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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    Your Pain Point: The Motivation for Change

    Hand Press on Red Button on White Background

    I had a conversation with several leaders recently about changes they needed to make in their organization. They said that they wanted to change, but their behavior didn’t align with that statement. After further discussion, it became apparent that for them, the perceived pain they would experience to change their present situation, was greater than the actual pain of continuing in it, even with an impending negative impact for others involved.

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    Lead With Your Why

    In his book Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action, Simon Sinek describes our why as “our driving purpose, cause or belief”.  This why never changes, no matter what we do. A critical role of leaders is to define and communicate the why of their organization in a way that unites the leadership team and all employees around it. A shared why among the leadership team translates into alignment and consistency in decision making regarding the company’s products and services. It drives brand marketing; financial and legal matters; and treatment of employees, customers and shareholders. A shared why will also keep the organization focused on what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. This becomes a standard or benchmark against which all strategies are measured to ensure they deliver on the brand promise.

    Start With Your Why

    When Bill and Melinda Gates we seeking a new CEO to lead their $40 billion foundation, they led with their why when they enticed Susan Desmond-Hellmann to accept the position. At the time she was passionate about her role as chancellor of the University of California at San Francisco, thus wasn’t initially interested. But after two months of conversations, she decided to accept the role because their vision, mission and plans gave her an opportunity to be a part of a team that could change the world. The interview process between the Gates and Desmond-Hellmann cinched the deal because it brought out the shared why that motivated each of them to action.  While it was possible for the Gates to find someone capable of performing the role as CEO of the world’s second largest foundation, it was even more important to find one who shared their why, who shared their passion for improving the lives of women and girls in developing countries, and eradicating disease. And sharing that why made all the difference.

    Rapper and music producer Dr. Dre (Andre Young) champions the why for the Beats by Dre brand, and Beats Electronics, which was co-founded by he and music mogul Jimmy Iovine. They produce the high-priced Beats headphones and provide a streaming music service. Dr. Dre maintains a focus on what’s “cool” by ensuring they have the best quality sound, and overseeing marketing strategies in minute detail. He’s known as a perfectionist, a workaholic, and eschews market research in favor of his gut instinct, which has paid off handsomely for him in past music endeavors. This was reinforced when Apple recently purchased Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion.

    Steve Jobs was similarly known for avoiding market research because in his opinion, the customer doesn’t know what they want until someone shows it to them (yes, I didn’t know how much I needed my iPad until I got one). Jobs was famous for his product launches where he educated customers on the capabilities of new products and how it would help them. He spoke from the passion of his why instead of using a hard sell mode.

    Know Your Why

    The leadership of the Gates, Dr. Dre and Steve Jobs to define and communicate their company’s why attracts others who share the same why, and want to help them bring it to life. The why attracts customers to products and employees to positions. We identify with companies and brands that share beliefs similar to ours, that support causes we believe are worthy, and that provide services we feel are valuable. It takes focus for leaders to be clear about their why and to continuously steer their organizations in that direction, avoiding distractions and seemingly logical arguments to veer off track.  It requires a deep-rooted understanding of what you want to accomplish, and a personal belief in your ability to do so. It requires the ability to block out the glittering lights of other leaders’ why, that may look cool, but doesn’t match your passion and motivation.

    The driving cause or belief of your organization should evoke emotion and passion. It should be motivational. Sinek says that making money is the result, not the cause, and companies should think, act and communicate starting with their why. It engages employees and customers. So though you may think is obvious to all your stakeholders, take a moment to query those around you. If you’re not hearing consistent responses there’s an opportunity to provide clarity to your team and begin to drive that through all their decisions.  

    So know your why. Show your why. Grow your why

    Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.

    Copyright Priscilla Archangel 2014

    Read about Dr. Dre and Apple here.

    Read the interview with Melinda Gates and Susan Desmond-Hellmann in Fortune here.

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    The Right Questions

    “What do you want me to do?” Gregg Popovich, head coach of the San Antonio Spurs sometimes empowers his players by stepping back, and letting them figure out their next step in the game. They’ve risen to the occasion by giving “Coach Pop” 16 consecutive winning seasons, more than any other active NBA coach.

    “How to you turn this company from aid provider to economic development? Blake Mycoskie, CEO of TOMS Shoes faced this question during a two year break from running his company, during which he reflected on his future role. The answer? He’s started TOMS Roasting, which sells beans in grocery stores, and in his branded cafes. Mycoskie found that coffee farmers provide the best economic development in the countries to which they donate. So to continue his model of “buy one give one”, for each bag sold TOMS will provide one week of clean water to a person in need, and for each beverage sold they will provide one day of clean water. Water is the number one ingredient in premium beans, yet many people in these countries lack clean water for their personal use.

    “When are you going to drop the ‘interim’ title?” Jay Stein, then Interim CEO of Stein Mart, an off-price retail store, was asked this question several years ago by a reporter. Jay is the grandson of founder Sam Stein who started the family store in the early 1900s, and now boasts $1.3 billion in sales from 266 stores, with another 25 in the works. Jay had retired after heart by-pass surgery thinking that someone else could do a better job running the company. But after three failed CEOs he stepped in again on an interim basis.  This reporter’s question caused an epiphany as he recognized the negative impact of continuously shifting and ineffective leadership. His response? “Right now.” They made a public announcement and the organization has moved smoothly forward.


    The Power of a Question

    These are examples of the right questions; powerful questions that once answered, provide direction, clarity and purpose. They’re necessary for our continual development and well-being; indispensable and essential for our growth. The right questions may ask What, Why or How. They’re designed to coach, facilitate and motivate others to think deeply into their situation and determine their next steps. My friend Christian Simpson, an internationally acclaimed expert in professional coaching, describes this as effective questions that invite the person to a greater level of discovery, clarity and action. Properly posed and authentically answered, they create buy-in to the future.

    Whether in a group meeting or one-on-one dialogue, the right questions can refocus the discussion, reenergize the conversation and restructure the approach. They can cut to the heart of the issue; cause you to stop and think about what you’re doing and why; and challenge you to make the right decision for the right reason.

    The Right Perspective

    So possibly you’re wondering how you can leverage the power of the right questions to have more productive business and personal discussions, ensure alignment of specific decisions with your vision or mission, generate increased business, or to coach others towards success.

    Asking the right questions is a matter of perspective. It requires an objective look at the situation, or the ability to step back for a moment and view the proverbial forest instead of the trees. It may require a deeper look into the future. It requires greater interest in letting the other party find the right answer, than in you telling them what to do. It’s a matter of getting them to think through their priorities, objectives, and strategies and come to their own realization of their necessary actions. It may require listening deeply to what is not specifically stated, to the underlying motivating principles and priorities. It may involve asking the question that is screamingly obvious to you that no one else dares to ask or that everyone else is blinded to; or probing deeper into the circumstances and thought processes of the people involved.

    The right questions also require the right timing for the respondent to be receptive. I had a discussion with a client several months ago regarding a colleague that he continually wanted to include in meetings. The colleague was well known in certain business circles and brought a level of credibility to his team, but the colleague’s area of specialty wasn’t well aligned with this client’s business goals. Finally, the timing was right for me to directly ask what value this colleague added. The client thought for a moment and came to the realization that there was no value, but he now owned the decision. Similarly Coach Pop’s timing in letting his team figure out the right next strategy helped them to better understand how to apply their skills to the challenges on the court.

    Blake Mycoskie and Jay Stein’s right questions helped them make major decisions in their work and their lives. They didn’t avoid the response but embraced it and experienced growth. So appreciate and value the people in your life who are insightful and who venture to ask you the right questions


    Read more about Gregg Popovich  here.

    Read more about Blake Mycoskie here

    Read more about Jay Stein here


    Copyright 2014 Priscilla Archangel

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    Your Thinking Spot

    Imagine yourself escaping from the daily pressure of decisions to be made, demands on your time, and disruptions to your schedule. You find a quiet oasis, where the atmosphere is suited for relaxation, reflection and rejuvenation. It is carefully designed to provide just the right amount of stimuli to enhance your productivity and creativity. You’re able to think through problems, strategize, and plan your next steps. This is your thinking spot; the environment where you’re optimally suited to work through the challenges in your life and work.

    While the thought of periodically removing oneself from the hub of activity is scary to some people, some of the most successful leaders have made a habit of frequenting a thinking spot.

    • Harry Frampton, executive chairman of East West Partners, a property developer, manager and brokerage in Avon, Colorado has a vacation home in Hawaii where he and his wife spend about 12 weeks each year.  His visits there during the 2009 recession helped him get away from overwhelming problems and think through which projects to put on hold, and which ones to move forward on.
    • Martin Puris, an advertising executive and owner of Puris and Partners has a vacation home in Long Island’s Hamptons where he and his wife spend most weekends.  There he has some of his “best creative thoughts”, and can think “uncluttered and focused”.
    • Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, a fast food restaurant chain headquartered in the Atlanta area has a “thinking schedule” that helps him to prioritize intentional thinking.  He blocks out a half a day every two weeks, a whole day each month, and two or three days each year to make sure he blocks out distractions and keeps focused on the primary things in life.
    • John Maxwell, internationally known leadership guru and author has a “thinking chair” in his office. He brings a list of issues to think through while he sits in the chair and spends the necessary time to gain clarity on them. 

    Productive Thought

    Effective leaders understand and embrace their thinking spot. They plan time to think that includes:

    • Reflecting on what did and didn’t work in the past.
    • Focusing on the present challenges.
    • Planning for the future.
    • Creating new solutions.

    Their thinking time may include different forms of solitude.  Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, describes Darwin Smith, the unassuming but successful CEO of Kimberly Clark for 20 years, as spending his vacation time on his farm in Wisconsin, digging holes and moving rocks on his backhoe.  While this may have looked totally unrelated to his leadership role, it no doubt provided the quiet thought time needed for the demands of his position.

    Steve Wozniak co-founder of Apple designed the first personal computer working alone.  He met with others periodically to discuss the technology and possibilities, but he largely toiled long hours by himself, thinking through the process necessary to reach his goal.

    Find Your Spot

    So where do you get your inspiration? Where is the spot that stimulates your thinking?  Have you carefully protected that environment to ensure that it’s conducive to your needs? How often and for how long do you frequent it?  What has it produced for you in the past?  Do you run from it or to it? In other words are you comfortable sitting in quietness or do you need high activity and stimulation around you? Does the thought of sitting still make you nervous? Are you constantly thinking of all the other things you can do instead of being there? 

    My preferred style is to spend quiet time in the early morning in meditation and prayer.  I focus on what I need to accomplish for the day, engage in positive self-talk, reflect on my priorities, and thank God for His goodness.  Ideally, if the weather and time permits, I’ll take a walk, alone with the unlimited expanse of nature.  Sometimes I get great ideas during this process, and at other times mental breakthroughs will come later in the day, but I know it’s a product of that time alone.

    The key is to understand the environment where you’re most productive, and replicate that on a regular basis.  In your gut, you know when you do your best thinking. You know the right atmosphere for you to generate ideas, work through problems, develop your action plans, and learn new information. You know where you get your energy, ideas, and motivation; your time of fruitfulness where seeds of ideas take root, are carefully formed and watered over time until they finally blossom. Make it a priority to find and frequent that thinking spot.



     Copyright 2014 Priscilla Archangel

    Steve Wozniak reference from iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It by Stephen Wozniak with Gina Smith, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. New York, NY, 2006.

    John Maxwell  reference from Success 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, 2008.

    Picture from IStockPhoto

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    Olympic Gold

    Now that the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London have drawn to a close, I am still in awe at the skill and accomplishments of many of the athletes. They make difficult routines look easy as they flip and twist their bodies through the air, sail around the track or through the water. I’ve not only watched them compete, but I’ve grown closer to them through the stories and vignettes in the media about their personal lives, and often their struggles. For most, their practice and preparation consumes many hours each day. Their muscular build comes at the expense of disciplining their bodies in the gym, and their palates in the kitchen. Some come from families that are financially depleted, having put all their resources toward a son or daughter’s quest for the gold.  They train their minds to think like the champions that they strive to be; knowing that the mental competition is just as important as the physical one.


    There are several athletes that stand out for their achievements…..

    Gabby Douglass, USA gold medal gymnast who two years ago at the age of 14 begged her mother to be able to move from Virginia to Iowa to train with an Olympic coach. Her mother and other siblings struggled financially to support Gabby’s passion.

    Michael Phelps, USA gold medal swimmer who with 22 gold medals has now won more than many countries.

    Usain Bolt, Jamaican gold medal sprinter dubbed the fastest man on earth.

    Claressa Shields, USA gold medal boxer at age 17, who survived the roughest neighborhoods of economically depressed Flint, MI, a father in jail for 7 years of her young life, and was bounced from home to home.

    Missy Franklin, USA gold medal swimmer who continues to refuse prize money and endorsement so that she can maintain her amateur status when she starts college in the fall of 2013.

    Danell Leyva, USA bronze medal gymnast whose mother and step-father defected from Cuba, where they were members of the Cuban gymnastics, team to Miami.

    Felix Sanchez, Dominican gold medal runner who claimed his medal in honor of his grandmother who died just before he raced in the 2008 Olympics.

    Oscar Pistorius, a South African also known as the blade runner because he is the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics running on carbon-fiber blades.

     At the same time, all the athletes who even qualified to go to the Olympics are exemplary in their endeavors. They represent the best in their sport, and I can only imagine the immense feeling of accomplishment for even qualifying to participate.

    Your Olympic Sport

    But they aren’t the only individuals competing to excel in their chosen sport.  Each of us has the opportunity to train for our own Olympic competition. We each have a challenge before us that is perfectly suited to our basic capability, yet is bigger than we can imagine, and if conquered would have an impact on many others. We’ll know our Olympic sport by the dream or desire that is deeply embedded in us. We must quiet all the chattering voices, the temporal and materialistic pulls, the temptation to do what everyone else is doing, just because everyone else is doing it.

    Like the contenders in the London Olympic games, we need several key competencies…..

    A Vision of what it looks like when you attain your goal.

    A Plan of what you need to do to get there.

    Focus to overcome the daily distractions that would try to steal our dream

    Willingness to Sacrifice what you want to do, and what others are doing, for what you know that you need to do.

    Perseverance to push past feeling comfortable, and become accustomed to feeling uncomfortable with what lies ahead.

    Fearlessness to dare to believe that you have the capability to succeed.

    None of this is easy. But as Booker T. Washington said, “Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.” So now that I’ve been inspired by Olympians from around the world, I’m going to go back to my daily routine, step by step, and work toward my gold medal.

    What about you?

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