Jonathan David Lewis is the author of the brand new, on the shelves now, book Brand vs. Wild: Building Resilient Brands for Harsh Business Environments. He is a partner and strategy director at McKee Wallwork + Company, a firm recognized by Advertising Age as a national leader in branding and marketing. McKee Wallwork + Company has won the Southwest Small Agency of the Year, national B2B Campaign of the Year, and national Best Places to Work awards.
On top of all that- Jonathan is an engaging and authoritative speaker on shaping a brand that can survive—and thrive—in today’s tough, uncertain world.
Episode Summary: Is Your Brand Wandering in The Wild?
Bobby Albert is currently president of Values-Driven Leadership, LLC. His passion is helping leaders build inspiring workplace cultures. Grounded in values and powered by the twin engine of enhancing relationships and driving for results, Bobby helps leaders chart a proven path to extraordinary results. He has started twelve businesses and acquired nine others. His approach to business has been to value people, seek wisdom, embrace humility, and never stop learning.
Episode Summary: Values Based, Not Results Only Organizations with Bobby Albert
When I was six, Columbia Pictures released the original Karate Kid movie. I loved it, and used my newly learned karate skills to punish the neighbors fence. (oops!)
I now have a six- year-old. The Karate Kid has been on my mind this week. (yikes)
I started playing hockey my freshman year high school. I was terrible. I could barely stand. I spent more time crashing over the boards than celebrating goals. I can’t even remember my first goal, probably an accidental redirection off my stick, between my legs.
But I do remember my first coach. Bill Miller. He was a great guy. Loved hockey, loved the thrill of victory, but mostly loved seeing the development of hockey players.
Mary believes that every person has the ability to create the life that they love. A Presidential Diamond wellness advocate at doTERRA essential oils, and a personal life and business coach, she coaches achievers to wake up, find their voice and become fully alive. She is on a quest to feel alive and to live a life full of gratitude, joy, authenticity, and abundance in body, mind and soul.
Episode Summary: 5 Questions That Will Change Your Life
Do you ever wonder if you are headed down the wrong path? Not “throwing your life away” kind of wrong path, the “focusing on the wrong priorities in life and business” kind of wrong path.
I’ve been there. I started, and failed at, three businesses in the last ten years. Not one of them caught the fire necessary for sustainability. I wasted a lot of time and money; the time burns me more than the money.
As high achievers, you and I see a need and we start to fill it. Unfortunately, this leads to the society of starters, when we need to be finishers.
The Long Road to Banaue, or as my kids call it, The 17 Hour Death Drive:
As a family, we took a vacation to see the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines; commonly referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World. The place is amazing: 2000-year-old rice terraces carved into the mountains of Ifugao fed by an ancient irrigation system. Stunning sunrises, fog, greenery- just breathtaking.
The terraces are, however, a long way from the Manila airport. Only accessible by car, it takes 8-9 hours without traffic; good luck finding a rental willing to allow their cars up there. Add three more hours for the two-kilometers across Manila commute- yes, two kilometers, three hours, yuck! Plan for 12 hours of one lane, steep, windy driving with chickens scattering about.
We arranged for a room at Tony’s house, he is the best, and set off.
Like goal achievement, you have your desired outcome, you set your course, and enthusiastically take off. But what happens when you realize the course you chose was wrong?
We relied on GPS because we are directionally challenged newbies to Northern Luzon. One map directed to Banaue proper, a second to Tony’s house. When they differed, we followed Tony’s house map. Twelve hours later, pitch black and pouring rain, we came to the pavements end. The road continued in the form of a muddy mess. I tried to walk it, barely.
The hard decision
When this happens on a drive you can turn the car around. When it happens in the drive to your goals, what do you do? The only options are reverse course or push on.
Easier said than done
When we invest time and effort into a project or goal, the pain of realizing that you are on the wrong path can be crushing. As motivation hits an all-time low, you question if it is even worth pursuing.
We had the same decision to make on the road to Banaue. According to the map we were now four hours in the wrong direction. Was Banaue worth it?
We turned around, retraced to where the GPS led us astray, and arrived at the Rice Terraces a little after 1:00am. Tony was asleep so we slept a couple hours in the car (slept?). At sunrise, we stood at the upper lookout and watched as the magnificence of Banaue’s 2000-year-old rice terraces came into full view. It took 17 hours but we celebrated arriving.
You will experience disappointment when you realize you followed the wrong course to your dream. But, once you get back on track and ultimately reach your destination, it will be worth it.
Three suggestions when you realize you navigated the wrong course to your goal.
Make a decisive decision to succeed. Do not doubt or hesitate. Immediately adjust to the right course.
The route was an error, but you are not a failure. Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. You did not fail, you just took the scenic route. Do not beat yourself, pick yourself up with confidence and go after your goal.
Reaching your goal will taste super sweet. Anything worthwhile will take effort and demand sacrifice. But when you do reach your goal the result will feel deserved.
Like sunrise over Banaue after a 17 mile death drive.
The CEO of a company I worked for, my first job after law school, did something to destroy all trust and confidence I had in his leadership ability. He refused to stand up and bear the responsibility of his position. He gave up his ability to influence. Be careful that you don’t do the same. Today I discuss the story of my first CEO, his leadership blunder and 9 ways that we give up influence after becoming leaders; losing my leadership.
Episode Summary: Losing my leadership | 9 Ways to Give up Influence
Leadership is influence- When we start to lose it, we don’t notice until it is too late.
I throw out my razor, my toothbrush and my toaster. We live in a culture of dispensability. This culture has crept into our businesses making employees replaceable, diminishing loyalty. How do we become indispensable? Today we talk about the secrets to being recognized for your performance and a 30 day challenge to indispensability.
I received an email from an outstanding performer. One line that immediately flooded me with anxiety. Do you have 5 minutes to meet? Maybe you can relate, these inquiries are never five minutes and rarely positive. Is he quitting, taking a better offer, asking for more money, did he screw up? So many possibilities. But, the question that haunted me most, why the email, why not just come into my office?
Open Door Policies Don’t Work
As a leader, I have always maintained an open-door policy, accessible when needed. I kept the physical door to my office open, smiled often, and even referred to my availability in nearly every staff meeting. But very few took advantage of it. If leadership experts ardently encourage the importance of accessibility, why don’t open-door policies work?
The idea of an open-door policy is great for employee orientations and handbooks but to make them work in practice, you must create a culture of comfortability. Think about it from the employee’s point of view. As they approach your “open-door” They worry about:
Is my question or dilemma too small for the leader to be bothered with? Timid
Is the mistake (or problem) so big that I will be escorted out (fired)? Fear
Will the leader ask a bunch of questions I can’t answer? Embarrassment
Will solving the problem create more work, longer hours, or push me outside my comfort? Ability
Will the leader think that it is my fault? Blame
The conundrum of accessibility
The more successful you are, the less accessible you become. The more leadership influence you attain, the more trepidation from your followers. As responsibilities increase, more people get involved, and you get pulled in more directions. The dilemma, who gets how much of your time?
Passive versus active accessibility
I worked for a great leader who understood active accessibility. Every afternoon he would leave his office and walk the building. He would randomly pop his head into offices and over cubicle walls to invite the occupant to join him for a short break to Starbucks. He did this nearly daily, learning about the lives of his team and their struggles, offering teaching experiences. Employees often shared concerns they were hesitant to share in his “open-door” office. When leading, actively seek opportunities to be involved with your team.
Unfortunately, as your team grows, your capacity to give equal accessibility becomes unrealistic. That is why it is important to create a healthy culture that doesn’t hinder your ability to accomplish your other responsibilities.
Maximize active accessibility without destroying your life by:
Setting boundaries – My accessible boss walked the building in the afternoon when his energy dropped and he needed a break. He chose the opportunity to interact when it fit his agenda.
Determine who needs and who merely wants your time – As your team grows spend most of your time with members who need Allow other leaders to handle requests from those who want your time. Your aim is to drive the organization forward not respond to every request.
Delegate – Let others step up to the role of leader and handle appropriate responsibilities on your behalf. Give them the opportunity and watch them rise to leadership.
Identify common requests – As your leadership experience increases you will recognize that certain inquiries come up multiple times. This is especially true as the layers of leadership increase. Systematize your response for simplicity and ease of communication.
Be consistent – The fear of comfortability is the chief cause of open-door policy failures. Consistency creates comfortability. When team members learn to anticipate your response, their concern about approaching you diminishes. You want your team to bring mistakes to you before they become problems. Reduce their fear of coming forward by always responding consistently.
Accept you can’t do it all (though we want to) – Understand, as your leadership increases, there are roles you will no longer be able to play. This doesn’t make you a bad leader, but heightens the importance of your active accessibility. Make each interaction productive knowing you will not be able to participate as often as you would like (or did before).
The appearance of accessibility – Perception is often reality. Creating the impression of accessibility may be enough for a healthy work environment. Talented team members will not abuse availability. If they do, use the preceding six suggestions, or accept that the individual may not be a good fit for your team.
The “5 minutes to meet” email
My outstanding performer didn’t want more money, to resign, nor did he make a mistake. He wanted a few suggestions on responding to his team member’s concern. I spent more time concerned about the open-door policy than I did on his response. Create a culture of active accessibility and save your sanity.