Friday, December 29, 2006

Goals are for Sissies

It's that same pattern we expereince each year and I am just as guilty. The holiday for December has come and gone and we are cleaning up the home and the life to fulfill the promise that next year will be different, better, even the best one yet. We make the goals (resolutions for some) and we make promises to ourselves, even to others, yet somehow we always forget that making the goals is the easy part. It is taking the action, having the drive, and being persistant that gets most people caught in a snare before Valentine's Day.

Goals in and of themselves are for sissies. It doens't take any courage to think of what one wants or to even take the next step, which is to write it down. Even those who draft on a cocktail napkin on New Year's Eve what their next year will look like, have taken some action, but again it takes more. Those who make the goals and then think that is all it takes have it all wrong. It is action that makes the difference. This year, do more, be more, believe more and take more action. We created a manual to write your goals down, but I venture to say, this is still the first step. Can you make a difference this year? You bet! Can you lose that weight, quit that habit, be a better parent, make that higher income? You bet! In the words of Tim McGraw - "How Bad Do You Want It?" This year, don't just come up with what you want, come up with what you are willing to do to make it happen.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What is Leadership Intentionally?

What if you could lead people with a purpose on purpose? You can. Many people ask me about our current training programs: Leadership Intentionally and Success Intentionally. The questions usually sound something like this:
"Can you really lead or be successful by accident?"
"What does it mean to lead intentionally?"
The answer to the first question is YES and many do, which is the reason you will find one hit wonders and one time successes. Without knowing how to repeat the process, it is luck and timing that helps you succeed. Being intentional with a process that leads to success and successful leadership helps you to achieve your goals in both areas on purpose.

Leadership Intentionally is what we teach aspiring leaders or managers who wish to be leaders how to do. There are many factors involved, yet three of the most important ones include:
1. Desire
2. Skills
3. Practice

With a desire to lead, which we can help you pinpoint and even predict, one will work more diligently to develop the skills and practice them for habit forming behavior. Leadership Intentionally is your key to learning how to lead those you have the privilege of working with to greatness, instead of just goodness. More to come...

Saturday, November 4, 2006


What does your idea of successful leadership look like? What does your idea of success look like? What is standing in your way of achieving it? Think about that now before we come up on January (New Year's Resolutions and Goals) and you will be ahead of the game!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Young Impressions... on Future Leaders!

The below is an excerpt from an email I received last week. Isn't it amazing how what we learn in our efforts to become better leaders can rub off on the little ones we have so much influence over! Way to go Michelle!

"I just completed listening to your CD series on Contagious Leadership last night. I have been listening to it in my car and thought you’d get a kick out of the impact it made on my 7 year old daughter.My daughter listened intently to the section where you described that "employees don’t work for you they work for themselves", she took it to heart. Now when I pick her to bring her to the office instead of saying “are your workers still there?” she says “is your team still there?” It took her a few times but the most exciting part was she corrected herself, I didn’t mention it after she listened to it. She’s well on her way to being a great leader!"

Keep in mind how much you impact the lives of those around you. For you own copy of Contagious Leadership, go to w

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Thought of Delegation... can be scary!

In light of Halloween approaching, let's talk about something that can be a little scary sometimes - Delegation. When I spoke yesterday to the wonderful West Orange Chamber of Commerce, this topic, along with the dreaded micro-management issue came up. No one likes to be micro-managed and few seem to enjoy or feel good about delegation. Perhaps a few tips on delegating more effectively will help to alleviate the fear of it all...

In the November issue of Entrpreneur magazine, on page 152, Romanus Wolter, writes Trust Your Team. Now, from my perspective these folks aren't yours they work with you and we don't own any of them. They are the team members that you have the privilege of leading, however, once we get past that, Mr. Wolter shares some great tips to delegating to these valuable team members.

1. Complete vital tasks during your peak performance periods.
2. Prioritize and define your success action steps.
3. Conduct a delegation "test run".
4. Be sure those you hire fit your personality and needs. (this is a biggee and something that we specialize in)
5. Allow the people you hire to be entrepreneurial.

For more check out the entire article at your local bookstore or on


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Who are People Hiring?

In November's Fortune Small Business ...

Check out the article on page 20 about who is hiring whom? The article goes on to mention that employers are hiring folks that they ike. The data comes from "a recent survey by NFI Research and what they found is that managers of small businesss are more likely to make hiring and promotion decisions based on personality than on significant factors such as, oh, skill level."

The data speaks loudly and says that the folloiwng percentages are what you are relying on when hiring or promoting folks:
64.8% Personality/likability
58.6% Skills
53.9% Track Record
18.8% Knowledge of your organization
14.1% Diversity

If that is the case perhaps it is time we help managers by educating them more on what to look for in the way of personality/likability. Better yet, perhaps we provide a tool to HR or hiring departments to determine a candidates true likeability and personality rather than just what they show you in an interview. This is exactly what we do at Monica Wofford International. Call us for a preview! 1-866-382-0121 and in the meantime, think carefully about who you are hiring.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Refreshing movie that makes you think!

If you have not yet seen "Man of the Year" with Robin Williams, run out to see it at the big screen as soon as you can. Not only does it make you think about the need for some changes in our political system, it made me think about some changes that many businesses might want to make.

What if we just operated at full disclosure with our clients so that they didn't have to guess? What if we took a refreshing approach with all of our actions - would that eliminate the need for harsh return policies because so many took advantage of the system? Would that eliminate the tolerance for poor service that so many people put up with? Would that eliminate the power that so many organizations believe they can exert over their customers? Maybe, maybe not.

Mr. Tom Dobbs in Man of the Year makes you look at politics differently in a mere two hours. what would it take for us to view Customer Service, Leadership in our organizations, or Success in our lives differently? Is it time we shake up some of the old models?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

New Stage of Business - YOU

Just read... Waiting For Your Cat to Bark by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg

Great read and powerful information. If you are looking for a way to achieve success in your business or a way to make your service level positively Contagious - pick it up. One of the things that stood out for me on pages 36-37 were the questions that at one time seemed impossible, but are now reality:

- What if your customers knew your business secrets; your cost of goods, profits, manufacturing methods, finances, etc.,or with easily accessible guidance could estimate them with a high degree of accuracy?

- What if your customers, instead of PR, determined the reputation of your product?

- What if a few cranky customer could kill your product by badmouthing it?

- What if your company were an open book for all of your customers to look into?

There are many more questions that the authors go on to ask, yet the scary part is that each of them, including the ones listed above, are all in fact reality. Your customers do have the ability to know each of these things and they do determine the reputation of your company.

You can either act with transparency and full disclosure with your customers or wait until they find out what your company might be holding back. Be refreshing, just be open and remember who determines the your bottom line.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Lead Yourself

If you do nothing else today that helps you to become a Contagious Leader... lead youself to the greatness that you are supposed to be, enjoy, create, and benefit from. Life is about living and Playing to Win, not Playing for the purpose of not losing. Which one are you leading yourself to participate in today? Stay safe and grow stagnant; stay on the edge and take risks and you may fall, but then again you may fly.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Leadership Decisions: Fix It, Accept It, or Leave.

There is complaining and there is complacency. There is whining and there is whimsical talk about why we can’t fix others or fix our boss or fix the co-worker that you saw flying in on her broom. It all adds up to the three decisions that we each have to make and they are clear, simple, and less than easy.
The three overwhelmingly clear decisions that we always have are Fix It, Accept It, or Leave. Okay, they seem easy and they seem clear, yet I also mentioned that they might be less than easy and I would even go so far to say they are deceptively easy, yet the truth of the matter is that these are the choices we all have when faced with a situation at work, a person at work, or a scenario at work that you don’t like or feel compelled to grumble over or wish to fix when it involves another person. Contagious Leaders fix it, accept it, or leave. Now, let’s dissect these in proper form.
Have you ever tried to fix someone? Have any of you ever been married? I mean really. Isn’t there an old adage that says “You can’t fix someone unless of course, they want to be fixed?” It exists for a reason and remains true an untold number of times. In fact, situations cannot be fixed, but situations can. If you have a situation that is troubling you that you can somehow influence, control, or modify, then by all means, do so. Don’t complain about the problem, create a solution.
“Grant me the wisdom to accept the things that I cannot change…” is a line found in many sources, one of which is the Serenity Prayer often directed toward God. To whomever you might utter the saying, remember the point, those things which you cannot change, must be accepted. If you were to look up jerk in the dictionary and find the clear picture of your boss, then why do you become bothered when that person does exactly what a jerk does. Let’s look at this differently. If you saw a dog on a leash walking down the street with his owner, would you get mad at the dog for walking on the leash? Silly enough, no probably not. Isn’t this similar in that we wouldn’t get mad at something for doing exactly what it is supposed to do? So why would we get mad at someone for doing exactly what we expect them to do. Try not to complain about someone being who you say they are, try to look at them, be fascinated and accept them for what and who they are.
I have always said that if you do not like the situation, cannot fix it, and choose not to accept it, then it might be time for you to consider the option of looking at the possibilities of maybe one day contemplating the thought of looking at the option of maybe thinking about alternative chances that you may have to somehow someway someday find another job. Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not telling you upon completion of this article that you should print it and take it to your boss and tell him or her that you quit. That is not the message and if you believe it is then please change my name above to “Cindy” as many of you have heard me mention in seminars. What I am saying is that if fixing and accepting are not options, then leaving is your lasting choice. If you choose to stay then it is conscious choice and what you are really then complaining about is your choice or your lack of ability to make a tough decision. Keep in mind leaving could easily mean leaving the situation and does not always mean leaving a job.

Most of these have multiple interpretations and I by no means have all the answers or am vacant of thoughts around the fact that there are variations on the clarity of all three. Nonetheless, there are always these three decisions and the choice is yours. Contagious Leaders make the most of the decisions that they have.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Followers:Friends or Front Line?

You used to be their buddy and now you’re their boss. You used to willingly join them for drinks after work and now you are worrying over writing their performance reviews. When you get promoted into leadership, what happens to those friendships that you used to have with your colleagues? Some organizations will tell you that friendship is impossible, even prohibited. Contagious Leaders can and should be friends with those they lead; it is merely the definition of “friends” that we may benefit from clarifying.
Contagious Leadership was written in part because of the frequent occasions sited in Corporate America in which a person was seen to be a “great widget maker” and so a manager said “Oh wow you would make a great widget maker manager!” and proceeded to promote this front line person. Let’s reserve conversation about the fact that these two positions vary widely in skill sets, as well as, skill in one does not correlate to skill in another, for another newsletter and focus simply on what this does to the person who becomes the new manager.
If you were my friend one day and then not my friend the next, I might begin to think “you believed you were too good to talk to me” unless of course, you talked to me first. Yet, how many new managers feel comfortable having that conversation or have TIME to have it while learning the new job in a baptism by fire modality.
Let’s face it; a new promotion is not always easy on the friend circle unless you have one supportive group of friends. What is more often the case is a series of resentments, “I should’ve gotten that job”, backbiting, or even sabotage, so here’s what you do. When you are promoted to a new leadership position:
• Ask your promoting leader when you can tell the team the news
• Ask permission to alert them before the news goes public
• Openly discuss what is going on, when it will be effective and what will change; address the issues of negativity
• Save your expectations and new directions for meeting number two and give them a chance to get adjusted to the new information.
• Try to hold this meeting on a Friday, or end of shift, so that those with issues have a chance to think on it for a couple of days.
• Let them know the company’s policy on being friends and how you are planning to handle any friendship changes that may occur.

Realize for yourself that this is a process and that some will respond better than others. Realize also that if you abandon those that you used to be friends with that are now reporting to you and still remaining members of the front line that you may face more problems than a leader hired in from the outside with no history. You can do it. You can have it all if you employ mutual courtesy, respect, and professionalism.
The people Contagious Leaders lead are in fact, just that, PEOPLE and if you treat them as such, you may have a gift for appreciating where they are and what they experience, far more than someone who hasn’t “been there, done that”. That could work in your favor and help you to build one phenomenal team of productive followers who enjoy working with you. Followers are not limited to being friends OR front line and can be both.