Last year, I was invited to be a panelist at a couple of Inc/ Small Giants Leadership Forums alongside Bo Burlingham and Paul Spiegelman.  In this clip, Bo, who is an Editor-at-Large for Inc Magazine and the author of the book Small Giants, asks me what it is that accounts for SEI’s tremendous growth.  My answer may surprise you!

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On SEI’s Vision and Growth

3 Lists Everyone Should Keep

As we head into the final weeks of 2014 and begin to plan for the new year ahead, here are 3 lists worth making to set yourself up for success in 2015.


The Start Doing List

If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.

It can be easy to get stuck in a comfortable routine where we focus on the same things and we forget to take a step back and identify things that we should be doing that would have a big impact on our business and on others.

I often tell leaders at Service Express that “what got us here, won’t get us there.”  In other words, we cannot be content to rest on our laurels, we must continually look for new opportunities that will cause us to grow and become better.

As the President of Service Express, I can’t focus on the same things today that I focused on 5 years ago.  As our company has grown, so has the need for me to identify new areas that I must focus on to ensure that I’m having the greatest impact on our company.

Michael Hyatt illustrates this well by saying that just as we must put the big rocks into a vase first, and then add the smaller ones, so too should we prioritize our time so that we put our most impactful activities first.  If we put the smaller ones in first, there won’t be room for the big ones.

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100 Quotes to Inspire, Motivate and Encourage You [Part II]

100 Quotes to Inspire, Motivate and Encourage You [Part II] This is the second in a two part series. You can see Part I here.

The right quote at just the right time can have the power to inspire, motivate and encourage.

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Here are 100 quotes to help you refocus; hopefully a few will speak to you at just the right time!



“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” ― Muhammad Ali

“Managers light a fire under people, leaders light a fire in people.” -Unknown

“You will choose one, either: the pain of discipline, or the pain of consequences. One pain constructs, the other destructs. Choose wisely!” -Ron Alvesteffer

“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” -Proverbs 14:23

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100 Quotes to Inspire, Motivate and Encourage You [Part I]

The right quote at just the right time can have the power to inspire, motivate and encourage.

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For me, studying the lives and lessons of others has been an instrumental part of my personal and professional development.  It’s reflected in the life that I live and in the business that I’ve had the honor of building with others.

I’m a firm believer that what we focus on today will determine our future.  And the quality of that which we allow into our minds will reproduce itself in our actions, deeds, in the lives of others and ultimately in the legacy that we will leave.

So, here are 100 quotes to help you refocus; hopefully a few will speak to you at just the right time!


“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” -Richard Branson

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” -Pablo Picasso

“We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths.” -Philip James Bailey

“Consider it pure joy, whenever u face trials of many kinds, because u know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” -Jame 1:2

“If you’re bored with life, if you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals.” -Lou Holtz

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” — Jim Rohn

“It takes no effort to be ordinary. Ordinary is not even a challenge. You can do nothing and be ordinary.” – Bernard Hopkins

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Performance Measurement: Scorecards

Previously I’ve written about our company’s performance measurement system (also known as the SR5). To further explain how each element works, my next three blog entries will break down the components of our performance measurement system and describe each in detail. Today, let’s talk scorecards. What are Scorecards? We like to think of scorecards as the story of our performance in graphic form. Each graph on the scorecard shows how we’re progressing against a specific goal over a number of months. Continue Reading…

Performance Measurement: ROIs

An important part of our performance measurement system includes tracking individual achievement and performance. That’s where ROIs – the second component of our performance measurement system – come in. ROI stands for responsibilities, objectives and indicators. They track achievement on an individual level for all of our employees, including me!

Performance Management Organizational Culture: ROIs

An example of what an ROI might look like for an Account Manager


Creating ROIs

When we create ROIs, we ask ourselves the following questions:

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Performance Measurement: 5/15s

Five minutes to read and 15 to prepare. We’d all love to create professional development plans with that kind of ease, right?

5/15s (named for the ease of preparation noted above) are the third – and final – element of Service Express’ performance measurement system (also know as the SR5).

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What are 5/15s?

The 5/15 is a professional development plan created by each employee. Every quarter, the employee records their priorities for the next 90 days then they take a proactive approach to completing them in that time.  It’s not just a checklist of to-dos, though.  The 5/15s have a direct impact on their ROIs and on the scorecards for their department and for the company.

Employees are encouraged to take a longer-range view by creating 10 to 15 priorities that will impact individual, department and corporate growth. A key element of the process is that employees aren’t out there doing this on their own. Managers meet and engage with them in advance and help Continue Reading…

An Essential Characteristic of Winning Cultures: Allowing for Failure

There is a fatal mistake that too many organizations make when they grow. It happens quietly when leaders are unintentional about creating the right culture. The mistake is the formation of bureaucracy and a cultural aversion of risk.


One of the fatal flaws of bureaucracy is the creation of rules that limit talent, including those that discourage talent to experiment for fear of failure. I once heard someone describe the fear of failure as a wet blanket that extinguishes the fire of innovation and I agree.

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The Difference Between a Leader and a Manager

Here’s an update of one of my most popular posts, The Difference Between a Leader and a Manager.

Recently, on Twitter, I got into a disagreement with someone on the difference between the role of a manager and the role of a leader.  Those who know me, know that I believe disagreement sharpens people, ideas and organizations.  Agreeable disagreement causes us to examine our beliefs and it challenges us to make sure that we’re practicing what we preach.

I believe that there are very distinct differences between the role of a manager and the role of a leader.  But the roles should not be in conflict with each other.  Sustainable, high-performance organizations recognize that there is a symbiotic relationship between managers and leaders and they ensure that both are being utilized effectively.

I believe that we manage things (processes, procedures and outcomes) and we lead people (employees, customers and others).

Here are examples of differences that I’ve identified (I’d love to hear yours in the comment section below):

A manager focuses on process and procedure, a leader focuses on people.

A manager administrates.  A leader envisions. Continue Reading…

An Essential Characteristic of Leaders: Drive

It was 1987 and I was northbound on a crisp late-fall afternoon in Michigan.

My mission that day was clear – to gain acceptance to Central Michigan University to pursue a degree in education.  I had already been rejected once and I still didn’t have the grades, but that wasn’t going to stop me again from getting in.

Knowing that I’d be rejected again if I tried the traditional admission process – submitting an application, writing an essay and sending in my high-school transcripts – I bypassed that route. Instead, I scheduled a meeting with an admissions counselor to try to convince her to let me attend CMU the following year. Continue Reading…

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