5 Ways that Great Leaders Communicate

Great leaders have nonnegotiable values and they surround themselves with people who share those values.  At SEI one of our non-negotable values for leaders is to be great communicators.

An organization’s capacity to achieve great results is proportional to its leader’s ability to communicate how those values align and impact results.

Here are 5 ways leaders can assure that they are communicating expectations effectively: Continue Reading…

5 Ways to Work Smart, Not Hard

Success is often a result of hard work.  But it’s important to recognize that failure, too, is often a result of hard work.  As leaders, we must recognize the difference between working hard and working smart; not just for ourselves, but for those we lead.

Leaders work smart, not hard

Here’s a simple truth: working hard on the wrong things does not make one successful.  

Too many people work hard at making sure that they’re doing things right, but fail to consider first whether they’re doing the right things.

Here are a few signs that one may be falling into that rut:

  • They work hard throughout the day, but at the end of the day wonder if what they’ve done really made all that much of a difference.  
  • They work hard but don’t feel like they get the recognition that they deserve.
  • They work tirelessly but it rarely feels like they accomplish much of anything.
  • Their task list is endless and they often feel overwhelmed.

If you can identify, take solace in the knowledge that it is entirely our doing, and that means that it can be entirely our undoing.

Here are a few actions that one can take now to begin to turn things around.

Continue Reading…

7 Things Successful People Do

At SEI our Vision is to work with our employees to help them achieve their personal, professional and financial goals.  That means we’re invested in making sure that our people succeed.



Success isn’t a characteristic that people are born with.  Successful people have broken bad habits and are intentional about building the right ones.
Through the years we’ve learned a few things about what works and what doesn’t.
Here are 7 characteristics of successful people.

Successful people:


1. Write Down Goals

A goal without a plan is nothing more than a wish.
Countless studies have shown that written goals are an important ingredient for success.   Continue Reading…

Never Quit

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for it is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
-Harriet Beecher Stowe

Everyone reaches a point in which they feel like quitting something: a job, a relationship, a project, or a hobby. It’s inevitable.

It’s easy to conceptualize, to imagine and to dream of what might be. It’s difficult to do the work. Continue Reading…

Start with Why

Recently, I viewed Simon Sinek’s “Tedx Talks” video called Start with Why.



If you haven’t yet watched it, I highly recommend it!

Sinek observes that virtually everyone who works at a company knows what they do.  Some know how they do it.  But few know why they do it.

For example, here’s what that looks like at SEI:

Why we do what we do

Our Vision is to “work with our employees to help them achieve their personal, professional and financial goals.”

How we do what we do

We accomplish our Vision by utilizing our SR5 performance measurement system.

What we do

We provide exceptional server and storage maintenance services.

As a leader, how do you ensure that those you lead not only understand what you do, but how and why you do it?

Embrace the Suck

United States Navy SEALS know better than most that the human body can endure an incredible amount of stress under the harshest conditions.

For SEALS, this lesson is hammered in during “Hell Week,” also known as The Suck.

The Suck is 5 days of constant motion, no sleep with physical, emotional and mental stress designed to literally break a person.

Continue Reading…

A Great Team, Like a Great Marriage, Fights Well

Some of the healthiest marriages I’ve observed are ironically partnerships of two people who have learned not just to fight, but how to fight well.

Each accepts that the other brings a unique personality and perspective to the table.  And each understands that the partnership is stronger when each focuses on the other’s strengths and not on their weaknesses.  Both learn that a strong partnership is a result of open and honest communication, and the goal is personal and professional growth.

As with marriage, many make the incorrect assumption that the best teams are conflict free.  They often equate conflict with dysfunction.  It’s an assumption that can lead to misaligned expectations (for others and for oneself), hurt feelings that turn into wounds, resentment and mediocrity.

Conflict in teams is beneficial when it:

Continue Reading…

7 Ways to Fail as a Leader as Demonstrated by Many Politicians

If there’s one thing that a majority of us can agree on, it’s not that one political party or another has failed us, but that too many politicians have failed to live up to their role as leaders.

It’s evident in their unwillingness to simply do their jobs by passing a budget and finding common ground with the debt ceiling.

If you want to fail as a leader, here are 6 surefire ways to do so, as demonstrated by some of our politicians.

Just Tell People What They Want to Hear

Ineffective leaders learn what others want to hear then tell them it.  Inevitably they lose credibility.  Effective leaders consider what others have to say but are crystal clear in communicating a Vision, truth and expectations.  Sometimes the truth is not easy to say and sometimes it’s even more difficult to hear. Continue Reading…

Focus on Your Strengths and Forget About Your Weaknesses

This is a guest post by SEI’s Director of Marketing, Joshua Leatherman.  You can follow Joshua on his blog, on Twitter or on LinkedIn.  If you’d like to guest post on this blog please contact me.

There is a cultural thought-pattern afoot that encourages us to evaluate our strengths and weaknesses, and to place our primary efforts on strengthening those areas where we find ourselves “deficient,” so as to become “well rounded” individuals.  In many cases, it’s a theory that encourages mediocrity and it prevents individuals from becoming exceptional specialists.

Some context: Surgeons did not always specialize in specific areas of medicine as they do now.  There was a time when they studied general medicine in order to be “well rounded” practitioners, that they may have a degree of knowledge for any affliction or malady that may present itself.

Then, the practice of specialization and hyper-specialization was introduced in hospitals.  Today, surgeons begin their studies in general medicine and, as they mature in their profession and discover in which area of medicine their natural affinities lay, they focus and refine skills in a specific area in order to become specialists.  For example, a cardiothoracic surgeon will abandon undeveloped skills in neurosurgery, and almost every other area of medicine unrelated to their specialty, in favor of multplying their skill in cardiothoracic medicine.

Continue Reading…

In 2015, Resolve to Invest in Employee Engagement

If you’re looking for a New Year resolution to integrate into your organization, department or team that will benefit culture, performance and revenue, you may consider resolving to become an intentional investor in employee engagement.  Not only will it transform your team, it will begin to cultivate a culture of sustainable growth.


People don’t want to work for money alone, they want to work to become better, to receive recognition, and to be a part of something bigger than themselves.  Who wouldn’t want to work for an organization that they can brag about because of what they’re able to contribute and how they’re treated?

Continue Reading…

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