Mastering a skill takes years, whether it is teaching, becoming a great leader, a parent or world-class speaker. Like the Bamboo Farmer that I reference in my speeches and my first book Water The Bamboo the key to mastery lies in one’s ability to be focused and disciplined for years.
I believe you should use most of your time and energy focusing on your strengths. However, leaders must reserve some time to improve their weaknesses.
The first step in any improvement is awareness. It is difficult, if not impossible, to improve weaknesses if you are not aware of it. Seeing yourself in action or paying close attention can help you identify your weaknesses. Getting honest feedback from those you respect is a gift, so receive feedback with an open mind. However, if you receive a singular piece of feedback from someone, verify it with others as well since feedback is subjective.
As a leader, you must embrace change and remain a student, or find yourself perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.
You can long for the good old days as much as you want—I miss going to Blockbuster too. Enjoy the memories, but you must move forward and prepare for the world of today and tomorrow.
In chapter six of my book, What’s Going Well, I teach readers how to apply the What’s Going Well mindset professionally.
In my experience, the workplace is one of the last places people receive genuine appreciation and acknowledgment—and it shouldn’t be. Recognizing people for their accomplishments and acknowledging a job well-done are essential to employee engagement and satisfaction; it also boosts productivity, changes behavior, and impacts the overall workplace culture!
This year I have noticed an interesting pattern. When clients request a keynote presentation, I ask which speech they want me to deliver--one focused on Water The Bamboo, Unleashing the Potential of Teams and Individuals or What’s Going Well? The Question that Changes Everything?
It’s been about a 50–50 split.
I developed a keynote and a half day workshop around the What’s Going Well mindset. Below is a short video that gives you a flavor of the new book and keynote.
Every year instead of setting a New Year’s resolutions, I pick a word that I use as a theme throughout the year. Last year, 2018, I chose the word “momentum.” I have to give momentum lots of credit for helping me power through and finish my new book, What’s Going Well.
Creating a What’s Going Well culture puts team members in an optimistic frame of mind, and interpersonal bonds and team relationships are strengthened at a deeper and more sincere level. The strong relationships that result lead to increased job satisfaction, engagement and loyalty. Acts of cooperation, teamwork and empathy generated by a What’s Going Well culture can also directly influence an organization’s bottom line. A What’s Going Well culture is a competitive advantage for organizations that implement it broadly and systematically.
Since we only have the capacity to focus on a fraction of what we encounter, our brains are constantly filtering what gets our attention. In this filtering process, our brains are easily distracted because we are wired to pay attention to any new stimulus, especially if we perceive it to be a threat to our survival. This filtering causes us to have what psychologists call a negativity bias.
Humanity on the whole has never been better off than we are now. The world is safer, we live longer, we are healthier, and many people are wealthier.
But as humans, our brains are naturally wired to cynicism. We’re more likely to focus on the negatives of a situation and not even notice the positives.
Changing our focus to What’s Going Well and rejecting negativity isn’t just about making us happier (though that’s a nice side-effect, too!). When we practice it regularly, it extends far beyond day-to-day joy and becomes a part of who we are. Eventually, we don’t have to work to practice it anymore. It comes to us naturally.
Now that your NCAA Final Four Bracket is busted – thank you University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers! – we can start talking baseball. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate the lessons that can be found in baseball. I was not much of a baseball player growing up, but I did make the thirteen-year-old "All Star" Babe Ruth team (I didn’t make it because of skill – there were barely enough 13-year olds in my region to field a team).
As many of you know, March Forth is a day I celebrate in honor of my late brother John. The holiday is meant to remind us to celebrate life and find things that help us move forward. I learned a long time ago that no matter who you are, life will throw you heart-crushing blows but we must keep Marching Forth.
My recent blog post titled Is Your Dog a Better Leader Than You? received a lot of great feedback but also seemed to spark a bit of controversy. Some readers have suggested that their cats have better leadership qualities. It was not my intent to ruffle any feathers – it is of course the year of the dog NOT the cat.