Sunday, July 30, 2006

Radio Show #1 a Success (I think!)

Well, I just completed my first radio show on ThunderRadio this afternoon. Despite a couple of minor glitches, I think it went quite well. I need to send a shout-out to those of you who contributed your ideas for your life theme songs. I spent quite a few hours figuring out how to download and burn those songs (I purchased them through Rhapsody), but it was all good!

In addition to playing people's life theme songs, I'm also going to examine some piece of conventional wisdom we've all heard throughout our lives and see whether it's still valid today.

Today's theme was The Golden Rule (thanks to Steve Farber for the inspiration).

In addition to that conversation, I also played the following theme songs from those of you who contributed:

Mike Sansone - "We Are Family" (Sister Sledge)
Carolyn Kramer and Bonnie Staiger - "I Can See Clearly Now" (Johnny Nash)
Starbucker - "Daily Grind" (His original version!)
Michael McAllister - "Wonderful World" (Eva Cassidy version)
Kirsten Harrell - "Imagine" (John Lennon)
Jodee Bock (after all, it is my show!) - "100 Years" (Five For Fighting)
Ellen Puffe - "This is The Moment" (Donny Osmond version - originally from Jeckyll & Hyde musical)
Virgil Seibold - "What We Believe In" (Jim Brickman & Pam Tillis)
Mark Bourdon - "The Prayer" (Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli)
Jodee Bock (again)! - "Life Is Eternal" (Carly Simon)

Each of these songs added a great spirit to the show because they had such a great meaning to them. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed your idea and also the reason why you chose that song.

I've got a pretty good list going for next week, but I encourage you to think about what you might pick for a theme song for your life. E-mail me the song and the reason why you'd choose that song and I'll do my best to play it on the show.

You can tune in from anywhere in the world over the Internet, so let me know what you think!

Next week's convention wisdom is "Thoughts Become Things." Is it really true that we become what we think about most? Tune in to find out!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

How Well Do You Know Yourself?

I'm working today on a class I'll be conducting next week on management concepts, and I'm including a section on the Johari Window and the importance of knowing ourselves as managers.

The Johari Window concept was developed back in the '50s and it examines the areas of ourselves which are known to us, known to others, unknown to ourselves, and unknown to ourselves and others. By developing those areas, we can improve our communication skills and build better relationships.

I came across this interactive site which allows me to build my own Johari Window, and I wanted to share it with you.

Although some of you may not know me other than by what you read here, if there are people reading who do know me, feel free to visit this site and enter your feedback about me. You can also build your own personal Johari Window at this site.

This seems like a fun tool we can use to create bigger small talk in our lives!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A New Perspective on Fargo

My buddy Jack Hayhow at Opus Communications sent me a link to a great article from yesterday's Inc. blog about my town! Click here to read about Joel Kotkin's recent visit to Fargo.

Let me know if you're going to be in town ... I'd love to show you all the sites!

Monday, July 24, 2006

More Connections - More Ideas!

So this morning I'm catching up on visiting my favorite blogs, and I stumble across a post following the one I put up at Tom Peters' blog, from Starbucker, and I notice that he and I have very similar ideas about leadership. I have noticed Starbucker before, but I finally went out and looked at his blog. He has a great site called "Ramblings From A Glass Half Full" which I'd encourage you to visit.

At this blog I found a link to a wonderful article by Ben Stein ("Bueller, Bueller," - He's Ferris Bueller's teacher in the movie) about how separate we've become. From Starbucker's site:

Once again Ben Stein forced me to sit up and think with this column about how our neighborhoods have changed, and not for the better. His key question: "How did we stop giving a damn about our neighbors and viewing this earthly transit, this brief wink between eternity and eternity (to paraphrase the great Hart Crane), as mostly a chance to make money off a nameless, faceless Other?” Another one worth reading from Ben.

This is a perfect segue into another of my projects - the ONE seminar I'll be conducting wherever anyone would like it. The seminar is based on Lance Secretan's book "ONE: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership" and it hearkens back to a simpler time when humanity was connected and not separated as we find ourselves today. Through reflection, dialogue and interaction, this seminar will help us all figure out what can bring us back to ONE in our organizations, where we all know we can be and are the most effective.

So there are quite a few calls to action in this post: Check out Ramblings From A Glass Half Full. Read Ben Stein's article. Check out the ONE seminar on my website. (And if you haven't done it yet, send me your nod for the theme song for your life (see yesterday's post) and why you'd pick that song.) And, while you're surfing, check out the latest podcast at No Bullshit Leadership. Phil & Greg & I had another lively dialogue last night.

Last, but not least, notice what calls your attention this week. Are you drawn to ways we are separate? Or are you noticing how coming together in our work and at home might lead to different action?

Let me know what you see.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Happy Anniversary to Us!!

I didn't even realize it when I published that last post, but today is the second anniversary for You Already Know This Stuff! My, how time flies!

Since July 23, 2004, I've written 154 posts and have heard from people from as far away as England and Denmark. I've met new friends, learned so much about technology (and blogging and Squidoo-ing (is that even a verb?)), become an online E-zine article author, a podcaster, soon a radio show host, and also soon a published author (my book, The 100% Factor, is scheduled to go to the printer on Wednesday, and should be ready to purchase by mid-August)!

Thank you so much to everyone who has commented on or read this blog. It is your encouragement that finally prompted me to write (and self-publish) my own book, which I don't think I would have done without that encouragement.

Here's to 154 more posts! Let's work together to make all of our small talk bigger!

What's The Theme Song For Your Life?

Starting next Sunday, I'm going to have my own 1-hour radio show, which, thanks to the Internet, you can hear anywhere in the world!

As of right now, my show will be called - you guessed it: You Already Know This Stuff. I'll talk about some of the conventional wisdom you've heard over the years, and we'll check and see if it's still valid or not.

Thanks to Steve Farber's tip, next week's theme will be The Golden Rule. If you missed Steve's post about that topic, check it out here. That should give us a lot of good material to talk about!

In addition to that aspect of the show, I also have a request for you (a twist from the traditional radio request show where the listeners make the requests!). I want to talk about Life Theme Songs ... if you had a theme song for your life, what would it be and why? I'll try my best to find those songs and play them during the show, and then tell why people chose those songs to represent their lives. If you have any requests, please e-mail them to me or comment here and I'll try to find them, or will at least talk about them. If you have a link to a song or can e-mail it to me, that would be even better.

As of today, I think one of my theme songs is Dan Fogelberg's "The Higher You Climb." You can see a really neat visual picture of that song's lyrics here.

If you'd like to listen, the show is from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Central time on Sundays and you can access it at ThunderRadio.

I'll be watching for your life theme song ideas!

Friday, July 21, 2006

It's Time For Some New Rules

It seems the old rules of business are no longer as effective as they used to be. The current issue of Fortune magazine says good-bye to the corporate rules of Jack Welch and hello to the new rules of success.

Old Rules:
1. Big dogs own the street.
2. Be No. 1 or No. 2 in your market.
3. Shareholders rule.
4. Be lean and mean.
5. Rank your players; go with the A's.
6. Hire a charismatic CEO.
7. Admire my might.

New Rules:
1. Agile is best; being big can bite you.
2. Find a niche, create something new.
3. The customer is king.
4. Look out, not in.
5. Hire passionate people.
6. Hire a courageous CEO.
7. Admire my soul.

The article says that the rock star of business is no longer the guy atop the FORTUNE 500 (today Rex Tillerson at ExxonMobil), but the very guy those FORTUNE 500 types used to love to ridicule: Steve Jobs at Apple.

Is there any correlation here to the difference between MEN and GUYS? I'm referring to Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys (which I didn't realize he'd even turned into a movie. Wow.). If you don't know what I'm talking about in this comparison, maybe it will help if I just give you the title of the first chapter of Dave's book: "The Role of Guys in History. Men Went to the Moon, but Guys Invented Mooning." Could it be that Jack Welch = man? Steve Jobs = guy? Old rules = Men; New rules = guys? (Women - don't get too upset. Dave Barry considers Katie Couric a "guy.")

OK, maybe that's a stretch, but I'm very encouraged and excited about the possibilities for our world of work with the new rules. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

How's "Boss-ship" Working for Us?

Although I haven't seen it yet, I think the movie "The Devil Wears Prada" might create some interesting dialogue within our corporate offices.

However, will any of the bosses represented by Meryl Streep's character in the movie be the ones having those dialogues? Do bosses still think "boss-ship" (as opposed to leadership) works in the workplace? Apparently they do, according to Working America's My Bad Boss Contest.

Some of these entries are doozies! I’m wondering why people are still using fear as motivation or, as I’m learning from The Power Principle, coercive power to get short-term “results,” and long-term broken relationships.

Shifting from the boss’s perspective to the employee’s: what is the reason we focus on these negative forces in our lives? So we can share our war stories and get some sort of comfort from each other? Why do we put up with this type of behavior?

If we’re honest – both as bosses and as employees – wouldn’t we admit that what’s going on just isn’t working? I’m not judging here, just observing. What if there were no “right” or “wrong,” just what works or what doesn’t?

Is it fear that keeps bosses using “boss-ship”? Maybe bosses come to their action from their own perspective which is totally fear-based. Think about what we know about abusive parental relationships. That behavior tends to perpetuate throughout generations because we act as we’re taught. We’re fearful about so many things – about getting in trouble, about losing our jobs, about lots of things we probably can’t even articulate.

Why are we so obsessed with fear in our lives? What is the appeal of the TV show Fear Factor? Why do we love scary movies? Why do we love extreme sports and huge rollercoasters? Maybe we want to get that adrenaline rush and feeling of accomplishment that comes from overcoming a challenge. Maybe we like these situations because we are choosing to put ourselves there and we do have some sense of control, as opposed to work environments or family relationships where fear is present.

Maybe the question we need to ask ourselves is as simple as “How is this working for me?” If we’re honest about the answer, then we can move to another question: “What might I do differently?” and then be committed to action depending upon that answer.

The topic of Fear is one of the chapters of my new book The 100% Factor scheduled to be available by the first part of September. “How is this working for me?” and “What might I do differently?” are two questions I ask throughout the book. If we can determine those answers for ourselves, we have a wonderful opportunity to make a positive difference in our own lives and those around us.

Whether you’re a boss, a leader, or an employee, ask yourself those questions. Let’s stop celebrating how bad the bosses are and start focusing our efforts on what IS working. Instead of focusing on just making a difference, let’s be more specific and focus on making a POSITIVE difference in our workplaces, communities, and families.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ideas from The Power Course

I'm currently involved in a 6-week online course called The Power Course and I'm finding it to be very fascinating. Not only is the course content fantastic, it's also the first time I'm taken an online course. I'm beta testing the online version for one of my new clients. The text for the course I'm taking is "The Power Principle" by Blaine Lee and it's a great book. I'm learning a lot about power as honor and influence, not as force.

I had the opportunity to join Phil Gerbyshak as co-host of last week's No Bullshit Leadership podcast, and I talked about what I'm learning in the class. You can hear that podcast at that website here.

The Power Course is offered through the Conservation Learning Campus - the virtual campus of the Management Assistance Team (MAT) under the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Their purpose is to provide students/employees with unprecedented learning opportunities to help them become the best they can be. This organization knows that its employees' best strengthens the quality of conservation leadership overall.

It's fun to be involved with organizations that "get it" as far as leadership goes! I'll let you know more as I learn more about MAT and POWER!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

"If I Have To Be Here, Why Doesn't He?"

I'm going on my last day of supervisory training with a company (it's a 5-day gig and tomorrow is Day 5) and today we got quite a bit off-topic, but that was OK with me (don't tell the organization that certified me to do the training - today definitely wasn't in the trainer guide).

If I haven't mentioned it here before, this is a good time for me to tell you about my own personal mission, which is to promote, encourage and even instigate bigger small talk within organizations, businesses, families, and the world. So what happened today was right up my alley.

Although on the surface the comment which I used in the title of this post (which was actually uttered during our impromptu off-topic dialogue) might not seem to be highly mature and intelligent, what happened afterwards was beautiful.

In a moment of frustration, one of the attendees just interrupted the class and asked why the people who were in the class had to be there. He said if this class was supposed to be so good for them, why wasn't upper management there? The class is geared toward anyone who supervises or directs the work of someone else, so I guess he had a point.

The attendees then proceeded to tell me how they were told in an e-mail that they were required to attend this class, which meets 2 hours a day for 5 days. They weren't given an option. They wondered what would happen if they sent an e-mail to the members of upper management requesting a meeting on a certain date at a certain time. The speculation was that no one would attend.

I asked them if they had wanted to attend the training when they came in on Monday and all of them agreed that they were fighting it all the way. I know that is the case with this training everywhere I conduct this class. Who wants to sit through 10 hours of training when there is lots of work to be done?

With that preconception in their heads before they came in, it took some doing to get them to warm up that first day, but this group is no different from every other group I've given this training to. It's my job to grab them at the beginning so they can feel their time spent in class is worthwhile. My commitment to them is to get them beyond their preconceptions so we can achieve some long-term results.

Today we ended up talking about the distinction between training as an event and training as the beginning of a new process. We talked about personal accountability and how anyone can make a difference if they just make up their mind to change themselves and no one else.

A half hour later we had gotten beyond their initial tendency to want to blame others (upper management, mostly) for what they weren't doing and the conversation had shifted to the participants in the class being committed to do something with this training beyond this week. They've already got some ideas for how they might form a group to meet regularly to keep talking about what they're learning and support each other in the new process.

All in all the little detour we took during the class today gave us some entirely new scenery ... and it is my belief that we all got some new things to think about. What I learned was that being authentic about my own commitment to the class participants' learning really did allow them to be authentic in turn. And it turns out they love the subject matter of the class and are finding ways to use what they're learning already. It was reassuring to hear, by the end of our conversation, that they were more enthusiastic to share what they're learning with upper management for the purpose of wanting them to have the same information than the initial comment, which seemed more like they wanted the managers to have to sit through the same torture they were subjected to. :)

I've got a meeting scheduled tomorrow noon with the manager of this organization to give him some feedback about the class. I'm confident that he will be as open as the supervisors are to creating some new routes for the effectiveness of his organization.

I'm excited for the results even a few of these supervisors can achieve as they shift their attention and start making their own small talk bigger.

Monday, July 10, 2006

You Can Never Have Too Much Positive In Your Life

It's my pleasure to introduce a spankin' new blog to you from Kirsten Harrell called "Think Positive."

Kirsten found me in the blogosphere and responded to a post of mine from a few days ago and shared a great poem she wrote a while back called Standing for Peace.

Here's a little more from Kirsten's first post in June:

I am a psychologist with a passion for the power of positive thinking and maintaining a positive attitude! Essentially I am awed by the power of the mind. I am a firm believer in the idea that it is not what happens to us that matters... it is how we handle what happens to us that counts. We live in a fast-paced, stressful, and sometimes frightening world with very little control of what happens around us. That's the bad news... but the good news - and it is really good news- is that we can control our thoughts and our attitude! With mastery of these skills we can live our fullest potential and create the life we want!

Her passion for thinking positive caused Kirsten to co-create, with her sister, a new product called ipop-ins. ipop-ins are one minute attitude boosters that are available for download from and from iTunes, Napster, and Rhapsody.

If you're looking for an instant shot of positive thinking, make sure to stop in and see Kirsten. You'll be glad you did!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

In The Good Old Summertime!

Ah, remember all those wonderful songs from the summers of your youth? Well, here's your chance to re-live those glory days - direct from Fargo, North Dakota, courtesy of some friends at a local ad agency.

Kick back, grab an icy cold beverage, turn up your speakers and enjoy The Chins' renditions of all your summertime requests!

Click here to request your favorite summertime songs!

(and thanks to Shannon Williams via for the great photo!)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Are You For or Against?

You've probably heard it said that you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything. Well, I watched the movie The Secret again last night with a new group of friends, and I started thinking about what I really stand for.

The whole mayor race in my hometown has also taught me a lot about the importance - for me - of being for someone, not necessarily against someone else. Although my friend Brad was defeated in his bid for mayor, I was extremely proud of him in his campaign. I also understand more about what Deepak Chopra once said regarding any political election: the candidate who is elected, whether it's for mayor or for president, represents the collective consciousness of the group who elects him or her. In essence, you get the person the collective whole is ready for.

In any rally, the person (or the cause) with the loudest voice will win. I don't mean loudest in terms of volume - although sometimes that is what happens. Wherever the collective whole puts its attention is where the action will take place.

I heard about at least one experiment where violent crime was reduced by 23 percent in Washington, D.C., during an 8-week period in the summer of 1993 by a group of people who engaged in meditation.

So if we're rallying against something, we will just as likely cause that to come to the forefront as if we were standing for something, unusual as that may appear on the surface. If we're marching against drugs and against terrorism and against war and against teenage pregnancy and against a certain political candidate, we are focusing more on what we don't want than what we do want.

Mother Teresa said: "I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there."

She knew that being "anti-" anything only brought more attention to what she didn't want.

So instead of thinking of all the things you don't want in your life, what are the things you really do want? Begin to notice where you're putting your attention at work. What are the things that bug you? What's the message there for you? Could you shift your attention from what bugs you to what you really appreciate? How about at home? Are you more aware of what you don't want your kids to do than what you do want them to do? It seems easier to tell little kids "NO" than to show them "YES." But what's more effective in the long run?

Just try it. Begin to be for things instead of against them and notice the results. How do you physically feel when you focus on what you do want instead of what you don't want? If stress is the number one cause of illness and dis-ease in our lives, wouldn't it stand to reason that focusing on what we do want would alleviate some of that stress? I think it's worth a try.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

If You're Not the Boss of Me, Who Are You the Boss Of?

I was talking with my buddy Phil over at Make It Great (check out his new book, by the way!) and we were dialoguing about a post I wrote a while ago called "You're Not the Boss of Me" and it got me thinking.

If you're not the boss of me, who are you the boss of?

If we've got to be the boss of someone, let's start with ourselves. So many times we're all bent on changing someone else, whether that be our kids, our partners, our employees or even the guy at the corner coffee shop. But what about the person in the mirror?

"When faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof." -John Kenneth Gilbraith.

It's scary to think about changing ourselves, isn't it? Or maybe the problem is with the word "boss." Where does that word get its context?

Boss-ship doesn't work. That's where you tell someone to do something and your reason is "because I'm the boss." It might work for parents - for a while - but it never works for very long in a work situation.

Phil and I were talking about what it takes to motivate employees. Anyone who is in a position of authority within an organization has undoubtedly faced the dilemma of figuring out how to "motivate" employees.

So, what is motivation? Phil and I have differing opinions about that. Phil believes that motivation is internal - each person has to determine for him or herself what motivates him or her to perform. I believe that motivation is external. Someone else "motivates" you to perform. I believe inspiration (from the Greek in-spirit) comes from within and just needs to be tapped or uncovered by a leader who is more interested in each person's internal spark than the leader's idea.

I'm reading a book right now that was suggested to me by my good friend and colleague Dave Meier. The book is one of three (that I know of) by Robert E. Quinn and it's called "Building the Bridge as you Walk on It: A Guide for Leading Change" and it's fantastic.

It tells the story of how people have taken it upon themselves to make deep changes in themselves which have led to breakthroughs for their organizations. In essence, these people have become the "boss" of themselves, and have inspired Quinn to come up with a new model of leadership which he calls the "fundamental state of leadership."

I love that term because, really, what is fundamental but FUN and MENTAL with "DUH" in the middle?!? It should be the place we all want to reside because it allows us to be in charge of our own lives - to be the boss of ourselves.

Here's a nugget from this book: "Organizational excellence tends not to be a function of imitation. It tends to be a function of origination. It begins with one person - the one in ten who has the capacity to create productive community....The majority [of CEOs or leaders within organizations] are normal. And a few are extraordinary in that they know how to enter a creative personal state that gives rise to a creative collective state. I call that personal state the fundamental state of leadership" (pp.4-5).

So today, Independence Day, is a perfect day for all of us to declare our own independence from the ties of the past. Break free from the way you used to lead and enter the state of Deep Change (that's the first of Quinn's books where he introduces these changes we can all make for ourselves).

Today become the boss of you, and you'll see a profound difference in everything you do. I'd love to hear about the results you see around you when, as Ghandi said, you become the change you wish to see in the world.

Happy Independence Day!!