Thursday, December 10, 2009

All Heroes Have Heroes

My boss had just told me he was looking for my replacement. I had taken the company’s top office to the bottom of the 36-office chain in the three months I had been the manager.

Learn fast was the answer, but how? No time to join a college management class or try to find one seminar with all the answers. Were there answers around me that I wasn’t aware of? Yes, was the answer. “Don’t sit down in the meadow and wait for the cow to back up and be milked––go after the cow,” was the way a philosopher from a century ago put it. I launched my “cow hunt” by scouring local newspapers and magazines looking for stories of successful business leaders, perhaps someone who started out with nothing or led a turnaround in a company. When such a person was found, I called him or her, told them my failure story and my determination to rebuild and invited them to lunch. My motto was “Take somebody to lunch before somebody else eats yours.” My learning curve and action curves went way up.

With the help of these one-on-one mentor lunches, seminars I attended and books that I devoured we were back up to #1 in 120 days.

Caution: When contentment in the way you’re doing your job sets in, progress stops. Habit’s goal is to freeze you at your current level of competence. Remedy? Keep learning.

Develop a custom designed personal growth curriculum. Begin by asking yourself two very important questions. Be sure to take notes so you can use this as your growth plan.

1. If I could spend ten days on the beach with ten great people that I could REALLY learn from, one person per day (living or dead) whom would I pick?

2. To help me focus my learning, what’s the one thing I find most interesting about each one?

NOTE: The question is not “What’s the one thing they have in common?”

Remember these are not your ten favorite celebrities but people you can really learn from.

Take your spouse or a good friend out for dinner and play this two-question exercise. See if you can

guess three of their ten. There’s a great victory if you know three of theirs.

Now start researching on the Internet for each of your ten. Take notes. How about books on your heroes? Maybe documentaries.

Once you’ve learned all you can remove, that name and replace it with another.

If you’re involved in this with someone who knows you well, you’ll find conversations become very interesting as each of you reveal what you’ve learned from the heroes.

There is a legend that “when God was equipping man for his long life journey of exploration, the attendant angel was about to add the gift of contentment and complete satisfaction. The Creator stayed her hand––“No, He said, “If you bestow that upon him you will rob him forever of all joy of self-discovery.”

Higher up and farther on! The best is yet to be!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Unlocking Your Powerful Creativity

For anything to be truly successful, Walt Disney said, it must have three things, which are a unique factor, a “word of mouth” factor and a flair factor. In other words, do it so different that people will talk about it and, finally, do it big, do it right and give it class.

Creativity means creating new things or arranging old things in a new way. It could mean more than “thinking out of the box.” It could mean tearing “the box” apart.

A short parable, written by George McDermott explains this process.

Creativity Likened Unto a Coffee Bean
One day…a long time ago…in, say, a million B.C. somebody figured out that you could put things in water and boil them, then throw out the water and eat the things.
(Somebody also figured out that that was called cooking, but that’s a minor-league creativity.) Well, Cooking was very nice, but it was still a relatively new invention, and they hadn’t worked all the bugs out yet. For instance; coffee beans, even after people cooked them, still tasted crummy. So everyone gave up on coffee beans…at least until some genius had a flash of inspiration. “Hey, maybe Cooking doesn’t always work the same way, “ he said. “Sure, the beans taste lousy, but we haven’t tried drinking the water we cooked them in.”
If that doesn’t sound like significant genius to you, ask your self these questions: Have you ever-tried eating coffee grounds? Would the taste inspire you to drink the water?

The creative process consists of five steps:
1. Gather raw material, i.e. previous work done by others but given up on.
Talk to others who have solved similar problems. Unleash your curiosity.

2. As these raw material pieces are absorbed, start the “kaleidoscope” process. Turn these pieces over and over in your mind. See how these pieces keep repositioning themselves in relation to the others. Look for the coming together like a jig-saw puzzle.

3. Drop the whole subject. Relax. Put the whole project out of your mind. Don’t worry because your subconscious is effectively working on it, even if you go to sleep.

4. Eureka! Wow! Bingo! The idea appears at the most unexpected time. Say to yourself: “But don’t forget there is a fifth step.”

5. Verification. Is it suitable for the situation? Is it feasible? Will it be acceptable to those who use it? When Thomas Edison’s laboratory team had a break through he always challenged them by saying, “There’s always a better way. Find it.”

The best way to sum this up is with this piece from Apple Computer’s “Think Different” campaign.

Here’s to the crazy ones,
The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently

They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
Disbelieve them, glorify them, or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them

Because they change things,
They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

And it’s these people who are crazy enough to think
That they can change the world, and they actually do.

(Used with permission and blessings of Apple Computer Co.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


"Once when Marshall Ney was going into battle, looking down at his knees which were smiting together, he said, 'You may well shake; you would shake worse yet if you knew where I am going to take you.'" Orison Swett Marden

What or who builds self-imposed barriers? A stonemason named Fear, one who is highly skilled in building powerful barriers from nonexistent stones. Where does this craftsman live? In our minds. He's always there, but it's up to us whether he lives in the back of our minds or the front of our minds.
Fear is the sworn enemy of adventure, which is perhaps the most exhilarating force driving no-limits achievement. And Fear goes exactly where we tell him to go.
We move Fear from the back of our minds to the front of our minds by shifting our concentration away from our own courage, and choosing instead to focus on that which frightens us. Not only does that action change Fear's location, but through the process of concentration, it means we actually start to strengthen Fear. Fear has no strength of its own; its only strength is that which we choose to give it.
When Fear defeats us, it does so because of our own mental focus. And unfortunately, the strength we pass along to Fear is the very strength we need to overcome it! If, on the other hand, we choose to push our goals, wrapped in courage, to the forefront of our minds, then barriers break.
You already possess sufficient courage to initiate this process and see your personal adventure through. A person may not be born with an overabundance of talent, but he or she will certainly possess all the courage needed, whether used or unused, to develop the talent that is there. Long after passing on to the next world, we will be remembered by family and friends, not necessarily for our inborn talents, but for the amount of courage we used, especially during our times of trial. The strength and vividness of the memories our loved ones and friends hold of us after we are gone will be directly proportional to the amount of courage we have chosen to use.

Immediate Action: Starve your fear! Feed your courage! Embrace your adventure!

Point to Ponder: "Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there." (From above the fireplace at Hinds' Head Hotel, near London.)

Excerpted from Danny's book, "There Are No Limits: Breaking the Barriers to Personal High Performance."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Courage of a Five Year-Old

Some people are content with just wishing for things hoping that the Fairy Godmother will drop it in their laps but she never does. Then these “wishers” get depressed because once again, the Fairy Godmother has let them down. But it wasn’t her that let them down, was it?

Like me, you’ve probably walked in to a sales office and there’s a salesperson reading the local sports page or perhaps doing something that is really mentally taxing such as playing Solitaire on his computer. Hanging above his desk is a picture of a Rolls Royce.

When I ask him what’s the purpose of the picture, he answers proudly, “That’s my goal!”

At this point I like to ask the “wisher” this question, “What do you have to do extra today to make sure that it is in your driveway someday?” The answer is generally, “I …I don’t know. Somebody just told me to hang that up there and one day it would be in my driveway.”

High achievers know that you have to work hard and smart. You have to step out courageously, with creativity, and perhaps sell others on helping you achieve that important goal.

My Grandson, Rex, was five and in Kindergarten when he was overtaken by a serious case of Spring Fever. He walked in to the kitchen and said to his mother, “Mom, it’s too beautiful a day to go to school. Let’s go to the beach!”

She said, “Look, Rex, I’ve got to go to work and you’ve got to go to school.” The little salesman decided to up the ante. “Then let’s go to Disneyland. Think of the fun we could have there today.”

Frustrated with his persistence she said, firmly, “Rex I’ve got to go to work and you’ve got to go to school.”

Good salespeople hang in there, always ask good questions. He looked up at her and said, “Why?”

She decided to appeal to his sympathies. “If you don’t go to school, they could put me in jail.”

He looked at her for about two seconds, put his hands on his hips, tilted his head and asked, “For how long?”

Rex knew to achieve a goal you have to pay a price. And that’s the same for all of us.

The best is yet to be!


P.S. Take a look at the "Fearless Leader Kit" on the Home Page of my web site. Scroll down for link to my web site.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Rags to Riches Record Breaker

Jackie Cochran’s life is a come from behind journey that would inspire anyone. To prove the point, take a look at the following:

  • Orphan (she never knew her parents). She was not sure within two years of when she was born. Later made up a birth year and birth date.
  • Lived in abject poverty, had no formal schooling.
  • Foster parents put her to work full time in a mill in a southern town five years before becoming a teenager.
  • At approximately eight years of age she received her first pair of shoes.

A few of her accomplishments:

  • Founded a worldwide cosmetics company
  • Recruited over 1.000 women to start the W.A.S.P.S. (Women’s Air Force Service Pilots) during WWII
  • Flew a young Lyndon Johnson to a hospital and saved his life
  • First woman to fly a bomber across the Atlantic
  • First woman to fly a jet across the Atlantic
  • First woman to break the sound barrier
  • First woman to fly twice the speed of sound
  • First woman to win the Bendix Air Race against a field of men
  • In one year set nine international speed, distance and altitude records. The altitude record was over 50,000 feet.
  • Won the Harmon Trophy as "Outstanding Woman of the Year" 16 times!
  • Talked a retired general and close friend into running for President. His reluctance gave way to Jackie’s persistence. His name? Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower.
  • At her death in 1980, she held more speed and altitude records worldwide than anyone else––male or female. This still remains the case.
  • When asked later in life how she had accomplished so much, she smiled and said:

“I didn’t have shoes, but I had dreams”

The best is yet to be!


P.S. There is a great deal of information on her on the Internet. Whether you’re a female or a male you won’t be able to put down her autobiography called, “Jackie Cochran.”

Monday, July 27, 2009


Timeless wisdom is tested. It's hidden treasure and just as valuable, if not more, today.

William Ellery Channing, who wrote "Staying Power" that you see below was a popular minister of a church in Boston.

He was born in Rhode Island three years before the Revolutionary War ended. His grandfather was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. When Channing was 32 the War of 1812 began. That was the war where the English burned the White House. It was also the war that inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star Spangled Banner."

This eloquent and wise man who lived through such tumultuous times passed "Staying Power" along to us. You'll see why I describe it as timeless wisdom.

Whom do you know that needs a copy of this?

The best is yet to be!

Danny Cox


Every condition, be it what it may, has hardships, hazards, pains. We try to escape them; we pine for a sheltered lot, for a smooth path, for cheering friends, and unbroken success. But Providence ordains storms, disasters, hostilities, sufferings; and the great question whether we shall live to any purpose or not, whether we shall grow strong in mind and heart, or be weak and pitiable, depends on nothing so much as on our use of the adverse circumstances. Outward evils are designed to school our passions, and to rouse our faculties and virtues into more intense action. Sometimes they seem to create new powers. Difficulty is the element, and resistance is our true work. Self-culture never goes on so fast as when embarrassed circumstances, the opposition of others or the elements, unexpected changes of the times, or other forms of suffering, instead of disheartening, throw us on our inward resources, turn us for strength to God, clear up to us the great purpose of life and inspire calm resolution. No greatness or goodness is worth much, unless tried in these fires.

Wm. Ellery Channing

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What Is Courage?

You possess sufficient courage to initiate the process to see your personal adventure through. A person may not be born with an overabundance of talent, but he or she certainly possesses all the courage needed, whether used or unused, to develop the talent that is there. Long after passing on to the next world, we will be remembered by family and friends, not necessarily for our inborn talents, but for the amount of courage we used, especially during our times of trial. The strength and vividness of the memories our loved ones and friends hold of us after we are gone will be directly proportional to the amount of courage we have chosen to use.

If you ain’t got a choice be brave. Old Ozark sayin’

I believe that it is everyone’s sacred duty to be prepared to do the biggest thing possible that needs to be done at any given moment. That’s not to say that doing the big thing is always easy—but doing the big thing is always necessary.

The legendary actor Hume Cronyn once told a story about meeting Orson Welles in the late 1930s: “I was lunching at Sardi’s one day and Orson came over to say hello. I had just seen his Julius Caesar. He had given it in modern dress. It was the only time I had seen that work as a comment on fascism, and [it was] very stirring. I said to Orson, ‘What I admired about your production is your sheer courage.’ ‘Courage?’ [Welles replied.]...‘Courage! That’s going to the edge—because you have to be good.’”

Going to the edge can be scary, but it’s a consistent habit of no-limits achievers. As you approach a self-imposed barrier, you may hear a voice saying, “This far and no farther.” It’s not the barrier’s voice that you hear. Listen carefully. Do you recognize it? It's your own!

Monday, June 29, 2009

DC Train Crash takes Great Leader, Great Friend

As a full time speaker and seminar leader for three decades, I’ve worked with many kinds of companies and met many interesting people. Some who said they learned a lot from me but I’d say it was the other way around. Such was the case with one who became a client as well as a close friend. His name was David Wherley.

Our first meeting was at a full-day leadership program I did in Washington, DC for business leaders in the early 90’s. He was a Lt. Col. then. He sat in the front row center. At the lunch break we discovered we had much in common.

He called me a few weeks later and we set up the first of what turned out to be several full day programs I would do over the next few years for the Washington DC Air National Guard.

In late July 2001, my wife accompanied me to Washington where I did two more programs for his squadron. The bonus for me was flying the F-16 with Dave who was then a Major General.

As we lined up on the Andrews AFB runway in that F-16 Viper, off to my left standing in the grass right beside the runway was Tedi, my wife, and her two escort officers. I gave her the double “thumbs up” sign from the cockpit and then BOOM! We were headed into the blue––fast!

He let me fly it through the sound barrier and do aerobatics. He asked if the supersonic Voodoo that I flew over 1,000 times could fly vertical. I said “Almost.” He said, “Watch this.” He brought the nose straight up and lit the afterburner. We were gaining airspeed going straight up! What a memorable day.

Six weeks later the terrorists hit the Pentagon. Within minutes Dave “scrambled” his F-16 squadron into the skies above Washington with a “free fire” order.

Last Monday, June 22, David and his wife, Ann, boarded the train for Walter Reed hospital to visit a former squadron member who had been seriously wounded in Iraq. It was something they often did after David retired.

This past Tuesday morning I heard on Fox News that he and Ann had been killed in the DC train crash. After what he had lived through––to die that way! But Ann was with him. She was always behind him supporting him in his many accomplishments.

Sitting out in our garden the next day, I thought Dave should make one more high speed pass down the Andrews runway. In my mind, Tedi and I were standing next to the runway where she had stood during the take off in July 2001, In this fantasy flight I could see that F-16 getting closer by the second.
Over the end of the runway David pulled up into vertical flight. The burner was lit and he was picking up speed doing vertical rolls as he went out of sight in the bright blue sky.

The “Big Controller in the Sky” cleared them for landing and of course Dave “greased” it in. After parking, he stood up in the seat and extended his hand out to help his “backseater” out. Ann who was always behind him flashed him a smile and a double thumbs up. She took his hand and said, “David it’s been quite a ride.”

David, my friend, this poem is for you. It was written by Navy Captain Jerry Coffee while a POW for seven years in Hanoi.

We’re gently caught by God’s own hand to reign with Him on high;
To dwell among the soaring clouds we knew so well before –
From victory roll to tailchase – at Heaven’s very door
And as we fly among them there, we sadly hear their plea,
“Take care my friend, and check your six. Do one more roll for me.”

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thoughts on "Repeating Yesterday"

Stagnation of personal growth is caused by “Monday times 5”

Thoughts on "Repeating Yesterday"
Danny Cox

Repeating yesterday re-enforces self imposed barriers. It puts a lid on undeveloped potential.

You're losing ground when you repeat yesterday and the world doesn't.

Repeating yesterday is surrendering the leadership of your life to mere day-by-day tasks.

The habit of repeating yesterday is the result of goal orientation, a negative goal orientation, but still a goal orientation.

Repeating yesterday runs your battery down.

If you have no new goals you are repeating yesterday.

If you continue to repeat yesterday the high point of your life is already behind you.

Repeating yesterday centers on reaction not action.

If you have trouble getting up in the morning you are repeating yesterday.

Repeating yesterday causes psycho sclerosis –hardening of the mind.

A small success can paralyze a person into a long string of repeated yesterdays.

Repeating yesterday is deciding not to delve further into the storehouse of potential that is available.

Stagnated leadership can send a company "hell bent for leather" down the road marked "Return to Yesterday."

If you're repeating yesterday you've fallen in love with false security and out of love with your undeveloped potential. And like an old love it hurts to remember what could have been.

Repeating yesterday becomes hypnotic. It's motion versus direction.

Repeating yesterday is freezing at one rung of life's ladder.

Repeating yesterday is continuing to do what you know doesn't work.

Repeating yesterday makes you a rejecter of information and knowledge rather than a gatherer.

Repeating yesterday freezes you at your current level of competence.

When you give up repeating yesterday, it great to know that you’re best is yet to be.

Point to Ponder: Make a vow to never wake up some day to find yourself master of the mediocre, best of the bottom, average of the average, “leader” of the lukewarm, “champion” of the contented, “king” of the crumbs, “lance corporal” of the leftovers and “almighty” of the almost.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Good Things That Come Out of a Crisis

"With the help of the thorn in my foot, I can spring higher than anyone with sound feet."

If you’re waiting for a defining moment in your life, the current economic conditions could be it. Look at the six benefits of a crisis and the things you can do to make them part of your action plan.

1. New superstars rise in times of crisis.
Circumstances have rarely favored the great. Luxury and ease is not a formula for impressive high achievement. They know that accomplishment is their birthright but limitations are adopted.

These new super stars have discovered that you can have a new start at any moment you choose. This sudden change of direction, this breaking from status quo, is often followed by a higher level of productivity.

Point to Ponder:
"Adversity sometimes strips a person only to discover the person. " O.S. Marden

2. Unresolved problems are clearly identified and a strong commitment is made to find the solution.
These rising superstars ask themselves these three questions: What’s my biggest unresolved problem? What am I doing about it? If I’m not doing anything about it why am I not doing anything about it?

Then they prioritize the problems and go to work on #1. The temptation is to start with #5 because 1 through 4 are hard!

Point to Ponder: A life without risk is like a steak without seasoning; the essentials are there but where is the flavor?

3. Corrective action is accelerated.
"Do the dangerous things fast." General George S. Patton

Fear paralyzes progress. Courage accelerates it. Sometimes the only thing you can do is pull the trigger and ride the bullet. It’s a matter of gritting your teeth and going for it. A good example of this was a few centuries ago, when the Spartans didn’t ask how many of the enemy there were but only their location. Attitude is more important than fact, said Dr. Karl Menninger.

W. C. Fields put it more colorfully. He said, “There comes a time when you must take the bull by the tail and face the situation.”

Point to Ponder: “To make ends meet, start by getting off yours.” Dr. Ken McFarland

4. Self confidence grows.
“You can’t turn back the clock but you can wind it up again.”

Self confidence indicates reserve power. There’s iron in you and you conquer by continuing, not quitting. Positive anticipation becomes energy. Fear becomes procrastination. With every conflict overcome, strength is gained.

Point to Ponder: Never let yesterday use up today.

5. New techniques are developed.
Out of crisis comes creativity. Aim for striking originality. It gets attention. Be unorthodox. Step out of the crowd!

Put your grey cells in high gear and push the pedal to the metal. As one humorous pundit put it, “Think or swim!”

When you get a “hunch” in this process, that’s creativity trying to tell you something. How can the right idea be identified? It explodes in your mind!

Point to Ponder: “Don’t be just a problem solver. Be a problem finder.” Stew Leonard

6. Team members were inspired by victories of others and as a result team spirit, camaraderie and synergy increases.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison held 1093 patients. That’s a new patent every 10 days of his adult life.

In his laboratory there was a sign on the wall saying, “There aren’t any rules around here. We’re trying to accomplish something.” His workers loved him and would work long hours into the night because of it. Edison called them the “Insomnia Squad.” When they had a breakthrough experience, they would celebrate by singing while Edison played the organ he had installed in the laboratory.

When the team came up with a new invention, Edison would say, “There’s always a better way to do it. Find it.” So the new invention became a re-fined new product.

After Edison’s death, Henry Ford had his entire laboratory sent to Greenfield Village in Dearborn. It was very interesting that he had the trash pile transported too. Why? Ford wanted people to see how much Edison had to throw away before he had success.

Point to Ponder: “I never did a days work in my life. It was all fun. “ Thomas Edison

The best is yet to be!


Friday, May 15, 2009

Building Your Morale

In order to join the Down and Out Club you have to nominate yourself and second the motion.
Elbert Hubbard (19th Century philosopher)

How long does it take for someone to pinpoint your morale level whether low, medium or high? Answer: 3 to 5 seconds maximum! This analyst of your morale level can be a customer, co-worker, family member or someone you’ve just met. But who’s responsible for your morale level? It’s the person now reading this sentence. Yep! It’s an inside job. It’s you and no other.

So here are a few tips that will really raise your morale level even if it’s high now. It always can be higher.

1. One of the greatest morale builders available is to have a feeling of accomplishment on a daily basis. Flying supersonic fighters at almost twice the speed of sound, I eagerly signed up for numerous survival courses. If I ever ejected and landed in the wild I wanted to stay alive until someone found me even if it was a few days. In every course they drove this point home. If you don’t have a feeling of accomplishment, even in some small way, on a daily basis your morale will be your biggest problem. The same applies to the business world. Remember a few blogs back when I talked about “butt snappers?”

2. Lay out a priority list of problems to be solved. In the Ozarks where I was raised, we said, “If you’ve got a frog to swallow, don’t look at it too long. If you’ve got more than one to swallow, swallow the biggest one first!” Also, they taste better fresh.

3. Find and talk to high morale achievers. They’ll be glad to know you admire them for their morale level and accomplishments. You’ll be inspired by the challenges they’ve overcome and the ones they’re currently working on.

4. Don’t inflate “mole hills into mountains” and stay away from those who do. Some can do that inflation by noon. Some can do it by 10:00 AM! Don’t walk away from negative people. Run! Back home we said it this way: “Don’t let the chickens roost over the well!!" that’ll ruin your drinkin’ water."

5. Have a confidant outside your industry with whom you can talk things over. Often in a friendly conversation with such a person, you explain, in simple terms, what challenge you’re experiencing at work. By reducing it to simple terms, don’t be surprised if that’s when you come up with the perfect answer.

6. Avoid physical and mental fatigue. Go for an occasional get-a-way, or a long walk in a park. Develop a hobby. This is when your mind and body refresh and you feel your morale elevate.

7. Laugh often and loud. Andrew Carnegie said, “I’ve found there is little success where there is little laughter.” Put a different way by humorist Fred Allen who said, “If you suppress laughter it goes to your hips and spreads.” I recommend that if you have had a bad day rent a very funny movie. Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite movie, which was not one he directed, was “Smokey and the Bandit.” I highly recommend it, too. A real knee slapper!

Please feel free to pass this along to others.

Higher up and farther on! The best is yet to be!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Goal Achievement vs. Shrinking Focus

George Foreman, former heavyweight boxing champion, and I were having lunch prior to doing a program for a group. Sitting there talking to him, I looked at his nose and thought, here's a guy who understands pain. I asked him how he stood the pain to become heavyweight boxing champion?

His answer is something we can all use. He said, "If I see what I want real good in my mind, I don't notice any pain in getting it."

WOW! Keep that in your mind as your read today's thought.

The best is yet to be, Danny

“What do you have planned for the next six months? How do you think you did over the last six months? What are you doing right now?”
(Walt Disney’s three questions to those who reported to him.)

To reach your goals, you have to avoid what I call “wildebeest thinking.” Some time ago, I had the pleasure of taking an early morning hot-air balloon flight over the Serengetti Plain in Africa with world-class adventurer, John Goddard. The scene was beautiful; you could see the elephants, the lions, and the great waves of wildebeest storming across the plain. “It’s a good thing there are so many of them,” mused our African guide, who had noticed me staring at the huge migration of wildebeest. “Otherwise, that species would die out in a hurry.”

I asked him what he meant. He smiled and pointed to a wildebeest that had stopped in its tracks. “You’ll notice that the wildebeest never run for very long. That’s not because they’ve just realized something important and want to stop and think about it. And it’s not because they’re tired. It’s because they’re so unfocused that they forget why they started running in the first place. They see a predator, they realize they’re supposed to run away, and they start moving in the opposite direction. But they lose the focus on what inspired them to run, sometimes at the most inopportune moments. I’ve seen them stop running right next to a predator; sometimes they’ll walk right up to one, as though they weren’t really sure whether this is the same animal that frightened them a few minutes ago. They almost seem to be saying, ‘Hey, Mr. Lion, are you hungry? Care for some lunch?’ If there weren’t a whole lot of wildebeest, I think the whole species would get gobbled up in a matter of weeks.”

It was easy to laugh at the wildebeest while I was on the balloon flight, but before it was over, I found myself with the funny feeling that I’d seen that same kind of problem in the business world.

There are a lot of people whose regular behavior reminds you of the wildebeest. They get a great idea, they commit themselves to a goal, and they run with that goal for a day or maybe for only a half a day. Maybe they just walk around, gingerly, for 15 minutes or so. After those 15 minutes of ambling around, they realize they haven’t gotten to where they said they wanted to get. Then they say to themselves, “Hmmm. This is going to be tough; it isn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be.” And they stop dead in their tracks.

So keep moving. Stay focused. Hang in there!

Point to Ponder: “No one has ever reached a vague goal.” Rick Warren

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The No Limits Story of Mary Lawrence

Mary Lawrence was no stranger to tragedy. For five years after her husband’s death she wandered through life with no real direction. Then late one night, a driver ran a stop sign and what had been two cars was a mass of twisted rubble.

When one of the paramedics found her broken body, he said, “Get the others. This one’s gone.” But she wasn’t and her spirit was uninjured. On the way back to town, an amazed medic had discovered she had a pulse! At the hospital the doctor said she wouldn’t live through the night. She did.

She spent the next year in the hospital. Her teeth and facial bones wired together. Later they performed fifteen root canals. They explained they had to do two facial reconstruction surgeries where no anesthesia could be used. Her response! “Let’s get started.”

A year later, she was released. Her doctor told her to go home and “take it easy.” You don’t say that to “No Limits” people unless you get out of the way first!

When she went shopping, her face still swollen, she would see people she knew were friends. She couldn’t remember their names because of the permanent brain damage. They didn’t recognize her and turned their heads rather than look at her. She said that really hurt.

Her memory was so bad she concentrated on each word of a sentence so she wouldn’t forget what she had said at the beginning. She discovered that getting a California real estate license was very difficult because of the memory work. Typically, she said that’s what she’d do.

She would read each page of that thick real estate manual fifty to sixty times until it was engrained. She passed the full day test the first time!

Mary went to work for one broker who terminated her after a month because she was slow in memorizing the inventory. At the second company, it was the same scenario.

An hour after the second termination my phone rang. This very determined voice said, “I’m Mary Lawrence and I want to work for you.”

She was in our three-week training program a few days later. After she graduated I placed her in one of my offices. WOW! Her sales were incredible.

A year later at our annual banquet I announced from the stage her name as one of our ten Outstanding First Year Salespeople. She came up on the stage. As I handed her the plaque, she leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Save me a place. I’ll be back up here next year.” As I watched her walk away, I thought, she means that.

The very next morning Mary bought a long pink dress to wear one year later. She hung it up in the very center of her closet to remind herself daily of her goal.

The next year I stood on that Grand Ballroom stage of the Disneyland Hotel. I told this story that she had finally told me only a month before. At the end of this triumphant story I announced that she was #1 out of our 700 salespeople in listings taken, listings sold, sales and gross commission. “Ladies and gentlemen, Mary Lawrence.”

The band played “The Impossible Dream” as that no limits champion floated across the dance floor in that long pink dress. A standing ovation!!! Not a dry eye in the audience. As I handed her that big #1 trophy she again leaned over and whispered to me, “I told you I’d be back.”

Adversity sometimes strips a person only to discover the person.
And that person is a no limits person.

There are no Limits! The best is yet to be!


Friday, May 1, 2009

In Depth Problem Solving

If a problem has no solution, it is not a problem but a fact of life like any other. If a problem has a solution, it is not a problem either. The problem is the strength of will and determination to adopt the solution.
–– Richard Needham

In depth problem solving is the opposite of using a “band aid” solution. It’s a “band aid” if you think, “This problem is back to haunt me again. Maybe if I try what I’ve done before, I’ll be lucky and it won’t come back.” (It will come back).

For an in depth solution you have to whole-heartedly commit to a “once and for all” commitment to its solution. If you don’t do this you have the illusion that the problem if growing by the second! You forget you’ve solved bigger problems in the past.

When I was a district manager for a large sales company, I would have one of my salespeople (or managers) pop in and say, “Danny, I’ve got a major problem I need to talk to you about.” This was really an invitation for me to solve it for them.

After listening to their description of the problem, my first question to them was “Is this the biggest problem you’ve ever had to solve? “ The response generally was, “Oh, no! It’s nothing compared to that one.” My response was, “Then why don’t you put the current one in that perspective?” This is when their eyes rolled back along with a backward head snap.

As they turned to walk away with determination, I gave the person a final shot of motivation by saying “a high performer like you ought to be able to handle a little problem like that.”

After doing that a few times, I’d have salespeople walk up to tell me about a current problem, stop in mid-description, pause and say, “I know––a high performer like me ought to be able to handle a little problem like that.” They’d laugh and walk away to shoot down another problem. My plan to keep “the monkey on their back” worked.

So to peel back the layers of a problem and solve it in depth ask the “Five Whys.”

1. Why am I having this problem?
“The customer is upset.”
2. Why is she upset?
“She doesn’t understand our new product.”
3. Why doesn’t she understand?
“She says I didn’t spend enough time explaining it to her.”
4. Why didn’t I?
“I had too many customers to see that day.”
5. Why?
“I’m not disciplined enough in my time planning.”

So hang in there! It’s always too soon to quit!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Creative Problem Solving in a Tough Market

“The world is a grindstone. Life is your nose.” Fred Allen

The 1200 MPH fighter I flew for several years had a bad flight characteristic called a “pitch up” which could cause it to tumble right out of the sky. At twenty miles per minute, things happen fast.

My pitch up started at 56,000 feet (that’s eleven miles up). In this violent tumble I lost 30,000 feet of altitude. That’s almost six miles! This was the 9th pitch up experienced in this kind of a fighter and three pilots had survived. Not good odds! My goal? Be the 4th one!

The experts said that what saved my life was neutralizing the controls and popping the drag chute on the rear of the plane. This got the air flowing normally over the wings and I was able to recover.

That’s good advice for anyone. If you’re facing a major problem neutralize your controls and pop the drag chute. In other words, take a deep breath and don’t panic.

Out of conflict comes creativity. Expect your creativity to kick in. That’s when you come up with some amazing solutions. A perfect example follows:

In the mid 19th century there was a project to build a suspension bridge that would carry trains back and forth from Canada to America. This bridge would cross the 800-foot wide Niagara gorge and 230 feet below this structure would be the turbulent river formed by the Niagara Falls close by.

Keep in mind this is the mid-1850’s. What would you do to start this construction?

The engineers came up with an ingenious solution. They launched a kite-flying contest. Whoever got the kite string to the other side first would win a $10.00 prize. A nine-year-old boy, Homan Walsh won the prize!

His kite string was pulled across and it was tied to a heavier string, which was tied to a rope, which was tied to a cable, and thus the bridge was started.

We need to get more kite strings across our problems and not wait for the kite that’ll fly the bridge across!

Point to Ponder: It’s always too soon to quit!!!

The best is yet to be!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On the Shoulders of Giants: A gathering of no-limits thinkers and doers

You’ve been invited to a mountain top cabin. You’re told to bring only a notebook and a pen. The men and women already there occupying the other chairs in the Great Room are starting a very lively discussion. The topics are facing challenges, innovation, courage, launching new ideas, etc.
After furiously taking notes on what was said that evening your notebook would show some of the following nuggets:

“Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.”
—Richard Bach, author

“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them, to the impossible.”
—Arthur C. Clarke

“One of the great discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”
—Henry Ford

“I’m looking for a lot of [people] who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.”
—Henry Ford

“Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half-awake.”
—William James, philosopher and psychologist

“We can achieve what we can conceive.”
—Elbert Hubbard

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
—Albert Einstein

“All serious daring starts from within.”
–Eudora Welty

“We want it all. From the instant we saw the birds flying, we wanted what the birds had. It’s intensely human to want it all. That’s how we recognize thresholds. They show us what we don’t have. We took what the birds had, but now we want the stars and every planet we’ve ever imagined...and the ones yet to be imagined. Thus, there will always be thresholds. We ask only the right to cross them.”
—From Threshold: The Blue Angels Experience, by Frank Herbert

“The faster I got, the smoother the ride. Suddenly the Mach needle began to fluctuate. It went up to .965 Mach—then tipped right off the scale. After all the anxiety, after all the anticipation, breaking the sound barrier, the unknown, was just a poke through Jell-O, a perfectly paved speedway, because the real barrier wasn’t in the sky, but in our knowledge and experience of supersonic flight.”
—From pilot Chuck Yeager’s autobiography, Yeager

“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”
–Helen Keller

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy to be called an idea at all.”
—Elbert Hubbard

“A wish is a goal without any action attached to it.”

“Success is perseverance applied to a practical end.”
—Alexander Graham Bell

“A cheerful disposition is a fund of ready capital, a magnet for the good things of life.”
—Orison Swett Marden

The harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
—George Bernard Shaw

“If one stands up and is counted from time to time, one may get knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important, stand up and be counted at any cost.”
—Thomas J. Watson, business executive and first president of IBM

“Tough times never last but tough people do.”
—Dr. Robert H. Schuller

“Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.”
—Henry Ford

“I know there is infinity beyond ourselves. I wonder if there is infinity within.”
—Charles Lindbergh (This is one of his last written notes. It was found on a nightstand next to his deathbed.)
“His mind is addled; he’s not worth keeping in school any longer.”

—Eight-year-old Thomas Edison’s grade-school teacher

“I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.”
—Thomas Edison

“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”
—Thomas Edison

“Everything comes to him who waits—provided he hustles while he waits.”
—Thomas Edison

“I know this world is ruled by infinite intelligence.”
—Thomas Edison

“The day before the funeral.”
—Edison’s response to the question “When will you retire?”

“My message to you is: Be courageous! I have lived a long time. I have seen history repeat itself again and again. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has come out stronger and more prosperous. Be as brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!”
—Thomas Edison’s final public message, delivered during the depths of the Great Depression

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Long Lasting Moment of Truth

Someone can say something to you or you read something that has a long lasting effect on the positive rhythm of your life. It certainly happened to me.

One Sunday, during my teen age years, I read a life-changing piece on the cover of our church bulletin. It was called “Today Is Here.” That front cover stayed with me through high school and then on through college where it was pinned to my bulletin board.

Then it went with me through Air Force pilot training and supersonic flight school. After that “we” (that’s me and the aging “Today Is Here”) were assigned to the Philippines. During those two and a half years “we” did flying assignments in Samar, Zamboanga, Cebu and Taiwan.

After that “we” flew fighters at almost twice the speed of sound while based in both Tucson and Columbus, Ohio.

Leaving the Air Force, “we” headed for Southern California along with my wife and three daughters. “Today Is Here,” continued to be an inspiration during ten years in sales and now in these years as a speaker and author.

What was the text of this powerful long lasting inspiration? With no changes, “Today Is Here” follows. Also a scanned copy of the fragile original is included.

Higher up and farther on! The best is yet to be!

Danny Cox

Today is Here

It’s time to do what you planned on yesterday

Today…is here. I will start with a smile and resolve to be agreeable. I will not criticize. I will refuse to waste my valuable time.
Today…one thing in which I know I am equal with all others is time. All of us draw the same salary in seconds, minutes and hours.
Today…I will not waste my time because the minutes I wasted yesterday are as lost as a vanished thought.
Today…I refuse to spend time worrying about what might happen because it usually doesn’t. I am going to spend time making things happen.
Today…I am determined to do the things I should do. I firmly determine to stop doing the things I should not do.
Today…I am determined to study to improve myself, for tomorrow I may be wanted, and I must not be found lacking.
Today…I begin by doing and not wasting my time. In one week I will be miles beyond the person I am today.
Today…I will not imagine what I would do if things were different. They are not different. I will make success with what material I have.
Today…I will stop saying, “If I had time…” I know I never will find time for anything. If I want time I must make it.
Today…I will act toward other people as though this might be my last day on earth. I will not wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes.
Anonymous Author

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Birthplace of a Brighter Future


The three postings so far in April follow a logical sequence but each stands alone as well. The three in order are:

1. Declaration of Personal Responsibility
2. The Guy on the White Horse
3. Fear vs. Courage

The fourth in this sequence in this current posting is "Birthplace of a Brighter Future," again, by yours truly.

You might find it advantageous to review the previous three and then review the fourofthem. Please feel free to pass these aong to others.

Highger up and farther on! The best is yet to be! Danny

P.S. I'd love to hear from you.

By Danny Cox

As I concentrate on each word of this thought, now slips by me into the past. My past, then, is nothing more than a history of how well I dealt with each irretrievable now. So if yesterday is history, tomorrow is a prediction. Only the present exists.

The future is nothing more than an approaching series of nows. During one of these nows, I must make a decision that all future nows will be different. A brighter future grows out of a brighter now. Therefore, my future improves only as I make better use of the current moment.

It's the time remaining that counts, but just as important is my understanding of that profound truth. My willingness to accept responsibility for improving that time will determine the quality of the rest of my life.

The speed at which now becomes the past is staggering. Yet, if I commit my God-given strengths to improving each of these approaching nows, the faith in my bright new future will be exhilarating! For I realize that the same velocity that carries this now into the past can carry me at the same rate toward exciting moments of the future when ever increasing goals become reality.

A year yet to be is unborn, untarnished and full of promise. One of those brand-new years bright with potential, accomplishment and joy will be delivered to me tomorrow at dawn. My choice is to accept it as it is given or, through habit, mold it into the shape of years past.

The challenge is clear. The choice is mine. Challenge accepted!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fear vs Courage

Courage is the mastery of fear––not the absence of it. Mark Twain

If you ain't got a choioce, be brave. Old Ozark sayin'

A tiger that isn't aggressive, becomes a rug. Danny Cox


"Once when Marshall Ney was going into battle, looking down at his knees, which were smiting together, he said, 'You may well shake; you would shake worse yet if you knew where I am going to take you.'" Orison Swett Marden

What or who builds self-imposed barriers? A stonemason named Fear, one who is highly skilled in building powerful barriers from nonexistent stones. Where does this craftsman live? In our minds. He's always there, but it's up to us whether he lives in the back of our minds or the front of our minds.

Fear is the sworn enemy of adventure, which is perhaps the most exhilarating force driving no-limits achievement. And Fear goes exactly where we tell him to go.

We move Fear from the back of our minds to the front of our minds by shifting our concentration away from our own courage, and choosing instead to focus on that which frightens us. Not only does that action change Fear's location, but through the process of concentration, it means we actually start to strengthen Fear. Fear has no strength of its own; its only strength is that which we choose to give it.

When Fear defeats us, it does so because of our own mental focus. And unfortunately, the strength we pass along to Fear is the very strength we need to overcome it! If, on the other hand, we choose to push our goals, wrapped in courage, to the forefront of our minds, then barriers break.

You already possess sufficient courage to initiate this process and see your personal adventure through. A person may not be born with an overabundance of talent, but he or she will certainly possess all the courage needed, whether used or unused, to develop the talent that is there. Long after passing on to the next world, we will be remembered by family and friends, not necessarily for our inborn talents, but for the amount of courage we used, especially during our times of trial. The strength and vividness of the memories our loved ones and friends hold of us after we are gone will be directly proportional to the amount of courage we have chosen to use.

Immediate Action: Starve your fear! Feed your courage! Embrace your adventure!

Point to Ponder: "Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there." (From above the fireplace at Hinds' Head Hotel, near London.)

Excerpted from Danny's book, There Are No Limits: Breaking the Barriers to Personal High Performance.

Please feel free to pass this along. Danny

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Guy on the White Horse

“Rise early. Work hard. Strike oil."
—J. Paul Getty’s formula for success

Sometimes, people set up goals for themselves and then find reasons to keep themselves from making any meaningful progress toward those goals. Perhaps you’ve run into people who have established “deserve levels” for themselves—levels of income, or happiness, or career satisfaction that they never go much above or much below, despite the opportunity to do so.

Think about financial goals. Even people who have work situations that allow for wide disparities in monthly income totals—salespeople, say, or home entrepreneurs—somehow manage to keep themselves from moving much outside of this so-called “comfort level.” Although people will say that they want to be able to increase their incomes, they’ll often find some way to link the attainment of that goal to someone other than themselves, and their small steps won’t match up with the big goals they’ve set up. The distance between where they are and where they want to be is measured in excuses: “If only someone would take over the job of organizing things...” “If only our financial system were better targeted...” “If only I had the energy I once had...”

There are far too many unfortunate souls on this earth who think that, once they figure out what life’s all about, they’ll be able to press the “rewind” button and run themselves back to, say, age 21—or any other time when “things were better.” Sad to say, people don’t come equipped with such a button. For these poor folks, life slips by, day by day, as they wait for someone or something to show them the way.

What they’re waiting for, when you get right down to it, is the “guy on the white horse”—the person who will tackle all the mysteries, solve all the problems, ride in and rescue them. While they’re waiting for this person to show up, they disengage. Let me share a secret: You have instant access to the “man or woman on the white horse”—the person on whom our safety and success depends—at any time. All you have to do is look down, and you’ll see that you’re sitting astride that “white horse.”

You are the guy on the white horse! You are the only person who’s qualified to change your present and, thereby, change your future. Don’t wait for great occasions to step forward as your own hero; don’t assume that someone else is blocking your way. Seize common occasions for positive personal change, and make them great.
The time to commit yourself to developing the most efficient plan possible to achieve your goals is right now. And the person who must carry out that plan is you. As someone once said, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

Immediate Action: Think about how can you take action, today, to address a challenge you had once believed to be someone else’s responsibility. Waiting for someone else to achieve a goal for us means abandoning that “molded-in-clay” goal—before it’s been put into permanent form!

Point to Ponder: Remember: A bad habit—like waiting for the guy on the white horse—can become so strong that it can be mistaken for destiny. Don’t let that happen to you!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Declaration of Personal Responsibility

Several years ago, and all in one afternoon, I wrote what I call my "Declaration of Personal Responsibility."

The inspiration for this piece was from a man who was in one of my audiences. After the program, he said, "I hope the guy on the white horse gets here soon because I need help." I gently expained that if his problems were going to be solved he'd have to do it himself because the "guy on the white horse" is non-existant.

My Declaration is in two of the books I've written. Dr. Robert H. Schuller asked to use it in one of his best sellers. Other authors have used in in their books.

Og Mandino, who wrote the worlds best selling "The Greatest Salesman in the World," framed a copy of the "Declaration of Personal Responsibility" and hung it above his desk. He told me he read it every morning before he started writing. His favorite paragraph was the next to the last one that begins "With personal growth comes a fear of the unknown..."

I'd love to hear which one is your favorite.

My Declaration follows this letter. May I challenge you to write your own declaration?

Higher up and farther on! The best is yet to be!
Danny Cox

Declaration of Personal Responsibility

I currently possess everything I've truly wanted and deserved. This is based on what I have handed out to date. My possessions, my savings and my lifestyle are an exact mirror of me, my efforts and my contribution to society. What I give, I get. If I am unhappy with what I have received it is because, as yet, I have not paid the required price. I have lingered too long in the "quibbling stage."

I fully understand that time becomes a burden to me only when it is empty. The past is mine and at this very moment I am purchasing another twenty-four hours of it. The future quickly becomes the past at a control point called the present moment. I not only truly live at that point, but I have full responsibility for the highest and best use of the irreplaceable now.

I accept full responsibility for both the successes and failures in my life. If I am not what I desire to be at this point, what I am is my compromise. I no longer choose to compromise with my undeveloped potential.

I am the sum total of the choices I have made and I continue to choose daily. What I now put under close scrutiny is the value of each up-coming choice. Therein lies the quality of my future lifestyle.

Will my future belong to the "old me" or the "new me"? The answer depends on my attitude toward personal growth at this very moment. What time is left is all that counts and that remaining time is my responsibility. With a newfound maturity I accept full responsibility for how good I can become at what is most important to me.

With personal growth comes a fear of the unknown and new problems. Those problems are nothing more than the expanding shadow of my personal growth. I now turn my very real fear, with God’s help, into a very real adventure.

My life now expands to meet my newfound destiny. "Old me" meet the "new me."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Leadership Building Blocks

Danny’s Leadership Building Blocks

“Fear has no strength of its own, only that which you choose to give it. Ironically, that’s the very strength you need to overcome it.”

“On a scale of 1 to 10, team morale and customer service receive the same score.”

“The more each team member learns from the leader, the more they trust each other. It’s the birthplace of synergy.”

“Great leaders turn lights on in corners of your mind that you didn’t know were wired for electricity.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

25 Lessons in High Performance Leadership

Lesson Twenty-five
Be an Island of Excellence

After speaking to an audience, I had a manager come to me and say, "Danny, I really want to grow and develop as a leader but the managers at all levels above me certainly don't. What can I do?" I gave this individual two bits of advice. One is that you can't change anyone or anything above you on the food chain. You can't manage the organization above your level, so don't even try.

The second nugget I passed along came from Joe Topper, who was in the audience I had just spoken to. He explained that, because he couldn't do much about changing anyone above him, he had decided to become an island of excellence within his sphere of influence. He would get so good at what he was doing that something great was bound to happen. That's the spirit! That's what I'm talking about!

No one is as interested in your career or your future as you are. Take the responsibility of becoming an island of excellence within your present company no matter what anyone else is doing. This will pay off for you in three ways:

• First, you will become more valuable to your present company. Perhaps even to the point of them considering you indispensable. A sustained high performance record of accomplishment can buy a bright future for you and your family.

• Second, the better you get at producing results, the more valuable you become to the competition. You are number one. You need to look after yourself and your family. If your employer won't compensate you for what you're worth, a proven record of accomplishment through sound leadership is valuable on the job market.

• Finally, there might come a time when you want to strike out on your own. Every time you learn and improve as a leader, you become more skilled as an entrepreneur. The more skilled you are as an entrepreneur the better your chances of succeeding on your own.

The ultimate threat to our future is stagnation. Continued personal and professional growth is essential to a tomorrow that will be better than today. The managerial moment of truth comes when you realize that, as the leader, you are the trigger for change in and for the organization. The people in the organization will pay the price in time, energy, and money to grow and develop in their jobs as they see you do the same as their leader. The adaptability that will prepare you for tomorrow’s leadership challenge is anchored in your personal uncompromising integrity and the other leadership qualities to which you aspire. Looking back over the past ten or twenty years, it's easy to see that the leadership challenges of tomorrow never get any easier.

Here are three things to make you the best leader you can be:

Keep an eye on the future, your own and your organization's.

Never stop doing whatever it takes to keep growing as a leader.

Always keep the growth and development of your team members as your top priority.

"Some of the world's greatest achievements were made by those who were self-instructed."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

24 Lessons in High Performance Leadership

Lesson Twenty-four
Lead Through Change

There are six fundamental phases required for successful change management:

In a busy organization, you are very possibly involved in several new projects at once. These phases of change management will help you understand where you are in the project.
The Education Phase: Inform employees ahead of time change is on the way. The head's up helps to develop the sense of confidence in your organization I talked about.
The Participation Phase: Encourage input from all employees on
planning and implementation. This bolsters confidence and enthusiasm toward the organization and the project.

The Communication Phase: This is the final presentation on how the change is about to be implemented. A storyboard showing all the final changes can be used in the presentation.

The Facilitation Phase: The change is under way. During this phase the leader’s hands on participation brings big benefits. Communicating and coaching can only go so far. The leader must get personally involved to demonstrate his or her personal investment in the project.

The Information Phase: Now the leader truly keeps his or her ear to
the ground to determine what is working and what is not working. Informal, non-threatening encounters with your people will give you most of this critical feedback. This is when you might learn that proper delegation is not occurring or thinking is still too narrow.

The Rededication Phase: Enthusiasm and energy don't last forever. After the initial hoopla is over, it is important to evaluate and analyze the progress of the new project. Necessary tune-ups and adjustments are made to enhance the improvement.

These three actions will help you avoid the "Other Shoe Syndrome," which results in cynicism in your team brought on by promoting change and not following through:

Focus on how your change initiatives are affecting morale.
Solving one problem can create others.

Anticipate doubt. People have a natural skepticism that often serves a good purpose.

Never stop selling. Your team members take their clues from you. They watch every day to see if your support and enthusiasm for change has diminished.

"Embrace change. It's saying ‘yes’ to tomorrow and ‘no’ to repeated yesterdays."