Pillars of Sticking to Your Goals

On your journey to achieving what I call “World Domination”, there are pillars in each of the seven layers that both fortifies and reinforces the previous layers and help propel you to the next.

In the third layer of the pyramid, “Defining your opportunity strategy and sticking with it, Untitled

there are three pillars to help guide you to help you stick to your goals.


These pillars really ground you, bringing you back to your essence- your foundation. Each question, each opportunity and each decision need to be vetted and you have to ask yourself- will the actions satisfy your overall goal?

The biggest piece to this layer of the pyramid is making sure every member of the team is fully invested and support the overall goal. You can’t have “bobble head” employees (thank you Google’s Eric Schmidt for that phrase). Having “yes men” on your team does not mean support. People pleasers have no conviction- why would you want that? You want a team filled with individuals who have their own thoughts and have the courage to fail. You want to have a group of individuals that come up with actionable ideas and solutions to support your end game. Does everyone have to agree on how its done? No, but the process in which you decide on what you will do has to be a combined effort. Ideas spark innovation. Collaboration between a team whose strengths compliment each other is important.

Success is the byproduct of a team. I leave you with my favorite quote from Steve Case. Long-term success is not achieved overnight.

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 🙂


The Three Essential Qualities to a Solid and Healthy Career/ Business Foundation


In order to have a successful career or business you need to have a high self-awareness so you can achieve your goals. Knowing your strengths and how to capitalize on them and work on your weaknesses are two critical pieces to building a solid foundation, but success is not built by one person alone.

Success is achieved with the efforts of a collaborative, supportive team of individuals. While each person on the team has the same passion and drive– what makes them different in their strengths is the secret to the success sauce 🙂

When building your team as well as you own foundation, I have put together a quick check that sums up the foundation qualities I believe are needed to help fortify a solid base so you can achieve your destiny:


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 🙂

Kick Off to World Domination!!!

Monday officially kicks off the launch of “Opportunity Knocking” and I’m very excited. The responses I have received from my BlogHer interview, the four-star review from Success magazine and my  thestreet.com pieces were fabulous. For those interested, here is a list of my appearances this coming week so far:


Monday, March 17th, CNBC Squawk Box 6:50amET

Monday, March 17th, “Car Concerns” 9:30amET (nationally syndicated or click on link to listen live on your computer!)

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: WCBS 880am- “Women in Business” at 9:51amET (if not in Tri-State area, click on link to listen live on your computer!)

Thursday: WOR 710am- “Money Matters” at 2:22pmET  (if not in Tri-State area, click on link to listen live on your computer!)

Please order a hard copy or Kindle version of my book Opportunity Knocking Lessons from Business Leaders. 

The Secret to A Successful Corporate Culture

ImageOver the course of my 22 years in journalism I have come to know many titans in a variety of industries and what I have found out is it doesn’t matter if you are Alan Mulally of Ford Motor Company (F), Ron Kruszewski of Stifel Financial (SF), public equity titans, David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group (CG) and Ralph Schlosstein of Evercore Partners (EVR) or even Harold Hamm of Continental Resources (CLR)- they all share one distinctive trait– a strong corporate culture. By creating a culture that embraces the goals of your mission statement a company can be successful. Culture is the rebar that holds a company together. Creating that culture starts with the leader of the company; he or she is responsible for jumpstarting the organization’s culture.

A company’s culture is the essence of how managers and employees approach
and execute plans, and this culture comes from the top. Management needs to put in place a clear set of objectives, and everyone in the organization has to believe in them to execute plans effectively. For Carlyle’s Rubenstein, his formula for creating a culture that fosters innovation and performance is the same in every Carlyle office around the globe.
“We have a ‘One Carlyle’ culture, which means everyone is truly a member of one firm and they are incented to make sure they work as one firm, or they will be penalized if they don’t,” he explains. This framework provides the comfort of inclusion and the guidelines employees need to thrive.

No matter which Carlyle office you are in around the world, the company’s long-term philosophy is present in tangible items to remind employees that they are all in this together, from visual reminders on employees’ desks to posters in the lunchrooms. Culture is a living, breathing creature. You have to nurture it and foster it over time. Rubenstein emphasizes the culture by awarding one employee in the world each year with a One Carlyle award which is considered to be the highest honor an employee can receive.

For fellow private equity titan Ralph Schlosstein, its culture of inclusion of employees and the ownership their employees feel because of their contribution is key to Evercore’s success. When asked about one of the greatest life lessons he has learned he said it was very simple, “Focus relentlessly on culture.” Schlosstein said that winning combination of inclusion and ownership has fortified an environment of growth for Evercore. In order to do this, Schlosstein explains, you need to have a clear strategy that is responsive to both your environment and the relative strengths of your business. “If you do one without the other, you lose. If you create a business plan that is not relevant to the world as it is today, failure is probable,” he says.

This culture based on the value of human capital is also present in the auto industry. Ford may be a global company, but the model Mulally uses to structure his company is something any entrepreneur or business leader can apply. He calls it the “One Ford” plan (see attachment)

This tiered, focused One Ford plan illustrates the culture of Ford. Mulally and his team meet every week, enabling Mulally and his team get to know each other extremely well: “You know you can’t fool anybody. Without leadership sharing the same vision and communicating about how they would execute, the One Ford plan would cease to exist.” Mulally said. As with any plan, it must be executed properly to be effective, CEOs need to set the example and Mulally says it sets the tone for the employees. Known for his unbelievable memory and able to recall someone after meeting them just once. A Ford employee told me about being “blown away” by his memory when walking with him on the floor of the Detroit Auto Show. Mulally went out of his way to go say hello to a dealer he’d met the year before, remembering his name and the dealership he ran. “It’s things like that that motivate you,” the employee told me. “He truly cares about the employees. Everyone is important to the overall plan.”

Mulally’s story also shows that good leaders should have the courage to not only see what business opportunities lie ahead, but also to value human capital and recognize the opportunity a healthy culture creates.

“Consistency is key when trying to achieve a goal,” Mulally stressed. He said if his employees did not share this vision, they left. It’s not that they weren’t performing; they just didn’t have the commitment or passion the company was looking for.

Part of nurturing a culture is by having CEOs who are willing to not only listen to their employees but to also constantly raising the bar of excellence for themselves.
“I have never told my employees that I know everything,” said Ron Kruszewski, “I don’t, and I’m open to change. Our organization today is the melding of many deals. We are one firm today, but we are the best because of all the different firms that make up Stifel. Your infrastructure has to be prepared. That’s the bottom line.”

Kruszewski did not hesitate when describing his endgame: “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.”

Not only does this foster a positive environment, it can also help improve productivity. As Kruszewski puts it, “You have to invest a lot of authority with your key people. You motivate them, and they like it. This positive reinforcement builds the culture.”

Leaders like Mulally and Kruszewski do not view the loss of such employees as negative, because those employees didn’t enhance the organization in the first place. It
doesn’t matter if you are the employer or the employee—having a successful
culture begins and ends with value. Every person in an organizattion should bring value and passion to the table.

Out in the oil patch, Harold Hamm said the culture of Continental Resources is always being nurtured through his own personal improvement. “I have gone through tremendous growth myself as an individual. Obviously, you go through different stages, and you have to continually readdress what you are doing as a leader and get ready for the next stage and set of challenges facing you going forward. I’ve learned to do that. That’s the part of the job that keeps it interesting. Not a lot of people do it, and they stop along the way because their lid can’t be lifted anymore. I’ve always liked change and I thrive on changing and growing the company…. This passion is something I built into the culture of my company. Everyone in my company likes change and likes growth. We are a growth company. It is a challenge, but it’s who we are. It’s been a heck of a ride. Some employees have been with me for more than 30 years.”

Creating a positive culture is key to all these leaders’ foundations—as Schlosstein described it, “You need to be a long term believer in the things that enhance productivity.”
Even the tchotchkes and posters in Carlyle’s offices have helped foster their One Carlyle message. Productivity is nurtured in a variety of ways.

Lee Iacocca sums this up perfectly, “In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product, and profits. Unless you’ve got a good team, you can’t do much with the other two.”