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.

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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?

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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!

If this video does not appear in your email, you can view it here

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…

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