It is the eleventh hour and time is running out on a project/proposal deadline. The project, in the works for several weeks, has been plagued by setbacks. With a few days left to hammer away, your team is worn down. They have prematurely surrendered to the notion that making the deadline is impossible, and what energy they do have is going into figuring out how to skate past the established by-when, without burying themselves, and participating in a bit of "buck passing". Does this sound familiar?

Each of us has been there at some point before. So what is there to learn from these experiences, and how can you avoid having a totally stopped team in the future?

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Hiking people reaching summit top giving high five at mountain tAfter reading Part 1 of Effortless Leadership – Cultivating a Culture of Confidence and Success, leadership is clearly anything but effortless! In the midst of all that you as a leader are responsible for accomplishing, being a visionary, communicator, and teacher can be difficult. Yet, without being a visionary, communicator and teacher, accomplishing all you need to accomplish would be difficult to do too!

So, when you think about being a visionary, communicator and teacher, what do all three of these traits have in common? All three traits empower your team members!

Ultimately, having team members who are empowered to act in your behalf, in the best interests of your company, and to the best of their abilities allows you to "effortlessly" lead your company through what's next.

What other traits are necessary for seemingly Effortless Leadership?

Team Builder
The Effortless Leader must be a masterful team builder. They think and speak in terms of "we", not "I." When you speak in terms of "we" you create a culture whereby every member of the team is responsible for their actions; what each team member does or does not do has a direct impact on the rest of the team and their effectiveness. Thinking and speaking in terms of "we" also let's your team members know that you are a part of their team, that you value them as team members, and that success is not something that just you will be acknowledged for. Instead, ultimately the team as a whole gets credit for their success!

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Letter from the Editor

Getting New Year’s Resolution Back on TrackWe’ve only reached the mid-point of the first month of the year, and many people have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions. How about you – have you gotten off track? If so, get back on track and stop making yourself wrong for what you haven’t done. Beating yourself up has no value in getting you mentally, and even physically, back online with your goals. Standing there, you can get present to what it is you say you want to achieve and be unstoppable in getting there!

If your plan is already buried under days of paperwork, get it out! Keep your plan visible and review it regularly too, taking particular note of who is on your team. If you don’t have a team of people around you that you allow to hold you accountable and support you in your request to make whatever changes you desire, keeping your resolutions and reaching your goals is going to be much, much harder than it needs to be.

To get what you say you want in 2015 you must be unstoppable no matter what comes your way! Those who are most successful and happy in life are unstoppable in their own behalf. They get things done when others say they can’t; they move people when others say they can’t be moved; they see what other people don’t see; they do what others can’t or won’t do!

In the end, getting any New Year’s resolution back on track is about forgiveness (of yourself and your team too), staying present to what you want and the plan you have for getting there, and being unstoppably committed! Don’t allow yourself to be stopped and question: “Why me?” CHOOSE to get back on track, be determined, and never ever give up on getting what you say you want in 2015.

Remember: You are the only person who has a say in how your life turns out!

Clay S. Nelson

Clay S. Nelson

10 Must-Do Tips for Reaching Your “Replacing You” Goal in 2015

Reaching your 2015 goal of “Replacing You”Editor's Note: Please see the first entry in this series in the December 2014 issue of More Than Just a Thought.

Reaching your 2015 goal of “Replacing You” is all about creating room for you to grow and follow your vision for what’s next, and to do that, you must have a team of leaders capable of standing beside you. It is an ongoing process. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it takes commitment. Yes, it takes an unstoppable mind-set in order to keep the old feeling of, “I can get this done faster if I do it myself just this one time,” out of the way. However, if you will stick with it—not ever giving up—you will create a team of phenomenal leaders capable of seeing your vision through!

Here are 10 musts for reach your “Replacing You” goal in 2015:

#1: Teach What You Know - Teach your team/your replacement(s) all of the things you do to keep your business moving forward and the best way to get clear about what those things are is to write your job description. Write down everything you do for two solid weeks... except for eating, sleeping, and personal time. This will give you a clear picture of what you need to include in your written job description and what you need to teach to your replacement(s).

#2: Be an Effective Teacher - When a team member comes to you with a question, you need to be the question instead of the answer! Ask your team member what they think; ask what they would do if you weren’t there. This provides your team—and replacement(s)—with the benefit of thinking through issues and developing their problem solving skills, and it provides you with the opportunity to see what your team knows and what they don’t know, who has natural abilities in what domain, and who’s choosing to grow and who isn’t.

#3: Have a plan - Without a written plan you don’t know where you are going and you have nothing to teach your team from. Have a clear written plan for who is responsible for what, which will provide your team and your replacement(s) clarity around where they are going and what they are responsible for accomplishing and by when they are to accomplish it.

#4: Be in Full and Complete Communication - Leaving your team out of the proverbial “loop” or expecting them to do things under the guise of “... because I told you so!” is no way to build a team of leaders around you. If you want your replacement(s) to stand tall beside you and take on more responsibility, always communicate fully and completely. Start with communicating the plan for putting your vision into action! Your team needs to know what is expected of them, by-when, and what part they play in fulfilling your vision for the company.

#5: Delegate - Replacing you requires you to not only teach your replacement(s) how to do what you do, but you also have to let them do it. Be clear about what you are giving up and delegate those responsibilities/tasks to your replacement(s).

#6: Create an Accountability System - You are responsible for doing what you say you are going to do and by-when you say you will do it, and your team members have to be clear that they also are accountable for producing the results you agree will be produced. When you have a clear system of accountability in place, there is no room for “I could have...” or “I should have...” or “I just plain don’t want to...” With accountability, we either are our word or we aren’t.

#7: Stay out of the way - Give up being a control monster, and allow your team to put your vision/plan into action. Your team members learn the most when you allow them to stand on their own two feet and learn, not only from the their successes, but also from their mistakes.

#8: Allow your team to contribute to the team and to you - Trust the training and instincts that you are building in your team by allowing your team members to contribute to not only the company, but to you directly. By doing so you empower your team to be 100% engaged in accomplishing the goals and vision you create.

#9: Be open to learning and doing things a new (and possibly even better) way - Listen to what your team members have to say about what they see and what they believe could or should be done in any given circumstance.

#10: Do not make your team members wrong when they make a mistake - We all learn the most when we make a mistake. So, turn mistakes into teachable moments asking, “What is a better way to do it next time?”

When you put those 10 must-dos into action, replacing you becomes infinitely easier. Will it be a perfect, trouble-free process? No, but even with a few bumps in the road, the following benefits make it all worthwhile!

Replacing you means:

  • Having a team empowered to accomplish your vision.
  • Your team thinking not just in terms of checking off tasks from a list, but in terms of asking, “How can we do this better and more efficiently? How can I contribute to the success of the company?” Your business becomes more efficient and profitable!
  • Your business working without you having to be there 24/7.
  • Having time for yourself and your family!
  • You create room to BE the visionary, the creator of new ideas and goals, rather than doing all of the work.

Tell me: Does the end goal justify the things you have to take on and do differently? I think so, but I want to hear from you! Chime in the comment section below. Let’s get the conversation started... share your own thoughts on “Replacing You”... let’s make a difference together!

Make Replacing YOU your #1 goal for 2015 and as both you and your team grow and move forward to what’s next... you will see that anything is possible!

Leadership Essential: Forgiveness

Leadership Essential: Forgiveness[Forgiveness is] a deliberate act on our part. Revenge evens the score; forgiveness wins the game."
—Family Walk

One of the secrets of effective leadership is the ability to forgive on your feet—forgive someone in the moment when that person does or says something that offends or hurts you; forgive when someone fails to be their word or messes up on the job. Forgiving on your feet means not wasting precious time or energy being resentful or resisting the urge to not trust and do it all yourself, again.

Forgiveness is about regaining your power. That’s right! As long as you are resentful, the person or circumstance that you are resentful of has power over you. When you forgive, you reestablish control over your life and reclaim your personal power. You give up the stress that carrying resentment or hurt creates, and you give yourself an immediate benefit of stress relief.

Leadership is a choice not to let your important life decisions be run by your feelings. Forgiveness is a choice we can make, even in the face of our feelings, including our fears. Forgiveness means we are willing to be vulnerable again... to take the risk. Forgiveness means choosing to give up being a victim and give up being right.

Forgiving on your feet takes practice. It may seem difficult at first, but the way to improve your ability to forgive is to practice, practice, and practice some more! You’ve probably noticed that life gives you several opportunities every day to forgive on your feet—the banker cutting off your line of credit, being cut off on the freeway, the restaurant server taking too long to bring your check to the table, your son spilling a gallon of juice on the carpet, a member of your executive team loosing a major account... you get the idea! So, every time you recognize a new hurt or anger, practice choosing in that moment to let go of it quickly. You simply have to practice choosing a forgiving attitude. Leaders forgive quickly. Leaders know that giving over their energy to resentment or a grudge robs them of their ability to lead effectively. They have to forgive and move on in order to stay the course and get what they say they want, by-when they say they want it.

Leaders know forgiveness is 100% their responsibility. The power of forgiveness lies in the fact that it has NOTHING to do with the other person. Forgiveness is for, and all about, YOU! It's about you giving up hurt and your judgments about others. It's a precious gift you give to yourself, your self-esteem, and to your relationships with everyone. Forgiveness is 100% your responsibility because you are 100% in control of your behavior and choices. So, how about choosing to be a forgive-on-your-feet leader right now?

Letter from the Editor

12_01By now most, if not all, of your holiday celebrations with family and friends are wrapping up, with the exception of ringing in the new year! As you prepare to welcome 2015, have you thought about what you want your new year to look like?

I’m not talking about the normal New Year Resolution that is quickly tossed aside. I’m talking about what YOU really want and how you are going to make it happen. Yes, you need a plan... yes, you need a team... yes, you need to be 1000% committed to getting what you say you want. But, before you jump in to whatever goals you set, please take part in this simple year end exercise. It will change your outlook; your attitude and the results you attain in 2015.

Year-end Completion Exercise:

Sometime within the next few days, I want you to sit down in a quiet space (by yourself, with your significant other, or your family as a whole) and write down all of the things you have accomplished since January 1, 2014. Write down all of your accomplishments including: personal, business, health, financial, recreation, communication, relationships, and anything else you can think of.

The purpose of this exercise is to shift your focus from any negative self-talk to positive; from a glass half-empty way of thinking to a glass half-full way of thinking! By focusing your energy on the good you do and the goals you have achieved, you instantly create a whole new attitude about where you are in life and what your abilities are. Standing there, you can then take on your plan for reaching your 2015 goals from a much more powerful state of mind!

Do you want to know how to make your list even more valuable? Teach from it! You can keep the list hidden in a drawer for your eyes only, but consider the value you get from sharing it with others. Your kids will get lit up seeing all that has been accomplished as a family. Your team will be energized through the realization that they are a part of a dynamic team, and you will teach others the value of acknowledging their own accomplishments.

So, please, get out your paper and pen, take some time to reflect on all that you, your family, and your team has accomplished this year, and write down everything you can think of! Instantly, you will transform your attitude and the prospects for your new year too!

For more information and a complete explanation of the end-of-year completion exercise, take 45-minutes and watch the recording of my most recent webinar - “New Year. New Attitude.”

Best Wishes to You for an Outrageous and Happy New Year!

Clay S. Nelson
Clay S. Nelson

Why Replacing You Should Be Your #1 Goal for 2015

Why Replacing You Should Be Your #1 Goal for 2015The last several years have no doubt been difficult on your business’ bottom-line, and with the economy once again moving along, succeeding in your #1 goal of growing your business actually seems attainable! But, if you aren’t careful, you can actually hinder your progress. Don’t get caught up in “doing it all” in order to grow your business! Instead, make replacing YOU your #1 goal and the rest will follow!

What do I mean by “Replace You?” What we’re talking about is how to raise the bar on who you are being as a leader; taking on a mindset where you can step out of controlling it all, grow your team, teach others how to do what you do, and be the leader you need to be in order to have the freedom to grow your company to its greatest potential!

Think about it:

  • If you do it all, where do you get to rest?
  • If you do it all, where does your mind have a place to create from?
  • If you do it all, how can you take on whatever is necessary to move on to what’s next for you and the company (and team) you lead?

The consequences of “doing it all” are clear, but fear can keep even the greatest of leaders from truly stepping out of doing and simply being. The problem with this, however, is that there is a limit to how much you can do yourself, and it has a negative impact on your team as well! The cost of choosing not replace you includes:

Poor morale—If you don’t allow your employees to contribute their talents to the good of the company, they will eventually find a place to work where they can contribute and where their talents are recognized and put to good use. Note: The number one need an employee has is to be acknowledged!

Burnout—You as a leader can’t do it all, and if you insist on doing it all, eventually you will run out of energy.

Not seeing the big picture—When you are busy micromanaging your team and your business, you risk not seeing the big picture, missing opportunities, and making hasty decisions that in the long run are either too costly or are out of line with what your plan says you want to achieve! And, if you don’t involve your team in what it takes to do what you do for the business, they can’t see the big picture either... they don’t have a clear vision of why anyone is doing what they do, which diminishes the energy and the passion they put behind the job they do.

Limiting growth—If you as a leader insist on being involved in absolutely every detail of your company – what you produce and how it is produced, knowing about every change order, micromanaging office staff, or even insisting that all communications with clients filter through you – then you are the limit to that which can be achieved!

Remember: What’s next for you as a Visionary Leader—who’s replacing yourself—is about being outrageously committed and present to who you are being inside of that commitment. Standing there, you can then create a vision and plan of action for getting anything you say you want for your company (and yourself and team)!

So while replacing you can be a scary thing, just imagine:

  • Having a team empowered to accomplish your vision.
  • Your team thinking not just in terms of checking off tasks from a list, but in terms of asking, “How can we do this better and more efficiently? How can I contribute to the success of the company?"
  • Your business working without you having to be there.
  • Having time for yourself and your family!
  • Being the visionary, the creator of new ideas and goals, rather than doing all of the work.

Just imagine what you, your company, and your team can accomplish with that kind of power, clarity, and team work behind it!

Make Replacing YOU your #1 goal for 2015 and as both you and your team grow and move forward to what’s next... you will see that anything is possible!

Editor’s Note: Be sure and see next month’s issue of More Than Just a Thought, for the steps you need to take and systems you need to put into place in order to reach your goal of Replacing You.

Create More Fun

Create More FunWhen you think about what you want your new year to look like, be sure to include the goal of having more fun!

Yes, there is always work to do, but don’t be someone who sacrifices fun whenever anything else remains incomplete or unfinished in your life because you just don’t “have time!” Fun is an important part of life. It helps you relax, reduce stress, and stay sane in the midst of a crazy world. Fun can be in the form of physical activities, hobbies, volunteer events, games, movies, or anything else that you LOVE to do. If you are having trouble thinking of something fun, just observe kids of any age...they will remind you what fun is all about.

Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Throw a party for no reason at all
  • Draw pictures in the sand or snow
  • Camp with your kids in your own backyard all night
  • Give flowers to a total stranger you pass on the street
  • Take a bath by candlelight with soft music
  • Go play paintball
  • Participate in a volunteer run/walk for a charity
  • Commit to having a good, out-loud belly laugh every day, even if you just laugh at yourself
  • Get some fun friends and spend time with them

Keep in mind, FUN doesn’t have to cost anything either! You don’t have to go on vacation or on a shopping spree to have fun, but to make sure your fun doesn’t get pushed aside when life gets hectic, you do have to plan for it and actually schedule it in your calendar... in Ink!

Schedule time for daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly fun activities that light you up just thinking about doing them. Now, put your plan in the car, on your bathroom mirror, and up at work—everywhere you need to put it so you don’t ignore it! Ask your spouse or significant other to hold you accountable for keeping your appointments with FUN. Let the fun begin, and remember—there is no FUN prison!

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