Get a view into the insights of the most influential and progressive leaders who have inspired greatness. These people are change-agents and catalysts. They have started movements, built thriving businesses, written best-selling books, and created insanely powerful brands. Provoking Your Greatness is a weekly business podcast that highlights unique stories and strategies to provoking greatness, both within yourself and in others. Each week, we discuss simple actions to increasing your ability to influence… Greatness.
The Real Magic Needed To Provoke Greatness in Your Team: An Interview with Lee Cockerell, former Executive Vice President (Retired & Inspired) Walt Disney World® Resort
Want employees who care greatly about creating remarkable results? Listen to this interview! Lee Cockerell is one of the most down-to-earth and transparent leaders I’ve been privileged to interview. Far beyond management and leadership, Lee got to the heart of what’s needed to provoke greatness in yourself and your team.
Resources from the interview:
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Zero to One
Learn more about Lee Cockerell’s speaking and online courses here.
Here’s to your greatness,
A Simple Strategy to Get What You Want Out of Your Career
“Why don’t they put more time and attention to that client? If they don’t, they might lose them.”
“Can’t they see I would be excellent in that position? Why don’t they consider me?”
“Don’t they understand that if they’d just have more team building activities throughout the year everyone would work better together? Collaboration clearly improved after our yearly retreat.”
“Why don’t they spend a little extra money on the furniture in our waiting area? At least they could provide fresh tea/coffee and relaxing (or energizing) music for guests! Seriously, don’t they understand that we’ll have a better reputation, and therefore more customers, if we did?”
Ever find yourself saying or thinking any of the above statements?
They, of course, are the responsible ones—the Owner, CEO, Executive in charge. And if they’d simply listen to you, then everyone would be better off, including them.
This is the way many of us think when faced with subpar performance, communities, election results, and even our workplaces. We see and hear a clear problem, even life-threatening, and chose to pass the buck, saying, “It’s not my responsibility.”
Those were almost the exact words Jackie said after I shared my concern about a slick spot on the pool deck where I narrowly avoided a serious injury. Concerned for others, I brought it to the attention of a long-term employee, Jackie, who casually said, “Yeah, we know about that spot.”
“You know that spot is there and you’re doing nothing to repair it?” I thought, loudly while desperately wanting to shake her and the entire leadership team.
Recognizing such an action (or even a complaint to the manager) would do no good, I’ve begun thinking about how I can help. Not because I have to—indeed, I’m a paying member—but because I love swimming there.
The idea of asking myself how I can help fix that slick spot was inspired by Dr. Marc Cesari, a chiropractor in Baltimore, Maryland. As the only employee in a new office space in Towson, Marc wanted the waiting area to be inviting, peaceful and filled with inspiration. Rather than wait for the Owner’s approval to outfit the waiting room, he bought the furniture, painted the walls and ensures cleanliness.
“Wait, what—you paid for this furniture out of your own pocket? It’s not your business—you’re his employee. Is he going to reimburse you at least?” I asked.
“Yes, I did pay for it, and without asking for permission to be reimbursed. If he can’t see the value of this furniture, then I’ll eat the cost to ensure I get to work in a space I’m proud of,” he responded almost as if everyone should behave in the same way.
Indeed, such thinking aids greatly in getting the results we want. In fact, it prompted me to send a message to the manager asking how I can help remedy the situation. Not that I know a thing about pool decks, but I’d certainly be happy to sand it down if that would help.
What do you find yourself irritated with or complaining about? What can you do today to be a part of the solution?
Here’s to Your Greatness,
P.S. Need more focus and energy in your work? Check out our brand new Gearing for Greatness package today.
Developing a Healthy Sense of Self-Worth is Imperative to Success
Running beneath the surface of our conscious awareness is a set of beliefs—sort of an autopilot of assumptions and expectations. The role models we’re exposed to as children, along with the stories we consistently hear, instruct our belief system and set us up to repeat patterns that create the results we see every day.
Do you know the beliefs you bought into as a child that continue to create your current reality?
I thought I did, and then I came face-to-face with the reality of an undesirable result I’ve recreated too many times to count.
Frustrated and angry, I’ve found myself lamenting to friends and colleagues about how inappropriate some men have been, particularly in a business setting.
“The guy’s a jerk,” they’d say, fully supporting my irritation at the situation.
Which is true—some men are jerks, though none of them have the ability to impact me without my permission.
Rather than waste any more time pointing a finger outward, I looked inward and asked myself, “How am I behaving that’s causing such interactions? Why do they think it’s acceptable to speak or act in such a way toward me?”
Over the years, I’ve asked this question dozens of times and come to the realization it was something I said or did, giving the wrong impression. I sought to adjust my behaviors and set stronger boundaries after each instance, which ultimately never worked.
I was fighting inertia—a deep-rooted set of beliefs that were instructing my behaviors. As a result, I continually found new behaviors to elicit the same result and ended up increasingly frustrated.
When I looked deeper, what I discovered was sobering and empowering at the same time.
Somewhere along my journey, I bought into the belief that I lacked inherent value as a person. For a whole variety of reasons, I never developed a healthy sense of self-worth.
Though, until this moment, I thought my confidence and esteem were quite strong!
Beneath the surface of my consciousness is a little voice that fears inadequacy, loss and rejection. It’s the little voice that grabs a hold of me and instructs me to use “proven” (learned) strategies to ensure I’m liked, valuable and worthwhile.
Said simply, that strategy was flirting.
I understand that the only way to shift this result is to get clear about two things: the value I bring and the challenges potential clients are facing.
Today, I don’t go into a meeting without having a conversation with myself about my own value, read some testimonials and plug into my own sense of worth. This clarity has given me the ability to focus on the business at hand and avoid the energy and time sink of such negative interactions.
Rather than being caught up in a game of trying to be liked, I’m finding enjoyment in uncovering real opportunities to help leaders who want more focus, energy and greater impact in the work they do. Now I have the time and energy to focus on helping the ones who want the value I bring to the table.
What results do you find yourself continually experiencing? What part do your beliefs play in these results?
Here’s to your greatness,
Leadership: Here’s How Simple it is to Promote Team Cohesion
Why do leaders struggle to create collaborative work environments where team members step up and do whatever it takes to create remarkable results?
Is it because they haven’t set a vision that is compelling enough? Maybe.
Is it because they haven’t counseled their team enough about the importance of working together, despite the weekly—no daily—reminders? Probably not.
Is it because the team hasn’t decided on a shared set of values? I doubt it.
The biggest reason leaders struggle to rally a team is less about what they’re doing and more about what they’re allowing.
While enjoying a delicious scoop of ice cream at my favorite shop in Baltimore, MD (The Charmery), I listened to Lauren, a recently minted lawyer, share about Waffle Wednesdays, a tradition she started at the small district court where she works.
“I love to bake,” she said, as she went into great deal about the pumpkin waffles she made in November, and then the stuffing waffles with cranberry sauce and gravy she made in December.
“What’s your address?” I asked, “I’m coming over for breakfast!”
A smile graced her face as she shared about how nice it is that the judge lets her bake the most exquisite breakfast for the entire team once a month. “He sits there with us for a full hour as we all get to have fun and enjoy non-work related conversations,” Lauren shared.
“Let you?” I thought, as I wondered how many leaders miss out on the cohesion that’s created from these kinds of joyful experiences.
They’re so busy preaching teamwork instead of allowing their team’s natural interests and passions to strengthen the kinds of connections that bolster results and benefit everyone.
Of course, it’s the connection that makes work easier and more enjoyable. It’s the connection that breeds compassion and encourages team members to pick up the slack when someone is struggling. It’s also the connection that encourages colleagues to challenge each other to dream bigger and act braver, netting better results for everyone involved.
As you begin thinking about how to get your team working more collaboratively throughout 2017, consider how to allow non-work related passions and interests to forge depth in connection.
Here’s to your greatness,
Why Establishing Core Values is a Waste of Time and Money
Company culture experts urge leaders to establish clearly defined values to serve as a guide for decisions and behaviors throughout an organization.
To ensure they have the best representation of the values shared among those in leadership, companies often spend gobs of cash and time on experts who ultimately produce a document aligning the most common ideals.
Mounted on the wall, and often on the website, these key words or phrases are meant to ensure everyone is on the same page about what’s expected and acceptable.
While these values are typically inspiring and alluring, they often fail to produce the intended result—a strong team environment. In many cases, these key phrases wind up serving to weaken trust, accountability, collaboration and productivity.
Stopping into Best Buy to exchange a gift I received for store credit, I headed to the customer service line. Fortunately, the line was quick and I was walking toward the exit in less than 10 minutes.
As I made my way toward the exit, I noticed a security guard patting down the jacket of a guy leaving the store and found myself concerned—“Did that guy steel something? Are they worried he stole something? Are they going to pat down my jacket before I can leave the store?”
As I approached the exit discomfort took over and I wound up doing what I typically do in situations like this—say something ridiculous.
“Can I be next? Do I get this same level of attention?”
“No, no…” both of them responded, with a sincere discomfort that was palpable.
Moments later, the young man who was patted down caught up to me and I asked him, “What is that all about?”
“All employees have to be patted down before they can exit the store,” he said, and continued with, “Which is stupid because if I wanted to steel something I certainly wouldn’t put it in my jacket.”
“Why do they do that then?” I asked, seriously needing to understand why any company would come to the conclusion that such a practice was a good idea.
“I have no idea,” he said as he threw his jacket on and headed off, “but it’s stupid.”
Later, I looked up Best Buy’s core values—
Unleash the Power of Our People Learn from Challenge and Change Show Respect, Humility, and Integrity Have Fun While Being the Best
—and found myself wondering:
How does such a lack of trust allow the power of their people to be unleashed? Have they thought about identifying theft as a cultural challenge and enlisting employees to uncover the necessary change? Does this practice show respect, or encourage humility and integrity? Does the executive team think such a practice is fun for anyone involved, including customers? How is anyone supposed to be their best with such a significant lack of trust?
While getting on the same page regarding values is important, what’s more important is consistently asking, “How do we know we’re living our values?” And, especially for those in leadership, “Are my behaviors in alignment with our values? How do I know they are?”
The key indicator to discovering the truth behind each question is looking at employee behaviors, along with customer feedback. If they aren’t living the values, perhaps it’s because the leadership is confused about where the real values are born and die.
Here’s to your greatness,
5 Questions That Will Truly Impact Your Life in 2017
The greatest teachers in life are rarely the ones with great advice. They are remarkable role models who consistently show the way, while asking the kind of questions that stop us in our tracks. Their questions infect us with the kind of curiosity that leads us in the direction of our own answers.
You know the kind of person I’m talking about. Their question pierces through our internal chatter and commands the truth we’ve been searching for.
In November of 2016, I witnessed a teacher so committed to his craft that he not only showed the way, but provoked questions in me in a way that has changed me forever.
On day two of a three-day business retreat, Mark LeBlanc dropped to his knees in front of fifteen highly ambitious business owners. With his hands clasped in prayer, he opted to forgo asking us to begin tracking specific business numbers every day, and he full out begged.
Mark is a remarkably successful businessman, speaker and business coach. He doesn’t need to beg anyone to buy from him. In fact, he gives away valuable content and turns away business until he sees a perfect fit, both energetically and practically.
Yet—he stood on that stage, dropped to his knees and sincerely begged us to take action immediately and consistently, citing specific success stories from those who followed his advice. But I’d heard many business coaches recite such facts, and make similar suggestions. So, what made Mark different?
He got down on his knees and begged us. Sincerely begged us.
He wasn’t begging to get something from us. He was begging because he’s desperately committed to our long-term success. Of course, he also knows our success is his success.
His passion and commitment to learning and sharing was infectious and instructive. It conjured up in me a set of questions that has radically altered my focus for 2017.
Here are the top 5 Questions To Add Impact to Your Life in 2017:
What result is worthy of my begging?
What result do I believe so strongly in that I would literally drop to my knees with sincere commitment of creating? This question is worth sitting with for a few days, even weeks.
When I’m not concerned with money, status, achievement or survival, what do I most enjoy doing?
What nags at me, begs for my attention and feeds my curiosity in a way that I cannot seem to shake? (Special note: Some of us have ignored our curiosity so long that it has gone dormant. The great news is it’s still there… it simply needs a little coaxing, which question 3 addresses.)
What topic(s) most intrigues me? How much time do I devote to feeding my curiosity?
Without realizing it, we often put our curiosities to the side and force ourselves to focus (as best we can) on doing the work we should and abandon the work that feeds our soul.
Fortunately, we can do both—feed our families and our curiosity. In fact, Elizabeth Gilbert wrote an exceptional book about this very topic called Big Magic.
Who do I most enjoy sharing time with?
By creating an ever-expanding list of people we enjoy sharing time with, we naturally begin looking for ways to spend more time with them. The more time we spend with them, the less time we have for those we don’t.
Who can I focus on helping to reach their goals/dreams?
It’s entirely too easy to become obsessed with and exhausted by our own success. By balancing our goals with giving, we release the pressure while increasing our impact. The key here is to focus on helping them, rather than serving our unconscious agenda. True service is serene regardless of outcome.
Speaking of giving—I would love to hear about your goals and dreams. If I can play even a small part in making them a reality, I would be honored.
Here’s to your greatness,
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The world needs more folks who want to find their greatness and bring others along for the ride as well. Misti's podcasts offer tangible ideas and stories about how to make that happen. These are worth listening to!