May 22, 2007

True Partners

Filed under: Leadership, Teamwork, Relationships — Mark Sanborn @ 5:15 pm

I was talking with a potential strategic partner recently when he said, “We take partnerships very seriously. We don’t define them loosely like some do.”

I told him, “I’ve got many individuals and organizations interested in ‘partnering.’ What that usually means is that they want to eat some of my existing pie. In my book a true partner helps you bake a bigger pie.”

True partners help each other be better and more than they would have been without each other. In practice, it doesn’t often work out that way. But that should be the goal.

What have you done for your true partners lately? What have they done for you?

May 21, 2007

Living in a Glass House

Filed under: Observations, Leadership Lessons — Mark Sanborn @ 11:05 am

Jimmy Carter dissed the President’s foreign policy and international relations. He said they were the worst in presidential history.

I’ve seen more than a few polls where Carter was ranked as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history, so to have such harsh words for Bush seems a bit disingenious to me.

We all live in different kinds of glass houses, and it is easy to forget.

An Unspecified Medical Condition?

Filed under: Observations — Mark Sanborn @ 11:03 am

Sylvester Stallone got in trouble for HGH, human growth hormone. He was taking some into Australia where, apparently, you can’t legally do that. Stallone says he’s been using HGH for years for a medical condition that he didn’t name.

That may be true. I’m not going to say he isn’t telling the truth, but it stretches believability doesn’t it? If he were a little scrawny guy I’d be more prone to accept his explanation. But he is a big muscular guy who looks like he might possibly be the beneficiary of more than just good exercise.

How Not to Start a Speech

Filed under: Speaking and Communication — Mark Sanborn @ 10:59 am

“Can you hear me?”

“Is this thing on?”

Don’t wait until you’re in front of a live audience to find out if your microphone is working. You owe it to the audience to do a sound check before you speak to them. If for some reason the sound fails while you’re speaking, the audience will let you know.

May 20, 2007

Humiliation and Motivation

Filed under: Success, Motivation — Mark Sanborn @ 7:57 am

At 12 years of age, Hillary was a young man with a name that made life difficult in the Deep South. He preferred to go by HH.

A friend invited him to go swimming at the country club where his family belonged and HH arrived first. The temptation was too great and he decided to jump in the pool without his buddy. A man who knew HH was not a member threw him out and demanded to see him in his office the next day.

HH was humiliated at the scolding and treatment he received from the man and in decided he would have his own swimming pool one day.

Today, Hillary isn’t known as HH but as Zig Ziglar, a legendary speaker and author. Zig has had more than one swimming pool. The first was one foot longer than the pool at the country club in Yazoo City, Mississippi where he was evicted. All have been shaped like an arrow, a symbol from his bestselling book See You at the Top.

Setbacks and humiliation can defeat us, or they can drive us to do great things. How are you using the obstacles you encounter in your life?

May 14, 2007

Don’t Stop Celebrating

Filed under: Observations, Success, Difference Makers, Relationships — Mark Sanborn @ 10:56 am

My boys Hunter and Jack and I had a wonderful day with Darla yesterday. We wanted her to know how much we love and appreciate her, so we worked hard to make her day special. At the end of the day she told us how much she appreciated our efforts and that meant a great deal to us.

It strikes me that after a special occasion, whether mothers/fathers day, a birthday or a holiday, we stop celebrating and get back to business as usual.

We need to celebrate longer.

That doesn’t mean that the celebration has to be as formal or elaborate, but I’m sure the only thing moms like better than being appreciated on Mother’s Day is being appreciated on other days. We all like it when people remember our birthday, but who doesn’t like it when people remember them when it isn’t their birthday?

Thanksgiving is a holiday that gives us a chance to celebrate gratefulness for our blessings. Every day ought to be a day of thanksgiving.

Employee appreciation is often celebrated at a banquet or annual program. That doesn’t mean a company has discharged its obligation for a year. The best companies keep celebrating in little and creative ways all the time.

So keep on appreciating and celebrating those people who you value even after the “special day” is over.

Another Day Another Dollar

Filed under: Observations, Motivation — Mark Sanborn @ 10:48 am

That familiar sentiment was expressed in a song by Lynyrd Skynyrd, my vote for greatest southern rock band of all time. These fun-loving musicians were referring to doing another show and getting paid. Evidently even rock stars aren’t always inspired.

It strikes me that no matter how much you love what you do, there are days when it seems like a means to an end. Don’t worry about it. Life ebbs and flows. Nobody stays on top of the mountain all the time, and if they did, they’d soon grow unappreciative and probably even bored.

If  “another day another dollar” is your entire work week mantra, maybe it is time to either do your work differently or look for different work. But there are some days when we do what we need to do, knowing that as time passes, we’ll regain our enthusiasm and passion.

May 12, 2007

Your Best Trainer

Filed under: Observations — Mark Sanborn @ 10:26 am

I spoke for the Dominos Pizza Worldwide Rally this past week in Las Vegas. One of the executives asked the 3000+ attendees, “Who is the number one trainer on your team?” Several managers and owners raised their hands. “Nope. It’s mom.”

He went on to explain that by the time you’ve hired someone, the primary training–good or bad–has already been done at home by mom. Whether an employee is courteous or rude, helpful or lazy, is largely determined by the parenting he or she received.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, and moms everywhere deserve the credit that is due. They bring us into the world, care for us, raise us and set the course of our lives. Let’s appreciate the training and development experts we call “Mom.”

May 10, 2007

Goofy Quote of the Day

Filed under: Observations, Speaking and Communication — Mark Sanborn @ 1:10 pm

When interviewed about CBS Evening News being at a twenty year low in the ratings, Katie Couric said she had her “eyes wide open going in” and added, “To get out of your comfort zone is not always comfortable.”

To get out of your comfort zone is, by definition, ALWAYS uncomfortable.

Her choice of words might be a clue to the low ratings….

May 8, 2007


Filed under: Observations, Success — Mark Sanborn @ 10:03 am

Blogging is enjoyable for me. I like writing in short bursts rather than trying to create long articles or book chapters. It also disciplines me to write regularly.

I haven’t blogged much in the past week. My output has decreased. While that bothers me a little, I am reconciled to choosing quality over quantity. Some days I could blog but it wouldn’t be very stimulating for me or the reader. I could focus strictly on output and through sheer willpower churn out one or more blogs every single day. For me, that would defeat the purpose. Even if nobody reads what I write in my blog–and there are days when that might well be the case–the quality of my output is important to me.

The other consideration is that life sometimes interferes with our best plans and intentions. I’ve had a few personal and professional challenges lately that are out of the norm. I could have blindly “blogged on” but to do so would have been somewhat in denial of what I needed to focus on at the time. The time taken to blog would have been time taken from addressing what needed my attention at the moment.

Certainly we live in a world where more is said than done. Results are important, but let’s not become so fixated on output that we miss the point: creating products and services that are of value.

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