The “IT” Factor

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. 

Will 2017 be a good year for YOU?

new-year-blog                                        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. 

Seasons of your life.

Seasons of your life

  • The last couple of weeks I didn’t get a blog post up.  As some of you know we are in the process of opening our 3rd Culvers in AZ.  We had our grand opening last week and we exceeded our expectations.  As I am working crazy hours and people ask how do you do it, I am reminded that we all go through various seasons of our lives.  There are times when work comes first and there are times when family comes first.  I am very thankful that my family understands what it really takes to get a new store open and how much they support me along the way.  It may be a couple of months of crazy but that pace doesn’t last forever.  As Dave Ramsey says, “you have to live like no one else so later in life you can live like no one else.”  This is what always drives me to do better and achieve as much as I can, trying to build a better life and change my family tree along the way.  I always have felt that work life balance is misunderstood.  I believe that you need to give 100% focus and attention to the main task at hand.  The key is that even if you spend 80 hours at work and only 20 hours at home awake during the week make those hours at both places count.  Be intentional and give 100% in both places.  When you get to the season of your life when you are able to spend more time with your friends and family make those count as much as possible.  I heard a comment the other day that we all have 168 hours in a week and we either invest those hours by being intentional and doing something important or we spend or waste those hours on tasks that have no real significance.  Ask yourself over the next couple of days if you are investing your time or spending your time.  Thank you to everyone who helps me invest my time on a daily basis to become a better version of myself!    

Can I be a better person today?

Empower Inspire Motivate Thinking Person Thought Clouds 3d Illus

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.   

Do you spend time with the right people?

Teamwork couple climbing helping hand

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. 

How to build amazing relationships

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. 

Someday is not a day of the week

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!

The Power of 2 Minutes

  • I wanted to post a quick idea surrounding the power of the 2 minute rule.  As people look to become more efficient and productive this is one tip that I like to suggest.  Create and follow your own set of two minute rules.  Below are a few 2 minute rules I believe can help you get more accomplished in your day.
  • 1. If a task takes less than 2 minutes, get it done.  Don’t put it on a list or try to delegate the item.  If it was someone else’s responsibility but it needs to get done, get it done then coach the other person as to why you had to take control.  Again you can remind them that it didn’t even take you two minutes to get it done.  This is one big difference between “try” and “do”.
  • 2. Meetings.  30 Two minute meetings will usually see better results than One 60 minute meeting.  Think about how many times you can direct and guide your team in under 2 minutes.  The other great part about this is that it feels informal and less like a critique.   
  • 3.  If you see it, coach it.  This is along the same lines but this also puts you on the clock to say something within 2 minutes of the incorrect behavior.  It has more impact if you can coach an item as it is being done incorrectly vs. talking to someone the next day.
  • 4. Negative thoughts.  If something goes wrong try to follow the two minute rule and after two minutes let it go and don’t let it bother you anymore.  There is no upside at all to remaining angry about something for days and days.  Remember every minute you spend mad is a minute lost in your life.
  • 5. Ask for a solution.  If a person comes to you with a problem and you are not sure if you have the time or the desire to deal with it ask them for a possible solution.  This also works well in a conflict situation.  Ask the person what they would like to see for the outcome.  If you like the idea it then turns into automatic delegation, if you don’t like the idea you can always say let me think about that and then follow up with an alternative solution.  
  • 6. Keep of a list of problems.  For one week keep a journal of every problem that someone brought to your attention.  It will take you only a few seconds to write each one down.  Decide if each problem really needs to be brought to you or could you redirect the person to someone else to help get a solution in the future. 
  • My goal is that you could have read this in under 2 minutes but I may have went a little over.  I hope these tips help you get more accomplished in the course of your day.

“Effort” – Another item you can control!

  • “There is a remarkable difference between 99% and 100% commitment.”  This statement has been the signature on my email for almost 5 years.  Every time I communicate with someone via email I ask myself if what I just said or did lives up to this statement.  There has actually been a time or two where I have had to delete the signature line because I felt as though my actions would fall short of that statement.  At the same time there have been numerous times where I have rewritten the email or offered a different solution based on this simple statement.    
  • Last week we talked about choosing our attitude every day, this week we will discuss the other aspect of our life we have control over, effort.  Like our attitude, the amount of effort we put forth is in our hands.  Your chances of success and achieving great results are infinitely multiplied if you bring a positive attitude and 100% effort every day.  Like a positive attitude, 100% effort is a choice and does require some hard work.     
  • We all have 186 hours in every week.  Think about what you accomplish and how you feel at the end of each week.  How is it that some people accomplish great things and are in a great mood at the end of the week where others don’t accomplish anything and feel terrible about themselves at the end of the very same week?  The biggest difference between the two is the attitude and the effort put forth.  Below I will talk about 5 strategies to help explain how to achieve more at the end of the week by giving 100% effort.
  • 1. The first step in achieving 100% effort is “showing up“.  Whatever is expected of you for a given day, the number 1 thing we must to do achieve success is to show up.  Colin Cowherd once said on ESPN that “grinders win.”  This statement really hits home when I think about some of the great players and coaches that have achieved great success: Cal Ripken, Peyton Manning, Michael Jordan, Nick Saban, Vince Lombardi and Tiger Woods.  Think about what it took these people to reach the heights they have reached.  They were relentless and gave 100% effort every day to their craft.  They were laser focused on what they needed to do each and every day to improve.  I put Tiger Woods in this group because he really demonstrates both sides of the coin.  Think about his career when he was focused and had no distractions, he was on top of the world.  Now think about his career when he lost focus and stopped putting in 100% effort, he has faded into the pack.  
  • 2. Be present and engaged.  Just showing up is part of the battle.  Some people can work 80 hours a week but what do they really get done?  As I mentioned earlier we all only have 186 hours in each week, if we are going to spend time doing something we should try to get most out of our investment.  If we are present and engaged we tend to make better and more effective decisions and really have a pulse on the situation.
  • 3.  Work Up not Down.  When we talk about valuing our time and getting the most out of the time we put towards an activity, we need to remember to work up, not down.  Working down is the main way where we can put forth 100% effort and get nothing in return.  We need to make sure that we are focused on the tasks that will yield the greatest results.  As a leader, we need to make sure that we do not spend too much of our time working solely on team member tasks.  If we can direct, coach and give 5 team members 5 tasks to complete that would be equal to you trying to accomplish those 25 tasks on your own.  As you want to move up in an organization the person above you will notice two things: a) if they have to work down to help you complete your work OR b) if you are able to work up and help them achieve the desired results of the organization.   
  • 4.  Pay Attention To the Details.  The main difference between a good company and a great company is paying attention to the details.  Do you complete a task at 100% or do you just get it done by cutting a few corners?  This boils down to doing the right thing at the right time, the correct way it needs to be done.  Successful people are willing to do the little things that unsuccessful people let slide.  Often times the difference between a good guest interaction and great interaction is one little thing that other people may overlook.  Again, if you are going to spend your time completing a task, why not do it right?  
  • 5. Be Intentional.  The more intentional we can be with our direction, communication, coaching, goals and feedback, the more effective we are with our time.  This is how we can get 100% results out of our 100% effort.  As a leader we need everyone on the team working towards the same goal every day to achieve greatness.  If you feel yourself putting in 100% effort but not getting 100% results ask yourself why?  We have tendency to blame others, however it usually comes back to our lack of communication, direction and follow up.
  • Over the next few weeks I challenge you to practice these 5 tactics and see how you feel at the end of the week.  Please leave a reply and share some of your results.   

1 Thing You Can Control – Your Attitude

  • When you wake up in the morning what is your initial thought?  Do you look forward to what your day will bring or do you dread what you have to do?  Do you feel in control of your future or do you feel trapped in your circumstances?  Keep reading to find out how you have the power to rewrite your script.  
  • As a human being we all have the power of choice.  Most importantly we have the power to choose our attitude every day.  Yes, this is a conscious choice we may need to make some days but with practice and repetition it does become more natural to choose a positive attitude no matter what the day will bring.  The law of attraction and self fulfillment is very true in the universe, if you choose a positive attitude towards a project it will most likely turn out positive.  In the same vein if you choose a negative attitude about the same project it will have a greater chance at failure.  Some people say they start with a positive attitude but it doesn’t last.  Some people say that they need help to remain positive.  Below I will discuss a 4 tips to help you stay in control & choose a positive attitude every day!
  • 1. Mindset.  I mentioned earlier that this is a mindset and that we can rewrite our script.  Every night when I go to bed I write in my “Freedom Journal” about what great things happened today and also why tomorrow will be great.  Then when I wake up in the morning I write about one thing that I am grateful for each day.  This little exercise over time can train your brain to begin and end day in positive territory.  From this point we simply choose to remain in positive territory.  During the day I try to thank and praise people along the way, looking for these positive actions during the day is my fuel to remain positive.  When we look and expect positive things to happen they often seem to happen more frequently. 
  • 2. “Attitudes are contagious, is yours worth catching?”  This was the mantra of a fellow leader that I used to work with at a country club.  The profound truth in this statement is overwhelming.  As leaders we tend to forget or overlook how much control of a situation we have just by our thoughts and actions.  When you have a positive attitude others also seem to be in a good mood, when you have a negative attitude others hop on board and the day progressively gets worse. 
  • 3. Be the thermostat, not the thermometer.  As mentioned above, others will follow your lead.  As a leader we have the power to set the temperature of any situation by how we approach and react.  The worst thing we can do is adjust to the negative temperature set by others by either doing nothing or worse, joining in.  It is up to us to step in and change the temperature by adjusting our dial to positive.  Again, we ultimately have the final control of our own thermostat.  Sometimes the situation may be so bleak that we feel it isn’t changing but if we truly change the setting and keep it set we will start to see positive movement over time.
  • 4. “Glad to be here“.  John Foley was a Blue Angels fighter pilot and this short saying was said at the end of every meeting or discussion that took place among his group.  What a great way to set the tone and create a positive attitude every day.  Imagine if you ended every meeting by saying “glad to be here.”  Even if you had a disagreement the attitude was still in positive territory.  This again circles back to creating a positive mindset and helping to rewrite your own script.
  • Final thought to ask yourself: “Are YOU choosing the right attitude every day to be the best version of yourself as a leader?”