Service-Minded: 33 Ideas for Being a Positive Influence

Following is a list of actual actions a population of students do on a regular basis to be a positive influence on the world around them. The students were anywhere from 9th graders to adult students who attended our SLAM (Serious Leaders And Movers) workshops on Tuesday at Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City (Rockwell Campus). SLAM meets once a month on one of the three FT campuses in Oklahoma City - Rockwell, Reno and Portland campuses.

The question is: What is on your list?

  1. Working hard at my job

  2. Being involved in school clubs

  3. Volunteering in the community

  4. Working with people with addictions

  5. Having good hygiene

  6. Baby-sitting my little sister

  7. Working with senior citizens

  8. Going the speed limit

  9. Started church youth choir

  10. Courteous driving

  11. Holding door open for people

  12. Being involved in the Special Olympics

  13. Controlling emotions

  14. Helping out with military troops with hugs

  15. Teaching people how to dance

  16. Recycle

  17. Talk to shy people

  18. Encouraging others

  19. Having a positive attitude

  20. Respect others property

  21. Cleaning up after myself

  22. Listening to others

  23. Helping even when I don’t have to

  24. Smelling the flowers

  25. Being responsible

  26. Giving money to homeless people

  27. Not tailgating

  28. Keeping some all white Nikes

  29. Church group involvement

  30. Not littering

  31. Staying in school

  32. Not smoking

  33. Mentoring

Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:

1. What are three actions you do to be a positive influence on the world?

2. How do these actions positively influence those around you?

3. In what ways can you move others to positively influence the world?


Skill Assessment: The Five Seeds at the Core of DECA Chapter Engagement

This is a special post for the DECA organization. DECA is a student organization for students in high school interested in pursuing careers in marketing, entreprenuership, finance, hospitality, and marketing sales and service. I speak at their events throughout the year and this post is specifically designed to help DECA students and chapter advisors understand how to grow their DECA chapter.

At the Chapter Management Academy at National DECA’s ICDC each year my company, YourNextSpeaker, LLC, works with 300 of the best chapter leaders in the nation. The following five tactics have helped these great chapters leaders understand how to get and keep their chapter membership engaged. This is not about membership recruitment. It is about membership involvement. These strategies are built on the precept that 20 really engaged chapter members make a more effective chapter than 120 “half-way there” chapter members.

Seed 1 - Focus on the Cause, not the Condition

We begin with the understanding that you and your chapter probably have the same problem that many other chapters have – low chapter member involvement. Task number one is to correctly identify the cause of the problem. In our leadership trainings, we do an activity called Balloon Toss that clearly demonstrates the importance of this step. The object of the leadership experiment is for a team of 6-8 individuals to keep 10-15 balloons in the air and in motion at the same time. The balloons are fed to the team one at a time, the balloons can't be tied together and the team members must keep one hand behind their back the entire time. After the first round of competition is over, we discuss how to improve their chances of success during the second round. We begin this by discussing possible answers to the question, "What was the main reason you were not able to accomplish your goal?"

The leaders normally begin to list conditions, instead of causes. They say things like too many balloons, we could only use one hand, we didn't have a good plan, etc. These are true, but most of the conditions they list are unchangeable within the constraints of the activity - just like most of the conditions you are faced with in your chapter are simply facts of the system and unchangeable. If the leaders get bogged down in discussing conditions they handicap their ability to recognize a cause or to make any real improvement in their strategy for round two. The primary cause for not achieving their goal of getting all balloons in the air at once was that the balloons were out of control. Once the leaders recognized this primary cause they were better able to creatively discover the best strategy for getting all balloons in the air at once!

Your task as a chapter leader is to step back and look at where you and your chapter have your focus. Is it on unchangeable conditions or solvable causes?

Seed 2 - Leverage Your Personal Power

Chapter engagement cannot just be of interest to the chapter advisor or leadership team. It must be of interest to all chapter members. At a recent conference, one of the advisors told us about a student who isn't a positional leader in her chapter and still has played a huge role in getting members involved. She does this by…

1. Being genuinely enthusiastic about the chapter and most everything going on in her life. This pulls the students in and creates energy within the individuals and within the chapter.

2. Encouraging her peers to help the chapter in small ways. This creates obligation and an opportunity for her peers to add meaning to their life by serving the chapter.

3. She makes it "ok" to be a part of the group, which is not the opinion held by most of the school. This social connectiveness meets a huge need they have in their life that they would fill anyway somewhere else.

Seed 3 – Know the Difference Between Groups and Teams

Nothing great can happen in your chapter, especially something mission-critical like membership engagement, if your leadership “team” is really just a leadership “group.” Following these steps will turn your group into a team.

1. Teams have an identified, trusted leader that enthusiastically gains the respect of the team.

2. Teams have an identified, specific goal that everyone is working towards. This goal is team created, not leader created.

3. Teams have an identified and agreed upon system for decision making. Go to the March 24, 2007 post to learn eight solid strategies for team decision making.

4. Teams make and revisit big, unique memories. This strategy also plays a huge role in creating and sustaining engaged members. Go big or go home.

5. Teams are comprised of individuals who are able to do something they love to do to help the team.

Seed 4 - Keep Commitments

Doing what you say you will do is the engine that drives all chapter activities. It is a meaningful aspect of membership engagement because it allows for momentum to happen. It is also a small way for everyone in the chapter to make a big difference. Commit to these commitment-keeping strategies…

1. Know when to say no. Don’t say yes if you know you really don’t want to do something and/or don’t have the time to do something.

2. Stick to a list of priorities.

3. Over-promise and over-deliver.

4. Gain clarity on all time and duty expectations.

5. Apologize when necessary.

6. Remember that you aren’t what you do once. You are what you do repeatedly.

7. Respect people’s time and show up early. Early is on-time. On-time is late. Late is left!

8. You make time for the important things. You have time to shower, eat, and text message don’t you?

9. If you add a commitment, take one away. Unless you are superman or superwoman, you can’t be great at everything. DECA is important. Trim down your other “non-critical” time consumers.

Seed 5 – Be a DECA chapter Torchbearer

One of our most popular leadership keynotes/workshops for student and professional elected leaders is called Torchbearers. We actually invest full days helping leaders understand how to tap into, retain and share with others the passion they have for their organizations. Review the list below to see if you qualify as a Torchbearer for your DECA chapter...The DECA Torchbearer Seven Defining Qualities…

You are thirsty for helping your DECA chapter grow.

You own a strong allegiance to your DECA chapter.

You value and foster relationships within your DECA chapter.

You gain part of your identity from your DECA chapter (you include your DECA chapter involvement when you introduce yourself to people.)

You have a clear understanding of your role in your DECA chapter.

You know and believe in your DECA chapter’s core values.

You speak positively about your DECA chapter and its leadership and members.


Fostering Relationships: Three Ideas for Bringing the Best Out of Others

As you read this post, you might wonder, "why the forks in the pictures?" People are like forks. They can be used for good or bad based on the hands they are in. Also, I have a new keynote slide show titled "The Fork." It makes fork-related leadership points: the eating fork, the tuning fork and the fork in the road.

If you are in charge of leading others, the following list highlights three practices to maximize performance.

You need to decide whether or not your people are in the right job. Knowing this requires an intimate understanding of the person and the job responsibilities. My mother was a high-level leader in a hospital for years. A lady worked for her that was a hard worker, but consistently under-performed. Mom found out she was in the wrong position. This lady was an introvert and was working in a very social position. Once mom placed her in a more solo position, she thrived. She was able to give her best because her best was asked of her. When you have people in the wrong type of position, they are asked to engage a weakness every day. Only when people are asked to engage a strength can they perform at a high level.

You also have to make job placement about the table, not the person. It's about the position and the behaviors they demonstrate in that position. Don't make it about them personally. Talk about the duties of the job and what it takes to succeed in it. This will result in everyone being able to keep a non-personal point of view. There are enough reasons for personal squabbles in the workplace - whether someone is in the right position or not doesn't have to be one of them.

This decision is about clarity and expectations. People can naturally give their best when they know what their best should look like, feel like and move like. As a leader, you have to decide what "an amazing job" is for each individual. You then have to put language to it and get them talking about it. Get things out in the open. Keep an eye on their progress and then guide them through the gap between average and amazing. This is where high level leaders and performers live.

Once you get the gap between average and amazing identified, work with your team on getting one percent closer to amazing. Start small. Start with one skill. One process. One job. Figure that out, perfect it and then move on to another. Before you know it, you and your team will be much closer to amazing than average. Just make sure you, nor they ever feel like amazing has been reached. This can be just as dangerous as never reaching for it at all. (See my post on the dirty little secret of high performers.)

I did a post a few months ago about the difference between MySpace leaders and YourSpace leaders. To bring the best out of others, you have to care about them. You must have a genuine interest in seeing them personally and professionally succeed and then communicate this by asking questions, learning what is good with them, what is a challenge for them, etc. These interactions need to be positive in nature, even when helping them improve. Again, make it about the behavior or the job, not the person. Always coach up (here are a few suggestions on coaching strategies) and look for the good. The bad will reveal itself immediately. The positive is sometimes more elusive to find. It is your job to recognize the positive and emphasize it daily.

Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:

Decision 1

1. How can you better position others so that they can thrive?

2. What are the strength and weaknesses of the people on your team?

3. Who would benefit from a slight change in focus?

Decision 2

1. What is your image of an amazing job? Give Specific Details

2. What is one thing you can do to show them what an amazing job looks like?

3. What is the one skill that will move you 1% closer?

4. How can it be improved?

Decision 3

1. What are some steps you can do to make sure you are always coaching up?


Skill Assessment: Personality and Presentations

A few weeks ago I did a post on my Authenticity Rules blog about how your personality impacts your presentations.  If you lead workshops, trainings or give speeches, go check it out...

How Does Your Personality Impact Your Presentations?