The Number One Leadership Tool Needed For Sticking With Your New Year’s Resolution

As 2014 wraps up- millions of people around the world will make a resolution. But how many will truly succeed?  From losing weight to getting a new job, there really is just one simple leadership tool needed to help achieve your resolution and that’s education.

I am not talking book knowledge. I’m talking about educating yourself on well- YOU. You are the subject matter at hand and it should be the topic you are most interested in excelling at 🙂

By educating yourself on who you are, you create that self-awareness all good leaders have. Self-awareness will enable you to help achieve your goal(s) for the new year. Self-awareness is created, fine-tuned and strengthened by the knowledge you learn about yourself. It gives you the tools you need to set the resolution and plot a course of achieving it.

So how does education help us keep our resolutions?

* Learning about you unfiltered. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Make an honest list and look at it. What is holding you back on the resolution you want to achieve? What do you possess that can help you achieve your goal? You need to focus on both your positive and negative so you can avoid patterns of actions that can lead to failure.

* What kind of actions have lead you to where you want a change? Write them down. Be honest. Actions in the past cannot be changed, what’s done is done. The key to this education step is learning from it and avoid repeating. Mistakes are actions you do over and over again not learning from them. If you learn what you are not doing correctly and fix it, the action is what I like to call a “misstep” 🙂

* Gives you the push to keep going.  Knowledge of what makes you tick, the acceptance of your missteps and learning from them is very empowering. Confidence is built and is a accumulation of knowledge and experience.

I truly believe there is a fire to succeed in everyone’s belly. It just needs to be fed. Self-doubt, excuses and lack of motivation are junk food. Knowing who you are, loving yourself to try and try again are the super foods needed to stay the course and keep your resolution.

So grab a pen and pad. Make your resolution list but before you set out in 2015 take some honest, insightful notes on you 🙂

If you like what you read and want truly learn more about tapping into your inner leader, please pick up “Opportunity Knocking”. Here’s to achieving your resolutions and goals!!


The Three Strategies In Achieving Happiness At Work

  Under the category of “You can’t make this stuff up….”

After a week on being at a new job, a manager says to his team. “I want you to be working so hard and focused during the week, that by  Friday I want you all to be physically and mentally spent.” The employees around the conference table were shocked. And the power of that poorly thought-out statement took root.

Do you think that motivated the employees? Absolutely not. Instead, the staff now dreads going to work. They are exhausted by Wednesday. Innovation has declined. The spark of inspiration is gone. A once motivated team of working ahead has been decimated into a shell of itself. On a hamster wheel where every day they leave work feeling like they accomplished very little. Every member of the team comments how long the week is.  The new manager? They are oblivious- holed up in their office where they can’t see the expressions on the faces of their team.  Mandates are given but no examples of what they want, just “do it”.

The only plus if you want to call it to this work environment is the team rallies together to support each other but there are better ways to encouraging employees to being there for each other.

This is not the way to lead. Arrogance and lack of communication (both seen here) are a toxic cocktail to any organization. In order to get the most out of your career or help build a healthy motivated team there are three simple strategies that must be used:

* Create your mantra- what do you stand for?

* Define what you want to achieve based on your mantra

* Give examples of how to achieve this goal and offer up to discussion

It is human nature to have a set of rules to follow. Without rules as a guide you have a disorganized, unfocused path. You need that central point to always refer to. There is a difference between being mentally fatigued and working hard. Employees do not reach their pinnacle of productivity by constantly chasing ill-defined missions. They need to be part of the plan. They need to understand what is expected of them.  Not everyone in the room may not agree on a single plan of execution, but a discussion together where everyone listens to each other, a plan will be put in place because of the collaboration of ideas discussed in that meeting.

A good company is often looked at staff retention. Tenure is more than how long a person’s been at a job. It’s about their satisfaction within the organization. Sure loyalty is part of it but let’s face it, happiness is key. Even when you achieve what I call “World Domination” you still want to be happy with what you are doing. You want to be challenged and valued. When happiness, challenge and value are not present- that’s when good talent leave.

The three strategies above focus on completing the package of success. If not, high turn-over is inevitable.

Inspiration Can Come From Anywhere

Inspiration can come from anywhere. You just need to keep your eyes open. In honor of today’s anniversary of Ford putting the Model T car on the market for $825 in 1908, I wanted to share with you an “Opportunity Knocking” chapter sample of former Ford Chairman and CEO Alan Mulally. I chose Mulally for the third level of the Pyramid: Defining your Opportunity Strategy and Sticking with It because of his strategies for creating and seizing on Opportunity.


His inspiration came from this ad written by Henry Ford himself:

Here is the chapter sample. I hope you enjoy it as much as I had in writing it. Be inspired 🙂

Unlocking Opportunity

When Mulally found out I was writing a book about opportunity, he
wanted to participate because of his passion for unlocking and tapping
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.

Weigh the risks of the opportunity: Every Thursday, Mulally
meets with his team to discuss growth plans for Ford. They
look at the business environment: politics, economy, energy,
environment, customers, competition, technology trends, and
labor. They look for changes, risks, and opportunities in those

Mulally has a process in place that enables everyone at Ford
to identify opportunities: “It’s almost like an all-time continuous
improvement process on finding more and more opportunity.
Then we check that our strategy is appropriate with the business
environment, and we have a plan which is a normal business
plan of revenues and costs, cash and earnings.”

Be sure all opportunities support the vision: According to
Mulally, the concept of “opening the highways to all mankind” is
Ford’s true north. “That’s how we measure every opportunity,”
he says. “That’s what keeps us so focused on making the best
cars and trucks in the world. That’s why we divested all those
brands—Aston Martin, Jaguar, Volvo, Land Rover—and
focused entirely on the Ford Motor Company.”

Be open to opportunistic gems: For Ford and other
automakers, this gem should be an emerald—I’m talking about
green technology. Innovation is the key to unlocking such gems.
One of these opportunistic gems is fuel mileage. Mulally
explained it to me this way: “If you are trying to improve the
mileage of an F-150 or a Fiesta, you have to come up with a
compelling road map of technology development.” From skilled
employees to technology, everyone and everything is part of
a company’s economic engine. Mulally continues, “There are a
lot of exciting innovations out there that can help make a car
green: you have our EcoBoost engine, lightweight auto-building
materials, integrated electronics, and navigation equipment.
Based on all these wonderful technological advances you have
the transformation of a hybrid vehicle, then all-electric vehicles,
and the use of natural gas and also hydrogen. Technologies
which are pretty neat are the ones that have multiple periods
of goals where you are improving both efficiency and safety.”

A great example of efficiency and safety is Ford’s integrated
electronics—how the different technologies talk to each other.
He returned to the motto of opening highways to everyone,
emphasizing that this is considered in any new advancement:
“We heed that statement with every decision we make.”

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 🙂

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 🙂

The Three Principles Behind a Strong Leader

Often when you read about leadership it all surrounds around the über success of the person and the size of their bank account. But there is more to leadership than that. When success is attained, what separates the winners and losers is their level of humility. Nothing is worse than meeting someone successful
who is not a nice person. I have been disappointed more times than I care to admit. Some stories would shock you but they are in my vault and unlike George Costanza I don’t open it 🙂 I do have to say though- they eventually get what they deserve. Karma is indeed a bitch.

I am often asked how I picked the individuals I decided to write about in “Opportunity Knocking”. While I certainly looked at their accomplishments, I paid particular attention to their humility. In order to appreciate success you have to be thankful and remember to pay forward.

From Harold Hamm, who says “I try to practice humility on a daily basis,” to David Rubenstein, who reminds us, “If good fortune should strike, it is important to give back much of that good fortune to help others … reach their own objectives and to achieve some measure of good fortune as well,” these leaders have never forgotten where they came from. Their pyramids are stronger because of that.

True leaders are not empty souls. They do not live and operate in a bubble of arrogance. They inspire others by their actions. Words are great but unless they are backed up with action they are worthless. In this book I asked all of my contacts three things I believe are necessary in order to live a full, well-rounded life: Rules to Live By, Mantra and Life Lessons.

These three principles are critical in creating your road map to success. Just like the Opportunity Pyramid where each layer supports and builds you to the next level, you must have these three principles in order to achieve your goals. They should be your anchor, stabilizing you in the sea of challenge and uncertainty.

In a page from my notebook on Harold Hamm– you will see the winning combination of business savvy and humility.

A Page from My Notebook: Harold Hamm

Rules to Live By

• I have pressed hard to cram as much leadership training into my curriculum as quickly as possible to get ahead of my competition and grow as an effective
leader. I have enjoyed teaching leadership through seminars, while honing my own skills. Although I still have a long way to go, I have developed a leadership
style that empowers my key people to implement corporate strategies and execute them well.

• A strong capitalistic system for business is critical so that entrepreneurs like myself can and will build wonderful businesses across America. I believe
strongly in entrepreneurship, having built a very large company from scratch.

Planning—planning—execution. Planning is integral to good execution. People who come in with their hair on fire irk me. Poor planning on their part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part.

Life Lessons

• 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.

• I have learned never to become over-leveraged with debt. I have a signed pledge on my wall that I live by personally. It reads “Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender
Be.” It has served me well.

• At Continental we have only borrowed meaningfully to develop projects that have already proven to be very economical, with high rates of return.

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 Biggest Principle to Growing Your Business and Have a Fulfilling Life

Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching? ~Dennis and Wendy Mannering

Leaders are people who others want to follow and want to be around. I like to call it the kavorka (thank you Seinfeld). Good leaders exemplify the seven layers of the “Opportunity Pyramid” with their positive attitude. The road to success is not an easy one so having a healthy and positive mindset is key.


Their drive, confidence, self-awareness and approach to seizing opportunity is woven together with the golden thread of a positive attitude. How can you succeed if you only see the negative? You can’t.

In order to grow you have to look at yourself and ask that question I have posted above. Successful leaders lead by example. Leaders get out of their offices, they delegate; they motivate; they don’t sit on their laurels waiting for an opportunity to come by. Leaders don’t follow. They lead.

We control our destiny. The strategies and direction we take in acting out a plan is of our device. Is it easy? No, but it is in our control. The right attitude helps fortify your foundation as you build your opportunity pyramid. The only person in the way of you achieving world domination is yourself.


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 🙂