Wednesday, August 13, 2008

If at 1st you don't succeed...

If at first you don't succeed, so much for Skydiving. - Henry Youngman

I get excited this time of year because I am planning my fall skydiving trip.  I will make a group reservation, invite everyone I know, and all 3 of us will jump.  Just kidding, it is usually a group of around 25, out of the hundreds I invite.

Now, of course, the cost may stop some.  But mostly cost is just a bad excuse to mask the fear of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.  

Why is skydiving so scary?  We do other scary things all the time. We can drive down a 2 line highway passing total strangers at a combined speed that would equal hitting a stone wall at 12o mph all day.  We can fly in a jet liner at 30,000 feet over oceans and through storms at 500 mph.  We can ride a motorcycle down the freeway at 85 mph.  But, for some reason it is hard to jump out of a plane with a trained professional.  I might add, this trained professional has at least 1,000 jumps under their belt.  They have amazing equipment, and it has a lower fatality rate than any of the above mentioned activities.

This is not an advertisement for Skydiving, but simply to motivate you.

I think the fear of skydiving is rooted often in the fear of not being in control, in the fear of failure, fear of the unknown, and in the fact that it looks scary.  Sound familiar? This is exactly why every business owner should jump at least once in their life.  It forces you to face the 4 biggest fears of any new entrepreneur:

1. Afraid you will lose control
2. Afraid of failure
3. Afraid of the unknown
4. It looks scary

What if?  For one day a year, you conquered your biggest business and life fears?

It is true.  "If at first you don't much for skydiving." But in business, only those who fail are truly moving forward.  If you are not failing, then you are probably not trying anything new. There is nothing to be afraid of in business. Rather, there are simply things to prepare for, work smart for, and work hard for.

Fear is simply a door.  That once you kick down, will unleash your potential in life and business.

I challenge you to find some ways you can grab the fear in your life by the neck, throw it to the ground, and walk on past to your dreams and goals.

-Jon Bohm  

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What do your actions say about you?

"Dignity consists not in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them." ~Aristotle

Research tells us that more than 55% of face to face communication is body language. 15% is tone of voice, and the other 30% is words that are actually said. But, the often not mentioned statistic is that your actions override your words, your tone, and your body language 100% of the time.

If you want to know who someone really is, than you have to watch what they really do.

I really enjoy mountain biking. And one story I will never forget is when I met a guy, let's call him "Biker Bob," at a bike shop.   And as we talked, he told me about all his gear, his amazing skills, his experience in the swiss alps on the race tour, etc.  Later that day I went biking down a ski mountain with Biker Bob. Biker Bob was passed by everyone, including me and at least 3 other guys that had no idea what they were doing. We all finished the trail and waited a good 10 minutes for Biker Bob to come stumbling out of the woods.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. Biker Bob had a lot of gear, a lot of talk, and a lot of confidence. But Biker Bob did not have the skills, the action, or the results to match it up.

You can look the part, talk the part, and have the confidence of the part. But your actions and your results override talk and confidence any day.

Dave Barry (a great humor columnist) once said that if you go out to dinner with a "nice person," and they do not treat the waiter nicely, than that person is not a nice person.

I couldn't agree more Dave.

3 Question Reality Check
1. Do people you encounter know what you believe by what they see you do?
2. Are your actions saying good things or bad things about you?
3. Have you thought about how that could impact your business results?

Simple I know. But, a profound reminder to work on your actions and who you really rather then all the work on image and words that is so easy to focus on.

-Jon Bohm

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Control Your Goals

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and try to follow them where they lead.
— Louisa May Alcott

We have aspirations. We all set goals. When we go to the grocery store and set goals on what to buy or how fast we can finish and get home. At work we can rush to be done at 5 pm, and set goals to be home by a certain time. We set goals to be out of Iraq as a country, or who we think should be in a political position. We set goals to live a great life and make big money.

Bottom line is that it is easy to set goals and much harder to achieve them. As a matter of fact, we can set a goal in 3 seconds to make a million dollars, or win the Olympics, or fly to the moon. But setting a goal is not helpful unless we can take action to achieve those goals. Often a goal simply turns into "wishful thinking." Because, those goals are for the most part out of our hands. Don't get me wrong, we can dream and work to achieve them, which is very valuable, but whether or not you achieve them is not always directly in your control. But other things are.

For example, a salesperson can set a goal to sell 1 million in product in 6 months. But, the salesperson doesn't really have control over who buys or how much. Therefore, the goal is a great dream and an excellent target, but not a goal. It is too easy to brush it off later as too high, or out of your hands, or the economy took a dive.

A good goal is always in your control. A good goal is achievable and measurable. Which means the salesperson, although they can't control who buys and for how much, they can control how many calls they make, how many presentations they make, how much time they spend sharpening their skills and product knowledge, how much networking they do, and how well they remain motivated and prepared. A good goal is something that is in your control, and you treat it as non-negotiable. You view them as something that you can do, and will do each day before quitting time. Never letting yourself out of it by way of excuse or laziness. Because, after all, it is in your control and you either do it and get closer to your success, or you don't do it and move further away from your dreams.

No action is neutral when it comes to achievement. Every action is either bringing you closer or further away from where you want to be.

Goals are not wishful thinking, like they are so often used. They are much more valuable then that, they are your key to moving forward, out of the Status Quo and into seeing your dreams become reality.

That type of goal leaves you with no choice but to take action. When goals are in your control, they keep you out of the clouds and into moving toward your dreams one achievable and measurable step at a time. Dream big, and then take action to achieve your daily goals.

It is easy to know where you are, sometimes it is easy to know where you want to be. But the real challenge is found between now and then. This is where success happens, in daily achievable activity set to the measurement of a goal.

May you see your highest aspirations in the sun and start walking, or better yet running toward them each day when you wake up. Dreaming is easier done in bed. But reward and success is found up and moving toward the sun.

-Jon Bohm

Response Time

Riddle: 5 Frogs are sitting on a log. 4 frogs decide to jump off. How many frogs are sitting on the log?

Answer: 5 frogs. Deciding to do something and actually doing something are 2 different things.

I was having some short and rapid discussions today. I realized I really didn't have time to go through a lot of thinking processes before I responded. I simply had to respond. And this is a common occurrence for us all the time. We are in situations where we don't have the luxury of following the normal response pattern of stimulus, thought, and response. And we are simply stimulus - response.

This happens when you are playing sports and your body just responds quickly to a ball or other player's movements, when a fighter jet pilot has to respond to a situation, when a kid runs in front of your car, or when your foot comes off the gas and onto the break as you drive when you see a police car- whether you were speeding or not. But it also happens in conversations, business deals, and arguments with a spouse. It is in these moments that you don't have time to answer the way you always should, or the way you want other's to perceive you. In these moments you answer from who you really are. You answer from passion, emotion, instinct, and conditioning.

So, if you hear a great speaker, read a good book, or go to a conference. Unless you are able to understand a concept, internalize the thought, and then practice the behavior, all that knowledge will do you little good when you need it most. The split second decisions and words that come from inside your reservoir of true knowledge and passion, they are developed. You can shape them and mold them so it changes who you really are. Then, in those split second moments, you don't have to think or try, but simply BE... who you really are.

What are you doing to develop who you are personally, professionaly, socially, emotionally, physically, or spiritually?

May I encourage you today to set aside 30 minutes minimum a day to read a book, listen to audio, talk with a friend that challenges you, or whatever you may find to develop who you are. Seek to truly understand, Internalize it, and apply it.

What better thing could you possibly build into than a better, truer, and more authentic you?

- Jon Bohm

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Who I am Today.

Some things have to be believed to be seen.

Have you ever stopped just to think about how you became who you are? Not simply what you do, or how many kids you have (we all know how that happens), but how you came to view the world like you do, how you came to think like you do, how your personality and self image came to be?

I have read so many self improvement books, tapes, speakers, and surrounded myself with successful people just to realize that none of that can make me become who I need to become to achieve what I would like to achieve. They are valuable, they are inspirational, they are helpful, but they are simply knowledge and virtually useless unless I can apply it to me and use it to change something about who I am becoming.

The type of change that truly changes people and gets results is never theory, or simply reading, it comes from experiencing and from doing. From living out who you are becoming.

This is why so many people can go to a conference, or a training, and hear a great speaker who is successful beyond imagination in your industry, and still leave virtually the same as when you went in. The wildly successful speaker tells you what they did and how you can do it in your business too, so why can't you do it too? The answer is often simply that you are not him. You are you.

His processes of thought and action may not work for you, and that speaker has developed themselves to succeed and then lived it. You can hear it, you can know it, you can think it, breathe it, and eat it for lunch, but until you develop your understanding of you and take action to apply nothing changes.

People will often ask me "how do I make more money," and the answer is you have to become worth more. That involves more than reading a book or going to a conference. More than knowledge and understanding. It means action, it means living it, it means taking the sometimess hard steps to change and become worth more.

It means more than knowledge it means:
  • Character
  • Courage
  • Action
  • Endurance
  • Knowing yourself and knowing others
  • Dreaming and Vision
  • Excellence
  • Balance
  • Belief in what you haven't seen yet
  • Living through the storm long enough to see the sun come out
  • It means listening and having an open and creative mind
  • etc.
It means you have to develop the intangibles, the things that you know about you - that nobody else knows, it means facing the demons, and developing who you really are, not simply what you do.

Are you developing the intangibles, the stuff that makes you who you are today and who you will become tomorrow?

To put it simply - To have, you must first become.

- Jon Bohm

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Self Evident Truth?

This is how humans are: we question all our beliefs, except for the ones we really believe, and those we never think to question. ~Orson Scott Card

Today I had a great conversation with a client and friend about what things are truly self evident. The thought was posed that if something is a common truth to all humans, then as an organization you really shouldn't have to write it down, and if you did write it down, well, that speaks negatively of your organization.

A couple extreme examples might be:
  • If you have to put, "Do not murder fellow employees" as part of your values. Well, then you have a very scary place to work considering you actually have to list that on your values.
  • Or, if you are ever watching the news when they uncover a case of child neglect, and they find a witness or passer-by to give their thoughts on the situation and the passer-by responds with "I take care of my kids!" loudly and proudly as if they should win some kind of reward.  And all of us watching at home are thinking, well of course you take care of your kids, right? I mean what parent has to proclaim that kind of obvious value?
So, if an organization puts honesty as a Core Value, is that the same thing? I mean, isn't that obvious? We don't have to write that down... do we?

I would argue that very few things, if anything, is so self evident that we can avoid to communicate it as a truth.

As an organization your Core Values are things that are non-negotiable, the very moral compass all decisions are measured by.  Which means that if honesty is a core value, and the CEO tells the secretary, to tell a caller, that he is not there, then the board would have to fire their CEO.

Values are things you hold onto, whether they are a strategic advantage or disadvantage for you to do so. You hire and fire based off of them. When an organization views values for what they are, as non-negotiable, then honesty usually falls right off the list.

So, are values really that self-evident that we can avoid writing them down and assume they are commonly known? Unfortunately, a resounding "No" is my response. It is not merely enough to have them, but they must be clearly and regularly communicated, no matter how common they may seem.

One of the greatest examples I have found of Core Values is in our Declaration of Independence as it states; "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." and what followed became the very basis for what America is.  Those values are stated to be "self-evident" by their very authors. Yet, they had the forsight to write them down and clearly communicate them.  May we learn from their example, both in our organizations and personal lives.

-Jon Bohm

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reality Vs. Negativity

Carole Doi was born during WWII in one of America’s internment camps for Japanese Americans. She grew up in America and married a man of Japanese descent. They were thrilled when they had a little girl.
At birth, however, the child’s feet were severely twisted so that her toes faced inward. Carole was determined to help her baby grow up to have a normal life, so she decided that the child’s feet would not ever be an issue in her life. They bought her orthopedic shoes, and encouraged her to build up her feet and legs. They even supported her when, at a young age, she wanted to try out ice skating.
The hard work and encouragement paid off. In 1992, these proud parents watched as their daughter, Kristi Yamaguchi—the little girl born with the twisted feet—won the Olympic gold medal for ice skating.
- Excerpt from the One Minute Motivator

Staying positive and focused on your dreams can be a daunting and difficult task. You have to have an iron will, thick skin, or be oblivious, right?

I often hear people say I am a realist, I don't always look at the positive. Well, so are Kristi Yamaguchi's parents, that really happened. Focusing on the negative doesn't make you a realist, it simply makes you negativist.  

Right now, because of the state of our economy, people are so quick to say why everything is failing.  That is simply not reality, everything is not failing, and in every slow economy at least one company in every industry finds a way to rise to the top.  The difference is while so many are saying why things don't work, can't work, and why it won't happen (easy to do, there are always a lot of those reasons), there are those succeeding, who are saying why things do work, why they can happen, and how they will make it work.

Will you shape the reality of what happens to you through the negative or through the window of positivism?   Both will become reality, one is just more helpful than the other.

Since the time we were kids we are told:
"Don't bite off more than you can chew"
"Don't go where you're not wanted"
"Don't talk to strangers"

One of the biggest things I deal with when helping professional sales people is call reluctance.  And can you think of any 3 worse phrases for a sales person to think then the above listed phrases?

How many sales people start their days by listening to the news or reading the paper about who died, got shot, or robbed, and how bad the economy is?  Is it any wonder how easy it can be to be negative?

That is why forming habits of thought that are positive and affirming your strengths, the good you see in the world, and good you see in yourself is on of the most powerful things we can do.

Everyday we can choose the positive or the negative, for the sake of the known world, may we always choose the positive.  Then we can find a way we can make it work, look for reasons why it will happen, and then work smart to see it become reality.

Making the sun shine on cloudy days with you-

Jon Bohm

Friday, July 25, 2008

Habits and our Unknown Pleasures

If you would attain what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you were pleased with yourself there you have remained. But once you have said, “It is enough,” you are lost. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing; do not stop, do not turn back, do not turn from the straight road.
— St. Augustine

Have you ever wondered where it is that you took that wrong turn?
Often when you take a wrong turn it is very hard to find your way back, and as St Augustine says, "you are lost."

Habits can keep you lost. They are incredibly powerful things. You have habits of thought that shape your attitude and personality. You have physical habits that shape your body and health. You have spiritual habits that feed or can starve your soul. We all have them.

The questions is, why are habits so hard to start at some times, and so hard to end at others?

Have you ever had a habit you wanted to get rid of but couldn't seem to stop doing or thinking it? You want it gone, but it just doesn't go away. There are some reasons for this phenomenon, but the bottom line is that every habit, whether good or bad, whether wanted or unwanted gives us some sort of pleasure.

Let me share a short story about a person you have probably met before. This person is always letting everyone at his workplace know how hard he works. He often stays late and he he arrives early. He makes sure everyone knows that he is putting in the extra hours. You may even feel like he is a star employee and you're just not that committed.

This person who works so late and so hard is really finding pleasure in it, because he finds his importance by letting everyone know what a great worker he is. This person may not even want to stay late, he may not want to make a big deal of his hard work, but yet he does. One day he decides to quit, but he finds it to hard to go home on time, to keep his mouth shut about his hard work, and thus continues in his role as the employee who works the longest hours.

But if you take that person and help him set goals to be around his family more, and he sees how important it is for his kids to have their Dad around. Then he can replace the pleasure of feeling important at work with the pleasure of feeling important at home.

The moral of the story is if you have a habit you want to break, then ask yourself:

-What pleasure am I getting from this bad habit?
-How can I replace that pleasure with something healthy?
-Address the obstacles that could keep you from making the change, and write out the action steps you need to take to get past those obstacles and on the road to breaking the habit, or better yet replacing the pleasure.

You unfortunately will have a very difficult time simply stopping a bad habit, you have to replace the pleasure first. If you want to stop smoking, address the pleasure. And in comes more food, more gum, more toothpicks, or Nicorette.

If you are always late, is it because you enjoy taking your time leaving the house? Is it because you like to arrive fashionably late and make an entrance? Is it because you hate to feel rushed so you show up when you feel like it? Is it because you enjoy skipping small talk and the awkward feeling of arriving to a social event when nobody else is there?

Identify the pleasure you get and replace it. if you enjoy taking your time before you leave the house; then get up earlier and take it slow- make some coffee, take a long shower, have breakfast, and then roll out nice and slow but on time.

If you arrive late because you like to make an entrance; then dress sharper, meet more people once you arrive, memorize some good conversation starters, and look for other positive ways to stand out besides being late.

Habits give us pleasure, no matter how small it may be, identify the pleasure then replace it with something enjoyable and personally satisfying. Then grab those nasty habits by the neck and throw them to the ground.

-Jon Bohm

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Comparison Trap

Success is to be measured not by wealth, power, or fame, but by the ratio between what a man is and what he might be.
— H. G. Wells

By what measuring stick do you measure yourself?
How do you measure if a business, or staff, or even if you are being successful?

Success is often measured by how the boss feels about you at any particular moment. Have you ever had a job when you felt that way? You just never know, for sure, if people are pleased. If you are getting "it done," unless someone is patting you on the back. But then, is it the right person patting you on the back? Do you have people that are telling you the truth about your performance, or just trying to keep the waters calm?

All these questions build insecurities and inevitably lead to comparing yourself to the closest availble persons in your field, in your life, in your class, in your work place, in the local paper, or across the globe. Often this leads to thoughts that you won't be successful unless you can be better than whomever you are comparing yourself to at that moment.

After all, it only makes sense, right? When you apply for a job, you are compared. When you play in sports you are compared to the other team. When you place a bid you are compared either by value, price, service, or political gain. If we are always compared it only makes sense to compare yourself to others, right?

I would say wrong. And this is why. When outside influences compare you they are making a judgement, a gamble, on who will do the best job. They are not measuring your future success, they don't know that yet. They are simply judging your past achievements and guessing on the future. Developing who you are is the process of pulling your future successes into your present. That can only be done by you. And when you are measuring success by what you know you are capable of, not by what someone else placed your value at.

The best definition of success (I believe in this principle so much I use it with all my clients) is the continuous achievement of your own predetermined goals that are stabilized by balance and purified by belief.

Let that sink in for a minute, and ask yourself. Do you have predetermined goals? Are you reaching them? Are they inline with your beliefs? Are they bringing total success to all areas of your life, or just one or two?

If you can make that your model for success, then you can, and will escape the comparison trap and begin pulling your future successes into your present.

Remember the person in the mirror knows what you are capable of, and reaching to develop that person always pays the biggest ROI.

- Jon Bohm

Monday, July 14, 2008

Believe What you See?

“Always walk in a place like you belong — and most people will believe you do!”
—Ed McMahon

I am becoming more and more convinced that the secret to becoming great is surrounding yourself with thoughts and people of greatness.

It seems that the more someone is told they are stupid, or they are too short, too tall, too nerdy, too athletic, "too" anything to do swhat they want to do, the more they are going to believe that those "too this or that" statements are true.

If someone with a small nose is told consistently they have a large nose they will start to believe it is true.

And conversely if you are told that you are great, or handsome, or beautiful, or successful you will eventually believe that. People will believe whatever is in front of them the most.

This is the same reason that your friends will determine the quality and direction of your life. Because when around your friends, you see your friends certain qualities and life directions more than anything else.

So this begs the question, what are you seeing the most in your life? Is it negative thoughts and directions, statements, and feelings? Or are you surrounding yourself with positive statements, affirmations about who you know you are, and more importantly who you know you can become?

Because you will believe whatever you see the most. We need to see truth and visualize who we know we can become. Then we need to put it in front of our face more than anything else. Surround yourself with great people, thoughts of greatness, and then go to sleep dreaming about who you can become. And you will eventually be walking in greatness like you belong, and the rest of the world will know we are standing in the presence of greatness.

“The greatest discovery of our generation is that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
- William James - The Father of American Psychology

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Motivation and the Blame Game

Awhile back in the Peanuts cartoons, Snoopy had broken his right leg. And with his white cast, while he was hanging out on top of his dog house, Snoopy began to think about his situation and said; “My body blames my foot for not being able to go places. My foot says it was my head’s fault, and my head blames my eyes. My eyes say my feet are clumsy, and my right foot says not to blame him for what my left foot did . . .” Snoopy looks towards the audience and confesses, “I don’t say anything because I don’t want to get involved.”

Today while speaking on motivation and habits of thought to a group of professionals we had a dialogue about motivation. Motivation has 3 arenas it can really be generated from:

1. Fear/Force: This type of motivation is external and it is temporary. When a manager forces their people to work late hours or do something unexpected, or else! This type of motivation will only work while the manager is standing over their people. And since it is external, it becomes temporary, and as they say; "When the cat is away the mice will play."

2. Incentive: This type of motivation is the most common motivation source I find in business. Often companies use incentive bonuses, trips, rewards, or recognition to provide motivation for reaching a particular level of production or sales. This is also external and temporary. Which means when that incentive is gone the motivation to keep up the same level of work is also gone.

3. Attitude: Or habits of thought, is a type of motivation that is both internal and permanent. Which means, when it comes to performance or excellence your attitude (which is controlled by you) is your source for motivation.

When either Fear/Force or Incentive are removed, people will begin to blame and point fingers at the lack of force or incentive as the reason for a lack of motivation. Things begin to slow down, and eventually people and managers get tired and just like Snoopy want to avoid the whole thing and stay out of it.

But the managers, companies, employees, or individuals who can successfully develop the attitudes of themselves, and those around them, will find the secret to permanent motivation and a true and pure way to avoid the blame game.

When we are motivated by our own internal attitudes there is nobody left to blame, no more excuses to make, and no more responsibility to dodge. We are forced to take ownership of our thinking, our attitudes, and our motivation.

Behavior is always shaped by attitude, change the attitude and begin the process of improving results.

-Jon Bohm

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Dream Menu

"We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day, or in the red fire on a long winter’s evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nourish them through bad days until they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true."
— Woodrow Wilson

Besides winning the lottery, very few people will ever grow bigger in their successes than they can dream. Dreaming is a developed skill. You have to be able to stop and visualize in your mind's eye what it would be like, feel like, and taste like to reach your dreams.

To build a great dream inventory try to start small and let your dreams build on each other.

Start by opening the door to the closet of your mind. Have fun. Let yourself go. Add to your dream inventory regularly.
Get out a sheet of paper and list everything you've ever wanted - to go, to do, to have, to become. Take off the blinders of possibility and probability. Throw out the filters of whether you need it, deserve it, or are worth it.

Start a page of dreams. Every great accomplishment starts with a seed, an idea, a dream.

After you build a list of 25-50 dreams you have a menu of things to choose from. And when the time comes for you to order, then you can decide whether your appetite calls for a full-course meal or a snack.

But you can't hardly order without a menu, so pull out the stops and dream big.
- Jon Bohm

Monday, June 30, 2008

With Ears Wide Open

“To be able to listen to others in a sympathetic and understanding manner is perhaps the most effective mechanism in the world for getting along with people and tying up their friendship for good. Too few people practice the ‘white magic’ of being good listeners.”- Oliver Wendell Holmes

I went through a drive-thru burger joint today, and as I was speaking with the cashier by means of the telecom something hit me. First of all nobody likes that crazy telecom because it is like speaking to the Mars Rover. But one thing any good cashier does well is "active listening."

"Active Listening" is simply listening to what a person says with enough purpose to repeat back to them in your own words what you heard them say. In the drive-thru, sure this is important, but in relationships it is a necessity. And very few, I mean very few, people do this well.

I once heard someone say that being listened to is so close to being loved that most people can't tell the difference. When was the last time someone really listened to you? To how you were thinking about something, what you were experiencing, or what you were feeling?

When was the last time you truly listened to someone yourself with enough intent to actually repeat back what you heard, and make sure you understood. Not to take an order at a drive-thru, but because you care. I have noticed that very few people do this very well at any function. Your ability to simply talk to others about what they are thinking, feeling, and experiencing will give you a distinct advantage among your competition.

Have you ever had a salesperson try to get you to buy something who never listened to you, never found out what you needed, and demonstrated they didn't care enough about you or your situation to listen? If you have, I can almost guarantee one thing; you didn't buy.

Whether you are a sales person, a supervisor, a minister, a counselor, a spouse, parent, friend, coach, or simply buying your gas we can all pay forward the biggest free gift available to personal interaction. The gift of listening with your ears wide open.

-Jon Bohm

Friday, June 27, 2008

Think and dream, sleep and dream, live your dream.

John Killinger tells of the time when W. Clement Stone, the Chicago financier and philanthropist, was asked how he had done so much in his lifetime. Stone’s reply was this: “I have dreamed. I have turned my mind loose to imagine what I wanted to do. Then I have gone to bed and thought about my dreams. In the night, I have
dreamed about them. And when I have arisen in the morning, I have seen the way to get to my dreams. While other people were saying, ‘You can’t do that, it isn’t possible,’ I was well on my way to achieving what I wanted.”

It has been said many times that the person standing on the sideline saying it can't be done is often surpassed by the person doing it.

Behavioral scientists will tell you that in your formative years, between 6 months and 5 years, our basic personality is formed. The way we view the world and understand how we interact with our surroundings. The interesting part about that bit of information is that close to 80% of everything we heard was negative:

"Sit down"
"Be quiet"
"Don't talk to strangers"
"Children should be seen and not heard"
"Don't touch the stove"
"Don't run on the pool deck"
"No rough housing"

And it only makes sense. Our parents had to keep us safe. But this is one of the reasons so many people spend time saying why something can't work, why it won't get done, why it's impossible, or not worth it. Rather than thinking why it will work, how they will figure out how to make it work, and how they will do it.

And although we can't take all the negative out, we can add positive in to our personality. One of the most powerful ways to combat that negative conditioning is to dream. Dreaming allows us to think about how we will accomplish something, that something amazing will happen, and it allows us the freedom to step out from the negative and think of ways to make your dreams reality.

But if we don't dream, there is often nothing left to think about other than how and why things don't work and are impossible.
Dreaming makes the impossible tangible, and is often the first step to making our dreams reality.

So today, dream of what you want to do, go to bed thinking about your dreams, at night dream about your dreams, and tomorrow wake up and begin to achieve those dreams.  It's a good first step.

-Jon Bohm

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Are you cost-put or throughput minded?

I have always been a swing for the fences kind of guy. As my wife tells me all the time "Either go big or go home!"
This can be a bad way to live sometimes. For example if I haven't swung a golf club in a year I have a tendency to still go play 36 holes my first day, and try to hit the longest drive of my life. Needless to say, my chiropractor makes some great money off me the beginning of golf season.

But it can be a great way to live as well. Some of the most successful baseball players in the world consistently have around 2 times as many strike outs as they do home runs. Every 3rd time Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds would come to the plate they would hit a home run. The other 2 times they would strike out and have a seat on the bench. Success for a home run hitter is nothing short of hitting a home run. Which means they do not come to the plate with their manager asking them to just bunt. They do not come to the plate to swing shyly and play conservative baseball. They come to the plate to swing for the fences. Nothing short of success is aimed at. This comes with some consequences. They strike out a lot. But man, they do excel when they connect.

This mentality can be referred to as "throughput." In business a "throughput" mentality means that you do not step into the batter's box shyly, you step in ready to swing hard at every good pitch. It means you will do whatever it takes to succeed. You are not interested in merely surviving. You want to thrive. You will spend whatever you have to spend, you will work as hard and as smart as you need to work, you will step out of your comfort zone and put your head through a wall if thats what it takes.

The opposite of "throughput" is "cost-put." A "cost-put" player is asked to bunt. Their only goal is to not "strike out." They aren't trying to thrive. If they can simply survive and make it to a base, then they are happy. This player steps into the batter's box shyly, they play conservative, and simply try not to fail completely. This mentality has some advantages: they strike out far less, they become an expert at playing "it safe," and if they survive they are still on the team. But it also comes with some disadvantages: They will never ever hit a home run, nobody will ever know their name, and they will never know what it's like to make the money the home run hitters make or feel the rush of thriving in their sport.

In business a "cost-put" mentality says "How can I save money, cut costs, and just survive." They play conservative and they strike out far less.

Let's take a restaurant for example. This restaurant has 50 tables but only fills about 25 of them.

A "cost-put" mentality says "How can I sell those 25 tables, move into a smaller place, and cut costs across the board?"

A "throughput" mentality says "How can I fill those tables to capacity? I will spend whatever I have to spend, work as hard and as smart as I have to work, and will settle for nothing less than success at what I set out to do."

Which mentality will survive? Which one will thrive? Which one will strike out?

Which mentality are you? Are you "cost-put?" Or are you "Throughput?"

I guess that really depends on whether or not you want to survive or thrive.

I recommend swinging for the fences. Life is too valuable and too short to merely survive. You must find a way to thrive. And in my experience the businesses just trying to survive very rarely do. And the businesses that will settle for nothing less than success often thrive and almost always survive. Because, even when you strike out once, or twice, you still get in the box the 3rd time to hit the home run.... after all, you will settle for nothing less than success.

- Jon Bohm

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Feel the Heat..

Watching big, "Lake Effect," snow flakes fall from a winter sky in Upstate New York is a beautiful thing. Landing on thick oak and pine branches and floating down onto the window sill would make a great winter day. And to top off a great winter day we would make a fire and read a book as the fire crackled and the snow fell outside.

A real fire takes at least 2 good logs an hour, usually more, and if you really want it to put out some warmth you have to add twice that. It is a pretty obvious thing to anyone who has made a fire that you won't feel the heat until you put some wood on the flames.

In the same way you have to put some "wood" on the fire of your business or life before you see growth, profits, and feel the heat. "Wood" could mean books, training, advertising, marketing, sales training, management development or supervisory training. And if you need any of those things be sure to give me a call. But all those things are only good if they are aligned with the strategic direction and plan of the organization.

Wood that really puts out the heat means you have to strategically plan what you need to accomplish, develop your employees to align with that plan, and then set goals and execute that plan in a systematic way that maximizes your resources to see the bottom line improve.

Occasionally I meet business folks who say they will plan their business when they have time, or develop their sales force after they improve their bottom line, or we will align the organization after we get through this quarter.

That sounds just as silly to me as saying, "I will add some wood to this fire once this fire starts putting out some real heat." In business, planning and executing strategic goals is not a "chicken and the egg" thing. It is the difference between "success and failure."

Happy Planning!
-Jon Bohm

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Training will Pay off

Sometimes when the economy slows down, the temptation of a business or as an individual is to cut back on training and development of ourselves or our employee's and supervisors.  When the opposite is often a better strategic decision.  When things are slow, what better time could there be to use that extra time to train your people to be ready to rock and roll when things pick up?  

Pick up a book, invest in training, set goals and develop a strategic plan to pull you out of the slow economic turn.

In 1942 the U.S. sent the first consignment of Mustang fighter planes to England for the RAF. Very little actual training was given to pilots in those days: the extent of their pre-flight instructions for the new plane was a pat on the back and a few words of encouragement. However, the new Mustangs were so much hotter and faster than previous ones that 3 out of the 5 pilots assigned to the plane were killed trying to make the transition.

Proper training is essential for good productivity. The time spent on learning a new job or technique will be more than made up for in the amount of work accomplished through knowledge.

1) Do your employees and supervisors have the proper skills to carry out their jobs successfully? How could you train them to work more efficiently and independently?

2) How might you benefit by having a more knowledgeable and highly skilled team?

3) What could you do to develop and enhance your own knowledge of your business or field?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Self-Fulfilling prophecy is a tough concept to understand. But if you can tap into your capabilities, visualize the potential you have, and remember the reasons you have to believe in yourself, then you will in fact conquer your biggest fears and accomplish what you say you can.

And the opposite is always true. If you say you "Can't" then you most definitely will not.

William Purkey tells a great little allegory concerning the value of feeling good about ourselves:

A mouse ran into the office of the Educational Testing Service and accidentally triggered a delicate point in the apparatus just as the College Entrance Examination Board’s data on one Henry Carson was being scored.
Henry was an average high-school student who was unsure of himself and his abilities. Had it not been for the mouse, Henry’s score would have been average or less, but the mouse changed all that, for the scores that emerged from the computer were amazing—800s in both the verbal and quantitative areas.

When the scores reached Henry’s school, the word of his giftedness spread like wildfire. Teachers began to re-evaluate their gross under-estimation of this fine lad, counselors trembled at the thought of neglecting such talent, and even college admissions officers began to recruit Henry for their schools.
New worlds opened for Henry, and as they opened he started to grow as a person and as a student. Once he became aware of his potentialities and began to be treated differently by the significant people in his life, a form of self-fulfilling prophecy took place. Henry began to put his mind in the way of great things. . . Henry became one of the best men of his generation.

We can apply this concept to our every day life and business in simple ways. When we have a week, a day, an hour, or a conversation that goes bad we will begin to "Self-talk" at an alarming rate.  In that moment we have a tendency to say some negative things about ourselves, our abilities, our products, our ideas, or our companies. Of course none of these things are usually true, but in that moment they couldn't be more real.

Using a simple tool called "Affirmations" is an easy and simple way to combat the negative self-talk that could arise during a work day.

Affirmations are an expression of the person you know you need to be to achieve the results you want.

An affirmation is a self-fulfiling prophecy that should be displayed in a place you can read them daily- in the car- in the bathroom- at your desk - on the office wall- etc.

An affirmation should be:
  • In the First Person
  • Singular
  • Positive
  • Present tense
  • and Stretching
For example:
"I am the best salesperson in my department."
"I have the best product in our industry"
"I am an excellent Mother/Father."
"I have the best value in our industry."

This simple exercise can be a little uncomfortable or feel silly at first, but trust me, it can change your attitude and your world.

Don't let negative "Self-talk" destroy your goals!

-Jon Bohm

Sunday, June 22, 2008


To reach the port of success we must sail, sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it—but we must sail, not drift or lie at anchor. — Oliver Wendell Holmes

I pushed the button on the dash to my Jeep today that allows me to keep track of my ever increasingly valued gas mileage. As I drove, I could watch my mileage go up and down, depending on how heavy I was on the peddle and how much coasting I allowed the car to do.

The thing about it was, that even when I let the car coast on flat ground or up a hill it really didn't help my mileage all that much. The only time I really saw a rise in my mileage was when I was coasting down hill.

I tell you this story because it reminds me of myself at times, and so many people I have met in my life. Tomorrow is Monday, and I am gearing up for the work week. As I prepare, I realize even on Sunday night I have a choice. A choice to coast through the week, or put the peddle to the metal. And just like my Jeep, I realize that you can really only coast downhill. So unless I am willing to watch my career, my impact on the world, and my family life go down hill, I better not be doing any coasting.

Be Driven and accelerate your potential this week.

- Jon Bohm

Friday, June 20, 2008

Keeping the Lane Full

The worst answer available to a question of "Why?" Is just another answer that demands another "Why?"

Like when you were little and your Mom would say "Because I said so." or:
"Because you are supposed to."
"Because your manager asked you to."
"Because it is what we have always done."
"Because your boss will get a great bonus." etc.

Those aren't answers to anything. When you are leading your life or your team--do you have a clear and compelling goal, vision, or passion inducing reason for you or your team to come and work everyday?

Imagine this-

It’s an average day at work. You come home dead tired. After collapsing in your favorite chair, your spouse reminds you that tonight is your bowling league night. So, after about an hour’s rest, you go to the lanes.
Once there, you bowl for hours and throw that 16-pound ball about a hundred times, and you feel great. But think of this: if you have the manager remove the pins from the lane, how long do you think your energy and interest would last? After about four or five throws, you would be pooped and ready to go home and into bed.

Set yourself a goal. If you have a goal to reach, you will be given enough drive to achieve it.

In today's workplace a paycheck is not hardly enough to keep most employees. If a paycheck is your answer to "Why?" then your turnover will be high.

To help set some pins in the lane for you or your team ask yourself:

1. What is the big picture that we are a part of?

For example - If you make plastic bottles for Pepsi, your big picture might be to make the best soda available for consumption at ball games, at parties, at picnics and hotdog stands all over the region! You are making the world a better place one bottle at a time. As opposed to, "I put bottle "A" in blower machine "B" all day, so that I get my paycheck and go home."

2. What recognition can you give your team for a game well played?
For example: An announcement, a reward, or a bonus.

3. What "team" or "family" can you create around your work place? Do the supervisors get invited to afterwork social activities with the managers? Can you create a night out once a month that benefits team development? Or, is the Christmas party only for the managers?

4. What productivity incentives can be applied to the work day? For example: The most succesful contractor I know sets a goal before his crew every morning. If the crew completes that goal they go home. It could be noon or it could be 10 pm, it's up to them. But if they finish by noon, they get paid for the full day. His crew gets more done in a 1/2 day then most crews do in 2 full days.

It's a matter of keeping the lane full of pins.
-Jon Bohm

Thursday, June 19, 2008

If it's worth doing...It's worth doing it poorly.

Risk an ugly result and innovate!

This morning I saw an actual balloon pilot aviator's license from 1906 signed by Orville Wright himself. An icon and amazing man died this past week. He had spent a majority of his life in aviation, dating all the way back to seeing the first planes take flight.

It often blows my mind to think back on what a 100 year old person has experienced. They have seen more than my mind can imagine. They have felt, seen, and touched things that I can only read about.

And they know some things that many people today don't understand. One of those things, I believe, is the value of first time dreams, innovation, and trying something that often comes out not working very well or risks operating like a bucket of bolts.

So often business owners are gun shy about trying things that we fear may not come out well. But how well has anything that was every worth a shiny penny ever started off brilliant? Innovation doesn't start that way. It starts in Henry Ford's garage looking like an old lawnmower, or on an ugly tan piece of plastic that you give away because nobody wants to by a computer with an "apple" on it, or with 2 brothers building a bicycle with some sheets spread out running down the beach in North Carolina.

Business guru Tom Peters tells about a businessman whom he admires whose motto is “anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.” “The logic is impeccable,” says Peters. He points out that the plane the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk was nothing to write home about. Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone was not exactly up to Bell Lab standards. Yet if Bell hadn’t foisted that piece of junk on the world we wouldn’t have a vast communication network that can instantly link anyone on this planet, and if Orville and Wilbur hadn’t gone for lift-off with that bucket of bolts down at Kitty Hawk, we wouldn’t have 747s.
Peters goes on to say, “I emphasize the point because the number one failing that I see in small and large organizations is the failure to do stuff. . . In an environment where we know nothing for sure, the only antidote is, to quote my old man, ‘Don’t just stand there. Do Something!’”

Taking the time to risk failure and doing something beats using the same old thing or just standing around any day!
One of the advantages of a soft economy can be that you find yourself with some more time. So don't just stand there- do something- risk an ugly result, and innovate!

- Jon Bohm

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Adversity: Friend or Foe?

What if your greatest success in life was birthed from your darkest moment, your scariest challenge, or our biggest fear?

Adversity is your greatest friend or your biggest enemy, it all depends on how you deal with it.

I don't know what adversity you may have gone through in your life, but we all have it in one form or another. For me; surviving cancer was my greatest adversity. As tough as it was, and as much as I wouldn't wish it on anybody, I am grateful for what I learned; as well as how it shaped me into who I am today.

And strangely enough am not alone in that. On many occasions I have heard other survivors say they were thankful for the experience. Adversity makes us face internal obstacles that we would never have overcome otherwise, it makes us face external obstacles that we wouldn't have had the strength to conquer without that experience. Obstacles and adversity simply become hurdles on the track of life, that once you clear each hurdle you are that much closer to becoming who you can and want to be.

Here is a true story of just such a situation:

Anna Mary Moses loved to do needlework. She had been enjoying it since before she was married. But as she began to get older, she started to lose some of the dexterity in her hands through arthritis. By the time she was eighty, she could no longer perform even the simplest stitches. Therefore she decided to try something different—painting. The brushes were easy enough to handle, even with her arthritis, so she took it up full time, mostly painting farm and country scenes.
One day a traveling art collector stopped for a bite to eat in her town and saw her pictures in a drugstore. He decided that he liked them, and in a very short time the name of Grandma Moses was known throughout the art world. Although Grandma Moses didn’t even start painting until she was eighty years old, she was able to create over fifteen hundred works of art in her lifetime. She had an international following, and prominence as a world-class painter.
All this because she was forced to quit her favorite pastime and take up a new one.

May adversity never be a roadblock, but simply a hurdle, that once cleared puts you that much closer to achieving your goals.

-Jon Bohm

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Land of Status Quo

Change is a funny and powerful thing.

Have you ever noticed that when you or someone you know tries to break away from the "Land of Status Quo" into the "Land of Positive Change and Rewards" things can get difficult?

It is often like a bucket of crabs. When one tries to escape all the other crabs work real hard at pulling them back into the bucket. And so it is with people. When someone tries to break out of the status quo and make some real positive and big steps in the right direction, you can find yourself with some discouraging thoughts and questions as you are sucked back into the bucket.

You’ll start hearing things like:
• What are you doing?
• Why do you want to do that?
• Stay here where you belong.

As you face even more obstacles, you’ll start getting noise in your own head. You might hear yourself saying things like:
• What am I thinking?
• Can I really do this?
• This is a lot harder than I thought.
• Is it really worth it?

The Noise often gets so loud that many return to the "land of status quo" in disappointment. But when you can push through the noise and get to the "land of positive change and results" you will begin to enjoy the rewards of your hard work. And other people in the "land of status quo," who were watching you break out, often find themselves inspired to do the same. Before you know it, you are leading change in the most powerful way, by example.

Back during the days of the space race, Wernher Von Braun gave a lecture on the subject of putting a man on the moon. When his lecture was finished, he asked for questions.
A woman’s hand immediately shot up: “Why,” she asked, “can’t you forget about getting people on the moon and stay home and watch television like the good Lord intended for you to do?”

Change is what carries us into the future. If you can’t change, you will be stuck in the past.

Some questions for personal reflection:

1) Are you worrying over something you can’t change? What can you do to “let go”?
2) How might a change in perspective or outlook improve your team’s productivity?
3) What are the changes you’d like to make in your lifestyle? List the benefits of changing and the steps you’d need to take in order to change. Find people who will support you.
4) How might you be an encourager to a friend or colleague who is trying to make a change?

Change is Good.

How do you view change? Is it positive or negative?

Unfortunately many businesses view change as negative. Which means as a leader you have to find ways to address change in a positive way and keep your team moving forward. Change can be a great competitive advantage. But to exploit change to our advantage, it is important to understand why change is often resisted. So here are 4 major reason change is resisted.

1. The first is FEAR. Fear is internal; it’s in our head. There’s a saying that I am fond of, “Fear is the great crippler of human potential.” There’s also an acronym that uses the letters F, E, A, and R that defines what fear is. The acronym stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real.”

2. The second reason people resist change is because of EGO. The need to be right is a powerful human need. It’s a common problem with leaders, managers, and business owners.

3. The third reason why people resist change is to avoid CONFLICT. Because when you try to leave all the people back in the “Land of Status Quo,” you’ll create and get some conflict. It’s not fun, so many people just avoid it all together.

4. The fourth reason that people resist change is LACK OF PURPOSE. Without a sense of purpose, people become stagnant and complacent. People get burnt out.

As a LEADER of yourself and others:
1. You have to overcome your own fear and help others overcome theirs by helping them change their mental attitudes that hold them back.

2. You also have to make sure that your EGO doesn’t get in the way. By being open to new and different ways to view things, as well as being open to the feedback and insights of others, you create an atmosphere where change is not an “I’m right and your wrong” mentality.

3. Of course, conflict is best handled through proper communication. It sounds simple on the surface, but we all know that it’s not.

4. Finally, you have to develop a sense of purpose, for yourself, and your team. What’s your vision for the change? Is it something that everyone understands and has a stake in?

Today… you have to be open to change to lead, and your organization needs to constantly change and evolve to survive. Think about all the changes that we must deal with. Technology continually changes. Customers continually change. Markets continually change. Competitors continually change. Why should our organizations be any different. CHANGE OR DIE: it’s been said so often that it sounds like a cliché, but it’s true.

In today’s world, we face more change in a year then our grandparents faced in a lifetime. It can be overwhelming; it can be scary; it can be frustrating, or it can be EXHILIRATING. Regardless of how you view change, the fact remains that it is very real and it will not go away.

With such rapid changes going on around us, we must find some way to comfortably accept change and actually benefit from it.

In his book, The Renewal Factor, Robert Waterman says, our “willingness to understand and exploit change is a powerful competitive weapon.”

When you can view change as good, then you will already have a competitive edge on the market, and when you can roll change out in your organization by addressing the above major reasons of resisting change then you will reduce turnover of both your teams and your customers.

May we view change as a great strategic partner.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Action Figures

As a kid I had GI Joe's, teddy bears, and transformers. But nothing was as awesome as the super hero action figures that moved when you pushed a button. All the other toys were good to look at, but they didn't really do anything.

Relating that to business and life seems strange but I have to tell you that action is the biggest difference between success and failure on just about any given day. How easy it can be to allow obstacles like email, phone interruptions, a lazy morning, the desk top shuffling of papers, or hour long desk cleaning ritual, that keep us from actually doing anything that generates revenue or improves life. We can have some emails and clean desks to look at, but we didn't really do anything.

Success comes when we can address the obstacles that keep us unproductive- find a solution for those obstacles - and then take responsibility for what actually needs to get done. So instead of throwing our hands in the air and saying I can't get it all done "I had too many emails;" we find a solution for that obstacle and take responsibility for our own lives and results.

Columnist Herb Caen wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle sometime back: “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

- Jon Bohm

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Character Traits of Leadership

Take a moment and think of someone you really admire as a leader. What character or personality traits do they have? Go ahead, take a moment to build a mental list.

What did you come up with?
Could those qualities be developed or do you have to be born with them?

If these traits are so easy for us to identify, and they can be developed, why isn't everyone a great leader?

Can you have great leadership traits and still not be a leader? I will try to answer that question with the following incredible story:

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University

On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully.

He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter's legs and slammed his sorry butt against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

Peter had a lot of great leadership traits; courage, goodwill, curiosity, compassion, adventure, etc. But, Peter lacked the most important defining ability of a leader, the ability to get great RESULTS.

No matter what character traits you have, if you don't get results you are not a leader. Building character in your team is good, and important, but it doesn't guarantee results. You can make a leader out of anybody if you are able to help them plan, set goals, and achieve results.

Likewise success doesn't just happen. It happens when we plan, set goals, and make it happen.
-Jon Bohm

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Values and the Man in the Mirror

Today I was engaged in some conversations about helping a non for profit organization make more money. I heard some creative ideas about ways to help bring more money in the doors. But as creative as some of those ideas are, they can stretch the values of what an organization is actually in existence for in the first place. I was reminded how our values in life, business, and finance are always with us. They are always available to stand strong or be pushed to the side for something else at a moments notice.

I am in business to help make this world and everyone I work with better, and better is always a word that puts values over money. May we be encouraged to place values over money in every decision, so that at the end of the day we can look the person in the glass, square in the eye, and experience the satisfaction that comes from seeing that reflection smile with contentment.- Jon Bohm


When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Whose judgement upon you must pass.
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear to the end,
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And you may think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.

- By Dale Wimbro

Friday, May 30, 2008

Something to "Live For"

In Arthur Miller’s great play "Death of a Salesman," Willy Loman’s wife cannot understand why he should have committed suicide, especially at the time he did. For the first time in 35 years they were just about free and clear. He only needed a little salary, and he was even finished with the dentist. But a friend says, wisely, “No man only needs a little salary. When a person’s dreams and goals and purposes in life are destroyed, that person is destroyed. We not only need something to live on, we need something to live for.”

I have run into many people in my life that for one reason or another eventually begin to make statements that are so negative about life, that they begin to sound suicidal.

Sometimes business owners say things like:
"If this market doesn't turn around my life is over."
"I wish I was dead so I didn't have to think about how to recover this business."
Or "Life just isn't worth living."

I know this is negative, but unfortunately things like this are said everyday. And even more sadly, people believe those statements so much that some even follow through. This is a tragedy of tremendous and unimaginable proportions because it can be avoided.

When someone says life isn't worth living, what they are really saying is that they don't have a single goal that is worth striving for.

We are all unique, and that makes us valuable. No matter who we are, what we do, what we look like, where we go, or whether our business fails or succeeds. You are the only you this world will ever see, and when you are gone, the world has lost something so unique and special it is truly impossible to replace.

And when you bring something unique to the world's table, there will always be at any given point in time, something you can make a positive difference on, someone you can add value to, or some goal that is worth being alive long enough to see realized.

May I just encourage you that in a soft market, or in the midst of unthinkable debt, perceived failure, or even if you don't have something to "live on" you always have something to 'live for." Take a moment and find it, and when that goal is realized, find the next one.

YOU ARE THE ONLY YOU, THIS WORLD WILL EVER SEE, and that is a Strategic Advantage if I ever found one. Never stop dreaming, and find what drives you.

- Jon Bohm

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Is Knowledge Power?

As I grew up through the ranks of education I always understood that my learning, my education, would be the gateway to success in life.

And I have seen in life and business that it is no longer an option to be a life long learner. It is necessary to succeed, to stay connected to people, and to prosper financially. If you come to my Blog you will always be drinking from a flowing stream and never a stagnant pond.

The amazing thing about knowledge is that in and of it's self, it is totally useless, unless we pause to apply it.

But it's tempting to read book after book, article after article, idea after idea running through your mind, and yet leave your life and business completely unchanged.

It can be hard in life to pause after a chapter in a book and set goals to apply the knowledge. It can be hard to see or hear of the achievements of someone we know and pause to set a goal to write a letter of congratulations. It is easy to hear about a way we can get involved in helping make the world a better place, but so hard to pause and set a goal to get involved.

How easily we think things like "Wow, that's a great idea, I should;
-Get involved
-Jump in
-Apply myself to that theory
-Apply for that job
-Spend purposeful time with my kids and spouse
-Bring that idea to my boss
-Sign up for that race
-Or put that dessert down

But, how hard it can be to take the time to pause and creatively and intentionally apply it to our lives. How sad if the world remains unchanged as so many ideas, opportunities, relationships, and money float into the sky like a balloon off the wrist.

May we be the type of people that make pausing and applying habits in our lives, that change us, and the world for the better. Leaving all those around us truly refreshed by the flowing streams that never stay the same long enough to become stagnant.

Knowledge as it turns out is not power, but rather knowledge that is followed by a pause and application is.

- Jon Bohm

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Be Driven

"What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

My 2 year old son is in the stage of conversation that he asks "Why?" to everything.

As much as that is cute and annoying at the same time, it really is a good question.

To be Driven according to Webster is to be propelled forward or motivated by something. That, in essence, is the "Why" we do what we do.

For example, when I ask CEO's, or really anyone, who have a goal in mind. It is often; to reduce cost, make more money, reduce turnover, increase customer loyalty, maybe run a marathon, or lose weight. But the better question my son knows well, "Why?"

Why, or so what if you did make more money?
What would it really mean for you if you increase the bottom line?
Why put all that work into losing weight or running a marathon?

At the end of the day all things that really make an impact on us, our family, and the world have to "Be Driven" by something greater than simply making money, losing weight, or reducing turnover. I like to see those things happen more than most, but unless we are motivated and propelled by real meaning and passion, we will never reach our full potential to leave a lasting impact on the world and the next generation. Dare I say we will never reach our full potential to make money either.

At the beginning of each day we must "Be Driven" but what really matters.
What drives you?

- Jon Bohm

Monday, May 19, 2008

What is Leadership?

"The quality of leadership, more than any other single factor, determines the success or failure of an organization." - Fred Fieldler and Martin Chemers in Improving Leadership Effectiveness

What is your view of leadership?
What makes a good leader?

I talk to CEO's who consistently say they know what their people need to do, so why can't they do it?
I also hear things along the lines of "I pay great money to have great leaders, so why can't they lead?"

A lot of times the inability for people to lead is wrapped up in our definition of a leader, and we are defining and hiring based on faulty assumptions of what leadership actually is.

4 Faulty assumptions:

Some people believe being a great leader is possessing certain attributes. Often the same attributes the hiring manager or supervisors value, like great people skills, fun to work with, charismatic and motivational, high energy, smart, or even someone with a big company name in their history profile.

Some people believe that being a great leader means that you were promoted from a position as a "Super worker" in your company to a new position of "Supervisor" only to find out that "Super workers" don't often make great "Supervisors."

Some people try to train leadership into their supervisors or managers thinking that if they could just attain these certain personal attributes than they would become a great leader.

While others, having tried all the above with little success, determine leadership is born and not made. Some have it and some don't.

But what makes someone a great leader is his or her ability to set goals and ACHIEVE DESIRED RESULTS - nothing more and nothing less.

And that type of leadership is a system of developing people to get the results the organization needs. It can come in all shapes and sizes, all styles and personalities, and it guarantees success in the organization.

Leadership is no longer about possessing certain personal characteristics, but about setting goals and achieving desired results.

- Jon Bohm