Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Making a REAL Hero

Lots in the news lately about the passing of several celebrities.

Unfortunately, these past few weeks have also seen the passing of several friends and colleagues of mine.

Over the past 30+ years, I've had the rare chance to work with scores of A-list (as well as B, C, and D-list) celebrities. Of course, during those years I have also worked with and spent time with numerous colleagues.

The swirl of comments from news folks as well as folks I know have included words like: "unspeakable loss" and "changed my life" and "my hero".

Maybe its because of all that "behind-the-scenes" time I spent with both groups - but I must say, when I think of words like "hero", I think of less superficial traits than simply being flashy, well-known or rich. I think of people who touch lives in a personal, meaningful, and lasting way. I think of people that share themselves in a way that changes someone else's life for the better. I think of people that are selfless, sacrificial, and focused on lifting someone else up - rather than themselves.

I haven't met too many "celebrities" that match that definition. They often are nothing more than sparkling packages that are empty inside.

However, I've been blessed to personally know several people that would meet the criteria of real heroes: Substance over style. Integrity over dishonesty. Real over fake. Truth over lies.

I am proud to say that I've known people who have lived these to their end...and really made a difference with their lives. They've led their lives in a way that led the way for others they personally touched.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to know them.
I'm grateful for the impact they had on my life and on the lives of others.
And I'm grateful for yet another reminder about what is really important in Life.

We seem to get signposts throughout our lives that put our life in perspective. We can review what we're currently doing and adjust our behaviors and direction for the better.

I hope you take THIS opportunity to test your priorities - and judge whether you are living the life that you are meant to live. Are you making the kind of difference you should be making? Are you leaving the legacy that you could be living?

People are counting on each of us to do the right thing at the right time in the right way for the right reason. We can be that person when we're needed most.

Yes...YOU can be that hero that makes THE difference. The REAL difference...not some empty illusion of heroism.

Think about it - but more importantly, do something about it...today!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ready, Able, and...Willing?

Just got through following up with a client's "Action Team", who are responsible for initiating a company-wide improvement initiative. In the past, the organization has fallen victim to "Program of the Month" problems and they've been working hard at getting things ready to roll out.

Here's the rub: they are starting to experience "project creep" - where deadlines begin to be missed and things start taking longer than anticipated.

I hate "project creep". There's rarely a good excuse for it. Reasons, yes - but no excuse.

In confronting the status of their process, we explored numerous issues. It turns out that this initiative is so critical (they need results now and they can't afford to attempt this again) that they are clinging to the dreaded "analysis paralysis" - they continue to gather data and opinions and ANYthing that will hone their confidence.

Another way to look at this is that they are doing ANYthing to keep from having to actually execute the plan, followed by being held accountable for the results. The reality is that additional information will only take them insignificantly small steps closer to the elusive "absolute certainty".

This is a common problem - especially in difficult times. It's human nature to resist accountability - because we forget that being held accountable for great results is so incredibly wonderful!

Bottom line: the team realized that 1. they were actually ready to execute, 2. they were able to execute, 3. they were not, deep down WILLING to execute (because of their fears).

The good news is that we were able to get to common ground and they are moving forward again according to schedule. (Have I mentioned that I love coming in ahead of schedule, under budget, and better than expected?)

I have found that most delays occur because people are not willing to act. They lack the confidence that they are really ready/able. I encourage you to take that leap. You have all the tools you need to navigate whatever "hiccups" are bound to arise. (Hiccups occur no matter how much preparation is done beforehand. Starting before it's all "perfect" just allows you to actually realize it earlier/better.)

Think about it...but more importantly, act on it - today!