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Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2008 2:06 PM
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The Leadership News
Dear Mike,

Happy New Year.  I hope your year is off to a great start.  In this first edition of The Leadership News for 2008, we continue our discussion about attitude and about how you can make sure your business is headed where you want to go.

In the article You've really got an attitude!, we reveal how you can develop a positive attitude, essential to improving results.  Then, in the article The Best Way to Predict Your Future is to Create It!, we continue defining the steps in creating a Mission Statement.

Warren Bennis in his book Managing People Is Like Herding Cats says that, "Around the globe, we currently face . . . a deepening leadership crisis in organizations.  Unlike the possibility of plague or nuclear holocaust, the leadership crisis will probably not become the basis for a blockbuster movie, but in many ways it is the most urgent and dangerous of the threats we fact today, if only because it is insufficiently recognized and little understood."
I hope the information in this newsletter is helping you to be a better leader.  But remember, knowledge is not power.  Applied knowledge is.  If you don't apply what you learn to your business, nothing happens.  It all boils down to you.


Mike Keesee, PMP

President & CEO

JMK Associates LLC

You've really got an attitude!
Developing a Positive Attitude
by Mike Keesee
JMK PIcture    

"We have found the enemy .... and he is us."

Walt Kelly
Political Cartoonist


We noted last time that attitude is tremendously important in achieving positive behavior change.  We can know what to do and how to do it, but without the motivation to act, nothing happens.  We also noted that unfortunately, much of our attitude is negative based on unconscious conditioning over our life.  In this article, we look at ways to reverse the sign, change that "negative" to a "positive".
Attitudes are habits of thought.  And, like all habits, they can be changed.  But it's not easy.  Forming new habits may take days, weeks, months, or even years.  But it can be done.
So where do we start?  First, understand that attitudes, like all habits, give you some degree of internal satisfaction.  Second, analyze the habit as honestly as possible to learn what kind of satisfaction it gives you.  Third, replace the old habit with a new more effective habit that offers you greater satisfaction.  The mind does not work in a vacuum - you can't simply erase a habit and leave an empty space.
For example, suppose you are always pressed for time.  You wake up in the morning with just enough time to get to work.  When you get to the office, yesterdays unfinished work is piled deep on your desk.  Instead of starting on the pile right away, you have a cup of coffee trying to decide what to do first.  You just know you will never get your desk clean again.  You have a habit of always being rushed.
If you are honest with yourself, you may discover that you have an attitude of not feeling that you are in control of your life.  The harried schedule is simply a way to prove you are right.  And the need to be right is a powerful human need.  The harried lifestyle is not the cause of your feeling out of control, it is a habit, formed to give you the inner satisfaction of being right about how you feel.
So what do you do about it?  First, you decide you want to change.  It is a decision, not a feeling.  It is a deliberate choice.
Second, develop a plan to achieve the change.   Write it down.  For example, in the above case, you might develop a written schedule for your morning routine - what time to get up so that you have time for breakfast and maybe even a second cup of coffee and time to read the morning paper.  Then, you might prepare a daily work schedule.  Prioritize your work.  Do the most important things first.  Then, as you achieve success, even for a part of your plan - say you are successful getting up with time for breakfast for a week -  reward yourself. 
As you achieve success in even parts of your plan, the benefits of the new habits will begin to outweigh the old ones.  The good feeling you get from even partial success will outweigh the feelings you had about "proving" yourself out of control.  You'll begin to feel good about being "in" control.
The process for developing new attitudes is the same process that developed your existing attitudes - spaced repetition.  Your existing attitudes are a result of hearing things over and over again.  You develop new attitudes the same way.  Advertisers have been using spaced repetition for years.  Even though it may be irritating to see the same TV commercial back to back, the advertisers know what they are doing.  We have to hear a message 6 or more times before the message "sticks".  But new research says that we have to be exposed to a message at least 3 times before we "hear" it.  So do the math.  That means we have to be exposed to the message 18 times or more before it "takes".
This is true for developing new attitudes.  We have to be exposed to "attitude adjustment" messages many times before we experience habit change.
So what kind of messages should we be hearing?  Positive things!  There are plenty of positive motivational materials available - tapes, books, CDs, DVDs.  Look for every positive morsel you can find to feed your positive self-image. 
But realize that unless you consciously seek out and put something positive into your mind each day, it won't be done.  Most, if not all, of what you will be exposed to during the normal course of your day will be negative.  The news media ignores good news.  It doesn't sell.
Here's another exercise to enhance your positive image.  It sounds simple and it is, but it works.  Make a list of positive statements about yourself and refer to them daily.  Here are a few examples:
  1. I am capable of being much better.
  2. I can control what I do.
  3. I have much to be thankful for.
  4. What I do is important.
  5. I am important.
  6. There are others who care for me and rejoice in my success.
  7. There are those who believe in me.

All these statements are true no matter who you are.  If you are a person of faith, you can add to the list the statement attributed to a little boy, "I'm ok 'cause God made me and God don't make junk!"

Attitudes are habits.  And they can be changed.  Don't let a negative attitude keep you from being "all you can be".


For more information, visit our website.



The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create It - Step 4!
Mission Statement
by Mike Keesee 

Success Cup

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!"  Chinese proverb
"Destiny is not a matter of chance.  It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved." William Jennings Bryan
In the last edition of The Leadership News we defined the Mission Statement as a statement of what you want to accomplish over the next twelve months that is in line with where you ultimately want to be as stated in your Vision Statement.  We explained that the first part of creating a Mission Statement was an external assessment - an analysis of the factors outside your organization that will have an influence on your activities.  We looked at three areas: Market Segments, Competition, and Trends.  We were looking for opportunities and threats.  Now we will look inside your organization, an internal appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses. 
Structure and Function
Is your organization structured to effectively respond to the needs of your customers?  Or, is it cumbersome and hard to manage?  Do you have weaknesses in your management team?
How do you know if you are meeting the needs of your customers?  In todays competitive climate, it isn't enough just to satisfy your customers, you must "delight" them, exceed their expectations.  How well do you respond to customer complaints?  Do you have measurements in place to know your customer satisfaction level?
How well does the rest of the organization support the sales force?  Is there friction between production and sales? 
Is it easy to do business with your organization?  How hard is it for a potential customer to talk to the right person?  Are your interactions with your customer all the way from sale to invoicing easy, accurate, and customer centric?
Do your rewards/recognition programs support your strategy?  Many times, bonus arrangements reward optimizing department performance at the expense of overall organizational performance.  Does your sales commission program support your goals?
Does your management team have the proper attitude and knowledge to support your strategic plan?  Do they embrace your vision?  Are they truly "on board"?
There may be many other questions you need to ask your self as you evaluate your corporate structure.  The main point here is to make sure your organization is aligned with your vision in every way.
Do you have the resources necessary to achieve your vision?  Every area of the organization should be analyzed to make sure you have the necessary resources.  It could be that you don't have the right skills, or the necessary capacity to aggressively pursue your vision.  Either situation will seriously impede your ability to successfully make progress towards the achievement of your vision. 
An objective, comprehensive analysis of the adequacy of resources is a strategic part of creating your Mission Statement.
Markets, competition, and trends were examined when we did our external assessment.  Now, we look inward to see if your products/services are what the markets need.  Are your products/services adequate to what you perceive the market to be?  Are there changes that we need to make to our products/services to beat the competition?  What products/services considerations do we need to make in order to take advantage of identified trends? 
This may be the most important part of your internal assessment.  Aggressively and accurately reacting to the market is essential to beating the competition.
We touched on this in the Resources discussion above.  But Support deserves a special analysis.  Support, both for all your customer facing people (especially the sales force) and for your customers is of the utmost importance.  Floundering sales people lead to unhappy customers.  And failure to provide expected post-sales support to your customers is fatal. 
These four areas are the critical internal areas you need to assess carefully.  Along with the external assessment, you will use the results of both to begin defining the areas you need to address in your Mission Statement. 
What we have done in these exercises is identify four things.  The external assessment identified opportunities and threats while the internal assessment identified strengths and weaknesses.  What we want to do next is to analyze how, use or strengths to optimize our opportunities and minimize our threats.  We also want to look at how we can compensate for our weaknesses as we attempt to take advantages of our opportunities and protect against our threats.
One way to do this is to compare each strength against each opportunity and threat.  For each comparison, make a list of things that you could to to either leverage the strength to maximize the opportunity or minimize the threat.  Do the same thing for your weaknesses.  Compare each weakness against each opportunity and threat and make a list of things that you could to do mitigate the weakness against the opportunity or threat. 
From this analysis, we will identify several areas in which we will want to improve.  We will call these Critical Goal Categories which we will discuss more fully next time.
Free Book
All good leaders read.  I have a book I'd like to give you - free!  The title is Fail-safe Leadership.  All you have to do is call me to receive your copy.  My phone numbers are 770 943 3657, or 678 773 8036.
Mike Keesee
JMK Associates LLC
770 943 3657
678 773 8036 (cell)
770 943 1450 (fax)

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