Archives For Monthly Book Thoughts

Monthly book reviews.

The Gallup organization released the original StrengthsFinder assessment in 2001 with the book Now, Discover Your Strengths. It became a New York Times bestseller and sold nearly 2 million copies. Strengths are a combination of talents, knowledge, and skills. People use these traits and abilities in their daily lives to complete their work, to relate with others, and to achieve their goals. But most people don’t know what their strengths are or how to use them to their advantage.

People who do focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs. They are more productive individually and in teams, and are more than three times as likely to say they have an excellent quality of life.

Talents represent a capacity to do something, what makes you exceptional. Knowing, understanding, and valuing your talents is directly linked to achieving in classes, careers, and throughout your life.

A strength is the ability to provide consistent, near-perfect performance in a given activity. Strengths start out as talents, they’re produced when talents are refined with knowledge and skill.

The assessment consists of 34 different themes, but they have little to say about what field you should be in, and only offer some directional guidance on what role you should play within your chosen field.

The 34 themes are; (the underlined ones are mine)

  • Achiever – driven; constant need for achievement.
  • Activator – Impatient for action; “When can we start?” Must act as soon as decisions are made.
  • Adaptability – Live in the moment; expect and respond well to new demands; flexible.
  • Analytical – “Prove it”; Insist on sound ideas; objective; Like data and patterns.
  • Arranger – Like to be a “conductor”; enjoy managing variables and realigning them to find the perfect configuration; can change mind at last minute if new idea comes up.
  • Belief – Enduring core values; Often family-oriented, spiritual, value high ethics; Success more important than money and prestige.
  • Command – Take charge; easy to impose views on others; Fine with confrontation; Like things to be clear and up-front; May be labeled as intimidating or opinionated.
  • Communication – Like to explain, describe, host, speak in public and write; Take dry ideas and give them life; use examples, stories, metaphors; People like to listen to you.
  • Competition – Always comparing your performance to others; Like to win; May avoid contests where winning is unlikely.
  • Connectedness – Believe things happen for a reason; Believe everything is connected in some larger sense; Considerate, caring and sensitive; Faith in something greater.
  • Context – look at past to understand present; Like to understand backgrounds on people and ideas.
  • Deliberative – Careful; vigilant; private; Identify risks and mitigate them; Not effusive with praise.
  • Developer – See potential in others; Like to see people develop and grow.
  • Discipline – Want things to be predictable, ordered, planned; You impose structure in your life by setting up routines and working on timelines; Detail oriented.
  • Empathy – Sense emotions of others; feel what they feel; anticipate others needs; Good at expressing feelings.
  • Fairness – Balance is important; treat people the same, regardless of their situation; Don’t believe others should have an advantage because of their connections or background.
  • Focus – Need a clear destination; goal driven; stay on task; impatient with delays or tangents.
  • Futuristic – “Wouldn’t it be great if…?”; Dreamer; Energized by what the future may hold; People may look to you for hope.
  • Harmony – Look for areas of agreement; dislike conflict and friction; Peacemaker; Believe productivity is enhanced by looking for common ground rather than forcing views on others.
  • Ideation – Fascinated by ideas; like finding connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
  • Inclusiveness – Like to include people and make them feel a part of the group; Not prejudiced; No one should be ignored.
  • Individualization – Don’t like generalizations about people since everyone is different; Recognize people’s unique qualities and strengths; Good at building teams.
  • Input – Inquisitive; like to collect things; Find many things interesting.
  • Intellection – Like to think; like mental exercise; Introspective; may spend time alone thinking of questions and coming up with possible answers.
  • Learner – Love to learn as well as the process of learning; Energized by journey from ignorance to competence; Might take classes such as yoga or piano.
  • Maximizer – Like to take something good and make it great. Don’t like taking something bad and making it good; fascinated by strengths – your own and others; Focus on strengths.
  • Positivity – Generous with praise, quick to smile; always looking for the positive; Might be viewed as lighthearted; Full of energy and optimism.
  • Relator – Like to spend time with people you know; Selective with relationships since you would rather deepen your existing relationships than create superficial new ones.
  • Responsibility – Feel emotionally bound to complete commitments, or will try to make it up to someone if you don’t complete it; Excuses and rationalizations are unacceptable; Looked at as completely dependable.
  • Restorative – Love to solve problems; Enjoy the challenge of analyzing symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding a solution.
  • Self-Assurance – You have faith in your strengths; Confidence in your abilities and judgment; Always seem to know the right decisions; not easily swayed by other’s opinions.
  • Significance – Want to be viewed as significant in the eyes of others; like recognition; Want to be heard and stand out; Independent; Like to do things your way.
  • Strategic – Able to sort through clutter to find best route; See patterns; Ask “What if”; able to foresee potential obstacles in advance and select the right path.
  • Woo – Stands for “Winning Others Over”; Enjoy challenge of meeting people and getting them to like you; Drawn to strangers; Make connections, then move on to meet new people.

Each person has greater potential for success in specific areas, and the key to human development is building on who you already are.

To excel as a leader you will need to recognize, and then learn to capitalize on, each person’s unique strengths. This will keep your employees productive, energized, and satisfied. This allows you set different expectations for each person so that they can focus on their strengths. When a manager understands their employee’s strengths they can tailor their jobs and work assignments to capitalize on those strengths. When work teams are formed you can put people together that complement each other, ones with different strengths in order to establish a more productive team.

Top achievers build their lives upon their talents no matter what field they are in. They apply their strengths in roles that best suit them and invents ways to apply their strengths to their tasks.

So how do we work on our strengths? First you need to know what they are. Some times what you find easy and take for granted are actually your strengths. I would recommend that you grab a copy of the book Strengthfinders 2.0, it’s less than $20, but don’t buy used, the assessment code will be also be used. Or you can take the free online assessment (it may not be exactly as the Strengthfinders assessment).

If you’ve either done this assessment yourself or with your company, talk to your leader about your strengths and how you want to work more in those areas. If your job doesn’t consist of any of your strengths, you may consider moving to one that does. If you’re in a job that doesn’t allow you to work in your strengths you’ll probably dread going to work, achieve less on a daily basis, have fewer positive and creative moments and could even treat customers poorly.

Once you know, review your top 3 strengths and top 3 weaknesses daily, and think how you can work on your strengths, and manage your weaknesses. Weekly review the Ideas for Action for each of your strengths and how you can implement any of them throughout the week. Monthly reflect on how you’ve improved your strengths and if you’re still being impacted by any of your weaknesses. There’s also tools available online to help you implement the Strengthfinders concept into your life. The last tip, share your strengths with others so they know what areas you’re great at and instead of asking you to help them do something you’re not good at, ask you to do something that you excel in.

You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are.

Please share your strengths in the comments..



The Clifton StrengthsFinder® 2.0 Technical Report: Development and Validation


Using the Myers-Briggs® Instrument with the Gallup StrengthsFinder

Understanding Your Talents & Strengths

Take the Workuno Strengths Test Free (Similar to the Stregthfinders 2.0 assessment)

Strengthfinders books by Tom Rath

Example – Strengthfinders 2.0 Results for David Leingang

Strengths-Based Books from Gallup

Strengths Based Parenting (2016) –

First, Break All the Rules (2016) –

Strengths Based Selling (2011) –

Strengths Based Leadership (2009) –

StrengthsFinder 2.0 (2007) –

StrengthsQuest (2006) –

Teach With Your Strengths (2005) –

How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life (2004) –

How Full Is Your Bucket? Expanded Anniversary Edition (2009) –

Living Your Strengths (2004) –

Discover Your Sales Strengths (2003) –

Now, Discover Your Strengths (2001) –

StandOut 2.0

July 2, 2016 — Leave a comment

Marcus Buckingham first published “First, Break All the Rules” and then “Now, Discover Your Strengths,” brought to mainstream business the importance of focusing on developing our strengths, not our weaknesses was how we reach our true potential. He added to this conversation when he published “StandOut” which provided new insights and more important, an online assessment tool. The updated version “StandOut 2.0” gives you your own Personalized Strengths Channel, the program can send you a weekly tip, insight, or technique to help you build on that strength.

This assessment isn’t how you perceive yourself, but as others see you. The assessment does this by giving scenario examples where the choices are equally good and limited time to respond so you don’t overthink them. It uses specific “trigger words” that your true personality type will subconsciously relate to, so you’re forced to answer what first comes in your mind. The results show you how other people see you as, not how you see yourself. It claims that you can’t skew your answers to how you want your themes to come out, unlike most other assessments.

The StandOut assessment is broken down into nine different roles, unlike the 34 themes from the Strengthfinders assessment. Although the Leadership Based Strengthfinders book narrow those 34 themes down into four leadership domains strengths of Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking. More on that assessment in a future article.

The StandOut report provides you with a graph which ranks them from your strongest to weakest role. The top two roles is what your biggest contribution to the team is. Here’s an example:

StandOut Graph

The nine roles are defined as follows;

1) Advisor: You are a practical, concrete thinkier who is at your most powerful when reacting to and solving other people’s problems

2) Connector: You are a catalyst. Your power lies in your craving to bring two people or ideas together to make something bigger and better than it is now.

3) Creator: You make sense of the world–pulling it apart, seeing a better configuration, and creating it.

4) Equalizer: You are a levelheaded person whose power comes from keeping the world in balance, ethically and practically.

5) Influencer: You engage people directly and persuade them to act. Your power is your persuasion.

6) Pioneer: You see the world as a friendly place where around every corner good things will happen. Your power comes from your optimism in the face of uncertainty.

7) Provider: You sense other people’s feelings, and you feel compelled to recognize those feelings, give them a voice, and act on them.

8) Stimulator: You are the host of other people’s emotions. You feel responsible for them, for turning them around, for elevating them.

9) Teacher: You are thrilled by the potential you see in each person. Your power comes from learning how to unleash it.

My primary role is Provider and my second role is Stimulator, as replicated in the above image. The assessment gives you a snapshot of what your greatest value to the team is, here’s what mine said;

You make sure that every voice is heard. You are the expert listener. You are gifted at hearing our stories, honoring them, and then helping us to move forward. Your guiding belief is that we can answer our own questions, respond to our own challenges, find our own power to think something through and then take action. When we are down, you pull us back up and get us feeling like we have it within us to charge forward. Where some people excel at arbitration, hearing both sides and deciding for everyone, you are an excellent mediator, carefully paying attention and finding the common ground, staying positive, and keeping faith that there is indeed a resolution — all with your characteristic self-deprecating yet energizing brand of humor. You make sure that every voice is heard.

The report lists a number of different other suggestions like; You, at your most powerful; How you can make an immediate impact; How to take your performance to the next level; What to watch out for; How to win as a leader, How to win as a manager, How to win in client services and How to win in sales. It also outlines what your ideal career would be, here’s mine as other people see me;

You make us feel that we have it within us to charge forward. When we are down, you pull us back up and get us feeling like we have it within us to charge forward. This is a guiding belief of yours: that we can answer our own questions, respond to our own challenges, find our own power to think something through and then take action. You will find yourself drawn to psychology, sociology, and counseling, because they will help you understand more deeply why people get stuck, and which emotional triggers you can trip to release them. You will excel in these roles, or indeed any role that requires you to be an expert listener–here your gift will be to hear the person’s story, honor the story and then use it to help her move forward. This gift will also serve you well as a mediator. Not an arbitrator, but a mediator: someone who is paid to help each party stay positive, find the common ground, and keep faith that there is indeed a resolution. You will also shine as a facilitator. In this role you won’t get caught up in the content of the session, but instead will be attuned to making sure that every voice is heard, and that the mood of the room stays lively. Wherever you are, we will warm to your self- deprecating yet energizing brand of humor.

For those of you that know me, please leave a comment if you think this is true or not.

I definitely recommend this book and assessment, “StandOut 2.0” is a tool that enables you to identify your strengths, and those of your team, and act on them. It’s an easy assessment to take and gives you an online platform to display your results and receive tips to help you build on those strengths. You can get a book on Amazon for less than $15 and it comes with a code to access the online platform.


StandOut Assessment

Marcus Buckingham Wants You to StandOut

Free StandOut Strengths Assessment

StandOut 2.0: Assessing Your Strengths

Patrick Lencioni hits another home run in his latest business fable, The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues. Lencioni tells the story of Jeff Shanley, a leader who is looking for a career change and agrees to take over his families construction company. He begins to work with his uncle Bob to slowly transition into the CEO position.

Not to spoil the plot of the book, Jeff becomes the CEO sooner than expected and needs to lead the company through the most trying times of its history. He realizes that the company’s culture will not support the changes needed due to behaviors that destroy teamwork. Jeff must crack the code on the virtues
that real team players possess, and then build a culture of hiring and development around those virtues. His Human Resources Officer and Chief of Operations call the process the “no jackass” rule and in order to be an ideal team player the person must embody three virtues;

Humble: Ideal team players are humble who lack excessive ego and are not concerned about their status. They share credit, emphasize team over self  and define success collectively rather than individually.model

Hungry: Ideal team players are hungry who are always looking for more things to do, to learn and looking for more responsibility to take on. Hungry people work harder because they are self-motivated and are constantly thinking about the next step and the next opportunity.

Smart: Ideal team players are smart and have common sense about people. They know what is happening in a group situation and have good judgment and intuition around the subtleties of group dynamics and the impact of their words and actions.

Like past Lencioni books he presents a practical framework and actionable tools that you can use if you’re a leader trying to create a culture around teamwork and how to identify and hire real team players, and to see how your current team embodies the three virtues.

I would consider this a must read for any leader to take not only their team, but themselves, to the next level.



The Ideal Team Player  –

The Table Group – Book Resources –

Dr. Henry Cloud’s book on integrity uses an example of a boat cutting through a lake leaving twin plumes of water. According to Cloud, we cut two swaths behind us as we travel through time: people and relationships.

Dr. Cloud suggests that our legacy is defined by our personal wake. How is the quality of our relationships—in our families and in our business? And what is the quality (and quantity) of the tasks we’ve accomplished?

According to Cloud, the quality of an individual’s personal wake is mostly determined by his or her character and integrity. They are:

  1. Trust – The ability to connection authentically with others and to build trust.
  2. Truth – An orientation toward the truth, which leads to finding and operating in reality.
  3. Results Focused – The ability to get results and finish well which leads to you reaching goals, profits and mission.
  4. Embracing the Negative – The ability to deal with the negative which leads to ending problems, resolving them, or transforming them.
  5. Growth Focused – An orientation toward growth, improving.
  6. 6. Adaptability – The ability to be transcendent which leads to enlargement to a bigger picture and oneself.

Dr. Cloud ends the book with some take away points;

  • Integrity isn’t something you “have or don’t have.” You have aspects where you do and other parts where you don’t.
  • Even the high achievers don’t have it all together, they have gaps also.
  • All of us have issues in our character that are great opportunities for growth and development, we’re all human and have flaws, accept it, embrace it, and keep on your journey.
  • When you understand where character comes from you can better understand and accept your gaps and others.
  • When you understand where character comes from you see what you can do to help you grow.
  • The last item Dr. Cloud leaves us with is hope in that we know we can improve and see results.

It really does take integrity to have the courage to meet the demands of reality. It takes leading yourself first, and I think that’s the hardest person to lead.

If you’ve read the book, what are your thoughts?

everyone_communicates__02537There are a number of books available that tells you the mechanics of communicating, which are essential fundamentals. But how do you get people to want to listen to you? Maybe even more important, how do you feel comfortable enough to communicate with others?

You have to connect with them, not just communicate. Words make up only 7 percent of what you communicate. In order to learn how to communicate at a higher level, people need to know that you care for them.

In John’s book Everyone Communicates Few Connect, he explains how the five principles in the first chapter and five practices in the last chapters can change the way you think about communications.

Here is an outline of the book;

Connecting Increases Your Influence in Every Situation

If you can connect with others—one-on-one, in groups, and with an audience—your sense of community improves, your ability to create teamwork increases, and your influence skyrockets. People who connect with others have better relationships, experience less conflict, and get more things done than those who cannot connect. Leaders who have learned the art of connection are able to communicate their ideas persuasively, establishing buy-in and attracting followers.

Connecting is All About Others

Good communicators have enough humility to recognize that they are not the expert authorities on all matters. They endeavor not to impress people with knowledge, but to connect with others authentically in order to gain the opportunity to influence them. As such, they patiently seek to understand their audience before speaking.

Connecting Goes Beyond Words

Audiences respond to how a communicator makes them feel rather than to what a communicator has to say. Our actions, tone and style communicate far more than our words. Experts estimate that 90% of the impression we convey has nothing to do with what we actually say.

Connecting Always Requires Energy

Connecting with others only happens intentionally. As a communicator, you receive a response to the extent that you invest and prepare. You can’t just step up to the microphone and expect to wow the crowd. First, you must step toward the audience relationally and emotionally by personalizing the message to suit their content.

Connecting Is More Skill Than Natural Talent

People aren’t born with the ability to connect, nor does it develop by accident. Connection happens when people hone their skills and mine their experiences. Great communicators make the most of their background, personality, natural abilities, and knowledge in order to engage an audience—whether in conversation with one person or when speaking to a gathering of thousands.

Connectors Connect on Common Ground

All positive relationships are built on common interests and values. They are founded upon agreement, not disagreement. Even so, leaders neglect searching for common ground. They make assumptions about what others want, get wrapped up in their own agenda and try to control situations rather than collaborating with their team.

Connectors Do the Difficult Work of Keeping It Simple

Life’s issues can be maddeningly complex, and a leader’s job is to bring simplicity and clarity to them. Anyone can identify a problem and point out why it’s a dilemma. However, only good leaders are able to cut through the haze of complexity to arrive at a concrete solution.

Connectors Create an Experience Everyone Enjoys

How you communicate often carries more weight than what you say. Craft your communications appealingly so that you do not bore audience. Having the right message does not matter if your delivery of it puts people to sleep.

Connectors Inspire People

The energy that people put into their work depends upon the inspirational qualities of their leader. Inspiring leaders demonstrate belief in the mission, make evident their value for the team, and communicate high expectations. Leaders who combine these qualities motivate people to contribute their utmost to the organization’s goals.

Connectors Live What They Communicate

In the short run, people judge a leader on his or her communication skills. In the long run, people follow what they see instead of what they are told. They can spot a fraud, and they will not go along with a leader unless they can trust the leader’s convictions and character.

This is one of those books, when studied, can affect your life. I know, that’s a bold statement, but having facilitated a number of Mastermind Study Groups on this book, I feel I can say it. Some of the past participant said,

“This is the best class I’ve taken in my 40 year career here.”

“This really moved me to the next level in my interactions with people. It was wonderfully practical and applicable.”

Is it time for you to take your ability to communicate to a higher level?

If so Bismarck State College’s Continuing Education, Innovation and Training (CETI) is offering this Mastermind Study Group every Thursday from 1:00 – 2:30 pm for 11 weeks, it starts on February 14, 2003. Each class consists of a video of John teaching and then class facilitated discussion on how to increase your ability to communicate and connect with others. Here’s a short sample from the first lesson on Connecting Increases Your Influence in Every Situation.

Here’s the first step to learning how to connect with people, not just communicate to them.

Continuing Education, Innovation and Training

When everyone thinks of Santa Claus, they think of the jolly old guy that flies around and passes out gifts to the children of the world. Most of us do not think of Santa Claus as a manager and leader, but that’s exactly what he is. The workshop at the North Pole doesn’t just operate on its own; it’s staffed by elves and then he has to keep the reindeer motivated and in shape all year long so they can pull his sleigh on Christmas Eve.

Edification Santa Claus


Santa’s workshop is a production facility that has to change rapidly to the needs of the children, which some elves find difficult. Santa has to hire, evaluate and sometimes even fire his elves and reindeer. If you find it hard to hire qualified people, imagine trying to hire them and to relocate to the North Pole!

Santa wrote this book for two specific reasons:

  1. To survive and prosper, you and your organization must be able to achieve “big things” throughout each year;
  2. You can’t get those big things done without effective leadership.

Getting big things done all year long isn’t about magic, it’s about leadership. That’s how to get big things done in your “workshop” all year long.

This book is easy to read and can be completed in a weekend. This book would be a great Christmas stocking stuffer for anyone who is interested in improving their leadership skills. Hear are the highlights of the book.


  • Make The Mission The Main Thing
    • Make spirits bright by building and delivering high-quality toys to good little girls and boys.
  • Focus On Your People As Well As Your Purpose
    • You can’t possibly focus on your mission without also focusing on the folks that make your mission happen.
  • Let Values Be Your Guide
    • Make sure that everyone knows what values are important, and then help everyone turn those good beliefs into everyday behaviors.


  • Hire Tough So You Can Manage Easy
    • The time spent hiring the right way is nothing compared to the time you will have to spend dealing with the wrong reindeer.
  • Promote The Right Ones… For The Right Reasons
    • Donner was a great puller, but not as the lead reindeer, Rudolph meet those criteria, and he wasn’t the best puller
  • Go For The Diversity Advantage
    • Santa hired ‘different’ toymakers, not just elves, who brought new skills, perspectives, and ideas to the workshop.


  • Plan Your Work
    • Our success – and resulting reputation for excellence – is the result of clearly defined goals combined with well-thought-out plans to accomplish those goals.
  • Work Your Plan
    • If we want to hear jingle bells ringing on the 24th, we need to set and live by goals… all year long!
  • Make The Most Of What You Have
    • Goal setting – planning your work and then working your plan – not only leads to effectiveness, it also fosters effectiveness, it also fosters efficiency… it helps you minimize waste.


  • Open Your Ears To Participation
    • Involving workers in running the operation – and in making decisions that affect them – is a key strategy for leadership success.
  • Pay Attention To How You’re Perceived
    • I pay attention to what my elves (and others) feel. Perceptions are realities for those realities in order to lead effectively.
  • Walk Awhile In Their Shoes
    • Get out into the workshop and help the elves, ask them about problems, challenges and obstacles they face and how to do things better.


  • Help Everyone Accept The Reality Of Change
    • The only constant in life and business is CHANGE, you can’t always make just red wagons, you have to abandon the status quo. As the leader, you have to make it happen with both decisiveness and sensitivity.
  • Remember: The Customer Really Is In Charge
    • Obviously, our job is to give people what they’re looking for and as their wants and needs change, we have to change along with them.
  • Teach “The Business” Of The Business
    • The more employees understand about how the business works, the more likely they are to accept and support change.


  • Help Them See The Difference They Make
    • Nothing motivates employees more than knowing they’re making a difference.
  • Do Right By Those Who Do Right
    • I’ve learned that recognizing employees – doing right by those who do right – is one of the best things I can do for my elves and reindeer … and for myself as well.
  • Expand The Reinforcement Possibility
    • Reinforcing and recognizing good work is not just management’s job, it’s everyone’s job … everyone’s responsibility.


  • Confront Performance Problems… Early
    • Deal with performance problems early and calmly – before they get big.
  • Coach “The Majority In The Middle”
    • It’s imperative that your “middle stars” don’t fall backwards, but stay as good performers, or better yet, move to the superior-performance level.
  • Don’t Forget “The Super Star”
    • As a leader, the key to dealing with superstars is to demonstrate – through words and actions – that you know and appreciate the fact that they are the nicest of “the nice.”


  • Set The Example
    • There’s no getting around it: I must model the behaviors that I expect from OTHERS. I must take the LEAD. I must be the first to “walk the talk.”
  • Establish Guidelines And Accountability
    • All of the guidelines we provide are valuable and important. But for them to have true meaning and really matter, they must be backed with accountabilities and consequences.
  • Remember That Everything Counts
    • Being good means being good all the time. There are no times-outs. No crossing your fingers behind your back. Everything counts.

To order your copy go here;


The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus


Danger in the Comfort Zone

October 4, 2012 — 6 Comments

Danger in the Comfort Zone

By Judith M. Bardwick

LeaderThis book was published in 1991, and if more businesses would’ve read and applied some of the principles, the United States may not be in the position it is today. I know that’s a bold statement, but after I share some of Ms. Bardwick’s thoughts with you, you may feel the same way.

The subtitle to this book is From Boardroom to Mailroom – How to Break the Entitlement Habit That’s Killing American Business, it sounds like in 1991 Ms. Bardwick had already recognized that America was heading for trouble.

What is entitlement anyways? Judith describes it as an attitude, one that makes people believe that they don’t have to earn what they get. They get what they want because of who they are, not because of what they do.

In the first chapter, The American Dream Shattered, she describes American supervisors who tolerate low achievement and stopped evaluating employees and discharging those who were unproductive. This is especially obvious of senior employees who plateaued in their careers.

The second chapter, When Organizations Are Too Comfortable – The Lethargy of Entitlement outlines how organizations treat all employees the same. Good performers are treated the same as poor performers, giving people to much job security. When people don’t have to earn what they get they soon take for granted what they receive, and want more instead of being grateful.

Chapter three, When Organizations Are Stressed – The Paralysis of Fear, describes how fear can cripple an organization. Fear of layoffs, takeovers or reorganizations and even major change can increase the anxiety levels in employees. When this creates fear employees productivity levels drop because worried people don’t get a lot of work done. I think the key take away from this chapter is how important it is for the leader to communicate and reassure the employees that things will be better.

When Organizations Are Revitalized – The Energy of Earningchapter explains why people prefer to be held accountable. They want to be rewarded for the hard work they do. When an organization achieves this philosophy they have developed an earning environment.

Chapter five, Understanding How People Work – The Earning Curve states that when then the level of stress is either very low or very high, productivity is very low. The key is to keep the anxiety level at the right level. The difficult part for a leader is when an individual doesn’t handle the organizations level of anxiety. The author, Judith Bardwick uses a bell curve to display the different points where an organization or individual are on the bell curve. The lower the number the more entitled a person feels and the higher the number the more fearful a person may feel.

Chapter six, Moving Away From Entitlement – Increase Pressure, is a leader’s greatest challenge. How do you start to hold employees more accountable and push them into the psychology of Earning? The three points to the left of the bell curve, where people have an entitlement attitude, starts with;

  • Confront with support (point 1) – Increase accountability and be very clear about requiring performance,
  • Confront (point 2) – Evaluate everyone fairly, by ranking them, also increase the condition of receiving awards,
  • Challenge (point 3) – Leaders need to ask people their opinion and motivate them by telling them they can do significantly better work.

In chapter seven, Moving Away From Fear – Decrease Pressure, also outlines the three points to the right of the bell curve where a leader must address employees’ fears;

  • Support by addressing emotions (point 9) – Leaders need to express that they know what’s happening and offer reassurance and support.
  • Support through success and by addressing emotion (point 8) Reassure employees that if everyone works together things will get better and they will succeed. Recognize achievement while maintaining some amount of pressure on under achievers.
  • Support through success (point 7) – Leaders need to emphasize the opportunities that lie in the future for the organization and provide goals for employees. Success will bread confidence, which will reduce anxiety levels.

Chapter eight on Maintaining the Creative Energy of Earning explains how to keep employees in the three center points of the bell curve keeping the organization in a “earning attitude.”

  • Encourage risk taking (point 4) – Leaders need to encourage risk taking and continually encourage people to stretch.
  • Focus on sustaining excellence (point 5) – This is the optimum level, organizations may need to change just for the sake of changing. Employees at this level are always looking for a challenge.
  • Encourage prudence (point 6) –These organizations enjoy risk and may put to much pressure on their employees, so they need to ease up some.

The New Paradigm outlined in chapter 9 explains how leaders need to know how to get people to work in collaborative teams and how some leaders need to changes their management style to shake out the entitlement attitude. The only way people get more, is if they do more.

Chapter ten, One a Personal Side hits home, how do we raise our kids to give them everything they want and holding them accountable for some of the same dumb things you did? Entitled adults, those 30 year old sons still living at home or an ungrateful spouse, generally don’t know they have an entitlement attitude. They tend to have either no ambition or unrealistic high goals.

The last chapter consists of questions and answers.

This is really an interesting book, I have to admit that I haven’t finished reading it cover to cover, but it is a definite must read for leaders at all levels.

What are some of examples of entitlement have you seen?

This classic book written by Dr. Donald A. Laird and his wife Eleanor in 1947 is only one of many self-improvement book they wrote together in the early/mid 1900’s.get things done

The book is made up of 21 chapters (they should’ve called it the 21 Laws for Getting Things Done), and has 310 pages. I’ll share a couple of thoughts from each one of the chapters but I encourage you to grab a copy so you can enjoy the stories and wisdom from a different generation. Although first published in 1947, you can still find copies of it.

I’ve read a number of books by Dr. Laird, he writes like John Maxwell, except his stories and sayings are from the early 1900’s and were a result of the Depression and World Wars. Like any self-improvement book, the ideas are not new, but just told in a different way.

1.     How producers are made

    • It isn’t how much you know but what you get done that the world rewards and remembers.
    • One cannot be too old to get started right.
    • “Progress is not an accident, but a necessity.” ~ Herbert Spencer

2.     Producers in spite of everything

    • If the sick and feeble can get so much done, what can limit the healthy person except himself?
    • Many of the world’s great producers have had excuses for not getting things done. But they have ignored the excuses and produced.

3.     Be dissatisfied first

    • There is magic in a goal
    • The dissatisfied person has the urge to get things done. That is why many apparently ordinary people do extraordinary things.
    • Blessed are the dissatisfied when they have a goal.
    • “My desires are limited only by my imagination.” ~George Eastman

4.     Detours that mislay initiative

    • It is not enough to work diligently. We must work at the right things and in the right direction, keep on the main roads and off the detours.
    • Many who appear to be stalled are not in a rut, just on a detour.
    • Don’t mislay your initiative – concentrate on things that count!
    • “When you have an enterprise on hand concentrate upon it wholly; forget that anything else in the world exists.” ~ Napoleon

5.     Reading that helps get things done

    • One of the best way to make money during the first thirty years of life is to invest it in reading that counts. Saved money may be lost, but hoarded knowledge sticks and multiplies at an illegal rate of interest.
    • Put less emphasis on increasing this week’s pay, more emphasis on increasing your earning power by the right reading.

6.     How to get friends who help

    • Our friends are like our reading. They can stimulate and inspire us to do something – or they can sidetrack us into detours that make accomplishment a gamble.
    • Friends may not be able to give you pull, but the right friends can help you get some push.
    • “People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy after.” ~ Goldsmith

7.     How to plan to produce

    • Planful workers accomplish more than those who are merely diligent workers.
    • Planning far ahead helps one get ahead
    • “The most interesting thing in life is to plan some big piece of work that everybody says can’t possibly be done, and then jump in with both feet and do it!” ~ Edward H. Harriman

8.     How to say no to yourself

    • People who get things done have to be TOUGH-MINDED, have to say no to tempting short-term gains and stick to their long-range goals.
    • People who get things done have to learn to say no – to others and to themselves.
    • Men who control themselves and their own appetites can control circumstances and other men.

9.     Doing the thing that you hate most

    • THE DOER likes his work because he has no unpleasant jobs hanging fire. He has already cleaned them up. He does not dread the next task, for the unpleasant task is behind him.
    • The way to get things done is to tackle the hard jobs first.
    • “Difficulties show men what they are.” ~ Epictetus

10.  How to make yourself do it

    • One of the mightiest forces for getting things done is the human will, your own will. The trick is to release the will for action. And that trick is astonishingly simple–make yourself do it.
    • You get much more done when you make yourself do it.
    • “There is no development without effort, and effort means work.” ~ Calvin Coolidge

11.  How to decide trifles quickly

    • Four Kinds of Decisiveness: The ways in which people make up their minds separate them into four classes.
      1. The die-hard conservatives, who take a long time to think over trifles and end by deciding to do nothing at all.
      2. The conservatives, who waste their energy on trifles but usually do something in the long run.
      3. The progressives, who reach decisions quickly, go into action quickly, and may change their minds quickly.
      4. The radicals, who reach decisions quickly but, instead of going into action, spend their energies in trying to justify these decisions and who are inclined to hold to their decisions so long that in time they almost qualify as members of the first class.
    • The people who get things done rarely belong to either of the extreme classes. The achievers come from the second or third classes.

12.  Getting a vigorous start

    • Energetic starters need not worry about getting things done, getting in ruts, or lacking opportunities.
    • Weak starts make deep ruts. Energetic starts pull people out of ruts.
    • It requires an extra push at the start to get going. Human self-starters give that extra starting push.

13.  The best hours for getting more done

    • Get up early three mornings and gain one day of time.
    • Being an early bird is one of the signs of genius.
    • “When a man begins to turn over it’s time to turn out.” ~ Duke of Wellington

14.  Working for quality

    • Do well and you will do more.
    • Don’t half do a job; you may be neglecting the half that is important.
    • “I cannot recall ever starting a job without thinking out how to do it better than it had been done before.” ~ John Edison Sweet

15.  Doing two things at once

    • Put your spare moments and spare hand to work.
    • Extra time is literally being showered down on us, but we have to collect the droplets and use them before they run away.
    • “No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

16.  The best place to work

    • Keep blank spaces out of your life by working any place, any time.
    • It is the work not the place that makes a workplace.
    • When we imagine it is no time or place to work, we are really trying to get out of work.

17.  Get someone else to do it

    • Little men want to do it all themselves. Big men get someone else to help them.
    • People who get things done seldom try to do it all themselves.
    • “Almost all the advantages which man possesses arise from his power of acting in combination with his fellows.” ~ John Stuart Mill

18.  Work for more than money

    • Slaves had to work, whether they liked it or not. So do many free men, as far as that goes. Their pocketbooks are in their jobs, their hearts elsewhere.
    • People who get things done see more than money in their work.
    • “The more I think and reflect, I feel that, whether I be growing richer or not, I am growing wiser, which is far better.” ~ Robert Nicoll

19.  Take on more work

    • We can do when we have to do.
    • There is merit in taking on extra work; it breaks our long-established custome of doing less than our best.
    • “Like a postage stamp, a man’s value depends on his ability to stick to a thing till he gets there.” ~ Joseph Chamberlain

20.  How to make habit your friend

    • To enjoy work, make it a habit.
    • It’s foolish just to work. Make work a habit and then play at the job.
    • “The conduct of successful business merely consists of doing things in a very simple way, doing them regularly, and never neglecting to do them.” ~ Lord Leverhulme

21.  Don’t accept alibis

    • We can all do much more than we realize.
    • There is an old French proverb that says, “He who excuses himself, accuses himself.”
    • “Better wear out than rust out.” ~ Motto of father of Samuel F.B. Morse


I struggled with which book to highlight in this months newsletter, there are a number that I have read that are great, but I wanted to check out a new one.How Successful People Think

In How Successful People Think, John C. Max­well discusses the thought processes used by successful individuals and describes how these techniques can be learned.

The real question for most of us is how to get started with better thinking.

First you need to find a good source of input to start the thinking process. This may be books, lectures, trade magazines, if you want to improve your thinking you have to improve the material to feed your thought process.

Another way toward better thinking is to spend time with thinkers. If you adopt the mastermind group concept you will encourage thinking. Not only within yourself, but you’ll be able to expand it through other people’s thoughts.

The next step in the thinking process is to think good thoughts. Bad thoughts can only lead to bad outcomes.

If you start with good thoughts then you need to act on those thoughts. This is where some people quit. Following through with action is time consuming and unless you make it a priority, will it ever get done?

Then repeat the process to continue a good thinking habit.

In the book John outlines 11 types of thinking and the important skills attrib­uted to each. Here’s a list;

    1. Cultivate Big Picture Thinking
    2. Engage in Focused Thinking
    3. Harness Creative Thinking
    4. Employee Realistic Thinking
    5. Utilize Strategic Thinking
    6. Explore Possibility Thinking
    7.  Learn From Reflective Thinking
    8. Question Popular Thinking
    9. Benefit From Shared Thinking
    10. Practice Unselfish Thinking
    11. Rely On Bottom Line Thinking

Everyone needs a great location to think great thoughts. I like to sit on my hammock swing in my backyard.

Where do you like to think? The first person to register on the Exploring Leadership Soulutions blog and share where their favorite thinking spot is will get a copy of this book.