Archive for June, 2012

Reward Your Creative People

Offer incentives for employees who are creative. Apple has fostered a culture of innovation and creativity for many years. So has Google. New ideas and experiments are rewarded – not punished. You need to see your business through the eyes of the people who are already on your side and want you to succeed. Hire creative people and don’t tie their hands.

Don’t punish new, innovative ideas in meetings. Many people have great ideas but are silenced by a culture of negativity that comes from the leadership.

Make risk-taking a natural act that gets recognition and rewards instead of penalties and more work. Your staff will support you if you support them. Nothing is more frustrating than satisfying a returning customer and then get reprimanded by a micro-manager.

Don’t forget the customers are the most important people in your business. So are your most creative staff.

Not you.

Put Rivals On Your Team

Great leaders have always had a group of advisers who challenge them to their greatness.  Whether you call them a mastermind group, your inner circle or your closest friends you know that you can’t “go it alone.”  You need a strong support cast.

While touring the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois I spied Doris Kearns Goodwin’s 2005 book on his presidential cabinet: Team of Rivals. Goodwin is known as the nation’s foremost living presidential historian.  Her book covers the inner circle of leaders Lincoln put together to make his presidency one of the most unusual (and effective) in history. They were mostly his political rivals – unheard of in today’s world of isolation policies towards your opponents.

You need people who should get the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award® just for being in your corner.  They have your back (even though you don’t always think they do). And they make you stronger every time you allow them in the loop of your confidence. They sharpen your metal and hone your skills with their unique talents and influence in your life.

Having an inner circle allows you to “bounce” ideas off of others with different experiences, skills, viewpoints and backgrounds. It will sharpen your skills and hone your thinking.

It will both challenge you and leave you very vulnerable, but it is worth the effort.

Can You Spot A “10”?

My pastor once said, “Everybody is a “10” at something.  I think he is on to something in building great organizations and inner circle groups.

Great leaders put people who are a “10” at a task in a position to be a “10.”  Poor leaders put “4’s” in jobs they can only be a “3” at best. Great leaders are a “10” at spotting talent, tapped and untapped and putting it in fertile soil where it can grow to its greatest potential.

They also know how to spot a “10” and spend time building relationships with them that are mutually beneficial.

Put people in your inner circle that are “10’s” at what you need them to do – then let them do it and do it the best way they can. Support them and they will support you in return.

Get Closest To The Ones You Want To Grow

Frank Lloyd Wright, the American architect who re-wrote all the rules of design in the Twentieth Century taught us many truths about succession planning and mentoring. He would always have the newest apprentices move their desks closest to his own. He wanted them to learn from his example and he poured his knowledge into them.

Why wouldn’t you want the new guy or girl to turn out successful like you? As a result the success ratio of his staff was far above that of any of his contemporaries and in fact, anyone to this day.

Losers start the new people at the bottom of the pecking order and force them to work their own way up. Most often “newbies” drop out on the way up the corporate ladder of bureaucracy. If you want someone to succeed, keep them close to you and model the behavior you want them to replicate.

Get Permission to Innovate

Know who to seek out and who to NOT threaten with your ideas.

You can get stomped very hard by the “permission givers” when you don’t have their support initially before going into the new arena yet.

I said, “yet.” You might get permission one day. Just not today.

It is okay to hold out hope that one day you will get permission to act. There are several instances where you can get permission to act:

• The environment or attitude can change to support your reinvention. I have been told that we don’t bring in consultants, then the economy turned in a different direction and I worked several times with many clients who had refused me before.

• The leadership can change, retire or retreat and you will have permission to act. I have not worked with some organizations until the leader who halted the process retired or was fired.

• You can change (your ideas will mature) and people will accept the new versions better than the old ones. I tried the term “Resilience” for several months at the outset of the recession. No one ever hired me to present on that, but “Reinvention” caught on within weeks of the usage of the term – and still has resonance today.

Don’t assume that you will have permission. Just act on the lack of it now and either shift your thinking or action plan. The one you have isn’t working and only a fool would venture out into a reinvention without permission in some form or fashion.

You might hear, “There is a way we do things around here…”   Good.  Learn it.

One Speech That Will Change The World!

There is only one speech that will change the world. It isn’t the most eloquent one you have ever heard. It doesn’t apply to everyone. But it does apply to you…

What speech is it?

It is the speech to you tell to yourself on a daily basis. It is what you recite in your heart and mind when you wake up every morning. It is what you really feel like saying when you talk about your life and your accomplishments in public.  It is your personal mantra.

You are the only audience your speech has …and you are a captive audience!  What you believe in your heart is what you live out daily.

Start changing your story to one of success, instead of reminding yourself of your failures. A friend told me in a coffee shop one day that people like hearing positive encouragement. They don’t want to hear doom and gloom. They want hope.

Start giving it to yourself. Give hope to YOU.

Jim Mathis is an international professional speaker and best-selling author of Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  You may subscribe to his monthly e-zine by sending a message to  An electronic copy will be sent to you each month.

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June 2012


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