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.

Are You Writing For Yourself?

My colleague, friend, mentor and coach, Betty Cooper, always tells her clients, “Write to express, not to impress.” How about you? Are you writing to impress or express? Too much of what I read seems to be to impress. Let me show you how competent I am! Let me tell you how much research I’ve done! Let me demonstrate my brilliance!

Frankly, I don’t care how brilliant you are. I care about how your writing can help me. In this case, it is all about me … your audience.

To write for your audience requires focus on action. In business we communicate to get action from someone else. So, your first step in writing is to determine what action you want your reader to take. If you don’t know what the action is, don’t write. Save yourself and your reader some time. As a first step, put a plan in place so the outcome is of value to you and your reader.

The next step is to communicate in the way your reader wants you to communicate. If your reader, your audience, wants an e-mail, send an e-mail. If your reader wants a person-to-person connection, connect via phone or in person. Don’t default to the easiest method … for you! An e-mail or text may be quick but if it’s not getting results, it’s a waste of time.

The third step is to follow-up. “Well, I sent you an e-mail and you didn’t do what I asked!” Are you sure I got the e-mail? Did your subject line get my attention over the other 200 e-mails I got yesterday?

It’s not my responsibility to follow-up to ensure you communicated well. It’s your responsibility, if I haven’t responded to your request, to follow-up to make sure the communication loop is complete.

Back to my original question, are you writing for yourself or your audience, the person or people you want to move to action?

Garth Roberts

Are You Leading With Your Stomach?

It shouldn’t be a surprise to discover overweight employees who smoke and have high blood pressure spend more on health-care premiums than their slim, tobacco-free coworkers. Harvard Business Review in their Daily Stat – reports a study by Bain & Company – – says the cost is $800 more a year. However, Safeway is a leader of a new wave of self-insured companies controlling health-care costs by giving employees financial incentives to get healthy, according to Bain & Company. Safeway’s recent year-over-year health-care costs showed a nearly zero percent increase.

If you’re a leader, are you leading by example when it comes to your health? Do you lead with your stomach sticking way out or do you demonstrate fitness is part of leadership? Business lunches may be a perk as you climb the ladder but they take a toll on your quality of life later on. Take charge of your health as part of your life balance.

Garth Roberts               

Are Rules Only Made for Some of Us?

I came across an interesting blog post from Chem-Free Cleaning Ltd this weekend. By following up on a meeting with Mari Lou Apolinario at a trade show in Okotoks, Alberta,, I learned more about chemicals than I really wanted to know. The interesting, read as disturbing, revelation is many companies and government agencies don’t have to follow the rules. Maybe you’re not surprised but in reading Mari Lou’s blog from April,, I was shocked to hear who doesn’t have to follow the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA). According to the blog, Foods served to hospital cafeterias, airplanes, foods served in bulk, medical foods, foods for patients with certain diseases are not required to follow the NLEA laws in providing a nutritional label.”


If your business decided to quit following the rules of legislation, you’d soon find out you’re not special. Probably the full weight of government would come down on you, yet exceptions are made without apparent rhyme or reason. Hospitals! No wonder common lore says avoid hospitals if you want to stay healthy.

I’m of the belief rules and policies should be put in place with purpose, and then followed. If they don’t have a purpose, get rid of them. Have you checked your company rules and policies lately? Which ones should you get rid of, rather than just being like the government and ignoring them?

Check out Chem-Free Cleaning Ltd via the blog. It’s an interesting example of an entrepreneur being in one business (cleaning homes and offices) and developing a new business based on quality (chemical free products). Mari Lou’s customer recognized her superior product and asked to buy it in bulk. I’ve tried a sample and am sold on its quality.

Garth Roberts

Give Advice Cautiously

Recently I heard a talk show host telling a mother to turf her 18-year-old son out the door and to be prepared to not have contact for a year or more. My heart ached for both the mother and the son and I couldn’t help think that the radio host was as dense as a brick. Of course, I have a real problem with the validity of problem solving in 30 seconds over the phone. Here’s a life-altering situation, so hey, let me tell you how to shape up based on my need to give advice!

 Run your business this way and see how it works. You have a concern that is life altering and you call me, toss some half-truths, a few facts, and a one-sided story at me and I toss back the definitive solution for your million dollar dilemma. Does that make you feel secure? I doubt it.

 Now I didn’t hear the whole story from the mother but I know, as a parent, I’m in for the long haul, and some days it has seemed like a real long haul. My son and I have had some tough times when he was in his late teens and early 20s. But, as the country song says, “That’s my job”. I’m the parent and it is my job to help guide my child through the troubled waters of youth.

 In our society we have put magic markers on certain birthdays.

 “When they’re eighteen, they’re out of the house.”

 Have you heard that one? While I did go away to school when I was eighteen, I could have stayed at home on the farm and I wouldn’t have been shoved out to live in the barn. My parents home was always there for me and my parents were always there to listen, advise and converse.

 In tough times, as a parent or as a business owner, we all need to recognize that help is available. A trusted friend, a mentor or a specialist can provide the appropriate advice and be a catalyst for growth and change. Turfing the perceived problem out the door is not a valid solution. Even the most reluctant participant in a problem solving situation can be brought into the “moving forward” mode with the appropriate guidance. Giving up is not guidance.

In many of my sessions with managers, supervisors and executives it’s been evident the forward path wasn’t in anyone’s mind. It took creativity on my part to bring the participants to the table. It also took time, some setbacks and perseverance. Nothing happens instantly. Hurricanes, tornados and instant breakfast all take time to prepare before they’re unleashed on the world.

Let’s go back to the instant solution radio host. Yes, this person has a degree. Whoopee! Some of the dumbest people I’ve ever met I met when I was getting my degree. A degree, while it does suggest some knowledge, is really only the mark of tenacity. Stick around long enough and complete the assignments, you’ll get your degree.

The next time you’re inclined to give instant advice, stop and consider the consequences. Do you really have all the facts? Do you know both sides of the story? Are you really the best person to coach or mentor?

While it may be an ego boost to give sage advice, it’s also a responsibility. Take your responsibilities seriously. Advice has to have validity and value to the receiver, not just radio or ego ratings for you.

Garth Roberts 

How’s Your Balance

This past week has been a balance challenge. In my work I spend extended periods of time on the road conducting workshops. I love it. The challenge is to balance the workshops with office work. It’s very easy to get caught up with the participants and spend more time than expected working on a session. That leaves little time for a couple necessary evils, marketing and sales. Administration can happen after office hours but sales, in particular, have to happen when people are at their offices. This week I’m playing catch-up.

How about your business, do you have a balance?

If you’re like me the balance usually falls short when it comes to “down time”. Over the past year I’ve recognized I’m not very good at relaxing. So, that’s part of my 2010 goals list. Relearn to relax and make time for me, my family and my friends. If you have one goal this year you must keep, what is it? Does it have anything to do with balance?

Garth Roberts