Jan 02 2012

Creating Business Team Chemistry

 Great leadership


 is not always transparent!


Every winning sports and business team has a sparkplug — THE one most enthusiastic, energetic, pumped-up, mover and shaker who ignites her or his teammates and gets them focused on achievement. 

Combined with what most of us might designate as leadership qualities… trust, authenticity, integrity, empathy, compassion, active listening, speaking clearly, sense of humor, teaching by example, et al…the single sparkplug ingredient, the piece that brings it all together, comes quietly from inside… and is not always transparent. 

Sparkpluggyness  is not tangible, obvious, or even evident in many cases. It is a fire-in-the-belly sense of desire and mission. True leaders exude it, and usually without ever even noticing or acknowledging it. It’s something that “just happens” as many have shared along their career paths.

So how does one begin to cultivate and nurture the characteristics that lead to rewarding practices of inside leadership? Do boosters work? Energy drinks? Coffee? Drugs? Ginseng?

One might best begin with a large dose of self-esteem, let that percolate into self-confidence, add a dash of deep breathing, proper exercise, enough rest, nutritional foods (and obviously eliminate addictive tobacco and alcohol products along the way), and work at mastering the ways of dealing best with your own stress.

Try whatever comes along until you find the one thing that best works for you. Is it jogging? Lifting? Yoga? Massage therapy? Playing with a pet? Pursuing a hobby? Swimming? Gardening? Painting? The answer is different for every single person. But you’ll never discover what’s best for you if you aren’t continually experimenting.   

This is all about getting in touch with your inner self and firing up that furnace. If YOU don’t know what makes you tick, you’ll never be able to know how to best figure out what makes other people tick, and how to best deal with them to get them motivated.

Even Maslow’s Theory of Motivation relies one-hundred percent on a manager’s ability to “size up” others to be able to best reward them at a level that’s most meaningful to THEM. If you give me a plaque when I most want a more impressive title, you’re wasting my interest and sense of teamwork. You will not gain my commitment.

This little piece of leadership need not be for public consumption: The more you know about what makes YOU go, the closer you are to understanding and motivating others, and the more you can succeed at getting others to achieve, the better a leader you become and the more you will accomplish, transparently or otherwise.


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Dec 27 2011

The BEST 10 STEPS for 2012

The best New Year’s


 message I can share


  with you comes…


 . . . from one of my life’s heroes, Dr. Wayne Dyer.


It’s a 10-Point Pursuit Plan that I’ve dressed up a bit for the occasion, for your business, for your SELF, and to share with your family. If you succeed at making only HALF of these actually work consistently, I GUARANTEE that this coming year will be as happy, healthy and prosperous for you as humanly possible.


DO YOUR SELF, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR BUSINESS A FAVOR and read these ten points aloud to yourself. Write them down. Carry them in your wallet/pocketbook/briefcase. Tape a copy to your bathroom mirror, your dashboard, your computer workstation, inside your desk drawer, your workout bag, your refridgerator, the closet bar that holds your hangers.

READ AND RECITE before you go to bed, when you wake up, and any other time you can squeeze it into your day. You will positively amaze yourself with the results after just 21 days, and it’s FREE!! Go for it!

1. Want more for others than you do for yourself.

2. See yourself already having what you seek.

3. Be an appreciator of everything in your life as much as you can throughout each day, every day.

4. Stay in touch with your own and other positive human energy sources, and laugh as hard and often as you can.

5. Understand resistence, and help yourself and others to go with the flow.

6. Imagine yourself surrounded by the conditions you want to produce.

7. Understand the path of least resistence.

8. Practice radical humility.

9. Be in a constant state of gratitude.

10. You can never resolve a problem by condemning it.


If you think you’re going to give up on this, don’t start it. A little bite will only leave a bad taste.

BUT if you think you have what it takes to get your act together and take it on the road, if you think you have enough self-discipline to follow and practice the behaviors these 10 points suggest, you will positively succeed — even against all odds. Remember these 10 points are all about behavior. Behavior is a choice!


More FREE insights on


Come visit me at TBD Consulting’s Jonena Relth’s site and comment on my Guest Blog posts:



and  “T” IS FOR TRUST.  


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Dec 26 2011

2012 Mission or 20/20 Vision??

Is Your Vision Statement


A Mission?


Does Your


Mission Statement


Have Vision?


You’re getting ready for 2012 and you’re confused? Gee, hard to imagine . . .


Just because the media and politicians tell us the economy is getting better? Just because we’re looking at a healthcare reform that has absolutely nothing to do with healthcare and everything to do with costing small business more? Just because enemy combatant terrorist situations surface from those we’re told are not really terrorists, and from circumstances that we’re assured do not exist? Just because global warming hoaxsters had us running to refrigeration investments?



We’re probably feeling like confusion is nothing new, right? So why not live with a little more?

Well, here’s why: The business you own or manage doesn’t need to be as misguided and convoluted as politicians and the media. Remember they get paid for creating confusion. Your success depends on keeping things simple.

Keeping things simple starts with attitude, awareness, and hard work.

First off, don’t let anyone tell you to work smarter and not harder. That’s baloney! Every business success comes from hard work. Next, don’t let people confuse you about the characteristics and values of Mission and Vision Statements. [No, they are NOT the same!]

A Mission statement is essentially a declaration of intent, challenge and pursuit. It is your goal statement that clearly and succinctly explains what you plan to accomplish over what specific period of time and by what means. It is action-focused.

And, like every meaningful goal, your Mission Statement needs t0 be specific, flexible, realistic and have a due date. [Without all four criteria, you’ve nothing more than a wishlist fantasy!]

A Vision statement is a summation of where you see your business in 5-10 years. It is a picture you paint in your mind and share with others. It answers the question: If you succeed in your mission, where will you be?

It’s a set of words that best describes what you imagine to be your future state of existence, and how you expect (hope) to be viewed by others: your employees, associates, vendors, customers, markets, industry or profession, and community. It is dream-focused. It’s primary value is to inspire pursuit of your Mission.

What’s your Mission for 2012? What’s your Vision for 2020?

Oh, and in the same fashion that it helps to start ANY mission with 20/20 vision, it is often most useful to put your 2020 Vision on the table (to keep focused on it) while you develop your 2012 Mission (or while you think up the ways to get where you want to end up).


More FREE insights on


Come visit me at TBD Consulting’s Jonena Relth’s site and comment on my Guest Blog posts:



and “T” IS FOR TRUST.  


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Nov 01 2011


Welcome to the world’s first SMALL BIZ Alphabet Series of blog posts!



So much has been written on this subject, here and elsewhere (and no where as meaningfully, in my opinion , as Rudy Giuliani’s book, LEADERSHIP), yet it cannot be ignored here as the “L” topic. Without it, there is no business –yours or anyone’s. With it, even when it’s as pathetic as that which we see (and don’t see) from the White House, there’s always at least a remote chance of success hovering above the clouds of follower discontent.

The problem we face as entrepreneurs and small business owners and managers is that –unlike some careers in science, accounting, programming, and assembly line manufacturing– small business startup and development success is determined as much by effective leadership as by the central ideas, products, and services represented.

And leadership doesn’t spill out of a cereal box, a webinar, an MBA program, Fortune magazine, or a fortune cookie. Leadership comes from inside you. It is, more than anything, an attitude. It is responsiveness. It is a show of good faith and respect for others. It is having exceptional communication and motivational skills.

But–above all elseit is having a personal foundation cornerstoned by authenticity, integrity, and trust. The closest thing to spontaneous rise-to-the-occasion leadership comes from the military when opportunities to plan and prepare may not always exist. It is otherwise a role most of us grow into of necessity and develop accidentally.

I’ve worked with and written about leaders being most effective when they pull instead of push, when they solicit input instead of quash it, when they reward failures for the effort and inspire others to top performance rather than berate others for failures and constantly prod to produce productivity.

Truly effective leaders are truly transparent in both words and deeds.


Having a “take charge” attitude is a great asset for leadership when it’s exercised quietly, but having a take charge behavior –acting out internal convictions often results in a non-productive fearsome or obnoxious reputation that diminishes responsiveness and commitment by others. Instead, challenge others to take risks.

It’s a thin line, leadership. And walking the walk counts for substance and achievement. Talking the talk is for shallow minds and empty suits. Your business counts for something important to you. Working at continuous improvement of your leadership skills will move that “something Important” closer to reality.

And you have that new opportunity to be the best leader you can be for your business every hour of every day. Look for ways to measure how you’re coming across to others. Practice what you preach. Ask for feedback, Encourage innovative thinking (taking creative ideas all the way to implementation). Reward with praise.

Be sincere. Be honest. Be an example, Be the leadership you seek to inspire. Watch your business grow.

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 Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Jul 17 2010

Halfway Businesses

A job half done


is half UN-done


     Like the proverbial half-full or half-empty glass debate, businesses and business projects are often left UN-done. When this happens, the entities can usually be expected to unravel completely or take a giant step toward miserable failure.

     Seldom do we see an enterprise or project be abandoned before maturity (except for examples in, for instance, the new home construction market and associated trades, where government incompetencies ushered in a full housing market collapse), and still make a difference at any personal, industry, or market level.


     What can you do to instill a stronger sense of stick-to-it-iveness in yourself and in your people, or your outsourced project managers?


     Start with yourself! What you do others will follow. The best way to ensure that you finish what you start is to plan your approach and monitor your progress. Something as simple as keeping a nightly, just-before-you-leave-work Attack List (Hint: chunks of tasks work light years better than itemizing full-scale tasks) of things you need to do the next morning.

     When the list is done (and whatever doesn’t make it to the paper or task program screen before 3 minutes is up, isn’t generally worth remembering!), prioritize items with number rankings or multiple asterisks, and proceed in that order, making notations of other unexpected items that surface and perhaps even renumbering everything.

     Take that task list to task with a see-through marker every time a listed item gets done; that allows you to review what’s been accomplished, what’s been interrupted, and what needs more attention. 

     This is not as trying experience as you might imagine if you accept the likelihood that you will be interrupted and disrupted, and account for that inevitability by keeping your mind flexible enough to accept alternative routes and options on the fly.

     Yes, this is an entrepreneurial instinct, but anyone can make it work. It requires only that you keep open-minded. Easy? Yes, but for that to happen, you need to agree with yourself to suspend all judgments.

     Suspending judgments, prejudices, biases, is essential because these will otherwise get in the way of your progress. And of course if you don’t finish projects and communications and tasks, how can you expect those who report to you to do that?

     LBE (Leadership By Example) counts even more than transparency if there must be a choice for where to apply your energy. Transparency keeps your team bolstered, motivated, and challenged under all circumstances, but without you setting daily examples, it will be difficult at best to even approach the point of operating your business with complete openness.

     So, it’s . . . 

  1. Open your mind
  2. Set examples for others to follow
  3. As more work gets done, completed and on schedule, begin moving your business to be more transparent. Note the implication of the words, “begin moving” which means taking it step at a time (instead of all at once), which is usually the best way to approach any business situation.

 www.TWWsells.com or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You. God Bless America and our troops. “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]  Make today a GREAT Day!

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Jun 17 2010


It used to be:


“Do this, Do that!”


But today’s leaders 


teach by example,


  so it’s: “Here’s how!”


     Leaders –true leaders– may or may not embrace the whole transparency theme that’s wormed its way into the management apple over the past couple of years, but one thing’s for sure: they are leading others by teaching and they are teaching by giving and being and using examples. “Here, let me show you how to do that in a way that will save you more time” are words that work wonders.

     “Why don’t we stop this meeting right here, order lunch in for everybody, and let’s see if we can all tackle this problem that’s surfaced? We can start by each of us writing down three possible solutions in the next three minutes without any discussion. Then we’ll . . .” Almost makes you want to be in that meeting, doesn’t it?

     Leadership is best delivered with quiet assertiveness, back-pat coaching and extreme simplicity. I call the words we use to motivate others most effectively: LEADERSHIPLICITY. I’ve never met anyone who had trouble getting their arms around a challenge or opportunity that was labeled 1-2-3 or A-B-C.

     We humans seem to have an acceptance fixation on groups of three steps, three items, three bullet points, three ways. 1-2-3 and A-B-C are simple. Life is complicated. 1-2-3 and A-B-C make things simple. Anytime we can reduce a seemingly complex problem or how-to directions into three chunks, we produce and get better results.     

     Now, there are probably as many alternative number choices as there are people on the planet, and there are most certainly some very strong-willed advocates out there who are willing to bet the farm on the number 7. Hmmm, 7? Well sure there are Steven Covey’s 7 Habits, 7/11 stores, Mickey Mantle’s shirt, the 7 Dwarfs, and 7 days in a week. 7 works.

     But 7 is an advertising copywriter’s sales tool. People BUY 7. Seven reasons are usually enough to justify any purchase. But 3 is the number that prompts action. Anyone will take three easy steps; most of us will balk if asked to DO seven things. Oh, are you kidding? 7 bullet points? Who wants to read all that? Seven ACTS? As in A-B-C-D-E-F and G? That’s a lot of stuff to do. You’re going to lose me after C or D.

     LEADERSHIPLICITY means making a daily commitment to eliminate the complicated and accentuate the simplicated. If your grandparents wouldn’t understand the word, don’t use it! How hard is that? Why care? Because effective leadership depends exclusively on the leader’s ability to communicate.

     Fancy words get in the way. They don’t impress others; they frustrate others. Nobody wants to be checking their thesaurus every time you have something to say. 

www.TWWsells.com or call 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! God Bless America, and God Bless Our Troops “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]  Make today a GREAT Day!

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Jun 09 2010

Perceptions Are Facts!

What we perceive 


is what we believe! 


Leadership transparency is more than just another fancy management training term. Most employees haven’t a clue about what you really do. Sure, they see you in meetings and hear you on the phone and pay attention to your messages and emails.

Certainly, your people notice your interactions with customers, suppliers and service providers . . . with the community-at-large. But odds are pretty good that if you ask around, you’ll find that very few if any really know or understand how you spend your days.

  So? So the more your employees are in the dark about your comings and goings, the less visibility you afford them, the more likely they are to doubt and mistrust your leadership. It’s human nature to be suspicious of other’s actions when those actions are intentionally hidden or even inadvertently not apparent on the surface.

The harder it is to see and hear what’s happening at the top of an organization, the greater the tendency for organization members to see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. Imagination creates perceptions. Perceptions trigger rumors. Rumors readily result in perceptions becoming beliefs.

And beliefs become facts! 

So-called “facts” evolve from beliefs which come from perceptions that are triggered by rumors. Rumors are routinely given birth by insecure followers based on their observations of leaders who insist on “playing everything close to the vest” or who frequent the use of “hidden agendas” in their daily routines.

These kinds of rumors have toppled whole companies, whole governments, whole nations. You don’t need those examples listed here; you already know them. A quick check on industry, regional. national, and global news will provide plenty more.

What you may not know is that employees never stop sizing you up — in the workspace, out of the workspace, in the parking lot, on the sidewalk, at community events, in restaurants and stores, at schools and church. It comes with the territory. Business owners and managers are in the spotlight even when they think the lights are out.

The challenge is to gracefully and consistently walk the thin line between A) being totally open and honest with everyone all the time and B) seeking refuge or over-socializing within the ranks.

  In other words, you must always be willing to freely give up information, but — unless company security is at stake — keep your personal opinions to yourself, and always conduct yourself like the example you want to set for others . . . because everything you do and say is an example to others . . .

 . . . and because perceptions are, in the minds of the perceivers, facts. That’s a fact.


Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You. 
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Apr 12 2010

Keeping “Family” Out Of The Family Business!

When you add


a splash of red


to a sea of blue,


people stop


noticing the blue…


     My wife Kathy (God Bless Her!) has been my business partner for 23 years. It takes an extraordinarily special relationship to survive and thrive in the same workspace AND the same homespace. 

     Oh, but don’t thinkI have a limited perspective on this. I’ve worked with every kind of FAMILY business imaginable … from restaurants, HVAC, farms, clothing, sewage, chiropractic services, heart surgery, landscaping, mattresses, trucking, dentistry, lumber, accounting, candy and travel, to manufacturing of computer and rocket-ship parts that fit under your fingernail. And that’s just my tip- of-the-iceberg list.

     Yeah, you might say, but just doing their brochures and websites doesn’t put you in the thick of things. How do you know what it’s really like? As a management consultant, trainer, coach, and counselor, believe me I’ve seen it all. I’ve managed succession planning, rookie coaching, crisis intervention, family foundations, partnership formations, partnership separations, and one fist fight.  

     The biggest problem with family business is family. Family relation-ships are a hotbed of emotions. Consider the statistics that claim every one comes from a dysfunctional family, which means there are an awful lot of weirdos out there. When the dysfunctional types become part of the family business, people see the business as dysfunctional. When you add a splash of red to a sea of blue, people stop noticing the blue.

Only a handful of really smart family business leaders have the good sense to realize a proven professional can help grow the business AND save the family.”

     When high emotions reign in a family business, you can be sure the business will not be a recommended long-term investment. Business ventures can be immensely emotional and supercharged, but keeping control of all that energy requires great leadership finesse, objectivity, and balance.

     Imagine a ship in a stormy sea, with an angry, blood-vessel-on-the-cusp-of-bursting, near-incoherent, screaming captain at the controls. You’d want to be figuring out the quickest route to the lifeboats. Some family businesses keep these stormy sea antics below deck, but they still take their toll.

You’d want to be figuring out the

quickest route to the lifeboats.”

     Here’s the good news: None of it is necessary. Here’s the bad news: Only a handful of family business leaders have the good sense to realize a proven professional can help grow the business AND save the family. The basic principles of anger management, stress management, time management, communication skills (especially effective listening), goal-setting, and leadership transparency are the ingredients of family business transformation and success. Someone who knows how and when to use these tools can help you get the red splash out of your sea of blue, and steady the controls.  

     The more generations involved, the greater the need. The more family members involved, the greater the need. The solution direction is simple. It takes a commitment to want to succeed, a willingness to share “dirty laundry” with an “outsider” (and a sense of partnership and perseverance with that outsider) to combine forces to make a difference.

     Family business growth and development is directly tied to the 4 R’s: Receptivity, Responsiveness, Responsibility and Respect. If those are present, an experienced coach can help them all work for the good of the business, and the good of the family.  


Comment below or Hal@BusinessWorks.US Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day! 

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