Oct 192014
 

Why should I contribute to the success of others if they end up getting ahead of me?

 

Many people share this mentality and hoard information or resources that can help move their friends, peers, or organization forward. They feel over-protective of their success and actively defend it by keeping their best ideas and practices to themselves.

I think a better way to live is to share your best work, ideas, and resources without worrying about what is in it for you. The funny thing is, there is still a lot in it for you. Consider:

 

  • Not being afraid of someone else taking your work or insight and having success allows your ideas to grow and flourish without you having to be the driving force behind them all the time. The time you have in a day, and in life, is limited. Sharing your ideas multiplies your effectiveness without robbing you of your time.
  • Sharing your best ideas frees you up to create more. Once your ideas are out of your head and in the world, you can let others move forward with them while you work on newer, bigger things.
  • People will use your ideas in ways you did not imagine. They might edit something or add their own ideas to create something surprising and even better than what you originally came up with.
  • Someone else might profit from your ideas or mentoring. They may earn a raise or promotion ahead of you or might execute some of your ideas better or faster than you were able to. That can be frustrating if your only goal is to make money or achieve political gain. The game for me, though, is to build influence and help as many other people move forward as possible.

 

I think we simply do not have enough of the right kinds of leaders in the world, so I want my message and lessons to spread as far and wide as they can, as peacefully and quickly as possible. That is why I do not charge for any content on my blog (maybe that will change one day but there are no current plans to start) and it is not invitation-only.

Anyone can share my work with anyone else in pretty much any format chosen (but I do appreciate being given credit for my work). That is also why I help my peers (and sometimes my competition) apply my best practices and ideas and take what they have learned from me to their friends and peers. I do not win by making more money or becoming famous. I win by starting change in the world.

The lesson today is simple: don’t hoard your best ideas. Share them and see how many lives you can improve. Besides, what else are you going to do while you are here?

 

 


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Oct 182014
 

I sometimes hear of my competitors saying something negative about my stores, company, or team. They will tell a customer, “You can’t trust those guys. They will rip you off! They lied to you about that price.” Some of my competitors will say whatever it takes to steal a sale from my team; they think it is a competition because we call each other “competitors”. The only problem is, I am not competing against them.

New people on my team (and sometimes veteran team members) are counseled that we never say anything bad about our competitors, internal (meaning other teams in our own company) or external (meaning stores from other companies offering similar products).

In fact, I will even help my competitors if they call for advice or tips, or if I can not meet my customers’ needs. I will send my customer to another store if they have a product or service better suited to my customer. That may sound crazy, but it has always raised my team to a top performing level.

Why are we so kind to the “competition”? We aren’t, actually.

It is probably my arrogance that drives me to hold a better standard with my team. You see, I want my “competitors” to know that not only did I beat them, but I played by the rules, gave them every chance along the way, and sometimes even helped them! I want them to know they were defeated so badly by such a high-caliber of team that they never even think about trying to take me on again.

I do not mind sharing my knowledge with others because knowledge in and of itself is useless without proper application. It is not about who knows what to do; it is about who does it better, and my aim is to outclass anyone in my arena (admittedly, I do not always reach that goal but it will never stop me from trying).

If a customer tells one of my employees, “I’m so glad I found your store; those guys up the road are a bunch of crooks!”, my employees are taught to have no opinion on the matter. It is not up to us what the customer thinks of the store up the road and it does not matter anyway. We respond with empathy and a willingness to help, “Wow, it sounds like you had a bad experience there. Let’s see what we can do for you.”

When customers go to a different store and their employees have nothing but negative things to say about our employees, I take it as a good sign. For one, they must feel desperate to resort to smear-campaign tactics. Also, what kind of impression does it leave on the customer if every time they visit that store they hear something negative about someone else? Yet, when they come to my stores, they only hear positive things. What kind of experience will the customer want to keep coming back for?

I assert it is almost never okay to say something negative about your competition. If your goal is to win, then win like a hero, not like a cheat. The team with the most integrity will always be the one built to stand… and last.

As always, this advice applies to all areas of life, not just business and leadership. Integrity and never speaking ill of others is never out of style and will always help you win friends and influence people.

 

Oct 172014
 

NOTE: Nearly all my posts are family friendly or, at most, PG-13 in nature, but below this sentence is a lot of foul language, in case you are easily offended or typically not expecting that from me.

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Most people know me as someone who does not like using swear words. I am not perfect yet at never using them but I try to avoid foul language, four-letter words, swearing, or whatever you might call that type of language. It is interesting to me bad language is often referred to as “cursing”. It seems fitting. Those words seem powerful (after all, we call it “dropping an F-Bomb” not “dropping an F-Butterfly”). We use them the way gypsies from legend used curses. “F*ck you!” we say, cursing someone else, sending them poison and ill intent the same way superstitious old women might have said, “I put a curse on you and your family!” and spit on the ground.

They may be watered down today but we react to curse words as if they are actual curses with potent effect… until we don’t. Little can sour your mood faster than having someone hurl a curse at you but the more they do it, the less effect it has on you. “That’s just Bob,” we say, “He shoots off at the mouth a lot, but he’s harmless…”

I believe cursing is one of the most brainless things we do.

If you really want to speak powerfully and have your words carry weight, try giving up cursing. Lazy, thoughtless language carries almost no impact over time. Curse words come too easily. We put no effort into them, except in trying to be creative by making even more watered-down curses (I mean, really, what is a “f*ck-tard”, anyway? It is an even lazier way of saying “f*cking retard” which is already meaningless since most people do not know the actual clinical definition for being mentally retarded, and, of course, it has nothing to do with intercourse).

If you truly want to speak powerfully, name the exact evil you are frustrated with. Yelling at your estranged lover, “You are a f*cking as*hole!” is does not relieve your anger and it does not help him identify the nature of what he is doing (or how he can correct it). Instead, name exactly what he is doing. It carries the weight of an anvil being dropped on his head. Plus, being specific forces you to think and see reality clearly (thus granting you power to control it). “You are a lazy, unproductive looter wasting your life on video games.” Now, THAT’s a powerful statement and it takes more work than just saying, “You lazy bastard…”

Today’s lesson is, think before you speak, say exactly what you mean, and don’t talk too much anyway. If you are listening, then you are probably not cursing.