Passionate entrepreneur inspiring others to find a self employed attitude!
@Aaron Nelson No worries Aaron! We all need a boost sometimes, especially when things get rough...which they have been for a while.
Book club starts on Friday! I'm super excited about it. I can't wait to hear what our National Engineering Manager has to say about Entreleadership, which he supposedly started reading last week.
I'm about half way through Linchpin and have several pages of notes to discuss with our club. Should be something!!
2 years, 5 months ago on Where Are You Looking?
@cabinart Ha! Very cool! Just did it on my first try! Amazing!
@MattMcWilliams2 Wow! To quote many an Adam Sandler movie, "YOU CAN DO IT!"
@Aaron Nelson Some people don't see this the same way. Some people are happy just keeping their heads down and focusing on the task at hand. I've come to realize that. However, some people (like you & me) need that vision to get going everyday. It's like fuel for our motivation engines!
@MattMcWilliams2 Very well said!
I also think that there is this visceral reaction to losing money where leadership can change direction too much and too often. Realistically the vision is still good; the team just needs a few reminders and a different route.
@MattMcWilliams2 Thanks for the encouragement Matt! I almost never get that here at work, so it means a lot!
I'm actually doing just that! I'm learning from Jon Acuff and others by focusing on my dreams while learning from my current situation. It's really amazing to know that I will be able to teach others by using this experience as an example.
@JoshuaWRivers That's good insight Josh! The funny thing is that the opposite can be true also. I personally tend to focus too much on the future and the destination, overlooking important details that will lead to a strong finish.
This is where my DISC profile really helped me see where I'm straying off course. I guess it's just like knowing you have a "slice" so that you can adjust for it.
My company is currently living in this exact situation (and has been for almost 4 years)! Commercial construction has yet to fully turn around and many companies are still hemorrhaging. It's painful to watch and full of chaos. However, to Chris and Matt's point, it's vital that at some point, someone has to bring focus to the future. This not only provides stability, but it provides hope, which is fundamental to the people of an organization during times of distress.
@ChrisLoCurto Seems like the concept of "everyone is in sales" is just ignored in some companies. Especially parts of the company that are heavily technical. That's no excuse though...just a reminder since I'm in a heavily technical industry.
2 years, 5 months ago on Customer Service From A…Server
@Aaron Nelson This reminds me of that commercial for Kayak.com:
They made fun of the people that don't use their site. The first time I saw that, I said, "dude, I'm never using that site, because they just made me feel like a bonehead."
I had an experience last week that reminds me of this. A newer restaurant opened downtown. I had gone once and had a pretty good experience. So this time I took my wife, children, and my Aunt out for dinner. We waited almost 20 minutes at the table before anyone even acknowledged us. We were talking, so it wasn't the end of the world. Then the waiter finally comes over and says, since you've been waiting so long, I will go ahead and get your drink orders and food orders going. "Ok", we said.
Then he proceeds to tell us that their fryer is broken so almost half of the menu is off limits. Again, we said fine, we will just order non-fried food. And we did.
Then another 20 minutes later drinks arrived at the same time as our food. At this point kids were getting frustrated, my Aunt was getting frustrated and my tolerance for less than great food was very low. And guess what? Much of the food was inedible. We asked for replacements and basically got the same thing in return.
The worst part about this was that the place was empty. There were literally 10 tables and at least 10 servers. Then the CLo moment happened. We realized that the owner had been socializing with a couple of tables in the corner the entire time! It was like he didn't even see the mess that was happening right in front of him.
Here's the thing...I could have let that all go IF there was a comment card system in place so that I knew that my experience could help make things better. But because there was not, I walked away without a word, knowing that Apple bees would be a better bet next time. And it would be a lot cheaper.
@Jon Henry Great point! I hear stories all the time about "great" sales people that are able to close the deal, but the customer finds out later that they promised something that the "company" wasn't able to deliver. Unfortunately, in the construction business this happens daily because price is often the determining factor.
@JoelFortner Maybe this server was trying like you said, but he or she should be putting himself or herself in the customers shoes. If the customer asks a question, being evasive isn't going to win any awards.
When I'm a customer, and I ask a question, I want simple expert advice before making my buying decision. If I can't get that, then I get frustrated. Any sales model that doesn't give the customer clear answers makes them feel like something is being hidden. Or in this case, that the sales person is incompetent - even if they aren't.
@Skropp I think we need Chris to give us an example of what BAH sounds like on one of these podcasts.
2 years, 6 months ago on Top 10 Posts And Commenters Of July
@lilykreitinger @JoshuaWRivers I really wanted to click the like button five or six times, but it wouldn't let me. ;)
2 years, 6 months ago on What Would You Like?
Also, love the idea of interviewing the unknowns; the silent Entreleaders. We know that so many of you exist!! If Chris doesn't start doing this, I think I will!
@Aaron Nelson Good questions Aaron! We've all had to deal with that time in our lives at one point or another. It would be interesting to here the answer on this one...
2 years, 6 months ago on Mark Sanborn Answers Your Questions
Great idea Chris! I'm sure our "team" here will have lot's of great questions. Here's one that I struggle with daily:
What's the best way you've seen for team members to influence a broken culture from a non-leadership position (besides the obvious; by being a good example)? At what point do you give up on changing said culture and move on?
Looking forward to the interview, as always!!!
@MattMcWilliams2 Hmm. I can hear our "managers" already...we don't have time for that. Then why are you in a leadership position??
Thanks for sharing! I will definitely practice this - someday!
2 years, 6 months ago on Leadership Means Babysitting
@MattMcWilliams2 That's really great advice! I'm sincerely moved by your dedication to that process.
Did you tell them up front how you wanted to the meeting to go or did you just steer it that way?
Did you have any trouble keeping it to 30 minutes?
Hey now! I love Gordon Ramsey! Although I could do without the screaming and f-bombs. Although, I'm guessing that is mostly for tv (you only see him doing that on Hell's Kitchen; which is kinda the point).
If you watch him on Kitchen Nightmares, what he says makes a lot of sense. If you really watch what he does with the teams in those failing restaurants I think you can find a lot of Entreleadership there.
He looks for the people who really care and builds their confidence. Then he tears down the owners just to get them to the point where they will listen, take responsibility, and treat their team with respect. Then, he pats them on the back and inspires them. He always talks about the customer experience and infusing passion into everything you do.
I can't get enough of that show because of all that!
2 years, 6 months ago on You’re Fired!…kinda
@Aaron Nelson Great idea Aaron! The Podcast Answer Man uses a Roland Edirol digital audio recorder to do some of his interviews (totally mobile):
Can you imagine if CLo would interview some of the business owners he runs into on a weekly basis? Could be a really cool themed podcast every once in a while???
Man Chris, you are really good at telling these food stories! I swear I get hungry every time!
I also have a hard time going to a restaurant without noticing the elements you are talking about. Let's face it, a good restaurant has everything you described!
The thing is that they can't hide any of their flaws. Maybe they can hide a dirty kitchen, but then the food isn't up to par. Maybe they can hide a bad leader, but then people won't stay for very long. And we all know that the servers have to be good, or we won't be back.
To answer your question though, I don't think it's just possible for other businesses to run this way - it's downright necessary! Anyway, if they don't, someone else will. Then they'll be wondering what went wrong.
@Bret @Aaron Nelson Totally agree Bret! I was just suggesting that Aaron right it down for himself. I know that sometimes by writing things down, it helps give me confidence to say something. Otherwise, it's easy to let self-doubt talk you out of saying something, especially if you are a "peace-maker" like he was saying.
Great point though, if you write it down, make sure to do it in code, so nobody else can read it. ;)
2 years, 6 months ago on Why Your Opinion Matters
@Skropp Funny, I got chastised for saying that too much at my last job, "to be honest". My old boss freaked out on me one day and said, "you haven't been honest with me all this time?". I've since stopped saying that. ;)
@coffeemaverick You are awesome! Your comment makes me realize how far off things are where I'm at currently. I applaud your efforts to improve yourself as a leader. I'm sure that kind of humility earns a lot of respect from your team. Amazing!
@Aaron Nelson What do you think about writing those negative things down? Maybe that would be less confrontational, at least to begin with. Of course at some point you have to face those issues. Your team and your wife will appreciate you more when you do!
@John Briese The fact that you recognize your style and put these things into practice means that you are ahead of the curve! Nice work!
This is a great story! What a tough situation. Nice job on speaking up Chris. Although, we would expect no less from you!
It's pretty easy to pick on the leader in this situation, so I won't. Instead, I think there are two things here to take note of from a team member perspective:
1.) We each need to think of anything we produce as our own product. Take ownership of it and be honest with yourself. If you owned it, would you own it?
2.) Too often we let the culture or peer pressure decide our actions. This is not the way to be great. If you were seeing your product alone, what would you say? (Clean it up first).
These aren't easy to do with a proud team behind you, nor with a head-strong leader in front of you. However, if being the best is important, sometimes you have to fight for it!
I'm sure I will be in a similar situation in the near future. I will have to remember this post and be brave!!!!
Thanks for recognizing us Chris! Always enjoy stopping by hear and learning from everyone!
2 years, 6 months ago on Top 10 Posts And Commenters Of June
@Skropp @CabinetDoork @Aaron Nelson Thanks guys!! I appreciate your enthusiasm!
p.s. Aaron- you got any stories where the cow teaches the farmer how to milk?
2 years, 7 months ago on Unexpected Leadership Lessons From A Dairy Farm
@JoshuaWRivers Definitely! God gives us these tough challenges and then if we are faithful enough, he will allow us to stand on these lessons so that we are better off in the end.
@Aaron Nelson Dude...you are very encouraging here; so I'm sure if you are this encouraging in person, your team is very lucky!!! Keep fighting for it!!
@Skropp Agreed. Cows kick hard!
@cabinart @Aaron Nelson @lilykreitinger @Jon Henry So freakin' funny! People "prolly" think I'm nuts for laughing at my computer!
Word of praise here! For those of you that have been graciously helping with my challenges here at work...
My book club just got a shot in the arm! The National Engineering Manager (which is really high up) for our company requested his "LinchPin" book early (we don't start until August). I went ahead and gave it to him, but asked if he would be interested in reading something else before. That's when I pulled out my handy copy of Entreleadership!!!
He said, is that the guy who talks on tv about finance? I said, yep. He also has the number one business podcast in iTunes! He said, sure, why not? We then had a long conversation about our culture here and some of the challenges we face. We didn't necessarily agree on everything, but the conversation was SOLID.
It's so encouraging to know that by stepping outside of my comfort zone, I have made an impact; even if it's a small one, it is impact nonetheless. I can't wait to hear his response from reading it. This is pretty much the smartest & most influential guy in the company; besides the owner.
Since I came here (CLo blog) when I was discouraged, I only thought it appropriate to come back when something good like this happened. I hope it encourages all of you too! Thanks for listening!
Insightful post Aaron! I worked on a dairy farm as a teenager and would never have thought to link leadership and cows; very true though!
There is definitely something unifying to a team when someone at the top casts his or her vision. Although, it's a lot like painting a mental target that everyone can see and shoot for. Because this is a painted mental target, it has a tendency to fade quickly and needs constant touch-up. Otherwise, you have everyone shooting for their own targets. If you are the leader in this case, and don't purposefully verbalize your vision on a regular basis, your team will soon find a need for bullet proof vests.
@lilykreitinger Lily's comments about Jesus / push - pull are really great too!!!
No better way to learn than from someone with experience! Having a "mentor" really is invaluable! Thanks for sharing @cabinart !!!
Be discreet. Hmm. I may have to have a talk with myself about that. ;)
2 years, 7 months ago on The Seven Best Business Tips I Ever Received
@Aaron Nelson One step at a time brother! You can do it!
Thanks for asking again about the book club! It's off to a good start. I got a bunch of push back on the 6:30am start time, so I think I'm going to change it to lunch time on Fridays. That should up the attendance. So far, I have five people signed up, but the response I'm getting from everyone is really positive. Most people just can't believe that there isn't a catch. Several thought I was trying to sell them something. My direct supervisor suggested I charge for it. Can you believe that? The great thing is that one of the sign-ups is a high-level director, so it will be great to get him involved in that kind of discussion.
I need to do another blog post on it.
2 years, 7 months ago on Are You A Leader Or A Boss?
@Aaron Nelson Whoa! Now that's a productive day! ;)
Nice work Lily! Short & sweet! Love how you tied it into real leaders that you've been exposed to. As usual, it reminds me that I should be on the look-out for leaders doing things right and recognize that! I'm sure I don't do that enough.
@lilykreitinger @steelegoing Way to go! This is how it starts! You are impacting everyone around you and showing true leadership by being a "passionate server". I applaud you on this! Especially on a Monday. ;)
P.S. You never know who is watching, so be careful you could accidentally get promoted. :O
@JoshuaWRivers Good point Josh! Also, I think if you ask any "leader" they will tell you that they are always learning. However, if you ask them the last time they read a book or what they do to be pro-active about becoming better, and they role their eyes, you might have a "boss".
@lilykreitinger It really does make sense! I think that is part of the problem, so I'll have to be better myself. I'll have to soften my approach. I tend to get excited about these things. I see a deficiency and automatically try to fix it. Not everyone wants things to be "fixed". The extremely difficult ones may need a beer to convince them?
@cabinart Also, my book club is going to start in August. I've got five people signed up so far to review Linchpin by Seth Godin. One of them is a National level manager. I'm hoping I can eventually introduce Entreleadership in that setting where it's a volunteer situation and negative attitudes can be challenged.
Thanks for caring! It helps to know that I'm not crazy or just falling for some gimick!
2 years, 7 months ago on 4 Ways To Inspire Your Team Members Today
@cabinart Thank you so much! The problem is that this co-worker is very reflective of the culture here. Very few would take the test, let alone pay money for it. I've got a tough battle ahead, but according to my profile, I have to be more understanding of other peoples perspective. High "C". So, I guess I'll have to learn some patience. ;)
@ChrisLoCurto Thanks for your input Chris! I will do my best! I believe that I am a lone voice in the crowd of many here, but I won't give up. My brother & wife work here, so it's worth the extra effort!
@ChrisLoCurto Ha! Andy is cool like that! Wish I could say I did it for you buddy, but the truth is, you and Dave made ME look good. ;)
Best part; one of them called me personally from Georgia and said that he had already attended Entreleadership Master Series and was a big fan also. We ended up doing some SERIOUS business together! So, thank you!!
@cabinart @JoshuaWRivers @Al Smith Just wrote it on a sticky note and put it on my monitor. Someone already asked me, "what are you going to do with that"? I said, "I'm going to treat people how I want to be treated". She said, "that's just weird". Ha! Perfect!
Help! Completely off topic. Just had a really deflating experience! I just shared my DISC personality profile to a co-worker and got laughed at and argued with. He said that it looks like another stupid thing that management will shove down our throats and forget about in two weeks.
The really bad part is that I know that our boss feels the same way. I'm trying really hard here to be a positive influence in our culture; which is very anti-new way of thinking.
I'm planning on posting my profile on my door as a way to get people thinking & talking about it. However, it is very difficult to face that kind of criticism without wanting to crawl into a hole and give up.
Looking for encouragement.
@CabinetDoork Great point! I used to use this method to get past receptionists. Never thought about it in this application. Thanks!
@JoshuaWRivers @Al Smith Me three!
@MattMcWilliams2 Good point! I love the post-it note screen example. This doesn't have to be complicated. Nice work!