Inspiration: The Power of Perpetual Optimism

I once thought that inspirational things inspired people, but I've realized that people are inspired by inspiration itself. Inspiration can be born of many things - a great idea, strong leadership (especially in difficult times), the opportunity to contribute or make a difference, or simply realizing that by taking action you can make things better in some way. As a soldier for many years, I had occasion to encounter circumstances that could quickly demoralize people and whole organizations. It was during those times that I discovered a key that worked time and again to keep people engaged, effective and enthused. The key is the power of perpetual optimism.

Creating Safe Space: The Key to Effective Communications

A key element in any relationship, personal or professional, is the capability and willingness to communicate openly. But how often do we experience a breakdown in communication because one or more of the participants holds back from fully expressing his or her ideas for fear of offending or fear of pushback? Here is a process you can put in place that enables open communications within all your relationships. We call it Creating Safe Space.

Stress is Stress...

Many of us are familiar with the sources of stress these days - busy schedules, conflicting requirements, personal finances, job demands, personal pet peeves, etc, etc. Additionally, many are equally familiar with the time-tested measures one can use to deal with stress - eat right, get some exercise, make sure you get enough sleep, take time out for yourself, and so many more. All the demands of life, the personal irritants and the advice on how to cope with stress can become overwhelming and paralyzing at some point.

Being an Entrepreneur (Remember, You’re Not Alone)

Being an entrepreneur is not easy. It's exciting, of course, but it involves taking risks ... and that can be scary. It's a lot like being a teenager, venturing out on our own, trying things, bucking the rules, creating new systems, following our guts, and yet it can also be lonely. So, much like teenagers, we often look to the only people we know will “understand” – our peers. This is how forums in associations like YEO and YPO came to be -- peer groups, in which we can feel like we're not alone, and get support, and interact with like-minded individuals who can shorten the learning curve. If you don’t already, I encourage you to find a group like this to get things out of your head. As Author Neil Walsh said, “To be sane is to be out of your mind. Get dreams, thoughts, fears out of your head and out of your heart, and share them with people who can share their learning experiences and give you honest, useful feedback.”

Business Leaders: Do You Suffer from EMS?

I’ve seen it time and time again in my ten years as a strategy development and implementation consultant: “Excessive Management Syndrome.” Let’s call it “EMS.” The higher up in the chain of command, the harder it strikes, and entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible.

What is it? It’s a leader’s overwhelming inclination to take everything upon his or her own shoulders – solving all the problems, making all the major decisions and playing the hero. Symptoms can include severe cases of “nothing getting done,” or worse, “complete failure.” There are just too many actions that must be devised and implemented for one person to be able to singlehandedly address the needs of an entire organization.

The AAR Process: The Army’s Secret to Being All You Can Be

The U.S. Army underwent a significant transformation during my 30-year career as an officer. Although many different programs and technologies enabled this transformation, one of the most significant was the After Action Review (AAR) process. The AAR was practiced across the Army, and it led to significant and lasting performance improvement at all levels.

My appreciation for the AAR has transferred over into my career as a business consultant. Its simplicity and effectiveness make it as useful in the boardroom as it was on the battlefield.