Morning Motivator - Demand More from Your Leadership

"Be interested in finding the best way, not in having your own way."
- Coach John Wooden

I admit that I am politician in a businessman's clothing. I do dream of a day where we have effective, sincere leadership from our State and National government. I wish to see the end of days for blind loyalty (yes, you Obama followers) and deceitful leadership (see: GWB). Hopefully, we can move beyond that...soon!

What is required of our leaders to best serve our collective needs? The commitment to finding the best ways, not "their" ways. This means no more pushing health care through a lopsided system when no one wants it. This means not going to war without approval from the congress. This means SERVING as a leader, as opposed to dictating with POWER.

How is it that the MOST SUCCESSFUL college basketball coach in history clearly understands this, yet, our "greatest leaders" seem to overlook it? Is it that power corrupts? Is it that we are electing corrupt people into power? Is it just NATURAL for people to abuse a power role to self serve?

2 DEGREE SUCCESS STEP: I am not a political expert, a sociologist nor even a small time politician (yet). What I am is someone that is concerned. Concerned for you, me and the people that will follow us.

Will we demand more of ourselves as we begin to take these leadership roles that are forthcoming in the near future? Will we see a better quality of leader arise from the ashes after the horrid examples we have set before us? Can the next generation save the current and the future generations?

Leadership is a sticky issue. It cannot be taught in a class (although it is attempted), just like ethics. Leadership is a character trait. It is the combination of intelligence, humility, and charisma coupled with self sacrifice and an innate ability to listen before speaking.

Look around. Who do you know that is a great leader? If they left their company and switched industries, would you follow? If they encouraged you to go to a class to improve your skills, would you sign up today? If they said they had an idea to share, would you schedule the time to meet and listen? Why? THAT is the question you must answer...



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Morning Motivator - Professional On and Off the Court

"Professionalism: It's NOT the job you DO, It's HOW you DO the job." – Anonymous

It is always fun to look at yourself after you do something to analyze your actions. If there are any "truths" about me (and I am sure you), one is that I take winning very seriously. Whether that be in business or sport. I hate nothing more than losing...

Losing, however, is a part of playing. If you want to win, you must risk losing. When you do lose, you must make sure you carry yourself in a professional manner accordingly.

As professionals, leaders and role models (yes, LeBron, you are a role model), we must maintain a high level of professionalism in winning and losing. Winning is easy because you feel good and are excited about your performance. It is is losing that most of us lose our cool.

2 DEGREE SUCCESS STEP: Regardless of business or sport, as leaders, we must be humble, focused and respectful to our opponents and teammates. Most importantly of them all... our teammates.

Sure, it is easy to get upset when someone drops the ball (figuratively and literally), yet what does getting upset solve? Would you not be better to provide them support and instruction? Would it not be better to help them become better, rather than tear them down?

Leadership is challenging for many, especially me, when things are going rough. It tests your abilities to stay focused on the task at hand, the development of your teammates and the accomplishment of your goals. Thus, a suggestion. When a challenge arises, and you find yourself frustrated with production or performance (team or individually), use it as a TEACHING opportunity.

The heart of a teach is that of a leader seeking to build a better future through development, not negativity. How much better would you be or your team be if you knew HOW to be better, rather than just being made plainly aware when you fall short? Be a profesisonal - good or bad, on and off the court! Leaders do not get an "off day."



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Morning Motivator - College, the Athlete and the Manager

"Those who can, do."
- HL Mencken

On of my favorite discussion popped up last night after I posted a comment about the University of Miami players being caught receiving money from illegal booster donations. I noted that I was "amazed" (sarcasm) that this could happen. The fuse was lit...

What is the purpose of college? To become more learned, thus allowing you the opportunity to better your career position and financial situation. Right? What if you could skip college and become a multi-millionaire? Do musicians go to college to become rock stars? Do entrepreneurs go to college to learn how to launch a business? Then why expect an athlete go to school to play professional ball?

Would it make more sense for the player to maximize their income during their prime playing years, then, once finished with sport, return to college to seek out their next career?

2 DEGREE SUCCESS STEP: Note that this argument shares the logic of a business - specifically small business vs. corporate.

Corporately, many MBA or Masters Degree students are in leadership roles solely based on an arbitrary education. How many have the leadership skills and experience to effectively manage? Yet, because they went to school longer, they are now an expert in management. Hmmm...

I am not downgrading the importance of education, rather, UPGRADING the importance of talent, skill and experience. There are plenty of bad MBAs and many worse Undergrads in the world. Yet there are talented people that are being restricted from achieving by "corporate policies" requiring an advanced education. Why not require a Ph.D.?

Remember that TALENT does not always come with a 4 year degree. Also, if it took someone 7 years to get a Masters, maybe they are not as good as their degree states. Would you hire the CEO of FaceBook to run your business? Keep in mind, he never finished college...

Talent cannot be taught. Seek talent, seek experience or expertise. Let the fancy letters after their name prove it in the field!



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Morning Motivator - Simplify with an Agenda

"Ok. So what are we doing here?" Common first words in a meeting

What is the most frustrating thing about meetings? For me, it is not knowing what the %*&# we are doing there. Even worse, doing the same things over...again!

What solves the issues of being "lost" and "redundant" in meetings? Better yet, what is the ultimate KILLER of unneeded meetings? THE AGENDA!!

Yes, an agenda detailing what you are doing, in what order and at what times. It is also easy then to assign tasks to each participant, determine deadlines and even avoid the meeting entirely (if you are not really needed at all).

2 DEGREE SUCCESS STEP: OMG Zach! Are you suggesting I have an agenda for every meeting I attend? Well, no. I am only suggesting that you have an agenda for the meetings you want to get in and out of, quickly! If you are spending social time too, then do whatever you want - at your own time risk.

How many meetings could you avoid or expedite if you had an agenda? How much more efficient and effective could you be if you always knew exactly what to talk about? What if you REQUIRED your boss to have an agenda to meet with you? (Do you not think they have one of their own?)

The agenda is just a ROADMAP for your meeting success. It tells you what path to take, how long to take it and where to go next. It prevents you from getting lost in casual discussion or even worse, bitching and moaning about blah blah blah...

Not interested in typing and creating a new agenda every time you meet? Type out one master form. Print 30 copies and place them in a folder that stays with you always. What?! Impromptu meeting? Pull out the folder, set the agenda and go! It might just surprise you how awesome it can be.



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Morning Motivator - Reward Your Best People Properly

"Dude, this is awesome! Very nice."
- Acadiana Sports Leagues (ASL) athletes

If you are wondering what I am up to these days, I have launched an adult recreational sports league in south Louisiana. With the partnership and friendship of Mr. Philip Steen of Nashville Sports Leagues, we are doing quite well here.

What I have learned in launching a new business, in a new community, with no contacts in my target market is that you must continually brand your value (as a person and a business) while rewarding those who support you.

You must show those that are investing in you that you appreciate their trust and confidence. For a new business, you are also saying thank you for their patience and understanding as your refine your offering.

A reward, eh? Like what? Money? Discounts? Special arrangements? Yes... and No.

2 DEGREE SUCCESS STEP: There are many ways to reward people. Most commonly, our minds relate reward to finances. I warn you that if you start down the money path immediately, you have already undercut your value.

Find ways to show your best people you appreciate them by offering things they cannot get anywhere else. Maybe preferred scheduling for appointments. What if you held an "after hours" event for a limited few people to engage your business (a private affair)? How about a piece of recognition that is unique to your business alone?

What do we do? Well a few things. We provide preferred game scheduling to our most loyal teams. We give Champions TShirts for our winners, which include a "patch" on the back denoting the league they won, which allows them to add patches as they win more. Then, most uniquely, we offer them custom pint glasses as a trophy. They are cool, useful and quite a collectors item (if you are a consistent winner!)

Check them out: 124764700910679.33143. 111662032220946&type=1&theater

So, what are you doing to reward your best clients?



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