Three Questions Every Good Leader Needs to Ask Themselves

When a culture at a business is broken, employees look to their leaders to help fix it. Unfortunately, more often than not its the managers themselves that created the sick business environment. Is it apathy? Laziness? I think it’s a combination of both. Nothing is more disappointing than working for someone who lacks the passion to take your department to the next level, support you or recognize you for a job well done. But eventually I believe these individuals either “fail up” (they are promoted out of their current position because they stink and another person is brought in to make the decisions which is another blog in itself) or they’re let go.

I have seen first hand the positives and negatives of good leadership- both in and out of the newsroom. In order to be a good leader you have to ask yourself these three questions:

1- Define your leadership style: What kind of leader would you want follow? Would you follow an arrogant, self-absorbed, door shut manager?

2-  How do you motivate, encourage and support your team? Team- that’s one of the key words here. Team equals togetherness. Team means support. What would motivate and encourage you to do a good job? Is it a shout out in the company meeting for a job well done? Is it buying lunch for the staff?

3- Collaboration = vested = passion. How do you create an environment for collaboration? Good leaders find ways to make their team feel vested in the success of their company. Be it offering a scheduled meeting to offer ideas as a group so the team can listen, support and build on the ideas, leaders encourage members to work together playing on their strengths. A team is an eclectic bunch of people. While they all share the same passion for success and they embrace a central vision, their talents are different and compliment each other. 

Make these three questions the first you ask yourself so you can start creating a solid, positive culture for you and your team to achieve world domination.

If you are inspired by what you read pls click here and order your copy of Opportunity Knocking for more leadership strategies on being the best YOU can be 🙂





Making that Connection

In order to be a successful leader in your company or the organization you work for, you have to be able to make a connection with your colleagues or boss. You do that by being positive, exuding confidence and being a team player.

The way you approach your staff, boss or a colleague the tone you use is extremely critical in your leadership persona. No one likes to be jumped on, barked at or talked down to. I have seen first-hand how this back fires quickly. That person loses their ability to be a smart communicator and the staff writes them off almost immediately. If you believe leading by instilling fears in others- being cocky and condescending your will alienate yourself and will have turnover. You don’t want to be that “workplace cancer”.

Being a successful leader also requires being a good listener. Leaders have a high level of self-awareness of their actions. You need to be thoughtful, humble and patient. Colleagues and employees want to feel valued and good managers and employees do this by truly listening and giving their undivided attention. This is something I even tell my children. How can you truly contribute to a discussion if your mind is distracted with other things?

In a world where texts have replaced calls and emails and tweets are the way many folks get their news and communicating in hashtags is the norm, it’s time to look at our physical connections. A smile, face to face contact cannot be replicated or substituted. So, the next time instead of sending that email, get up out of your chair, walk across the room and talk.

If you are inspired by what you read pls click here and order your copy of Opportunity Knocking for more leadership strategies on being the best YOU can be 🙂

Opportunity Pyramid: The 7 Pillars of Success

In today’s fast paced media driven world, the successful individuals that headline the world news are often put on pedestals where they are revered so much, you think they were super human. They’re not. They’re just regular people. The difference is they have recognized the seven pillars of success you need in order to succeed. We all have these tools- the difference is many of us just fail to see them. We are so caught up in the moment, the “drama” or the self loathing “woe is me” that we neglect to see the path to happiness and success.

There are seven steps that one needs to take in order to reach your full potential. They all depend on the other and are all equally important and each pillar supports the other:

Knowing yourself

you need to know yourself in order to tackle any opportunity that comes along. You must know your strengths and leverage them and work on your weaknesses. All successful people have a high sense of self awarenesss.

Building Your Knowledge

In order to be the best you can be you have to have the knowledge to support your plan and strategies. Book knowledge is good but so is hands on knowledge. Learn from others, read trade magazines, anything to keep you current. Even taking a selective college course. The choices are endless for anyone who wants to expand their knowledge.

Defining Your Opportunity Strategy and Sticking with It
Ask yourself based on your knowledge and what you are good at– what do you want to do? Can you build a company based on your talents? You need to look at yourself as a brand. What makes you special is your intrinsic value to your business, aspiring business or the organization your work for. Once you define that you are halfway to achieving what you want to do. Based on that definition, every decision you make needs to go back to that very definition. Every strategy employed has the sole purpose so you can achieve your goals.

Stoking Your Inner Passion

Passion gets you through the highs and lows on your journey to achieving success. You need to be your biggest cheerleader. You owe it to yourself to be positive and remember how far you have come. The road may be filled with potholes and detours but in the end, your passion will be the fuel to get you through the journey. A key piece to this pillar is surrounding yourself with positive people that believe in the same mission you believe in. Cut out the negative, dramatic people- they are energy and time killers.

Staying the Course

I believe this is the most time consuming piece out of all the pillars. Why? Because this is where you are challenged time and time again. People may doubt you, you may even start doubting yourself. Success is rarely made overnight. If you want it bad enough you will make the sacrifice and take the time to get it done.


While you are staying the course it is critical to make sure you are executing at the highest level of performance and you are focusing on every detail. Sloppiness is not a nurturing piece in the success equation.

World Domination

This is the apex of the pyramid. It’s been a long, hard road but you have achieved what you set out to do. But that does not mean the journey is over. You need to stay relevant. If you rest on your laurels, your competition will catch up. You want to constantly innovate, reinvent and test yourself. That will keep your passion going and pushing the bar even higher.

If you are inspired by what you read pls click here and order your copy of Opportunity Knocking for more leadership strategies on being the best YOU can be 🙂

Entrepreneurialism Has no Age

I am a huge fan of tweetdeck and I have my own special list of “influencers”- people who not are not only newsmakers or journalists but leaders who also offer inspiration. Let’s face it- we all need that. It’s a spirits “go-go juice” 🙂 I follow Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group. He is visionary in business, but what I like most about Sir Richard is his giving back and stories of inspiration from the four corners of the globe. I wanted to share his blog today about two young girls (seven and four) selling rocks in an area that is well, very rocky. It shows you the spirit of the entrepreneur is in all of us and it transcends any age. These kids have built their own opportunity pyramid 🙂

Here’s Sir Richard’s blog. Enjoy!

If you are inspired by what you read pls click here and order your copy of Opportunity Knocking for more leadership strategies on being the best YOU can be 🙂

Culture of Positivity Starts with You

To be a leader and successful in life you need to be positive. Of course things don’t go your way all the time but the bottom line is you need to be glass half-full at all times. It is very easy to fall into a “woe is me” mentality. In order to seize on opportunity you need to be positive and take the necessary seven steps I layout in the “Opportunity Pyramid”. If you are negative, you are clouding your judgement by being so insular in thinking how can you ever achieve success if the fog of negativity is shutting out the light of opportunity?

pyramid pic

What got me thinking about this was a question I got at a speaking engagement this weekend. She asked how she could seize on opportunity after being out of work for five years. She spoke about the challenges of being out of work but then said something that perked up my ears: She was just about to finish up and graduate from paralegal school. But she automatically went negative saying she didn’t know if there was opportunity out there because she was out of work for five years.

I told her to start focusing on the positive. She went back to school to better her life. She was already creating her opportunity pyramid. She had a goal, building her knowledge by going to school. She then said once she graduates, the school was going to help place her for a job. I said, that’s the positive she needs to focus on and that there are millions of people out there who are out of work just like her but she should be proud because she took control of the situation by getting an education for a new career.

I explained to her the true unemployment rate is really closer to 12%, not the 6.3% the BLS came out with in May. Why? Because not everyone is counted in that job pool measurement. A number of economists look at what’s called the “U-6,” which takes into account the “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part-time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.” Plainly stated that number is the unemployed, the underemployed and the discouraged. When I broke down the unemployment picture her face brightened. I told she yes it will be tough to achieve her goal but she is trying and she needs to continue to stoke that passion and be positive to move forward. (another two critical layers in the pyramid)

Will this women succeed? I don’t know, but she has the tools to do so. It’s a matter of her believing in herself, staying the course and being positive to put the best foot forward. A culture of positivity starts with you at home. If you are not positive, why would an organization hire you? A crucial piece in building your first level of the pyramid- Knowing Yourself is loving yourself and being positive and supportive of yourself to achieve your dreams. There are enough naysayers in the world- why pile the negative on yourself? Acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead, but don’t chain those challenges to your ankles so you drown.

If you are inspired by what you read pls click here and order your copy of Opportunity Knocking for more leadership strategies on being the best YOU can be 🙂

Preventing Leadership Blind Spots

With the stunning primary loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to Tea Party candidate David Brat the latest buzz on “beltway blindness” and how Cantor and the press didn’t see it coming got me thinking. This “blindness” can happen to anyone in any career/industry.

All good leaders need to break that bubble. Sure, the higher you go up in the food chain in your work life you can easily lose touch. That is why it is so important to have a solid culture and mantra to believe in. It’s the glue to your foundation and the pin to pop any bubble that may form.

This is how Alan Mulally of Ford was able to turn the once beleaguered company around. The reality of Ford’s situation was ugly. Mulally popped the bubble and addressed the problems head on with a set of standards he implemented and made mandatory. From the mechanics all the way to the C-suite- “Opening the Highways to All Mankind” has been their beckon of light. Mulally created the “One Ford Culture” based on this mantra. By staying the course with these values and codes of conduct, the family of workers at Ford can stay tuned in with their customers- why? Because its part of their mantra. Boots on the ground and personally accountability are a winning combination.

One Ford (1)

Good leaders like Mulally get out of their offices, they meet with their employees and they energize the company through their passion. Being approachable is the key to a manager’s success. You lead by example. How can you lead if you are in a bubble surrounding yourself with yes men?

I am sure everyone has worked for a boss who can not connect with their employees. They have their team of people and an air of arrogance suffocates the workplace. That arrogance is key ingredient in this bubble and disconnect. An open door policy creates a more inviting, encouraging environment.

Giving back is another great way to deter the creation of such blind spots. All good leaders remember where they came from, they give back. I am too a big believer in paying forward. I think it completes the circle of leadership. Here is a life lesson and a mantra from two of my leaders I focus on in Opportunity Knocking:

Harold Hamm, Continental Resources and America’s Richest Oil Man with a High School Education:
Image: Harold Hamm

You have to base your life around principles: fairness,
integrity, charity, honesty, caring for others, etc. If
you deviate from these, you are just fooling yourself
and setting yourself up for a big fall. I try to practice
humility on a daily basis and employ all of the
principles I have learned.

David Rubenstein, The Carlyle Group:
Work hard; keep your ego in check; give back; and try to make
the world a better place than you found it.

Remember, success is a wonderful thing, just don’t put blinders on or you will be smacked with failure right in the face.

If you are inspired by what you read pls click here and order your copy of Opportunity Knocking for more leadership strategies on being the best YOU can be 🙂

Opportunity Knocking: Manifesto to World Domination

When my publisher Agate asked me if I could write a “manifesto” in how to achieve world domination for 800 CEO-Read, I jumped at the chance. Not only did it sound like fun but as a journalist I love breaking down information in a nice “news you can use” format

I think all too often we complicate things. Being successful is hard work but it should not be that complicated. It boils down to honest, determination, the insatiable appetite of no fear and passion.

Here is the link to the manifesto. Enjoy!!

If you are inspired by what you read pls click here and order your copy of Opportunity Knocking for more leadership strategies on being the best YOU can be 🙂