California School Fiscal Services
|Posted on July 21, 2016 at 6:25 PM||comments (825)|
Successful people think differently, act differently and ultimately distinguish themselves from unsuccessful people by taking a distinctive path toward their goals.
Successful people all have similar traits and similar patterns. The truth is that being successful is not far-fetched if you can learn what other successful people do. And no, it doesn’t have to be big acts of philanthropy or innovation. It can be small things, things you can do every day to reach your goals.
Here are 10 things successful people do daily:
1. They strive for consistency.
Successful people are focused on meeting their objectives and this is why they have a consistent schedule. According to Rameet Chawla, founder of Fueled, having a consistent schedule aids prioritization and allows you to keep the important tasks at the top of your list.
2. They set daily goals.
Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express, has a detailed plan for his day by writing down three things he wants to accomplish the next day. Successful people are clear about their goals and having a list to propel them to meeting these goals sets them apart.
3. They nurture the right relationships.
In his book Tribes, Seth Godin explains there are tribes everywhere hungry for connection, meaning and change. Successful people look for support and find people they can connect with intellectually. Find your tribe and collaborate, play off each other’s strengths and watch everyone grow. Jim Rohn says you are the average of your five closest friends. Who are yours?
4. They display high emotional intelligence.
Emotionally intelligent people constantly look for ways to add value and contribute to their environment. They use their emotional awareness to think progressively and find answers to problems. This quality helps them to inspire others to be successful, too. According to Steve Jobs, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it; they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.
5. They take action.
Successful people take action. Nothing is solved when you let the feeling of overwhelm set you back. Through actions you can attain results and discover a path toward your goals.
6. They practice positive self-talk.
When you use phrases like, Today is going to be a great day or I am successful, you boost your intellectual ability and improve your chances of attaining your goals for the day.
7. They stay healthy.
President Barack Obama exercises 45 minutes per day, six days a week. A healthy mind and body is the first step to success. Your body is a vehicle to everything you achieve. Such physical activity doesn’t only keep the body physically healthy; it also improves one’s mental state.
8. They meditate.
Meditation allows you to focus and be more productive. Oprah Winfrey speaks about the great benefits of meditation and how the results have included better relationships and being more creative.
9. They act on small improvements toward their major goals.
According to Henry Ford, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small pieces1.” Successful people apply the domino effect toward their ambitions by making small and continuous improvements every day.
10. They wake up early.
From Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, to Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, waking up early seems to be the tradition of successful people. So much can be done within those wee hours of the day that is much harder to accomplish when distractions, meetings and environmental noise are added.
In the end, it takes consistent practice to be successful. Success doesn’t happen by accident, but because you have committed yourself to certain activities, that will help you reach your goals.
|Posted on May 7, 2016 at 1:05 PM||comments (806)|
Don’t we all need a little reminder of how we can maintain a positive outlook? When we get super busy and things are stressful, it’s always helpful to circle back and take a little “refresher” course.
Take a few minutes and recharge your batteries. May Revise is right around the corner. Let’s get ourselves built back up so we are ready to face new challenges!
1. Let go of toxic people in your life.
2. Let go of regretting past mistakes.
3. Let go of the need to be right.
4. Let go of feeling sorry for yourself.
5. Let go of negative self-talk.
6. Let go of the need to impress others.
7. Let go limiting beliefs.
8. Let go of the need to please everyone.
9. Let go of gossip and complaining.
10. Let go of worrying about the future.
|Posted on May 4, 2016 at 7:50 PM||comments (9496)|
|Posted on May 2, 2016 at 5:00 AM||comments (11043)|
When we thinking of bullying, we usually think of children and schools, much like the depiction in this very powerful video. As a former special education teacher, my students were all too often on the receiving end of cruel and heartless bullying by their peers.
Yet equally as disturbing….adults that bully.
Why would a grown adult reduce themselves to such behavior? Don’t we expect more from adults? Most especially, don’t we expect more from “professional” adults with college degrees and real-life experience?
If you’ve arrived in a place where you are “large and in charge” and in a position of power, take a step back and ask yourself if you are taking advantage of your position. Remember, just because you might be fortunate enough to be working in a power position doesn’t mean you are any less responsible for your behavior.
Take a minute and watch this video and take a few minutes to reflect on your own behavior. If any part of this resonates with you, then it’s probably time for you to take the narrator’s advice and “stop it.”
“We are all brothers and sisters. I imagine that every person on earth has been affected in some way by the destructive spirit of contention, resentment and revenge. The spirit of envy and hatred has led to some of the most tragic stories in history.
Perhaps there are even times when we recognize the spirit in ourselves. We are not perfect. The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint, annoy, and anger. Although we cannot look into another‘s heart, we assume we know a bad motive or even a bad person when we see one. This topic of touching others could actually be taught in a two word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following…
Consider the following questions as a self-test.
Do you harbor grudge against someone else? Do you gossip, even when what you say may be true? Do you exclude, push away, or punish others because of something they have done. Do you secretly envy another? Do you wish to cause harm to someone?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to apply the two word sermon from earlier.
There is enough heartache and sorrow in this life without our adding to it through our own stubbornness, bitterness, and resentment.
Let us be kind. Let us forgive. Let us talk peacefully to each other. Let us do good to all men. “
|Posted on April 15, 2016 at 10:35 AM||comments (6397)|
I recently came across an excellent resource on establishing and maintaining credibility for supervisors. The workbook was created for law enforcement at the FBI Academy but the lessons apply to anyone in a supervision capacity. The workbook is divided into six sections and is a very easy read.
1. Critical Things To Consider
2. Interactions With All Other Persons
3. Interactions With Your Subordinates
4. Interactions With Your Peers
5. Interactions With Your Superiors
6. Critical Realities To Keep In Mind
You can access the workbook at:
|Posted on September 23, 2015 at 10:45 AM||comments (1176)|
The nature of leadership is resistance and change.
A constant struggle to bring ideas and opportunities to life and overcome
a myriad of obstacles in order to achieve goals which, once achieved, will
be replaced by a new set of goals with many of the same challenges. Even
if we by nature love the role of leadership, this perpetual cycle can wear
us down over time, sapping our creative energy and our joy.
As evidence to this reality, we can observe hundreds if not thousands of
articles, blog posts, videos and social media comments in the coming
week that will offer various approaches and solutions to all the
complexities leaders face. Not only are we confronted with the daily
struggle to understand, prioritize and act on the many decisions we will
face, but we also have the nagging worry about whether we are “doing it
right” in light of our own high expectations those of our bosses, peers,
and followers. The pressure can be enormous at times, but more often it
is the compound effect of these constant daily struggles that puts us on
How do we deal with this ceaseless demand on our mental and emotional
energy and the stress it induces?
As human beings, our first inclination is to either escape, withdraw or act
out in an effort to avoid or deflect our discomfort. While this approach
may provide some short-term relief it will, over time, add to the problem.
It is important to remember that this is a natural temptation. To judge
ourselves for being human only makes matters worse. Most leaders have
a deep desire to do good work, make a positive impact, care for their
team and excel in their mission. Yet these noble intentions alone will not
Learning to lead lightly is a series of practices that can help us manage
our energy and act in alignment with our best intentions.
10 Practices for Leading Lightly | Soul To Work
1. Care for your body – Get adequate sleep, exercise regularly and eat
healthy foods. This is the source of your physical energy and provides
the capacity to follow through on other actions that will serve your
2. Care for your mind – Learn to relax and quiet your mind through
meditation and practice putting your mind into a positive state at the
beginning of each day. Take the time to expand your mind through
reading, journaling and reflection.This is the source of your mental
energy and focus.
3. Put first things first – Using your time effectively and focusing your
attention on the things that matter most rather than the multitude of
distractions that offer themselves to you throughout the day will help
reduce your worry and frustration. Even what seems like a mindless
detour can sap the energy that you need for more important tasks.
This allows you to use your energy effectively and feel positive about
the contribution you are making.
4. Learn to be curious – Try approaching the events of the day as a
curious observer with an open mind. Make it your intention to see
what is unique about each situation and allow yourself be patient and
observe before you act. Have fun with it if you can. This allows you to
move with rather than resist the challenges of the day.
5. Keep your perspective – Remember that the vast majority of
situations you will face are not life or death, (though people around
you may be freaking out). Your body may, at first, tense up and your
mind may overreact to the story it creates but when you pause to
remember the big picture and what really matters you can move into
a more helpful state of mind. This allows you to avoid burning energy
on an imaginary crisis.
6. Let others in – Talking things through with another person, sharing
the burden and hearing a different point of view can help you
recalibrate and center your thinking so that you are better prepared
to make decisions or take action. This is how we tap into the energy
of our team and renew our capacity.
7. Choose your words – How you describe your experiences will have a
direct impact on how you feel about them and the way you will react.
You can choose to be fascinated instead of frustrated or see an
opportunity instead of an obstacle. It may sound overly simplistic, but
words do have power. Your mind and body will respond to the way
you frame the situation. This allows you to channel your energy in a
8. Show yourself compassion – You won’t always get it right, respond
appropriately or choose wisely and that’s ok. Beating yourself up will
not help the situation and will burn a tremendous amount of energy.
Treat yourself like a good friend. Offer yourself some wise counsel,
give yourself some encouragement and then move on. This allows
you to channel your energy into learning and growing.
9. Laugh and smile – Life is short and work consumes a big chunk of our
time. There is no reason we can’t enjoy ourselves in the process.
When we laugh and smile our energy is renewed. Sometimes it’s the
absurdity of the things that make us upset that can provide the best
moments of humor. This gives us a natural energy boost during the
day and helps us renew a positive mindset.
10. Commit an act of kindness – Around us every day there are people
who need encouragement, support or a kind word. If you want to
boost your emotional energy and give yourself a lift, lift up someone
else. It’s tempting to be too busy or too focused to stop and be there
for someone else, but that moment may be just the spark
that energizes the rest of your day and makes it all feel worthwhile.
This is a constant source of renewable energy and best of all it is
energy that spreads to others.
Much of the burden we shoulder as leaders is self-imposed. By learning
to lead lightly, we can be more available to the people we serve and
sustain the emotional, mental and physical energy we need to meet the
demands of our work.
|Posted on September 22, 2015 at 7:00 AM||comments (1225)|
We've all studied and read so much on leadership. This particular article is a unique look at the ever-elusive qualities that make for an effective leader. I must agree that leadership can be hard. Maybe if we take a few minutes to recognize that on the natural, leadership is challenging, then maybe it makes it a bit more tolerable during those hard times. Take a look and see how it resonates with you!
Harvey Mackay SEPTEMBER 20, 2015 — 2:00PM
Leading an organization, public, private or nonprofit, requires making tough decisions. It’s just part of the job, whether it’s in the job description or not.
Business school classes in leadership offer sound advice based on solid research and practical experience. In theory, it all works beautifully. You make the rules, you set the example, you toe the mark and everyone follows your lead. Training is important, even if it doesn’t prepare you for every scenario.
To become the best leader you can be, you must take advantage of every opportunity to learn and improve.
But even more important, is setting standards for what you will and will not do, and what you will and will not tolerate.
One of my favorite examples of well-defined leadership comes from Kent Keith, under what he calls the “paradoxical commandments of leadership.” I’ve added my thoughts to these “10 commandments” and hope they help you prepare your value statement.
1. People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered. Love them anyway.
I’ve learned that co-workers and customers do not always respond as I would hope. But if I want to keep them as colleagues and customers, I need to cut them some slack.
2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
If you are doing well, then you should be doing good. The good you do will outweigh the criticism you endure. In truth, it would be more selfish to abandon your good works in order to avoid conflict.
3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
There will always be those who will want to jump on your bandwagon or be jealous of your good fortune. That shouldn’t prevent you from doing the best you can do.
4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Do good because it’s the right thing to do, not because you are looking for lifetime recognition. Remember, virtue is its own reward.
5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
I maintain that lying and cheating make you more vulnerable. Being honest and frank translates into trust, which is the most important five-letter word in business.
6. The biggest men with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
Small-minded people rarely accomplish big things, and they are not leaders. Take some risks and trust your judgment.
7. People favor underdogs, but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
Top dogs were underdogs once, too. Great leaders mentor their replacements because they know they won’t be the top dogs forever.
8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
You can’t predict the future, but you can be prepared to face problems with careful planning.
9. People really need help, but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
A helping hand might get slapped away. But if you stand by and do nothing when you have the capacity to be helpful, shame on you. That’s not leadership, that’s cowardice.
10. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.
Put a smile on your face and give your detractors a big, toothy target. You never have to apologize for doing your best. You should apologize if you do less than your best.
Mackay’s Moral: When you lead with a purpose, people have a reason to follow you.
Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail [email protected]
|Posted on August 21, 2015 at 5:55 AM||comments (18392)|
Happy Friday. Enjoy this excellent article on leadership and building trust within your team. I continue to learn something new every day....who knew that "NFL" stood for "Not Very Long" from the players' perspective!
I’ve been on losing teams and high-performing ones both in the NFL and in the business world, and the common thread of success is trust. This is not a new concept. Most of us understand why trust is important but we don’t always know how to build it amongst teams comprised of people with different backgrounds, perspectives and, often, personal goals.
I’ve asked myself this question ever since the Philadelphia Eagles drafted me in 2006. For two years, I lived almost every day of my life at the NovaCare Center in downtown Philadelphia with the Eagles. On paper, we had one of the most talented football teams in the NFL. Donavan McNabb was in his prime, Brian Westbrook was an MVP-caliber running back and Brian Dawkins anchored a defense that was filled with pro bowlers.
So why didn’t we ever get past the second round in the playoffs? In my opinion, we lacked trust. Most players questioned the management’s fear-based motivational tactics. On a daily basis, we’d hear coaches say “If you don’t do XYZ better, we’ll find somebody else who will.”
Granted, every pro football player knows that the NFL stands for “not for long,” which naturally gave all of us a dose of productive paranoia. However, hearing it every day led to a locker room full of great individual athletes all operating on their own islands.
In 2008, I joined the Pittsburgh Steelers, where I learned what a trusted, champion locker room felt like. Mike Tomlin, the head coach in Pittsburgh, was the most trusted leader that I had ever been around. Rather than motivating with fear, he inspired the team with a sense of familial trust and honesty that is rarely found in any professional sport. The team went on to win the Super Bowl that year.
Fast forward to 2010 and I moved into the tech startup world. I co-founded Integrate, a marketing-software company helping world-class teams at companies such as Dell, HP, Amazon and Tipco automate their ability to acquire new customers. Over the last four years the business has grown very quickly, generating more than $100 million in revenue.
Today, there are few things that I am more focused on than using the lessons that I learned in the NFL and at Integrate to foster trust amongst my team -- trust that encourages individuals to take big risks, aim high when setting goals and enjoy the people they work with. If you’re passionate about building more trust into your culture, here are four ideas worth considering.
1. Have a “No A**hole” policy -- with no exceptions.
We have five cultural pillars at Integrate and one of them is humility. There are 30,000 days in our life if we are really lucky. Our time is too precious to be spent working with disrespectful people who belittle ideas, are constantly defensive, never take personal responsibility and bring down the moral of a team. Quickly identify these people and do everyone a favor, help them find a new home.
2. Make transparency your default.
Sugarcoating is for cookies, not for building trusted relationships. There is no better way to build trust than to be open and forthcoming with your team.
Leaders often feel uncomfortable sharing bad news because of their responsibility to inspire. However, the optimism delusion never works. I’d rather have 10 percent of my team walk out the door after I share bad company results than pretend everything is perfect. We’ve almost failed twice at Integrate. However, the only way that we got through it was by locking arms as a team and focusing only on the areas that were going to help our chances of survival.
A trusting organization doesn’t hold back on transparency, and neither do we. After every board meeting we have an all-hands meeting bringing together all employees to go over every slide of our board-meeting deck, highlighting the good, bad and the areas that need more effort.
3. Make it OK to fail.
Thomas Edison said it best when describing his process of inventing the light bulb: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Every great idea goes through several iterations. The best entrepreneurs are the ones who remain level-headed through the inevitable ups and downs of scaling a company. Failure is not a means to the end but rather a great opportunity to learn and grow.
As I learned in Philadelphia, if you consistently focus a team on the negative impacts of failing it will paralyze creativity and trust. No person or product has ever reached greatness without taking big risks and experiencing periodic moments of failure.
4. Celebrate the people who take personal responsibility.
Another cultural pillar at Integrate is personal responsibility. I grew up in a family where if I told my mom and dad the truth, I’d never get in trouble. I find it inspiring to work with people who have enough confidence and humility to take ownership of their mistakes. There are few things more draining to team morale than working with someone that always points the finger and can never take personal responsibility. I have found those people to be completely cancerous to productivity.
Build a team around your values first and the candidate’s competencies second. A good culture fit is not a like to have, it's a must have. The best relationships in life and business are built from authenticity and vulnerability, the two most important ingredients in trust.
Fall on the sword, admit mistakes and be self-aware enough to acknowledge your blind spots -- the right people will lean into that kind of leadership and want to follow. Encourage people to challenge your ideas and also care deeply about their ability to learn and grow. There is no better way to foster and maintain trust while having a lot of fun with your teammates building a great business.
|Posted on July 23, 2015 at 12:45 AM||comments (3172)|
Excellent leadership is like good health. Everyone wants to experience it. And if you are interested in reading about becoming a great leader you have 150,000 titles to choose from on Amazon -- take your pick. You can also take leadership courses, attend countless seminars, and earn an advanced degree to further your own chances.
These are all good things. But leadership is not learned on paper or in a classroom. Book knowledge is no substitute for what you learn in the daily practice of leading people: succeeding, failing, learning, falling back, making adjustments, and starting over.
Leadership is a continual growth process -- not something you can check off a list and say "Done!"
Throughout my career, I have grown as a leader. I am humbled to work alongside great leaders every day at Aha! as the CEO. But every time the team reaches the next tier of growth, it's easy to see that there is so much more to learn. The next phase of growth for every rapidly growing company is tougher than the previous one.
It is exciting to be in the business of building great products -- there are surprising leadership skills needed at every turn. I have the awesome privilege to lead a great, hard-working team of people at Aha! as we build something really special, and I learn more from that experience all the time.
Every leader will have different strengths to call upon, as well as a different set of experiences that they bring to the job.
However, I have discovered four surprising lessons that every leader can apply to the role they are in:
Leading is a privilege.
Not everyone gets the opportunity to be a leader. So if you are given the chance to lead others, think about what an awesome responsibility you have before you. You are helping others to be great at what they do. That is an incredible privilege, and not one to be taken lightly.
"Trust me" are dangerous words.
A leadership role may be thrust upon you, but trust is not automatically part of the package. You might be "in charge" but have little to show for it. Trust can be difficult to earn and easy to lose. And "trust me" are words that should never be spoken. As you proceed with honesty and do what you say, people will learn that you are a person they can depend upon.
Being a leader is not about taking all the glory. That means giving others credit when you may be the one who deserves it all, and taking the fall sometimes as well. In the process of building up others, you will also discover joy in watching them grow.
Leaders who are not flexible rarely last long. In the course of your life you will be leading different types of people and constantly drawing on different leadership skills. Some people are easy to lead, and others may present leadership challenges. You will find that different situations may also call for different kinds of leadership finesse. You will need to be transparent and adaptable to change at all times.
The most important truth I have learned is that I am never done learning about leadership. The moment I think I have learned everything is the moment that I stop growing. I want to make sure that does not happen.
That is why every day I expect to learn something new, and I challenge myself to continually improve.
I hold myself accountable to being the best leader that I can possibly be. When you approach any management role with this mindset, you will lead your own team to greatness.
|Posted on March 11, 2015 at 5:25 PM||comments (740)|
Being in a leadership positon is hard. It gets harder the higher you rise on the “food chain”. Here’s my favorite story to illustrate this point:
My superintendent came to work on Monday morning and shared that he had won a prize at a fundraising event that he had attended over the weekend. I responded excitedly, “That’s great. What did you win?” He said, “I won a boat ride for 6. The only problem is that I don’t have six friends.”
He wasn’t kidding and I knew it. As we rise up in our respective organizations, we lose friends. It’s a fact and certainly worthy of discussion but not for this blog.
Part of being an effective leader is making hard decisions. Not everyone will like us because of this. So, how can we manage conflict and deal with the reality that we are not the most popular person in the room?
Here are some simple tips that may prove helpful:
1. Remember this golden rule of conflict: The more agitated, animated, and loud that the other person acts, you need to respond by being quiet and calm. Don’t raise the stakes. Don’t make it worse by yelling back. They get loud, you get quiet. Trust me when I say it will work. You may be whispering but that’s ok. Don’t engage them, defuse them.
2. Quit thinking about what you are going to say to prove your point and start listening. Being open is more important than “winning”.
3. You can’t reason with “crazy”. We’ve all seen it. It’s the person that does not respond to reason whatsoever. You try, you explain, you provide facts, you let them vent…nothing helps. At some point, your internal voice tells you “this person is crazy and I’ve tried everything I can.” It’s time to end the meeting and separate from the person. Don’t keep trying to convince this person that you are right. It’s a waste of time. You can end the meeting in a professional and kind way but end the meeting.
4. Always keep a mindful eye for signs of an escalating conflict (It’s time to start thinking about calling law enforcement and seriously worrying about your physical safety):
• A person clenching his or her fists or tightening and untightening their jaw.
• A sudden change in body language or tone used during a conversation.
• The person starts pacing or fidgeting.
• A change in type of eye contact (psychological intimidation).
• The “Rooster Stance” – chest protruding out more and arms more away from the body.