Honoring Memorial Day

A Special Tribute and Call to Action

This post is dedicated to the service members everywhere who made the ultimate sacrifice in the fight to preserve freedom. In the U.S. we recognize Memorial Day on the last Monday of May.

memorial-day

Memorial Day honors those who actually died in service to the country. Volunteering for the military carries with it the potential for the ultimate human sacrifice, one’s own life. The brave men and women who train and deploy are faced with the ever-present threat that they too may join the ranks of those we honor each year on Memorial Day.

The public response to veterans past and present has changed over the years. Today, I am blessed by the routine outpourings of respect and affection given to those returning from the Gulf War theater. I can recall soldiers returning from Vietnam who were not welcomed so warmly.

While public opinion may be fickle as decades pass, the undeniable truth is we all owe our freedom to those who fight and sacrifice.

I encourage anyone who is in a position of leadership to take a moment to reflect on the solemnity of this day. If you are an entrepreneur owning your own business, you should be grateful for the opportunity to operate your enterprise in a free commerce society.

Managers at all levels also carry a special burden often unrealized. I contend that we too should honor, support, and defend the ideals of freedom and equality in our respective places of work. I am speaking of the very freedoms our soldiers fight to defend.

Depending on the size of your company, your programs about diversity and equality may range from the subtle to the very formal. Nonetheless we as managers must shoulder the duties for maintaining standards of respect for our teams.

While HR programs often go to serve the masses of employees, if we, the leaders, assume greater responsibility for administering a safe, respectful workplace, the masses would be far more engaged and loyal.

Our veterans serve nobly to support and defend the rights we have. Let’s not let the workplace lose sight of that.

To my brothers and sisters in arms, thank you for your service. Words cannot express the gratitude. May God be with you.

 

Doug Thorpe’s company HeadwayExec is proud to have been recognized by the Veterans Administration as a Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB).

 

Want To Be A Hero?

Episode 1 - Visiting Mentor Series Featuring Roger Ferguson

I am excited to announce a new series of guest bloggers joining me from time to time to share their views of management and leadership. My first guest is a long-time friend and colleague, Roger Ferguson, Founder of ISI Human Resources Consulting.

We’ve worked together for many years. He is a certified human resource professional who has developed a brave new alternative to those old, tired employee assessment models. Here is his work….

 

If you are like most of us you dread your annual employee performance appraisal.  The process requires a significant amount of time and effort and the results are rarely significant.  You are not alone.   The research on the traditional employee appraisal process is overwhelmingly negative.  No one appears to believe that is an efficient or effective process.  Why do we continue?

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When Was Your Last Test?

Testing Leads to Graduation

It’s graduation season. Schools at all levels are hosting commencement ceremonies to congratulate the newest grads.

GraduationGraduation comes after passing a series of tests. For each course that is taken, a test is given. The purpose of the test is to determine whether you have mastered the material the instructor gave.

Life gives you tests. My biggest growth experiences have come when I “graduate” to the next level.  Just like school, until I passed the test, I was likely to return to the same place and re-take the test. Once I passed, I could move on to higher levels; levels of performance, satisfaction, and growth.

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Start Your Own Blog Today

Here Are Some of the Great Tools I Use

There are plenty of reasons seasoned professionals should write their own blog. I’ve been blogging since 2009 when I founded Jobs Ministry Southwest. Back then, it was a great way to share information with the people using our services. That modest effort has grown into the site you see now with over 30,000 followers and growing.

Blog Writing

Now, as my coaching and consulting businesses have grown, I use the blog to share articles on key topics for managers and business leaders. Blogging helps cast a wider net, spreading your message across the globe.

I am going to share some of the quick and easy steps I use to build the blog.

  1. Domain names – Get yourself a custom domain name. Most registrations may cost you $12 a year (or close to that). Reasonably cheap for the significance of pointing to a brand name you build.
  2. SiteGround Hosting services – Unless you have a brother in-law with insane computer networking skills, subscribe to a hosting service. I’ve tried several, but have landed on SiteGround. I love their responsiveness (the site loads quickly despite a lot of overhead/functionality going on). To check them out click this link.
    Web Hosting
  3. WordPress – I’ve become a huge fan of the WordPress framework. The themes and templates give you so many options. Some custom themes you buy, but many are free. The free ones can give you a great looking site to get you started.
  4. Plugins – These are add-on tools you can add to your WordPress suite of code. With plugins you can add awesome features like social media sharing, guest list management, shopping carts, etc.
  5. LeadPages.net – I use LeadPages to help me promote and manage product offerings, events, seminars, webinars, and my other client attraction efforts. Build your own landing pages with LeadPages. As an example, my new book pre-launch page is done with LeadPages.
  6. MailChimp – Email management tools. Using an effective email management service is vital. I’ve tried several and have landed on MailChimp. I like the easy of use and the straight forward tools they offer. I know there are other services that are equally effective, but after several disappointments (and higher costs) I landed with MailChimp.
  7. SamCart – Here’s the real jewel. SamCart is a new technology with amazing functionality built-in to the checkout process. How tired are you of benign PayPal receipt pages? SamCart gives you the horsepower to build a smart, nice looking checkout page (aka shopping cart). And… with SamCart, you can design upsell funnels for goods and services, right there at checkout. This may just be the wave of the future. Funnel your leads straight to a checkout page, bypassing those clunky, boring long sales letters. Share you key benefits and bonus items right there at checkout! If you have an upsell product pricing strategy, SamCart can make it sparkle. Plus there are integrations with most of the mainstream pant processing vendors like Stripe, Square, and PayPal.

    More About SamCart

By clicking some of the links above, I may receive a small affiliate commission from the service provider. Rest assured I would not promote anything I don’t use myself. But even if I didn’t get any commissions, I really like these tools, and I think you will too.

If you want to let me help you with organizing your online presence, send an email to my assistant Karla 

Seen Any Red Flags Lately?

Here's How to Recognize Them and Burn 'Em

What is it about red flags? You know, those subtle warning signs that a new situation is going to have problems.

8100097_sWhether a new relationship, a new business arrangement, or just a new possibility in our life, the first signs of a red flag should give us pause. Yet too often they don’t. Why is that?

The answer lies in the gap between the “known” and the “unknown”. As you move toward anything new, you will be leaving the known factors and circumstances to move into the unknown. This transition is also why people have difficulty facing change. Change causes this same movement from known to unknown.

Comfort zones come from the “known” parts of our life. Experiences from the past establish our sense of the known elements in our life. Some experiences are good, some are bad, but all are known.

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The Relationship Attraction Factors

This Trinity Can Make a Difference

Susan and I are blessed with five amazing young adult children, 4 of whom are married. We had just spent part of the Mother’s Day weekend in and around the relationships our kinds have grown. After the festivities, my wife and I went out for an impromptu date night.

Over dinner we were reflecting on relationships past and present.

As were strolled down memory lane about other relationships we knew, we talked about the reasons some couples were stronger than others or why some failed early. After checking my thoughts, I struck upon three common attractions between man and woman that cannot go without consideration.

These three attractions are:

  • Physical
  • Functional
  • Friendship

Relation-triangle

When couples meet, all three elements get tested and run through some sort of analysis. The presence of each part can add greatly to the success of the relationship. When any part is weak or missing, well…..

Physical attraction is legend. Mass marketing blankets us with information that stimulates and sometimes stymies the significance of the physical part of relationships. Not wanting to delve too deeply in this area right now, I am going to assume everyone understands there is a physical attraction that is in play.

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Leaders: What Do You Do With Your Bridges?

Build or burn?

If you live anywhere near waterways or hilly terrain, you are no stranger to bridges. These amazing structures can be beautiful as well as extremely functional.

44485365_sBridges allow us easy passage from point A to point B without traveling miles out of our way. They can be a picture of safe movement. Often the view from the bridge is spectacular.

In business and in life, our relationships require some bridging. Isn’t it true that you stand somewhat alone facing the world. To make connections with those around you, a bridge must be built.

Once the bridge is built, does it stand the test of time? Can you maintain the strength and durability of your bridge with someone else?

Here are considerations about the bridges in your life.

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I Hate Millennials

I don’t hate the people classed as Millennials. I love them! I hate the term ‘millennial’.

Young-biz

I’m not a fan of any of the social science effort to group us into generational boxes. Honestly, as a manger, I don’t even like the red-blue-green-yellow school of personality behavior teaching. Over the years I have been shown Karl Jung’s 4 personalities displayed in many different ways; DISC, RYBG, INTJ, whatever….

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Elite 8, Part II

After my blog about my Elite 8 Leadership Principles, I got a call from one of my closest colleagues in the coaching and speaking biz.

Elite 8

As close friends can do, he came on very strong about calling my lesson on the Elite 8 “nice, but not reality”. Hmmmm, tell me more I said.

He proceeded to remind me that workers everywhere get blasted routinely. “Forgive and forget” he questioned, “Really?” He shared several stories about how some of his clients were in a troubling spiral for finding new jobs after having gotten “blown up at their last place of employment” (not literally of course).

I listened intently, then reminded him that my target audience is not employees in general, but rather the managers and leaders who are tasked with guiding the employee.

So, to my friend’s well intended commentary, I say this:

1. My Elite 8 are principles meant to build a foundation. I said as much in the opening lines. As with all construction, once the foundation is poured, winds, rain, and lightening may come. The strength of the foundation helps to determine how soundly the rest of the structure remains after the storms blow.

As for employees getting “blown up at work” no doubt that happens. I myself have endured less than good experiences at the hand of management that had a weak foundation. My guess is the manager who did the hurtful handling did not practice his own set of principles, certainly not my list. Thus my point for teaching my Elite 8.

2. The principles give guidance for choices about how to approach management. If you have been selected or elected to perform a management role, you have to make a choice about how you will lead. My principles are ones I have found beneficial and fruitful.

When I have had a team to lead, the more consistency I can provide, living and operating by a set of foundational principles, the better the team performs. When I deviate from those principles, there are many outcomes that do not serve anyone very well.

3, Lastly, I agree wholeheartedly with my friend. The reality in today’s workplace is not employee friendly, at least in not many organizations. Workers everywhere must be on guard and vigilant about being able to protect and promote their own interests (without bragging of course –  see footnote).

My heart is for the managers who can make a difference. There can be changes made in the workplace. How? By managers who embrace the need for change and who, themselves, are willing to set a higher standard for personal performance, integrity, and professionalism.

Do this and you won’t have employees getting blindsided by bad acts.

Footnote: My esteemed friend is none other than Rick Gillis, author of “Promote!” and “Job!”. Rick is leading the charge for teaching how to promote yourself in the workplace without bragging. Great stuff!

Leadership Principles: My Elite 8

Principle based leadership is like setting a deep and strong foundation. The principles you choose to guide you will shape the character and substance of what you decide to do.

Elite-8

Whether you are leading a team at work, your family, or an organization in your community, I like these 8 principles. I call them my “Elite 8”.

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