Why Employee Engagement Should be Top of Mind for Every Leader

Headline – Employee Engagement in the workplace has experienced zero improvement over the last 40 years!

Using engagement as a measurement of productivity and effectiveness, Gallup reports on average, only 30% of employees have been engaged at work over the past 18 years.*. This statistic has been fairly consistent over many years, even decades, in spite of the massive amount of focus on leadership through the thousands of books published and the proliferation of MBA programs. We are not moving the needle toward progress and are thereby stuck.

Basically, 70% of Americans at work (150 million) don’t really want to be working at their present place of employment, so they only do the bare minimum to keep their jobs. Worse yet, they are the toxic employees who negatively infect their workplace. This is a failure of leadership.

Is this really the best we can do? Are there ways to turn these uninspiring statistics around? The answer is yes, but there is work to be done.

The way ahead is through bringing on the next paradigm when thinking about the nature of people, work, and how we come together to make things happen. This new paradigm has already begun in many organizations. While still far too few in number statistically, this has been changing over the past 20 years as more and more leaders are stepping into their own authenticity, are expanding their own levels of self-awareness, and are showing up in their roles more powerfully.

The current paradigm in business and work, which has been around for the last 200 years, is centered on an “ownership-management” paradigm. Our system places the needs of the owners and those at the upper levels of management in first-position. While the current paradigm has been at the fore-front of countless improvements, and has driven prosperity upward while reducing poverty, it also has its short-comings. It is based on a belief system that sees scarcity and limits all around, believes the most-fit should survive, winners should take all, and (s)he who puts their own money at risk should reap the rewards.

The level of consciousness of the conditioned self (ego) of this paradigm is driven by greed, the need for more, and protecting what’s one’s own. Egoism in the management ranks is focused on control and power, is mistrusting of people, and also seeks to further self-interests. Ego at the employee level centers on many forms of fear, as in the fear of losing one’s job should an employee displease the boss.

This paradigm, while the creator of so many great things in our lives and world, is also limiting the human spirit from becoming more fully aware, more alive, more authentic – and more engaged. The results of this paradigm give us unacceptably low levels of employee engagement in all industries and areas of work.

The new leadership paradigm is driven by authentic leadership. It comes from a higher level of awareness that has at its center the “primacy of the human being.” This transformational perspective integrates the four key aspects of being human: the physical needs, mental strengths, emotional dynamics, and our spiritual capacities. People are not seen as means to an end, they are valued as partners, and are invited into the flow of information and decision-making. Ego gives way to authenticity, and people are welcomed to more fully ‘show-up’ at work, where their personal values, passions, gifts and sense of purpose come alive. This aliveness allows them to offer more of themselves voluntarily and delivers higher levels of focus, effort, and outcomes. When people align with their organization’s sense of mission and culture, they naturally, easily become more engaged, giving more of themselves and being of higher service to the organization’s stakeholders.

It is time for a new vision for our places of work, driven by elite leaders who are ready to transform the way we do business and work together. Are you an Elite Leader? Are you ready to become one? Join me in this work – it will be the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do!

* Gallup defines engaged employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Through Gallup Daily tracking, Gallup categorizes workers as “engaged” based on their responses to key workplace elements it has found that predict important organizational performance outcomes. Over nearly two decades, the annual percentage of engaged U.S. workers has ranged from a low of 26% in 2000 and 2005 to the recent six-month high of 34% in 2018. On average, 30% of employees have been engaged at work during the past 18 years.


The Big Question


Recently I have been challenged by three different people (a friend, a coach, a seminar leader) by the question: “What do I now stand for, what is my one cause?” Or said more directly, “What’s the one cause that I am willing to put all my life in to, and at risk for, it’s successful realization?

What is coming up for me, in how to begin to answer this question, is connecting with the intersection of the answers to – What am I most drawn to? Above all else what do I deeply value? What fuels my fire?

In essence – What am I willing to commit myself to 100%?

How can I take my root values: Understand & Evolve; Relieve Suffering; Improve the Human Condition; Natural Beauty; Joy/Aliveness; Authenticity. And fully intertwine my most meaningful sense of purpose: Being Awake and Connected to All of Life. All directed at the one thing I have been most drawn to: Expanding Loving Leadership for All?

This is consuming my consciousness this holiday season.

What would you say your answer is to the Big Question?

How Will You Grow in 2017?

A new year dawns, and it’s a great time to sit back and ask yourself “How will I grow myself, what areas can I work to self-improve, what do I need to do to become who I want to be?

Too often people make their new year’s resolutions about things they want to do, places to go, or things to get. We continue to pursue things that we think will make us satisfied, successful or happy. Yet, most of this activity is simply a grand waste of time – and leaves us just a bit more cynical and jaded year after year. If you’ve ever analyzed why you don’t achieve the goals you set, or realized why the career or financial aspirations you want haven’t materialized, or still lack the depth of joyful relationships you desire, you probably see that something within yourself is preventing you from achieving what you say you want. Trying harder, working more, pushing, forcing, hoping – none will ultimately get you where you want to be.

If you want to live a better life, have better things, enjoy better relationships – it looks like you’ll have to become a better version of yourself first!

To cut right to the heart of this issue, we must first BE the best version of who we are as a human being. Before we are human ‘doings’ and human ‘havings,’ we are utmost human ‘beings.’ We are who we have been, and while that may feel like that’s a life-sentence for the rest of our lives, we can alter who we are by getting in touch with our deepest, most authentic nature. We can evolve and become better, and that will require tapping into your innate consciousness/wisdom, and being brutally honest with yourself. To grow, in essence, is to shed those parts of you that are/were never really true, and be open to see yourself honestly without ego, judgment, shame or fear.

I have myself, and with coaching clients, used the following lists, questions and exercises to help with the self-evolution process. Take a look and see if any of these can be of service to you!

Expand Your Self-Awareness

There are countless resources out there on any of these areas listed below, and lots of teachers, books and programs are available. I suggest pick the one or two that resonates most with you right now and dig into yourself through them:

  1. Meditation
  2. Mindfulness Practice
  3. Assessing Limiting Beliefs
  4. Understanding the Ego & Assessing Fear Patterns
  5. Contemplation & Observation
  6. Self-Study, Spiritual Practice
  7. Values, Passion, Strengths and Purpose Definition

Increase Self-Mastery

These will help you improve the way you live your life, particularly in getting along with others and setting new directions in your life:

  1.  Coaching: Personal, Life
  2. Emotional Healing
  3. Gratitude
  4. Forgiveness
  5.  Releasing Attachments
  6.  Group Work
  7.  Personal Assessments
  8.  Physical Practices
  9. Vulnerability Work

Improve Professional Mastery

Since we all need to work, finding the right outlet for your unique gifts is a big undertaking, yet a most meaningful endeavor:

  1. Find the intersection where your Values, Passion, Gifts, Personal Purpose align with an organization that welcomes your unique contributions and allows for your full engagement in the effort.
  2. Take up a new study either at a college or on-line program that helps you expand in new areas.
  3. Coaching: Professional one-on-one, or join a Peer-group program.
  4. Consider taking on a new role or business opportunity that allows you to stretch yourself.

Deepen Your Relationships

  1. Make a list of 10 people you most want to have a better relationship. Look at where you see new possibilities with them. Take ownership of what’s happened in the past, and let go of old interpretations and stories you built up that created distance between you both. Find where you are deeply grateful for them, and then use forgiveness to free you from any past shackles. Then reach out in your most loving way, reconnect with heart and soul, and stay present to them.
  2. Make a list of people you want to establish a new relationship. Take note about them that you admire, and see what you can bring to this relationship. Then go and make that happen!
  3. Stay present to the relationship you have with yourself. Take care of your physical body, keep your mind active on things that interest you, face emotions and share your feelings, and develop the unseen parts of your human spirit.

Broaden Your Leadership Capacity

  1. We all are leaders, at least of our own lives. Many have the role as owner, manager, boss, supervisor, yet few are true leaders. Leaders inspire others to bring more of themselves than they thought was possible. Are you a leader? Ask yourself a few questions:

– Do I really like people, being around them, helping them get what they need to get things done?

– Can I see a bigger picture of what we are doing and help others see that as well?

– Do I think about what I can do to expand my ability to care for others?

– Am I truly interested in others succeeding?

  1. Leadership capacities you may want to develop are you being more: inspirational, insightful, intuitive, non-forcefully persuasive, flow-oriented, integrative, visionary, strategic, coach/mentor, stakeholder-oriented, and system-oriented.
  2. True leaders are men and women who are more self-aware and conscious about themselves and others around them. They are awakening to new truths, open to grow, learn, change, set on changing themselves, concerned about making ethical choices, becoming more open and transparent, better at developing trust, being more responsible and accountable, developing emotional intelligence, learning what triggers them and work to reduce effects of emotional hijack, cleans up messes better, learning to be more effective at confrontation and problem-solving, and open to being coached and mentored.

Einstein is often quoted that “we cannot resolve a problem at the level of thinking that created it.” I say we cannot resolve our problems by sticking to being the same person we always have been.

The opportunity for real change is before us – and it doesn’t require us to “do” or “get” anything new or hard. It requires us to shed who we are not – all the fears, beliefs, masks, stories, pretenses – that we have come to define ourselves as, and step into our own natural, authentic power. Only then can we BE the person we want to be, can then DO the things we know need done, so we can HAVE the positive results and life we know we desire and deserve.

It takes work, in this case lots of self-reflection, honesty, vulnerability, patience, and desire to allow oneself to be your authentic self. While the path isn’t easy, it is the most rewarding one you’ll ever walk. Some of this is done alone, and some with others. My hope is that you find worthiness within yourself to make you a priority in 2017, and beyond. The price you’ll pay for not evolving is far too high. Aren’t you worth it? Aren’t your loved ones worth the effort? Isn’t your mark on the world worth you playing full out?

Your life awaits – I hope you grab all of it!


Be the you that’s in there, and then be the change in your life so you can live your life to its fullest!

How did 2016 go for you?

1Take a moment and check-in with yourself:

– How did your health fare over these past 12 months?

– How have your key relationships gone?

– How did your work or service go for you this past year?

– Did your personal wealth go up, down, or stay the same?

– Did you learn anything of true value to you and others during this past year?

– What goals did you meet/exceed? Not met? Why?

– Are you happier than a year ago, if so why, and if not, why?

– What’s your state of mind now as compared to a year ago?

– Are you more, less, or the same in regarding confidence in yourself, others, Life, as you look ahead?

– Is your life meaningful to you?

Many people are excited to see a year come to an end, and look ahead to a new year as a fresh start. Some are dreading more of the same pouring over into a new year. Then there are those who don’t give much thought because they feel resigned to a life that feels stuck, heavy with responsibility or simply lack the energy or vision to move forward.

Before you begin to plan ahead it’s always good to put what was/has been in a healthy place within you. Make a list of all the people, places, and things you are most grateful for in 2016. Really get into the loving power being in a state of gratitude and grace offers. Then make a list of all those who you forgave over the past year, or who still needs forgiving by you. Then, either to them one-on-one, or within your own mind and heart, forgive them for whatever you have been holding on to. Especially be open to forgive yourself in each of those encounters. It’s near impossible to manifest something new if old negative energies are still holding you back from moving forward. Gratitude brings in more of the good – forgiving lets you release what is not healthy for you. Both are the prep work needed to manifest anew.

No matter your position in Life, I say we all can, if we consciously choose, begin to create new life paths, possibilities and plans that enhance, enrich and enliven ourselves and others in our lives. If you are ready to live a life of more peace, prosperity, health, joy and meaning, then it all must start within you!

As I have studied Wallace Wattles, Neville Goddard, Dale Carnegie, and others who studied those who are adept at making their desires come true, I synthesized their wisdom into what I call The Manifestation Process. When I desire something and have clarified the goodness, truth, and beauty it will bring, I use the process below and await the results. This process has served me and others well, and I encourage you to study and practice becoming an intentional creator to build the life you desire.

The Manifestation Process

  1. Visualize IT, the goal or object desired, happening. Create a clear, compelling picture in your mind that generates big feelings and creates excitement. It could be one image, a series of images, or a short film. Form a distinct mental image of what you want your IT to be. Then Intend IT!
  2. Take some time and contemplate the IT of what you want. Allow gratitude to enter around the realization of your IT, and ensure that IT is in alignment with your highest ethics. Tap into your higher self through meditation, contemplation, and visualization. Be mindful of IT.
  3. How does IT feel in your gut, head, heart, body? Assess whether IT feels 100 percent or less. Write down your beliefs about IT. Is it fully believable within you or less so? Investigate any doubts, and allow them to diminish to zero.
  4. Hold fast to the intention of IT. Believe IT 100 percent, and will your attention to IT. Think, believe, and act in full faith with IT realized.
  5. Identify one or two big feelings you would have if IT happened. Don’t associate this with acting “as if”—this is only about feelings! The feelings could be gratitude, joy, peace, etc. Remember big feelings!
  6. While holding the image, breathe those feelings into every cell of your body, deepen them, intensify them, and make them bigger than you ever have! Experience those feeling more fully than you ever have. Let yourself go! There is no limit to how deeply you can feel something! Breathe those feelings in like they are the only oxygen in the room! This is called breathing a feeling.
  7. Make it even stronger! Double the feelings!
  8. Hold the feelings for a full minute or more. While holding that visual image and the supercharged feeling, repeat these words of power with great authority and intent until it feels complete:

“Already done, already accomplished!”

  1. Say “thank you” to your divinity/higher power, positively reaffirming the outcome of your desire made manifest. Realize, with great gratitude, that you do get what you want. Retain your vision, stick to your intention, and maintain faith and gratitude. Act with faith and intention in every interaction. Pay attention to any clues that IT is on its way. Be a magnet for others to receive a sense of advancement or increase from being with you. Give them more value than they give you.
  2. Feel and act, imagine and contemplate “as if” your vision is already realized—with 100 percent faith—until your IT is manifested. Take the last few minutes of each day, review your IT, and fill your mind of with gratitude as if IT is realized.

I have a few key suggestions to share. Don’t get caught up in worry or trying to control any outcomes. Don’t allow any conflicting, competitive beliefs or fears to derail you from your best intentions. If you find any of these in your thoughts or feelings, you will not manifest what you desire, so if you discover them face them, confront them, allow their energy to play and pass fully through you, and let them go so they no longer prevent you from attaining the life you envision for yourself.

Assume the feeling of the desire—IT—fulfilled throughout your being as often as you can during your days!

Imagine IT, desire IT, intend IT, believe IT, feel IT “as-if” IT has already manifested, and then just let it go.


Wishing you a joyful, healthy, prosperous and meaningful 2017!  Kevin


Before You Make New Year Resolutions, Take Inventory of Your Beliefs

Many look back as the year is ending, take stock of where they are, and where they’re not, and then look ahead to set new intentions, goals and plans. Yet we all know that most of those wonderful plans will go unfulfilled. I have come to know that the reason why we humans don’t meet our goals is that we hold another belief, often a hidden belief, that is stronger and in conflict with our new thinking. Hoping for a new outcome is a scenario doomed to failure, given how our mental and emotional systems are composed, when we have conflicting beliefs held within.

Wikipedia says “Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty. Another way of defining belief sees it as a mental representation of an attitude positively oriented towards the likelihood of something being true.”

Beliefs are mental positions one chooses after experiencing some life event(s) and then makes that new belief their own. Over time that belief typically cements into a person’s values and worldview, where those beliefs in essence become one’s “facts.”

Our thoughts and beliefs color our perception of the world. They determine our actions, inactions, feelings, and behaviors. It is said that whatever you believe becomes your reality. You do not believe what you see; you see what you believe. This is why people facing the same situation see things so differently. Author Rick Carson, in his book Taming Your Gremlins, says, “Beliefs, even the noblest of them, are just opinions that we develop loyalty to.”

In essence then, beliefs are what we make up with or without the support of data, facts or truth!

We all have beliefs about who we are, how life is/should be, about religious and political and social issues. Many beliefs are there because we ‘feel’ a certain way about something, with no real basis in fact, or trust in the sources of those facts.

This political season so highlights for me how the power of beliefs operate. Not only do we humans stick to our beliefs when presented facts or other opinions that refute them, we shut ourselves off from truly listening to outside sources that have opposing views, therefore deepening our resolve to hold on to what we believe. In this case our beliefs have become our identities, our biases, our prejudices, personas, and we form opinions that protect these from others who don’t share our viewpoints. This results in stalemates at best, or conflicts in their myriad forms.

A large number of psychological studies have shown that people respond to new information, scientific, or technical evidence in ways that justify their preexisting beliefs. In other words, people reject the validity of a new data source because its conclusion contradicted their deeply held views. People believe what they believe, and often there is no hard data or facts that support them.

I use this visual to show how thoughts, feelings and beliefs manifest our reality:

Experience Feelings Thoughts Interpretations Response Result StoryBeliefBehavior

Our beliefs drive our behaviors, and limiting/hidden beliefs are the biggest barriers to success. We form beliefs to make sense of our world. Early beliefs were formed around our parents, family, and the immature decision-making skills of our youth. We often interpreted things happening around us and began to think the following:

– I’m not good enough, have no value

– I’m not needed

– I don’t matter, what I say doesn’t matter

– I’m not important

– I’m bad

– I’m wrong

– I’m a loser

– People who are _____ are wrong, bad, scary, out to harm me.

We also interpreted events in our world over time, and developed biases and prejudices about people of other sexes, races, religious and political affiliations, and more. These then become solidified as our truth about the world and of people, and unconsciously drive our thinking and behaviors today.

So before you set yourself up for probable failure in setting new goals for yourself, you might want to look the source of what drives you, and see if there are any beliefs that are counter to the life you envision and desire for yourself. Reflect on what you believe, what your truth currently is, how you arrived at these beliefs, and whether they will serve you along your life’s journey.

I have had to constantly take stock of my most revered beliefs and truths every time I was faced with new ideas or facts. I had to look at what was before me, how it resonated within, and determine what was needed for me to shift my thinking. Once new truths were accepted, the old had to be let go to integrate the new into my system of understanding. Beliefs do not seem to go quietly or without discomfort. Many times this created conflict, which required delving deeper into the strata of my mind.

I often ask these questions of myself and my coaching clients to help root out limiting beliefs:

Are your beliefs still serving you?

What new information, data, and facts are you being presented with that cause an internal rub within you?

What prejudices and biases do you hold on to, and are they still true in all cases?

Where have you formed opinions that seem to project from you without you even thinking, and do they still represent the way you want to live your life?

What belief, opinion, bias, or prejudice, that you now see is no longer always true, would you like to remove from your thinking?

To get beyond the choke-hold of old beliefs and begin living the life you envision requires the following:

  1. Set a new intention, desire, or goal.
  2. Identify the beliefs you have about accomplishing it.
  3. Identify the beliefs you have that run contrary to it, are of a limiting nature, or are hidden that will sabotage it from manifesting.
  4. Eliminate the belief, consciously and continuously, by seeing the belief, where it came from, what it has costed you, what emotions it arouses, and just allow that to flow through and out of you without any self-judgment / shame / condemnation.
  5. Replace them with thoughts, feelings and new beliefs that allow us to manifest what we desire.

We can challenge our beliefs and biases whenever they show up. We can reject any thoughts of limitations or exclusion, and replace them with a positive stream of thinking which starves them and forces them to wither and die. Self-help guru Jim Rohn said, “You cannot take a mild approach to the weeds in your mental garden. You have got to hate the weeds enough to kill them. Weeds are not something you handle; weeds are something you need to decimate.”

It always comes down to choice – if you really want to manifest new things in your life that go against the grain of your current beliefs, you have to choose to eliminate the old beliefs first. That takes some self-reflection and a desire to see your own patterns, make peace with them and yourself, and let them go. Only then can you more freely go about making your new intentions your reality!

We can implement the following steps to live a more positive, loving, authentic life:

New Thoughts New Positive Feelings

New Beliefs New Attitude

Different Actions Desired Results


Happy 2017, and beyond!

What All Generations of People Want From Work

I have been speaking a great deal lately about what people need / want / desire from their work, and so I put together a list of the top 11 things I’ve noticed that people of all ages, backgrounds and roles have been mentioning for the past 35 years I’ve been tracking. They are:

Appreciation. People need to feel cared for and appreciated – especially by their manager.

Recognition. Ample feedback whether in private or public about their value to the team/organization.

Being ‘in the know.’ Even if employees can’t affect company plans, they feel more empowered when they have a full picture of what these plans are.

Understanding in crisis. Life happens, and managers need to work with employees when problems crop up off the job.

Job security. While no job is 100% secure, employees need to know managers will do all they can to secure their jobs, as long as they perform.

Engaging work. Give top performers a chance to do more, interesting tasks.

Growth opportunities. People want to be able to learn and grow professionally and personally.

Loyalty. Employees respond for leaders who “have their back.”

Tactful, respectful discipline. Offer challenging/negative feedback without humiliating the person.

A fun environment. People try harder when they like where they work.

Fair compensation. While money is important, once salary and benefits are accepted it becomes less a motivator unless all the above are missing (then it can often be the only reason one stays in that job).

I suggest that every leader / manager look at this list and first themselves rate how they would evaluate their own experience within these eleven areas. Are you appreciated and recognized enough? Do you feel the organization cares for you, keeps you informed, offers understanding when you need flexibility? Are you engaged in your own role and are you growing yourself amply? See where you have alignment with your organization, culture and leadership or not. See where you are engaged, or not.

Then take this list and share it with your team, and ask them to do the same evaluations, first for themselves, and then as a group. See where you are doing well, and where you gaps and areas for improvement pop up. Decide on an action plan to boost one or two of these at a time, and maintain honest assessment and accountability around your progress.

People respond very quickly when we give them the basics that compose healthy human connections and interactions. When basic needs are met, and the higher needs are addressed, people flourish. The leaders role is to see to it that their people are cared for, and an easy way to do that is to find out what needs they have and then address them.

Millennials, Gen-X’ers, Boomers and the War generations all share one core truth – they are all human beings, and humans crave similar things from their work and relationships. True leaders go the extra mile and connect business systems and processes with their people, and when that happens higher levels of employee engagement drive productivity, quality, customer service, and especially profitability ever higher. All it takes is an open mind and a willingness to engage and connect with people! Reach out, connect, talk about what they want – it will pay huge dividends for all!

When we know we are cared for we are free to bring our best self to our work!

The Power of Recognition & Appreciation

I spoke last week at The Millennial Leaders Summit about what are the top things that people most desire from their work. I have been tracking this topic the last 30 plus years, and the number one item on almost every survey or study’s list, no matter the age group, is Recognition and Appreciation. We all want to be seen for who we are and what we do, and to be valued by others. This is actually what we all want in our lives, not just at work. We humans are connective beings, and in that need for connection we require an exchange of energies that keep us safe, secure, loved and appreciated.

Why is recognition and appreciation so important? What is it so universally desired by people across all demographics? If you think about it, the benefits and payoffs to being recognized and appreciated are being accepted, valued, affirmed, noticed, respected, understood, and acknowledged. Who doesn’t want any of these things in their life? Yet how often do we actually receive the gifts recognition and appreciation bring?

When we recognize and appreciate someone or something, an interesting thing occurs. If we pause long enough and truly see who or what is right before us, we are invited into the realm of appreciation. In the moment of appreciation we allow ourselves to connect to a universal source of tranquility, and we feel that sense of well-being stirring within. Even though some external source stimulated our appreciation pause, we are the beneficiaries of the ‘feeling-good’ state. In appreciation, we find something in another we value, treasure, and hold dear.

In this place of appreciation a positive sense of awe embraces us – wonder, admiration and reverence wraps around us, even if for just a moment, and that gives way into gratitude. When we feel grateful, when we are dipped in the nectar of gratitude, we are in a state of grace – words seem unnecessary, we just experience a standing-still moment of an elixir of joy, peace, ease and aliveness.

It is this aliveness that gratitude stimulates a sense of being fully present and connected – to ourselves, to others, and to Life. It is that connection, those meaningful-moment connections, we all crave. When we feel connected we know, even if it’s just for a fleeting moment, who we are and why we are here. In those moments of connection we are free to just be – be who we are, what we want to feel and express, and how we can best show up for others.

Isn’t it funny that what we all desire, recognition and appreciation, not only has positive aspects for us being recognized and appreciated, but has equal opportunity for positive outcomes for those who do the recognizing and appreciating! It’s a two-way street to the highest states of what it means to be a healthy, loving human being!

So if you want to feel better or feel good, remember the chain-reaction of recognition and appreciation. When we pause and just look at who or what is before us, and without judgment/shame/blame just see it, find something about it that you can appreciate, or see some positive in it, the flood of warm feelings from awe and gratitude will simply flow. When you recognize and appreciate another, not only are you momentarily swept into a state of presence and connection, so is the other as you share your appreciation with them.

This holiday season we seem to put a premium of being grateful, giving thanks, and spreading good tidings. We don’t have to wait for calendars to turn or external clocks to trigger us into these states – we can do it ALL THE TIME! If recognition and appreciation are the number one motivators for human beings, then by all means let’s offer them freely, often, and consistently. If the receiver and the giver of recognition and appreciation win, then let’s keep on winning, together!

Go ahead, try out offering more recognition and appreciation to those in your work and private life! Do it one-on-one, or watch the exponential effect that cascades onto everyone when you do it publically. You and they will feel better when the recognition and appreciation is genuine and meaningful.

Go ahead, recognize and appreciate those around you – and be the source of some terrific outcomes!

Recognition → Appreciation → Awe → Gratitude → Presence → Connection

What Makes a Leader – Leaders Love People!

“Authentic Leaders care – they love who they are, what they do, why they do what they do, and who they do it with!”

What Makes a Leader – Leaders Love People!

I often get into conversations with people about leadership, and am asked what I think makes a great leader. In researching for decades the answer to that question, and in evolving my own leadership capacity over these past 40 years in business, I have come to the simple realization that the best leaders all share one significant capacity – leaders like, even love people!

I make a clear distinction between who is considered a “leader” versus other descriptors such as manager, supervisor, director, owner, principle or entrepreneur. While we may have titles, occupy roles on an org chart, and hold various positions of power, I see the label of ‘leader’ truly going to those men and women who go beyond their role and connect authentically and meaningfully with other people.

Owners invest for a future payoff. Entrepreneurs create something from nothing. Managers and supervisors focus on getting things done. If those are your main areas of focus and interest, and see people as a means to your end goal, then you may achieve some marginal amount of success. On the other hand, you may be filling any of these roles, and yet you have this extra ingredient that truly makes you a leader – you love to connect with others!

I see leadership as the way we go beyond just the required work transactions in our lives. People with an ‘owners’ mindset are typically great with money and finances, and can see how investing pays off down the road – but if that’s all they’re interested in, they see people as a means to that end, and stay disconnected and disinterested in others beyond their own self-interest. Entrepreneurs bring so much passion and energy to their work, and have so many ideas – yet if they are so consumed by their work they may fail to include others in their formula for success, create distance and bear the brunt of all the stress. Managers (directors, supervisors, leads) get into those roles because they like to set goals, get things done and get promoted, but if meeting expectations and targets are their key focus they will see people as ‘parts of a machine,’ a necessary ‘evil,’ or as ‘stepping stones’ they have to deal with, and create environments of disengagement and discontent.

Those who value money and numbers over people are not necessarily leaders. Our current business paradigm is based on making the numbers and profits, and there are millions of business-people who are considered successful because they meet numbers first. Yet, there are leaders who focus first on people and end up making more money than their competitors.

No matter the title or role, those who we look at as true leaders are those who make a personal connection to us, who really care about us, who communicate regularly, and who have a greater sense of purpose about our work above the daily drudgery. Leaders build trust, build teams, and build people. Leaders care! They care about people. They put people first. And it’s OK to say that leaders love people, their people!

Don’t confuse someone who is bold, visionary, wealthy, successful, or famous, as a leader. If they also exude connection and caring of people then you may call them a leader.

Think about those in your life right now who are in positions of power and authority. Maybe it’s your parent, relative, friend, your boss, your boss’s boss, or yourself. Look at those who you admire for their leadership capacities and see what characteristics they have that make you call them a leader. Why do you go the extra mile for someone and not for another? Why do you feel better in someone’s presence, and not in others? Why do you want to stay where you are and be more engaged and productive, and want to get away, leave or find another job when around others?

Owners, entrepreneurs, and managers are all necessary, and sometimes leaders also occupy those roles. Look at your own mindset and ask yourself a few questions:

– Do I really like people, being around them, helping them get what they need to get things done?

– Can I see a bigger picture of what we are doing and help others see that as well?

– Do I think about what I can do to expand my ability to care for others?

– Am I truly interested in others succeeding?

These time call for more leaders than ever before. No matter your tile or role, anyone can be a leader. Leadership requires one key element – CARE. Do you care about what’s going on? Do you care about others winning? Do you care about what others need, think, and say?

Look at your own Care Quotient – your CaQi! The good news is that no matter how you evaluate yourself in this area, you can expand it if you desire. Increasing your care capacity will require you expand your emotional intelligence, which includes compassion, empathy, interpersonal skills, self-management skills, handling emotions and being more self-aware around others.

I have been expanding my capacity for care and love my entire life, and you can too! The payoffs to caring are immense and life-changing: more connections, more joy, more peace, more freedom, more fulfillment, more prosperity, and more love. If any of these are of interest to you, the royal road to realizing them is through caring. Join me in expanding leadership in our work and in our relationships!

Authentic Leaders care – they love who they are, what they do, why they do what they do, and who they do it with!

I Want To Write About Acceptance . . .

A few years ago I was introduced to the Irish poet David Whyte, who has a very unique way not only of generating powerful prose, he also powerfully verbalizes his meaning through the spoken word. One of his poems titled, “I want to write about Faith” allowed him to express what was preventing him from living an aspect of his life more fully and alive. I have used his template, ‘I want to write about…’ a few times in my past, where I felt stuck, fearful, or was hiding and playing small. Once I was able to articulate and write about what was the challenge I faced was, the shackles of reasons and excuses for not moving powerfully forward started to dissolve.

Recently, I did some deep dives into a few areas that were revealed as major blind spots I had that have been running behind my conscious awareness, that have been interfering with me living the life I fully envision. First I came face to face with an ocean of disappointment, and saw how its debilitating factors have taken their toll. As I wrote about that, I saw the opposite to disappointment – Acceptance – and that so resonated with me I wrote about embodying that in my spirit and life. Thus the poem below….

I want to write about ACCEPTANCE!

The possibility of living a life of, in, and for Acceptance is the opportunity and commitment that awaits before me.

Acceptance is a great challenge, a great gateway to abiding enlightenment, peace and love.

Acceptance demands an awareness of Presence.

Acceptance requires continuous love, respect, regard and appreciation for Myself, just as I am.

Acceptance is not being attached, fully letting go of all expectations, beliefs, stories and patterns of old.

Acceptance is trusting in a Universe, a Universal power, just because – without perfect knowing.

Acceptance is allowing and welcoming whatever is happening before me – and being totally OK with It.

Acceptance is letting go of all Resistance.

Acceptance is simply accepting what IS, without judgement, blame, or shame.

Acceptance is wanting what Life wants, what Presents Life Presents to me, in any given moment.

Acceptance is Living Life fully.

Acceptance allows me to see, and Be, what IS.

Fear – and all its components – can’t live, survive long, in the atmosphere of acceptance.

It’s human to have desires, intentions – just have them with no attachments to outcomes.

Intention – Attention – No-Tension!

Keeping my hands off the steering wheel, I set loving, powerful, authentic intentions; I pay adequate attention to nurture them forward; and I keep my senses wide open as my vehicle of Life moves about, observing the joyous manifestations of those very intentions.

Acceptance is Freedom, Peace, Integrity, Power, and Self-Expression.

Acceptance is Kind, Caring, Compassionate and Fun.

Acceptance is the highest form of Love:

– Love for Self

– Love for Life

– Love for Others

– Love for What IS.

Acceptance is my ticket to the royal road of living to the max – and to be of highest service for what Life what’s from, of, by, and for me.

Acceptance is being fully awake, aware, and alive – in every moment!

I accept Acceptance!

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lau Tzu


I Have A Dream!

I have this reoccurring dream. In it, I see . . .

People who are fully alive, living from their own healthy states of well-being, fulfillment and possibilities.

– They do so because we found ways to liberate the human spirit, in our educational system and in our world of work. So many leaders have stepped forward to help people break through old, ineffective or limiting ways and belief systems, and now honor the unique individuality of each person. No longer are we pushing people along like widgets on conveyor belts in factories, nor are we Pidgeonholing them into cubicles and rigid job descriptions.

– Countless leaders have evolved and stepped forward to see their role not as dictator, task-master nor bureaucrat, but as catalysts for their people to learn, grow, team, and fully develop into their highest and best selves.

– This new ‘authentic leader’ is someone who has: followed their own deep personal growth path that allowed them to see their strengths, weaknesses, levels of emotional intelligence, and how they are experienced by those around them, and were open to change (which really means they were open to seeing where they were being inauthentic, and were able to let that conditioned part of them go). Their personal transformation was deepened by their ability to take responsibility for their own lives and their participation in the relationships of their lives, and to make new choices on how to fully show up. Their capacity to be more open, honest and vulnerable with others has made them much more effective and endearing, and people naturally want to offer more to enrich the spaces they all inhabit, be it at home or especially at work.

– These authentic leaders build highly trusting environments, knowing people are imperfect and mistakes will be made, yet able to nurture cultures where people feel supported to stretch, try new things, and if they fail they know the leader and team has their back. We now have more managers, decision makers, and change agents who want to improve the wellbeing of each and every person in their organization than ever before!

– When people are supported and cared for, they will naturally step up their levels of involvement and performance, thus willingly increasing their effectiveness and that of their teammates.

– People are also exposed to ever-deeper insights into their own make-up, often at their leaders nudging, and are clearer about who they are as an individual. They know their own personal core values. They have reconnected to their root passion. They are more aware of their strengths, and choose their own growth paths in areas they want to improve. They have developed a personal sense of purpose, and have learned new ways to seek employment that more fully align with who they are, rather than just taking jobs for the pay and benefits.

– Our organizations have high levels of alignment and engagement from all employees and contractors, resulting in high output, low cost, high quality/service, low/no turnover enterprises. This creates larger profit margins where owners enhance the pocketbook not only for themselves but for their employees, thus furthering the connection between employee and organization.

– With cultures experiencing higher trust and care from leadership, people look for ways to make better decisions and dramatically improve results. They also become more skilled at decision-making, communication, and also with conflict resolution, because all three are needed to have higher-performing teams.

– These teams tackle complex issues, throughout our societies many organizations, and we are seeing huge positive impacts on such macro issues like clean energy proliferation, personalized education and childhood well-being, healthcare delivery, sustainable food production, infrastructure redevelopment, elimination of pollution and maximization of natural resource utilization. We see healthier, happier, better educated and personally fulfilled people everywhere, across all cultural/sex/age/heritage/religious lines.

– The workplace is where everyone gets to exercise their unique talents and fulfill their life’s purpose. We have forever changed the way we work and do business in the world. No longer profit / money focused, we build enterprises that are people-centric, and thus in the process deliver significantly higher levels of profit and material gain for all stakeholders to partake.

– In this dream we have redefined the definition of success – shifting it from a money-fame-material gain formula, to one where the human spirit is fully alive, unleashed and effective, making a difference, being fully of service, and living at sustainably higher levels of well-being and fulfillment – where true joy and happiness are generated.

– I see a world where loving leaders are awakening, inspiring and empowering people to become their authentic selves, to come fully alive, and be of highest service through the offering of their work. As the human spirit is fully unleashed, we are afire in loving our work, living our workplace, loving our co-workers. In this powerful space, our work becomes a grand vehicle for us to play full out, and thus positively change the world!

I know, like John Lennon’s lyrics . . . You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one!

Yet, I’m also reminded by the old quote by Napoleon Hill: “What the mind can conceive it can achieve!”

So, let’s dream, conceive, and achieve together! What else can be of greater importance than the health, well-being, development and happiness of all of us humans?