Just last summer 33 men became trapped in a mine cave-in some 2,050 feet below the surface. Thirty-three Chilean miners went to work that day in August of 2010, and had no idea how much their life could change or how much each one of them would be physically, emotionally or psychologically challenged. Sixty-nine days later, as the miners were being rescued one by one out of the earth, a story emerged about one particular miner: Luis Albert Urzua.
The whole world watched the amazing rescue and when we learned about Luis Albert Urzua, we all anxiously waited for him to be hoisted to daylight. The very last miner to be raised out of the black shaft was the foreman Luis Albert Urzua -- he would not ascend to top until all 32 men on his team had been saved. He and his men had been delivered from the longest underground entrapment in history. Luis Alberto Urzua and his men were delivered to safety in a joyous climax to a flawless rescue that captivated the world.
The rescued miners told reporters that after the cave-in, Luis rallied the group together and kept everyone calm. Without really knowing how much time had elapsed, Luis took charge of the frightened group of men giving them assurance and hope. It took the rescuers 17 days to make initial contact with the buried men; but it must have seemed like an eternity to the men. During those first 17 days and thereafter, Luis planned for their survival by rationing food, conserving the batteries in their helmet lights, and designating areas for other physical needs. In other words, when the world literally caved in around him and became dark, he didn’t give up.
You might expect the foreman or captain of a team to take charge. But for Luis it was more than that. A man who lives near Luis’ home remarked that Luis is the type of man who keeps everybody’s spirits up and is very responsible; a man with exceptional leadership traits, who could always see through the most difficult times.
The rescue team could only pull one man at a time to safety. Luis was determined to make sure that his fellow miners were safe and sound above ground before he left the temporary tomb. So, when Luis was the last miner to be pulled to fresh air, the crowd erupted with cheers and tears of joy. Luis stepped from the rescue capsule and embraced his son, then accepted the thanks and congratulations from the Chilean president. Luis had emerged from the nightmare as a true hero.
How would you have reacted to such a catastrophe? I’m not sure any of us can fully appreciate being buried alive, but could you be the leader? Could you follow someone else’s leadership? Luis took charge by enduring the darkness and believing they would be rescued. He didn’t deny the crisis; he managed it and made it work for him and his men until they could be saved. How do your leadership traits hold up under pressure?
I’m not saying you or I will ever suffer something as horrifying as being trapped in a mine; but maybe we all have our “mines” that we sometimes feel trapped in. There are people around you right now who are waiting for you to show them and give them hope. Don’t ever stop having, showing, and giving hope. Be the one who makes a difference.
I was in Baltimore, Maryland last month working with a client, when he asked me why he couldn't get at least 90 percent performance from his people. I asked him why he would allow only 90 percent to be good enough to take care of his customers, his most valuable asset. The look on his face was like I had just told him he had cancer. He asked me to explain my "rude" remark.
If 99.9 percent was good enough, 12 newborns would be given to the wrong parents daily. At least 114,500 mismatched pairs of shoes would be shipped each year. On average, two planes loaded with passengers would attempt an unsafe landing at Chicago's O'Hare airport every day. Over 300 entries in the Webster's Dictionary would be misspelled, and 291 pacemaker operations would be performed incorrectly during the year. That is what 99.9 percent looks like. Think of how many customers would leave your business with the wrong information about your standards of excellence if 90 percent is all you want. Not the best way to become a multi-billion dollar business.
There are businesses and people who perform at 100 percent every day. For example, last year my wife had heart surgery at the Stanford Medical Center. (You can read about the Ulimate Customer Srvice here ) Our experience at the Stanford Medical Center was positive and successful thanks to the staff and medical personnel - their skill, medical care, and personal attention far exceeded our expectations. I also just recently had the privilege of playing golf at the famous Pebble Beach. This is not an easy place to get on to play; in fact, you must stay in their lodge and make your reservations far in advance. The cost is $495 per person to play one of the top courses in the world. By the way, I was the guest of my good friend Kevin Rude who is great example of customer service leadership for Brothers Power Sports was celebrating his 50th birthday. The service in the lodge and on the entire property was extraordinary. But, more than that, it seemed to be normal behavior for them. They always addressed me as "Mr. Jackson" and each time they said my name, it was as though they were honored to have the privilege. Everyone working - from the gift shops to the club house, from the grounds-keepers on the pristine courses to the waitresses in the café - conducted themselves at the 100 percent standard.
As I was playing golf, I was thinking about my Baltimore client. What was he missing? What did Stanford Medical Center and Pebble Beach have that he didn't? While walking around the most beautiful 18 holes of golf in the world that I have ever played, I was finally able to sum it up in one word: Confidence. Pebble Beach is known to be the best and each staff member there takes pride in his or her ability and to handle their responsibilities at the highest (100 percent) level. They are confident they are the best in the world at what they do. They are confident that their teammates will uphold the 100 percent standard 100 percent of the time - not 99.9 percent of the time. They are confident that when you leave Pebble Beach, you will remark with enthusiasm and confidence that your expectations were exceeded that day; and you most certainly will come back to experience their confidence in customer service again. Confidence comes from expecting and being the best.
Back to my Baltimore client's question: How to get 100 percent out of your team?
There are three keys to cultivating and maintaining confidence in your team:
1. As a leader, you must hire the best people available and you must treat them as though they are the best in the world. When leaders treat their people the way they want their customers treated, you get confidence and confidence spreads. If you have people who are not best in class, then you have three choices. First, you can do nothing. If you choose this option read no further, just shut up and accept that you are mediocre. Oh, and pray you are not on one of those planes landing unsafely at O'Hare. Second is to communicate your expectation to your people and then train, train and train some more until your expectation becomes the norm. The third option is to terminate and find a better replacement and, in this economy, that should be easy. No excuses.
2. Treat each customer as if he or she were a Head of State. If the Queen of England or the President of the United States walked into you business, wouldn't you roll out the red carpet? If you argue that you can't be expected to do that every time, then I guess you will not be in the same winner's league as Pebble Beach.
3. Model an excellent example that deserves to be imitated. As the leader, you model the way to find the positives in your business, market, products, locations and even the weather. Leaders who believe that now is the best time to succeed will ultimately be called the exception to the rule. Pebble Beach was sold out on a cold and rainy Monday in December with the wind blowing 20-30 miles an hour. You, as a leader, expect and demonstrate a 100-percent success rate no matter what the conditions.
Now I ask you, how is your confidence? Are you waiting for the government to fix things? Are you looking for the magic dust that makes everything a 100 percent success? Or, will you be confident when go to sleep tonight, that this day you gave 100 percent in all that you did. Confidence is knowing that your team is the best, your product is the best, and on this day that the Lord has given you, you gave it 100 percent.
Many who read this article ponder what they might do differently to give 100 percent and ultimately justify all the reasons why it can't happen. Then there are those who will read this and know they are a leader of, or a part of, an elite group who are confident and live their life at 100 percent. The biggest tragedy is to have missed your goal by one tenth of one percent because you only gave 99.9 percent of yourself. Which are you? Tell me please.
Discover the secrets to leadership confidence with Jim Jackson's Leadership program.
After you've taken the time to find your purpose, you're going to be excited. Remember, this is one of the things that you feel most passionate about in life! How could you not be excited?
So how is that purpose going to play out in your life? What's your life going to look like, 5, 10 or 20 years from now? Where will your purpose take you? What is your perfect picture of your future?
For instance, my purpose is to help people grow and realize their talents. How do I expect to accomplish that? What is my vision of how that plays out?
My vision and my company's vision is to raise the self-esteem of the human race.
It's a big vision, I'll admit. But like they say, the journey of 1000 miles begins with one step. When I tell people my vision, they often say, "Wow. How can you raise the self-esteem of the human race?" And I say, "One person at a time." Sometimes it's ten. Sometimes it's a thousand. Sometimes it's by people reading this book. Sometimes it's by people listening to my CD's. But I'm constantly working to raise the self-esteem of the human race. It's my life-long vision.
Your vision is your opportunity to fulfill your purpose. It moves you toward the future perfect picture of how you want to be seen when everything is functioning at the best possible scenario.
Once you've identified your purpose, think about how you're going to fulfill it.
Suppose your father was an immigrant who worked in the States, but was handicapped because he never learned how to read English. Now, you feel passionately about teaching people how to read. You feel a special connection to adults who, like your father, are a little uncomfortable and embarrassed about not being able to read. You'd like to reassure them and help empower them to change their lives. That's your vision.
Maybe you're an attorney who feels passionate about the justice system. You believe strongly that it plays a vital role in society and you want to do everything in your power to make sure it is held to the highest standards. Your vision is to work to achieve fair verdicts and make sure the system works.
No matter what your career, you might find that your true purpose in life is to give your children the love and opportunities you never had as a child. You have a vision of a warm, loving family that extends through the generations and makes a valuable contribution to the world by its very existence. Creating more good people is what you feel passionate about. And your vision is to invest your heart and soul in achieving that with the people you love.
When you have a vision, it gives your life a kind of purpose and meaning that drives you forward. It gets you out of bed in the morning. Sometimes I'm so excited about the opportunities for fulfilling my vision that I can't wait to get going every day. Without a vision, you can't generate the same energy for life.
There is literally no limit to what your purpose and vision might be. Take a moment now and being to think about some of the things that are most important to you. Remember, you don't have to come up with the final answer in one sitting. Let your mind mull it over. Keep it on the back burner for awhile. Sleep on it. Let your intuition be your guide. Once you come up with it, you won't have any doubt. Nothing else will excite your interest in the same way.
How big is your vision?
Learn how to achieve your vision with Jim Jackson's inspirational BREATHE workshops
I want you to listen to an interview with the great Colonel Sweeney. Listen and ask yourself how am I leading under the changing economic environment? Read the Colonel's background and you will realize that you are listening to a real American hero. The link for the MP3 is at the end of this article. Enjoy and give some feedback for others to reflect upon.
Integrity, Commitment, Enthusiasm.
They're the attributes of great leaders, great team members and great humans. They're also the attributes that make Lt. Colonel Kevin Sweeney a captivating storyteller and inspirational icon who shares a wealth of experiences and tools necessary for success.
In today's rocky economy, too many individuals are focused on just keeping their jobs let alone excelling in their business and personal lives. The Colonel's approachable style and sage strategies from both the military and corporate worlds combine to provide a gripping, entertaining and motivating session that will resonate with audience members for years to come.
Who Is The Colonel
Lt. Colonel Kevin Sweeney has an extensive military career culminating in the receipt of the Distinguished Flying Cross from the United States Air Force. His incredible success as a sales leader in an American top 50 company is inspirational as are his sports leadership experience. The Colonel now shares his valuable insight into both business and personal success in two memorable sessions:
Conversations With The Colonel
Imagine getting the opportunity to sit in your living room and have a conversation with this gentleman who has been a leader of thousands of men and women. A man who battled the physical loss of both engines on the left wing of his airplane during a night combat mission in Desert Storm and won! A man who has achieved surmountable success as a sales leader and corporate executive and who led his college basketball team to it's highest ranking in history. Well... imagine no more.
Conversations With the Colonel puts you and your team front and center, up close and personal with Lt. Colonel Kevin J. Sweeney, the author of "Conversations with the Colonel, Lessons of Life, Leadership and Wisdom" and "Pressure Cooker Confidence, How to Lead When the Heat Is On." The Colonel will discuss with you an authentic, ethical and realistic view of the attributes needed for successful performance under pressure. The Colonel shares his extraordinary experiences across a wide and varied spectrum that few, if anyone, can match.
Pressure Cooker ConfidenceTM
How to Deliver Peak Performance When the Heat is On
Pressure Cooker ConfidenceTM enables you to say "I can, I will, I expect, and I did it"- when the pressure is on. The Colonel's flagship presentation built around his dramatic life or death flight during a mission in Desert Storm introduces the five principles of Pressure Cooker ConfidenceTM. Learn why the hard work you do beforehand matters more than the work you do when the pressure is on.
Colonel Kevin J. Sweeney will position you mentally in the cockpit with him to personally live through his incredible experience and challenge of having the two engines on his left wing come completely off his airplane while on a Desert Storm combat mission. You will feel the skill, resolve, and team attributes necessary to lead your team to a successful landing in such a dire circumstance. You will learn how to apply these same principals to your personal and professional life to excel under pressure. Team performance does not just happen. Creating effective teams take talent, time and trust. You will learn how to become the ‘go to' person in your organization when the going gets tough.
Leadership is in fashion as a focus for business. Across America businesses invest time and energy in different leadership programs. There are as many different opinions as to what leadership is as there are cars. There are as many different and effective leadership styles as there are people to lead. With all the emphasis put on the need to be a great leader and with the market changing at an accelerated rate, you begin to ask the question. What is right for me and my people? Is the leadership style that worked 5 years ago still as effective today? You need to ask yourself if your leadership style is moving you closer to your vision or farther away from it.
With all these questions it is no wonder that leaders sometimes get confused about their role as a leader. First you should have a clear understand of the definition of the word leadership. The root word... "Lead" is to go, to travel... "Lead" is to show the way by going in advance... "Lead" is to go first as a guide... to be first... to be ahead...
If you have the understanding that to lead is to go first as a guide then you as a leader must have a clear vision of where you are going. What is it you desire?What do you want it to look like? Can you communicate clearly exactly the outcome you envision or are you telling people what you don't want and what they are doing wrong. As a leader you are responsible for the direction of the company or team by knowing the vision and clearly communicating the vision. When you have a clear vision of what success looks like you can break leadership into two critical success factors. Leadership should be made simple to understand and a continuous work in progress.
Leadership sets direction and shares with the team the Corporate Vision and any other refinement that brings this overall vision to the level of the team. Helping the team create their vision that drives the corporate vision. Leadership is always helping people feel "pulled" by the power of the vision, yet leaving room for the people to figure out how to get there. "Constantly re-connecting people with the Vision."
Can you imagine in 1492 a man named Columbus standing on a dock in Spain with a big audacious vision? Columbus needs to recruit a crew to sail around the world. His vision is so grand that people had to think he was insane. After all you can stand at the edge of the dock and see the world is flat. Who wants to sail off the edge of the world and die? Not me, you first!
This is not uncommon to what you as a leader in your business face when you articulate your objectives for business growth and profit in the year 2009. Just like 1492 except they are sitting behind a desk looking out over the inventory that they know is not right for this market and they know that because of the lousy leads they're getting. Your crew tells you all the reasons why your vision has flaws. And this is where you either become a great leader or succumb to their beliefs letting go of your visions. It is known as a leadership choice time.
Just like Columbus you need to inspire your people to go where they did not think they could go! That is why the second critical success factor of removing OBSTACLES is so important. This is where you as a leader must do something different in dealing with old policies and practices that get in the way of the change efforts and growth. You as a leader will find ways to deal with and eliminate old ideas and paradigms that do not support the new way of being profitable. You as a leader will find yourself confronting people who are not supportive of the new and want to cling to the past. You as a leader can never compromise your vision for old negative beliefs. You can help people understand they always have a choice.
Can you imagine the obstacles that Columbus had to remove? The rest of the world knew that the earth was flat and the only course you could chart was to sail off the edge of the world and die. I am sure that Columbus started his crew in small steps. Maybe sail out a little ways to see how successful we are. The more they sailed the more confidence they had in Columbus and the more the crew was willing to commit to the journey.
Leaders must be sold out for the vision. Commitment at this level, is a leader who will do whatever is needed to create the desired results. Leaders will use their creativity and their personal courage to deal with problems, challenges and obstacles to achieve the desired results. People will follow when they believe leadership knows where they are going and are committed to the achievement of that vision.
Great organizations have leaders, who are committed to the vision, the development of their people, and who extremely committed to their own development as a leader. The actions of a leader are mirrored each and every day by their managers and people. Whatever shortcuts you take as a leader your people will follow. Leaders who never compromise their values place a high importance on being consistent in their leadership style, they walk the talk. Great leaders never say do as I say not as I do. If you want your people to perform at a higher level you the leader must perform at the much higher level with the expectations that as a leader you model the way.
If you don't have the leadership skills to lead in this every changing market then find some help. Hire a performance coach. Read books or articles on leadership. Leaders invest in themselves because they realize that they need to have the tools to inspire people to go where they didn't think they could go. And to remove the obstacles that get in the way.
What kind of leader are you? The way you lead is a choice and how you improve those leadership skills is your decision. To learn what it takes participate in a leadership evaluation email me at email@example.com or call 702-644-8326.
Discover the secrets to leadership confidence with Jim Jackson's Leadership program.