MVP Seminars Blogs

Creating and maintaining a positive attitude is necessary for successful leadership, and success in general. An attitude of optimism, expectancy and enthusiasm fosters opportunity and growth.   A positive attitude attracts others to your side and encourages them to do their best work. Your attitude will stay upbeat when you:

~ Act with purpose.

Before you take any action, look at your greater goals.  The connection must be strong to be worthwhile. Aimless activity wastes time and energy.

~ Stretch yourself past your limits every day.

Stretch yourself every day to maintain flexability in attitude.


~ Stay "non-attached" to actions taken.

It's a mistake to expect those great results and then be disappointed when you don't get them.  Take your best shot and let it happen for a while... then of course readjust, fix etc.


~ Use setbacks to improve your skills.

 Look back at your actions and see what you can do (if anything) to improve your performances instead of  feeling bad if you fail or get rejected.


~ Seek out those who share your positive attitude.

Surround yourself with positive thinkers.   Your brain automatically imitates the behaviors of the people around you.


~ Don't take yourself so seriously.

If you want to be happier and make those around you feel more comfortable, cultivate the ability to laugh at yourself. 

~ Forgive the limitations of others.

Cultivate patience and tolerance for those less talented, passionate or knowledgeable.

~ Say "thank you" more frequently.

An "attitude of gratitude" goes a long way and includes real verbal or written "thank-you's", not simply thoughts.

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In 1981, the book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, was released. It chronicled Rabbi Harold Kushner's  journey of doubt and fear that arose when his three-year old son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease that would dramatically reduce the length of his life.  The following year, my marriage to my high school sweetheart abruptly ended, throwing me into a downward spiral of anguish, grief, fear, despair, and anger. In many ways, I felt deeply connected to the Rabbi. While each of us faces our own life struggles, many people react to ostensible unfairness by querying, "Why me?" Even as a child, that question never entered my mind when things would go wrong. In fact, I always thought, "Why not me? Bad things happen to everyone. I'm not the privileged one, immune to life's injustices." (Well, I actually am but I don't want to sound arrogant. Just kidding!) As I grew spiritually, I found myself responding to these unexpected hardships with "Lord, what do you want me to do with this?" I discovered that each event appeared for a reason and that God wanted me to use it for a higher good. If I was able to decipher the meaning, then the pain and hardship I endured would make sense. It was sort of like eating vegetables when you were a kid: they tasted really bad but you knew they would make you grow up to be healthy. So you learned to eat them as fast as possible, swallowing them whole if you could, simply to avoid having them linger on your taste buds long enough to savor the full impact of their "veggi-ness". Whether vegetables or life, we rush to reach the other side of unpleasantness, eager to restore our sense of well-being and happiness. As I continued my evolution to a higher level of spirituality, my understanding of life's injustice, unfairness, and hardships, and the inevitable suffering that accompanies them, also began to undergo a deep transformation. What I came to realize was that events are neither good nor bad - they simply are. It is only when we assign value to them that they acquire a positive (good) or negative (bad) position in our lives. It's like rain on your wedding day: one can complain that it ruined the most special day of their life or experience the exhilaration of Gene Kelly's infamous dance routine to "Singing in the Rain" and simply have fun with it. My husband customizes vehicles for the handicapped. One of his clients is a young man in his 20's. To the vast majority of people, being in an accident that causes one to become a quadriplegic is a bad thing. To this young man, however, it has been a God-send. "I was headed down a very dark path when I had my accident. The choices I was making would have lead to me being killed. This actually saved my life and I am grateful to be alive." I can prevent bad things from happening to me not by controlling life or by stopping any event  from occurring but rather by my choice of how I define and label my experience. Remember, events simply are. They have no particular worth other than what I assign them. Here are five "R" points to practice - Replace, Remove, Remain, Relabel, and Remember: 1. Replace the phrase "to me" with "for me". Things don't happen to you, they happen for you. Every experience is a gift if you allow it to be. 2. Remove all expectations of yourself, others, and of life. Allow each to unfold naturally, exactly as they are meant to, rather than trying to force them to fit your demands. 3. Remain unattached to people, possessions, and events. Be in this world, not of this world. Be an observer without judgment. Let "It is what it is" be your mantra. 4. Relabel the events in your life. They only have the value you assign them. Make certain each has a beneficial classification. 5. Remember that every experience is ultimately meant to bring you closer to God, to help you to know Him in a deeper more intimate way, to establish an unbreakable bond of oneness with the Divine. In this regard, each and every experience is a blessing. Whether it's the loss of a loved one, the diagnosis of a life-altering medical condition, financial ruin, or anything else, pay close attention to the value that you assign each event. You alone determine their significance. When you choose to view each as a critical step in your spiritual journey to oneness with the Divine then situations will continue to happen but they will not longer wear the label of "bad". In essence, they will emerge as the blessings they were Divinely preordained to be. To order a copy of The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth visit Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @
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We all get angry from time-to-time. Sometimes our anger is righteous, that is to say it is justifiable and other times without valid cause. For instance, imagine your child is late returning from an evening basketball game. He does not call to let you know that the game went into overtime.  You're unable to reach him and become fearful that something awful may have happened to him. It was also agreed upon that he would call if he was going to be late. Your trust has been violated in addition to the fact that you are frantic (fear: a root cause of anger). Most would agree that anger under these circumstances is an appropriate response. An unjustifiable cause of anger can occur when we have unfair expectations of others. For example: we expect that every family member share equally in the care of their elderly parents. If the majority of the burden falls upon one member for whatever reason, that person may become irate and resentful of the others. However, perhaps the others are not logistically able to assist equally. Or their relationship may not be as strong as the primary caregiver, thereby dictating to them that their obligations are not as compulsory. To expect that others share the same values, commitment or goals as we do is unrealistic. Unmet expectations lead to anger and bitterness. I've found myself in the latter situation. As my parents aged, they needed more care. However, the sibling who lived closest to them supplied sporadic care at best. I chose to put aside a minimum of one day every week to be with them, caring for whatever needs they had at each stage in their life. Over the course of twenty years, their needs increased and at times I felt overwhelmed and exhausted. I had to make a choice: I could be mad at the other sibling for not being more helpful or I could be sad that she was missing such a wonderful opportunity to care for two of the most loving parents ever created. I chose to feel sad for her rather than mad. Anger is judgmental and poses a threat to my emotional and physical well-being as well as interfering with my ability to live a serene life. Sadness, on the other hand, does neither.  As long as I do not allow it to consume me, being sad can soften my heart with compassion towards her and prevents bitterness from manifesting. The second alternative is to be glad. While this might sound like an unusual substitution for being angry, it is a very valid one. Regardless of life's circumstances, I am always given the opportunity to be joyful. I can view this perceived imbalance of responsibility as a chance for me to learn to be more understanding, patient, kind, forgiving, respectful, and non judgmental. After, who am I to demand like attitudes or behaviors from anyone? Who am I to impose my way on another? I am here to do what I believe to be right; to do what God expects me to do; to follow my heart and my life's path. My sibling is not on the same journey as I and I must respect her right to do what she needs to do. In this regard, I can find appreciation and happiness in an opportunity to further my spiritual development. One is always free to change how they feel simply by refocusing their attention in a different manner. I can focus on what I am unhappy about, I can judge and label the other party, I can claim that the situation is unfair and imbalanced, and I can also choose to feel angry and sorry for myself. Or I can view the other person from a place of sadness that they are unaware of what they are missing out on; that they are misguided or resistant to embracing a powerful spiritual opportunity; that they are not fully living from a place of love and generosity as they appear to be more consumed with their own lives than that of their parents. Changing my thought process, my internal dialogue - what I say to myself about them and the situation - allows me to avoid the anger that comes from judgment and replace it with compassion that arises out of sadness for their misguided actions. I can then refocus my thoughts on the valuable lessons I've just acquired, the spiritual growth spurt I've enjoyed, and the many blessings surrounding me that I am forever grateful for. Mad, sad or glad: the choice is yours. Choose your thoughts; choose your feelings. It's entirely up to you.  
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The Four Steps to Manage Constant Change

As I sit down for an executive coaching session or to talk with a CEO about his/her senior team, one of the most frequently cited challenges is how to effectively lead in rapidly changing environments.

Organizations and teams are expected to manage a large, continual flow of current and new demands. Some leaders thrive in this situation while others just get swamped, failing to stay above water.

How do leaders effectively create a sense of confidence and accomplishment amid such change?

The reality of more frequent workplace change is undeniable. Leaders that find focus instead of confusion within constant change, learn to ride the waves and not fight them. They use an approach that encourages choice and accountability, versus allowing the multitude of changes to overwhelm and stifle them.

Using a four step prioritization process, successful change leaders can carve out a sense of control instead of a feeling of doom. Armed with the right training, tools and mindset, leaders can more easily be taught to welcome new changes and avoid reaching for a life preserver, just to stay afloat.

Here are the four steps leaders can use to manage constant change. Each step also identifies how to avoid the change traps along the way. Some of these points below have been inspired by Bill Pasmore’s latest book, Leading Continuous Change.

Compare Importance (Do not Assume Importance)

Too often the first misguided step in responding to something new is to assume the change is automatically important and must be done.

It usually sounds like this: “How can I do this with everything else going on? I’m already overloaded!”

However, there is a different way to respond and it sounds like this: “This new idea is interesting and looks like we may need to pay attention to it. I want to compare this with other things that we have going on. We can then decide how much time and effort we should put into it.”

It is key to evaluate the true importance and impact the change will have before reaching possibly exaggerated or misinformed conclusions.Smart leaders step back and have a process for evaluating the first sighting of the change. They hold up the change against everything else that is going on and then decide next steps.

Gather Data (Do not Deny Choices)

The second step involves exploring additional information from internal and external sources. It is gathering helpful knowledge from those who have experience and education with the potential change. This is in contrast to the trap of concluding that the existing level of information is already sufficient.

Be cautious when one starts hearing statements like: “We are too far down the path to change now! or “That would upset our business too much.” This thinking may deny an opportunity to learn, prevent important course corrections, and to lead to myopic decisions.

Accepting your present direction without investigating the possible changes that emerge later on can deny important choices, positioning you to fight change instead of embracing it.

Create a Team (Do Not Go It Alone)

The third step is to assign people to investigate the change. This is in stark contrast to another typical trap of seeking to be the hero and solving the problem on one’s own. Too often, a potential change comes along and leaders may view it as their opportunity to show the world how smart they are or they may feel duty bound to fix it themselves.

A leader in this case may think: “I’ll just have to work harder and figure it out.” This approach of going it alone may work sometimes, but in today’s networked economy it is closing off valuable resources and potential insights. The smarter approach is to dedicate a small team to investigate, discuss, and recommend how to look at the change. This team can be responsible for contingency planning, communication, and can quickly become subject matter experts to inform future direction and prioritization.

Prototype Options (Do not Use Hope as a Strategy):

As the team seeks information and experiences from those internal and external to the organization and recommends next steps, they can then begin creating a prototype of the changes?—?applying the change in real life. This does not mean creating a whole new business unit and investing millions.

This means assigning a small amount of capital and resources to enable a test case, an experiment to fail or succeed fast. Trying something out quickly, especially based on informed and prioritized analysis, is a powerful way to truly learn the potential of something new.

This is in contrast to a situation that some organizations succumb to: using hope as their strategy. Hope as a strategy sounds like this: “I’m sure we can make it work somehow.” Having hope in the future is a beautiful thing, but it is not sufficient to provide confidence in changing times to senior leaders, employees, shareholders, and customers. Creating rapid prototyping quickly transforms strategic hope into a plan with clear contingencies and risk management tactics.

Leading change is a key competency for every leader today. Changes in the workplace are increasing in frequency and intensity. Successful leaders follow a pattern to help them prioritize and make sense of these daily bombardments; helping them become better because of the change! Follow this four step approach and see your organization ride the waves of change without getting taken out by the undertow!

Complimentary resource

BONUS: We have created a complimentary resource to help you establish a pattern and prioritize how you lead change. This Change Prioritization Process Chart will help you to make sense of how to deal with the frequent and intense changes that come your way.

*Note this article was originally posted on LinkedIn

Answer the question below in the comments and you will be entered to win a free copy of our leadership Coaching Cards.


How have you found success in managing amid change?

Share an example…

About Daniel

Daniel Stewart a Leadership, Talent, and Change Consultant at Stewart Leadership. He thrives in supporting top performing companies manage and retain exceptional talent, and coach the leaders of tomorrow.

About Stewart Leadership

Stewart Leadership is a talent management and leadership development consulting, coaching, and training company building leaders in start-ups to the Fortune 500.

Click here to contact us and discover how we could partner with you.

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© 2015 Mark T. Sorrels Having been raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky, though not a consumer, I do know a little about the process of making bourbon. Though it must be made of at least 51% corn mash and must be stored in charred oak barrels, the process that leads to the end product can take anywhere from three years to twenty! Depending on the distiller’s desire for taste, the influence of the mash and the charred oak barrels is a process that may take a long time. The first two installments of The Basics of a Leader’s Influence focused on a leader’s presence and power. This final installment seeks to help us understand the leader’s influence on others is a process. In order for you to see the result(s) of your influence as a leader, be prepared to wait. Why? Influencing people is a process. Few things in life come immediately or quickly and a leader’s influence is no exception. It may be weeks, months or even years before you celebrate the fruit of your labor. Thought patterns and lifestyles of people do not change quickly. So, in order to see the result(s) of your influence as a leader, be like a master distiller; be aware of the process; be willing and prepared to wait.
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As I work with various teams in diverse organizations, I have noticed both subtle and overt ways that workplace politics acts as a barrier to successful business communication. This disconnect can reveal itself in promotions, office placements, clients, and raises. The workplace is a political environment much like Washington DC, but without the pomp and circumstance. Your knowledge of the political landscape in your organization is a stepping stone on the trajectory of your career.   Political IQ is an intangible asset that can be acquired if it is not an inherent part of your business skill sets. Acknowledging that politics drives many decisions in the workplace is the first step to realigning your business communication style. Workplace politics is about power and influence. It is not enough in most organizations to be well-educated, knowledgeable about the product and efficient in your position. In fact, in some organizations those attributes are a recipe to remain in your current position and train others to become your supervisor. Today, communication skills (good or bad) elevate influence and power. Despite popular perception, communication involves listening as well as speaking. A productive work environment is one where employees practice effective communication, including feedback. It is important to understand what motivates workers, who the key players are in an organization, and how to move the organization ahead through a vision.   Upon arrival to a new organization, be respectful but do not be swayed by titles. Management titles can be deceptive. In many organizations, it is the administrative assistant who took your resume who has the most influence on whether you get hired, not the room full of executives who interviewed you. It is critical to listen and watch who the other employees consider the people with influence. Step back and suppress the urge to show how much you know until you understand the political environment. Consider:   ·Who are the key players? Perception often trumps knowledge in the workplace. ·What is the chain of command? ·Do you know the company’s values? ·Who do you pitch an idea to without that person presenting the idea as his/her own? ·What is the difference between gossip and conversation? ·How much social networking is considered permissible? ·What is acceptable regarding dating or socializing with other employees?   Answers to these questions are part of developing a political IQ in the workplace. Power plus humans can be an explosive combination. However, putting our heads in the sand and pretending that politics is not a part of the workplace is not a credible option. Hidden agendas, personal gains through manipulation, distrust of management, inflated egos and entitlement disturb the functionality of an organization. They, too, can be a part of the political landscape of a company. Isn’t it better for an employee to be aware, rather than naïve, of the work environment? I must emphasize that recognizing the workplace as a political environment does not make it toxic, but the possibility does exist. Your knowledge of the political influence in your business environment is the silent player in your career. It is the degree of political influence that affects your productivity. How you use your political IQ will determine your longevity with the organization.
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Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft, once said, “Take my 20 best people, and virtually overnight, Microsoft becomes a mediocre company.”  The power of outstanding talent has huge benefits for a team and organization.  The real question is not if talent matters, it is how to do an amazing job of focusing and furthering develop it.   For many organizations, this is the season of talent reviews, endless meetings that can take a lot of time and effort talking about and identifying the current and future positioning of leaders.  Often times, the end product of these meetings are a beautiful 9 box talent grid with lots of names in each box.  This grid will then sit and is unearthed at the next talent review.  How can we make the talent review and development process as stellar as the very talent we want to cultivate?  Here are four ways to avoid mediocre talent reviews:  

1)      Be Selective on What Positions to Discuss:  Too often every leadership and management position in the company is considered during a talent management session.  Unless you’ve been doing this process for several years, be very selective as to the number of positions you discuss.  Not all SVPs or VPs provide the same value to the organization’s success.  Focus on the positions that great talent can optimize the greatest.

2)      Focus on Skills before People:  Instead of jumping in and describing the strengths and opportunities of each person, first identity the 3-5 skills needed for that critical position.  Then identify how the individual compares to those leadership and strategic skills or competencies.  This creates a more informed conversation for current and future positions with using an agreed upon set of high performing standards.


3)      Do Homework Before the Session:  To make the talent review session as productive as possible, each leader needs to come prepared.  This preparation usually involves three things:  1) having the individual complete the talent profile or summary, 2) having a conversation with the individual on performance, competencies, engagement, and career aspirations, and 3) having a conversation with their boss about the individual.  With this information, the 3-5 minutes that each individual has to be discussed, can be focused and informed.


4)      Have Development Opportunities Ready:  During talent reviews, we often talk about if the leader is ready for the next step.  Well, are as an organization ready with development tools and resources for that leader?  Enter talent reviews with development ideas organized around on-the-job, social, and formal development opportunities.  This can include coaching, mentoring, shadowing, stretch assignments, networking, rotations, classes, etc.  Build in mechanisms to follow up on this development, so it is not forgotten.  With all of the work we put into identifying top talent, we need to put the same energy into developing them.

  This talent management season, let’s make talent review sessions more productive and engaging.  Let’s make them worth the effort and time we invest.     Jim Collins once said,” People are not your most important asset. The right people are.”  The talent management process is a fantastic way of identifying the right people and building their development for key positions to achieve the organization’s results.  Let’s elevate how we lead the talent management to match the high caliber of the talent we are assessing.          
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  When your business was created you made an implied promise to your customers - that you would give them products or services that would meet their needs. Once the customers started to purchase from you they had expectations based upon your implied promises.   If you made baby food, customers expected that it not only tasted good, but that it was free from even one iota of harmful ingredients. If you were an airline, passengers expected to get from point A to point B on time, according to your published schedule - in comfort and with no hidden fees. If you manufactured automobiles, your customers expected that their new purchase would be reliable transportation for at least five years with absolutely no recalls. If you made clothes, your customers expected style, years of wear, and easy to clean. If you provided a delivery service, your customers expected on time to your promised delivery time and intact. If you prepared taxes, your customers expected total accuracy and to owe the least amount of taxes possible.   Now, as the business, where did you go wrong? You did not engineer perfection into the product or service before you launched it. You said to yourself, nobody is perfect. The problem is we're not talking about an impossible perfection here. We're only talking about you absolutely doing what you at least implied to the customer that you would do on day one. You unwittingly created an expectation in the customers' minds and it's those expectations that will drive their purchasing decisions.   The only way to right this ship is to go back to square one and ask yourself, "What did we promise to do?" Form focus groups, send out surveys - find out what customers are really expecting and then fine tune your operations to meet these expectations at a 100% level. And further, engineer back up plans and escalation processes so that when exceptions do occur you can proactively correct the problems before customers even have time to complain.   Always make sure that you and all your employees are in full awareness and alignment with customer expectations and that all of you are driven to no less than performing, 24/7, 100% to those expectations.  
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Our goal today is to ask 5 KEY questions (sales and/or service related) and based on your answers and any other detailed information you may provide; we will then have a firm handle on what it is you are really looking for in a product/service, and what you will accept as evidence that we have in fact delivered.  With your permission I will get started?
  1. Question: ________________________
  2. Question: ________________________
  3. Question: ________________________
  4. Question: ________________________
  5. Question: ________________________
NOTE: After the last question, is where you do your "validation or supporting statements" and play everything back in reverse order to demonstrate that you can deliver to their level of expectation. It's really a very simple process...much like Public Speaking 101. "Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Then tell them what you told them!" Good luck in your new consulting approach. Using this consulting approach demonstrates that you are professional, organized, and has a system to determine the client's needs. "Professionals prepare, plan and execute! Amateur's wing it!"
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