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A Gentleman and a Scholar

Last weekend I had the fun of being at the 21st Century Book marketing Conference in San Diego. Arielle Ford and Mike Koenigs put on a spectacular program with so much learning my head is still spinning days later.   One take away from the seminar was a short private chat with Harvey McKay whose book “Swimming With the Sharks”, is a classic in the field of customer relations. Harvey is a trim, fit man with a charming mid-western manner (no surprise, he is from Minneapolis).   He has sold millions of books and his envelope business is worth more than $100 million. Yet, when he stood talking with me it was as if there was no one else in the room. He was totally attentive and listening for ways to be helpful.   Now, what I wanted was for him to read my book and give me an endorsement. Who wouldn’t want that? And I watched as he navigated his “No can do” with eloquence and poise. Of course, I am only one of maybe, as he told me, 35,000 who ask for a book endorsement every year.   Yet, it was not just a “sorry” and a pat on my back and going on to the next person in line to talk with him. He asked me questions and he listened to my answers. Then he grabbed a pen from the table near us, found a piece of paper and jotted down his assistant’s direct line and told me to have her send me several of his books as a gift from him, so long as I...

Good Interviews Make You Think

  Avil Beckford of The Invisible Mentor blog, best on the net, really helped me take a vast view of my life. Enjoy the following.   Sylvia Lafair – Your Invisible Mentor by: Avil Beckford Grow, learn and be of service, that’s Sylvia Lafair’s raison d’etre. Conducting interviews is an enjoyable, yet humbling experience. For me, I am always reminded of how little I know, and how much I can learn from the interviewees. In hearing Sylvia Lafair’s story, I realize as usual how much we can learn and apply if we stop and digest what she has to say. She operates her business with high integrity and is not afraid to walk away from work that does not align with her values. The people I gravitate toward, and the people I present to you, realize that life isn’t just about them. We are all part of something much bigger.   As you read Sylvia’s story, think about the similarities between you and her. What are five lessons that you can learn from her.   Tell me a little bit about yourself.   I am a searcher and an adventurer, and have a PhD to prove that I search academically in  clinical psychology. I became a family therapist who then morphed into an executive coach and conflict management expert in the business world. I’m married and have two grown daughters and a couple of grand kids. Life is good.   What’s a typical day like for you?   It’s interesting, on a typical day, I have to fight my initial reaction when I get up to go right to...

Vote for your Popular Annoying Pattern

Geoffrey James has done a spectacular job of helping the world become more pattern aware. Cast your vote and see what others are saying about annoying patterns. Please remember that it is easier to see these behaviors on others before you are willing to turn the spotlight on yourself. In any case, observing these ingrained behaviors is the first step in making change really happen. If we all become conscious that what we learned in our families gets played out at work we can make amazing progress in all relationships, at work and at...

In the Blink of an Eye

Last evening having dinner with my grown children and grandchildren we started to reminisce;. mostly the talk was about “remember when…..” It was a relaxed and delightful time together.   By the time we returned to our new home here in California it was late and yet, that minimal addiction I now have, called “check the emails“, took over. On my way to my personal news I stopped to read about a fire in San Bruno, California, not far from the airport where we are definitely frequent flyers.   An explosion had rocked a neighborhood and there were people who died, houses destroyed. It made me sit quietly and picture the devastation and fear that was really a stone’s throw from where I sat in peaceful silence.   What was I thinking and feeling? I tend to be empathetic and touched on the pain that will now fill many lives for many years. What was I thinking and feeling?  A moment can be a blink of the eye or a lifetime, depending on the situation. What was I thinking and feeling?  Sadness, mostly for the wasted moments of pettiness, the “coulda, shoulda, woulda” thoughts that have invaded my life.   In our “Total Leadership Connections” program we give executives, high potentials, those who have moved to senior positions in organizations, the opportunity to look at the core values of their lives, at the peaks and valleys of successes and failures, of what is most important and how to keep those areas special.   I ask all of you to take a moment, as we do in TLC, and think...