP3 player; they simply created one that a community fell in love with. Focus on continuing to deliver excellence, and you will not only gain from the experience, but it’s entirely possible you’ll win the market.

Intellectual Capital

intellectual capital Warren Bennis, the founding chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, believes that organizations don’t realize that they possess a vast source of untapped knowledge, what he refers to as “intellectual capital”. If even a fraction of the organization’s employees contributed their knowledge to creating solutions and/or growth potential, an organization’s overall results would skyrocket! Unfortunately, with the current overwhelming lack of employee engagement, studies are showing that employees are frequently griping that nobody listens to them.

To increase growth and employee engagement, take a hard, long look at the way managers are handling employee input. With today’s world being technology driven, “knowledge workers” need to be retained and challenged. When you continuously marginalize creative thinking within an organization, morale suffers greatly. Even the most highly motivated employees will eventually stop sharing their ideas. This then leads to a turnover and a host of other avoidable problems.

A good leader should acknowledge the contributions of the team on a routine basis, because as Warren Bennis said, “Leadership is the key to realizing the full potential of intellectual capital.” Get creative with recognition and it won’t be long before you will be swimming in intellectual capital.

How do you add value to your organization?

Nobody’s Perfect

nobody perfectNobody is perfect. Every person whether they are a manager or leader puts a foot in his mouth once in a while. When it happens more than once, a least once in the memory of the team, respect is quickly lost, and the leader begins paving his own road to ruin.

I’ve found this to be able to happen quickly when a manager gets to comfortable. maybe you want to talk about a movie you just saw or regale a colleague with a funny vacation story–everyday conversation shows your human side. That’s all well and good until you slip into discussing a risky topic like the attractiveness of a particular celebrity or his/her shenanigans at the city’s latest hot spot. Now the conversation includes potentially offensive material, the kind sure to be repeated by those listening or others within earshot. Soon you develop a reputation you don’t want.

Don’t use tact solely when you deal with people directly affiliated with your business. Show discretion during all professional conversations. Give the choice to berate an employee for a big mistake or build him back up now that the mistake is old news, you may well feel it’s within his job description to punish as a means toward correction. By taking frustrations out on team members you will undoubtedly reduce or eliminate any confidence that you’ve already worked hard at establishing.

Discover Your Strengths

discover your strengthsIt’s a common practice for people to try and cover up their weaknesses, it happens all the time–especially when it might mean getting ahead or left behind in the business world. However, despite the effort to minimize them, weaknesses tend to reveal themselves when you are under pressure. Spending all of your time managing your weaknesses is pointless. Instead, a better approach is to concentrate on your strengths.

Building on your strengths makes sense because, ultimately, it will pave the way for a less stressful way to achieving your goals. First, you will have a proven track record that demonstrates the skills you already do well. Second, playing to your strengths allows you to experiment within your comfort zone. When trying to branch out and expand your business, it helps to know that you can build on what you have already done. Third, by relying on your strengths, you’ll find the inspiration to set attainable goals. By seeking more challenges, your leadership will inspire others to do the same.

When you think about it, how are you currently looking at others?

Time and Trust

time and trustRelationships are built on two things: time and trust. This formula applies to both our personal lives and business lives. Granted, the time factor can be a hindrance but in business, we may meet people daily whom we may never again see in person. We want to keep doing business with them and achieve a lasting trust. While first impressions are critical, what is more important is that we build on those moments, and use that effective first meeting to create truly strong bonds: an enduring trust.

Each action that we perform in a relationship will either build it up or break it down. We need to be mindful of everything we do. If it’s said that we’re going to deliver something on deadline, we need to make sure to deliver it If we cannot make that deadline, it’s important to keep our client informed every step of the way. Follow though on every promise.

The more we show that we’re willing to invest in a relationship, the more meaningful it will become. Trust is built over the long haul, and our actions over time show volumes about our character and motivations. A one time effort to close a deal, get a sale or the client, even if it is dramatic and puts a big feather in our cap, it’s not enough. Enduring trust in a relationship can’t be faked and it’s rarely produced by a dramatic, one time effort. Build trust, keep it and nurture it.

Verbal And Non-Verbal Communication

verbal nonverbal communicationBelieve it or not, all of us speak to the world without having to say a word through non-verbal communication. Almost every facet of our personality is revealed through our appearance, our body language, our gestures, our facials expressions, our overall demeanor, and our posture and movements.

In our professional and personal lives, we’d like to think we could make friends and influence people if we verbally articulate our message with optimism, enthusiasm, charisma, poise, and charm. However, did you know that the verbal impact of communication only accounts for 7% of your overall message? The bulk of our communication comes across in our appearance and body language, comprising 55%. Tone, speed, and inflection of our voice make up the remaining 38%.

Since non-verbal communication encompasses 93% of our overall message, here is a closer look at what that entails.

It can include your attire, tone of voice, clearing your throat, rubbing your eyes, crossing your arms, tapping your toes, scratching your nose. Eye contact, or lack thereof, gestures, crossed legs, open arms, and the scent we transmit are all forms of non-verbal communication. Through your choice of clothing, hairstyle, glasses, accessories, and makeup if applicable, your appearance also communicates a strong message. The way you dress plays a vital part in how listeners receive you and how others respond to you.

According to author John T. Molloy, who is responsible for Dress for Success, clothes are used as a tool to control how others react to you and treat you.

In an interview situation or during a business meeting, it is very important that you send out the right signals. Always look attentive and interested in the opportunity or conversation – do not slouch in your chair. If you fib, your body language, the tone of voice or choice of words will probably give you away. Classic body language giveaways include looking everywhere other than the person you are speaking to and concealing your mouth behind your hands while speaking.

Not only is it important for us to be aware of our own body language, but it is as important to understand what body language means so we can effectively assess and react to others. For example, we may pass a negative judgment on someone because they slouch, fidget, or pout. If we are aware of why we made the judgment, we can filter out our biases and understand what their body language means and what it is telling us about that individual.

The most significant fact you should remember is that non-verbal signals have five times the impact of verbal signals. When the verbal and the non-verbal parts of the message are congruent, the listener believes your message. If they are not congruent, usually your words are saying yes, but your body language is saying no.

Always remember, actions speak louder than words.

What kind of experiences have you had with comparing verbal and non-verbal communication?

Need Some Fun In Your Workplace?

When I came across this video I immediately knew that I had to share this with everybody. I don’t know who this team of coworkers are but words can’t express how great I feel seeing others work together like this and having fun in the workplace! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

A Recent Feedback Lesson

feedback lessonAs part of a workshop, fifteen people who regularly observe my work were asked to give an assessment of how I was doing. After receiving both quantitative data and some verbatim comments on my strengths and areas for improvement, this is what I found:

It is hard to get good feedback. The default position in our cultures is fear. Fear of honest feedback and probably even more fear of giving it. Fear of retribution. Fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Face it; authorities didn’t use to ask for feedback. Parents didn’t want to hear it. Siblings sure as heck didn’t. Teachers hardly did. There just aren’t a lot of people who model seeking and giving constructive feedback. So, in our normal lives at work, people who could be helping us understand how to help them be more effective, and how to lead in ways that work, just don’t tell us.

Always Dream Big Enough

live your dreamThere may come a time in your life where you have to make some hard decisions. When you do, half of the people will think you’re crazy and the other half will think you’re right. You’ll need to make those decisions for yourself and your family when your time comes. I do believe the future is bright and my one hope is that I want anybody that reads to know that inside of you are the seeds of greatness. God blessed you with special gifts that only you have. Learn what those gifts are. I know that you can do anything in the world that you choose to do. You have to focus and always believe in yourself. Never beat yourself up for your past performance, just keep on striving to make your dreams come true. I know you are going to do something great in your future and that you can accomplish all you want and then some. Never give up on yourself. You know that it is better to go to bed tired knowing you give it your all than to go to bed lazy because you are striving for nothing. Keep on dreaming, it’s worth it. You are on your way to being the best. You will go beyond where you thought you could. I am proud of you for standing up against mediocrity and claiming yourself to be A DREAMER!! Yes, that is what you are and never ever forget it. Don’t let the fog take it away from you.

You’re the real deal, my friend.

May God bless you and always be there for you.

Recent Department of Labor Statistics

statisticsOn the last business day of August, the number of job openings in the U.S. was little changed at a series low level of 2.4 million, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The hires rate was little changed and remained low at 3.1 percent in August. The total separations rate was little changed and remained low at 3.3 percent. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector by industry and geographic region.

Job Openings

The job openings rate was unchanged in August at a rate of 1.8
percent. The number of job openings has fallen by 2.4 million, or 50
percent, since the most recent peak in June 2007. The job openings
rate was little changed in August in all industries and regions.

Over the 12 months ending in August, the job openings rate (not
seasonally adjusted) decreased for total non-private,
government, the majority of industries, and all four regions. The rate
was little changed in construction; wholesale trade; real estate and
rental and leasing; educational services; and other services.

Hires

The hires level was little changed at 4.0 million in August but has
declined by 1.6 million, or 28 percent, since the most recent peak in
July 2006. The hires rate was low in August at 3.1 percent and little
changed from July. The hires rate was little changed in August in all
industries. The hires rate decreased over the month in the West and
was little changed in the remaining regions.

Over the 12 months ending in August, the hires rate (not seasonally
adjusted) declined for total nonfarm, total private, and government.
The hires rate decreased for mining and logging; construction; retail
trade; finance and insurance; educational services; and state and
local government. The hires rate fell over the past 12 months in the
West and was little changed in the remaining regions.

Separations

The total separations, or turnover, rate was little changed in August
and remained low at 3.3 percent. The total separations rate (not
seasonally adjusted) decreased over the 12 months ending in August for
total nonfarm and total private. Total separations includes quits
(voluntary separations), layoffs and discharges (involuntary
separations), and other separations (including retirements).

The quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or
ability to change jobs. The rate was little changed in August at 1.3
percent. The quits level was 1.7 million in August, which is 45
percent lower than the most recent peak in December 2006.

Over the 12 months ending in August, the quits rate (not seasonally
adjusted) was lower for total nonfarm, total private, government, the
majority of industries, and all four regions. The industries for which
the quits rate was little changed over the year include
transportation, warehousing, and utilities; information; finance and
insurance; real estate and rental and leasing; arts, entertainment and
recreation; and federal government.

The layoffs and discharges component of total separations is
seasonally adjusted at the total nonfarm, total private, and
government levels. The layoffs and discharges level for total nonfarm,
total private, and government was little changed in August at 2.3
million, 2.2 million, and 135,000 respectively. The corresponding
layoffs and discharges rates were 1.8 percent, 2.0 percent, and 0.6
percent. The number of layoffs and discharges in August was 46 percent
higher than the recent low point in January 2006.

The layoffs and discharges rate (not seasonally adjusted) was little
changed over the 12 months ending in August for total nonfarm and
total private and increased for government. The layoffs and discharges
rate rose in mining and logging; construction; nondurable goods
manufacturing; and state and local government. The layoffs and
discharges rate increased in the Midwest and was little changed in the
remaining regions.

The other separations series is not seasonally adjusted. In August,
there were 321,000 other separations for total nonfarm, 263,000 for
total private, and 58,000 for government. Compared to August 2008, the
number of other separations was little changed for total nonfarm,
total private, and government.

The total separations level is influenced by the relative contribution
of its three components—quits, layoffs and discharges, and other
separations. The percentage of total separations at the total nonfarm
level attributable to the individual components has varied over time.
The proportion of separations due to quits declined from 61 percent in
January 2007 to a series low of 38 percent in April 2009. It then rose
slightly and stood at 41 percent in August 2009. The proportion of
layoffs and discharges reached a series high of 55 percent in July
2009 then dropped slightly to 54 percent in August 2009.

Net Change in Employment

Over the 12 months ending in August, hires totaled 50.9 million and
separations totaled 56.1 million, yielding a net employment loss of
5.2 million.