TJ Talks


They’re pretty recognizable, the Curmudgeon.   That one person who always seems to find the down side to an idea.  They ask questions and make statements that seem to stop progress in its tracks.  They never immediately go along with what everyone else wants to do.  They are the thorn in your side at every meeting.  You cringe when they open their mouth to speak.  They frustrate you. They also may be one of the best asset your company has.  In fact, I think every business needs a Curmudgeon. Don’t think of a Curmudgeon in the dictionary definition sense of some old cantankerous fellow, like these crusty guys who sat in the box seats in the Muppet Show. Think instead of someone who tells it like it is.  One who is not afraid to state the obvious, and doesn’t beat around the bush to do it.  Someone who tells it like it is. Does your business have one of those?  Here are some benefits to having one on your team: Your Curmudgeon Helps you Think Different One of Apple‘s longtime taglines is “Think Different”.  They want to attract customers and employees who think different about everything in life. How often do you think different in your business? As business owners we often can’t see the forest through the trees.  I see this a lot in business owners thatI help.  They are often isolated with blinders on, unable to see a way or reason to do things differently than before.  They get stuck in a rut, and ruts are bad for business. Your Curmudgeon can help you get out of the rut, just... read more

Would you Work for Maggots?

I know, you saw the title and thought, “I already work for one.”  (cue comedic drum roll) That’s not what I meant-sort of. I mean would you literally work for a place that served you maggots in your lunch?  Not on purpose, but because they were building something great and you wanted to be a part of it, even if your lunch was less than desirable? Chamath Palihapitiya and a lot of other early Facebook employees did.  In a recent Vanity Fair article, Chamath admits that the early days weren’t all glam and fluff.  But this brilliant man who can do anything (and has) stayed with the stuff.  And so did many others.  And you know why?  Because they were raving fans of their own company. Are you a raving fan of yours? Would you stay with your company if you didn’t have high pay and all the benefits, gym memberships, and free snacks?  Would you stay there just because you believed in what they were building? I have worked with, and for, many companies through the years.  Some had posh offices with all the bells and whistles, and lack-luster engagement.  Some were cramped and spare, and full of hardworking, fearless giants. Guess which ones were more fun to work with? Guess which ones had lower turnover? Guess which ones were more successful financially? You guessed right. Chamath talks about this in his article.  It’s about being disciplined financially, and leading inspirationally.  Both are of the utmost importance if you are going to grow successfully. Disciplined Financially: Yes, comfortable chairs are important, but not always in the budget.  Free snacks are nice,... read more

Leaders Who Go from “I” to “We”

I was recently blessed to hear Bill George speak at a leaders breakfast.  Bill George is business thought leader, Harvard Business School professor, and former CEO of Medtronic, and a man of strong faith. When it comes to being an effective leader, we would be wise to sit up and take notice when Bill George speaks. I wrote an article for Second Iron blog that gives 3 steps for going from “I” to “We” as a leader.  You can read the full article here.... read more

3 “F”‘s Every Entrepreneur Needs to Succeed

There isn’t an entrepreneur on the planet who wants to fail.  I have yet to meet or work with a business owner who pursues failure.  Every business owner wants to succeed.   It’s part of our DNA as humans to push towards success in what we do. I recently listened to an amazing TED talk by Ernesto Sirolli that I not only enjoyed, but said” Amen” out loud as I listened to it.  Sirolli’s talk was about how to help entrepreneurs in developing countries by shutting up and listening.   Ernesto is all about enterprise facilitation over enterprise direction.  Which I agree with 100%. Smushed within this amazing TED talk were three keys to success for every entrepreneur and I think you need to hear them. (or at least be reminded of them) Here are Sirolli’s 3 “F”‘s that every entrepreneur needs to be a success: 1. Fantastic Product/Service Sirolli didn’t say a mediocre or so-so product/service, he said Fantastic.  You actually need a product/service that someone wants or needs and it needs to be great.  There’s a lot of junk out in the market.  But unless you are shopping at the dollar store, you want more than junk.  People want you to give them something of value.  If what we’re selling has no value, it has no future. Is your product/service fantastic?  If not, go back to the drawing board and make it fantastic.  You can ditch your original idea and come up with something better.  Your customers deserve it and your success depends upon it. Fantastic product? Your customers deserve it, your success depends upon it. 2. Fantastic... read more

“Ish” or “Less”, Which Kind of Leader are You?

Go ahead and google “leadership styles” sometime.  You’ll find about 29 million results. Everyone has something to say about leadership, and I guess I’m no exception, but I like to keep things simple and straightforward since we are all short on time. I’ve worked with and for many leaders in my 20+ years in the workforce and I can boil it down to 2 for you.  There are really only 2 types of leaders: “Ish” & “Less” There are SelfISH leaders, and there are SelfLESS leaders. Which one are you? I’ve been plowing through Dan Busby‘s book on Trust when it hit me again that it all boils down to the heart of the leader. Actions are great.  But the how and the why behind your actions are what really matter in the long run.  How, and why you do what you do all stem from who you are.  Every leader will be known by who they are, not what they do. Every leader will be known by who they are, not what they do. Click To Tweet We have a choice about the actions we take, but we also have a choice about the person that we are. Here is a mix of Dan & my thoughts on the difference between ISH leaders and LESS leaders.  Do you own self-assessment to see which one you are most like. Well, how did you fare? Do you have something to work on? I know I do.  As leaders we tend to be hyper-focused on the goals to the exclusion of all else.  It’s worth it to stop and re-evaluate our own... read more

Would you Work for You?

What are the 3 worst words a person can utter in their lifetime? “It’s a job.” These were the words of a former co-worker of mine when I asked how things were going. His job duties hadn’t changed.  The work was the same.  The product was the same.  So what changed?  What could make this fully capable, intelligent, energetic person utter such a horrible statement? His new boss.  The culture has turned toxic and secretive.  People are no longer appreciated for their work.  Upper management lies, without conscience, and treats the employees like a cog in the wheel. It’s a shame to see that happen.  In fact, it makes my blood boil. We’ve all had a “job” like that before.  One that you can’t wait to leave.  But it doesn’t have to be that way. As a leader in your organization, you set the tone, create the culture, and frame the environment that your people are subject to 40-50 (or more) hours a week.  That’s over 100,000 hours of a person’s life (potentially) and it’s in your power to make them good ones. You get to choose if you will allow your people to come to work most of those hours saying, “I get to do this for a living.”  OR “It’s a job.” Which phrase are your employees uttering? I recently sat down with a life-long business owner to ask her What 3 things she learned for an upcoming book I’m writing.  One of them was: Create a business I would want to work for. She intentionally created her business to be a place where she would want to... read more

People! What you see is What you Get

No mirages, no carnival mirrors, what you see is what you get.  There’s no photoshop in real life.  And there’s definitely no photoshop for the soul.  That means we get to see the good, the bad and the pretty awful in people sometimes.  (Of course the same view of us is available to them.) As business owners, we see a lot of people everyday.  We see them do great things for our organizations, we see them make customers happy, we see them grow in their capabilities, but we also see the things we wish we could un-see.  The things that make us shake our heads in disbelief. But what we see and how we view people are two very different things. What we see in people and how we view them are two different things. Click To Tweet And how we view people will determine what we receive in return, no tot mention what others receive from them.  Let me explain. I recently sat down with a life-long business owner to ask him his three things, as part of a book I’m conducting research for.  (Don’t get excited, this book will take a couple years.) One of his things: It’s so important how you view people. Do you view people with the same love, dignity and respect that Jesus viewed people with?  (This business owner operates from a place of faith in God, but anyone can view people this way if they choose to.)  The impact is enormous. Think about it.  What if you, as a business owner or employee, viewed everyone you came in contact with as someone... read more

5 Surefire Ways to Discourage your Employees

I don’t think anyone ever sets a goal to discourage their employees. No one ever wrote this next to their senior picture in the yearbook: “My dream is to be the worst boss anyone ever had, and make my employees hate coming to work.” And yet, somehow it happens. There are people who hate going to work every day. You may be one of them. Whatever you do, don’t be the reason for your employees detestation of their job. Don’t be the one to discourage them. Don’t be the one responsible for your employees hating their jobs. Click To Tweet If your employees are discouraged and disengaged, you may be the cause for that, especially if you do one of these 5 things that are sure to make them hate coming to work for you: 1. Don’t tell them where you’re headed: When employees don’t know where you want to take the company, they certainly can’t help you get there. You think you are being savvy by holding your dreams close to your chest? Think again. You do your employees a disservice by being secretive. You do your company harm by not casting a clear vision for people to push towards. And you do yourself great harm by making your employees play “hamster on the wheel”. While you think you are smarter than they are by keeping it all hush-hush, they can actually read the writing on the wall -everyone can. Now they just feel like you think they are stupid: which is the most discouraging, and insulting, of all. DO this instead: If you know where you want your... read more

4 Tips for Creating a Culture of Appreciation

Everyone likes to be appreciated; to feel that someone notices their efforts and is actually glad that they exist. Regardless of whether you are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, a simple “thank you” from your supervisor or co-worker can literally make your day. Unfortunately, within the workplace, the idea of appreciation is usually lost among metrics and targets. Sure, there’s the overdone “Employee of the Month” award, the drawing for local sports team tickets, certificates of excellence, and the annual Holiday party. Those are all nice “Ata boy” (or girl) gestures, but are they really building and changing the culture of your workplace? Probably not. Here are four ways that you can create and cultivate a culture of appreciation in your workplace: Be Verbal-Remember when you were a kid and going to someone else’s house for dinner or a visit and your parents would say, “Remember to say please and thank you”? Those good manners that they were trying to drill into you can have a huge impact in your workplace. Instead of barking orders at people, ask them to do a task. It elevates them in your mind to a person of preferred status. In some cultures, asking for something from them actually puts them in a position above you. Remember to say please and thank you. It shows you respect the person enough to use your good manners on them. Thank them for their work at the end of the day. I try to make a point to thank everyone in my division at the end of every day for their work that day. Yes, it’s their job.... read more

The Only Two Things that Matter in Business

Have you hit the 2nd quarter slump?  You had great plans for 2015 back in January.  Your budgets were set; your strategy for 2015 was ambitious but possible; your teams have been working on the details to make it happen; but along the way, you have probably forgotten a couple of things. The only two things that matter in business: Customers and Employees. If you make your customers and your employees your primary focus, the money will follow. Click To Tweet Instead of focusing only on plans, goals, metrics, and measures; focus on making your customers and employees happy. Everything in your business stems from these two, and they both just happen to be people. This does not mean you don’t have plans, goals, metrics and measures, it means that those things stem from the ultimate goal of making customers and employees happy. Here are a few things areas to re-assess before you plunge into the second half of 2015: Give Giddy Customer Service: This if your front line, this group has more personal interaction than any other department in your company, and therefore more influence on their happiness than you do up in your corner office. Have you given your front line the power to make your customers happy? Check out this article, Power to the People, which lays that idea out in more detail. The long story short-give your front line the power and ability to make your customers giddy with happiness. Ask them what they need to make that a reality, and then give it to them. There’s plenty of bad customer service to go around, if... read more


Taking the Career Leap of Faith Seminar

September 17th,2016 9-11 am @ Living Word Christian Center

Contact TJ to schedule a seminar for your organization.


Quote for the Day

“You can’t deliver value unless you anchor yourself in values.” —Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo