Thursday, 27 September 2012
The Best Leadership Lessons are also the Best Life Lessons

Learning of the death of Stephen Covey has caused me to stop and think of all the things he taught me, either in person or through his books.  As a certified trainer in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we dug more deeply into his concepts, and he was the first to say that his books were not a product of original thinking, but a compilation of years of research about what made people excel at what they do.  I was fortunate to attend one of his leadership weeks in Sundance and further learned that it’s about doing the things you know to be the right things, not always coming up with something new or original.  There is a reason that his habits were the seven that were chosen to be in the book…they are tested and continue to be prevalent today.

I think the habit that has motivated me most is the first, “Be Proactive”, the basic message of which is that I can’t control what happens to me but I can totally control how I respond to those things.  Many times in my career I have reminded myself of that and it has always served me well, whether I was dealing with issues in my career or family.

Stephen Covey was a great voice in life leadership.  I am grateful that I know his work.

Posted on 09/27/2012 10:43 AM by Mary Fink
Wednesday, 19 September 2012
All business at the same starting line?

Let’s say we are playing football and after a touchback your team starts on the twenty and my team starts on the forty. Would you consider that fair?

I am a big proponent of free markets with open competition and a “best man wins” mentality.  If I can make a better product or deliver a better service, I win. If the reverse occurs, you win.  If I am really bad, I go out of business and my assets, people, etc. will be redeployed as the market provides opportunities.  If I do a really great job my business grows which typically means more jobs, better wages, happy stockholders, etc.  All I ask is that we compete on the same playing field and neither of us receives preferential treatment. I think most business people would agree with me.

In the world of retailing, internet sales in Tennessee have an automatic approximate 9% (depending on local options) sales tax advantage. That is simply not fair. No major retailer has a 9% profit.  It is not right that certain retailers have a government imposed profit advantage.

Our free market system works best when we have the best competitive situation. More competition gives consumers the best quality, the biggest selection and the lowest prices. Last month I had an unsuccessful conversation on the topic with Senator Jim DeMint from South Carolina and quite frankly I could not follow his reasoning.  There no way that a category of retailer should receive a 9% government imposed advantage over other retailers selling exactly the same products.

Posted on 09/19/2012 1:52 PM by Joe Scarlett
Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Top Ten Traits of Aspired Leadership

When I think back on the great leaders in my life and those that I aspired to, I always think on those attributes that earned my follower status of them?  What attracted me to consider them a leader in the first place? 

Here’s my own top 10 list of traits that I found myself aspired to:

  1. They exuded a confidence and energy that was just different. Standing out didn’t affect them.
  2. They challenged the status quo in a respectful manner.
  3. They were curious but wanted validated facts – not fluff.
  4. They didn’t mind getting their hands dirty to do hard work when called on.
  5. They didn’t run from adversity or hard situations but addressed them quickly.
  6. They knew instinctively when change was required and rallied the troops to see a vision, provided a roadmap, set expectations, and got out of the way.
  7. They admitted their own mistakes and didn’t blame others.
  8. They were their own person and never prescribed to be as good as the last person they talked to.
  9. They were empathetic and cared for the humanity that worked for them – and understood work is what they did – not who they are.
  10. They were centered ethically first – revenues second.

When I look over this list – several names come to mind and I realize how blessed I am to have these great people be part of my life.  I hope to continue striving to live up to their great examples. 

Create your own list – keep it with you – and aspire to lead by example.  Because someone is watching you and making their own list.

Posted on 09/12/2012 8:28 AM by Janet Rives
Tuesday, 4 September 2012
Step Out!
I just read a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that said “Do one thing every day that scares you.”  Seems like unlikely business advice, but how many of us choose to do what’s comfortable most of the time?  The message here is that we should stretch ourselves when we get the opportunity, because that’s how we grow.  We can have ten years’ experience or one year that’s repeated ten times.  New challenges bring energy to us and to the organization.  I remember my first presentation on behalf of a former employer.  It was a last minute request because someone had gotten sick, so I said I would do it.  It was awful!  And it was then and there that I decided that public speaking was a skill that I was going to master.  That decision led me down the road to my current position, which I love.

Step out there…you never know where the road might take you!

Posted on 09/04/2012 10:54 AM by Mary Fink
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