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

The Rough Road Leads to 15 Pearls of Wisdom

Road of wisdom

The expression “You can’t get there from here” is apt for the Miller’s Colorado residence. Sort of.

Though we live on a paved street, it’s impossible to get to our home without driving over a completely neglected, poorly maintained, incredibly lumpy and bumpy dirt and mud road. There’s just no getting around it.

Of course, it’s worth traveling because home is a good place to be.

It occurs to me that our unavoidable patch of rough road is much like growing up—and I don’t mean the obvious growing up that takes place from birth to 20-years-old.

I mean the maturation of our thoughts, emotions, behaviors, beliefs, desires, and needs, as well as our reactions and responses to people and events, that <hopefully> happens from age 20 to, say, 40.

It’s said that youth is wasted on the young, but what about this?:

Continue Reading

Victim Thinking Serves Nobody!

whiny

Ever made statements like these?

  • My kids don’t listen to me. It’s not fair. (Read: Parenting the QBQ Way)
  • The bank sold us a mortgage we couldn’t afford. It’s not fair.
  • I didn’t get the promotion/raise I expected. It’s not fair.
  • Others don’t work as hard as I do. It’s not fair.
  • My boss doesn’t communicate very well. It’s not fair.
  • They cut our benefits. It’s not fair.
  • My staff isn’t motivated. It’s not fair.
  • My co-workers are difficult. It’s not fair.
  • We can’t find people who want to work. It’s not fair.
  • I’m buried in student loans. It’s not fair.
  • The neighbors have a new boat/car/pool. It’s not fair.
  • The referees were awful and we lost the game. It’s not fair.

The truth is, no one is promised “fairness.” Humans make hurtful comments, accidents occur, events take a turn we don’t expect, others are blessed with talents we lack, things happen out of our control.

Sometimes WAY out of our control—like on May 20, 1975 …

Continue Reading