Friday, December 14, 2018

12 Reasons Why Meetings May Suck!

Team meetings are very productive when leaders take charge.

I'm not just talking about starting and ending the meeting on time, that's a given.

I'm saying that leaders need to be aware of the following 12 reasons why meetings may suck:

1. Bloviators

2. Texting under the table

3. No agenda

4. We covered this last time

5. Irrelevant attendees

6. Pretending to take notes, but really sending emails.

7. Ignored or disregarded remote participants.

8. Rabbit chasing

9. Could we please do something

10. It could have been an email.

11. No call to actions

12. Meeting hijackers

I'm sure you can add to this list. 

Bottom line: eliminate bad meeting behavior.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

It's Showtime!

Leaders...You are on a stage:

- Your attitude is contagious, realize you impact others.

- Determine how you show up before you show up.

- Don't blow off steam in public.

- Leaders act with others in mind, practice the Platinum Rule, and reserve venting for your counselor or coach.

- Share concerns with optimism.

- Praise loudly, blame softly.

- Remember, your team is not there for you, you are there for them...perform as a Leader.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Stand Tall, Drop The "Small"

I recently asked a group of business owners to raise their hands if they call themselves a "small business owner".

Of course all 30 of them raised their hands.

 I then asked them if they wanted to grow their business. 
Once again,  all 30 raised their hands. 

Then I said, therein lies the problem... a few of them looked at me and said,  what do you mean the problem?

 And I replied,  if you're going to call yourself a small business owner you're going a "small" business owner.
 I told them all,  it's time to start thinking like a big company...if you want to grow.

 Get out of the fish bowl, I said, and get into the ocean. 
They asked me, what does that mean?

 I answered, okay take a goldfish and put it in a fishbowl. 
Then I asked, how big will that goldfish get?
They all said,  the size of the fishbowl.
Exactly, I quickly stated. 

Put that goldfish in a lake, and how big will it get? 
Frickin' huge! One gentleman shouted.

*** Effective immediately,  start thinking big. Research what big companies have in place that you do not.
Here are at least five you need to implement:
1. KPIs
2. Marketing Plan
3. Vision and Mission Statements
4. A sounding board or trusted advisors.
5. USP or Point of Difference. 

- Stand tall and drop the "small".


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Leadership and Marathons

Last Sunday,  while running the Erie Marathon (26.2 miles), I was reminded of Dan Rockwell's words:
"There is no permanent cure for leadership loneliness, only regular treatments."

That statement got me thinking about how running a marathon and leadership loneliness had a lot in common.

Now I'm not talking about the professional runners who cross the finish line in 2.5 hours. I'm talking about the majority of marathoners who are out on the course for 4, 5, or even 6 hours.
Let me tell you, not only are we out there twice as long as the elite runners, it can often get lonely.

When I run a marathon, I like to chat with others who run at my pace. Over the years I've heard lots of heartwarming stories. From people running for a loved one that has passed, to celebrating their 50 race, to a special young lady who was recently cured of a terrible disease.
Hearing their stories is my regular treatment for loneliness.

As leaders, we need to find our "regular treatments" for leadership loneliness.

Here are 10 best practices from established leaders I've know over the years:
(not in any particular order)
1. Become a member of a mastermind group.
2. Hire an experienced coach as a sounding board.
3. Ask for sincere and candid feedback from your team. "How am I doing?"
4. Meet with leaders outside your company on a regular basis.
5. Attend networking events.
6. Join a networking group.
7. Volunteer for a non profit.
8. Become a mentor.
9. Find a mentor.
10. Run marathons.

....and yes, I'm sure there are plenty more...please share what works for you in a comment below.
 thank you

Sunday, September 2, 2018

"They Are Not Here For Us...We Are Here For Them."

"They are not here for us...We are here for them."
John Susan, (God rest his soul), shared these words when he was mentoring me in leadership.

"Leadership is giving", John would say, "As leaders we need to give our wisdom so that others may grow. Our young team leaders are not here to make us look good, we are here to make them look good."

I asked John, "So how do we know it's working?"

"You will know Bob, yes... you will know." John replied in soft confidence.

Several years later my leadership lessons from John were put to the test:

---- It was a year of change. Giant Eagle had a new CEO with a new vision. He created awards for store teams based on seven Key Performance Indicators.
 Then all of a sudden, I was asked to take a temporary assignment, which meant leaving my store right in the middle of a banner year. (I had been Store Director there for the last 2 years).
AND,  we were running 3rd and 4th place in all the performance categories.  The company was not sending a replacement for me, my senior team and co-manager would be in charge...this would truly be a test of trust and leadership.

My team all joked with me... "Well Bob, I guess we will be hearing from you several times a day while you are away. We all know you need to check in on us."
They were all surprised by my answer. "How about this... If you need me, what I mean is, if there is problem you can't solve as a team, then call me."
With surprised passion several of them asked... " what about the 4th quarter strategies for all the KPI's?! we are so close to winning!"
"And you will." I replied with soft confidence.

Off I went to Ohio on my special project.
The weeks went on. The only communications I received from my team was an occasional friendly hello or how are you doing?


Fast forward...The year came to an end. The 4th quarters results were in and the year-to-date KPI's,  along with the winners, were published company wide.

This was the most gratifying day of my leadership career... the team I empowered and trusted were champions:
# 1 in Safety
# 1 in Customer Satisfaction
# 1 in Sales increase over budget
#1 in net profit improvement over budget
#1 Most profitable Bakery
#1 Most profitable Kitchen at Giant Eagle
Tied for #1 in Employee Satisfaction

Did my team struggle during the last 3 months? ABSOLUTELY!
Did they learn from their struggles and pressed forward as a team? YES!
Did I learn a lesson? I sure did...during those 3 months I can't tell you how many times I wanted to pick up the phone, how many times I wanted to make sure they were implementing my strategies...
...but I didn't.


A month later the new CEO as well as several other company officers held an on-site celebration at our store.
Darlene spoke on behalf of the store team-
".. Bob is a leader in the truest sense of the word. He taught us, inspired us, challenged us, held us accountable, empowered us, and most of all he trusted us. We are champions today because Bob Gambone is a champion. We are leaders today, because Bob Gambone is a leader."


Leadership is giving. Giving people the opportunity to do things they may not necessarily want to do, but need to do...including ourselves.
Did I want to "let go" of the control over my team in that final 4th quarter, hell no!...but I needed to.
Like John Susan said, "You will know Bob, yes... you will know."


Saturday, August 18, 2018

The New "A" Word


We talk about it, we say we want it, we say people need to be held accountable, but what does accountability really mean?

I recently had a inspiring conversation with a very good friend of mine.

"Mary*, how do you define accountability?"

Mary paused at first and then explained...
 "First,  lets talk about integrity. Integrity is who we are, what we believe about ourselves. If we have integrity we are honest and will do the right thing even when no one is watching.
 Accountability is being responsible for an action.
 Integrity is talking the talk, accountability is walking the talk."

She continued to say... "Accountability needs to have consequences.
The consequences can be good or bad, but without consequences,  accountability is meaningless.
And... I believe accountability is an act of love."

I interrupted... "Really?   Love?"

 "Yes, you have to love someone to hold them accountable, even if they do not love you back.
Hold them accountable because that's whats best for them. By doing this, you will create an environment where performance is expected, enjoyed, and honored.
Circling back...Integrity is in their hearts, accountability is in their actions. When actions are fulfilled, so will be the heart."

* Mary is a award winning educator, a successful entrepreneur, and a gifted coach.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Challenge Is In Our DNA.

Challenge is in our DNA.

We are born to challenge ourselves.

As babies, we see everyone else what do we do?        We try to walk.

Do we succeed immediately?......NO!    we fall, we stumble, we fall again, we cry, we hurt, we fall...eventually we figure it out and learn to walk.

You could also say the same about potty training, learning to talk, reading, riding a bike, etc....

So why is it that only 34% of people in business like challenges. Only 34% like to set goals, step into leadership positions, and only 34% enjoy taking on a challenge that is outside their comfort zone?*

I say, your environment. "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." ~ Jim Rohn

Are you hanging with winners? .... or are you surrounded by the Average Joe's?    You know, the naysayers, the yea but-ers, Negative Normans, Debbie get the point.

As infants, we are cheered on by families to succeed, our families are the leaders... then it happens... we become adults, and we are on our own.

Now we need to lead ourselves.

Leadership is getting people to do things they may not necessarily want to do, but need to do...including ourselves.

Take a look at your environment...the 5 people you spend the most time with.... and do what you need to do.

*Harvard Business Review