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Posts by Ty Bennett

The Commitment Scale by Ty Bennett

By Ty Bennett | Sep 21, 2021 | Comments Off


The key to growth, high performance and real impact is commitment.


As a young entrepreneur I had a mentor who used to tell me, “If you treat your business casually, you will become a casualty of your business.”

This advice has stuck with me for nearly 20 years and with time I have found it to be applicable in many areas beyond business.

If you treat your health casually, you will become a casualty.

If you treat your personal and professional growth casually, you will become a casualty.

If you treat your marriage casually, you will become a casualty.

If you treat parenting casually, then your kids will become a casualty.

The key to growth, high performance and real impact is commitment.

True commitment opens doors, gains followers and extends positive influence.

The Commitment Scale asks us to assess where we are living.
At a level of distraction? Constantly being pulled away by every distraction.

At a level of decision? Making a decision plants your flag. It cuts off other options and gives you direction.

At a level of discipline? Where we follow through and choose consistency.

At a level of devotion? Where you are driven by purpose. Where you don’t treat things casually, you are fully committed.

It is devotion that builds brands, loyal followers, committed teams and leaves a legacy.

Don’t be casual.

 

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The Recipe for Motivation by Ty Bennett

By Ty Bennett | Aug 25, 2021 | Comments Off


For you, as the leader, ability is the variable that you can influence the most, and the easiest. You can actively help others gain skills by providing mentoring, training, and education.

As leaders, we spend significant time and resources to motivate our teams. Most of this effort is focused on extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is the proverbial carrot and stick. Behavior is driven by the promise of a reward, or the fear of retribution. It is effective because it taps into our biological survival system.

Our survival systems relentlessly seek well-being and safety. When that survival system sees the carrot, it craves that reward and promotes thoughts and emotions that drive us to reach for that carrot. In contrast, when the survival system sees (or feels) the stick, it views the pain as a threat to well-being and safety and will go to great lengths to avoid that stick. Extrinsic motivation works—but it has limitations.

Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, originates within us. It is internal and is not motivated by an external (carrot and stick) factor. One of the best research evaluations of intrinsic motivation was established in the Self Determination Theory. Edward Deci of Rochester University and Richard Ryan of Australian Catholic University originated this theory during the 1970s.

The theory argues that the most voluntary and high-quality motivation were dictated by conditions that support our people's Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness. As leaders, we may not be able to control certain things, but we can influence conditions. We have the ability to provide the right conditions that will promote this high-quality, voluntary motivation. In other words, we can provide conditions that promote intrinsic motivation. In doing this, we can help to create the outcome we are looking for in those we lead.

Because of this research, we as leaders have been given an equation, a formula, a recipe if you will, to create high-quality, voluntary motivation—the type of motivation that drives your people to perform at their highest level.

The ingredients in that recipe are Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness. In the Leader of Leaders Model, we argue that all three are essential, but Competency carries particular importance.

COMPETENCY EXPLAINED

Competency is that sweet spot where ability, experience, and confidence come together. To put it more simply:

ABILITY+EXPERIENCE+CONFIDENCE=COMPETENCE.

As leaders, we tend to focus primarily on ability when evaluating a learner. Ability, by itself, is simply to possess the skills and abilities to do something. However, skills alone do not produce a desired or successful outcome. Instead, desired outcomes require a learner to have the wisdom to apply skills effectively and efficiently. That wisdom comes through experience and confidence. This is why it is rare for a freshman or rookie athlete to make a gigantic impact on the field or on the court. Because although they possess great ability, they lack game experience and confidence to perform at this new level. Competency requires all three components.

COMPETENCY FROM THE LEARNERS PERSPECTIVE

Of the three competence pieces, confidence is the most important from the perspective of the learner. Generally speaking, we as humans tend to dismiss the validity and breadth of our own experience. As our best and often worst critics, we also undervalue our skills. Because of this fatal human flaw, it takes a lot of effort for a learner to build their confidence.

It’s important to remember that our natural tendencies to be biased toward a negative view of ourselves is not our fault. It is all based in our biology. When our survival system perceives a threat to safety or well-being, such as a challenging work assignment, it sends warning signals, usually in the form of fear or anxiety. It perceives the work assignment as a threat—meaning if we do not complete it successfully, our job will be in jeopardy.

If we are unable to manage those thoughts and feelings with confident self-assurance, we do not embrace the work assignment and underperform—despite our ability and experience. We have no control over the thoughts and feelings that come from this survival system. However, we can manage those thoughts and feelings as they enter our consciousness.

Confidence enables us to manage these thoughts and feelings as they surface. Learners who have this confidence will have greater success in their lives and in their work. With confidence, they are able to more effectively and efficiently use their ability and experience to propel themselves forward, rather than succumb to their own self-doubt.

COMPETENCY FROM THE LEADERS PERSPECTIVE

For you, as the leader, ability is the variable that you can influence the most, and the easiest. You can actively help others gain skills by providing mentoring, training, and education. It's not that you have zero influence on experience or confidence, but you have significantly more influence over ability.

Leaders value competency for good reasons. In a ten year study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the number one contributor to employee satisfaction was the capacity to use skills and abilities. In other words, an employee’s ability to be competent at what they do is what made them happy in their work. Not only does competence produce tremendous motivation, it also creates high satisfaction. It is a double win for both the leader and the learner.

 

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How to Win with People with the Rule of Two by Ty Bennett

By Ty Bennett | Jul 22, 2021 | Comments Off


One of the most useful and practical strategies I teach leaders and salespeople to win with people is The Rule of Two. 

I was speaking for Anthem Insurance in California and at one of the breaks a salesman named Joe asked if he could share an insight with me. Earlier that day, I’d taught about focusing on being interested, not interesting, and he said it reminded him of a rule he made for himself years ago called The Rule of Two.

Joe told me how he was called out early in his career for one-upping other people. It was affecting how he connected (or didn’t connect) with others and it was undermining the influence he was trying to build. Joe decided to fix it and so he developed The Rule of Two. When someone says something about themselves, ask at least two questions before you say anything about yourself.

As an example: your good friend says they like boating – they just bought an expensive boat and they go every weekend to the lake. You may be thinking, “What a bragger, oh really, well I...” But then you stop yourself and remember The Rule of Two. you respond: “I bet your family really enjoys that. How did you decide on the right boat for the family? And what was your favorite family moment at the lake this year?”

Wow, how that changed everything! You felt great about being truly interested in your friend — your friend stopped his normal chatter and thought a minute about what was truly important about the boat and shared with you a personal moment with his family and experience. You made a connection that will not be forgotten, that could have been missed without using The Rule of Two.

Now think about doing that as a leader. Would you build stronger, long-lasting relationships by actually listening and responding from a place of interest? The next time you are heading down the road of one-upping, give Joe’s idea a try. Use the principle of The Rule of Two! 

 

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The Best Advice Stephen Covey Ever Gave by Ty Bennett

By Ty Bennett | Jun 21, 2021 | Comments Off

It’s not about you - it’s about them!

What Is the best advice you have ever received?

Was it a coach telling you, “When you quit, you fail.”
Or maybe it was a friend who said, “It’s ok to say no.”
Or perhaps it was your Mom who told you to wear clean underwear.

In any case, advice from the right person at the right time can often change our perspective.

That is what happened to me the first time I met Dr. Stephen Covey.

The advice he gave me at first seemed specific but I have found it to be more general and has shaped my mindset.

When Stephen Covey found out I was writing a book he told me “Make sure you write the book for the reader, not the writer.”

Let that soak in.

It’s great advice for a writer and I have thought about it often as I have written my four books.

But the thought has more application when you think about it as a mindset.

It’s not about you - it’s about them!
The focus of an influencer is always on the audience.

If you are in sales – it’s about your customer or prospect.

If you are a leader – it’s about the people you are leading.

If you are a teacher – it’s about your students.

If you are a parent – it’s about your children

If you are a speakers - it's about the people listening to you

Almost everyone has this backwards. They think being influential means they need to become polished or powerful. Influence, though, is all about the audience. Be it an audience of one or one thousand. When it’s about them, they get it, and we grow in their eyes.

By thinking out instead of in, by concentrating on others instead of on us, a tremendous transformation takes place. We go from inner-directed to outer- directed, from taker to giver, from self-centered to others-focused, from tight-fisted to generous, from short-sighted to farsighted, from selfish to selfless. We begin to see and act on behalf of others' needs ahead of our own; our thoughts are in terms of "we" instead of "me."

That’s what Stephen Covey taught me with what seemed to be a simple piece of advice. “Make sure you write the book for the reader, not the writer."

 

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Embracing Failure - Ty Bennett

By Ty Bennett | May 07, 2021 | Comments Off

"Ninja is the perfect metaphor for Success."

I think most people see success as one direction and failure in the exact opposite direction but I don’t think that is true. 

My experience has taught me that you have to pass through failure to find success. In other words, they are the same path. 

The problem is that failure stops us and so we don’t get far enough down the path. 

Successful people learn to embrace failure, learn from it, and use it as fuel. 

Sarah Blakely, the founder of Spanx, is someone who understands this mindset. When Sarah was growing up, her family would have family dinner every night. But unlike most families, their discussions weren’t just about the events of the day or how school went. Sarah’s father every night at dinner would ask the family, “How did you fail today?” 

That question spurred their conversation and they would share their failures. They would discuss what they learned. How it felt. I’m sure they would laugh with each other and sometimes cry together. 

I find it fascinating though, that the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world learned at a young age to embrace failure.

I don’t think it is a coincidence. 

I think that a mindset that embraces failure and uses it as a stepping stone allows us to move further down the path to reach the success we are seeking. 

 

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Ty Bennett - Devotion or Discipline

By Ty Bennett | Nov 16, 2020 | Comments Off

It's not enough to be busy. We're all busy. It's about being productive. We want to focus our attention on getting results. But as great as discipline is, it's not enough. 

 

Ty Bennet- Devotion vs Commitment

 

What we have to do is move to level four devotion. Now I have a lot of people say, "Ty, but discipline! That's what we're after. Discipline is great, but devotion is better. Luciano Pavarotti, the great tenor, said something really interesting. He said, "Most people think I'm disciplined. I'm not," He said, "I'm devoted. And there's a huge difference."

You see, when you're devoted, you will push through any obstacle. When you're devoted, you're not interested. You're not doing what's convenient. You're committed when you're devoted to a cause. You start to get the attention of other people, they see it in you, and they flock to you. They migrate to you. These are the kind of people that you want to be around, people who have a purpose, who are devoted. They are focused on what it is that they're going to do.

Have you been around people like this? Devotion changes everything. I had a mentor who used to say that successful entrepreneurs compress more activity into tighter timeframes at critical junctures in their business life. Have you seen that? Have you seen people who have come in and built a business quickly who have created this huge storm of activity because of their level of commitment and devotion? People seem to be magnets like magnetic people are drawn to them?

If I can attribute my success to anything, it's learning on that Russian train and being devoted to what I wanted to do. That's what allowed my brother and me to go and build the business that we made. That's what allowed me to go and speak on stages all over the world. That's what has allowed me to write and create three best-selling books. Its devotion, its commitment, its focus.

 

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Fear, Failure, Focus: Ninja Warrior Mindset from Keynote Speaker Ty Bennett

By Ty Bennett | Aug 12, 2020 | Comments Off

Read an excerpt from Ty's newest keynote topic Fear, Failure, Focus: The Ninja Warrior Mindset:

Let's think about fear for just a minute. I think fundamentally, there are three main things that we fear. First we fear loss. We fear giving up something. We fear change. This is why we resist change so much and why we’re worried about what we're going to lose. Our mind plays this game that's a “what if” and if your mind starts to play, it automatically puts a negative thought in there. Our job is to switch that “what if” to a positive and so you have to focus on what you are going to gain and not what you are going to lose.

The second thing that we fear is the process, we fear the unknown and we resist something that's new because it's hard. We don't feel competent and or confident in that new idea, new system, new skill that we have to develop. But psychology teaches us that there's a cycle. It's called the competence confidence loop. What happens is, as you start something new, when you start to build competence, that automatically increases your confidence, which automatically increases your competence. And it just keeps going on and on. 

The third thing that we fear is the result. We worry that it's not going to work out or that we are going to fail. Or maybe we're going to go down this road and it's not going to be what we hoped for. 

So here's a couple ideas on how you can manage your fear:

  • First idea is to write it down. If you write it down, if you vocalize it, if you give voice to what it is that you fear, there's something cathartic about that process. 
  • Number two is to approach fear with curiosity. Ask questions, try and dissect it, try and understand it. Because when you can understand the fear where it's coming from and what it's telling you, then you can logically deal with it without the emotion. 
  • Number three, sometimes you just have to act. Sometimes you just have to have a couple of seconds of insane courage to move forward. What I found is that every successful entrepreneur, every successful Ninja, they value courage.

Keep watching for a full keynote description coming soon!

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Storytelling in times of struggle

By Ty Bennett | Mar 26, 2020 | Comments Off

Right now, the world has been turned upside down. Your industry has most likely been impacted as mine has. Many are confused, some are paralyzed because of fear and others are pivoting to the new normal.

In this time of change, one of the most important skill sets for leaders and influencers to develop and employ, is the skill of storytelling.

Ty-Storytelling is moving people to action

Stories help us make sense of situations. They paint a picture and cast a vision. Neurologist Paul Zak at Loma Linda University found that stories increase levels of Cortisol and Oxytocin. Cortisol controls focus and attention. Oxytocin, often called the trust hormone, increases empathy and emotion. So stories cause the listener to focus and emotionally connect to the message.

Gary Vaynerchuck said, “Storytelling is by far the most underrated skill in business.” And while I believe that is true in normal conditions, it becomes an absolute truth in times of challenge and change.

I have taught leaders for years that an influential story follows a model of 'struggle to solution'. You engage people with the struggle and then you help them with the solution. This model works because when the struggle is relatable then the solution becomes credible.

But here is what leaders need to understand about this model. 

When we are sharing stories that cast a vision about the future - the solution is not positional - it is directional. Meaning we don’t have to have arrived there to present with confidence. We need to present clearly articulated struggles so that our people understand that we get it and relate. Then with confidence, we need to cast a vision of the direction we need to go to arrive at the desired solution.

The right 'struggle to solution' story may be exactly what is needed at this time of turmoil. There is a power in storytelling when it is developed as a skill and employed as a tool to engage and inspire your people. 

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Do your people feel heard?

By Ty Bennett | Jan 08, 2020 | Comments Off

 

Our world has changed psychologically, and specifically because of social media. What do I mean by that? Go back with me twenty years ago, before social media existed. There was a cultural understanding that if you were sitting in a room and you did not hold a position of leadership, you did not have a say. Generally, we were okay with that. We understood that. It's just how the world worked. But today, that's not how people think. 

Everyone, especially the younger workforce, because of social media, has a voice and a platform for that voice. They're used to being heard and therefore they think they should be heard. If you hire an eighteen-year old intern today they think they have a say tomorrow. You might not agree with that. You might even think that's really stupid. 

That's the problem. 

People support what they help create

We want people to be committed at the point of implementation. If you think that commitment happens to the point of implementation, you're missing the boat. Commitment actually happens at the point of creation. People need to be involved. They need a sense of ownership. The pushback I get from leaders is that it takes too long. I agree with you. It does take a long time. 

I'm not saying that in your organization, every single person needs to be involved in every decision that is made. But what I am asking you is, do your people feel heard? Do they feel like they have a voice? Do they feel like they have a say?

I’ve heard leaders say they want people who have independent thinking, I agree with that. But if that independent thinking is never listened-to or acted upon, that stifles that independent thinking pretty quickly. People support what they help create. We have to create buy-in by engaging and involving our people. The best leaders understand how to do that.

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Ability Will Make A Name For Yourself, Mentoring Future Leaders Will Make An Impact On The World

By Ty Bennett | Nov 05, 2019 | Comments Off

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As leaders, we want our organization to thrive. We want growth, profits, success, and impact. We want to make a difference and maybe even change the world. But the truth of the matter is—we can’t achieve any of that on our own. Those things don’t come from you or me. They come from individuals who are excited to take our lead and run with it. Not simply followers—but followers who become future leaders in their own sphere of influence. 

The foundational role of a leader is to make themselves less necessary.

This statement may seem counterintuitive to you, and it may even hit your ego a bit, but it is the truth. Often as leaders, it is difficult for us to allow others to grow because it attacks our own insecurities. Instead, we continue doing what we have always done, and settle for leading those who are simply willing to follow. The problem with allowing our ego to take the lead is that in doing so, our ego is fighting what we actually desire. 

As leaders, we want our organization to thrive. We want growth, profits, success, and impact. We want to make a difference and maybe even change the world. But the truth of the matter is—we can’t achieve any of that on our own. Those things don’t come from you or me. They come from individuals who are excited to take our lead and run with it. Not simply followers—but followers who become leaders in their own sphere of influence. 

Your greatest success as a leader will come from mentoring future leaders. 

Ralph Nader said it well: “The function of leadership is to produce other leaders, not other followers.” 

That’s the goal. 

And that is what we should all be working towards as leaders.

Mentoring Future Leaders Builds a Legacy 

Our history is filled with stories of great leaders whose influence has spanned the ages—not just because of their own efforts, but because their own efforts significantly impacted others who carried on their legacy. 

 Smokey Robinson is one of those leaders. 

Bob Dylan once called Smokey Robinson, “America’s greatest living poet.” 

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, William “Smokey” Robinson founded a vocal rhythm and blues group known as, The Miracles, while still in high school. A few years after they were formed, the group began writing songs with an up-and-coming writer and producer, Barry Gordy. Barry was still young and poor, but he had talent and Smokey saw potential in him. Through Smokey’s encouragement, and with borrowed money, Barry Gordy started an R&B label that would later be known as Motown Records—The Miracles were the first group he added to his label.

Barry Gordy was just one of many who benefitted from Smokey Robinson’s ability to see potential and encourage people to rise up to meet that potential. He was the best kind of leader, because he saw the strengths of others and encouraged them to use those strengths to be their own kind of leader. But Smokey’s influence as a leader wasn’t just in his acts of encouragement—it was in his music. 

Robinson’s career as a singer-songwriter spans more than four decades, with hits that were not only great to listen to, but were influential to the music industry, and the future of R&B, pop, and rock ‘n roll. “Shop Around” became Motown’s first #1 hit on the R&B charts, followed by other great songs such as “You’ve Really Got A Hold on Me,” “The Tracks of My Tears,” “Going To The Go-Go,” and “Tears of A Clown.” 

The Miracles dominated the R&B charts through the sixties and seventies, and hundreds of thousands of people were influenced by their music all over the world. In the eighties, after a successful career with his legendary vocal group, Smokey Robinson turned to a solo career where he performed new hits, including, “Just To See Her,” “Quiet Storm,” “Cruisin,” and “Being With You.” 

Over the course of his music career, Smokey Robinson has been inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and The Song-Writers Hall of Fame. He has received The Grammy Living Legend Award, honorary doctorates, and awards from Presidents. But the award that sums up Smokey Robinson best is the Q Award, which is given for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Without Smokey Robinson, the course of twentieth-century music would be drastically different. 

Smokey’s voice and hits have inspired artists since the 1960s. In fact, to show their respect, The Beatles covered Smokey’s song, “You’ve Really Got A Hold on Me.” Even this legendary rock ‘n roll band—leaders in their own right—followed the lead of Smokey Robinson, who was a legend himself. 

As a song-writer, Smokey Robinson has over 4000 song credits to his name. He has written songs for The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and others. As he served as Vice President of Motown Records, Smokey mentored and produced some of the greatest artists of all time—The Jackson Five, Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. 

Smokey’s influence goes way beyond his own music and the encouragement he gave a young Barry Gordy. He helped shape many other performers and turned them into legends themselves. His ability made a name for himself, but his mentoring made an impact on the world. 

What Makes Mentoring Effective?

 Mentorship is about legacy. That is the long-term goal. But even in the here-and-now, mentoring future leaders is valuable and significant—it’s about productivity and effectiveness. The word mentor comes from Greek Origin. It was originally used in the Odyssey where Odysseus asked his friend (Mentor) to take care of his son and “raise him up” while he was away for three years at war. Your job is to raise up your team because the more capable your team becomes, the more they can achieve. And the more they are able to achieve, the more successful your organization will be. 

Great leaders recognize that their own reach is limited, but their influence and reach is extended through their team. They understand that it is part of their role to develop a greater capacity in those who they have charge over—because while increasing the capacity of others, they are ultimately increasing their own. They earnestly strive to build a leadership mentality where they seek to instill within their people the very qualities that will one day make them great. In essence, they put every effort into consistently making their people better. 

In my experience, I have found that there are many leaders who believe in mentoring and creating new leaders. If you are reading this article, I would like to assume that you do too. The challenge you may have is how to effectively do this on a day-to-day basis, with all the tasks you already have on your to-do list, and the diversity of characteristics, strengths, and unique personalities on your team. 

Creating new leaders needs to be intentional and strategic. Stepping into the role of a mentor is a step that many leaders don’t take and their leadership reach and impact is limited because of it. Legacy comes as a result of consistent, daily mentoring where a leader takes their team from good to great. That is the pinnacle of leadership and what we should all be working toward in our leadership pursuit.

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