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