Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

The Challenge of Change

The history of Henry Ford and the Model T illustrates a fundamental truth about leadership: leaders never outgrow the need to change.

On his way to dominating the automotive market with the Model T, Henry Ford embodied innovation and progress. By pioneering the assembly line, Ford slashed the amount of time needed to manufacture an automobile. He installed large conveyor belts in his factory, allowing workers to stay in one place rather than roaming around the factory floor. He also shortened the workday of his employees from nine hours to eight hours so that his factories could operate around the clock.

The efficiencies Ford introduced allowed cars to be manufactured at a fraction of their previous costs. In under a decade, automobiles went from being luxuries affordable only to the wealthiest Americans, to being standard possessions of the average American family. Ford profited handily from the popularity of the Model T, and Ford Motor Company grew into an empire.

However, the dominance of Ford Motor Company was short-lived. As competitors changed their operations to copy Ford’s concepts mass production, Henry Ford made a tremendous leadership blunder. With cars rolling off assembly lines like never before, consumers began to demand a variety of colors. However, Ford stubbornly refused, uttering the famous line, “The customer can have any color he wants so long as it’s black.”

In Ford’s mind, producing multiple colors was foolhardy since black paint dried the fastest and could be used most efficiently. Amazingly, Ford did not comprehend the human preference for variety. Customers flocked en masse to other producers who catered to their color preferences, and Ford Motor Company never regained its grip on the market.

For so long, Henry Ford had focused on moving from inefficiency to efficiency that he refused to move in the opposite direction – from efficiency to inefficiency – even when doing so would have been wise and profitable. Ford’s genius in sparking change had catapulted him to the pinnacle of American commerce, but later, his inability to change cost him dearly.

Issues That Make Change A Challenge

Critics
Along the journey of leadership, you’ll meet all sorts of people, and I guarantee you’ll bump into a few critics. Early in my career, I didn’t know how to handle disapproval, and I bent over backward to keep everyone happy. In spite of my best efforts, I failed. Some of my people still didn’t like me.

Trying to appease everybody invites trouble. Appeasers end up being average because they always gravitate to the middle of the road. They’re afraid to make waves, and therefore, they avoid changes. My leadership began to take flight when I allowed myself to press people to change – whether they thanked me or cursed me.

People You Have Outgrown
As we climb the levels of leadership, we come to the sad realization that most people aren’t committed to personal growth. Friends who once shared our dreams begin to settle for second best. Members of our inner circle quit when the journey gets hard. If we are to change ourselves for the better, then we need to change the company we keep.

Eventually, we must change our relationships by disengaging from the people we’ve outgrown. Disassociating from colleagues can be especially painful given your history together, the contributions they have made in your life, and your personal feelings toward them. Disengaging is painful because you care about them. It’s painful because they may not understand why you’ve drifted away from them. It’s painful all the way around, but remember, unless you are willing to endure these pains, your own growth as a leader will be limited. Leaders only grow to the threshold of their pain.

The Weight of Responsibility
When we’re young, leadership has an idealistic appeal. We yearn to be in charge and out front, making the decisions. However, the reality of leadership involves the heavy burden of responsibility. Missteps by a leader can affect people’s livelihoods or an organization’s sustainability. The fear of getting it wrong can paralyze a leader.

If we, as leaders, want to make significant changes to increase our impact, then we must be willing to shoulder progressively greater loads. Although added responsibility gives us a greater opportunity to exercise leadership, it also magnifies the consequences of our mistakes. To be a change agent, a leader must be willing to take ownership of key projects and pivotal decisions.

Personal Inadequacies
As we grow in our leadership, we advance into uncharted territory – areas beyond our comfort zones. Such occasions give us growing pains by confronting us with our inadequacies. Our wisdom fails to solve a problem, or we stumble into a situation requiring more wisdom than we possess.

Facing our limitations can be daunting. At times, we’d rather stick to familiar roads than blaze a new trail and risk failure. Ultimately, pushing our personal boundaries is the surest way to grow, improve, and expand the scope of our influence.

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

Decide Upon Your Major Definite Purpose

Since you become what you think about most of the time, a major definite purpose gives you a focus for every walking moment. As Peter Drucker said, “Whenever you find something getting done, you fine a monomaniac with a mission.” The more you think about your major definite purpose and how to achieve it, the more you activate the Law of Attraction in your life. Helping you to attract people, opportunities, ideas, and resources to move more rapidly toward your goal and move your goal more rapidly toward you.

Activate Your Reticular Cortex
Each person has within his or her brain a special organ called the “reticular cortex.” This small, finger-like part of the brain functions in a way similar to a telephone switchboard in a large office building. Just as all phone calls are received by the central switchboard and then rerouted to the appropriate recipient, all incoming information to your senses is routed through your reticular cortex to the relevant part of your brain or your awareness.

A Red Sports Car
Imagine that you decided that you wanted a red sports car. You write this down as a goal. You begin to think about and visualize a red sports car. This process sends the message to your reticular cortex that a red sports car is now important to you. A picture of a red sports car immediately goes up onto your mental radar screen. From that moment onward, you will start to notice red sports cars wherever you go. You will see them parked in driveways and in showrooms. Everywhere you go, your world will seem to be full of red sports cars.

Achieve Financial Independence
If you decide to become financially independent, you will suddenly begin to notice all kinds of opportunities and possibilities around you that have to do with achieving your financial goals. You will see stories in newspapers and recognize books on the subject everywhere you go. It will seem as though you are surrounded by ideas and information that can be helpful to you in achieving your financial goals. On the other hand, if you do not give clear instructions to your reticular cortex and your subconscious mind, you will go through life as though you were driving in a fog.

Your Major Definite Purpose
Your major definite purpose can be defined as the one goal that is most important to you at the moment. It is usually the one goal that will help you to achieve more of your other goals than anything else you can accomplish. It must be something that you personally really want. It must be clear and specific. Your goal must be measurable and quantifiable. Your major definite purpose must be in harmony with your other goals. If you use your reticular cortex and keep your goal in your mind you are bound to achieve it.

Action Exercise
Determine how you will measure progress and success of achieving your goal. Write it down.

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

Don’t Quit!

One of my favorite poems is called Don’t Quit. One of the lines says, “So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit; It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.” In our darkest hour it’s hard to see the end of our circumstance. All we can think of is our conditions worsening. But it’s usually at this time that our greatest growth can occur if we’ll see the moment as a growth opportunity-if we’ll see it as a time to learn how to control our thoughts toward an ideal that we cherish.

One thing I share with people who seek my advice when they think their life has come apart is to help them understand the power that even the tiniest of actions can have when taken in a negative situation. Remember in science class when we learned that “a body at rest tends to remain at rest; a body in motion tends to remain in motion”? This is especially true when overcoming circumstances because “paralysis” usually keeps us in the condition longer than we’d like.

But even more important, is that once we’ve started in motion, even though it may not seem like much, know this: It’s now only a matter of time before you’re out, totally out, of the situation that has got you down today.

I wish I knew who wrote this.  The Author is anonymous.   I hope it means as much to you as it does to me.

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill.
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit. Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a fellow turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow. Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown. Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

The Time to Act

Engaging in genuine discipline requires that you develop the ability to take action. You don’t need to be hasty if it isn’t required, but you don’t want to lose much time either. Here’s the time to act: when the idea is hot and the emotion is strong.

Let’s say you would like to build your library. If that is a strong desire for you, what you’ve got to do is get the first book. Then get the second book. Take action as soon as possible, before the feeling passes and before the idea dims. If you don’t, here’s what happens…

YOU FALL PREY TO THE LAW OF DIMINISHING INTENT

We intend to take action when the idea strikes us. We intend to do something when the emotion is high. But if we don’t translate that intention into action fairly soon, the urgency starts to diminish. A month from now the passion is cold. A year from now it can’t be found.

So take action. Set up a discipline when the emotions are high and the idea is strong, clear and powerful. If somebody talks about good health and you’re motivated by it, you need to get a book on nutrition. Get the book before the idea passes, before the emotion gets cold. Begin the process. Fall on the floor and do some push-ups. You’ve got to take action; otherwise the wisdom is wasted. The emotion soon passes unless you apply it to a disciplined activity. Discipline enables you to capture the emotion and the wisdom and translate them into action. The key is to increase your motivation by quickly setting up the disciplines. By doing so, you’ve started a whole new life process.

Here is the greatest value of discipline: self-worth, also known as self-esteem. Many people who are teaching self-esteem these days don’t connect it to discipline. But once we sense the least lack of discipline within ourselves, it starts to erode our psyche. One of the greatest temptations is to just ease up a little bit. Instead of doing your best, you allow yourself to do just a little less than your best. Sure enough, you’ve started in the slightest way to decrease your sense of self-worth.

There is a problem with even a little bit of neglect. Neglect starts as an infection. If you don’t take care of it, it becomes a disease. And one neglect leads to another. Worst of all, when neglect starts, it diminishes our self-worth. Once this has happened, how can you regain your self-respect? All you have to do is act now! Start with the smallest discipline that corresponds to your own philosophy. Make the commitment: “I will discipline myself to achieve my goals so that in the years ahead I can celebrate my successes.”

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

We are What We Think…

You become what you think about most of the time. And the most important part of each day is what you think about at the beginning of that day. Start Your Day Right!

Take 30 minutes each morning to sit quietly and to reflect on your goals. You’ll find when you read the biographies and autobiographies of successful men and women that almost everyone of them began their upward trajectory to success when they begin getting up early in the morning and spending time with themselves.

Feed Your Mind With Positive Ideas
This is called The Golden Hour. The first hour sets the tone for the day. The things that you do in the first hour prepare your mind and set you up for the entire day. During the first thirty to sixty minutes, take time to think and review your plans for the future.

Use Your Quiet Time Effectively
Here are four things that you can do during that quiet time in the morning.

Number one, is to review your plans for accomplishing your goals and change your plans if necessary.

Number two, is think of better ways to accomplish your goals. As an exercise, assume that the way you’re going about it is totally wrong and imagine going about it totally differently. What would you do different from what you’re doing right now?

Number three, reflect on the valuable lessons that you have learned and are learning as you move toward your goals.

Number four, calmly visualize your goal as a reality. Close your eyes, relax, smile, and see your goal as though it were already a reality. Rewrite your major goals everyday in the present tense. Rewrite them as though they already existed. Write “I earn X dollars.” “I have a net worth of X.” “I weigh a certain number of pounds.” This exercise of writing and rewriting your goals everyday is one of the most powerful you will ever learn.

Fasten Your Seatbelt
Your life will start to take off at such a speed that you’ll have to put on your seatbelt. Remember, the starting point for achieving financial success is the development of an attitude of unshakable confidence in yourself and in your ability to reach your goals. Everything we’ve talked about is a way of building up and developing your belief system until you finally reach the point where you are absolutely convinced that nothing can stop you from achieving what you set out to achieve.

Everything Counts
No one starts out with this kind of an attitude, but you can develop it using the law of accumulation. Everything counts. No efforts are ever lost. Every extraordinary accomplishment in the result of thousands of ordinary accomplishments that no one recognizes or appreciates. The greatest challenge of all is for you to concentrate your thinking single-mindedly on your goal and by the law of attraction, you will, you must inevitably draw into your life the people, circumstances and opportunities you need to achieve your goals.

Become A Living Magnet
Once you’ve mastered yourself and your thinking, you will become a living magnet for ideas and opportunities to become wealthy. It’s worked for me and for every successful person I know. It will work for you if you’ll begin today, now, this very minute, to think and talk about your dreams and goals as though they were already a reality. When you change your thinking, you will change your life. You will put yourself firmly on the road to financial independence.

Action Exercises
Now, here are two things you can do every single day to keep your mind focused on your financial goals:

First, get up every morning a little bit earlier and plan your day in advance. Take some time to think about your goals and how you can best achieve them. This sets the tone for the whole day.

Second, reflect on the valuable lessons you are learning each day as you work toward your goals. Be prepared to correct your course and adjust your actions. Be absolutely convinced that you are moving rapidly toward your goals, no matter what happens temporarily on the outside. Just hang in there!

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

CREATING A POSITIVE ATTITUDE TO ACHIEVE POSITIVE RESULTS

With winter upon us, the economy down, unemployment running at record highs, etc. it can be easy to start focusing on the negatives.  The key to surviving and succeeding is all in your attitude.  Your attitude determines the state of world you live in, not what is happening around you. It is the foundation for every success and every failure you have had and will have. Your attitude will make you or break you.

Attitude creates the way you feel about people and situations. Your actions are a result of your attitude, which, in turn, creates a reaction from others. So, basically, what you think … you get. It is your attitude toward others and the Universe that determines the resultant attitude toward you. Incorporate a positive, joyful attitude and you’ll have positive, joyful results. Put out a bad, negative attitude and you’ve failed before you begin.

I know it sounds simple, but the truth is….it IS simple!

WHERE DO NEGATIVE ATTITUDES COME FROM IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Negative attitudes come from thinking negative thoughts over and over until they have become a part of your subconscious – they’ve become habitual, a part of your personality. You may not even realize you have a negative attitude because it’s been with you for so long. Once you have a bad attitude, you expect failure and disaster. This expectation turns you into a strong magnet for failure and disaster. Then it becomes a vicious circle. You expect the worst – you get the worst – your negative beliefs are reinforced – you expect the worst – you get …

. . Got the picture?

SO, HOW DO WE SHIFT OUR THOUGHTS AND CREATE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE?

It takes work, but creating anything of value takes work. In order to have a new attitude we have to change our subconscious thinking. How do we do this? By analyzing every thought we have until positive thinking becomes habit. You’re merely replacing an old habit with a healthy habit, much like replacing exercise for smoking.

You can’t just stop being negative – you have to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones.

Some people would say, “But negative situations are a reality. They just show up in every day life.”

This is absolutely not true. Situations are a reality, yes. They do show up. It is your ATTITUDE that makes a situation positive or negative. It’s time for you to realize that YOU are in control of how you think and feel – no one else on earth has this power unless you give it away. Take control of your attitude, and you take control of your results.

“Your state of mind creates the state of your results.”

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

Trusting Your Intuition

Survey after survey has noted that top leaders are able to make tough decisions, in part because they have learned to trust their intuition. Henry Mintzberg of McGill University said, “Organizational effectiveness does not lie in that narrow-minded concept called rationality. It lies in the blend of clear-headed logic and powerful intuition.”
Intuitive people tend to be able to plunge right into a problem, gathering information and facts on the run while also listening for that inner voice that speaks truth. People looking in from the outside might interpret these actions as impulsive. In reality, they are able to make quick decisions based on a lifetime of accumulated wisdom and understanding.
While intuition does appear stronger in some people than in others, I believe that any leader can learn to be more intuitive. It is simply a matter of learning to trust your heart. Sometimes the first step toward trusting your heart is simply acknowledging and letting go of our absolute trust in logic. Roy Rowan said, “This feeling, this little whisper from deep inside your brain, may contain far more information-both facts and impressions-than you’re likely to obtain from hours of analysis.”
There is a certain element of risk in intuitive leadership, but that is the very nature of leadership. André Gide said, “One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” A neglect of cultivating intuition results from doing what is safe and secure. I can’t think of very many things of value that are won by staying safe and secure.
While leaning on your intuition is a leadership advantage, it can also be a weakness. You’ll gain the trust of others when your intuitions lead to good decisions. And you’ll forfeit trust when you fail because you continually ignore the wise advice of those around you. Robert Heller said, “Never ignore a great feeling, but never believe that it’s enough.” Great leaders learn to trust the intuition of their confidantes as well.
I’ve tried to pay attention to how I make a decision, and here are some steps I’ve developed for tapping into my intuitive instincts: 
  • Write down the issue at hand.
  • Identify as many options as possible.
  • Pull away from the process and pray.
  • Start playing out consequences of your options, eliminating them one by one.
  • Bounce a couple of your top options off of wise people both inside and outside your organization.
  • Do a heart check. This involves looking at: 
    • My motive-“Why am I doing this?”
    • My responsibility-“Should I be doing this?”
    • My emotional status-“Can I feel right about doing this?”
  • Make a decision.
  • Hold to that decision. No leader ever reaches perfection when it comes to decision-making. But a leader who strives to obtain all the facts possible, who trusts the intuition of his or her team members, and who cultivates and trusts his or her own intuition, will have a batting average good enough for the Hall of Fame!
Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

Ambitiously Pursuing Your Own Self-Direction

What is the origin of true ambition? There exists really only one place to find true ambition and that is within you – in every thought, in every movement, in every motivation. Your ambition is an expression of who you truly are, your own self-expression.

Self-expression. Isn’t self-expression really self-direction? How you think, how you move, how you motivate yourself. Ambition is a result of self-direction and self-direction is one of the six key principles necessary for building ambition. Positive self-direction says, “I know who I am and I know where I want to go. I’m accumulating knowledge and experiences and feelings and philosophies that will help prepare me for opportunities that I know will show up without notice or any help on my part.” Because you know where you want to go, you have already been working on the parts of your personality that will make you better. Working on your attitude, working on your health, working on your time management skills. Putting it all down on paper. And you constantly see yourself in the place you want to be, going in the direction you want to go.

Direction determines destination. So here is a question you must ask yourself, “Are all the disciplines that I’m currently engaged in taking me where I want to go?” What an important question to ask yourself at the beginning of the month, the beginning of the week, the beginning of the day. Because here is what you don’t ever want to do – kid yourself. Kid your neighbor, kid me and kid the marketplace, but don’t kid yourself – fingers crossed – hoping you will arrive at a good destination when you’re not even headed that way. You have to ask yourself often, AM I? Am I doing the disciplines that are taking me in the direction I want to go? Don’t neglect to ask these important questions, questions that help determine your direction, the set of your sail, your destination.

Is this the direction I want for my life?
Is this someone else’s direction?
Is this a goal I have been ingrained with since my childhood?
Is this goal my parent’s, my spouse’s, my boss’, my children’s or is it MINE?

Ask yourself these questions and then debate them. After you have answered these questions within yourself, then take it one step further and ask, “What am I doing that is working or not working?” Debate it all. Work with your mind to figure out the best possible direction for you – your self-direction. And then ambitiously pursue your own self-direction. Let the power of your own ambition take you where you want to go, to do what you want to do, to create the life you want to live!

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

Create Your Daily Personal Growth Schedule

I’m often asked about how I keep up with all of the various projects at work while still having time to spend with my family and friends.  It is true that I work hard and play hard; however, I have developed a daily routine that helps me keep my life in balance.  I thought I’d share them with you.  
I start every day with the following objectives in mind.  You can easily apply these disciplines in your life.  It just takes practice and repetition until they become automatic.
Goal Setting
Every morning, take three to five minutes to write out your top goals in the present tense. Get a good quality notebook for this purpose. By writing out your ten goals at the beginning of each day, you will program them deep into your subconscious mind. This daily goal writing will activate your mental powers. It will stimulate your mind and make you more alert. Throughout the day, you will see opportunities and possibilities to move more rapidly toward your goals.
Planning and Organizing
Take a few minutes, preferably the night before, to plan out every activity of the coming day. Always work from a list. Always think on paper. This is one of the most powerful and important disciplines of all for high performance.
Concentration on your Highest-Value Activities
Your ability to work single-mindedly on your most important task will contribute as much to your success as any other discipline you can develop.
Exercise and Proper Nutrition
Your health is more important than anything else. By disciplining yourself to exercise regularly and to eat carefully, you will promote the highest possible levels of health and fitness throughout your life.
Learning and Growth
Your mind is like a muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.
Time for Important People in Your Life
Relationships are everything. Be sure that in climbing the ladder of success, you do not find it leaning against the wrong building. Build time for your relationships into every day, no matter how busy you get.
Time for Important People in Your Life
These seven disciplines will ensure that you perform at the highest level and get the greatest satisfaction and results from everything you do. Study these seven disciplines and then make a plan for how you can incorporate each of them into your daily life.

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

Creating a NEW Positive Belief System

It is because of your belief system that you are where you are in life right now. You have created your success or failure with the beliefs that you have established within yourself.

Most people would be astounded to know how many of their beliefs are based on lack, limitation, and shortage-and that these thoughts reproduce themselves directly into their life experiences.

You owe it to yourself to think only of unlimited prosperity, because abundance IS reality. There is no lack, no shortage. There are no limits except for those we impose on ourselves. Prosperity doesn’t start with someone or something outside of you.

Get the picture yet? Your success or failure begins and ends with you.
Wow! Think about that for a minute. What you think and what you believe determines your success or failure.

Your conscious mind is a powerful thing. What you concentrate on comes back to you-multiplied. Your mind is a source of unlimited, overflowing abundance-and its manifestation into the physical world depends on your thoughts and beliefs. Your belief in the possibility or impossibility of a situation determines the outcome. If you don’t believe in the possibility of success, it’s just not going to be possible.

So, how do you replace your old, self-defeating belief system with a new prosperity-focused belief system? Start from within. Delete any “can’t do” beliefs you may have lurking deep inside, and start believing that you CAN.

But simply eliminating old beliefs is not enough. You have to replace them with new positive ones, because something must occupy that empty space. Remember, the universe abhors a vacuum, so choose something positive to take its place.

The second step is to stay away from the “can’t do” people in your life. If you can’t avoid them totally, then don’t get infected with their negativity. Give yourself a “prosperity booster shot” by remembering that the beliefs and opinions of other people do not have to become your reality. Someone is always going to try to tell you it’s not possible. You have to train your mind to block out these negative words.

Every time you hear a “you can’t-it’s not possible” say “NEXT!” to yourself and flip back to your new way of thinking. Tell them that you have moved forward, and that old, negative way of thinking has no place in your life. If they can’t accept the new you simply stop discussing your goals with them. Stay focused in your new mindset and become a joyful example of what happens when you believe in yourself and what’s possible. Think big and prosperous and you’ll get big, prosperous results. Think small and lacking and you’ll achieve just that. The choice is yours.

“Our inner image of ourselves and what we want to accomplish in life makes us become what we were meant to be.”

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.