MVP Seminars Blogs

Much as been written and said about teamwork and team building to the point now that it could be a bad cliché as unsuspecting employees run for cover when the boss springs on them another team building activity.  Besides now you could not get your staff off their phones long enough to even conduct an old skool Trust Fall exercise. 

Knowing that staff working together in a productive way is the key to meaningful productiveness, what is a leader to do?  Some take the approach of labeling, like calling employees teammates and forming them into workgroups.  That’s like calling your Hyundai a Ferrari.  It might make you temporarily feel better, you can even shut your eyes and rev the engine, but its still not the same thing.

Oh ya, you still might be wondering what I was doing at 2 AM to learn so much about teamwork?  I used to lead a search and rescue team for a sheriff’s department in Oregon.  From this I learned three critical things:  1. No time for endless meetings and planning.  Get your resources together and help your team get the job done.  2. Don’t get too hung up about the process, just get the persons found before they could die.  Anything less is a failed mission.  3. If you want your team to respect you and each other, there must be complete trust and communication.

I know is sounds so easy when I list them out that way, but it’s that darn ‘Trust and Communication’ part that so many have trouble with.  I promise you this, if you can achieve it, magic will happen.  Not only can you form high performance teams faster, but critical bond will be nearly unbreakable.  Teammates will go above and beyond for each other, even risk each other’s lives for one another.  Meanwhile your workgroup is till calling in sick.

Next time you have a big job to do, think of it as a search and rescue mission, in a storm, 2 AM, knowing you are not sleeping until the mission is complete.  It helps put everything into prospective real fast as far as who you want to help you and how are you all going to work together to get the job done efficiently and successfully.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Jack W. Peters

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PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU FOR SPECIFIC REASONS Did you know that a recent Gallup research has indicated that people follow leaders for very specific reasons? People described those reasons with astonishing clarity. They were trust, compassion, hope, and stability. In order to have others trust you, you first have to trust yourself. When you initially ask yourself if you are trustworthy, you will probably do what I did and nod your head affirmatively. But when you start asking yourself at a deeper level if you really trust yourself, can you still answer yes? Before you answer that question, take a moment to read further to see if you embody the qualities that other people associate with trust. The first one is easy or so it seems. Are you honest with yourself? Do you look at your weaknesses and limitations and acknowledge them to yourself and to others? Do you recognize your strengths and allow them to flow through you? When I think of honesty, I think of being truthful to myself and to others. Here is where it gets hairy. We have grown up believing that white lies are okay; they protect other people from harm. So we grow up with the belief that we can’t tell the truth, because other people can’t handle the truth. We also hide things from ourselves, because we believe that we can’t handle the truth. I grew up with a family who hid elephants in the middle of the living room. We all knew the dysfunctions occurring in our family, but we pretended they didn’t exist. The funny thing was that pretending didn’t stop the eventful pain we all suffered. The pretending didn’t take away the issues. I often wonder what would have happened if we would have had the strength to discuss our dysfunctions. I’m certain there still would have been some pain, but could we have stopped it from leaking all over our lives for years and years? Honesty is a bit illusive and never as easy as it seems, but it is the first step toward building trusting relationships whether they are in your home or office. When people doubt what you say and see the differences between your words and actions, they tend to separate from you in order to protect themselves. This distance creates disharmony. CONSISTENCY CREATES UNITY Another aspect of trust is consistency. Who are you from hour to hour and day to day? Can people around you expect to see the same you every day? I remember when I was a young and very moody basketball coach. The players would send a teammate to my office to gauge my mood. She would then inform her teammates whether it was going to be a good or a bad practice. Before we even started practice, the mood had been set, and because they never knew what to expect, they were fearful. They didn’t know who was going to walk through the door. Can you see how this stopped great communication from flowing? The players didn’t want to come to my office to discuss issues, because they didn’t know who they were going to find. Due to my unpredictability, I created separation. I also didn’t discover what I needed to know in order to get the team to play their best. ADDITIONAL QUALITIES OF TRUST There are other qualities of truth that you should examine. Ask yourself if you embody these qualities:
  • Personal integrity
  • Sincerity
  • Vulnerability
  • Openness to discussion
  • Involvement
  • The ability to resolve conflict
  • The capacity to ask others for help
Being truthful is not as easy as it first appears. It is never quite as black and white as we want it. Truth requires a lot of self work, yet the rewards are well worth the work. Can you imagine the benefits of having better relationships where people can talk to you without fear or judgment, rejection or punishment? Can you imagine how people will feel around you when they trust you exude sincerity, integrity, and vulnerability? If you want to create relationships that will ignite passion, commitment and innovation, then begin with trust.  
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Relationships can be challenging, each with its own unique set of issues. Whether on the job with co workers who can at times be condescending, to social encounters with individuals who are overly critical, to our most personal relationships with family members who deeply offend us with hurtful words - on every level our relationships can be seriously impaired and suffer deep wounds. However, even in the most serious cases, it is possible to repair the damage that has been done and restore the connection that once existed. Consider the three following components necessary to mend broken relationships: 1. Recognize: First and foremost, it is critical to recognize when we have said or done something offensive to the other party.  We must be willing and able to identify our insensitivity, thoughtlessness, cruel remarks, or those times that we have let the other person down. In some instances where we are unable to discern our transgression, it can benefit us to seek those who can help to shed light on the situation. Additionally, it is equally as important to fully understand how deeply  our actions impacted the other party. If you borrow money from someone with the promise to pay it back but renege on  your agreement, this is a violation of trust. This issue is oftentimes about more than just money: it illustrates a  complete lack of regard for the other person's feelings as well as perhaps their financial situation. If the disrespected party feels as though you do not fully comprehend the serious impact your actions have had on them, it may be very difficult for them to move beyond the  incident and rebuilt the trust.  In their mind, there will always be the possibility that you will repeat the offense or another of equal or greater significance. Understanding, along with a sincere apology, is the first step towards a reconciliation. 2. Restitution: Words are cheap. A simple "I'm sorry for what I've done" may not be enough to repair the damage. In order to convey sincere regret, one must be willing to make restitution whenever possible. If I started a rumor about you at work that prevented you from securing the promotion you were being considered for, I need to come clean with those in a position of authority and do whatever I can to remedy the situation. Not only does this support my repentance for what I've done, it takes it one step further in showing that I am making a sincere attempt to right a wrong, thus restoring justice for the aggrieved party.   3. Reform: Apologies are a powerful tool in the reconciliation process but are meaningless if one does not put forth a concerted effort to change their behaviors. A husband who has a affair, apologizes and promises to be faithful cannot hope to regain the trust of his wife if, in fact, he continues to have contact with his mistress or finds a new love interest. The only way to rebuilt trust, the very foundation of every healthy relationship, is through consistent positive change. To repeat the same disrespectful behavior only causes further damage. New behavior brings new life to the damaged relationships and shows not only the person's desire to change but their ability to do so as well. This offers the hope necessary to move things forward in the right direction. No change; no chance. We live in a disposable society. Few take the time to repair that which is damaged or broken opting instead to discard it and replace it with something or someone new. Relationships are our most precious gifts and need to be consistently treated with dignity and respect. Rather than dispose of them, seek to restore and rebuild. With a sincere heart and some savvy skills, such as those I've outlined above, there is a strong possibility your relationship can be mended.    
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© 2015 Mark T. Sorrels What are you doing that confirms your role and effectiveness as a leader? I recently had the opportunity to teach stewardship in a leadership workshop for pastors in San Marcos, Nicaragua. It was a privilege to help others grow in their understanding of leadership. I was encouraged as I what I saw confirmed the truth and power of the universal and timeless principles of leadership that I live and teach. The principles are simple, but when they become part of who you are as a leader, they confirm that your leadership is going in the proper direction with the power and influence to empower those you lead to move forward.  The confirming statements are: 1) People will follow when the leader builds relationships of trust. 2) People will follow when the leader lives an exemplary life. 3) People will follow when the leader casts a clear vision of the future. It is encouraging to receive confirmation that your leadership is effective. Be encouraged; when you implement these timeless and universal principles of leadership, chances are that soon, you will receive the confirmation that will inspire you to continue moving forward.    
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Comedy Clubs are where I first began realizing how humor can be used as a motivational tool, especially with but not limited to high school students and people with disabilities. Whether they have a Family or a business or both, anyone facing challenges find the courage to face their challenges with gusto when they hear my humorous and courageous description of relearning to walk and talk and drive. The sister of a teenager with disabilities told me that hearing my story and the audience’s enthusiastic response motivated her disabled sister to try to get her drivers’ license back. This and similar experiences inspired me to focus on blending my jokes into my personal story instead of continuing to focus on straight standup comedy.   In my experience, getting high school students to listen to useful and helpful information is easier when I share interesting stories that hide the fact that the topic is supposed to motivate them toward being the best they can be. Motivating them with a story is only possible when the story is either interesting in itself or has a punch line that makes them laugh out loud, thereby camouflaging the lesson being taught.

Motivational Humorist

As a disabled motivational humorist, using the principle that the best humor is based in reality and remembering that reality is sometimes debilitating, I see the world as a place that would be a lot more pleasant if folks would just lighten up.  Sure there’s plenty of reasons for us not to laugh. There’s plenty of reasons for us to be sad and depressed, but there’s also plenty of reasons for us to laugh, to lighten up, to not take ourselves so seriously.

Standup Comic

So yes, sometimes I make fun of different aspects of my disability. Why? Because things get smaller when they’re made fun of. For years, my disability was so big in my mind that I couldn’t make fun of my speech impairment, my bad memory, or how having my left side paralyzed causes me to walk in circles. An intoxicated comedy club patron complained to a club owner that it’s wrong for a comic to “act handicapped just so he can make fun of handicapped folks.” . What? Why was she acting brain damaged? Was she trying to steal my gig? If I was gonna pretend I’m something I’m not, I’d for sure pick something cooler to act like than a brain damaged comic. .
If you want your group to have a laughing good educational time listening to a Winners Don’t Quit Keynote that gives the nuts and bolts of having a positive Attitude, no matter what, or if you want to increase your group’s proficiency at either interacting with those who have disabilities or at being someone who has disabilities, you’ll want them to participate in Al Foxx’s Disable Disability Myths seminar.
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There is a revival of interest in Bernie Madoff now that the eminent TV program 60 Minutes profiled his family (Oct. 30, 2011). It is a reminder to us all about the value of reputation. I give a speech on branding. I ask my audience if they could imagine the image that their own name would conjure. I then list the following names and show their pictures:
  • Mohandas Gandhi
  • Mother Theresa
  • Martin Luther King
  • Hitler!
The flinch at that last name is palpable, especially after the admiration and good will expressed for the others. (Stop and think: When was the last time you heard a reputable family name their son “Adolph?") Peter Drucker noted that "ethics stays in the prefaces of the average business books." Consider the long line of lies told by a famous oil company when it had a massive spill off the Louisiana coast. The company listed lists otters, sea lions, seals, and walruses as "sensitive biological species" that deserve protection in the Gulf of Mexico. However, there are no otters, sea lions, seals, or walruses in the Gulf of Mexico. They listed emergency phone numbers for mammal specialist offices in Florida and Louisiana that were no longer in service. And their spokespeople proudly stated in their disaster plans that, "under the worst-case spill scenario," it could skim, vacuum, or otherwise remove as many as 20 million gallons of oil a day. In fact, they captured only about 630,000 gallons a day. Even the best companies often obfuscate in their annual reports. Some may say that "We performed well in a difficult economy," rather than say, "We didn't make our numbers this time again."  Or they may state that "We have a healthy backlog," rather that "Our manufacturing inefficiencies keep us from meeting our delivery goals." Conducting business in a socially responsible way is, in the end, a sound business practice in and of itself. It allows you to attract the best employees. It helps create an atmosphere in which quality products are produced because your people will proudly stand behind them. Trust helps maintain good relations with people and institutions such as your employees, your shareholders, the media and the local community. Your word becomes your bond, as good as a contract. But most important, it is the best branding possible. After all, if you can't be trusted to keep your story straight, why should your customer trust your products or services? So I encourage all business people to build their trust in the following ways, as I have helped my clients in my role as a professional communicator:
  • Inform your employees of the state of your business regularly through face-to-face meetings and publications.
  • Issue press releases and meet with members of the local media so that they learn to trust your word.
  • Address members of your community and build relationships with your elected representatives.
"I would rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge than the man who sold it," said Will Rogers. The name "Madoff" is now a synonym for "swindler," and all financial planners now operate under a cloud of suspicion.  Indeed, the hell through which Bernie Madoff put his family, his employees, his customers, and even his colleagues is an argument for both ethics and transparency.
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