What can we learn from the famous United incident with David Dow? Mike Walsh clarifies why we need ethics in our digital AI world .
What can we learn from the famous United incident with David Dow? Mike Walsh clarifies why we need ethics in our digital AI world .
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.
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.
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.
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.
Keynote Speaker Ty Bennett explains why leaders need to think about the people that are following them. Ty is a top global thought leader that speaks on topics such as Leadership, Technology, Sales and Marketing, Business Growth, Engagement, Culture, Customer Service, Performance, Collaboration and Communication.
Communication skills are near and dear to my heart. Why? Because they quite literally changed my life. At an early age, I decided to invest in my future by building an online company that could teach magic tricks. I also wanted to become a professional magician. Mom and Dad were thoroughly disappointed that I did NOT become a doctor or an accountant as you can imagine.
Up until this point, I believed, like many magicians, that if we become technically brilliant at something, we become wildly successful. It wasn’t until I learned to couple technical dexterity with powerful communication skills that I was able to fully expand and realize my potential.
All of a sudden I was winning awards for my magic, and for entrepreneurship. I felt a level of success I hadn’t felt before -- and (this is the good part) -- I found LOVE.
When I met my wife, I saw her in a bar and I decided to talk to her. I used technical skills - I had a pack of cards with me. I walked over to her and am about to speak when I lose all my confidence. In a terrible, strangled voice I said, “Hello. Would you be impressed if I transform this King of Hearts into the Queen of Hearts like you?”
And she says, “I'd be more impressed if you transformed yourself into a real man and had a conversation with me.”
Message received. No, thank you. It's five weeks later and I remember communication skills are key. Not technical abilities. I go to the same bar every Friday just to try to see her again. Months later she was there. So this time I changed my approach. I said, “Hi. Would you be impressed if I transform myself into a real man this time and took you out for a coffee?”
What is lovely about that is I married that girl. So now you can see, the reason why communication is so dear to my heart, is that it's fundamentally changed my life. I've decided to dedicate my life to teaching people to be better at communication skills. I teach leaders how to use their voice. I teach everyone how to use their voice. In whatever you do, you have to know that you are the power behind the power. Do not feel fear when it comes to exploring how to use your voice or when it comes to learning how to use this instrument. As you learn how to use this instrument, your voice will grow and you will expand your potential. I hope that by the end of all of your lives, you'll play many beautiful songs so that you live full, and you die completely empty with no music left.
When an organization wants their team to focus on innovation, change and performance, they usually go to business “gurus,” or sports figures. Rarely do they go to artists. But for artists, these are their life blood! As a mega-successful artist and entrepreneur Mike Rayburn is uniquely qualified to teach artistic principles in a business context. To supercharge your team’s results!
Our first “What If" Strategy success story comes from Ali Barton in Warrington, Missouri at a Orschlen store. Ali and her team decided to apply the “What If Strategy” by saying, “what if we think outside the box, particularly about some of the challenges that we have on an ongoing basis, like freight processing?”
The challenge is if the freight is not processed in time, it draws time away from one on one customer interaction. So she asked “Hey, what if, on the freight days, we show up at four in the morning?” So she put together a team that does that.
The freight is all processed before 8am at opening time, which optimizes time during regular hours for customer service. One of the most important points she shared was that they didn't stop there. They continued to ask “what else can we do?” “well, what if we have merchandising mornings, some of the other tasks that need to be covered, which also draw time away from time with customers? What if we come in early on other mornings to achieve those tasks?” That's exactly what they did.
So she applied the what if strategy, and had her entire team apply this to two challenges that had drawn away time with customers, and it worked. So I'm going to ask each of you: what if you think outside the box about a challenge that you have right now? What if there's a way to overcome that challenge?
This story is one of my all time favorite “What if” success stories not just with my client Orschlen, but in the 15 years I have been teaching this. It comes to us from Evan Crouch manager of the store in Seward, Nebraska. Recently, Nebraska dealt with horrific floods. One morning Evan and his team showed up to find most of their parking lot underwater, which had frozen to ice over night. They opened the store to find two inches of flood water throughout the store. It had receded. But it left everything a muddy mess. There was no way that they were going to be able to open that day or potentially even the next day.
Here's the challenge. Not only is that a day's revenue lost, but more importantly, the community was depending on the products that Orschlen sells in order to recover from the flood. So in the face of every adversity, Evan gathered up his team, and in essence said,
“Okay, guys, I know this is crazy. But what if we could open today by 8am? How would we do it?”
Pause the story for a second. Here's what happens when you do that. Everyone's focus was on the problem. When he asked that question, it changed everyone's focus to a solution. Then you’ve got a team of problem solvers. This is a way to tap into that resource.
So here's what they did. They directed people to park in the clear part of the parking lot. There was no way they were going to be able to clean out the whole store, but they could clean near the registers. So they brought customers inside to the register area. An employee would ask what they needed, gather up the products requested, bring it back to the registers, and ring them up so the customer could be on their way. All on a day they thought they were going to close. Instead, they stayed open until 8 pm. They made $5,000 in revenue but more importantly, they created a great bond with the community. The community saw all these workers go out of their way just to serve. That is the power of the “What If" Strategy.
So, what if you use this the next time you have an unexpected challenge?
How do you leverage the trajectory of your life and step more confidently into the unfamiliar?
When I describe the work that I do for organizations and individuals, sometimes I put it like this: I help people leverage the past and be more present in order to create a better future. That's it. Life is trajectory. You're either on an upward trajectory of improvement, or a downward path of decline. Growth happens when we seize the present moment. But it's often precipitated because we found a new way, a better way to leverage our past.
For example, perhaps you're facing change in your life right now. Maybe it's a difficult decision you're trying to make or a challenge that you must overcome. Maybe it's related to your job, your family, your health, your finances or a passion you feel compelled to pursue. You're not sure what to do because this seems so different than anything you've encountered in the past. When we perceive change as completely new and different, it puts us at a huge disadvantage, and almost guarantees that you will miss opportunities and make unnecessary mistakes. So when people tell me, “What I'm about to do is so completely new for me,” I usually respond by saying, “what you are facing right now is extremely similar to what you've already experienced.”
When I was in my late teens and early twenties paying my way through college by performing, I was constantly going into new venues and new situations—whether I was the opening act for a major recording artist at a music festival, or performing for CEOs after dinner at a corporate function, or as the fire juggler on the ledge of a building outdoors at night. Hundreds of different challenges that were exciting, because I'd have to, in a matter of moments, evaluate my surroundings, my audience, their expectations, my skill set and find a way to rise to the occasion.
How did I do it? By leveraging the similarities. I haven't done this before. But this challenge reminds me in some way of situations I've moved through in the past successfully, or lessons that I've learned along the way. By associating to those positive reference points, I was able to step into the new moment with familiar confidence. So again, if you're thinking right now that what you’re going through is completely new to you, I strongly suggest that it isn't.
What experiences from your past have prepared you for this one? What lessons have you learned that do not need repeating? What skills have you developed that enable you to rise to this challenge right now? I promise you, you've been preparing for your future all of your life. It is time to leverage your past and step into this moment with the confidence that you are ready. Take the confident step from yesterday to today, knowing that your footing is solid, and your trajectory is moving ever upward.
Dan Thurmon and his keynote Off Balance On Purpose excites audiences with an interactive performance while giving a multi-dimensional view of success. He doesn’t stand behind a podium and talk about dealing with fear and change – he does handstands on the podium to demonstrate what being uncomfortable and living off balance on purpose truly looks like. Your audience will talk about this presentation for years to come!
There are 25 word sequences in Exactly What To Say. During my keynote, I bring copies of my books on stage and directly ask the audience:
“Who wants these?”
“Does anybody want two copies?”
“I'm just wondering who wants these?”
People are offered an opportunity. Everybody sticks their hand up. Everybody waves their hand around. What they are doing is they are asking me to choose who's going to be successful. Like their success is my responsibility - but their success has nothing to do with me.
What the majority of people do is nothing. What some people do is put their hands up and expect me to pick them. Still, some people get to the point where they could have had success and right at the parapet, they walk away. Even when some people are brave enough to run up to the front, they still get to the front, and they still say “please pick me”.
Other people are brave - they come and take the book.
Everybody wants to be successful. When it comes to successful actions and outcomes you say “please pick me to be more successful” - “please shine that light on me.”
Everybody says they want success - but very few people are prepared to get off their backside. Most people want it handed to them. They want the ball sent to them.
Please don't wait. Success starts by you picking yourselves to be successful. I promise you will have the opportunity to achieve anything that you wish. You are the people that everybody else should be chasing. You cannot win the race if all you're doing is looking behind you.
In Exactly What to Say, Phil delivers what he calls his “Magic Words” and direct examples of how you can use them. The book is a quick read and you’ll feel instantly motivated to create your own examples to help you win more business, have more influence in your workplace and grow your persuasiveness in social situations.