Ownership Is Outstanding!

If you’ve read Outstanding!, then you know all about the “47 ways to make your organization exceptional.” If you haven’t, here’s the list.

Well, author’s prerogative—I’m adding a 48th:

Be Like Mike.

Our Colorado land-line and Internet provider is CenturyLink. They do a fine job for us, but I don’t go around raving about them. I have better things to do. However, I will take the time to extol the virtues of Mike, because people like him are the key to organizations being outstanding.

In the summer of 2012, Karen and I bought a “second home.” Yeah, I know, sounds snooty and uppity all at the same time. We didn’t plan to do it, but when we rented a house in Fraser, CO for a three day June get-away and saw that it was for sale, we asked, “Do we want to invest in this?”

YES!

So, we did. Overall, it’s been great, except for one thing: the DSL. Yes, even up in the mountains—I. Want. My. Internet!

3 CommentsCustomer Service, Personal Accountability

How to Hold Accountable Conversations

“If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.”

Anonymous

Conversations. We have them all the time. With family, colleagues, friends, our dog—even ourselves. They’ve been taking place since the dawn of time. Conversing with others probably began like this:

Adam: “Why did you do that!? I told you not to eat from the forbidden tree! I can’t believe you would listen to that serpent’s lies! If you’d had a mother, you’d probably be just like her!!!”

Eve: “You did it, too! And why didn’t you kill that snake? You told me weeks ago you’d handle it. It wasn’t my fault. Why can’t you be more like your father???”

Sound familiar?

22 CommentsManagement

Practicing What I Preach: The Ultimate QBQ!

I missed my flight. There is nothing more frustrating than sprinting through an airport, and though truly no fault of your own, coming smack up against a closed door at your gate.

It has always been ironic to me that we conduct in live, interactive “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” sessions all around the country, and then head to airports. With airlines. And delays. Hot beds of frustration, anger, and where the worst in people can come out.

Sadly, today was one of those days for me. It all started last night around 11pm when my airline cancelled my flight home from Louisville to my home in Madison*, WI. After almost 90 minutes on the phone, (83 of those minutes spent listening to advertisements and irritating music), I had a new flight on a different airline at an earlier time. I figured it was a blessing in disguise, getting me home to my children and husband two hours earlier than planned. I went to bed past midnight tired, but glad to have that settled.

8 CommentsPersonal Accountability

5 Questions to Eliminate Entitlement Thinking

Entitlement thinking … it’s not necessarily a new phenomenon, and yet, it seems to be running rampant in our society. Or, to be more precise, in me.

I’m shocked at how often I find myself succumbing to the temptation to wallow in a victim mindset. Why? Because I was raised in a family that taught me to avoid it, and I work for aEntitlement-thinking company that teaches others how to recognize and run from it! This shows just how easy it is to fall into the trap of entitlement—and just how needed The Question Behind the Question (QBQ) is, since it’s a tool that helps us eliminate entitlement thinking by asking better questions.

Let me share some examples of lousy questions from my life recently:

“When is someone going to teach me how to use WordPress?”

“Why don’t the 10 sit-ups a week I do make any difference?”

“Who’s going to step up to mentor me in this phase of life?”

Instead of challenging myself to takes risks, plunge ahead, seek help, or enjoy life, these questions, all in their own way, lead me to victim and entitlement thinking. And away from personal accountability.

9 CommentsPersonal Accountability

Accountable Men: Wedding Rings and Fatherhood

Outstanding men work – and practice personal accountability.

Is there anything you hate leaving the house without? Cell? Chapstick? Make-up? Driver’s license? For me, it’s always been my wallet – and my watch. The latter because I just want to know what time it is, all the time. But it turns out there’s something I miss even more when I don’t have it, I just didn’t know!

My wedding ring.

A week ago, our 30-year-old oldest – @KristinLindeen – and I were sitting in a Florida restaurant chatting with a delightful new friend, Angela. Suddenly, Kristin said, “Dad, where is your wedding ring???” I looked at my left hand and for the first time since 6/21/80, it was unadorned!

4 CommentsLeadership, Parenting, Personal Accountability

Keeping “Big Mo” Alive

We have explored in our newest QBQ! QuickNote found here some Momentum Killers. They are listed below. Can you add any others in the Comments section? Feel free to join the conversation!

<Excerpted from the QBQ! QuickNote>

Momentum Killers:

Procrastination

As we write in QBQ!, procrastination is the “friend of failure.” It crushes our momentum. People suffering from it tend to ask Incorrect Questions (IQs) such as, “When will others take care of this?” and “When will I have all the information I need?” But those with momentum ask The Question Behind the Question (QBQ): “What can I do today to be productive?” In his book, 21 Questions for 21 Millionaires: How Ordinary People Create Extraordinary Success, author Brandon Pipkin discovers most highly successful people didn’t really have a grand plan when they started out—but they sure got stuff done. The message? Do something!!!

Not doing something right the first time

This might sound obvious, but having to redo anything is a pain. Each of us has finite energy and time. Let’s not waste these resources doing something wrong just so we can figure out later how to do it right. Let’s ask these QBQs: “How can I learn new ways of doing things?” and “What can I do to be my best?” Said, differently, be outstanding in all things—or at least as often as possible. Remember the rule of a wise carpenter: Measure twice, cut once.

Letting frustration overwhelm us

Years ago when the Internet was not ubiquitous, I did something novel: I bought nine movie tickets in advance online, paying one dollar per ticket more for the service. Quite a step for this frugal fella. We then got into the family van and started driving 15 miles west to a Denver suburban theater. We never made it on that December evening. Traffic was horrible. I tried side streets, main highways, two lane country roads—but Christmas shoppers were out in full force! Why can’t people drive? So frustrating! I surely had a goal of entertaining the family and not wasting $80, but 45 minutes into a 25 minute drive, I threw up my hands in borderline anger and over the objections of people close enough to strangle me, I turned the van around and we came home—to do nothing. I was not the favorite father that night. I had let frustration overwhelm me. Where did that frustration come from? From the source of all frustration: blocked goals. As we say in our training program, “stress is a choice.” Goals might get blocked and frustration might reign, but if I had managed my stress better and not quit, things would’ve probably worked out just fine.

1 CommentPersonal Accountability