Category Archives: Team work

The ABC’s of Leadership

Michael Jackson sang “ABC”.  Remember that song?  Listen here to a short snippet of the chorus: 

ABC. 123.  Do Re Mi.  These are elements we are all familiar
with.  Elements that denote simplicity,
basics and foundations for greater, more complex concepts.

You might even say, that the song ABC,
performed by Michael Jackson, was the foundation for much of what Pop Music has

Everything starts with the basics.  Even leadership.

Leadership can get quite complicated if we
don’t begin with the right foundation, a foundation of principles I call
“The ABC’s of Leadership”




Many years ago, I was the leader for an
organization of young women ages 12-18. 
We were organizing an event, and each of these young women had an
assignment that was integral to the success of the event.  One hour prior to the event, Heather’s mother
called me.

Heather won’t be coming to the event
”, she said.

My panicked reply was, “But Heather was
assigned to bring the ingredients for our main dish

Heather’s mother replied, “Well, she won’t be attending, and I won’t
be bringing her assigned items.  I guess
that’s just some of the challenges of being a leader
”. Click.

I learned a few things about this interaction:

1. This young
woman was not dependable.  (Perhaps her mother served as an example for that). 

2. This young woman was not accountable.    

Accountability is the characteristic of
being accountable.  A leader that is accountable feels responsible for the outcome, both good and bad, of a situation.  Accountability requires not blaming others, but always
looking for a way that a better outcome can be achieved, despite the failings
of others.

In the case of Heather, clearly she didn’t
fulfil her responsibility, but I was the one that would be viewed as
responsible for the outcome of our planned event.  Perhaps, it was even my fault that Heather
didn’t follow through.  Perhaps I had not
communicated properly to her.  Clearly, I had failed to get Heather’s buy in.  

Heather’s mother was right: I was being challenge as a leader. 

After a few deep breaths, I made a few calls, worked out some deals, and made sure we had what we
needed for our event.  
It wasn’t easy, but I had maintained my ACCOUNTABILITY.  

If you want others to see
you as a leader, then you must conquer the first characteristic of basic

The second characteristic of basic
leadership is:

Resolute; Chutzpah; Courage, whatever you call it, boldness requires
a willingness to step outside the box, try something new, and even take a little risk.  

The band K.I.S.S. had a pretty good handle on BOLDNESS.

You don’t have to wear heavy makeup, or be a rock star to be bold, however.  Here are 5 easy steps to becoming more BOLD in your leadership:

1. Don’t hesitate – make the
first move.  A wrong decision is usually
better than no decision.

2. Be unpredictable.  Take a little risk.  I guarantee you’ll get a different reaction than normal from those who know you best.

3. Get rid of pretense – be yourself,
and delight in your weirdness.

4. Act as though you already are
what you want to be.

5.  Say no to what you really
don’t want to do.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it…for boldness has
genius, power and magic in it

BOLDNESS is the second characteristic of the ABC’s of


Without Commitment in leadership, accountability and
boldness won’t matter. 

Once there was a
skinny, awkward kid from New Jersey named Eugene Orowitz.  He was
painfully shy and very self-conscious.  Although Eugene greatly lacked
self-confidence, when a high school coach half-jokingly asked him to try out
for the track team, Eugene took him up on it.

“Ugy,” as his friends affectionately
called him, fell in love with javelin throwing and committed himself to
being the best that he could possibly be.  What Ugy lacked in
self-confidence, he made up for in commitment.

By the time he graduated high
school, Eugene had achieved a national High School record (for throwing the
javelin 211 yards).  His commitment to being the best also bought him a
college track scholarship in sunny California!

A torn shoulder muscle ended
his javelin-throwing career and any hope of making the Olympic team. 
However, while watching a play, Ugy fell in love with acting.  So, again,
he committed himself to being the best he could be.  He was determined to
make it in the ridiculously over-crowded acting field, so he enrolled in acting

Eugene Orowitz, better known as
Michael Landon, went on to star in three of the most popular shows in
television history:  Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, and Highway to

Michael Landon exhibited both boldness and commitment.  

As a teenager, I always got a little “bold” when I watched Michael Landon play Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza every day.  (Be still, my heart!)

Little Joe never went down without a fight, and I challenge you to lead with COMMITMENT in the same way!

Remember, the
ABC’s of leadership:




Abc, easy as 123
Or simple as do, re, mi
Abc, 123, baby, you can lead!

The Tricks and Treats of Staff Turnover

Happy Halloween!

Today is the day in America when we have come to expect more treats than tricks.  Tricks are fun sometimes, but treats are much more appreciated!

It is the same in business.  We’d much rather get treats than be tricked.  “Tricks” are the cause of employee turnover.   Staff turnover can be the worst, most expensive “trick” for any business.  Turnover realistically cannot be eliminated, but it can be reduced greatly when you provide staff with more “treats”

By treats, I don’t mean more money.  In a list below of 12 items that contribute to greater satisfaction on the job, adequate compensation is 10 on the list.  There are 9 other items that staff members view more valuable than pay. (Find the complete list at the end of this post) 

“The back office staff does not need training (staff meetings) because they just do what we tell them to do.  It is the front office team that can benefit from consistent conversations and idea sharing”.

The picture above depicts my reaction when I heard a doctor actually say the quote above.  (blood-curdling scream)

This was said by one of two partner doctors who I have discovered think very differently from each other, but who also think very differently than what experience has taught me will bring them the greatest success in business.

These business owners were inadvertantly playing “tricks” on their staff members by non-verbally making three statements:
1. “Your ideas are not necessary, and probably unrealistic”
2. “Your abilities are just not that important to your job”
3. “Your role in our business is to show up and shut up”

I also learned that salary increases were being made arbitrarily.  The senior partner (who handled payroll) would occasionally say to an employee “I’m giving you a raise”.  There was no further conversation.  No reason was given for the increase, and no explanation for the amount of the increase.  Because the senior partner had decided on a “cap” for salaries, this pay increase was very rare.

Besides the arbitrary pay increase, no employee had ever had a performance review at this practice.  There had been no protocol for either praising or disciplining employees.  There was no vision, no mission, no values to align with.

I could imagine a group of 6 people coming together, and an assignment being given “we’re going to build a house”.  Without any instruction, the work would begin.  How do you think the “house” would turn out? 

It had become very clear to me why the staff at this particular practice were not communicating well with each other, nor well with their patients.  I also understood why the competence level seemed so low–there was no set criteria for a level of competence.  Even if there had been, without feedback and performance review, how would you ever know if you were measuring up?

The unspoken rule in this workplace was, “Do your job, get paid, and don’t try to improve anything.”

If this practice would just incorporate 3 “treats” into the character of their employee communication standard, the practice would have greater productivity, increased teamwork, and greater profit.

1. Have a written personnel policy manual stating expectations, protocols and communication standards.
2. Develop a written job description for each team member–highlighting the strengths and abilities needed to perform up to the defined standard.
3. Provide opportunities for training and collaboration to enhance a sense of ownership.

These changes won’t happen overnight–especially when expectations are introduced.  There will be some resistance.  However, those who resist a better work environment, better communication, and accountability are probably not the employees who are loyal anyway.  These are the types of employees who play “tricks” on their employers.   Let them go!

If you are an employer, and identify any of these characteristics in yourself, think about your outcomes.  Are you making the profit you’d like to?  Are you happy with the performance of your employees?  Do you recognize that a change may be the difference between success and failure?

“Oh, Bee-have”! says Jackie the Bee.
When you “bee”have like a leader, you will have greater success in business!

Based on surveys by Bent Eriksen & Associates of hundreds of staff members, here is what employees indicate would contribute to their productivity and sense of satisfaction on the job (“treats”):

1.     Ethically sound business principles and quality services. 
2.     A consistent and fair management style where policies are friendly, frank, fair and firm, consistently applied and clearly explained in writing.
3.     A pleasant and harmonious work environment with minimum stress. 
4.     Adequate facility, instruments, tools, equipment and supplies. 
5.     Competent, supportive and compatible team members. 
6.     Assistance in learning: to become more skilled, develop communication skills, make decisions and take initiative. 
7.     Clearly defined job responsibilities and expectations. 
8.     Recognition as an individual and as a team member. 
9.     Knowledge that their efforts are being appreciated and that inadequate work performance will not be tolerated.
10.  Adequate compensation and benefits. 
11.  Evaluation and feedback by the employer.
12.  Worthwhile staff meetings.

Art Without a Frame

Washington Post Staff Writer, Gene Weingarten shared a story in the Sunday edition on April 8, 2007.

It seems that on the morning of January 12th, 2007, Joshua Bell stepped into the L’Enfant Plaza of the Washington DC Metro station and offered a free concert to commuters there.  Wearing jeans and a baseball cap, he stood against a wall near a trash can and played his violin.   

Most of the commuters in the station that morning were mid-level bureaucrat federal workers with titles like, policy analyst, project manager, budget officer, specialist, facilitator, and/or consultant.   Evidently none of these well-educated, skilled people knew the impressive title of Joshua Bell

Knowing the man playing the violin that morning was an “American Grammy Award-winning violinist“, or “one of the finest classical musicians in the world” may have caused the commuters to pause and listen.  Maybe the fact that Joshua Bell plays a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin would have, at least, aroused curiosity in the people who walked by while he played that day in the station.  And surely, once a musician of such caliber begins to play a piece of music like “Chaconne” from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D Minor (which has been called, “not just one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, but one of the greatest achievements of any man in history“), people would take notice, stop and listen, and drink in the magnificent sound.

But that IS NOT what happened.  According to the article, Mr. Weingarten reports that, in the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run — for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look.  $32 for a man whose talents can command $1,000 a minute.

You may read the entire Washington Post story here: Pearls Before Breakfast

Following this experiment, Joshua Bell said, “at a music hall, I’ll get upset if someone coughs or if someone’s cellphone goes off.  But here, my expectations quickly diminished. I started to appreciate any acknowledgment, even a slight glance up. I was oddly grateful when someone threw in a dollar instead of change.” 

Before he began, Bell hadn’t known what to expect. What he does know is that, for some reason, he was nervous.

It wasn’t exactly stage fright, but there were butterflies,” he says. “I was stressing a little.”

Bell has played before crowned heads of Europe. Why the anxiety at the Washington Metro?

When you play for ticket-holders,” Bell explains, “you are already validated. I have no sense that I need to be accepted. I’m already accepted. Here, there was this thought: What if they don’t like me? What if they resent my presence . . .

Joshua Bell was, in short, art without a frame.

I was reminded of this story because of an experience I recently heard about – a story that has very similar outcomes to Joshua Bell’s story. 

It seems that a business owner hired “Mack”, a talented consultant, whom the business owner had met before.  The business owner had personally witnessed Mack’s strong work ethic and varied skills.  Mack was hired by the business owner to accomplish a very specific task in the business.

Mack accepted a position as an employee in the business – with the idea that once the specific task was completed successfully, the business owner would see the worth of Mack’s skills.  Mack wanted to be viewed as a consultant to this business owner, and they agreed that after a 90-day period working together, that the business owner would pay Mack closer to his professional rate and their relationship would move more toward a partnership and away from an employer/employee relationship.

Well, just as in the case of Joshua Bell, the business owner in Mack’s story did not understand the worth of Mack’s talent and skill.  Even though the specific project was successfully completed, Mack’s position as an employee was hard to shake.  After 90 days, the business owner did not renegotiate the terms of their relationship with Mack, and instead kept treating Mack as an employee – including wages well below Mack’s worth.

Mack, on the other hand, felt that if he kept providing examples of his talent, and continued to serve the business owner with the tools of his consulting knowledge, that the business owner would see the worth of his position as a consultant, and that Mack would be paid what he was worth.  Mack believed that it would surely work out in the end, and that this business owner would become a client instead of an employer.

But that IS NOT what happened.  Mack reports that, in the 22-months that he’s worked with this business, and has provided the company with “solutions to their greatest challenges, tools, resources and innovative ways to improve essential aspects of the business, and opportunities to have greater security and safety in the business“, Mack has been given a $1 an hour raise.   

Mack, like Joshua Bell is “Art Without A Frame”. 

This business owner, like the commuters in the DC Metro Station, can’t see the pearls before him.  Many of us don’t know the priceless opportunities before us, or the valuable relationships we have been blessed with  We get too busy to stop, listen and drink in the music and the talent around us.

Are you guilty of this? 
Are there people you work with who are pearls in their talents and abilities? 
Are there individuals that add to your life, your business, or your happiness that you have failed to notice or value? 

Are you a pearl? 
Are you someone who, for whatever reason is not being valued? 
If so, what can you do to change the situation? 
What could Joshua Bell have done? 
What could Mack have done?

The S in S.E.L.F. is for SACRIFICE

My last several posts have been about SACRIFICE.  I have been thinking about the way we learn leadership, and I’ve discovered that it is really about self-leading.  My new campaign is shown in this image:

For the short-term , I will be talking about these four areas of self-leadership:

  • LOVE

In my past posts, I have given examples of BIG ways people have sacrificed for others…..
Sacrifice, Seeds and Starvation
Sacrifice and Heroism
The #1 Characteristic of Exceptional Leaders

Today, is a personal experience.  No heroics, just personal sacrifices I’ve made toward becoming a better leader.

In his Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith tell us,….a religion that does not require the sacrifice
of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary
unto life

Sacrifice of all things.  That’s pretty big.  This doesn’t just apply to religion, though.  Religion is something we are accountable to; but we are accountable to ourselves as well–perhaps even more.  Therefore, WE must sacrifice all things if we want to have sufficient power to produce faith unto life.

In my journey toward leadership, I have sacrificed much.  Facing fears of rejection, humiliation, friends, even family relationships required sacrifice.  When I decided to break the silence of childhood abuse many years ago, I sacrificed all of these things and more.

I have sacrificed my own desires many times because of my loyalty to an employer, an organization, even my church and family.  These sacrifices have NOT weakened me.  They have empowered me.  I have not lost who I am, but I have been able to find who I am.  Sacrifice.

On July 1st, 2010 I began serving as one of the top three leaders in a non-profit organization. This organization was Toastmasters International, and I was the third in charge of roughly 3500 members as the Lt.Governor Marketing for District 2. 

On July 1st, 2011 I had moved up one seat, and served as the Lt. Governor Education and Training.  By July 1st, 2012 I was the head honcho, the big cheese, the lady in charge of District 2.  I was the District Governor.  Yikes!  I thought I had been working hard the two previous years; but because I never do anything less than 100%, I charged in full speed and set out to motivate and lead a team of about 75 volunteers in this very large organization.

What did I sacrifice for leadership? 

  • Sleep
  • Meals
  • Vacations
  • Blogging
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Career advancements
  • Income
  • Client relationships
  • Seminars
  • Conferences
  • Time spent with family

I’m not complaining, because I’m VERY glad I took on the challenge to lead in the Toastmaster organization.  I don’t believe that I would have had the opportunity to learn the leadership lessons I did any other way.  I had the chance to be the CEO of an organization with 3500 + “employees”.  Wow!  And did I mention that every minute of it was voluntary?  I was never paid anything.

With all the sacrificing it took to lead District 2, I never sacrificed my integrity, my religious beliefs, or my self-respect.  Nor did I ever compromise on the goals I set out to accomplish. 

I did not meet all the benchmarks that I wanted to as District Governor, but I left District 2 stronger and better than when it was put in my charge.  I’m happy with that.

The sacrifices I made gave me power sufficient to produce necessary

What have YOU sacrificed?

 What power have YOU been able to produce because of your sacrifice?

The #1 Characteristic of Exceptional Leaders

Navigating your fishbowl and defining your leadership ability requires 4 skills:

  • Sacrifice
  • Empowerment
  • Love
  • Friendship

The last few blog posts have been about Sacrifice. Please see the previous posts:

Sacrifice, Seeds and Starvation

Sacrifice and Heroism

Leaders must sacrifice.  Following are examples of the way others have Sacrificed:

Transplant recipient struggles to go on after brother’s death

Miki Endo warned others of a dangerous tsunami

Dog dies saving drunken owner from oncoming train

These are stories of people and animals who have sacrificed their own lives and/or safety for others.  I don’t share these stories to suggest that leaders must be heroes.  All of us are put into positions of leadership at one time or another, and rarely do we have opportunity to be heroic.

However, I share these stories because the characteristic of sacrifice is important to be an exceptional leader.  Inspiring others can come only through self-sacrifice.

¤ “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. ” Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)

¤ “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the courage to surpass others at whatever cost, but the courage to serve others at whatever the cost.”  Arthur Ashe (1943-1993)

¤ “Getting what you want is not nearly as important as giving what you have.” Tom Krause (born 1957)

True leaders sacrifice because they care about the success of those they lead.

What sacrifices have you, or other leaders made?

Sacrifice and Heroism

What does it mean to be a hero?

This is Rick Rescorla.  Rick sacrificed his life to save the lives of many others on 9-11-01.

Rescorla , a 62-year-old retired and decorated U.S. Army colonel, had
focused on security at the World
Trade Center
for years. Prior to the bombing of the World
Trade Center
in 1993, he had approached the Port
Authority of New York and New Jersey
about security vulnerabilities in the WTC’s garage. He was told to focus only
on the floors that Morgan Stanley used. 

Rick Rescorla was told to navigate his own fishbowl.  He did that.  But, Rick Rescorla didn’t stop thinking about security weaknesses and terrorism inside, and outside his fishbowl.

In 1997, Rescorla became director of security at Morgan
Stanley, where he maintained vigilant attention to the firm’s — and the
building’s — safety.  He held twice-yearly
evacuation drills by the stairwell for the firm’s 22 floors in the south tower.

The result: On Sept. 11, 2001, he was ready

Despite having received official instructions to stay put after the first tower was struck at 8:46 a.m, Rescorla told Morgan Stanley staffers to follow his evacuation
plan, and he sent them two by two, as they had practiced, down the many flights
of stairs. His decision and his preparation made all the difference. Although
13 employees — including Rescorla — perished, more than 2,500 employees left
the tower alive. That’s where the word “miracle” comes in. It’s also
where the word “hero” comes in.

Rescorla used his cell phone to get updates on news footage as he directed employees by bullhorn. He also called his wife, Susan.
“If something should happen to me, I want you to know I’ve never been
happier,” he said.

A fuzzy photo of Rescorla speaking into the bullhorn. He was last
seen on the 10th floor of the World Trade Center 9-11-01.

Sacrifice ~ Empowerment ~ Love ~ Friendship

What acts of service have you witnessed by leaders? 

What does sacrifice mean to you, and how does sacrifice breed heroism?

3 Ways to Put Your Business Where the Sun Does Shine

One of America’s founding fathers, James Madison said, “As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust, so there are other qualities in human nature which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence“.

The founding fathers of the United States of America wanted the goal of our Constitution to
allow the sunshine side of human nature to enjoy unlimited freedom,
while setting up appropriate safeguards to prevent the shadow of human
passion, greed, and lust for power from undermining the success of the

Wouldn’t you like your job or business to have the same goals? Wouldn’t you like to have more sunshine in your business?  Wouldn’t you like to be able to bring out the best in your team, your employees, or your organization?  You can!  It takes pulling back the shades, washing the windows, and welcoming the rays of light into your fishbowl!

Let the sunshine in with these simple steps:

Clarify your communication expectations

Every business MUST have written rules, guidelines, policies and expectations if the team is to understand the definition of success.  Having a personnel policy manual will prevent the shadowy problems that consistently come up in business, and allow YOUR team the freedom to create solutions within your realm of expectations.  It’s a beautiful site to behold, when it happens!

Create an environment of open idea-sharing and accountability

At the start of every business day, there should be time set aside for team members to state their goals, identify foreseeable problems, and discuss possible solutions.  It’s a real “pane” to realize that disaster could have been avoided by simple coordination early on. 

Appreciate the “light” in your human resources

Have you ever thought about the meaning of “human resources”?  Your team members are the greatest resource you’ll ever spend money on.  I believe that the answer to your success lies within your bowl-mates.  Take time to identify the talents, skills and knowledge of each individual, and then let them float to the top as leaders in their specialty.

“Great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to
air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses,
and their concerns without fear of reprisal.”

Patrick Lencioni,

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

Freedom, creativity, and self-confidence are a few principles that the founding fathers of America built an entire nation on.  Certainly your business can benefit by applying the same principles.  Bring your business and your team out of the shadow and into the light! 

Your future will be so bright, you’re gonna need shades!


On this, July 5th 2013, I’d like to wish you a happy DEPENDENCE Day.  To begin, I encourage you to read PAUL REVERE’S RIDE by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This poem commemorates the actions of the American patriot, Paul Revere, who rode from house to house warning citizens that the British troops were advancing, and that they should take up arms and be prepared to fight.

Because men and women did fight, our nation, The United States of America, was born.  July 4th is the day that America celebrates its independence from Britain.  It is also a day that we celebrate the men and women who have taken up arms, and have fought for Americans to have the freedoms and liberties that we do.

L Tom Perry, a latter-day Apostle of Jesus Christ has said, “The success of the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War came by men who were raised by God for this very purpose.  Where else in history do we find a stronger group of men who possessed greater capacity and wisdom than our Founding Fathers?  But they did not credit their own abilities, they all acknowledged Almighty God and were certain that it was impossible to succeed without His help.”

When the poem, Paul Revere’s Ride was written in 1860, America was on the verge of civil war.  July 3, 2013 marked 150 years since the Battle of Gettysburg–the battle that changed the course of the Civil War.

At a site that had been set up as a cemetery for many of the men lost in the Civil War, then U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln dedicated the field where he stood in Gettyburg, Pennsylvannia.  His famous words follow…….

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a
new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men
are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any
nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great
battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a
final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might
live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not
hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have
consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will
little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what
they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the
unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It
is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us —
that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for
which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve
that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall
have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people,
for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

In about 588 B.C, a man living on the American continent wrote about the land in which his family had been guided.  His name was Lehi, and he said,

Wherefore, this land
is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they
shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it
shall be a land of liberty
unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity;
if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever

The “him” that Lehi refers to is God. And we are warned as a voice from the dust that we are to take action to preserve our nation.  Like Paul Revere, it is up to us to warn our neighbor.  It is up to us to watch for the signs that tell us danger is near.  It is up to us to be prepared with oil in our lamps and testimony in our hearts.

I believe that once again, another
civil war is upon us.  A war of good versus evil.  A war of love of God
versus haters of God.  This war is raging in the hearts of men, and we
must be ready to battle.

On October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln gave a Thanksgiving Proclamation…..

” We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.  

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”

Brothers and sisters, saints and patriots, may you, on this Independence Day resolve to recognize your dependence on the Lord. 

May this greatest nation on earth—the United States of America—always abound in righteousness.  May we always be deserving of the liberty and freedom so valiantly fought for us by men and women long past.

“America! America!

God shed his grace on thee.

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.”

This is my prayer for you, for us as a nation, and for those who will come generations after us……

How do you measure your growth?

Today is the first day in 4 years that I have not felt an incredible sense of responsibility in leadership for my favorite non-profit organization, Toastmasters International. 

At midnight June 30th, 2013 I completed my year as District 2 Governor!

I have learned the following:

  • A clearly defined vision and mission are vital
  • Expectations must be shared early and often
  • Personal touches go a long way
  • Pick your battles
  • Prioritize your time, projects and communication
  • Self-discipline is a must
  • Take every opportunity to increase your network
  • You can handle more than you ever thought you could
  • Sleep is important
  • No excuses
  • Speak only when what you say has value to someone else
  • 80% of success is timing

Toastmasters International, with its 300,000 or so members, is divided into 89 districts in 116+ countries throughout the world.  Since July 1, 2012, I’ve been serving as one of those 89 governors.  District 2 geographically covers western Washington from Kent to the Canadian border; and from the Cascade Mountains to the Puget Sound, and serves roughly 3500 members.

If you’re a numbers person, you might be interested in the team of individuals that make up the District 2 Executive Council of which I served as the head:

2 Lt Governors

5 other officers including a(n):

  • Immediate Past District Governor
  • Public Relations Officer
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Sergeant at Arms

7 Division Governors

40 Area Governors

187 Club Presidents

187 Club Vice Presidents Education

20+ auxiliary personnel including heads of several committees

20+ assistants to the area and division governors

There are 6 other district governors in Region 1 that greatly influenced and inspired me.  Nancy from District 9; Annette from District 15; Margaret from District 21; Bea from District 26; Mary from District 32; and Linus from the Yukon Council in Alaska.  These are individuals I planned with, commiserated with, and exchanged ideas and support with.

I can’t even begin to count the dozens upon dozens of individuals from Toastmasters International and all over the world who have, in ways large and small, impacted my growth in leadership.

I am so grateful for this experience. I have never been so exhausted, yet uplifted and invigorated all at the same time!

Special recognition goes to my personal support system.  My husband and family have not seen much of me in the last 4 years.  I have missed numerous family events because of my responsibilities as a district governor.  I have sacrificed time on my book, and in my business. 


I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and do something that seems a little crazy.  Do something that will require selfless service and sacrifice. 

Your assignment: Consider your personal growth in the last 4 years, then answer the following questions:

  1. What have you achieved, and how? 
  2. Who are the individuals which have inspired you? 
  3. What have you learned about leadership?

Please post your comments on this blog.  Your experiences will be meaningful to me and so many others.

Seven Ways the Making of Your Business is Like the Making of America

America was founded on ideals that seemed new at the time, but have in reality been timeless.  As far back as 1776 we longed for the same things that all Americans, (and, in fact, all people) still want.

  • Freedom
  • Prosperity
  • Peace

Because the founders of America succeeded in providing us
with freedoms that we Americans, still enjoy today, our country has seen growth
in ideas, knowledge, and resources for gaining ideas and knowledge. 

In the same way, whatever business you’re in, there can be
NO advancement as the business owner, nor as an employee, if there is no freedom
in the work place.  The kind of freedom that allows us to progress toward prosperity that will in
turn bring about peace.  These three
elements are sought for by everyone in your business—owner and employee

When you have the elements of freedom, prosperity and peace,
then progress comes quickly.  We’ve seen
it as America
has matured.  W. Cleon Skousen talked
about six great revolutions of America.  However that was before the seventh revolution
was born, which I’ve added below: 

  1. The Industrial Revolution
  2. The Machine Revolution
  3. The Transportation Revolution
  4. The Communications Revolution
  5. The Energy Resource Revolution
  6. The Computer Revolution
  7. The Internet Revolution

How do these steps of American progress compare to the
progress of your business?

The Industrial Revolution was the transition from
hand production methods to machines, and improved efficiency.  Most businesses begin with the very basic
materials and supplies.  When you can
move into more efficient methods of producing your product, and even marketing
your business, you may recognize that you’ve been through a small industrial
revolution of your own making.

The Machine
took the burden of work from human and animal power to machine
power.  As Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu
once said, “an ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.”

I’m sure it didn’t take you long to realize that you had to
be competitive in your business.  That
meant that there were some things that you had to buy machines to do.  You’ve become more efficient, haven’t you?  You’ve survived the Machine Revolution of
your business!

The Transportation Revolution affected the lives of many Americans. It
helped transport cotton to textile factories, and it helped people to transport
their own cargo via canals, steamboats, and trains. Today, your product is
moved by many forms of transportation.  As
a new business owner, it may have taken some organization and set up to get
your product out to market, but it would have been impossible to do at all
without having been successful at the first two revolutionary processes.

It’s impossible to overstate the significance of the
electric telegraph in American history that brought about the Communication Revolution. Before the
1830s, nothing could travel faster than a running horse – not people, not
goods, not even information.  Can you
imagine NOT having a telephone, the postal service or email capabilities in
your business today?  I know there are
many of you who can even remember the days before email.  I certainly do. Communication is key to prosperity in your

has always relied on the Energy Resource
to produce, provide, and prosper.  Conventional wisdom tells us that market
forces would always come to the rescue. We’ve been spoiled with abundant amounts and
low prices for food, water and energy.  But
times are a-changing.

McKinsey Global Institute tells us that we might be entering
a new era of high and volatile prices over the next two decades.  What will this mean for YOUR business?

I’m sure, as a business owner you’ve discovered how
difficult it is to find qualified and competent employees of late.  And on the flip side, employees are wondering
where the days went when job security was a given.  Disappointment on both sides of this coin has
created a real disconnect between management and production staff.  Business
owners are NOT using their resources—their HUMAN resources as they should.

By the mid 1980s the Computer
had transformed American life. The watches people wore, the cars
they drove, the mail they received, the games they played, the state of their
health, and the way they learned were altered by the computer chip. Schools,
workplaces, the health industry, government, and the law were all dramatically
affected by the computer.

Think of your business. Do you remember what it was like to
not have a computer?  Or, try to imagine
doing the same work you do now WITHOUT having a computer to assist you.  And yet, I see MOST of my clients NOT using
the technology at their fingertips to its fullest potential!  What’s
up with that?

The seventh revolution in my opinion is
the Internet Revolution.  This may be the greatest innovation of them all.  It will most likely have the longest lasting effects in history.  High Existence claims that the best part of the Internet Revolution is these five principles:

1) Equality– everyone has the same chance to
get their message to the world.

2) Unity– all cultures come together to
share ideas and common concerns.

3) Information– newspapers and television
are no longer the way we get up to date information.

4) Connection– we can see and speak to
anyone in the world at any moment basically for free in real time!

5) Freedom– we can work from anywhere in the
world.  We can find legal help, publish a
book, and even make a large profit through online sales.

Freedom and prosperity come in very different ways than our
founding fathers could have possibly imagined.  Yet peace is often harder to come by.  With all this freedom, technology and
knowledge, we still struggle to have ALL that is of greatest value.

The revolutionary bells and whistles don’t matter if, as
business owners, we don’t have a clear vision, a purposeful mission, and a
strategic plan of success in place.  Furthermore,
if we don’t know how to communicate with and lead our team, we will always be
undermining our true capabilities.  

So, are you ready for the next revolution in your business
evolution?  Are you ready for the Leadership Revolution?

What does YOUR leadership revolution look like?