Are You Blocking Your Own Leadership?

Most of us don’t like to admit we may be the problem in any situation. In leadership it’s even more difficult to look in the mirror and say, “I see the problem.” Reality is, even if you’re only 5% of the problem, you must fix the 5% first. Your credibility as a leader will be heavily damaged if you don’t acknowledge your mistakes. Your team, colleagues and clients will respect you more and your successes will increase. Don’t be afraid to communicate your errors and definitely tell how you’ve fixed the problem.

My SIMPLER SYSTEM features 7 Steps, with the first one being SELF. Join me on May 28th to learn more about you, and how to make more money and have more time for yourself.

The Value of a Sabbatical defines a sabbatical as “any extended period of leave from one’s customary work, especially for rest, to acquire new skills or training.” That fits what I’ve been doing for the past six months with this e-zine. It’s not great for marketing, but marvelous for the psyche.

My sabbatical allowed me three things:

  1. Rest
  2. Re-evaluation
  3. Rejuvenation

I had gotten into a rut of do, do, do … with little down time, so I took down time from certain segments of my work life. I re-evaluated and left some of my previous “tasks” behind. Others, like this e-zine, I’ve slowly picked up and come back rejuvenated.

  1. So, to start back allow me to ask you a couple of questions.
  2. Is it time you took a sabbatical?

If you do, what tasks on your “to do” list will you drop?

Even if you don’t take a sabbatical, I challenge you to look at your “to do” list and ask yourself, “If I quit doing this task, will anyone notice?” Some tasks we continue to do, lost their value long ago.

Garth Roberts, CSP


You’ll Find Our Company Is Different

Looking west to mountains in the spring
Photo by Garth Roberts

It’s a phrase I hear in almost every company I work, “you’ll find our company is different”. I hate to burst your balloon, your company isn’t different. Your work may be different but the operation of all companies relies on one common denominator, people. The success or failure of your operation is directly related to the effectiveness of your people and how you, as a leader, treat them.

Common denominators for all companies are:

  • if you’ve hired correctly, your people are motivated
  • employees want to do a good job
  • everyone wants to know what’s happening in the company
  • people need to know what impact their jobs have on the company’s success
  • employees want to be recognized for jobs well done, and held accountable for ineffective performance

In turn, employees get turned off when:

  • lack of shared plans leave them wondering what’s going on
  • there is limited or no communication from the top down or from the bottom up
  • there was no follow-up on projects
  • no one is held accountable

These realities about employees are universal. It doesn’t matter if you are making widgets, building bridges, mining for gold, selling goods, or working in the service industry. Pay attention to the needs of your people and your business truly will be different; it will be profitable, leading-edge, and a great place to work.

Garth Roberts

Do Your Teeth Really Need to be Whiter?

While I recognize we all want a winning smile, I suggest the teeth whitening craze has gotten to be a bit much. I’ve always watched people’s mouths, maybe I’m practicing my lip reading skills for when my hearing fades totally, so I’m aware of the value of great teeth. However, I’m now getting mesmerized by blinding white teeth, so mesmerized that I get distracted from the conversation.

As I was just spammed with a $129 special, it occurred to me that many people I know, who had great smiles, are being conned into paying for a procedure they truly don’t need. Why do we fall for such vanity hooks?

In supervisory and management roles I’ve noted we also fall for vanity hooks. You’re doing a great job, can you take on this additional task? You’ve always been there to support your people, how about adding this item to your portfolio? Pat me on the back and add another log on my fire of responsibilities.

As a leader you recognize when you must say, “No”. Leaders certainly fill their plate but they don’t take extra serving just to demonstrate how brilliant or talented they are. They know when to say, enough. Now connecting whitening your teeth to leadership may seem like a stretch, but is it? It all comes back to recognizing we truly need to be who we are, honestly.

Are you getting sucked in as a supervisor or manager and taking responsibility for more than you should, or are you a leader?

Garth Roberts

The Magic of “Thank You”!

With a little thought and planning I can start or finish almost every e-mail I write with thank you. These are two of the best words in the english language. In writing they help you focus on your readers. The readers, after all, are what your writing is all about. You want action from each reader and the best way to get action is to make your writing, and speaking, all about your audience. Let’s face it, we’re more likely to do something for someone if that person has made it obvious there’s something in the action for us, as well as for the person requesting the action.

In business writing seminars I find most of the participants don’t use or under use, thank you and its close cousins, please, and you’re welcome. Politeness isn’t just for the fancy restaurants and your great aunt Martha. Politeness works with clients and colleagues. In addition, thank you puts the focus on the client or colleague.

Next time you write an e-mail reflect on how you can thank someone. Try one of these or adapt them to fit your situation.

  • Thank you for your request for information on …
  • Thank you for providing me with the material on …
  • Thank you for pointing out our error. I have taken the following steps to correct …
  • Thank you for considering …

Incidentally, the proper and most effective response to thank you is, “You’re welcome,” not, “No problem”. If I thought it was a problem, I wouldn’t have asked you to do something!

For information on Writing For Business seminars in September and October, please e-mail me at

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Maintaining Morale in a Downsizing Economy

The title of this blog is the title I was given when asked to present at a regional oil patch association convention. Not a problem, as far as I’m concerned. I have some very specific tools and suggestions for improving morale. However, I was surprised at the scope of the morale problems in the industry requesting the presentation.

Everyone is talking about how business is on the up-swing. How come this major industry isn’t going with the flow? It seems it’s the large multi-national companies who are still feeling the pinch and they’re in the consolidating mode. At each of the four sessions, I asked participants if the morale boost was for them or the people they supervise. Both, was the answer.

After the meeting I chatted with another presenter. She works with a major player and is pitching my talk to the Lunch & Learn Coordinator.

“What’s happening in the industry”, I asked.

“We’re a major company that’s probably on the auction block. Lay-offs haven’t stopped and the morale is terrible. I think we could all use a talk like yours.”

So, if you’re thinking the worst is over, think again. It took several years of bad decisions, internationally, to put the world in recession. It’s not going to be full steam ahead in every corner for quite some time.

Garth Roberts