Stay Out Of The Ditch: Confront Today’s Values

If you grew up in snow country like I did, you were told that when driving on snow and ice, never turn away from the skid, run from the skid, or ignore the skid. Rather, we were taught to confront a skid aggressively with swift action.

car in ditch final

If your vehicle’s back-end is skidding in the snow to the right, turn the steering wheel hard to the right. If it slides to the left, turn hard left.

When we confront the skid or slide directly like this, we kill our vehicle’s momentum and win back control.

Otherwise, we end up in the ditch.

A Metaphor for Confronting Society’s Values?

This safe driving maneuver is an apt picture for those frustrated by what might be seen as a slide in our world’s values.

Possibly, each of us could directly confront the “skid” we see taking placenot by lecturing, shaming and criticizing othersbut through our own actions.

Our own choices.

In other words, through personal accountability …

Continue Reading

5 Attributes of Outstanding Colleagues

Brand new Facebook page. Join us and Be Outstanding! The Outstanding! book explores what it means for an organization to be outstanding. But what exactly makes a co-worker outstanding? People described as “outstanding” by on-the-job colleagues have many attributes. After we provide 5 below, please add to our list! 1. HUMBLE: Self-deprecating humor, takes no credit…

Continue Reading

Great Dads Are Great Teachers

DadJimmy Miller (1921-2002)—who lived all of his 80 years in the rolling hills of Upstate NY—was a teacher.

The Cornell wrestling coach and pastor in our home, the man with the Big Smile people still talk about today, was always “preaching”—in a good way.

Through stories, parables, analogies, and metaphors, he imparted wisdom—constantly.

Little did I know that his teachings would become part of every book written by his youngest.

QBQ!  Coach Jimmy’s metaphor about “being good enough to beat the ref” has helped many understand both the danger —and the “wrongness”—of blaming what we can’t control.

Flipping the Switch  Here he pops up twice. One time by sharing the truth that driving is a NO EXCUSES endeavor—just like life—and another when he went the extra mile for this 17-year-old just days after “Mom” died so unexpectedly at 51.

Continue Reading

3 Words To Say When People Share Their Dreams

littering blog pic

Would you dump everything, including the kitchen sink (look at the picture carefully), into the world? Probably not.

Yet, without knowing it, many of us do litter by dumping verbal garbage into the minds of co-workers, friends, and family.

In early 1986, after five years with Cargill Inc., I was recruited by a small, unknown training company to sell video-based management development programs to executives. When I announced I’d be leaving Cargill to office from my house, negative garbage was dumped into my mind:

Continue Reading

5 Things You Should Know About Leaders

5-2Since we all love a good list, let’s get right to it! Leaders are …

ACCOUNTABLE

Funny thing about leaders and living accountably—they don’t talk about it, they do it. Just as the truly humble don’t boast about how self-effacing they are, leaders don’t run around proclaiming that they take total ownership for their actions, results, and life. They simply live life sans blame, whining, victim and entitlement thinking, being offended all the time, or making excuses. Now that is leadership!

Have you achieved accountable living?

Continue Reading

The One Thing Accountable People Know

That 1 ThingProspecting by phone for many years, I learned that sometimes executives answer their own line. However, upon hearing me ask for a moment of their time, they’d bark, “I’M IN A MEETING!”

I learned to handle that objection, but it baffled me. My unspoken thought was—THEN DON’T ANSWER YOUR PHONE!

Not unlike someone complaining just the other day, “Your text woke me from my nap!”

THEN TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!

These small but real scenarios actually demonstrate the value in learning to ask “The Question Behind the Question” (QBQ) and bringing greater PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY into one’s life.

The one thing accountable people know is this:

Continue Reading

Do RIGHTS Trump RESPONSIBILITIES?

Cardenas
As the Denver Seminary leaders handed well-earned degrees to countless grads yesterday, with only one grad important to the Millers—son-in-law, Ricardo, who received a Master of Divinity. Congrats, Ricky!—my mind wandered.
 
But after a while, I picked up on a phrase employed repetitively:
 
“We now confer this degree upon you and with it all of the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES … ”
 
Hearing these words, questions filled my mind: Have we lost the second “R” word? Do RIGHTS trump RESPONSIBILITIES?
 
For the privilege of living in the greatest country in the world, aren’t there some things I am RESPONSIBLE for?
 
You know, stuff like:

Continue Reading

The #1 Difference Between Success and Failure

tree success-failurePlanted in the same environment with equal resources and opportunity, one tree thrives (succeeds) while one dies (fails).

Since I’m not a treeologist, I can’t explain it. However, when I walk by these starkly contrasting Colorado pines (still keeping those 43 pounds off!), I’m reminded of the difference between people who find success and those who find failure—even when immersed in the same environment.

It’s this:

People who succeed do the things people who fail won’t and don’t do.

Said another way, success is born of engaging repetitively in the right actions. We call them “good habits”—like these:

Continue Reading