Category Archives: Leadership
5 Important Words For Leaders
I worked with a super-fantastic guy once. He was a senior manager that I thought could always run the company. He talked about these 5 words with respect to a leadership team. I wrote them down immediately and have always remembered them.
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Unexpectedly Providing Value At Age 19
When you are a teenager, working for the first time, it is truly all about the money. Finally, you have some independence from your parents, and can start to buy things for yourself! As you make a little more money and get different jobs through high school, earning money gets even more exciting. The thought of providing any value to others as a teenager does not even register for most. I was part of that group. Then there was a real shift for me when I was 19 years old, thanks to my dad.
I was making $5.25 per hour working at a buffet restaurant in the summer of 1992. I was working a lot because I was off from university for a few months, and the “money was rolling in” (or so I thought). My dad was teaching an adult education class in the evenings, and connected with a man who needed some math upgrading. He was involved in an accident, and had to pursue a new career due to his injuries. The kicker was he needed his high school diploma to qualify for most jobs.
My dad could not commit to doing all the tutoring himself, so he asked if I would help at a rate of $30 per hour.
“$30 PER HOUR?” I said.
“You bet”, said my dad back.
“WHEN DO I START?” I hastily replied.
I was excited because I was going to make more money working with him in two hours a day, then I would make in eight hours per day at the restaurant!
As I started to work with the man, it soon became very clear that it would not be as easy as I thought. Just because I understood math very well, did not mean that my knowledge was going to “rub off on him” as quickly. There were some difficult days at the beginning of the process, but by the end, we were working well together. We gained a mutual respect for each other as time passed. I often caught myself thinking that this guy must have thought that I was a “know-it-all young punk”, but realistically that was not the case. He was in a jam, and I was there to help.
This was a life changing experience for a 19-year-old kid, to realize the value that I provided was much more important than the money I was receiving. It did take a while to get to that place, because all I could think about was the $60 that I made each time I saw him!
In retrospect I would have done it for free, because I changed a life. As I look back now, that is what I remember the most. The memory of the money is only for story telling purposes. I helped him get back on his feet when something terrible had happened. As a 19 years old kid, $30 per hour to me then was like $200 per hour today!
In the end, my “compensation” was that he got to start over again, and I played a small part in that.
You are not going to get paid for everything that you do in your life, that is a fact. When you realize that helping others, providing value and not always expecting something in return is a great way to live your life, it will be a real game changer. It was for me!
- When have you provided value for someone, and not even realized it at the time?
- Do you have the mindset of “what is in it for me?” before deciding if you should help somebody?
- Is it time to start giving unconditionally?
Happy 70th Birthday To My Mom!
My mom Carolynn, who I affectionately call “Carrie” turns 70 years young today!
My family and I had the pleasure of celebrating this milestone event with my dad, sister and family a couple of weeks ago in her hometown of Gimli, Manitoba. She was thrilled to catch up with family and close friends.
She taught elementary school for many years before starting her “real job” of taking care of my sister and yours truly. She was a fixture over the years playing the piano at our schools and volunteering. I was always so proud to see her playing the piano at our assemblies. She returned to the workforce after we were “all growed up”.
Now her job as “Amma” (Icelandic for Grandma) to her four grandchildren keeps her smiling and having fun. My parents love coming to visit us in Edmonton, and enjoy the time they spend with their other two grand children, daughter and son-in-law in Winnipeg too.
When my dad turned 70 last year, I mentioned that our family loves to have fun and laugh! My 3 favourite moments laughing with my mom are:
#1 I was explaining to my mom that I was really tired one day, and was going to watch a quick movie that night. It was called, “Back Of My Eyelids”. Her reply, “I don’t think I have seen that one dear.”
#2 She was shopping at the local mall, and either forgot where she parked the car, or it was actually moved. We may never know what actually happened. Word spread to a few of our neighbors, and the next time she went to visit our “adopted grandpa” next door, he just opened the front door a bit and very eloquently said, “I am sorry dear, but you don’t live here.”
#3 She is the best “backseat driver” I have ever seen! Her passenger seat shoulder checks are impeccable, and the “passenger side fake brake” always gets a workout when she is in a car.
We have laughed about these stories for years.
Her memory and commitment to family and friends is truly amazing. She seems to remember every person that she has ever met, and I have always been impressed by that. I recently quizzed her on our Icelandic family history, and her attention to detail as far back as 60+ years ago was incredible. I guess that is where I get it from! I have often looked at the calendar in her kitchen and asked, “Do you actually acknowledge all of those birthdays, anniversaries etc?” And the answer, of course, is “yes”.
You know our conversations would always be interesting when it started with “You remember that person from…..”
She is still sharp as a tack when it comes to the little details.
Always so selfless, I have only known her to think of others first. “No” has not been a very popular word in her vocabulary over the years. But “what can I do to help?” has been ringing in my ears since I was a kid. She has been there for so many family members and friends when they needed her; I lost count years ago.
My mom is very musical, and comes from a very musical family. I wish I was a bit older so I could have witnessed all the fun evenings at my grandparents place with the sounds of piano, violin and laughter resonating throughout the house. One of our family’s favourite traditions is to have the neighbors over after dinner on Christmas Eve. It is always fun when mom plays piano and we have a big old sing-song with everyone 🙂
Oh I almost forgot! My mom “taught me” to stay up late as a teenager. We watched “The Arsenio Hall Show” late together long before the days of time-sharing channels on TV. Those were also the early days of CNN. To this day her and dad stay up waaaaaayyyy too late and often I will text and say “go to bed” well after 12:30 am 🙂
I said a few words during mom’s birthday celebration a few weeks ago, and did not have notes. It was a whirlwind event and what I said is all kind of a blur to me now.
What I hope I said was my dad, sister and myself, and all our family and friends love her very much.
I will never forget the time she asked me, “Why did dad and I get invited to one of your friends’ weddings and none of the other parents did?” My reply,” You guys are different mom, you are the best!”
She has been the backbone of our family for 45 years, and we love her to pieces. Her infectious smile, fantastic laugh and helpful nature have made her a fixture growing up in Icelandic communities of rural Manitoba (Gimli & Hnausa), and now in her local community (Transcona, a suburb of Winnipeg, Manitoba).
Here’s to many more years of health, happiness and laughter my dear!
Love Tim and family
My Collaborative Leadership List!
Here if the final draft of the “Collaborative Leadership List” that I compiled in June 2012 with a “Five Star 5” post. My points are in bold, followed by the contributor’s comments. Thanks to everyone for the awesome additions!
- Motivate, inspire and most importantly have fun
- Give an enthusiastic “thank you” when things go well, and a supportive ear when things go wrong
- Be a positive example with your work ethic, and have a desire to succeed that others are proud to follow
- Understand that all your employees are unique people and need to be managed accordingly
- As often as possible smile, laugh and have a bounce in your step!
“Beat employees regularly with a big stick!” (Joking of Course!) – Stuart Young
“Be authentic and transparent. Say what you’re going to do and do it. Transparency requires humanity. Show your team you’re vulnerable. Not only will they be more forgiving, they’ll be more supportive.” – Chad Miller
“My best leaders have been able to see (and bring out) more greatness in me than I could see in myself. My dad has long contended that the best leaders philosophically approach their leadership with the idea that they need their people more than their people need them.” – Broc Edwards
“Step in and help out when it is least expected just to lighten another’s load.They really appreciate it and most of the time deserve it.” – Tina Del Buono
“I make an effort to catch my people doing something RIGHT, then I praise them for it. Too easy to catch them doing something wrong.
When something goes bad I make sure I am “firm on the issue, not the person”. – Steve Vanega
“On your second point.. great leaders not only be a supportive ear but also takes the responsibility when things go wrong. We have seen this great example through Howard Schultz of Starbucks. On your 4th point, I totally agree with you. This happens in my organization where the leaders often see their followers as a collective unit as opposed to recognize their own unique personality.” – Chen Choon
“We often “Celebrate” as well. Ups, Downs, challenges and all the other nitty gritty goodies that come in sales. Having spirits high and loyalties in check = imperative” – Cara Adams
NFL Super Bowl XLVIII – What Inspires Victory?
As the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII quickly approaches, I cannot help but think what is going through the player’s heads on the day of the big game. There are so many reasons why they want to win, and that bit of emotional inspiration can make all the difference!
I always think about O.J. Brigance on a day like today, and how he inspired the Baltimore Ravens to do great things, especially win the Super Bowl last year!
I have followed his career since it started up here in Canada in the early 1990’s and flourished later in Baltimore all those years ago. He now has a battle on his hands every day fighting ALS, but maintains a positive attitude beyond anyone’s wildest expectations.
At the end of the day, the Super Bowl is just a game; a celebration of two very good teams, and it will be a great experience for everyone involved, win or lose. O.J. Brigance helps me keep it all in perspective, and hopefully you too.
Please watch the attached video, and read the article below:
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Great Message About The First Follower!
The Five Star 5 – My Favourite Sales Quotes
I have complied a large collection of sales quotes over the past 2 years. Here are my five favourites:
- Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble – Frank Tyger
- Become the differentiator. What you sell can be copied but you can’t – Jill Konrath
- Stop selling. Start helping – Zig Ziglar
- Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect – W. Clement Stone
- If you’re speaking and not getting a reaction, well, you are just making a speech – Unknown
I would love to know what your favourite sales and/or business quote is.
Send me an email at TimMushey@gmail.com and I will share the top 5 responses early in 2014!
Have You Ever “Tucked A Tie Into Your Shirt?”
My first job out of university was with Enterprise-Rent-A-Car. It was high paced, non-stop action role that keeps me running all day. Most days I did not believe that we could take care of all the customers, but we did. Things just always worked out.
Part of our jobs was washing cars. On the surface anyone should be able to wash a car. But in that business, the key was to wash it quickly, but still make things spotless.
I worked for several Branch Managers and Assistant Managers during my 2+ years with the company, and they were each different. They got similar exceptional results, but the way they each lead and managed was unique.
But there was one commonality. They would never hesitate to jump into the car wash and clean a vehicle at a moment’s notice. I was once told that you just “tuck your tie in to your shirt so it does not get wet, or sucked up in to the vacuum“, and just GET IT DONE.
They would also do many other tasks that were not on their job description like pick up customers, and start cars when it was colder than -30 degrees celsius!
These people stood out for me as true leaders. It would have been easy for them to sit in their offices, shuffle paperwork and pretend that they were doing more important things then help customers be completely satisfied with their rental experience, but that was not in their DNA. They were there to help, no matter how crummy the tasks were, all in the name of “just being one of the team”.
Even though it was over 15 years ago that I washed my last car at Enterprise, I still think back fondly of the lessons learned – and there were many of them.
But the best lessons learned taught a shy, stuttering young kid how to be a leader. How to never put myself ahead of the team, and how to never put myself on a pedestal too high, that I could not help out people who really needed me.
- Who were the best leaders that you have worked for?
- What made them a cut above the rest?
10 Ways to Win at Office Politics
Another fantastic post by Dan Rockwell – aka the “Leadership Freak”. Check it out and have a wonderful day.
Lack of leadership invites backstabbing, gossip, sabotage, game-playing, and foot-dragging. But, don’t expect a savior on a white horse to rescue you after you’ve been stabbed in the back.
Getting even with the person who made you look bad makes you look bad. Respond in ways that you would brag to mom about.
You look fearful, weak, vindictive, angry, and defensive when you respond negatively to negative office politics.
You lose if you can’t deal with office politics.
Judge your motives and behaviors by two questions. Does this intention reflect who I want to be? And, am I acting in the best interests of my organization?
Winning at office politics:
- Don’t expect the boss to intervene. Most bosses let politics play out.
- Don’t get involved in office turmoil.
- Don’t share office gossip.
- Don’t complain about colleagues. Use the “in the room” rule. Imagine the person you are talking…
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Which “Version” of You Do You Want To Be?
If you have ever been in a funk during your career (especially now) you need to take a couple of minutes and read this.
Close your eyes and take several deep breaths. Think back to a time when everything was clicking with your current role. Reflect on why things were going so well, and what you were doing specifically (and how you were feeling) to make it all happen.
It is my experience that when people are confident, have a positive attitude and a bounce in their step, everything falls in to place over time. As I write this line, I think back to how great I feel when I am “on my game” while golfing! Dr. Bob Rotella has some incredible content on the mental side of golf. I see many parallels with the psychology of sales, and will continue to explore the similarities down the road.
I worked with a retailer in the past that put heavy emphasis on employees closing the sale with the first customer who walked through the door each morning. Why? Because that put them in a great mindset for the rest of the day. On a larger scale, if you make half of your sales quota in the first week of the month the pressure is off, and you can get to work and sell more comfortably for the next three weeks.
To be clear, relaxed does not mean taking it easy. More that you don’t feel the pressure of every sales call or every retail customer having to result in a sale immediately.
Many little things can throw us off and put us in to a funk for long periods of time. Remember when you did poorly on an exam or test in school? Did that make you a bad student? Of course not. I drew a total blank during one exam and failed the course.
That one blemish did not make me a bad student, but it certainly toughened me up, and I made darn sure that it did not happen again! The key is to shrug off those setbacks as soon as possible, and get back to your reality of success.
I wanted you to reflect on being in an awesome place with your role because you deserve to “return there” as soon as possible. I have wrestled with “self-doubt” demons several times during my career and felt that my current existence was just the way that things were going to be forever. Thankfully I would always snap out of it.
I am very respectful that the economy and other things out of our control can certainly affect our mindset and general demeanor for extended periods of time. But when every setback moves you further and further from your goals, job satisfaction and ultimately overall happiness, the negative spiral can be catastrophic!
If you need to hit “reset” with your current role …..
Splash some cold water on your face, take a good look in the mirror, and become that “you” that you really want to be again. You deserve it!
- Are you at the top of your game with your current role?
- Like a golf swing, are you “feeling it” now?
- If not, what changes can you make as soon as possible to get back to the best “version” of yourself?