Achieving Business Excellence with John Spence

The Three Keys to Success in Life and Career

Tom MorrisYears ago I stumbled across a book called True Success by an author named Tom Morris…and it changed my life. I read and re-read it and worked hard to apply the ideas it shared and they made a BIG impact on how I approached my desire to achieve success in my career and life. I then devoured every new book that Tom Morris wrote and continued to learn and grow from his writing. About three years ago I had the great good fortune of being asked to speak at a conference where Tom was also going to deliver a talk. He was amazing…great content, passion, energy, connection – a truly world-class presenter. I approached him after the talk and told him I was a huge fan, we sat down and chatted at length and now I am extremely pleased to call him friend. In this blog I wanted to share a sort of conversation between Tom and I on the three most important elements of creating a successful life. I hope you find this very valuable and share it with your entire network!  Thanks – John

 

John: What do you feel are the three MOST important elements of building a successful life and career?

Tom: Ah! John! You are indeed a master of simplicity. Three things. Let’s see. Ok, here goes: Good values, good people, and good instincts.

Or to put it more fully: Good values within you, good people around you, and good instincts to guide you.

Successful lives and careers are built on the foundation of the right values, perceptive and healthy perspectives on what really matters in this world. Good values to start with will give you a strong sense of purpose, which we all need as a touchstone for decision-making. We can’t just let ourselves unconsciously absorb the values around us, unless we’ve already taken care of the “good people” imperative, and the values that are the most immediately around us are deep and lasting. We need to engage in the age-old process of self-examination that was recommended by Socrates. What are my values? What are my priorities? What means the most to me? Achievement without the right values can be self-destructive. With the right values, it can be deeply satisfying and ultimately fulfilling.

John: Perfect, let me summarize with one of my very favorite quotes, “When values are clear, decisions are easy.” Works well in both business and life.

Tom: It’s also impossible to build a successful life and career without good people around you, people to inspire you, spark you, encourage you, and sometimes question you and correct you. Who counts as good people? Good people are, simply, people with good values, connecting this element back to the first one. Family, friends, great colleagues – these individuals, as life elements, are primary ingredients for personal happiness and also for life and work accomplishment. Rarely does anything worth doing get done absolutely solo. We need other people. And they need us. I’m always saying, “Relationships Rule the World.” And I think that you, my friend John Spence, are a great example of this. You’re a relationship guy. You seek to serve others. And that sets in motion a virtuous cycle where others seek to serve you as well. You don’t do good things for others in order to get them to do good for you, which rarely ever works, in any case. It’s just who you are. You’re a relationship guy. For great perspectives on building a community of such people around us, I’d recommend to your readers the book Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi, and Adam Grant’s new book Give and Take.

John: Thank you for the compliment, I am simply following what I believe is the MOST important thing I have ever learned, “You become what you focus on and like the people you surround yourself with.” A major reason I reached out to you Tom, because of the amazing work you do and the incredible value you and your work has added to my life.  By the way, I would also I would add in Linchpin by Seth Godin, Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk.

Tom: Number three: We need good instincts about what’s appropriate, what’s healthy, what’s needed, what’s helpful, and how to get well positioned for attaining our goals. Instincts are taught mainly by being caught. We become like the people we’re around. Great artists, tennis stars, golf sensations, top business builders, and Nobel Prize winning scientists typically get to a point of mastery by hanging out with masters and watching them. I think that intuition or instinct is a natural endowment in us all, but that to be most effective, it has to be cultivated, groomed, and tutored. We become the best by learning from the best, which shows how this element is connected back to the second, good people.  

Good people are individuals with good values, who associate with other good people, and who have good intuitions. And good people with all these qualities tend to be successful in work and life. 

John: This is why I love the idea of building a Mastermind Group – I have about 18 people I deeply respect in my local Mastermind Group that come to my house about every 45 days to discuss BIG ideas, help each other, support each other and push each other. I can say with complete confidence this idea has dramatically improved my life.

Tom: But what about drive, some readers might ask. It’s embedded in good values. How about education? Your instincts can clue you in to what you need to learn in order to pursue the path that you feel is best for you. Or they can connect you with the right people who can advise you in that regard. Of course, many things facilitate success. I’ve spent my career expounding on seven things I’ve learned from all the great thinkers in this regard, in books like True Success, The Art of Achievement, The Stoic Art of Living, and the new ebook, The 7 Cs of Success. But, to specify the three MOST important things? I think that if you have these three, you can discover whatever else you need!

John: I have read (and re-read) each of those books and they have all had a profound impact on how I live my life. I have used True Success and The Art of Achievement with many of my clients and my Mastermind Group is currently reading The Stoic Art of Living. Actually, my new eBook, Strategies for Success is based a great deal on your teachings and I use one of your main ideas: Creating a PLAN for your life. Thanks so much Tom, I look forward to continuing this conversation!!

*** To my blog readers – if you enjoyed this article please share it with all of your contacts – thank you — John

You MUST Learn to Delegate!

DelegateI was recently delivering a speech in Des Moines (great city – incredibly nice people) and one of the attendees approached me after my talk to ask for some advice. It seems that he had an employee that was very, very talented… except she could not (would not) delegate.

I had encountered a similar problem with a senior executive I was coaching at a Fortune 100 financial firm, he was a superstar, but was also doing everyone else’s job and working 100-hour weeks. Not only had it completely destroyed his personal life, but I was brought in because, in the words of his manager, “If he cannot learn to delegate this is the end-of-the-line for his career, he is totally maxed-out and I cannot give him any more work – or promotions.” I told the attendee in Iowa that I would be happy to put together a brief video that focused on: Superstar Who Cannot Delegate = End of Career. I hope you find this of value and share it with your network!

A Great Leadership Competency Model

10_examples_of_kick-ass_personal_brands

Ideal Leader?

I was recently serving as a lead instructor for the Florida Recreation and Park Association (my longest standing client at 17 years!!!) Joe Abrahams Academy for Leadership Excellence, an elite school for their emerging leaders. During the program I challenged the group to develop an “Ideal Leader” competency model and this is what the came up with…

Honest: authentic, humble, character, integrity to values, show and gain respect.

Communication: transparency, honesty, clear goals, collaboration, listener, storyteller, stakeholder input, open door policy, curious.

Compassion: community of caring, recognition and praise, shared credit.

Inspirational: positive attitude, accountable, passionate, lead by example, authentic.

Talent: empowerment, accountability, competency, training, lifelong learning, investment, get the right people.

Risk Taking: be decisive, have a shared vision, highly competent, innovative, embrace change, be connected, pursue the big idea.

That is a SIMPLE but very powerful list. Easy to talk about – challenging to live. Welcome to leadership! 24/7/365

I think they did a spectacular job of capturing some of the most fundamental and essential elements of being a truly successful leader. What do you think?  Did them miss something critical? I would LOVE your ideas and insights.

The Secret to Success

I was extremely honored to be one of 12 speakers asked to present at the recent Fresh SparkreThink: Success” event. It was an entire day dedicated to the topic of how to achieve success in business and life. My good friend Kristen Hadeed and her entire team were awesome, and were kind enough to ask me to do the opening speech of the day to kick things off. I hope you will take the time to watch this video, it’s about 22 minutes long, but I honestly believe there’s some really good information here that I hope you will want to pass along to many of your friends, family and colleagues.

A Powerful Success Habit

A guest blog from my very good friend, Matt Tenney…

Typically, when considering approaches to improve business outcomes, we compartmentalize.  We look at ways to improve overall strategy, the skills of our leaders, sales, customer service, etc. 

What if there were something very simple that we could do personally, moment-to-moment, that has a significant impact on nearly every area of our professional or business success – a sort of “success habit”? 

The simple practice of mindfulness is just such a habit.  This is why many leading companies like Google, Intel, Raytheon, General Mills, and Genentech offer mindfulness training for leaders and employees in all positions.

Mindfulness training is just a simple shift in perspective that allows us to create and maintain some space between ourselves and our thoughts/emotions.  As simple as this sounds, making mindfulness a habit has numerous links directly to the bottom line.  Below are three examples:

 

 

1.       Increased Stress Resilience – Perhaps the most well-researched benefit of the practice of mindfulness is helping people to face stressful situations with a reduced adverse stress response.  Reducing the adverse effects of stress has a direct impact on profit because it helps people to be more creative, make better decisions, be more productive while at work, miss less days due to illness, and reduce health care costs. 

2.       People Skills / Emotional Intelligence – There is now a tremendous amount of research demonstrating what thought leaders like Dale Carnegie had said for decades: The single most important ingredient for high levels of performance, especially as leaders, is emotional intelligence, commonly referred to simply as “people skills.”  Mindfulness is arguably the most effective method there is for increasing emotional intelligence, which is why one of the most popular training programs at Google is a mindfulness-based, emotional intelligence program called Search Inside Yourself (there is a great book by the same name, written by Google exec Chade-Meng Tan, which I highly recommend). 

3.       Mental Agility – Mental agility allows us to quickly adapt to a rapidly-changing business environment: an invaluable skill.  Also, in cutting edge research in behavioral finance, mental agility has been identified as one of the two most important predictors of whether or not a person will be profitable over the long term.   Mindfulness was designed to increase mental agility and has been shown in research to do so.

Although not easy, mindfulness training is very simple.  We can create the aforementioned shift in perspective simply by mentally noting what we’re doing now.  If we’re sitting and waiting, we just silently say in the mind, “Sitting and waiting.”  If we’ve done that, we’ve just created space between ourselves and our thoughts/emotions.  The trick is maintaining that perspective!  To do that while still, we can simply maintain awareness of our breathing.  To maintain mindfulness during activity, we can simply be curious about what our present moment experience is like, keeping our awareness open to what’s happing now.  When we get pulled into our thoughts again, we just mentally note, “Distracted,” and open our awareness once again.  Repeat as necessary.

In service,

matt tenney

Matt Tenney is a professional speaker and trainer, a mindfulness teacher, and author of the book From the Brig to the Boardroom: Why Mindfulness Is the Ultimate Shortcut to Success.  To contact Matt, visit www.MattTenney.com.

Personal Kaizen

I hope you enjoy this video, I think it has some extremely important ideas about what every person needs to do to create job security/career security in the face of even the most challenging economic times. If you find value in the ideas I share, please send a link on to your friends and colleagues so that as many people as possible can hear these suggestions. Thanks so much, I look forward to your feedback and comments – John

 

The REAL Secrets to Success – for FREE!!!

In just the past week I have received more than a dozen emails from people who promise to teach me the “Secret To Success“… for ONLY $499  I Googled one of the people who sent me such a note and could not find him anywhere on the internet? No career history, no connection to any company, no awards, no charity work – as far as I could tell he has never accomplished anything.  Yet I still have a spam folder full of people who can make me “mega-rich working just four hours a week!” 

The “Secret to Success” is NOT for sale — it is free to anyone who wants to learn it – and these bogus emails upset me so much that I decided to put together this video to outline the very best ideas I have ever learned (so far) about what it TRULY takes to build an incredibly successful life. Whether you are a high school or college student, work in an office or factory, run or own a company – no matter how much education you have… I honestly believe that the ideas I share in this video (for FREE) can make a dramatic positive impact on your life and the lives of those you love… IF… you take these amazingly powerful ideas and apply them in your life every day. Continue reading “The REAL Secrets to Success – for FREE!!!” »

Words of Wisdom

Last week I posted what I felt might have been the most important blog I have ever written. It was entitled “Keys to Success in Business and Life.” This morning I came across a video that really spoke to me and echoed the ideas I shared with you in that blog. This video is about Wisdom – with a capital “W.” It is a moving and poignant piece that really demands you take a few minutes to listen, watch and reflect.  After you view the video, I have pasted in the key ideas from last week’s blog below it so that you can reflect on those words of wisdom as well.  Continue reading “Words of Wisdom” »

What will it take to succeed in this economy?

I am a huge fan of Tom Peters. Love his books, ideas, and rants. I have met Tom on several occasions and really enjoy his quick wit, wry sense of humor and passion for business excellence. This is an article from Richard King, the director of the Tom Peters consultancy in UK, that was just posted on Tom’s site — I think he has some strong ideas for what it will take to weather the upcoming business challenges. Worth taking five minutes to read…

Continue reading “What will it take to succeed in this economy?” »