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Running to Reverence

At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, right before each surgery begins, the whole team of doctors, nurses, and others stop what they are doing. They take a short moment to remember the person they’re going to conduct surgery on. They call it the moment of reverence. Team The team goal is to ensure that everyone remembers the humanity of the situation. It’s about breaking the routine procedures, pausing to recognize the importance of what’s happening, and appreciating the people involved. This moment can also reinforce a core value that everyone should be proceeding with – to encourage care, precision and

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For Safety Sake

I work with a lot of organizations where safety is the # 1 priority . These businesses have many programs, promotions and presentations to keep safety upmost in the minds of all employees. Of course, they are talking about physical safety – specifically working safe so that everyone can to go home to loved ones at the end of the workday physically whole, i.e. no accidents. There is another type of safety that impacts not only physical safety but productivity, innovation and collaboration as well. This other type of safety is psychological safety which is defined as a belief that

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This is Good

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Henry Ford Over the last several months, I’ve encountered more major leadership team challenges than I can ever remember. Some are so personal and ethically challenging that I can’t even mention them, but there is one I would like to share. I began a new project with a new organization, and the week I showed up, two members of the six-member executive team resigned. So, you’re probably thinking that you might want to think twice before you ask me to work with your team. That could be true,

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Raking in the New Year

Raking in the New Year

 
 
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This past Tuesday, the speaker at my Rotary club, a retired Chairman of the Board of his very successful family business, didn’t talk much about his business. He talked about his past 10 years’ experience of being a volunteer airplane pilot transporting war-injured veterans to places they needed to go around the world. He was on one of the most joyful speakers I have ever heard. Rotary clubs are famous for writing checks to good causes, but he reminded us of something more important when he said, “My father always told me this about serving others: The easiest thing to

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Christmas Cheer All Next Year

My wife and I and a few friends have a tradition where we go to the Alabama Theatre in downtown Birmingham every year to watch a classic Christmas movie, like It’s a Wonderful Life, Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, etc. This year it was Elf. Besides the nostalgia of sitting in this “movie palace” built in 1927 and resurrected in 1998, you get to see original Disney cartoons and sing old Christmas carols before each movie. Singalongs are made even more special by the theatre’s pipe organ, a Wurlitzer Opus 1783. Affectionally known as Big Bertha, it’s played by legendary

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Engaging Thankfulness

The Campbell Soup company had lost its way when Douglas Conant took charge in 2001. In the late 1990s, the company increased prices and lost many consumers to less expensive soup brands. Rather than bring prices back down, to maintain earnings Campbell cut costs by reducing advertising and laying off employees – moves that resulted in even lower sales. By the time Conant was recruited, the company’s share price had dropped from a high of $60 in 1998 to $30 in 2001. Conant said, “We had a toxic culture. People were understandably jaundiced with management.” He added, “It was hard

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Small-Time Leader Vol. 2

Seven Words of Life The cabin door of the plane was about close when he came rushing down the aisle and flopped down in the seat next to me. I wasn’t in the best of moods, but he was. Hand extended, he said, “My name is Jim. What is yours?” We small talked for a while. He told me he was a trainer and consultant and had been doing that for most of his business life. He owned firm and was doing management, sales and communication seminars with business groups around the country. Then he asked, “What do you do?”

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Small-Time Leader Vol. 1

His name was Connie Parsons. He was my first real manager and my first experience with a small-time leader at work. A small-time leader is a person who did a small thing that made a big difference in your life and work. That small thing may have been a question, a recommendation or an action that was so on point and timely that it radically shifted how you viewed yourself forever. When I was in college, I loaded packages into UPS trucks to pay my way. I got up every day at 3 AM and worked until 10 AM. Then

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First Followers

Beware of a leader who takes lots of credit for a big success. When I was working on my first book, my book producer reminded me to not think about selling books to the masses. “Books sell one at a time” He said. “Here how it works. One person buys a book and if they really like it, he or she recommends it to another person who buys that book. If this series of events happens over and over, and again and again, your book will be a sales success.” A book becomes great because of the first follower influences

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R.O.W.E. or M.O.V.E. Management

If you were asked to put an X below to indicate your belief about what motivates people to consistently give their best at work, where would you make your mark? Innate Desire to Excel——————– Outside $-based Incentives If your X is toward the left, you give people more autonomy. Autonomy a defines as the desire to be self-directed. By taking this intrinsic motivation approach, you create what open-minded business executives call a results-only work environment or R.O.W.E. In a R.O.W.E. culture of freedom and trust, people are given clearly defined expectations and outcomes only. They are not told how or

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Tree Cutter Vision

“We’re loggers – We’re not landscapers,” spoke the grandpa, who was also the leader of the close-kin gang of low-country men I hired to remove some pine trees on my quail hunting preserve. I had just explained to them that I wanted the trees cut so there would be about 100 feet between each tree. All I saw were question marks in ever eyeball. Then I walked around in the trees and showed them. I looked up as the group cocked their heads, squinted, grunted or grimaced after which their elder replied with ” we’re not landscapers.” That’s when I

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New Podcast Available

In this episode of Play Your Position Podcast, Michael Alan Tate talks about what a life-giving career is. He talks about some key points from his book, The White Shirt — about knowing who you are, what your skills, interests, and values are, as well as finding the key interest in your career and how to find a job by looking back to ask, “who am I and where do I fit?” Michael’s plan is to help and coach people who feel discouraged by finding “their way” and into their career. As a mentor himself, Michael talks about some of

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Glimpse of Civility

I do not attend comedy shows nor follow politics very often, but this week I sat in an amphitheater and watched comedian Jim Gaffigan. It was a great show with lots of one-liners. My favorite Jim line was, “I’m fat. That’s not self-criticism or low self-esteem. It is self-awareness, which seems in very low supply these days.” Then for some reason, I picked up a copy of USA Today, turned to page two and read the Rod Rosenstein letter of resignation to President Donald Trump. This line caught my eye: “I’m grateful to you for the opportunity to serve; the

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Prayerful Question

Sam is good leader. He knows the two things that matter — 1) What he wants, and 2) the primary question a person needs to answer to become a leader. When Sam called me to help him with his team, the team was not in trouble; as a matter of fact, his division had led the company in production and profits for many years. When I asked how he had accomplished this, he gave some credit to “the luck of the draw” on his part, then without the slightest hesitation, he gave the lion’s share of credit for success to

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