Make Your Boss Work for You: How One Company’s Fierce Commitment to Personal, Professional, and Financial Goals Drives Corporate Success

This is an excerpt from the Return on Values Project: a three-year, $1 million dollar research project from Benedictine University that asks the question, What is the relationship between culture and profit in small and mid-size businesses.  Find out more about the project or read the entire article on SEI here.

“How do you give team members a sense of ownership in the company, so they work harder, perform better, and reach goals?  Make it clear how their performance at work impacts their personal, professional and financial goals.”  [Read about how Service Express does it here]


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Great Leaders are in the People Business

Recently I blogged about how performance measurement aids in creating high-performance cultures. But performance measurement should never eclipse an organization’s most powerful asset- people.

Metrics and measures have a funny way of pushing their way into the forefront of a leaders attention, particularly during times when they’re facing economic hardship or increased stress.  Often they hole-up in their office and stare at numbers on their screen thinking that if they just stare hard enough, maybe they’ll move. They retreat and spend less time with their team.

When I see that happening, I encourage leaders to get out of the office and invest in their people first.  I’ve found that when we do that, the numbers will almost always correct themselves.

Performance measurement begins with investment in people.

In his book, The Carolina Way, Dean Smith says that it’s critical to focus on people and process, not on winning. Winning will be the end result. His rational – If

Continue Reading…

7 Ways to be Successful at Anything

Albert Einstein once said “You have to learn the rules of the game.  And then, you have to play better than anyone else.”

We are not born successful.  Whether you have talent in a particular area or not, you have to work hard to become successful.  The truth is, you can become successful at almost anything you set your mind to.

Through the years I’ve learned there are certain things we can do to become successful at almost anything.  Here are 7 that I’ve identified.

1. Find Your Passion

The first rule of success is to find what you love and do it.  Exerting energy in the work of something that you don’t enjoy is not sustainable.  Eventually you will burn out. Continue Reading…

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.

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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:

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