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 🙂


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 🙂

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 🙂

Why Vision is Essential To Success


Vision is essential to achieving what I call “world domination”. A compelling vision is what rallies a staff. Every leader I have interviewed always has one common piece to their foundation: vision.

Without vision how can you develop a mantra? How can you achieve a goal or strategy? You can’t define yourself if you don’t have vision. Every decision you make needs to go back to your vision- will it help or not?

You can’t wing it. Take the time and define yourself and your vision. It will be your beacon. Your true North. Without it, you’ll be floating aimlessly.

4 Words That Mean Leadership


You know the phrase actions speak louder than words? Well it’s true. You need to look at your life both at work and at home and ask yourself- am I leading by example? What message am I sending out when I do X?

As a parent, I am highly sensitive when it comes to using manners. Nothing rubs me the wrong way than a rude kid or adult. Manners are a must in this world. Even in the corporate world, leaders like David Rubenstein of Carlyle Group always makes a mental note on the etiquette of other businessmen.

Kindness, respect, compassion, courage: these four traits are necessary ingredients to be a strong leader. These traits do not exude weakness. Being an arrogant, condescending person does exhibit weakness. Those traits are like a cancer which eats away at not only the person but the environment they are working in.

So instead of falling into the negative. Embrace the positive and make a difference. When you leave this world what are the words you want to be remembered by? Embrace your inner leader by recognizing your strengths and working on your weaknesses. The world watching 🙂

Alan Mulally’s Secret to Ford’s Success (Exclusive Book Excerpt)

I have been fortunate to interview some of the world’s top business leaders and everytime I write a book I ask myself who in my Rolodex should I include? What would my readers want to hear from? It was a no brainer to include Mulally the savior of Ford to talk about opportunity. With Mulally’s announcement of his retirement on July 1st (which surprised the street b/c they were expecting a retirement towards the end of the year), I wanted to post a piece of my Alan Mulally Chapter from Opportunity Knocking.

Alan Mulally of Ford

(this following is an excerpt of Opportunity Knocking)

When Mulally found out I was writing a book about opportunity, he wanted to participate because of his passion for unlocking and tap- ping into circumstances. His approach to weighing opportunity is very pragmatic. Mulally looks at the concerns or worries facing the company and turns them into positives. He explained it to me this way: “I like the word ‘opportunity.’ I looked up the definition in the dictionary, and one of the definitions is ‘a good chance for advancement or progress.’ Think about how cool that is! The word ‘opportunity’ is just fantastic. You don’t wait for an opportunity. It doesn’t come to you when you are just sitting in a room.”

Mulally uses the following three-part checklist to unlock opportunities:
• Weigh the risks of the opportunity.
• Be sure all opportunities support the vision.
• Be open to opportunistic gems.

Before I sat down with Mulally, his office emailed me the image shown on page 50—an ad from 1925, to which I immediately gravitated. The ad’s message is simple, yet powerful: “Opening the Highways to All Mankind.” Talk about a compelling vision. All good organizations have one—it is the beacon that guides a growing company. Some CEOs would have turned down the overwhelming challenge of restoring and revamping that vision, but for Mulally, coming from Boeing, it was a chance to contribute to another American icon.


When Mulally took over, Ford was a $16-billion company but may as well have been a dozen small businesses. The company had no unifor- mity and was not “best in class” for quality, fuel efficiency, or safety. There was no real synergy. Ford was losing money and market share. It was sinking—fast. Mulally seized the opportunity he saw in this dire situation, even though it meant taking bold steps.
How did Mulally define opportunity in this situation? He decided to narrow the company’s focus to the original Ford brand alone. This was a huge decision, and not one he took lightly, as it meant gutting the company of many of its iconic brands.

Mulally and his team went back to basics, defining a vision and then sticking with it. First, they needed to define opportunity by decid- ing what Ford was. What kind of brands would it offer? They decided to offer a full family of vehicles: small, medium and large cars, utilities and trucks. Second, Ford focused on being best in class for all of its vehicles. Third, Ford ensured its vehicles would be accepted—and adapted—by consumers around the globe. If a model was developed for the US mar- ket, it needed to be adaptable to car buyers in other countries.

Using this three-pronged approach has enabled Mulally to lever- age all of the company’s assets to serve the different needs of Ford’s global consumers: “We realized that although our cars may be the same overall, it’s the subtle nuances of taste of our consumers throughout the world that would enhance them. Eighty-five percent of our vehicles are the same but they are customized to the unique tastes and require- ments of every country and every culture around the world.”

When Mulally was initially trying to figure things out and prioritize what needed to happen, he recalls asking a question of his team: “Guys, how are we doing?” Looking back, this was a pivotal moment. At that time, Ford was losing $17 billion a year and Mulally knew the answers were not going to be easy.6 But he had the courage to shine the spotlight on the ugly reality instead of letting it fester in the shadows. By asking this question, Mulally forced his team to acknowledge they had to make some serious—and extremely painful—decisions if the company was to survive. He said to me, “We needed a plan to build a cathedral.”

Making tough decisions like these is where having a clearly defined vision and sticking to it becomes crucial. For many, the changes at Ford were devastating. But from shutting down facilities and laying off workers to eliminating brands, the actions Mulally and his team took would help boost profitability and create a stronger company over the long term.
When we spoke about these difficult decisions, Mulally told me, “No matter what industry, we want our leaders to be looking through clear glasses and have a clear plan. The situation is not good or bad. The situation is just the way it is. We get to decide what to do about it. We ask ourselves, what is the real situation and what will we do to really prosper? It’s all about people.”

From the boardroom to the showroom, Mulally emphasizes the symbiotic relationship Ford executives need to have with employees in order to succeed. If workers don’t share the same vision and enthusiasm they are let go or they leave on their own. When developing cars the company looks at the wants and needs of its global consumers. In many ways, human capital is even more valuable than monetary capital. The dynamics of an organization are key. Mulally has the personality, pas- sion, and drive—he looks for people like himself because he knows that the success of his company depends on it.

If you are inspired by what you read pls click here and order your copy of Opportunity Knocking.

Defining Your Goal

It doesn’t matter if you are the owner of a corner deli or a multi-billion dollar business– every leader should have a defined goal, an end game. When I asked this question to Stifel Financial’s Ron Kruszewski, he did not hesitate when describing his endgame to me: “I always say I want to be able to double the firm tomorrow if I have to. And that’s how I approach my business. I have the people and the plan to be able to increase the firm very quickly in terms of our capability; I just don’t know when it’s going to take place. If you set the right culture and thought process, growing a company with people who are nimble and thrive on change is self-selecting.”

I recently had a great conversation with a friend who is an entrepreneur of an up and coming company and is looking for ways to take her business to the next step. He is the advice I gave her.

First and foremost, how would you define your end game? If you can’t say it in a simple sentence you have a problem. You need to have a distinct destination point when it comes to achieving success so you can plot a course in order to obtain it. There are three simple steps to do just that:

Define who you are

What products or services do you offer? What makes you special? How can you differentiate yourself from the competition? What do you ultimately want to be?


What do you stand for? Do all of your employees believe in your plan? You need to have everyone on board. Teamwork and passion will help you get through the highs and lows of your journey.

Every single decision goes back to your definition and mantra. If the decision doesn’t enhance what you are trying to achieve then it’s an “opportunity” worth passing up.

By adhering to these three principals you should be able to chart a course for you to achieve your endgame. Just remember the journey can be full of detours, slowdowns and potholes. That’s where your team and passion come in to help you keep your eye on how you will achieve World Domination.

Looking for more inspiration, leadership strategies and lessons? Please order a hard copy or Kindle version of my book Opportunity Knocking Lessons from Business Leaders