Archive for the "Productivity" Category

Create Success at Home

Creating and cultivating a culture of success is vital. This is true whether at work, in college, and at home, especially if you have children.

You can create a culture of success in your own home. Ask yourself what kind of messages you’re sending to your children.

Assuming your family sits down together at the dinner table, which is very important, ask yourself what messages you’re conveying to your kids. Are you conveying the message that hard work doesn’t get you anywhere and getting ahead is all about office politics, or are you teaching them positive lessons about being a success? Are you demonstrating the importance of integrity and honor by word and deed? Are you sending messages that encourage tolerance?

Even if your own workplace is less than ideal, don’t sour your children on the importance of hard work. Maybe you’re not getting the recognition you deserve at work, but your children should be recognized for their accomplishments. They should learn the value of teamwork, of seeing each family member working together toward a common goal.

As you pursue your passions, encourage your children to feel passionate about whatever excites them. Even if they pursue activities that you don’t necessarily approve of, don’t stand in their way.

My father wasn’t thrilled with my decision to apply to the Air Force Academy and pursue a military career, but he let me choose the path I wanted to follow.

All of us must pursue our passions, not those of our parents. Of course, that doesn’t mean parents must subsidize their children’s pursuit of their passions.

Andrea Jung, former CEO of Avon, received inspiring advice from her mother. Jung wrote that her mother said, “Girls can do absolutely anything that boys can do. A woman can reach any height in any discipline if she works hard enough.”

It is extremely important to create a culture of success in your own home. If you are single, then being a good and respectful son or daughter, and a good person to your brothers and sisters, will bring great joy to them and make your family proud.

If you have a spouse, then being faithful and considerate of each other, and treating your relationship as a team with a sacred trust will allow you to accomplish the most challenging goals in your life.

Not only are you your children’s role model, but put another way, you are their manager, and their boss. If your boss acts a certain way and wants you to emulate that behavior, you pretty much have to do it – or else look for another job.

Your children are in a similar position. You may want to fire them from time to time, but you’re both pretty much stuck with each other. Set the standard and watch them follow. Instill in them a sense of pride and passion for whatever it is they do. Show them the way, but ultimately let them choose their own path (they will anyway).

Just be sure you give them the tools to succeed when they reach that critical stage. The greatest gift you can give them is a moral compass — one built on integrity and honor.

Do it and I guarantee that they will make you proud!

Learn to Shave on Someone Else’s Face First

It is very important to have a mentor when you pursue your passion. With the right mentor, you can pursue your passion in any field, and avoid costly mistakes. Like my grandfather used to say:  “When you learn to shave, try to learn on someone else’s face first.”

Omar Khan was a scrawny teenager when he walked in the office of Buddy Teevens, the Tulane football coach, in 1996. Khan, the son of immigrants from Honduras and India, wanted to learn about football, not the game so much as the business of football, and was willing to start on the ground floor.

A Tulane student at the time, Khan volunteered to work for free and was willing to handle any task thrown his way. The coach had seen others like Khan, or so he thought.

Many students begged for work but in the end weren’t willing to put in the time, because they weren’t getting paid. Khan, on the other hand, took on every assignment and became indispensable to the Tulane football program.

Khan handled everything from computer projects to travel arrangements to filming practices and games.

In 1996, while still a senior at Tulane, Khan managed to land himself an internship with the New Orleans Saints. As was the case at Tulane, Khan handled any and every project given to him and, in early 1998, he was hired as a full time employee of the Saints.

One of his mentors at the Saints was Terry O’Neill who helped the football team with salary cap issues. Khan helped to research the contracts that O’Neill negotiated. By age 21, Khan was negotiating some of the smaller contracts. When O’Neill left the Saints, Coach Jim Hazlett hired Khan to be his administrative assistant.

On his 24th birthday, Khan was hired away from the Saints by the Pittsburgh Steelers. At age 25, he became the youngest business coordinator in the National Football League. Khan rose to the position as the Steelers’ lead negotiator, in addition to coordinating the team’s travel plans, and managing their salary cap. He has negotiated some of the largest contracts in Steelers’ history, while keeping the club’s salary cap under control. Today, he’s in his 12th season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Khan is in his third year as Director of Football and Business Administration.

Charles Krauthammer found himself an extraordinary mentor. Dr. Krauthammer wouldn’t have become a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist without his mentor, Dr. Hermann Lisco. When he was a freshman at Harvard Medical School, Krauthammer was paralyzed in a serious accident. At the time of the accident, Dr. Lisco was the associate dean.

Lisco convinced professors at Harvard to give the paralyzed student bedside lectures. Because Krauthammer was unable to write at the time, Lisco also persuaded the professors to give the injured student oral exams. Lisco even arranged for Krauthammer’s rehabilitation to take place at a Harvard teaching hospital, so the student wouldn’t fall behind in his studies. Krauthammer used a wheelchair to go on rounds with his fellow classmates.

Thanks to Lisco, Krauthammer finished his medical degree. He became chief resident in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. He later became a science advisor to the Carter administration, and a speechwriter for Walter Mondale. In the 1980’s, Krauthammer turned to writing and won that Pulitzer Prize.

Whatever your passion is, you must find someone who has already achieved what you want and learn from him or her. Try to build a relationship with that person so you can learn directly from them, even if it means working for free.

Mentors can do more than just teach you how to succeed in a particular area. Mentors can help you avoid the mistakes they made along the way, which gives you a huge advantage.

Even President Obama had Great Mentors

President Obama was inaugurated today for his second term. In his autobiography “Dreams of my Father” he discusses some of the great mentors he had in his life. A mentor is an individual, usually older, always more experienced, who helps and guides another individual’s development. This guidance is not done for personal gain.

Mentoring is used in many settings. It is common in business, and it is used in educational settings, especially with “at risk” students. It is also the basic principle behind the Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs.

One of the most valuable assets your career can have is a good mentor.

Tips for Individuals being Mentored

  • At the core of virtually all-successful and personally satisfying mentoring is a meaningful relationship with another person. Prior to your first meeting with your mentor, write down at least three things you would like to achieve through mentoring. If not included in your lists, write down at least three things you would like your mentor to provide.
  • Prepare a brief autobiography that you can share with your mentor when you first meet. Be sure to also include your own vision, mission or life goals.
  • It is likely that you selected your mentor or were matched with your mentor because of the mentor’s resources. This typically means that your mentor has both considerable gifts and a tight time schedule. Dealing with time is a key aspect of the success of mentoring. Make sure you are clear about your needs.

Tips for person doing the Mentoring

With President Obama

Charles Garcia with President Obama in Oct. 2012

  • Listen deeply and ask powerful questions.
    The two skills that I think are essential for successful mentoring are (1) in-depth listening, that is, suspending judgment, listening for understanding and providing an accepting and supportive atmosphere; and (2) asking powerful questions, that is, questions that are challenging in a friendly way and questions that help the other person talk about what is important to that person.
  • Focus on wisdom.
    I see myself as a resource, catalyst, facilitator, idea generator, net worker, and problem-solver, but I do not see myself as a person with answers. I do have experience and I think I have learned from those experiences, but I do not see my mentor role as one in which I “tell” another person what to do or how to do it. I freely share what I have done (or have learned), not as a prescription, but more as an example of something from which I gained some wisdom. I also feel comfortable contributing ideas or suggestions, not as a sage, but as a collaborator.
  • Maintain and respect privacy, honesty, and integrity. I have had experience participating in events where these key values have been jeopardized. I know first-hand the disastrous consequences that can accompany violating these values. I can’t offer confidentiality in the legal sense, but I can do the best I can to ensure that “what is said in this room stays in this room.”