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What is a 41 Cent Leader?

41 cents 3According to Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, in their book, First, Break All the Rules, the best managers on the planet do not expect that people will change all that much. They subscribe to the “what you see is what you get” mantra. They intentionally get to know each person on their team and their individual talents and figure out how to leverage that talent to realize the goals of the whole team.

In John Maxwell’s Winning with People, he discusses the elevator principle. He describes that each of us has the ability to lift people up or take them down – just like an elevator!

And yet again, in The 24 Carrot Manager, Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton unpack this idea that great teams are a product, at least in part, of an environment where there is intentional praise and appreciation for team and individual contribution to successes. People need to be recognized for their efforts!

I could provide example after example from leadership booksyou and I have read and experiences you and I have lived out. Our teams are in dire need of leaders who will make a difference…servant leaders who will change a culture in their organizations.

I don’t believe we have to keep searching for the a missing key or the next 6 principles that successful people use to make a difference. I believe it’s already in us. We have been given a sense of truth north in our spirit. It is simply a matter of committing to consistent intentional people development as the means to accomplishing the goals and directives our teams are to accomplish.

That’s why I have developed this simple tool. We need reminders as leaders! Take the quarter, dime, nickel, and penny and place them in your pocket. Aim to genuinely express appreciation to individuals. Aim to appreciate their individual expression. Each time you do, simply transfer a coin to the other pocket. Make it your goal each day to transfer all four coins. As I have utilized this technique over the past 6 months, I can genuinely tell you that it has helped me take the time needed to connect with my team in my leadership role! I believe it will help you as well!

So … who’s with me out there? Who acknowledges that praise and encouragement is lacking a little in their leadership toolbox? Simply reply back to this post. I would love to hear some stories of how this simple tool is helping you!

Influencer – Part 2

The realization hit me … I am not very deep! I have somehow thought for a long time that I will have to have tons of depth to make the difference in the world that I born to make. So, therefore, real influence is quite a ways off. But, I need to be real. Yes, I will continue on my quest to grow my depth, but the perspective needs to be tweeked just a little.

With ideas, I love to think up the idea, incubate the idea, connect it with other ideas, devise the strategy for the idea, then hand it off to someone else.

In my friendships, I love to have meaningful relationships with a lot of people in a lot of countries doing a lot of different things and coming from a lot of different perspectives. Some of those relationships are deeper while others are more surface – but all are meaningful to me. In fact, I love to meet people then connect them with other people or organizations with whom they share commonalities.

In my work, I love to become part of an organization, observe the strengths and weaknesses in that organization, identify the opportunities, devise processes to seize those opportunities, develop people to develop people within that organization, then move on or at least move into different areas.

As for habitat, I have lived in 22 different houses, 3 apartments, and a 5th wheel trailer travelling around a fair piece of the U.S. I have lived in 10 states and have traveled somewhat extensively around the world – with more of that to come!

In regard to knowledge, I love to master the skeleton ideas of a discipline to be able to speak with some semblance of intelligence … and be able to do that across a diversity of subjects. But if the conversation moves on to deeper matters within a subject, I’m not bringing much more to the table save maybe some humor here or there.

I could go on and on but I will spare you the details. The fact of the matter is … I discovered something about myself tonight that will forever change my perspective. It’s how I’m wired! And I’m more than OK with that. God has wired me to be an influencer. I can now strategize a little more specifically what that is to look like.

You’ll see what I’m talking about it … I’ll keep you posted – quite literally!

In the meantime, please tell me … how are you wired? What have you discovered about yourself that has shifted the trajectory of your life? I would love to hear your story.

Fit Trumps Size

You’ve got the quarter, dime, nickel, and penny in your pocket.  They are consistent reminders of the importance of expressing appreciation and appreciating expression (individuality) in your team.  As you go to transfer one of the coins after a meaningful exchange with one of your team members, you reach into your pocket and grab the quarter.  Take a look at that quarter and consider this …

The quarter is just 13.5% larger than the nickel but is a whopping 500% more valuable!  And what about comparison to that penny? It is only 21.5% larger than the penny but a staggering 2500% more valuable.  People’s “size” of value to the organization may be quite similar.  People may have a similar position, similar educational backgrounds, even similar career histories.  But one may be an exponentially better “fit” than the other for a particular task, project, or role – that person may, like the quarter as compared to the nickel or penny, bring the organization considerably more productivity.

I will explore this principle further in future postings, but FIT trumps SIZE all day long in our organizations!  Get to know the people around you and how they are wired.  Move them into the best fit possible so they can do what they do best everyday!  The organization will benefit exponentially!

What are your thoughts?  I would love to hear some examples of how you’ve seen this principle play out!  Thanks much for checking in.

Why 41 Cents?

41 Cent Leadership – Take a quarter, dime, nickel, and penny and place them in your pocket everyday.  Your goal is to extend genuine appreciation to individuals around you at least 4 times everyday.  Each time you do, transfer a coin.  Those coins remind us of two things – the importance of appreciation and the tremendous diversity in our teams.Image

Do you see the Spiral?

Do you see the Spiral?

Source: You Already Know How to Be Great by Alan Fine
If you see the spiral, you might want to take another look. It’s actually a series of concentric circles! When I saw this, it fired up some questions regarding my leadership …

1. How often do I come to conclusions about situations before I really see the correct picture?
2. What are the results of wrong conclusions?
3. What can I do to make sure that I assess situations with more complete information?
4. How can I mentor my team(s) to do the same?

41 Cent Leadership – ROEI … Return on Energy Invested

Business People

You’ve got the 4 coins in your pocket – the quarter, dime, nickel, and penny. They are there to remind you to genuinely appreciate your people daily! They are always reminding you of the tremendous diversity you have in the people around you! Today consider this …

Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, in their book First Break All the Rules, describe a talent as any recurring pattern that can be used for good. I absolutely love the definition. It opens up a world of consideration when looking at ourselves and our teams. We are talented people. We are wired in certain ways that can produce incredibly positive outcomes!

So, if this idea is a principle to lead by, then we can make the following analogy. Pull those coins out of your pocket… Each of these coins has value … different levels of purchasing power but all have value. On our teams people will have differing impact for the organization but no one is invaluable. To the entire 41 cents, the quarter contributes 61%, the dime 24.5%, the nickel 12%, and the penny 2.5%. Each have differing impact in the outcome.

Let’s look at your team. Likely there is someone or a group of someones who make an impact similar to that quarter. Without them, the team would greatly suffer. And you likely have people similar to the dime and nickel – key players making solid impact but could be removed and the team would adjust without serious detriment. And, if you’re like the rest of us, you have some people that are contributing at the penny level – not moving the needle much at all. (Make sure you read my post published Oct. 2, 2013 regarding the people producing at the penny level because we just might be the reason why they are performing at that level!)

You do know your team, however. You do know their talents and their not-so-talents. You have placed them in their best fit so they can do what they do best!

Now, let’s say it comes to reviews in your fiscal year and both the “quarter” associate and the “dime” associate are under-performing by 50%. The quarter associate’s lack of performance is costing you nearly 1/3 of your business productivity because remember they contribute 61% to the overall business at optimal performance. And how about that dime associate? Yes, they are important and they are costing you nearly 1/8 of your business productivity. But which is the bigger threat? You know you are going to need to commit some energy to investing in these two associates. You know you only have so much energy and time! Where are you going to leverage that energy most? One choice will likely improve your team by approximately 30% and the other by approximately 12%.

Too many times are perspective gets skewed by personality, perceptions that are not necessarily accurate, and even our own biases! Be objective and make the best decisions to bring the strongest RETURN ON ENERGY INVESTED!

Do you believe people’s contributions to the overall productivity vary?
Do you find yourself leveraging energies toward areas that will not yield much return on energy invested?
What skills have you developed to become more effective in leveraging your energy and time in areas most needed?

41 Cent Leadership – Different Stories

You’ve got the four coins in your pocket.  The quarter, the dime, the nickel, and the penny all represent the diversity that you have on your team.  Think about this.  What roads did those coins travel before coming into your possession?  One thing is for sure … all likely had different routes before crossing your path. Think of all the ways they could have been used, saved, bought something meaningful, bought something frivolous or even illegal.  They could have been misplaced, been forgotten in the wash, driven over, lost out in the weather, dropped in machinery, stored in a drawer, tub, car console, etc.  If those coins were alive, what would be the implications of those experiences?  If those coins had feelings, habits, or thoughts, how would all of those be affected by their experiences?

The people we work with are no different.  Think about the woman who works in accounting … she dresses the part – most of the time and performs her job at an average level – most of the time.  But if you get to know her, you will find that she has been told all her life that she doesn’t really matter – she’s a nobody.  Or the gentleman on your outside sales team that is aggressive, almost domineering.  Down deep it is very possible that he is striving for something that is missing – and he has been on a journey for a long time to find that something to fill the void.  Still there is another person who offices a few doors down from you.  She barely talks in meetings.  You would barely notice her except that her work is always completed as such a high level that she shows up at the top of several metrics each week, month, and year.  But ask her a few deeper questions and you find that she worked 2 jobs as a single mom for 5 years – 5 really tough years!  Then, she landed this job – one that adequately pays the bills by itself – and she loves it as well… but she doesn’t hear much praise for her accomplishments and is constantly driven by a fear that she is not meeting the standard.  She feels the pressure daily to provide for her family!

Do all these backdrop stories affect the individuals on our teams?  Yes.  Do their histories affect how they work on our teams?  A resounding yes.  Do their histories give us hints as to what motivates them and what likely hinders them?  A unequivocally strong yes!

So, take time to get to know each one on your team.  There are great stories and tough stories to discover about people.  There are clues to key on to become a better leader for that individual.  Don’t miss them.

Let’s get out there and create positive momentum in people’s lives!

What are your thoughts on this?  What ideas have you seen work to help leaders key in on these differences?  One book that I am reading right now is “First, Break all the Rules” by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.  This book really keys in on the idea that great managers understand that people don’t change that much and it is their job to help people further develop what is uniquely them to execute the shared team goals.

The Power of 4 Coins

41 cents 3

The power of 4 coins is quite simple. Take a quarter, dime, nickel, and penny and place them in your pocket each day. I use those coins for two things. Firstly, every time I genuinely express appreciation to one of my employees, I move a coin from one pocket to the other. My goal is to transfer all coins to the other pocket each day. (I know that Zig Ziglar shared the use of coins and expressing appreciation to your employees – so this idea is not original with me.) However, the second way I use those coins is something original. I use each of those coins, totaling 41 cents, to remind me daily that we are one team made up of very different individuals! Take a look at those coins – they each had a different history before crossing your path. They each have different markings. They each have differing sizes and weights, and costs to manufacture. All of those are differing characteristics that I see in my team. If I do not lead them as a team of individuals my success and theirs will be very limited. So, I encourage you – become a 41 Cent Leader.  Over the next days together, we will unpack some of the understanding that can be gained by this powerful analogy.