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    December 2007

    Mondays With Mac: Manage Your Attitude

    December 17, 2007 2295 Views

    This is the first post in a new series. Each Monday will bring a nugget of inspiration from our founder Mac Anderson. This week's post is entitled Manage your attitude. Enjoy!

    After more than thirty years in business, I'm convinced that the difference in success and failure is not how you look, not how you dress, not how you're educated...but how you think.

    It's impossible for me to overstate the importance of maintaining a positive attitude. On the other hand, it's impossible to understate the difficulty in actually doing it. Staying positive is not easy, and it's a very personal thing. But it can be done. I can only share what works for me and hope that you can relate to my experience.

    First on my list is exercise. Without question my levels of motivation and energy are tied to exercise. Have you seen those long strands of Christmas lights with about one hundred little white lights on each strand? What happens when one of those bulbs becomes loose? They all go out. They shut down. That's what happens to me when I don't exercise. It's my top "stress buster."

    Second on my list is to live with gratitude. William James, one of the fathers of modern psychology, said, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter their life by altering their attitude." Abraham Lincoln said, "People are as happy as they make up their minds to be."

    We are blessed in so many ways, and we need to remind ourselves continually of those blessings. When we wake up each morning, we have choices to make: We can choose our socks, choose our underwear, and most importantly, we choose our attitudes.

    The third key for me to manage my attitude is to laugh at myself and laugh with others. Many people take themselves far too seriously. As kids we laugh a lot, we dream a lot, but then we grow up and we become a heart attack waiting to happen!

    Researchers have investigated why some people can't cope and found three reasons:

    • Low self-esteem
    • Living in the past
    • Can't laugh at themselves

    In fact, one study indicates that we need a minimum of twelve laughs a day just to stay healthy. Laugh at yourself! Laugh with your friends, your family, your co-workers. It will keep you going, keep you healthy, and keep you motivated.

    Day 21: Pull the weeds (and wrap up)

    December 7, 2007 2202 Views

    An excerpt from Chapter 21 of Change is Good…You Go First:

    "Life is full of choices...some people will choose to work for the team and embrace your culture. Others will not." -John Murphy

    It's a reality an outgoing leader finds hard to bear. Some people won't like where you're leading them; others might not like you.

    Like it or not, leaders must continually "pull the weeds" or their team's growth will be stifled. A "weed" makes its own rules, undermining camaraderie and consensus. They refuse to share and participate. They reject accountability and shift blame to others. Don't be fooled. "Weeds" can seem harmless...but, they'll do everything they can to take over your garden.

    For years, Jack Welch had a rule that his managers must develop criteria to measure the performance of all the employees. They were instructed to identify the bottom ten percent in each department and replace them with "new blood." His controversial rule caused some problems for G.E. and was eventually eliminated in the name of political correctness, but it's hard to argue with the company's long-term success. I disagree with tying employment to a percentage, but I agree that new faces and fresh ideas can improve a company, especially when they are supplanting weeds.

    In the long run, if a leader keeps to the path of least resistance and lets weeds grow, they will risk losing credibility with those who make the team flourish.


    That wraps up our Change is Good...You Go First series. Thanks to everyone who has paid attention for this long. Keep an eye on the blog for good things to come in the new year...

    Day 20: Stand with them not above them

    December 6, 2007 1946 Views

    An excerpt from Chapter 20 of Change is Good…You Go First:

    In the summer of 1941, Sergeant James Allen Ward was awarded the Victoria Cross for climbing onto the wing of his Wellington bomber, 13,000 feet above the North Sea, to extinguish a fire in the starboard engine. Secured only by a rope around his waist, he not only smothered the fire but shimmied along the wing back to the cabin.

    Not long after, Winston Churchill, an admirer of courageous acts, summoned the shy New Zealander to 10 Downing Street.

    Sergeant Ward was struck dumb in Churchill's presence and unable to answer the prime minister's questions. Churchill noted the hero's condition.

    "You must feel very humble and awkward in my presence," Churchill said.

    "Yes, sir," managed Ward.

    "Then you can imagine," replied Churchill, "how humble and awkward I feel in yours."

    Great leaders know that positive change requires a secure measure of buy-in with followers, and the greater the change, the greater the buy-in must be.

    Day 19: Follow your convictions

    December 6, 2007 2000 Views

    An excerpt from Chapter 19 of Change is Good…You Go First:

    Lobster

    They'd been a client of mine for 7 consecutive years...I suggested they give away their signature entree - a three pound lobster dinner - as a gift to their patrons on the day of their birthday. At first they chuckled and laughed, and then the room became silent. I told them I was serious and proceeded to explain the details of the promotion. The silence turned to anger and anger turend to outrage...The president asked me to leave the room and return only when I'd come to my senses...

    I spent hours walking the park. Later that afternoon, I walked back into the office and told the president I'd come to my senses and there'd be no way I would retract my recommendation. I would stay until everyone was convinced and the entire program was perfectly laid out...

    Now, 12 years later, it's still the most profitable promotion with an unprecedented 50% redemption rate and a healthy stream of millions of extra revenue. The promotion was single-handedly responsible for a 7% same store sales boost during the first year alone.

    I knew that not one of their wealthy patrons would dine alone on their birthday, so the thought of a loss was out of the question. That an outrageous gift - like a three pound lobster (instead of a sirloin) would generate excitement, commotion and word fo mouth. Most importantly, that the birthday person would invite three of more of their best friends and relatives to dine with them and share this experience.

    "They focused on what was - I saw what could be, but together, we made it happen."

    In times of change, when you know something is right, you must follow your convictions. Keep going until you make the change - and most importantly - expect great resistance along the way.


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