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Moving to a New Blogging Platform

Posted at 9:00 AM on Friday, December 04, 2009

This was the home of my blog from March 2004- November 2009.  Here you will find over 870 posts about leadership, training, learning and more.  I wrote here to help you become more effective and successful in all parts of your life.

My business (and yours) looks different than it did in 2004 - and the world of blogging and blog tools is certainly different as well.

For all of those reasons, I am now blogging in a new location, using new tools.  While the name of the blog has changed (it is now Leadership & Learning with Kevin Eikenberry), my goals haven't changed - I write to help you tap into and move closer to your remarkable potential.

However you found this page, whether you were referred, found it from a search engine or you bookmarked us long ago. I hope you will follow over to the new blog to continue to learn, grow and be a part of our expanding community of leaders and learners.
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The Secret Service, The Salahi's and Some Leadership Lessons

Posted at 6:19 AM on Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend 2009 in the United States will be remembered for two news stories. Tiger Woods and his SUV, and the White House State Dinner Crashers, Tareq and Michaele Salahi.  I'll leave Tiger for the tabloids, but I found leadership lessons in the "Partycrahser" story.

The Salahi's

Regardless of what you think of the Salahi's stunt, their motives, or the aftermath, I believe there is a lesson for us all in this story:  they had a goal and they went for it.

Seriously now, how are you as committed to your goals as they were to meeting the President (or getting into the event, or getting the publicity - again their motives are not my point)?

Are you willing to stick your neck out, take risks and try things that haven't been successful in the past in order to reach your goals?

If you are, congratulations.  I believe that for most of us, the answer is no.

And if the answer is no, why isn't your passion that high and your commitment that strong?

That is a question that is worth thinking about.

While I am not suggesting we break the law to reach our goals, I am suggesting that there is likely more you could be doing - I know there is more that I could be doing - to reach our goals faster.

Of course we can translate these questions into a leadership perspective as well, and ask ourselves if we are supporting people's passion and commitment as much as we could.

These are some of the things the Salahi story story got me thinking about.

The Secret Service

These events also got me thinking about the Secret Service, and an important leadership lesson that I find in their actions/inactions.  Without going into the details, details that we may never know anyway, clearly the Secret Service had/has a process problem.  Perhaps thay have a performance management issue with specific employees, but from what I have read, they also have a process improvement opportunity (the press calls it a breech - we call it a process problem).

Likely the flaws or improvement opportunities in your organization's processes won't be as drastic or become as public as these have, but it reminds us that even our most important and perhaps most used work processes may need improvement.

The securty process for State Dinners will likely be improved in the coming weeks.  But would they have been if not for the Salahi's?

I think not.

Consider this a cautionary tale of the dangers of the comfort zone and the need for us as leaders to be proactive.  Like the Secret Service, your most critical processes won't be reviewed until you have a problem, or you as a leader take the iniative to have a review, or a process improvement team look for opportunities.

In both parts of the story, the choice is yours - choose to be committed and choose to be proactive.

The choices are yours.

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The Power of the Written Note

Posted at 8:33 AM on Sunday, November 29, 2009

You've heard it your whole life, and your mother probably taught you too.  Handwritten notes are important and say something about who you are and your sincerity in regards to the message in the note.

You heard it again with thank you notes after interviewing for jobs.  You've heard it as a key "strategy" in networking and building relationships.

All of it is true, and yet, I observe fewer and fewer people doing it.

I've not received thank you notes from gifts.   I've not taken the time to send hand written notes in a variety of situations, choosing instead to send an email or even a tweet.

The value of a handwritten note is universal - for any part of our life, in any role that we play.  And while I know it, and have taught and written about it, I don't do it as well or as systematically as I should. 

And I'm betting you are much like me.

If any of this rings true for you, watch this video of teacher Dan Stroup (the video link is embedded in the story) who will set an inspirational example for you, and prove to you that if it is important, you can do it.

The story will inspire you, but I hope it does more.  I hope it prompts you to begin sending more handwritten notes, regardless of the reason.

Because when you do, you will make a difference in the lives of others.

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The Cost of Distrust

Posted at 7:30 AM on Saturday, November 28, 2009

I'm working on training materials for a Client - materials that I will deliver next week.  As I prepared some notes on trust - a topic I have facilitated learning on many times - I was thinking about the opposite of trust (distrust) and was reminded of this quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

 “Our distrust is very expensive."

Knowing that part of what I am going to teach is that trust is, in part, a verb (something that we do), it made me want to personalize Ralph's thought.

"My distrust is very expensive."

Thinking about distrust as a verb and in the first person puts the responsibility where it belongs - on us.

Which leads us to some important questions in all parts of our lives, including as a leader.  Consider these questions as your personal leadership development activity for the day:

Who do I distrust?


What is it costing me, my team, my relationships, and/or our organization?

What can I do to lessen the cost, change the distrucst into trust or otherwise imporve the situation?

These questions can be applied to all parts of our lives, and if you are like me, the answers will be illuminating.

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Five Approaches to Being More Proactive

Posted at 3:28 PM on Friday, November 27, 2009

StartAt a 10-year class reunion, four friends gathered to visit. Tina and George reflected on the differences in Steve and Angela after they walked away.

"They were both so smart and outgoing when we were in high school," George said. "Yeah, they were both voted Most Likely to Succeed, remember?" Tina added.

"Then why have their lives gone so differently in the last ten years?" George mused. After a conversation and discussing several factors, Tina and George determined the biggest difference.

Tina seemed to summarize the conversation: "Angela seems to be willing to get started and take action; while Steve has great ideas and lots of promise, but he always seems to be waiting on something."

George said, "I think that's it. Angela is more proactive and that seems to make a huge difference.

Being proactive doesn't just make a difference for Angela. It's important for all of us.

The Collins English Dictionary defines proactive as: "tending to initiate change rather than reacting to events." Other definitions include the phrase "acting in advance" and "taking initiative." Finally many definitions include the concept of the habit or discipline of being proactive.

I'm sure no one would disagree with the concept of being proactive, yet for a variety of reasons many of us are more hesitant, more calculating, more fearful or just procrastinate at being proactive. Here are five specific actions you can take to develop the habit of being more proactive in any part of your life.

Five Approaches

Forget perfection. Do you avoid taking action because you want things to be perfect? Do you spend time scheming or justifying continued learning as an excuse for taking action? While learning and looking at best practices is important, at some point it is pure procrastination. Learn to say "good is good enough."

Take a risk. All of that calculating, planning and reworking is often done to reach perfection, or at least to reduce the chance of a mistake. It's OK if it isn't perfect; it's also OK to make a mistake. When you try you will either succeed, or learn a way that doesn't work. Either way, you're ahead of doing nothing.

Focus on a goal. When you focus on something you want to achieve and the reasons why, you begin to create a desire to take action. Keep your focus on what you want, and the actions to move in that direction will come easier.

Do something now. Just get started. You become more proactive by taking action. Decide what's first (or next) and take action - now. The root word of proactive is active - or action. Momentum builds when you do something. Start now!

Accelerate your expectations. Getting started is a good first step; the next step is to move faster. You become more proactive and develop that habit more fully when you put speed in your corner. Believe that you can accomplish more, try more and achieve more; faster. Then prove it to yourself.

These are just five suggestions. They all may not match your needs, but I am confident that at least one does. If you want to become more proactive, any time you spend looking at the list and wondering where to start is just another form of delay or denial. Pick a place to start, and take action!

Potential Pointer:  Nothing happens until you take action. Taking a proactive approach to life is a key indicator of your future success; and the best way to get on the proactive path is to get started. You can become a pro at taking action.

Remarkable leaders know that they must lead change. Meaning, leadership implies a proactive approach! One proactive way to build your leadership skills is participating in The Remarkable Leadership Learning System - a one skill at a time, one month at a time approach to becoming a more confident and successful leader. Get $748.25 worth of leadership development materials including two complimentary months of that unique system as part of Kevin's Most Remarkable Free Leadership Gift Ever today.
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