Have you ever been around someone that just has the “it” factor? It seems like others flock towards these types of leaders. The real question is what is the “it” factor and how can we all get better at developing our own unique “it” factor?
- I feel that people can have the “it” factor in many different forms but at the end of the day, I believe that the “it” factor is simply making others feel great about themselves and helping others succeed. Usually the people full of personality make others feel better about themselves when they are in their company because they are usually up beat and happy. We have talked before about how important it is to build relationships with the people you are trying to lead. Management turns into true leadership when a relationship is formed. This is when people want to follow you instead of when people feel they have to follow you. It is the soft skills of leadership that will either take you down or raise you up to the next level of leadership.
- Here are a few adjectives that I feel describe people that have the “it” factor: leader, trust, self confident, firm, clear, safe, understanding, inspirational, encouraging, self esteem, loyal and one that inspires action. Here a few words that I think kill the “it” factor: ego, pride, not being humble, being a know it all, judging, demeaning, always having an excuse and always having to be right.
- The good news is that your brain can get rewired if you are willing to feed it differently. What you focus on is typically what will improve. Here a few ways I feel that we can all work on developing our own unique “it” factor.
- 1. Get to know little things about others. Once a week ask everyone on the shift a question that is not work related to get to know more about them and start to build the relationship. People’s favorite subject is usually themselves, their least favorite is usually you.
- 2. When someone shares a story, don’t try to one up them. Truly listen and then ask them 1 follow up question to dig a little deeper, this will make someone feel that you really are listening and that you truly do care about what they are saying.
- 3. Write down one thing that you are grateful for everyday. After a few months, this one step can help rewire your ideas and thought process.
- 4. Say a sincere, specific thank you to someone every day. If possible thank the person in front of others as well. People tend to remember how you make them feel more than what you actually say. I have learned this the hard way with my daughters.
- 5. Be consistent and communicate often. The two worst things you can do to kill your “it” factor is to be all over the place to where people are afraid to approach you and to make others try to read your mind. The more clear and consistent you can be, the more likely other people will reach the goals you set out which leads to a better relationship.
- 6. No complaining rule. Don’t complain about things around others that you are trying to lead. I remember Zig Ziglar saying that the problem with a pity party is that too many people show up and no one brings a gift.
- 7. Don’t speak poorly of others. Always try to build others up, don’t tear them down in front of others. Other people listening will start to wonder what you say about them behind their back.
- The only way to really stir up someone’s soul is through a human connection and building a real relationship where you care about the other person’s success as much as or more than your own.
A few years back I read a book “One Word That Will Change Your Life” by Jon Gordon and Jimmy Page. This one idea has been very impactful to me personally as well as professionally over the past few years. The concept is that you choose 1 word to try and live your life towards during the year. In 2016 my 1 word was “intentional”. Every action that I took during the year I would try measure up to see if it was helping me be more intentional. With the help of the Freedom Journal written by John Lee Dumas and my daily journal using workflowy I was able to accomplish so much more this year than in years past. The key was that I really had to make choices and be intentional with my time. Every time we say yes to something we are actually saying no to something else. If you want to learn more about “one word” & “Jon Gordon” search for it on youtube.
- I heard a quote by John Quincy Adams the other day that boiled down leadership into 1 sentence. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” That pretty much sums up our job as a leader in a nut shell. Given this definition it doesn’t even take a title to be a great leader. Think back to a time where you felt you worked or played for a great leader.
- The worst thing a leader can do to try and attain long term success is to use the power of their position to get people to follow. This is a leadership shortcut designed for those that do not want to take the time to build relationships along the way. This may work for a short time but this type of leadership is not sustainable. The number 1 step to being a successful leader is that you must care. You need to care about yourself, you need to care about the purpose and most importantly you need to care about the people you are trying to lead.
- The other interesting point about the quote by Adams is that he uses the words “your actions” to start the whole quote. This may sound subtle but notice he didn’t say your words. The leader has to be setting the example to get 100% buy in from the team.
- As I look forward to 2017 I have put quite a bit of thought into the one word that I will try to base my life around. I have decided that my one word for 2017 will be inspire. I really feel that this one word hits both my personal as well as my professional goals for 2017. As I continue to write this blog I hope it can inspire some of you along the way. Feel free to reply with your “one word” for 2017.
As I have grown and evolved as a leader, I have had to look at myself in the mirror and ask myself, what can I do to be a better version of myself than I was yesterday? Through the help of various mentors, podcasts and personal development books, I have developed 5 habits that I try to put into practice on a daily basis to help me succeed.
- 1. Do the right thing. Character and integrity are key to building trust and credibility. Every action that you take has consequences. One of the keys to helping you make good decisions and continually doing the right thing is to know what you stand for and what your non negotiables are. If you have a solid foundation of beliefs, the decisions are easy to make. It takes a long time to build up your credibility but only one bad choice to ruin it immediately.
- 2. Do your best. Doing your best doesn’t simply mean trying hard. Doing your best means being 100% focused and engaged in the task at hand. If you are at work, be present and engaged to contribute. If you are at home be focused on your family. Another aspect about doing your best is to focus on your strengths. So many of us spend way to much time and energy on trying to improve our weaknesses. We can accomplish a lot more during the week if we are able to focus on our strengths. A third component to doing your best is to give 100% effort to what you are doing. I don’t ever want to look back on an opportunity and say “if only I had tried a little harder.”
- 3. Show people that you care. The best way for you to succeed is to help others succeed. The more I grow as a leader, the more I want to see others succeed. To date my biggest accomplishment is being able to help one of our general managers become a owner / partner in our next Culver’s that will open later this year. I am only able to open this store because of the amazing job he has done operating our current location. It is an awesome feeling to be able to achieve my goals and dreams while helping someone else achieve theirs as well.
- 4. Surround yourself with great people. There comes a point when you will realize that you can’t do it on your own. As I posted last week about our Top 5, surrounding yourself with good people makes you better. They both challenge you and help you achieve more than if you were on your own. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of the great people in my life.
- 5. Create a positive mindset. Sometimes this can be the most difficult of the 5 ideas for me to accomplish. There are times that I am so intense that I let my emotions take control. When I feel myself going there I try to walk away and reset. One thing I have been working on is being “grateful” vs. “hateful”. Every morning I write down one item I am grateful for. This is a great way to start the day off in a positive mindset. Another big thing I have been working on is to say “get to” vs. “have to.” It changes how I approach a task just by saying “get to.”
- Every morning when I get up, I pray and ask God to help me be a better person today than I was yesterday. The best person to compare yourself to is you. If you truly do try to live today better than you lived yesterday, you can accomplish almost anything.
Jim Rohn once said “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Dave Ramsey said it a little more bluntly “stupid attracts stupid.” Both of these quotes really do convey an important message.
- Here is a little exercise to test this theory: 1. Think back to a time where you were the best version of yourself. Who were the five people you spent the most time with and how did they help you succeed? 2. Think back to the low point of your life. Who were the five people you spent the most time with and how did they contribute to those events. 3. Think about your current top five people and ask yourself how your current trajectory looks? Is there someone that needs to be removed or someone that you should spend more time around?
- The true power of the five is to help keep you on course. What ever course you are on, the right five can help keep and guide you on that path. Too often we get too busy looking at only the results instead of the process. It is the long term process that will produce results at the end of the day. Use your five people to help keep you accountable to the process. Everyone knows what it looks like to clean your room, half way through it looks worse than when you started but if you keep working at it, there comes a point where you start to see the progress.
- Never let a negative thought enter your mind, it will take control. Be careful in your core group of five people to not let in a “negative Nancy” or an “energy vampire”. These two people can kill your soul and ambition before you even realize that it is happening.
- Try not to be the smartest person in the room. If you are, you should try to find another room to help keep yourself growing and moving forward. In sports when people practice they always try to practice against people that are better than they are so they can improve and rise up to the challenge. The other way you can add some additional wisdom into your life is to use either books or podcasts on a regular basis to be an extra “person” in your life. Anything that can act as inspiration to achieve more or become a better person. Every morning I listen to a podcast called EOFire with John Lee Dumas on my morning drive and this is what fuels me up for the day. This one podcast has dramatically improved my daily mindset.
- As leaders we need to make sure that we are setting the standard and always trying to raise the bar for others. Some people spend more time at work than they do at home so we need to make sure that we are the part of their “five” that makes them better.
- Challenge yourself to look at who you spend the most time around. Are they helping you become a better version of yourself or do they end up holding you back? Your top five should help you become more grateful, more focused, more accountable and most importantly they should help you build positive momentum in your life.
Here is one formula to help create amazing relationships in your life: give 51% in every relationship that you are a part of. That’s as simple as it gets, if you give more than you expect to receive you will have amazing relationships throughout your entire life.
- Below are 5 ideas that can help you build amazing relationships:
- 1. The Platinum Rule. Treat others how THEY want to be treated. The first time I heard this it was an “ah-ha” moment. So many times we focus on ourselves and what we want, we think that others must want the same thing. The reality is that we are all different and if we were to take the time to find out what others want and how they want to be treated, it may not be how we think.
- 2. Treat people as if they only had 1 day to live. So many times we ask the question to each other of what would you do if you only had 1 day to live? The real question we need to ask is how we would treat someone else if we knew they only had one day to live. Would you be a little more encouraging, forgiving or loving? I thought so.
- 3. If it feels good, don’t say it. This advice has been very useful to me in the past as it gets me to hold back on a negative comment at times that would do nothing to improve the situation. So many times we think we need to be right so we try to get the last word in. Other times we just want to lash out and verbally attack someone to make ourselves feel good. One thing I can say is that feeling good this way is only temporary.
- 4. As Steven Covey said, “people don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.” The #1 way you can show that you care is to listen. People love to talk about themselves, it is usually their favorite subject. Ask questions and let them talk, then when you ask a follow up question to their last statement they really feel like you care. A good conversation is like a game of ping pong. The ball should go back and forth over the net. So many times we are thinking about what we want to say or trying to one up the story with one of our own that we forget to actually listen to what the other person has to say. When we obsess about the next, we forget about the now and that in turn puts the next in danger. Be present in the now to achieve greater results.
- 5. Think win / win. Do you look at relationships as a win / lose or a need to win at all costs? If you do, you most likely have some relationship issues. We need look at how can both of us win at this relationship. Sometimes it helps to take a step back and view the situation entirely from the other perspective and try to see what a middle ground may be. The other point to think about here is the following question: Do you spend more time trying to make your point or more time trying to understand the other person’s point of view? Think about this next time you are in a situation where you feel yourself trying to win an argument.
- All in all it comes down to focusing on others first, not yourself.
I love the following quote by Gandhi, “Live as if you were going to die tomorrow, learn as if you were going to live forever.” This quote is so impactful on both sides of the coin. So many times we are afraid to take chances or try something new simply out of the fear of failure. If you thought you were going to die tomorrow that fear of failure would be gone. So many times we wait for the stars to be aligned before we take action. The real truth is that the stars are very rarely ever aligned before we take action, they get aligned as we take action and adjust our course along the way.
- Life doesn’t owe us anything. In life we don’t get what we want, we get what we deserve. This is where the difference between being busy or being productive comes into play. You can go through your entire life looking or being “busy” but never really being intentional or productive and accomplishing anything. Those people that succeed in life, know the secret formula: do it. They take a chance and try something out of their comfort zone. In the marketplace we get paid in direct proportion to the value that we provide to others. If you focus on ways to create value, you will succeed.
- Remember that someday is not a day of the week. How many times in your life do you say “someday you will do something”? The problem is life always happens and someday never seems to be today. We need to understand that life happens to everyone. Those people that succeed are intentional with their time and their actions and find a way to manage though life.
- When it comes to becoming a life long learner, the world is now at your fingertips. There are so many free resources via podcasts, training websites, blogs, youtube and free online courses that we have no excuse not to learn as we grow. As Charlie Jones said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” The problem with reading for most people is that they see a book and see it as an impossible obstacle to get through so it sits and collects dust. As we have talked about before, it is all in creating habits. Did you realize that if you simply read 10 pages per day, you could read about 12 non fiction books per year? Since I made a goal to read 10 pages per day, I have read more than ever in my life. Does 10 pages sound tough? Within a month you can tackle a 300 page book! You can also listen to a podcast or even an audio book while exercising or even driving to work to expand your knowledge.
- Another tangent of this quote talks about relationships. Next week I will take a deeper dive into my feelings around relationships. I hope you all have a great week. My challenge to all of you reading this is to “do” something and “learn” something this week!