Shep21's Blog….Leadership, marketing & customer service through the printed words of many

5 Leadership Tips for 2012 December 24, 2011

Filed under: Leadership,Success — shep21 @ 5:43 am

5 Leadership Tips for 2012

Very thought provoking tips for leadership by Mike Myatt a contributor to Forbes Magazine.  Mike is also the author of Leadership Matters . . . The CEO Survival Manual and is the managing director and chief strategy officer at N2growth. His blog can be found here He has fast become one of my favorite “reads” 
 With only a few days left until we usher in the New Year, you’re going to be bombarded with lists of things to do and not to do. Most of them will contain the same tired rhetoric from years past. These lists du jour will simply rehash and spin items from prior years while offering little new in the way of helpful thought. I wanted to give readers 5 key items to focus on if they’re serious about becoming better leaders in 2012 – my holiday gift to you.

There are lots of things I could have included on my list, so many will probably wonder how I chose the following 5 items. The following list contains the 5 items (6 including my bonus selection), which I’ve personally chosen to focus on (pursue) in the upcoming year:

  1. Family: I’m going to approach this topic a bit differently than many – If you’re struggling with the family balance thing my advice is simple: don’t attempt to balance your family – make them your priority. I’ve simply lived too long to buy into the myth that success in the workplace will create happiness at home. While it makes for a nice sound bite to console those with a guilty conscience, IT IS A LIE. If your business is growing, but your spouse is crying and your children are neglected, it’s time to do a reality check on your priorities. If your assistant respects you, but your spouse doesn’t you have serious issues that need your immediate attention. If you would rather spend time with your online “friends” than with your children, it’s time to pull the ripcord on your internet connection. Here’s the cold hard truth…if you cheat your family to invest into your career, you and your loved ones will pay a very heavy price. It is simply wrong to value your workplace commitments over your family commitments – moreover it’s not necessary. If your focus is on your family, your career won’t suffer, it will flourish. Get this wrong and not only will your family suffer, but so will you as you someday mourn the loss of what could have been, but cannot be recovered.
  2. White Space: While the mind of a leader may be most comfortable being oriented toward the future, he/she can only act in the here and now. The knowledge and skills required to master any endeavor only happens when we focus on what we’re currently doing. This is the definition of presence, and it is only when we operate in the present that real creativity, growth and innovation occur. The problem with being present is that many leaders confuse this with having to do everything themselves. Have you ever interacted with somone who deals with silence by jumping in and filling the conversational void? This same thing occurs with executives who attempt to fill every open slot on the calendar with activity – this is a huge mistake. Smart leaders don’t fill their calenders with useless activities, they strategically plan for white space allowing them to focus on highest and best use endeavors. Leading doesn’t always mean doing. In fact, most often times it means pulling back and creating white space so that others can do. This is true leadership that scales.
  3. Listening: Want to become a better leader? Stop talking and start listening. Being a leader should not be viewed as a license to increase the volume of rhetoric. Rather astute leaders know there is far more to be gained by surrendering the floor than by dominating it. In this age of instant communication everyone seems to be in such a rush to communicate what’s on their mind, they fail to realize the value of everything that can be gleaned from the minds of others. Show me a leader who doesn’t recognize the value of listening to others and I’ll show you a train-wreck in the making.
  4. Unlearning: I’ve believed for quite sometime the most profound and commonly overlooked aspect of learning is recognizing the necessity of unlearning. We’ve all acquired knowledge, beliefs or positions that but for the protection of our ego, would easily admit are outdated. I can think of no better definition for a closed mind than someone unwilling to change their opinions. Smart leaders recognize it’s much more valuable to step across mental lines in the sand than to draw them. Here’s the thing: No one has all the answers, so why even attempt to pretend that you do? Show me a person that never changes their mind, and I’ll show you a static thinker who has sentenced his mind to a prison of mediocrity and wasted potential. If the world is constantly changing, if the marketplace is always evolving, if the minds of others are continuously developing, how can you attempt to be unchanging and still be relevant? The smartest people I know are the most willing to change their minds. They don’t want to be right, they want the right outcome — they want to learn, grow, develop, and mature. Subjecting yourself to dissenting opinion allows you to refine your good ideas, weed out the bad ideas and acquire new ideas. Moreover, it’s the ability to evolve and to nuance thinking that leads to the change and innovation your organization needs to survive. Leaders and their ability to change their mind demonstrates humility, confidence and maturity. It makes them approachable, and it makes them human. People are looking for authentic, transparent leaders willing to sacrifice their ego in favor of right thinking.
  5. Engagement: Leadership isn’t about you – it’s about those whom you lead and serve. There are few things as limiting and frustrating as disconnected leaders. Smart leaders spend their time starting or advancing conversations, not avoiding or ending them. The more you engage others, the better leader you’ll become. It’s nearly impossible to engender the type of confidence, trust, and loyalty a leader must possess without being fully engaged. In person, over the phone, via email, through the social web, or even by sending a good old fashion thank you note – ENGAGE.
  6. * Bonus item – Read: There are few things which impact your thought life more than what you read. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and I plan to continue this pursuit in 2012. I read more than 70 books in 2011, and plan to read more than 100 books in 2012. To the person, the best leaders I know are prolific readers. My message today is a simple one – if you want to improve your station in life, as well as the lives around you – read more. The greatest leaders throughout history have been nothing short of relentless in their pursuit of knowledge. I believe Michelangelo said it best when he uttered the words “Ancora Imparo” which when translated from the Italian means “I am still learning.” By the way, his first public use of this phrase was noted to have been on his 87th Birthday. I don’t know about you, but I’m still learning (and unlearning). Moreover, the day I stop reading, the day I stop learning – that’s the day I stop leading, and likely the day I stop breathing.

Leader or Manager? October 5, 2011

Filed under: Christian,Leadership,Success — shep21 @ 9:13 pm

I am a firm believer that applicable, practical knowledge is all around us. I love to find nuggets of gold that I can apply to wherever I am, doing whatever I do whether it is running a minor league baseball team or an enrollment department at a college. That is why I started this blog. The following article is a church newsletter. Don’t let that deter you from reading on. You’ll find cross industry application.

Leader or Manager?
Ron Walters

On the surface they’re alike; cold, delicious and fattening. The price is the same; the containers identical, their purpose is one. Yet, no self-respecting ice cream gourmet would be neutral on the subject. Chocolate or vanilla?

Leadership or management? It’s the same dilemma.

On the surface there’s a striking resemblance. Like a person’s two hands: the color is the same, number of fingers match, but the thumbs are on opposite sides. It’s the difference of a thermometer and a thermostat; a compass and a road map. It’s the same gene pool, but “cousin” is as close as it gets.

Every institution exists because of leadership and management. Your church couldn’t survive without them. Every pastor, whether mandated or not, is expected to provide both. Each is a full time job. Neither is done without a sizable investment of time and effort. They are the measuring sticks by which your ministry is evaluated. Dull sermons we can forgive. Even long prayers finally come to an end. But confused leadership or mismanagement is the nuevo unforgivable sin.

LEADERSHIP without management is all breadth and no depth; style without substance. While MANAGEMENT without leadership is, as someone has put it, “Like straightening deck chairs on the Titanic.”

Peter Drucker says,?”Management is doing things right, while leadership is doing the right things.”? Steven Covey says, “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; while leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”

Leadership generates the vision, values, and purpose that creates action. Management, on the other hand, channels the action leadership creates. Leadership is mostly personal. Management is typically impersonal. Leadership appeals to the level of intuition and emotion; it’s pointing the way. While management speaks to the raw intellect with facts and figures; it’s keeping us on track.

Certainly there are those extraordinarily gifted individuals who double-up in both fields; who pitch and catch at the same time. But by-and-large, each of us is equipped for one or the other:

Abraham was a leader, Jacob was a manager

Moses was a leader, Joshua was a manager

Isaiah was a leader, Hezekiah was a manager

Paul was a leader, Barnabas was a manager

General Patton was a leader, General Eisenhower was a manager

President Reagan was a leader, President Carter was a manager

The Roman Empire was a leader. For hundreds of years their top priority was expansion; to march and conquer. Then it began to shift to a defensive posture as they built walls to keep out the dreaded barbarians. The walls were a physical sign of the empire’s change of policy; a move towards decline.

If you were to take a self-evaluation test today, what would you find? Do you see your role as leader or manager; visionary or administrator, telescope or microscope? Was it any different in your first year at the church? What would your congregation say YOUR ROLE is right now, leader or manager? What would they say THEIR NEED is right now?


Seven Ways to Make Sure Your Boss Thinks You’re Doing a Great Job October 4, 2011

Filed under: Leadership,Success — shep21 @ 1:34 pm

compliments of the Ohio State University Leadership Center

  1. Know your boss’s priorities.  If you boss is a numbers person, quantify all your results.  If your boss is a customer-is-first kind of guy, frame all your results in terms of benefits to the customer.
  2. Say no.  Say yes to things that matter most to your boss.  Say no to most everything else, and your boss will appreciate that you are focused on her needs. 
  3. Communicate the way your boss does.  If your boss likes e-mail, use it.  If your boss prefers voice mail, phone in your updates.  Convey information to your boss in the way she likes so that she’s more likely to retain it.
  4. Toot your own horn.  Each time you do something that impacts the company let your boss know.  Whatever the mechanism, you need to let your boss know each time you achieve something that matters to her.
  5. Lunch with your boss.  If all things are equal, your boss will promote the person she likes the best.  So go out to lunch and talk  about what interests her.
  6. Seek new responsibilities.  Find important holes in your department before your boss notices them.  Take responsibility for filling those holes and your boss will appreciate your foresight, but also your ability to do more than your job.
  7. Be curious.  Remember to take time to read and listen.  Then ask questions when they are not expected; you will make yourself more interesting to be around, and you will elicit fresh ideas from everyone around you.  Your boss will feel like having you on the team improves everyone’s work – even his own – and after all, is your primary job in managing up.

How are you using QR codes? September 23, 2011

Filed under: Marketing — shep21 @ 8:41 pm

Great article on the use of QR codes from the New York Times. How are you using these to increase awareness and sales in your business? Follow the link to the story to see some great visuals of QR codes in action

A cookie with a QR code in frosting was given out during a Fashion’s Night Out event at the Tiffany & Company store.

Want More Information? Just Scan Me


DURING New York Fashion Week earlier this month, Quick Response (QR) codes — square, checkered symbols that can be scanned with one’s smartphone — were as omnipresent as chunky black booties.

They were on cookies doled out by Tiffany that, when scanned, revealed an invitation to a concert with Leighton Meester. They were on a pink Barbie-themed bus, and on doll displays in stores that could be scanned for a chance to win designer clothes. And they were on postcards for a “fashion hunt” with the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District and the blog Madison Avenue Spy.

Weeks earlier, a model walked a runway in Barcelona with a QR code emblazoned on the bodice of her Frans Baviera gown; meanwhile, a company called Skanz began selling silicone bracelets embellished with QR codes that enable anyone with a smartphone to scan your wrist and instantly access a Web page with your contact information, social media links, even favorite photos and videos.

In other words: you’ve become a human hyperlink.

When Skanz doled out bracelets to attendees of Consumer Electronics Week this summer, “nobody exchanged business cards,” said Tammy Lewis, chief marketing officer of the Tarrytown, N.Y., based QR Media Group, which owns Skanz. “Instead they were scanning each other to exchange their personal information.”

She noted that this is also handy when meeting prospective dates in bars. After all, why scrawl your number on a napkin or tap it into a stranger’s phone when all you have to do is lean in and whisper, “Scan me.”

For the uninitiated: QR codes are a type of barcode that can store more information than the vertical zebra-stripe variety familiar from supermarkets. When scanned, a QR code can quickly pull up a Web page, text or geographic coordinates. As the smartphone market expanded, so did the codes.

Now retailers, publishers, arts institutions, musicians, government organizations and charities are increasingly using QR codes in their advertising to direct consumers to online contests, games, cocktail recipes (for Pisco Portón liquor, to name one), book excerpts (like Glen Duncan’s “Last Werewolf”), performances (including those at the Brooklyn Academy of Music), even how-to videos. At Macy’s, a QR code that points consumers to a smoky-eye makeup lesson by Bobbi Brown has been an unexpected hit.

“The business went through the roof,” Martine Reardon, executive vice president of marketing for Macy’s, said of Ms. Brown’s high-tech marketing experiment. “Her success at Macy’s has a lot to do with that QR video.”

Mike Wehrs, the president and chief executive of Scanbuy, a leading player in the QR industry that has worked with retailers, including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Gap, Home Depot and Staples, said that between the third and fourth quarters of 2010, scan rates doubled and have continued to accelerate since. “In July we crossed over to doing more than one scan every second,” he said. “It’s just becoming more and more pervasive everywhere you look.”

At the Museum of Modern Art, the “Talk to Me” exhibition includes examples of QR design — like a huge code covering the facade of a Tokyo building— and marks the first time the museum has put the codes on labels for every object in an exhibition. Starbucks recently used QR codes in a digital scavenger hunt to promote Lady Gaga’s latest album, while HBO used the codes in a commercial for its hit series “True Blood.” The design company SET created a red code in the shape of a cross that, in the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan, directed people to a donation page for the American Red Cross. The United States Army is beginning to put QR codes in the windows of recruiting centers so applicants can procure information even if a center is closed. And the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency have announced that every 2013 vehicle in dealer showrooms will be required to have QR-coded fuel economy labels.

Many people, however, ignore the codes. So far, QR codes are mainly scanned by men (60.5 percent of QR code scanners) with a household income of $100,000 or more, according to comScore, which first began measuring QR scanning in May. Scanning requires a smartphone — and often patience. If your phone does not have a built-in QR code reader, you can download a free one, like RedLaser, ScanLife, Barcode Scanner, Shop Savvy or i-Nigma. (Caution: some code readers work better with certain devices. For instance, BlackBerry users may have greater success with i-Nigma and ScanLife.) These apps read most QR codes when you hold your phone over them and press a button (usually the same button used to take a photograph). But every so often they don’t work. Maybe it’s because your hands are shaking. Maybe it’s too dark. Or maybe you’re trying to scan a code created by Microsoft or AT&T, which can be read only when scanned with their own apps. That means downloading yet more apps.

Created in Japan in the 1990s, QR codes connect the physical and online worlds. For instance, at Liberty View Farm in Highland, N.Y., QR codes displayed among the vegetables enable visitors to learn more about farming as they tour the grounds. And in Central Park last year on Arbor Day weekend, parkgoers who scanned QR codes on signs were able to call up vistas from the 1800s and watch video clips of park scenes from “Sex and the City.” At Best Buy, scanning a QR code lets shoppers get details about electronics without having to wait for a sales clerk. In magazines, QR codes on advertisements for the new ABC television series “Pan Am” connect viewers to video teasers.

Macy’s executives, who plan to use QR codes this Christmas shopping season, consider them an integral part of future marketing strategies because, as anyone walking down the street can observe, people are becoming more and more attached to their smartphones.

“Sometimes I’ll run out of the house with two different shoes on but I never, ever forget that mobile device,” Ms. Reardon said.

For Mattel, Fashion’s Night Out was the company’s first major foray into QR technology. “It was an opportunity for us to engage fans on the go,” said Stephanie Cota, senior vice president of global marketing for girls’ brands at Mattel. QR scans during the shopping event were “well into the high hundreds,” she said. “Overall, the response rate was pretty phenomenal.”

And social media can increase the impact of the technology exponentially. Available in different widths and colors, each Skanz QR bracelet is connected to a personalized Skanzsite, filled with the wearer’s contact information, photos, videos, favorite things and links to social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr, Google+ and Flickr. Let’s say you buy a Skanz bracelet online ($9.99). When you receive it, you go to and create a personal profile page, enter the serial number on the bracelet, and voilà — your page and your bracelet are now linked.

You can also create different Skanzsites and bracelets for professional and personal use. And if you don’t want a bracelet, there are iPhone 4 cases with QR codes on them ($19.99 to $24.99) and QR decals ($5) that you can stick on an address book or an ID card.

Other brands, like Jumpscan, don’t sell QR accessories but they enable you to create your own QR code and Web page free. You can then store your code in your phone and pull it up whenever you want someone to learn more about you.

It could be a conversationalist’s nightmare, but a multi-tasker’s dream. As Ms. Lewis of the QR Media Group put it: “Who has time to give out all of that information?”



Twenty Ways to Get Mentally Tough September 20, 2011

Filed under: Leadership,Motivation — shep21 @ 11:03 am

Leadership Moments


Twenty Ways to Get Mentally Tough   



From: Gordon, J. (2009).  Training camp: what the best do better than everyone else: a fable about excellence .  Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.


  1. When you face a setback, think of it as a defining moment that will lead to a future accomplishment.
  2. When you encounter adversity, remember the best don’t just face adversity; they embrace it, knowing it’s not a dead end but a detour to something greater and better.
  3. When you face negative people, know that the key to life is to stay positive in the face of negativity, not in the absence of it.
  4. When you face naysayers, remember the people who believed in you and spoke positive words to you.
  5. When you face critics, remember to tune them out and focus only on being the best you can be.
  6. When you wake up in the morning, take a morning walk of gratitude and prayer.
  7. When you fear, trust.  Let your faith be greater than your doubt.
  8. When you fail, find the lesson in it, and then recognize a time when you have succeeded.
  9. When you head into battle, visualize success.
  10. When you are thinking about the past or worrying about the future, instead, focus on the present moment.
  11. When you want to complain, instead identify a solution.
  12. When your own self-doubt crowds your mind, weed it, and replace it with positive thoughts and positive self-talk.
  13. When you feel distracted, focus on your breathing, observe your surroundings clear your mind and get into the Zone.
  14. When you feel all is impossible, know that all things are possible.
  15. When you feel alone, think of all the people who have helped you along the way and who love and support you now.
  16. When you feel lost, pray for guidance.
  17. When you are tired and drained, remember to never, never, never give up.
  18. When you feel like you can’t do it, know that you can.
  19. When you feel like your situation is beyond your control, pray and surrender.
  20. When you’re in a high pressure situation in the game is on the line, and everyone is watching you, remember to smile, have fun and enjoy it.

Training Camp is available from the OSU Leadership Center.  Click here to borrow this resource or any other resource.  then click on the Spectrum icon. 


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It’s all about PERCEPTION December 10, 2010

Filed under: Customer Service — shep21 @ 12:20 pm

For 22 years as an administrator in professional baseball I would preach to our front office team, even have imprinted on our office walls, that “perception is reality”. It wouldn’t matter that our ballpark was beautiful , well kept and just a fun place to be if Mom had to experience urine all over toilet seats as she tried to find a place to appease her anxious three year old. It’s perception. “This restroom is filthy, I wonder what happens in the concession stands!?” Oops, no sale there. All the hours of hard work crafting, training, scripting, CARING…are out the window. It is an ongoing battle, one that requires an all out assualt to be won EVERY TIME. It’s about the team understanding that they have to consistently place themselves in the “other shoes”. Constant team reminders, refreshed training, practical examples. They have to live it, breathe it, be it! Try to accomplish that at $7.50 an hour. Auditioning & casting…that’s deserves a whole other blog post! The remainder of this post is an excerpt from a Service Untitled blog (they produce great stuff daily).

Excellent customer service, regardless of what the facts may be have to be especially sensitive to the customer’s viewpoint and perception of the issue. That’s where careful listening comes into play and suggesting solutions based on those very perceptions can make a profound impact. Insensitivity and indifference is a prelude to customer anger and the loss of the customer because they don’t really care who takes care of them since each representative is synonymous with the company. This is where standards of KPI or Key Performance Indicators come into play. Through training, monitoring, coaching, practice and new policies, employees understand that customers are driven by what they think about a business or service, and we want them to see positive perceptions.

You can see their entire article here


PR isn’t dead….it just needs to adapt November 29, 2010

Filed under: PR — shep21 @ 3:56 pm

The following is a partial re post from a great blog by Scott Wilder at Get Satisfaction. The entire blog post can be found here:

I couldn’t agree more with his comment that I italicized and made bold (bolded 🙂 ) below and the 10 points that follow that.

Traditional PR consists of:

  • Developing key talking points for executives
  • Encouraging leaders to speak to and follow closely those talking points
  • Providing ‘public speaking’ training to ensure that an execs stick to the points and so they learn how to position their body, their eyes, etc.
  • Organizing internal employee related announcements
  • Reaching out to key reporters and analysts around launch time or when a big event happens

New PR consists of:

  • Providing guardrails and guidelines on how to speak to others outside the company
  • Maintaining ongoing relationships with key customer advocates
  • Establishing ongoing relationships with key influencers – bloggers, tweeters, online analysts (like Om Malik)
  • Monitoring online and offline publications on a daily basis (at least on a daily basis)
  • Leading and harnessing employee engagement
  • Preparing for and reacting to Crisis’
  • Crowdsourcing ideas from internal employees and from external customers and prospects – and your business partners
  • Listening closely to and reading closely to influencers
  • Learning to let go – and not control the message all the time
  • Scrapping key learnings, statements, etc off the web on an ongoing basis

But all of the above first requires that PR embrace this new world of transparency and authenticity. So, if you are a company communications person, I recommend the following 10 key points:

  1. Learn how to use the tools (email me if you want a list)
  2. Participate on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (or at least pick one)
  3. Understand how to use Video (obviously, this will continue to be important)
  4. Study mobile and iPad type of platforms
  5. Post once a day
  6. Dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to topics relevant to your company, your competitors, your products and current trends
  7. Focus on multiple stakeholders: Employees, business partners, shareholders and customers (Many companies forget customers).
  8. Develop a distribution strategy to share learnings with others  in the company
  9. Stay away from a silo’d organization approach – you and your coworkers are all in this together

10.  Measure, measure, measure… establish baseline KPIs and keep track of how you and your team are moving the needle over time