by CoachKevin | November 26th, 2015
This October, I was fortunate to spend an hour with Dallas Maverick’s owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban, before a Maverick’s game in the American Airlines Center.
From the many interesting things he talked about, my ears perked up when someone asked him how he stays on top of all the companies he’s invested in: 70 alone on Shark Tank, and another 75 he’s no longer as active in – plus all his direct reports in the Mavericks.
“It’s very easy,” he answered. “Everybody sends me a weekly report. It needs to be weekly, and you need to tell me the bad news first. If you don’t tell me the bad news, you’re fired.”
He said he needs to know where the risks are – where to pay attention – and where to help out.
Andrew Grove, the founder of Intel, also talks about the power of weekly reports in his book…
by CoachKevin | October 6th, 2015
It’s challenging and unpredictable. At times it’s painful. There is no magical moment of ‘arriving’ and experiencing nothing but ease evermore. This is why mental resilience is a fundamental leadership skill.
About 15 years ago I started training my brain to respond differently to life. I’ve now fully convinced my brain that good things happen to me every single day. It’s radially changed my experience of life.
No matter what happens my brain automatically searches for the good in the situation. Initially I had to really help it along but now it’s my normal way of thinking.
Because of this, I waste far less energy resisting life. I move forward more easily and with less internal tension.
You have the option of choosing how you view events in your life. You don’t have to default to your brain’s first response…‘This thing is terrible!’ or ‘This thing is fantastic!’ Brains are dramatic and often…
by CoachKevin | September 30th, 2015
Most business leaders think they have a vision. They tell me things like, ‘My vision is to grow the company by 15% next quarter,’ or ‘I want to be the top competitor in our region within 5 years.’
Ok. These are excellent ideas. My question is, when you articulate your vision, does it excite you?
No really, I mean do you get a jolt of energy at the mere thought of it? Do people clamor at the chance to be involved?
If not, you don’t have a vision. You may have a desirable goal, a target for your sales team or a nifty idea. But certainly not a vision for your business.
Do not gloss over this problem.
Don’t tell yourself, ‘Yeah, I’ll get a vision next quarter when I have more time.’ You are a business leader – you’ll never have more time. Do. It. Now. Or you’re likely to remain visionless for…
by CoachKevin | August 13th, 2015
Conscious leadership not an esoteric idea. It’s a way of tuning into your mindset as a leader.
This video from The Conscious Leadership Group describes it in such a clear, powerful way.
In a nutshell, visualize a horizontal line. People below the line are closed, defensive and committed to being right. People above the line are open, curious and committed to learning.
Red alert: our brains are hardwired to be below the line. We are programmed to perceive threat in the world and kick into a survival mentality.
But leaders can’t thrive in survival mode. You have to find ways to shift your mindset so you can be as open, collaborative and creative as possible.
This is not a one-time shift – your brain will keep defaulting back to survival mode. Conscious leaders are experts at continually making the shift.
Like most important things in life, conscious leadership begins with awareness.
In this moment, right…
by CoachKevin | August 5th, 2015
Too many companies get stuck and stay stuck. Being stuck will make you think and act small. It can be the beginning of the end.
The fastest way out is to ask yourself this question: What would you do if you were fearless?
This simple question causes a potent reaction in the mind: it forces you out of your current pattern of thinking, shattering being stuck.
I learned this trick from business advisor, Paul O’Kelly who uses a series of ‘fearless’ exercises to help teams burst through challenging situations.
Paul tells the story of a Long Island company that had a period of solid growth (from 35 to 180 people), and then sales started sliding. Paul met with the whole company and worked with them on being fearless.
He asked people to break into cross-functional groups of eight. Each group was asked to share stories about when someone in the company showed fearless…
by CoachKevin | July 6th, 2015
Here’s the truest thing about leadership I can ever tell you: business is a mind game.
I’m not talking about outsmarting your competitors or creating the cleverest business plan in the history of time.
I’m talking the stories kicking around in your noggin. Stories that go unseen by the world. Stories that are mostly unconscious even to you.
These stories may sound like, ‘I’m not the kind of person who could create a $200 million company from scratch.’ Or, ‘I can’t ever trust people – at the end of the day everyone disappoints me.’ Or a million other thoughts that torture you, limit you and generally make life less than fantastic.
If you don’t think you have any troubling stories bouncing around in your brain, you’re not looking hard enough. Or you’re a Buddhist monk. I suspect it’s the former.
Leadership begins and ends between the ears. So the first step to advancing as…
by CoachKevin | June 23rd, 2015
Let’s talk about shiny pennies…those sparkling, distracting, potentially earth-shattering ideas that the idea guru in your company is always having.
CEOs tend to handle these in one of two ways:
1) Allow the idea guru to run rampant through the company, corralling resources whenever an idea sparks. This leads to confusion and detours. On the plus side it definitely makes life exciting.
2) Contain the idea guru. Keep faithfully to plan, and politely appease (aka relentlessly frustrate) your idea guru by not taking shiny penny ideas seriously.
Neither of these paths will lead you to your greatest success.
I recently met Matt Kuttler at a conference and this is a man who knows how to handle shiny pennies. He’s founded and sold two successful companies and now advises leadership teams.
Matt had a business partner, Dave, who was a consummate idea guy…shiny pennies flew left, right and center. Matt, a pragmatic finance and operations mind, needed…
by CoachKevin | June 17th, 2015
It seems so obvious that the best way to grow a company is to grow the leaders that run it. I bet if you asked 10 CEOs, 8 or 9 would consider this an obvious truth.
But sadly if you looked at how those 8 or 9 execs spend their time every day, it would not be consistent with this belief. You’d probably find they spend precious little time helping their people grow.
We know it but don’t do it. Why?
I’ll pose two questions to you
- How much time do you spend in a given week helping your people become stronger leaders?
- How much time do you spend stretching and growing your own leadership skills?
Coach Kevin’s Challenge
- What is the top thing you could do this week to stretch yourself as a leader? What would catapult you to your next level? Take action.
- Pick someone on your team. What is the number one way you…
by CoachKevin | June 10th, 2015
Nothing is quite as clarifying as staring death straight in the eye.
Every time someone I know becomes seriously ill or passes away, I get crystal-clear on how well I’m living my life. And what I need to change to live it better.
And so this article from the Daily Mirror struck me. It’s insight from a palliative nurse who shared the 5 most common regrets she hears from her dying patients.
The top 5 regrets in order are:
1) I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not what others expect of me
2) I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
3) I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
4) I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends
5) I wish I’d let myself be happier.
I challenge you to the full article and ask yourself what single thing you would change in your life so…
by CoachKevin | June 3rd, 2015
Harvard Business Review published a fantastic piece called, Reinventing Performance Reviews, that I consider a must-read for CEOs everywhere.
It’s about Deloitte’s initiative to banish the typical performance review in favour of something ‘…squarely focused on fuelling performance in the future rather than assessing it in the past.’
Deloitte is tossing some old standards out the window. No more annual reviews. No more 360 peer reviews.
They’re going simple and lean.
Here’s an example. They’ve developed a rapid method to get leaders to identify their most valuable. For each employee, immediate team leaders ask themselves:
1) Given what I know about this person’s performance and if it were my own money, would I award this person the highest compensation and bonus?
2) Given what I know about this person’s performance and if it were my own money, would I always want this person on my team?
3) Is this person at risk for low performance?