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"Leap and the net will appear"

Check back often. New Leadership Thoughts will be added weekly.
  1. Your employees will not be committed to you unless they are 100% sure you are committed to them.  Be careful what you say and do, because they are watching you and judging you every second of every day. What they see you say and do causes them to either trust you or not trust you. Trust is everything. If you don't have trust, your results will fall well below their potential.
  2. A Leader's job is to do what has to be done, when it has to be done, in the way it should be done, whether he or she likes it or not. This applies at work with your employees and at home with your children. You have to develop your children - you can't fire them. If you focused more on developing your employees, you would not have to fire them.
  3. What should you do today that will not pay off for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, or even 50 years?

    • Exercise daily.
    • Don't smoke.
    • Have a clear retirement plan.
    • Find out from your boss what you need to do now to be a candidate for that big job 10 years from now.
    • Make sure your children have a love of reading by the time they are 6 (which means you have to limit TV, computers and Game Boys).
    • Get your annual physical.
    • Tell your loved ones you love them every day.
    • Keep current by reading the paper every day, watching the news, reading Time or Newsweek, and reading industry publications.
    • Attend training and seminars to educate yourself so you do not become a dinosaur.
    • There are many more. Make your own list and get with it so you don't have a long list of regrets later on in your life, saying things like I wish I had quit smoking, I wish I had spent more time with my son, I wish I had gotten my annual physical, I wish I had exercised more, and on and on and on.
  4. Be the same person 24 hours a day. Don't change when you come to work. Sometimes leaders act unnatural at work. Treat everyone with respect. Be humble. You are there to help support and inspire your team, not to tell them what to do. Tell them the outcome you want and they will figure out how to deliver the results.
  5. Leadership is hard. It is full of paradoxes. You often have to do two opposing things like cut costs and keep the customer happy; or sometimes you have three different things which don't sound like they are possible. Great leaders do the impossible.
  6. Being excellent is hard. So when you have something hard to do, remember you are being excellent. Do you want to be remembered for being good or great?
  7. When you are in a senior leadership position you must be an inspirational leader and not just an administrator if you want to get the results which are possible with a team of inspired followers. So many top leaders today are just administrators who focus on doing things instead of inspiring people.
  8. Just because someone does not speak your language does not mean they don't understand a cordial hello with a cheery good morning. Don't ignore people because they don't speak your language. A smile is a universal language.
  9. The most important time to bond with a new baby is the first few months. The best time to bond with a new employee is the first few months. Funny how a little common sense can make a big difference.
  10. Leadership is not about a salary grade or a title. It's about responsibility and making things happen for the organization and for the people in the organization. It's also about personal responsibility. As a leader you impact the lives of the people you work with more than you will ever know. YOU have a direct impact on the quality of their lives, careers and future.
  11. You can't fire your children, You have to develop them; so let's do the same for our employees.
  12. The quickest way to destroy an organization's culture is to not do a great job setting up the organizational structure. When people no longer understand or believe in the way an organization is structured they lose faith in the vision and in the top leadership. The best way to avoid this pitfall is to involve those further down in the design of responsibility, authority and accountability.
  13. Routine is a good thing. Having the right routines in your life can improve your whole life. Routines around your health such as working out daily at the same time, using a day planner to plan your day every day before you start your day, thinking about the responsibilities you have signed up for in your life every day are just a few routine things which are important. What routines do you have now in your life? Which new ones should you establish?
  14. Someone asked me recently how you deal with leaders who are not performing or have poor leadership behaviors. I told them the same way you deal with your children. You sit down and tell them the truth. You tell them the consequences of continued poor performance or poor behaviors. Give them concrete examples of what they are doing which is unacceptable and soon you will see a change in their performance.
  15. I saw a sign in a restaurant recently which said, "The gap between enough and more never closes." This is really true in business so you have to constantly be going through change to get more. More service, more customer satisfaction, more commitment from your employees, more profit, more cost management and so on. Without an attitude of constant change is necessary in this world we live in you will soon fall behind.
  16. You may not always be able to help someone in need but you should always try.
  17. Don't get bored with the basics. Walt Disney and JW Marriott Sr. both said almost the same thing. Keep it clean and keep it friendly and things will turn out just fine. They both understood the basics. Treat people respectfully, train them and they will take care of your business for you. Mr. Marriott even said it a different way. If you want the food to taste good use salt and pepper on it. Salt and pepper is about as basic as it gets and it works.
  18. It is a lot easier to get done what you want done if you know what you want. Your employees want to do what you want so figure out what that is and tell them... also tell them why. You will be quite happy with the results of being candid and clear.
  19. Sit down right now and make a list of the people in your life that you appreciate and then go about telling them before the week is out. If any of them faint this is a sign you are not doing it often enough. You can not do it too often. This builds self confidence and self esteem. Your actions in this area will make a big difference in how people in your life succeed. We all need appreciation, recognition and encouragement.
  20. Bill Marriott told me once... "Lee, if you have flies in your operation it is because you like flies."  This quote I will never forget because it reminds me that I get what I want in life. If I have rude employees that is what I must want. If I have rude children that is what I must want.
  21. The fact of the matter is that Great Leaders keep their promises. Do you keep your promises? Every day leaders make explicit and implicit promises by the dozens. When you are someone's leader, it is expected that you will do what you say and do what is expected of you. If you are not great in this area take a Time Management course every month until you get great at it. It is your reputation at stake.
  22. The gap between more and enough never closes.
  23. If you do what you should do when you are young, you can do what you want to do when you are old.
  24. I did the work until I learned to manage. I managed until I learned to lead. I led until they learned to manage. They managed until they learned to lead. Then I retired!
  25. When you are not loving your job and are frustrated about how work is going just think what your life would be like without a job.
  26. Remember to practice the Four Customer Expectations:

    1. Make Me Feel Special
    2. Treat Me As An Individual
    3. Respect Me
    4. Have Knowledgeable Employees
  27. Remember to practice the Four Employee Expectations:

    1. Make Me Feel Special
    2. Treat Me As An Individual
    3. Respect Me
    4. Make Me Knowledgeable, Educate Me and Understand My Job
  28. People who pay attention to what is going on around them are much more successful. Pay attention to your fellow team members and to what is going on around you just like you would if you were in a dark parking lot late at night. This may save your life and your career.
  29. There are four things you need to be competent in, to be successful.

    • Technical Competency
    • Management Competency
    • Technological Competency
    • Leadership Competency

    What are you doing today which will make you more competent in these four areas a year from now?

  30. Do you hire too fast and fire too slow? Be careful whom you hire and promote. They are your company, they are your brand.
  31. Forget Annual performance reviews for management if you want to have a really great organization. You don't give your children annual performance reviews do you? Would you really tell one of your children that they have not achieved the highest rating like their brothers and sisters have? The best way to develop others is to coach, counsel and provide recognition, appreciation and encouragement everyday. Just dont put one of those corporate brands on them with a rating Meets Expectations or Outstanding. Just write a paragraph or two on what they do well and what they do not do well from your perspective.
  32. If you must have performance reviews then at least rate your fellow managers on the four competencies of Technical, Management, Technological and Leadership but please don't place an overall brand on them with one of the five or six rating scales many organizations like to use. If you tell a high percentage of your people they are average you pretty much lose their commitment. The difference between interest and commitment is huge.
  33. The main problem with performance reviews for management is that the boss usually has the least knowledge of the true performance of their direct reports. If you must have performance reviews then let the direct reports rate their manager and give him or her their merit increase and bonus. Now that would make a lot of bosses behave themselves and cause them to become a lot better leaders.
  34. Remember you have a reputation. In fact you have many reputations. You have a reputation with every single person who knows you. That is why you really have to pay attention to being a great leader. You really do have to watch what you say and do as they are watching you and judging you every second of every day. You the leader has a whole lot to do with your fellow team members either being interested in their paycheck or committed to the vision and mission of your organization. Commitment means they will go all the way. Interest means they will usually show up at the workplace.
  35. 90% of Americans will retire with a negative net worth because they did not get focused on their retirement when they were young. If you do what you should do when you are young, you can do what you want to do when you are old. Do you have a plan that is clear and mathematically accurate for your retirement?
  36. People ask me what I worry about. I can tell you one thing I worry about is: how disoganized people are. Take a management course. Your credibility and reputation are at stake.
  37. It is always the person who is the busiest who volunteers. These people have a personal management system that enables them to take on multiple responsibilities. What personal system do you use?
  38. Most people manage their organizations business better than their personal life. At work they have systems and operating guidelines. Often in their personal lives they have no system for organizing their goals and responsibilities. A good time management course can solve this.
  39. Recognition, appreciation and encouragement are the free fuels which power human performance and we all always have a full tank to give to others. Gasoline may cost a lot but this fuel we call recognition, appreciation and encouragement costs nothing. Burn lots of it everyday.
  40. Give your time to people who can do nothing for you.
  41. If no one wants to see you, that is a bad sign and probably the beginning of the end for your reputation as a great leader. Find out why and correct the problem.
  42. When you are organized you can do more. Most people can do 50% more than they do today.
  43. I can tell you one thing, and that is in every job I had as a young person, I thought I was underpaid, underappreciated, and many other unders ('unders is a new word I made up')... But one thing I received was great experience, which paid off big time in the later on.
  44. In my life there is nothing more valuable than my time... so when I give it to people, I feel like I am giving them something of value.
  45. To put it more simply, workplace. Inclusion is making sure that everybody matters... and that everybody knows that he or she matters. This is the leaders main responsibility.
  46. If every one of us creates the right environment, then the whole environment will be healthy. YOU--as the leader--is the one we are counting on to be a great leadership environmentalist.
  47. Don't ignore your intuition as one of your decision filters.
  48. Credibility is a Leader's Best Friend. Get organized and keep your promises.
  49. There is no concept which fits every decision you will be faced with in your life. Experience and involving others will become your best friends in decision making.
  50. Leadership for me is simply defined as making the right things happen.
  51. If we all performed like Cinderella, we would be just as famous as she is.
  52. Learning from the past is one of the best ways to improve the future. No experience or lesson is learned without reflection. Think everyday about yesterday.
  53. Communication is Clarification. When you communicate just be clear.
  54. Sometimes you just have to stick your neck out and test your authority in life if you want to make a difference.
  55. Make sure every individual you lead clearly and completely understands what he or she is responsible for, what level of authority they have and how he or she will be held accountable. This includes your children.
  56. If you don't make a decision, you still have made a decision.
  57. Healthy Environment + Strong Trusting Relationships = Commitment.
  58. Always remember that even if you don't have the authority to make a decision, you still have the influence to get a decision made by pushing it out into the open! You are paid part of your salary for your opinion.
  59. Invest nothing... And you get nothing... Invest a lot... and you get a lot (Develop your people).
  60. One thing is for sure... Unless you try things, you will never know if they would have worked or not.
  61. Education is the key way to achieve improved results in anything you want to accomplish so making sure everyone is trained properly is vital... but like anything, it is what you do with what you have that matters.
  62. We have got to continue to educate ourselves and our teams so they have the knowledge to make the right decisions and to lead effectively.
  63. Ask the people doing the work and your customers using your processes for their opinions.
  64. Know when to be a leader and when to be a follower. Lead as you would like to be led, and follow as you would like to be followed.
  65. Real leadership is not a title. It is a responsibility.
  66. Decide what you want to be remembered for. This will guide your decisions in your professional and personal life.
  67. Remember one thing: You cannot over recognize people for being great. Positive recognition, appreciation and encouragement are the fuels which propel people to greatness. It is unlikely that any of us are ever feeling over appreciated, especially in the workplace.
  68. If you really want to learn something and become an expert then go see it with your own eyes, then do it and finally teach it to others.
  69. Look for more than one "Right" answer. In many or most situations, there is often more than one answer, and the second one you come up with might be better than the first
  70. "Leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do....Frances Hesselbein

    Leadership is about integrity, honesty, character and inspiration. Managment is about how to do things. Leadership is picking the right things and management is getting them done.

  71. It is always the person who is the busiest who raises their hand to volunteer. They have learned how to practice good time management. Are you one of those people?
  72. American is home of the free because of the brave. Support our troops. Without our military we would not still be a democracy after 200 years.
  73. If someone is telling you something important, you should be taking notes so you don't forget to follow up, which will give you credibility and lead to successs.
  74. Enjoy the little things in life, for one day, you will realize they were the big things.
  75. To put it even more simply, workplace inclusion is making sure that everyone matters and they know it. It is your job as a leader to make sure they know they matter.
  76. The ultimate inspiration is the dealine
  77. I want to meet my grand children's children...that is why I go to the gym everyday....Lee
  78. I don't want to. I don't have to. You can't make me. I'm retired...Lee
  79. Remember: A leader's role is to produce more leaders.
  80. If you are in an unhealthy environment set a date by which it must be a whole lot better or leave. If the environment is sick, it won't be long before you are sick too.
  81. If we all performed like Cinderella, we would be just as famous as she is!
  82. Sometimes you just have to stick you neck out and test your authority..if you want to make a difference..Lee
  83. Communication is Clarification. When you communicate, are you crystal clear?
  84. There is no concept or decision model that fits every decision you will be faced with in your life. Be prepared to use your best judgement and to use it quickly.
  85. Credibilty is a leader's best friend. Are you reliable? Do you keep your promises? Do you do what you say you are going to do?
  86. Don't ignore you intuition as one of your decision filters.
  87. If you know what your are trying to do, then it is a lot easier to do it. Make sure you clearly understand what you are trying to do before you begin. What do you really want the outcome to be. Have you thought about the consequences?
  88. Make sure that every individual clearly and completely understands what he or she is responsible for, what level of authority he or she has, and how he or she will be help accountable.

  89. If you don't make a decision, you still have made a decision.
  90. An Excellent Formula for success

    A healthy environment + strong relationships = commitment.

  91. Always remember that even if you don't have the authority to make a decision, you still have the influence to get a decision made by pushing it out into the open! You are paid part of your salary for your opinion.
  92. Invest nothing ... and you get nothing. Invest a lot ...and yu get a lot. What are you investing in right now. You time helping others is a great investment.

  93. One thing for sure is that unless you try things, you will never know if they would have worked or not.
  94. Education (training) is one of the key way to achieve improved results in anything you want to accomplish so making sure that everyone is trained properly is vital and one of the best uses of your time.
  95. We have to to continue to educate (train) ourselves and our teams so they have the knowledge to make the right decisions and to perform effectively.
  96. ...but like anything, it is what you do with what you have that matters...If you know something, teach it to others.

  97. Ask the people doing the work and the customers doing business with you for their opinion. They all know more that you do.
  98. When you are organized, you can do more. Take a time management course so you don't have a long list of regrets when you are old. "If you do what you should do when you are young, you can do what you want to do when you are old."
  99. People ask me what I worry about, and I can tell you that one thing that I worry about is; how disorganized people are.
  100. Most people run their company's business better than they run their personal lives. The main reason is that people have routines and  organized systems and checklists at work but none at home. They usually do a better job with the company finances than they do their own.
  101. You can't fire your children, You have to develop them; so let's do the same for our employees.
  102. Remember, Everyone is important. You need everyone to be committed to be successful. The better you treat your employees, the better they will treat you and your business.
  103. Just because someone does not speak your language does not mean they don't understand a cordial hello with a cheery good morning. Don't ignore people because they don't speak your language. A smile is a universal language.
  104. Bill Marriott told me once... "Lee, if you have flies in your operation it is because you like flies."  This quote I will never forget because it reminds me that I get what I want in life. If I have rude employees that is what I must want. If I have rude children that is what I must want.
  105. In my life there is nothing more valuable than my time... so when I give it to people, I feel like I am giving them something of value.
  106. There is a big difference between training and development. Anybody can train you, but only someone who cares about you can develop you.
  107. It's not the magic that makes Disney World work; it's the way they work that makes it magic.
  108. Avoid using formulas and clichés; they make you sound insincere even if you're not.
  109. Don't pretend to know something you don't; in my experience, the answer that builds the most trust is: "I don't know, but I'll get back to you on that."
  110. Always tell the truth, even if it means admitting a mistake; as we learned from Watergate and other scandals, actions are usually forgiven, but cover-ups are not.
  111. Experience your business from the customers' and employees' points of view regularly.
  112. Walk through employee and customer areas several times a day, especially at the beginning of the day. You will find many things that need your attention before your customers arrive.

  113. Find ways to create comfortable relationships with everyone in your workplace. The better they know you and the more often they see you, will give them the courage to tell you the truth about the business. And every leader needs all the help they can get.
  114. Dig deeper, and deeper still, until you learn the whole truth. The first answer is usually not the whole answer.
  115. When you deal with your team members, demonstrate care, consideration, respect, sensitivity, and confidentiality.
  116. Learn to read between the lines of what people tell you. There is usually alway something more they want to tell you , but might not, unless they trust you and you encourage them.

  117. Hold forums often so employees can tell you what's really going on.
  118. Follow through on every idea and concern your employees share with you. Always keep your word.
  119. Do your best and then forgive yourself...Admiral Charles N. Payne
  120. The people most responsible for the mess we are in is the US Congress and the Executive Branch of our Government. They were not on top of their responsibility.

  121. Manage your culture and environment. To manage means to control. Great leaders keep their environments under control in all parts of their life.

  122. What should you be working on right now that will not pay off for many years?

  123. Make sure you are communicating with your staff frequently as these are troubling times for most people. Tell them the truth and they will trust you.

  124. The best way to get better results is to have higher expectations. You team will do what you want if you know what you want and communicate that to them.
  125. Tell your people the truth wheather they like it or not. They will then come to trust you.
  126. How well do you really know your fellow team members?

  127. How well are you engaging your team and expecting them to come up with solutions to help your organization get better?
  128. My new book Creating Magic has been published in ten languages now.
  129. "How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live"...

    Henry David Thoreau

  130. "The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." .....Thomas Jefferson

  131. Companies with vision-led cultures significantly outperform those without one. Disney is one of those companies. Do you have a strong vision for your organization?...Lee
  132.  Leaders have to stop being concerned about their personal ego needs before they are able to develop other leaders. When it is about us instead of me, progress is made.
  133. "Wisdom is often nearer when we stoop than when we soar"...William Wordsworth
  134. Leadership is not a 9-5 issue. It is 24/7, just like professionalism...Lee
  135. Your leadership is defined by others, not by you. What are people saying about you behind your back? Most leaders have no idea...Lee 
  136. Until you stop and re-think your leadership, you will not get better....Lee
  137. Just because someone can express themselves well does not make what they are saying true and just because someone is not very talented at expressing themselves does not make what they are saying false...Be careful what you believe and don't believe....Lee
  138. Learn to be a good listener and you will become a much better leader in all  parts of your life. Try to think like the person speaking to you. Figure out what they are saying and what they are trying to say....Lee
  139. Don't do anything you do not want your kids or others to read when they Google you. It never goes away and remember, "Everyone has a camera and probably a recording device...Lee
  140. YOU are the only person that can control the events in your life. Don't blame others for your situation. If you work for a jerk, find another job. If you are unhealthy, get healthy. If you are a jerk, see a counseler...Lee 
  141. Your employees will not be committed to you unless they are 100% sure you are committed to them.  Be careful what you say and do, because they are watching you and judging you every second of every day. What they see you say and do causes them to either trust you or not trust you. Trust is everything. If you don't have trust, your results will fall well below their potential.
  142. A Leader's job is to do what has to be done, when it has to be done, in the way it should be done, whether he or she likes it or not. This applies at work with your employees and at home with your children. You have to develop your children - you can't fire them. If you focused more on developing your employees, you would not have to fire them.
  143. What should you do today that will not pay off for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, or even 50 years?

    • Exercise daily.
    • Don't smoke.
    • Have a clear retirement plan.
    • Find out from your boss what you need to do now to be a candidate for that big job 10 years from now.
    • Make sure your children have a love of reading by the time they are 6 (which means you have to limit TV, computers and Game Boys).
    • Get your annual physical.
    • Tell your loved ones you love them every day.
    • Keep current by reading the paper every day, watching the news, reading Time or Newsweek, and reading industry publications.
    • Attend training and seminars to educate yourself so you do not become a dinosaur.
    • There are many more. Make your own list and get with it so you don't have a long list of regrets later on in your life, saying things like I wish I had quit smoking, I wish I had spent more time with my son, I wish I had gotten my annual physical, I wish I had exercised more, and on and on and on.
  144. Be the same person 24 hours a day. Don't change when you come to work. Sometimes leaders act unnatural at work. Treat everyone with respect. Be humble. You are there to help support and inspire your team, not to tell them what to do. Tell them the outcome you want and they will figure out how to deliver the results.
  145. Leadership is hard. It is full of paradoxes. You often have to do two opposing things like cut costs and keep the customer happy; or sometimes you have three different things which don't sound like they are possible. Great leaders do the impossible.
  146. Being excellent is hard. So when you have something hard to do, remember you are being excellent. Do you want to be remembered for being good or great?
  147. When you are in a senior leadership position you must be an inspirational leader and not just an administrator if you want to get the results which are possible with a team of inspired followers. So many top leaders today are just administrators who focus on doing things instead of inspiring people.
  148. Just because someone does not speak your language does not mean they don't understand a cordial hello with a cheery good morning. Don't ignore people because they don't speak your language. A smile is a universal language.
  149. The most important time to bond with a new baby is the first few months. The best time to bond with a new employee is the first few months. Funny how a little common sense can make a big difference.
  150. Leadership is not about a salary grade or a title. It's about responsibility and making things happen for the organization and for the people in the organization. It's also about personal responsibility. As a leader you impact the lives of the people you work with more than you will ever know. YOU have a direct impact on the quality of their lives, careers and future.
  151. You can't fire your children, You have to develop them; so let's do the same for our employees.
  152. The quickest way to destroy an organization's culture is to not do a great job setting up the organizational structure. When people no longer understand or believe in the way an organization is structured they lose faith in the vision and in the top leadership. The best way to avoid this pitfall is to involve those further down in the design of responsibility, authority and accountability.
  153. Routine is a good thing. Having the right routines in your life can improve your whole life. Routines around your health such as working out daily at the same time, using a day planner to plan your day every day before you start your day, thinking about the responsibilities you have signed up for in your life every day are just a few routine things which are important. What routines do you have now in your life? Which new ones should you establish?
  154. Someone asked me recently how you deal with leaders who are not performing or have poor leadership behaviors. I told them the same way you deal with your children. You sit down and tell them the truth. You tell them the consequences of continued poor performance or poor behaviors. Give them concrete examples of what they are doing which is unacceptable and soon you will see a change in their performance.
  155. I saw a sign in a restaurant recently which said, "The gap between enough and more never closes." This is really true in business so you have to constantly be going through change to get more. More service, more customer satisfaction, more commitment from your employees, more profit, more cost management and so on. Without an attitude of constant change is necessary in this world we live in you will soon fall behind.
  156. You may not always be able to help someone in need but you should always try.
  157. Don't get bored with the basics. Walt Disney and JW Marriott Sr. both said almost the same thing. Keep it clean and keep it friendly and things will turn out just fine. They both understood the basics. Treat people respectfully, train them and they will take care of your business for you. Mr. Marriott even said it a different way. If you want the food to taste good use salt and pepper on it. Salt and pepper is about as basic as it gets and it works.
- Lee Cockerell