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Government Shutdown and the Real Role of Leadership

As with most people in the United States I have watched the unfolding of a stand off between the President and Congress with keen interest. My focus recently has been upon the role of leadership or this case a lack of true leadership. It is possible this politicians should take a moment to read an article entitled “Shared Leadership.”

As a Business Adviser, I work hard to simplify what is actually happening – using the Law of Cause and Effect to clarity the reality of situation. So here are my observations regarding this apparent deadlock of ideals…

First, blame is not of any interest to me. You can blame all of them if you desire. In fact, I have observed many discussions and diatribes assigning blame to everyone – which in my opinion is not an accurate effort. It is true however there is a lack of real leadership within all groups – White House and Congress.

Voss Graham interview by Jeff Blackman – Part 2


Here’s more of my conversation with friend and fellow pro, Voss Graham. Voss is the CEO and Senior Business Advisor for the InnerActive Consulting Group in Cordova, Tennessee. He helps individuals and companies get to their “next level.”

Jeff Blackman: How does confidence impact short and long-term success?

Voss Graham: Self-confidence is the bedrock or foundational aspect for the successful athlete, businessperson or sales pro. In fact, sales people with high levels of confidence seem to make sales before they even offer a solution. Why? Because customers want to do business with confident people. They feel these people will make things happen and do whatever it takes to get the job done.

People lacking self-confidence are at a major disadvantage. Customers sense a lack of confidence, and therefore lose faith in the abilities of the sales pro or business person. Yes, that’s an emotional response by the customer.  Yet all decisions are based in emotional responses, and logic is used to justify our emotional decisions.

In sports or business, confidence breeds a winners’ attitude. Winners take control of their mental mindset and view all situations with a positive point of view. Losers tend to look for negatives and use both internal negative self-talk and external negative talk, which attracts more negative influences into their lives, and their results become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

JB: So confidence drives our self-perception and the world’s perception of who we are?

Voss Graham interview by Jeff Blackman – Part 1


The first time Voss Graham and I met, we were sitting next to each other, both doing something we love. Watching a ballgame. Nope, not the Chicago Cubs. It was actually a New York Yankees game, in famed Yankee Stadium.

We soon discovered we had a lot in common. A passion for professional sports. A rabid loyalty to our respective college alma maters and their teams’ wins and woes. For me, the University of Illinois. For Voss, Louisiana State University. A passion for our profession. A shared and valued collection of mutual friends. And an ongoing curiosity about human potential.

Voss is the CEO and Senior Business Advisor for the InnerActive Consulting Group in Cordova, Tennessee. As you’ll soon discover, he’s one smart dude. Especially, when it comes to understanding what helps people and companies succeed and get to “the next level.”

Jeff Blackman: What does it mean, “to think like a winner?”

Voss Graham: There’s only minimal skill, competencies, or attributes gaps between winners and losers. Yet, the difference in results between the two classes is very significant. Since skills, competencies, and attributes can be measured, what’s the factor that leads to such big differences in personal performance? It’s simply the attitudes people bring to the game.

Attitude has a multiplier effect on both our inborn attributes like intelligence and behavioral style and our learned attributes of skills, knowledge, and experience. Using a positive multiplier, a person can distance themselves from both peers and competition relative to the results and outcomes.

“It’s the Singer not the Song”

Over the weekend I was listening to music from the Great British philosopher – Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones – and listened to this phrase in one of his songs…

It’s the Singer, Not the Song!”

I realized at that moment the parallel to individuals in today’s business environment.

The fact is everyone knows the words and parrots them quickly and easily. Yet, few actually walk the talk of the leadership world. You see it takes discipline and persistence to do the right things as a leader in every situation. It’s the singer who makes the difference.

Who Do You Serve?

As a product of the 1960’s I enjoy listening to the old song masters from this era. One of my favorites is Bob Dylan. So this weekend I listened to some of his original songs and got inspired by one particular song – “Gotta Serve Somebody.”

Now I could go into a long discussion about the importance of customer service or servitude leadership – yet, Dylan took this verse to the ultimate. He continuously asked the questions and posed comparisons to what is available for you to make a choice – good or bad, the devil or the lord, and several additional points of reference.

Since the scope of this collection of short articles and posts are directed to the leaders in our world – whether the leader is involved in running a company (big or small) to running the country, state, or city – it really boils down to the choices you make everyday. And, You Gotta Serve Somebody!

10 Characteristics of the Best Leaders

Seems there are many descriptions of leaders in the world these days. Some of these groupings are accurate and many are based upon the appearance of leadership rather than the real leaders found at any level of an organization.

Several years ago I wrote an article entitled “Shared Leadership” which can still be found on the internet today in several publications. It discussed the need for everyone to take responsibility for a leadership role and how much better the organization would become.

Most people think leadership is all about Power, dishing out Punishment, handing out Rewards, the Title or Position held by someone or even the Expertise a person has within their organization. Well, these are all fine and dandy, however, several key truths are missing. Leadership is not about assumptions or guess work, there are specific traits or characteristics found in the real leaders of today.

Time for Cool and Calm Thinking

Today’s post will be brief and to the point. Due to the recent moves in the financial markets and the adverse actions of a credit rating agency, our economy will be in major shock when the markets opens.

Personally, I’m expecting major downward pressure on the markets and a time period for the thought leaders come to understand the meaning and future of our “new” economy.

Yet, in an attempt to point out how expectations can create a future result or happening, it is time for our business leaders to actively lead their organizations. I know several will automatically begin cutting budgets and destroying their own growth momentum. Others will take and “wait and see” attitude, waiting for the dust to settle before taking any major actions.

Lack of Real Leadership Killing our Economy

I was thinking about a topic for a leadership article, yet, the news makers are all talking about the economic problems we are having – even to the point of comparing it to 2008 downturn. Well, while it is similar it is very different, if you take the time to think about everything happening during the past three months to create our economic challenges.

The talking heads and the financial writers have been using scare tactics for the past month, yet, they are still raving about our economy issues. First, please recognize the media only gets ratings and audiences for negative news. Positive news is well basically forbidden on the news today.

Look, the economy is just fine. It is the leaders of both the government and the corporate decision makers who are compounding the problem.

Realizing the issues are complex in nature, take the time to think about what has been happening for the past two – really six months. Congress and the White House have been deadlocked in a bad case of “chicken.”

Yet, the losers will not be either the White House or the members of Congress, the real losers are the people in the United States. Now, it is true that some members of the Congress will probably lose their next election due to the bad reactions from the deadlock. Yet, the reality is – people are losing jobs today due to their “leaders”  stupidity.

Five New Jobs for Top Managers and Leaders

Got to thinking about how the business world has been turned upside down over the past three years and how the new “norms” are beginning to take shape. Then, my thoughts expanded into what new roles will the managers and leaders of organizations need to add if they truly want their people to excel and return higher levels of results?

Here are five new jobs (and old jobs for the forward thinkers in the group) for managers and leaders to guide their organizations into the new business world. And, don’t kid yourself or deny the business world has not changed – because it has. And, change will be a consistent part of your future landscape.

So, here are five new jobs for you to think about and work into your current routines and success habits.