Khris Middleton gets my leadership MVP award for his crucial role in the Milwaukee Bucks’ game 6 win. 

Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 50 points in one of the most impressive performances I’ve ever seen. Still, Middleton’s moment in the 3rd quarter reversed a deteriorating situation for the soon-to-be champs.

Bucks’ forward Bobby Portis, Jr. plays on the razor’s edge of controlled passion. When he plays with too much passion, he makes errors that hurt the team; too much control and he fails to provide the spark that lifts the team to greater heights.

After posting a double-digit lead at the end of the first quarter, the Bucks went into half-time down a few points to the Phoenix Suns. The Suns were surging in the 3rd quarter, too, as the Bucks tried to regain momentum. Portis was back in the game.

Portis made what looked to be a fantastic steal. The referee whistled a foul, and Portis ran down the court screaming in protest. The ref added a technical foul, which sent Phoenix to the free-throw line. Another technical foul against him would result in ejection from the game. 

Middleton jogged over to Portis, looked him in the eye, and said some quiet words. His intervention provided the reset Portis needed. Bobby played well the rest of the game. The Bucks regained momentum, took the lead, and won the championship.

Most CEOs and entrepreneurs don’t have peers on the team who can provide timely interventions, challenge your thinking, and keep you centered. When I think of my biggest mistakes in business, each of them occurred when I was lone-wolfing it. Belonging to a mastermind group and having a trusted adviser have paid for themselves several times over with stronger growth, fewer expensive errors, and greater peace of mind. 

Who are the Khris Middletons in your life?
BREAKTHROUGH OPPORTUNITIES

The next FOCUSED program begins in September. This 8-week group program is for principled leaders who want to grow their businesses using the right focus, the right strategy, and the right team. 

The magic is in the implementation. We meet for 90 minutes each week. You do assignments that help you gain the right focus, strategy, and team. You eat the elephant one bite at a time using a 7-step process that helps you make the second half of 2021 your best six months ever, and turbocharges 2022. 

Click here to see if the program is a good fit for you.

This program’s clarity and focus resulted in more high-payoff work that we love and less wasted time and energy. We expect 33% growth to reach $100k in monthly revenues and expand from there.
Matthew Hargrove and Barry Lingelbach, Black-Grey-Gold Consulting 

It wasn’t the “snogging.” It was the hypocrisy. The Sun, a tabloid, plastered pictures of Britain’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, in a passionate kiss indoors with an aide [snogging is the British term for smootching]. 

Hancock had been the public face of British mandates to wear masks and practice physical distancing. He’s got plenty of company among American politicians and business leaders. Ordinary people like you and me are tired of the elite snobbery that the rules are for everyone else.

I’m preparing for my next in-person elite event at Antietam and Gettysburg, reading about another Hancock: General Winfield Scott Hancock who commanded Union Army troops during the American Civil War.

Hancock was a leader-on-horseback, meaning that he set a visible example for others to follow. Riding horseback could be considered a privilege during long marches. In battle, you became the top target.

Your visibility is a bit better from the saddle, but the main purpose of being on horseback was to be seen by your soldiers. If the most exposed person in the unit shows courage under fire, so can I. Hancock’s corps stood their ground against Pickett’s charge during the battle of Gettysburg and won the battle that led to winning the war.

Nobody is shooting at you in business. Still, your employees look to your example: how do you treat people, do your actions match your words? Do I trust you?

Winfield Scott Hancock knew the power of being on horseback in battle. In business, you don’t always have the same simplicity. You might not know if your most talented are about to break and run. Like Matt Hancock, you might see yourself in the best light possible, but your employees see shades.

Who’s helping you see how others perceive you and fix the gaps that prompt disengagement and attrition? 


BREAKTHROUGH OPPORTUNITIES

The next FOCUSED program begins the first week of August. This 8-week group program is for principled leaders who want to grow their businesses using the right focus, the right strategy, and the right team. 

Click here to see if the program is a good fit for you. Email me to apply ([email protected])

This program’s clarity and focus resulted in more high-payoff work that we love and less wasted time and energy. We expect 33% growth to reach $100k in monthly revenues and expand from there.
Matthew Hargrove and Barry Lingelbach, Black-Grey-Gold Consulting 

Taking your business to new heights: Seven unique insights from Gettysburg to make the 2nd half of 2021 your best ever.

I use history, entrepreneurship, and perspective to help people grow their businesses. The combination is vital. When there’s too much nerding-out on the history, you get lost in trivia. All business with no context, on the other hand, creates spurious ideas. Without perspective, you are likely to overreact. Blending the three is an art.

If you don’t apply the experiences of others to your situation, you will miss analogous opportunities and repeat similar mistakes.

Join me on June 30th at 10:30 am U.S. Central for an interactive, hour-long Zoom session (which will be recorded and forwarded to everyone who registers), plus I’ll stick around for 30 minutes afterward to answer your questions. Among my topics:

  • Action steps to put the right leaders on the scene and empower them to make decisions.
  • How to help your subordinates achieve “leader-on-horseback” inspiration so that people have clear examples to follow.
  • How to avoid common pitfalls when facing leader turnover.
  • Ways to set up your new subordinates for success and keep them winning.
  • Action steps that create clarity, buy-in, and accountability.
  • Ways to let in fresh ideas and avoid smelling your own gunpowder.
  • How to plan for success instead of simply hoping for success and planning for failure.

The fee for these is outcomes is $297. The first twenty to register by June 15th get 50% off. Use coupon code Members50 at checkout

Register here or use this address: https://strategic-leaders-academy.teachable.com/p/taking-your-business-to-new-heights-gettysburg

The business boom is well underway, and the rising tide is lifting a lot of boats. Breakthrough success will come to those who advance from a secure base, defend their value, and innovate boldly.

PLUS: Did you know that Abraham Lincoln enjoyed champagne and probably had a sip or two of the bubbly after the Union victory at Gettysburg? Wine expert Nicole Kauss is going to give you exactly what you need to know to choose the right champagne to put a smile on your face and wow your guests.

The first twenty to register by June 15th get 50% off. Use coupon code Members50 at checkout. Register here or use this address: https://strategic-leaders-academy.teachable.com/p/taking-your-business-to-new-heights-gettysburg

Accelerating Success

FOCUSED is for leaders and entrepreneurs who want to create and sustain great teams that drive the business to new heights. Apply here.

TAP. The Trusted Adviser Program is my most intensive 1-on-1 program. Within 90 days you’ll gain habits that create breakthrough success. Get the details here.

Build your StrategyThis program is perfect for small business and nonprofit leaders who want to create a winning game plan without breaking the bank.

Scholarships.
If you want to apply for or sponsor someone for a scholarship, please email me at [email protected].

A cyberattack on an east coast pipeline put a major crunch on gasoline availability. Thousands of Americans lined up at pump stations wanting to get every drop of fuel possible. Some even put gas in plastic bags. 

The hoarding reminded me of the toilet paper pirates at the start of the pandemic.

The gas shortage is only for three days, and yet panic-buying sent prices soaring and people waiting on a pump for hours. Some probably burned more gas in sitting the queue than they originally needed to fill the tank. 

What perspective can you gain from this head-shaking episode?

1. Busy people get more done but also make more mistakes

You opt for the easy button to move forward. Instinctive decision-making works a lot of the time, but it’s also the impulse that leads to toilet paper hoarding and burning time waiting on the pump when you could be doing something more productive.

Normally, a quick discussion with a trusted advisor gives you the perspective you need to make a better decision and move forward with confidence.

2. Overwhelm means that you’ve got more to do than you can process

The feeling can be paralytic or lead people to tick off inconsequential tasks while neglecting the vital ones. In this situation, take 1 minute to write down your top 3 priorities and an action step to move each one forward. Then, get going.

A 5-minute call with someone you trust helps you get these priorities and actions right, which will save you hours of rework and anxiety.

3. Opportunities abound when you keep your head while everyone else is losing theirs

When you’re too close to the action, you cannot see the whole stage. Gaining perspective is the art of identifying the important details and seeing the bigger picture so that you can seize opportunities others miss.

Who helps you gain perspective?

P.S. VALUE-ADDING Leadership(TM) is a master program for leaders and entrepreneurs who want to inspire people to contribute their best and drive the business to new heights. The next program begins the week of May 24. More here.

“The clarity, buy-in, and accountability we’ve gained from this program,” said Ray Omar, Capital Brands CEO, “has put us on track to reduce costs by over $1m and increase revenues by over $2m.”

I gave a presentation to the Milwaukee Rotary Club this week on Afghanistan. As many of you know, I spent four combat tours there: three in uniform and one as a civilian. 

Members of the club told me that they’d like to hear about some personal experiences, ways to understand the withdrawal decision, and what’s likely to happen next. I synthesized all that into three main points that apply beyond Afghanistan.

1. You don’t create new wins with old thinking. It seems safer to do what you’ve been doing, even if it’s not working, but there are opportunity costs, too. According to Nobel Prize recipient Daniel Kahneman, people tend to be risk-averse. hey fear losses more than they prize gains. They prefer to smell their own fumes rather than be hit with a blast of fresh air. Whose pumping in the fresh air for you?

2. To grow, you need vulnerability and security. Security without vulnerability leaves you buttoned up and unable to grow. You cannot grow unless you are willing to take off your mental and emotional body armor, and gain exposure to new ideas. Vulnerability without security means you are likely to become someone else’s dinner. Who are your trusted advisers?

3. You gain ground by building bridges, not by digging trenches.  Americans are tossing bombs at each other over politics, identity, and other matters. You can’t move forward while you are digging in. I found in Afghanistan that the only way to make progress was to get out of the trenches and build bridges with people who didn’t agree with me (some of whom were trying to kill me).  Who’s helping you build relationships that broaden your reach and impact?

You can view the presentation at the Rotary Club’s YouTube channel here.

P.S. VALUE-ADDING Leadership(TM) is a master program for leaders and entrepreneurs who want to inspire people to contribute their best and drive the business to new heights. The next program begins the week of May 24. More here.

Accelerating Success

FOCUSED is for leaders and entrepreneurs who want to create and sustain great teams that drive the business to new heights. Apply here.

SENIOR LEADER MENTORING. I have only 1 space available. Get the details here.

Build your StrategyThis program is perfect for small business and nonprofit leaders who want to create a winning game-plan without breaking the bank.

VALUE-ADDING Leadership (self-directed version) is perfect for young leaders people who want to lead as their best selves and inspire people to contribute their best. Check it out herehttps://strategic-leaders-academy.teachable.com/p/leading-well/

Scholarships

If you want to apply for or sponsor someone for a scholarship, contact me at [email protected]

Jeff Marquez posted this article on Trust on LinkedIn.

While looking at the spaghetti of wires under the dash of my friend Aaron’s car, I remember asking myself, what the heck was I thinking? What was Aaron thinking allowing me to touch his classic car? Well, I am installing the fourth and most difficult wiring harness now. I know why he allowed me to touch his classic car–trust.

I think back to our previous work situations where we both would shake our heads at what we faced—often like spaghetti wires. We would discuss the mission or task, what right looked like, discuss with the Team to get their input, decide, and execute. Our expectations of each other matched our behaviors and that feeling cut across our Team.

Trust cuts across all levels of people from CEOs, senior executives, Mid-Leaders to early-career professionals, and everyone in between including personal relationships. Whether you are a CEO wanting to cultivate trust with your Mid-Leaders or a Mid-Leader wanting to strengthen your Team, here are a few ways to make trust bonding for your Team.

1. Inspire trust by being open, transparent, and clear about challenges. Most people want the Team and others to do well. But they can’t help if they don’t know so share challenges, and wins too! And remember, the best ideas do not always come from the top. 

2. Lead by example with candor, honesty, and vulnerability. Be the person you want your Team to be. As you share, they will share. As you innovate, let them surprise with their views and talents. 

3. Make your expectations clear and make trust part of your Team’s everyday conversations. My friend and trust expert, John O’Grady, describes having high trust relationships that start with “you have my trust, and it can only be eroded or lost” rather than a “trust must be earned” mentality. Talk with employees about how their demonstrated behavior aligns with your expectations. And when you think there may be a trust issue arising, approach it from a position of authentic curiosity instead of being accusatory. Find the underlying reasons for the issue and collaboratively address them. Maintain trust behaviors and a trusted environment before it becomes broken. Be proactive.

Trust creates a sense of psychological safety and can be an incredible inoculant when bad things happen to good people and good organizations. Think about your past year but more importantly, think about the year before you. Trust can make you feel in the most positive and profound ways. It fosters confidence, commitment, and teamwork. Who does not want that? Start trust bonding now.