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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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The Right Questions

Of the things we think, say, and do we will ask ourselves— 1. Is it the truth? 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? 4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned? I have been an active member of Rotary International for 24 years. Rotary has 1.2 million members in 200 countries. This network of clubs has one big goal, which is to promote ethics in business and peace in the world though strategic investments of financial resources and hands-on action. One of this organization’s many objectives is the eradication of polio

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Another Option – Clarity

A mentor of mine once told me that when you’re frustrated you have three options: Stay frustrated & worry Quit/ leave or Make a request. At the beginning of each new year, many people get frustrated and think about changing jobs or careers. Most assume that the best way to get a better career is to quit where they are and move on to another organization or start their own business. Sometimes leaving is the best option, but not always. Twenty-five years ago, I found myself in a situation where I had good job and made good money with a

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Stand There

I walked through the pristine workshop admiring the creations of the piano artisan. Each piano, some over 100 years old, had been refurbished to its original glory, except one. The Baby Grand looked perfect except for a large spot on the lid. “What happened?” I asked the craftsman. He stared at the spot as he explained, “I was working nearby and inadvertently dropped some solvent there, then I immediately picked up a cloth to wipe it off.” He took a deep breath as he continued, “In that moment I forgot the advice my mentor offered me years ago.” His teacher

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Parable of the CEOwer

The parables of Jesus are rich with instruction and applicable to our work and lives in so many ways. Envision for a moment a slightly altered pronunciation of the word “Sower” to see how a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) learned the lessons of the farmer. Letting Ego Rule the Day He was moving fast up in his career path. He had just landed the top spot at an organization twice the size of his last. Intent on building a world-class organization, he hit the ground running and pulled his team together to talk about “the amazing things we did at

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It’s A Wonderful Life

This classic movie was on TV on Christmas Eve. Of course it’s on every day in December, but my wife and I watched it that night. I noticed something I had missed before. As you may recall, Clarence, Angel 2nd Class, was assigned to go to earth to help George Bailey. Clarence asked, “Why are you sending me to help this man. Is he sick?” The head angel replied, “Oh no, it worse than that. He’s discouraged.” At this time of the year a good many people, like George, are discouraged. Many are discouraged about work. According to the 2017

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Finding Your Mission in Life

Earlier this year a great man died. His name was Richard N. Bolles. He was the author of What Color is Your Parachute, a book that the Library of Congress listed as one of the 25 most influential books in the world. I was lucky enough to have known Dick, as he preferred to be called. He helped a lot of people and wrote many amazing books, but one of the most astounding gifts he left here on earth is something he wrote to a lady who ask him the question of all questions, “How do I find my mission

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Caring or Comparing Culture

Last month , I offered some suggestions about what to do and what not to do when there is a death at your workplace. There was a tremendous response to those simple and practical ideas. To refresh your memory, the August 31 Leadership and Life message boiled down this: to equip employees to help those who have experienced a tragic loss, ask those employees three questions and suggest that they take a step as follows: Have you ever experienced a tragic loss in your life What did people who tried to support you do that was helpful? What did people

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