I Didn’t Believe This When I Heard It!

I Didn’t Believe This When I Heard It!


“Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition”

Abraham Lincoln

Last night I was at a gathering and sat next to someone who had recently attended the state annual meeting of one of the Masonic related ladies’ organizations. He told me it took; now get ready for this, SIX HOURS for Introductions.

Now I don’t know about you, but even if the room was filled with former US Presidents, foreign dignitaries, and iconic rock stars, sitting on your butt for six hours while they are introduced and allowed to make comments is cruel and unusual punishment.

Real leaders understand that the most important people in the room are those they are attempting to lead. Titles have no importance so taking time to introduce the Past Assistant Chairman Pro-Tem for Making Sure We Have Refreshments At Every Meeting person is just plain wrong.

Leaders understand that their title just gives them some immediate recognition which allows them to begin the process of proving themselves as leaders.

Leaders begin to connect to form positive relationships, they inspire and build teams, they demonstrate their worth by producing action, they identify and mentor other leaders and many leaders do all of this without a title.

Real leaders don’t need to be introduced, they are already known.

Have a Great Masonic Day!
Why is my grocery receipt two foot long?

Why is my grocery receipt two foot long?

I went to the grocery store yesterday and bought 21 items. The cashier folded my receipt multiple times and I stuck it in my pocket and when I returned home I laid it on my desk so later I could enter the amount I spent in my accounting program.

I had done this many times and always after recording the amount I just rip off the un-essential part of the receipt and file it away. This time I decided to read the receipt and after doing so decided to measure it. It was 24 3/8 inches long. The essential part to me was the total so I could just as well been satisfied with a one line receipt.

But the grocery store decided that I needed to know each item purchased, the gross price, the instant discount they applied, a summary of the total savings, the fuel points I earned and the basic rules for redemption, how much I have saved year-to-date using their customer loyalty card, where to apply for a job with them, an offer for a credit card and finally some legal stuff their attorneys made them say.

On the reverse side of the receipt were 15 coupons from other merchants which I am sure the grocery chain received revenue for placing them there. So the receipt becomes a very cost effective and clever way for the grocery to advertise. They have taken a common communication occurrence, getting a receipt for something you bought, and used it as an opportunity to present more information.

Leaders should take a lesson from the grocery store and remember that every time you have to opportunity to communicate with a follower, you should also view it as an opportunity to further connect. Connecting helps you establish influence and build trust which become essential elements when asking for commitment and effecting change in an organization.

So when you have an opportunity to communicate take a lesson from my grocery store and issue a two foot receipt.

Have a Great Masonic Day!
Why I’m glad I didn’t win the Mega Millions jackpot

Why I’m glad I didn’t win the Mega Millions jackpot

I’m not a regular lottery ticket buyer but yes I got sucked into the frenzy of the latest huge jackpot. I had a winning scratch off ticket from a batch my wife gave me as a birthday present so I spent half of it on the ticket you see here. As you can see I didn’t even come close.

I’m glad I didn’t win because I would have been forced to do some things with the money that potentially would have made me not too proud of myself. It has been said that money cannot buy happiness, but if you had more than you would ever need, it can certainly help get rid of some irritating things you encounter in life.

Here is a list of things that really grate on me and how I would have used the lottery winnings to get rid of them:

  1.  Getting rid of people who just don’t like their jobs – after hearing from friends about several instances this past week where they encountered poor customer service from people who shouldn’t been hired in the first place, I would use some lottery winnings to buy the companies they work for, fire these people and hire people who care.
  2. Getting rid of idiot drivers  – I would make a large donation to the police departments in my area to fund a traffic enforcement taskforce and their sole purpose would be to ticket drivers who:
    1. Run red lights
    2. Drive fast and erratically
    3. Text and drive
    4. Tailgate
    5. Drive will drunk
  3. Getting rid of people with poor attitudes – This potentially could be a tall order and I might need some help on coming up with the best method. One might be to offer these people a large cash bonus and a one-way ticket to a large island I purchase in the middle of the ocean somewhere.
  4. Getting rid of irritating celebrities who always seem to be in trouble – offer the public cash not to go to their movies, watch their reality shows, and cash to the news media not to write about them, take their pictures or give them a platform to air their unintelligent views.

I’ve just noticed that a pattern has emerged about what irritates me; people. Oops, that’s not good for someone who has written the past three years encouraging leaders to build strong positive relationships with people.

So maybe I should end by taking the high road. That means I have to change the title of this post to; “I wish I had won Mega Millions so I could use the money to help those who are irritating and need help.” Or something similar to that.

Since I didn’t win I’ll just follow Mother Teresa’s profound formula for living:

  •  People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway.
  •  If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.
  •  If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends; succeed anyway.
  •  If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.
  •  What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.
  •  If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway.
  •  The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.
  •  Give the world your best anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.

Have a Great Masonic Day!
Hey Miss 8, would you mind helping me out?

Hey Miss 8, would you mind helping me out?

An article in the paper this morning was about unusual first names. One name discussed that caught my eye was 7. This guy’s parents named him 7 after a man his father had become friends with in the military; his name was 7 or Sevin.

This started me thinking about leaders who do not take the time to develop strong relationships with their team and followers. So I suppose that instead of names these leaders might as well assign everyone a number, you know, for the convenience of the leader. After all, the leader has more important things to take care of rather than people.

John Maxwell defines influence as the true measure of leadership. To have influence as a leader, especially when asking for significant sacrifice and commitment, you must have established a positive meaningful relationship with your team and followers. So if you haven’t they pretty much are just numbers to you.

How does a leader start a relationship with someone? Here are some thoughts.

  • Start with the simple stuff and find out about their background. Salespeople use the acrostic FORM which stands for family, occupation, recreation and message.
  • The message part of FORM refers to their beliefs and what they value. This is where you begin to understand people on a deeper level
  • Ask what inspires them, what makes them laugh, cry and sing.
  • Then ask what they hope to accomplish in your organization; in the next year, the next five years and beyond.
  • Listen more than talk
  • Make them aware how you, as their leader, intend to help them accomplish their goals.

By investing your time in someone you establish a powerful connection and they understand that they are more than just a number. They are cared for.

So if your team members and followers are just a set of numbers you have some work to do.

Have a Great Masonic Day!
A One-way ticket to Mars

A One-way ticket to Mars

An article about a one-way mission to Mars published a week ago in the New York Post showed up in my Sunday morning paper. The article was based on an idea by two scientists who believe that a trip to Mars would be possible and one of their reasons was it would cost one-quarter of the price of a “there-and-back” mission. This article was published in a scientific journal about a year ago and since then 1000 people said they would be eager to go.

So this caused me to think; wouldn’t be great if dealing with an unproductive team member was as easy as sending them on a one-way trip, never to return again. Certainly in many cases, you as the leader of a team, may have that option and can just send them packing. But what do you do if you have no control over who’s on your team? What if your boss says they must remain on the team or if it’s a volunteer organization and they were elected to their position? What do you do then?

You are then in a position that you must find out why this member is not productive. There could be several reasons and you can begin by asking several questions:

  1. How well do I know this person? – Have I spent enough time with him to understand what motivates him or what makes him laugh or cry?
  2. Has this person been properly trained? – Was enough time taken to ensure that he knows his responsibilities and was given the information and training to succeed?
  3. Are there roadblocks or people interfering with his ability to do his job? – Have I, as the leader, made sure that significant impediments are cleared for him?
  4. Have I provided encouragement and motivation?
  5. Are the other team members supporting him and his efforts?

Answering these questions will help you understand why a team member is unproductive. Everyone wants to succeed, but sometimes things beyond their control or ability will cause them to appear unproductive. It is your job as the leader to train team members and anticipate possible problems for and solve them before they hamper progress.

So many times we complain about the non-performance of a team member without ever finding out why he is not performing. Spend time with him, understand his strengths and weaknesses, and help him develop a plan to carry out his assigned tasks.

Don’t be so eager to send someone on a one-way trip to Mars without first doing your job as a leader.

Have a great Masonic Day!


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