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