“Leading Leaders” Book Preview: Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Books, Practical Leadership

In life and in business neatness counts, and attention to detail is important.  Its both an indicator of the quality of the work the team is doing, and the quality of the team members themselves. In any case, the leader can tell a lot by the little things, and little things that may require his attention. Work area cleanliness is sometimes a good indicator whether the staff is organized and motivated. When you walk into a place of business or an office of some sort, no matter what your personality type, you make judgments about the effectiveness and productivity of an organization by what the area looks like. Of course there are the practical considerations of health and safety, but teammates and customers are certainly judging you by your workspace! A personal story about workplace cleanliness comes to mind. 

Back in the 1990’s (when computers were much simpler), I did a lot of the work on my own machine, fixing problems and upgrading the hardware was a hobby. Occasionally, there would be a problem I couldn’t fix myself, so I had to go to a professional to make the repairs. I was always looking for a bargain repair shop as opposed to taking my machine to one of the “big box” electronic stores for the repairs, which in those days meant small one or two person repair shops. I found a small shop that was recommended by a friend, and walked in with my home-built 386sx computer. The shop was a mess, with computers in various states of disassembly amid papers, coke cans, chip bags, electronic components, and empty boxes. There was no one at the unfinished wooden counter, so I waited for a moment to see if I’d be helped.

I was about to leave the shop when the young man working there that day came around the corner and beckoned me back to the counter. Reluctantly, I placed my machine on the counter and explained what was wrong, he looked at me with little interest, then handed me a form to fill out. At the bottom of the form was a damage waiver.  “What’s this for?” I asked. The bored young man replied that it was a “standard form” and that it covered the company in case they did cosmetic damage to my computer while it was in their shop. “Like what?” I asked. “Oh, like scratches or dents to the case,” he added hastily, “but that never happens,” I looked around the shop again. It was a disaster area. Making up my mind quickly, I said, “Uh, I don’t think so,” then gathered my machine up and left. 

Would the shop personnel have taken care of my property? Perhaps. Maybe it was just a bad day in the shop, maybe the young man who waited on me was tired or had some other personal issue that prevented him from being more customer oriented. The net result of all those “little things” however, was that in the space of just a few minutes I had lost confidence that this shop was capable or qualified. In fact, I was pretty sure they were going to give my computer back to me with scratches and dents. They lost my business because of the little things. Additionally, they not only lost my business, they also lost the business of all the people to whom I subsequently relayed the story. It had nothing to do with their actual professional or technical ability, training, or certifications. It didn’t matter to me that they were not the most expensive shop in town or came highly recommended by peers.

My negative opinion was based on a single employee and a single policy for the potential that my property would not be respected.  Is that unreasonable?  Was I applying “military” appearance standards inappropriately?  Maybe, but my experience taught me that when a person is unwilling to do the little things like keeping their work area in order, they were probably unwilling to take care in other facets of their work.  The “standard form” just put an exclamation point on the matter for me.

Looking for Reviewers…

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Books

Are you interested in reviewing Leading Leaders, or the second editions of For God and Country or Saturday Morning Catechism? Would you like Editingto have your “blurb” published in the book? If so, please comment below (and include your email address) or email me directly!!

At present, I’m working with Blue Mantle Publishing (thanks Maria!) and expect Leading Leaders to be published this March or April.  Of course if a large publisher decides to take me on those timelines could change!  The second editions of  For God and Country and Saturday Morning Catechism will be released by October of this year.

Thanks in advance!

Seeking Feedback on Book Title

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Books

Start Here is the working title for my third book about leadership…and I’m thinking about Leading Leaders as the title I’ll publish.  I’d love to get feedback, any thoughts?

The primary target audience is leaders who lead groups that have subordinate leaders, but the principles are applicable to any size team or company.

See You in San Antonio!

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Announcements, Conferences, Speaking

I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be speaking at the San Antonio chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Annual Conference on Thurs, February 21, 2013.

I’ll be presenting two sessions on my leadership philosophy, a character-based and time tested system that anchors any team-building effort and is guaranteed to improve morale, the work environment, and productivity!  I’ve developed this system during over 25 years of military service, including commanding three squadrons and a 1,900 member group.

My Start Here: leadership philosophy is summarized in five “bricks” of the foundation to any leadership task: Integrity, Respect, Teamwork, Leaders Lead, and Little Things Matter.

See you in the Alamo City!

Appearing on 97.7 FM KAFA’s Character Matters! Starting Jan 16th

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Announcements, Speaking

I’m very excited to be appearing on USAFA’s KAFA-FM starting this Wednesday (16 Jan) in a four-part series based on my leadership philosophy.  It was fun to spend a couple of hours with Chief Master Sergeant (retired) Bob Vasquez recording the series and I’m looking forward to hearing the finished product.  While you’re at it, check out KAFA’s Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter.

KAFA-FM

It will be a preview of my upcoming book, Start Here: the Foundation of Leadership and it’s the same philosophy that I’ve developed over the years from Cub Scouts, high school sports, military college, and a 25 year Air Force career.  I’ve distilled a lifetime of leadership experience into a “cornerstone” and “bricks” in the “foundation” of good leadership: Integrity, Respect, Teamwork, Leaders Lead, and Little Things Matter.

Should be a great series and introduction to the book!  Listen online at www.usafa.org/kafa courtesy of the USAFA Association of Graduates.