Posts Tagged ‘peak performance speaker’

New Norm for the New Year

January 23, 2013
 
From left: Craig Beskid Exec.Dir. EHCMA,
Mark Byrd Shell Oil, yours truly, Todd Monette LyondellBasell & John Parkinson PetroLogistics

Recently I spoke to a group of engineers that made up the East Harris County Manufacturers Association (EHCMA) at their annual awards banquet.

My topic: “Extraordinary is the New Norm!” covers the five principles it takes to be the best on the job in today’s economy:
1.   PASSION
      Engage & motivate  employees
2.  PERSEVERANCE
Overcome challenges & consistently deliver more value
3.  ATTITUDE
      Be willing to learn from each generation & stay likeable
4.  PEOPLE
      Develop a strong team culture through servant leadership
5.  FOCUS
      Keep goals in mind but be open to innovative ideas       

The challenge at this awards event? Keeping them awake after an open bar and steak dinner.  
 C’mon, we’re talking engineers here! 

They booked this Houston piano playing, funny speaker for three reasons:

  • liven up their meeting 
  • give ’em a message they can use  
  • make everyone feel glad they came
Mission accomplished – thanks to key audience members being great sports (Chevron guys rock & Dupont men rule!) Gotta luv ’em!
 
SINCE 2008 THE MEETINGS INDUSTRY has taken numerous kicks in the proverbial err, wallet. The AIG scandal was the final straw. Budgets tightened and professional speakers were canceled as organizations were scrutinized to justify the expense.snooze

Now people are tired of dry facts ‘n’ stats industry speakers that amount to one big snooze fest.
With the popularity of the Ted Talks and audiences demanding an EXPERIENCE versus simply attending, 2013 will herald major changes for meetings and conferences.
  • Got funny?  
  • Got content?  
  • Got a singing dog?
Extraordinary: The New Norm for the New Year.

 

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Don’t Give Up, Give Back

November 6, 2012
    me
Lunching with two very successful businessmen last week was not just enjoyable but a valuable lesson for living a life that matters.

As a professional speaker in Houston, one of the key points I talk about in my presentations on outstanding  job performance is the importance of perseverance. Too many people give up too soon on their goals and dreams. At the first sign of obstacles they quit. End result? A life of regrets and mediocrity.

The three of us talked about what we would like written on our epitaph. Far from being macabre it was food for thought particularly as I had just attended a funeral that morning. Reading the deceased’s bio, it struck me that she didn’t leave a legacy of anything. Do you know what you would like to be remembered for when you’re pushing up daises?
john

John Carloss

John Carloss is the CEO of Venetian Blind & Floor & Carpet One in Houston. He’s also a Vietnam vet and a passionate advocate for our troops past and present. When he read my blog about Jeff Weiss and how he overcame adversity, he arranged this lunch specifically to meet him.

Part of John’s story began when he left an Ivy League education at Vanderbilt to join the army because he felt guilty that the only kids being drafted were poor. At age 20 he buried four of his platoon in Vietnam, was severely wounded during two tours there and spent seven years in the army ending as a captain in the Green Berets. It was in the military that he learned about the servant leadership style he practices in business today.
 
His passion for this country is equaled only by his sense of fairness – he wants everyone to get what they deserve. Fast forward forty something years of hard work, four daughters with college educations and a costly divorce that left him with nothing but his business – and a determination to come back and give back.
 
And come back he did. Despite the recession his company recently celebrated 60 years in business and received the 2012 Pinnacle Award of Excellence from the Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston. 5% of all sales at VBFC go to charities of the customer’s choice.
 
Greatly disturbed by the young people coming back from Iraq traumatized and wounded, and all the suicides, divorces, homelessness and unemployment, John founded Operation American Heroes in 2008 to help returning military with emotional, financial and physical support. Check it out:  http://www.operationamericanheroes.com/about_operation_american_heroes.html 
 
John’s life is one of passion, perseverance and compassion. Read his whole story HERE  On his epitaph he wants it to read: “He gave a damn!” My epitaph? “She spread joy”.
 
What’s YOUR legacy? Are you making a difference? Are you doing vs just thinking?
 
Living on purpose can change our world one life at a time.
Give back, don’t give up.

Trick or Treat?

October 30, 2012

  group
Halloween week seems to be all about kids, candy and costumes. Tradition says if you show up on the doorstep in costume you get candy. If you don’t bother to dress up then expect to do a trick and hope to get candy.

The majority take time to don a costume. After all that’s half the fun, right?

Pictures here were taken last Saturday night at an annual Beautiful Witches Ball hosted by a  fellow speaker Kathy Davis who goes all out to decorate her home to the enth degree and beyond for this event. She gives it 110%. And the result? People wore costumes that looked like they took a year to make and came from as far as Dallas to attend (we were in Houston).

Notcha average Walgreens event.                                                   

In my presentations on extraordinary work performance I talk about giving work 110% of your energy, focus and talent to keep the job/get the customer in today’s tough economy. With unemployment at an all time high and more companies competing for the same customer, competition is also at an all time high. Employees need to do more than just what is asked of them. Businesses need to exceed customer expectations in service and value.

Failure to do so is tricking your company/client.

Success is about treating your company/client with 110% of you.

Boo.

Five Top Tips For Starting A Successful Business

October 9, 2012
As a professional speaker on workplace performance, I’m always looking for helpful hints to share. These tips by Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines fame, apply to anyone working as a manager today.
  

richard
LinkedIn is a business that started in a living room, much like Virgin began in a basement, I thought my first blog on the site should be about how to simply start a successful business. Here are five top tips I’ve picked up over the years.

 1. Listen more than you talk

 We have two ears and one mouth, using them in proportion is not a bad idea! To be a good leader you have to be a great listener. Brilliant ideas can spring from the most unlikely places, so you should always keep your ears open for some shrewd advice. This can mean following online comments as closely as board meeting notes, or asking the frontline staff for their opinions as often as the CEOs. Get out there, listen to people, draw people out and learn from them.

 2. Keep it simple

 You have to do something radically different to stand out in business. But nobody ever said different has to be complex. There are thousands of simple business solutions to problems out there, just waiting to be solved by the next big thing in business. Maintain a focus upon innovation, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel. A simple change for the better is far more effective than five complicated changes for the worse.

3. Take pride in your work

Last week I enjoyed my favorite night of the year, the Virgin Stars of the Year Awards, where we celebrated some of those people who have gone the extra mile for us around the Virgin world. With so many different companies, nationalities and personalities represented under one roof, it was interesting to see what qualities they all have in common. One was pride in their work, and in the company they represent. Remember your staff are your biggest brand advocates, and focusing on helping them take pride will shine through in how they treat your customers.

4. Have fun, success will follow

If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. If you feel like getting up in the morning to work on your business is a chore, then it’s time to try something else. If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will be nurtured and your business will flourish. A smile and a joke can go a long way, so be quick to see the lighter side of life.

5. Rip it up and start again

If you are an entrepreneur and your first venture isn’t a success, welcome to the club! Every successful business person has experienced a few failures along the way – the important thing is how you learn from them. Don’t allow yourself to get disheartened by a setback or two, instead dust yourself off and work out what went wrong. Then you can find the positives, analyze where you can improve, rip it up and start again.

How To Make Your Employees Feel Like Superheroes

September 25, 2012
As a professional speaker on workplace performance I found this blog to be spot on. Managers take note!  
 
– Fast Company blogger September 18th, 2012 

I once got this in a message from a former employee:

“When I worked for you, I thought I was Superman. I have occasionally reflected on why that was. Not sure I know all the answers, but the things I do know are that the environment was real, the energy was high, and the crap was low..”

It was wonderful to get that message. Those first 10 words sum up for me, in a pretty profound way, what I believe being a good leader is about.

I used to wonder why I was so lucky to have such remarkable, talented, experienced people want to work for me. I realized that a big part of it boiled down to what was in that note:

1. I got the right people in the right roles. 

2. I let them be amazing.

3. I got the crap out of the way (people really liked this!).

Here’s how you can tackle each step to foster employee satisfaction and a memorable culture:

1. Get the right people in the right roles. 

Are you leading the team you need? Or are you leading the team you have?

There is nothing more important as a leader than to build a team underneath you that is so capable that you can free yourself up to solve higher-order problems. Too many managers think the job is to make the best of the team they have. That is not the job.

The job is to develop, and if necessary change, the people–so you get individuals who are well suited for their roles, and a highly capable team that can do what the business needs now and in the future.

 If you find yourself needing over and over again to personally step in to make key decisions or do strategic work that you hoped one of your staff would handle, you have someone in the wrong role. You need to make a change.

 I realize this sounds harsh. But you have choices and you don’t need to be a bad person to build a great team. The good news is that getting the right people in the right roles is great for them, it’s great for you, and it’s great for the business. There is no downside except that it’s hard to do. So…

GUT CHECK: Is your desired outcome to grow the business or to keep people in their jobs?

Here are your choices:

Grow the business: If your desired outcome is to grow the business, then you need to get the right people in the right jobs and eliminate the people who are not capable enough.

Keep jobs: If your desired outcome is to have people keep their jobs you have two choices: 

  • Move them to different, lower, or sideways jobs, and free up the key jobs to be filled by stronger people.
  • If you can’t or won’t do this, then don’t waste time and energy signing your business up for strategic growth. If you are not going to change the people, find a less ambitious business model you can execute with the team you have.
2. Let people be amazing. 

Okay. Now that you have the right team of highly capable people, give them important work, support them, step back, and let them be amazing.

Don’t just delegate work. Delegate power.

Let people make big decisions and solve big problems. Let them do great work they can be proud of.

Give them recognition. Be an active spokesperson for their efforts. Show them trust and respect, and make sure they get the credit for their accomplishments–they will move mountains for you. Get out of their way!

3. Get the crap out of the way. 

As a leader a key part of your job is to create a work environment that is good to work in.

Uncertainty, worry, and unnecessary complexity all drain energy and trust out of the organization. If you want to create an environment where your people can thrive, you need to actively and continually remove the sand that creeps into gears.

Here are some ideas to get rid of the de-motivating crap:

Remove uncertainty:

* Make, clarify, and communicate decisions.
* Don’t let questions and rumors fester.

* Don’t leave people to wonder what is important, or which direction to go.

Remove negativity:
* Discourage unproductive, negative talk. No one can complain without offering a proposal.
* Eliminate people who drain energy out of the organization.

* Remove any managers who are bullies, or who block communication.

Be accountable:
* Have clear plans with measures and accountability.
* Address missed deadlines with consequences and action plans. (You’d be surprised how much positive energy this creates.)

* Face up to, and fix broken strategies.

Find the magic 

When you get someone in the right role right that aligns with their natural strengths, abilities, and ambitions, magic happens.They thrive. They grow. They do amazing things. They feel proud of what they do. They are motivated and energized.

When you get a whole team of people who are in the right roles, the team becomes unstoppable. And then you are free to look forward and lead (and keep vigilant at removing the crap, which takes actual time).

Your job as a leader is to create that team–a team that can amplify what you can do. Otherwise you are at the helm of a team that is constrained by you, not led by you.

– Patty Azzarello, Author of Rise: 3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader and Liking Your Life

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Who’s Looking At You?

August 15, 2012
 
flagThe Olympics are over. All the buzz and excitement of international competition is gone. Compelling stories of athletes overcoming adversity, failures and triumphs are already fading.
Feels kinda sorta like a downer, right?                                   
Merry Ole England did a bang up job of hosting the 2012 games. The royals were out and about, security was a success, traffic was smooth, athletes commented on how very polite the Brits were (natch Daaahling!) and they even built a special ‘Olympic Park’ at the airport terminal for departing visitors. By Joves, I say that’s a jolly nice touch, eh what?
spice girls
Closing ceremonies were quite spectacular, did you think? That is, after the opening vocalist, (whoever she was) singing a bunch of flat notes. You’d have thought it was me – and that’s not a good thing.
 
My favorite part was how singers performed while being chauffered around the stadium in a parade of Rolls Royces (my future car).
Pictured here are The Spice Girls giving it their best shot in front of a global audience of 300 million.                                                                           

Wearing the ‘gold’ from 2006 Torino Olympics

 
So what now?
 
Motivation to be great comes easy when you know the world is watching.   
 
Motivation to be great at work? Not so much.
 
As a motivational speaker at conferences I talk about how top performers give it their best shot all the time because excellence has become a habit.
 
Who’s looking?
 
 
Your customers/boss/team/colleagues/vendors/family/friends.
 
Go the extra mile. Bring home the gold.
  
 Read more of Theresa’s blogs HERE 

Your Olympic Best

August 8, 2012

Dale and police

Studies show the average employee wastes two hours a day on personal business like Facebook etc. That equals about three months of lost productivity per year, per person. Ouch!
 
As a motivational speaker on extraordinary Work Performance I explain how top performers go above and beyond what they’re asked to do by their bosses/clients to exceed expectations and succeed in today’s competitive market.
 
Extraordinary is the new norm in the 2012 workplace.
 
Extraordinary has always been the norm to win gold at the Olympics.
 
Pictured here holding the Olympic torch with police escort prior to the 2000 games Down Under, is my Aussie gal pal Dale Krieg Knappstein. Dale was a swimmer in the 1960 Olympics in Rome and here’s what she said last week during a speech she gave to an elementary school in Adelaide, South Australia:
 
“You have to be extraordinary to win.
  
7 billion people in the world                                     
19 days of competition
10,500 athletes
26 different sports
205 countries represented
302 gold medals

Out of all the people in the world the odds of getting the gold are almost an impossibility.

I came home from Rome without a medal. I felt I had failed my family and my country. Many years later I figured out that at the time, I was one of the top ten 100 meters freestyle swimmers in the world. That’s not bad! Now I’m older I realize that I didn’t fail. I gave it my best shot, others were just better.

Dale and Dawn
From right: Dale Krieg, top Australian athlete Dawn Fraser & coach Harry Gallagher

Today let’s celebrate the dedication and sacrifices needed to become an Olympian.

Then let’s celebrate all the people in this world who give it their best. Not just in sport but in every human endeavour.  We can’t all have gold, silver or bronze medals. (Hey – nothing wrong with silver and bronze!) but we can all give it our best and if we do, this world will be a better place.”

It sure sounds like the USA would be a better place if we all did our personal best at work.

Maybe then all the stuff at Walmart would be labeled

“Made in America”.

Extraordinary Performance is the New Norm: Are You Ready?

July 27, 2012

As the world focuses on the London Olympics the pressure is on for the athletes to perform above and beyond their best. 

Years of practice, discipline, focus, sacrifice and energy, not to mention a mountain of money, all accumlate to a nano second in time at the  2012 Olympic games.  You have to be extraordinary to win. Michael Phelps stands to become the world’s most decorated Olympic medallist with eight gold medals under his belt (or on his very clean shaved chest).

That makes him extraordinary.

As a professional speaker on high workplace performance,  I talk about how  it  takes being extraordinary to get the job/keep the job, get the customer/keep the customer in today’s economy.

How much time, discipline and focus have YOU put into being the best at what you do? Mediocre skills went out the window in 2008 and winning workers/business owners are sharpening their technology/communication/teamwork practices to compete in today’s marketplace with cutting edge advantages. 

Are you ready to bring  home the gold in customer service/productivity/profits?

Let the games begin…

Watch This At Work

July 16, 2012
team
 
Can you pick me out of this line up?
 
These are some members of Team Toto. They’re a great group of people from all walks of life and we enjoy playing tennis Tuesday nights at Memorial Park in Houston. Toto is the team captain pictured in the green shirt and is named such  ‘coz he’s an immigrant from Kansas with a great sense of humor (at least he did until he reads this).
 
I belong to four different tennis groups and play five times a week. You could say I’m addicted to the game. Ya’ think?
 
One time I was playing doubles opposite a man who is extremely competitive and hates to lose. Ten minutes into the game he began yelling at his partner about how to play, berating her for a lost point, putting her down and arguing scores with all of us.
 
And just like that the atmosphere changed from fun to dread.
 
Have you ever experienced that yukky awkward feeling in the pit of your stomach? Watch this at work. One person’s attitude can totally change the dynamics of a team/meeting/office. Organizations wanting to build a strong team culture need to nip these kind of energy-suckers in the bud by enforcing a ‘shape up or ship out’ policy.
 
2012 picAs a professional speaker on High Performance in the workplace, I talk about how a positive can-do attitude boosts teamwork, builds great relationships, increases productivity and elevates customer service that ultimately impacts the bottom line.
 
Everybody wins.
 
Tennis continues to be a ton of fun……I just don’t play with HIM any more.
 
His loss.
 
 
 

The Power of Passion

July 2, 2012

As a professional keynote speaker I’m used to being on a stage motivating people to be the best in their field by raising their work performance level. It’s cool, it’s fun, it’s fulfilling and I absolutely LOVE what I do. Put me on a stage in front of thousands of adults and I’m right at home.

BUT……… put me in front of 100  kids and I’m terrified.

Last week I walked my talk of stepping outside your comfort zone to be  successful  in today’s world….I was asked to speak to Landrum Middle School by the Brilliant Lecture Series who recently bought George Clooney to Houston to talk about his humanitarian work as well as his life (pant, pant, he’s so-o-o hot!)

The children, aged 10 – 13 years old, were mostly Hispanic from under-privileged homes. More scary. My entire Spanish vocabulary consists of: “Another margerita please”. How to connect with this group?

Anticipation is often worse than realization…

Since I’m an Aussie living in Houston I talk kinda sorta funny (although I think you all LISTEN funny). After asking if anyone had learnt about Australia I was amazed how much these  kids knew and how eager they were to participate in my presentation. When I played the piano to emphasize my point about doing whatever it takes to realize your dream, they were mesmerized – and I was relieved.

Music is a universal language and passion is a powerful tool to influence others. I am passionate about speaking, motivating,  inspiring and uplifting people and these delightful children totally got it.

What are YOU passionate about? Passion is contagious. People that are passionate about their work/product/life are more attractive to employers/buyers/everyone.

Passion pays.

Woo hoo!