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Learning to Lead through Questions

Alan Andersen



What do you do when someone asks you a question?

If you’re like most people, you respond with an answer. In fact, this may seem so simple that you’re consciously or subconsciously wondering why we would even bring this up.

However, I want to share some counterintuitive food for thought when it comes to “Q & A”. And, this especially applies to you if you’re a leader, so please take note and seriously consider our concept.

Q & A

In our Western culture, from an early age, we were all taught that if someone asks a question the right thing to do is answer it. I know this is true of me, in particular. My brain’s wiring (for those of you that are familiar with DISC) is that of a “high D”, high as in a 96 out of 100 on the DISC scale.

My brain is ultra ready to answer ANY question thrown its way. So ready, in fact, that it often feels like I have an answer to the question that you don’t even know you’re going to ask me!

This is a big problem, admittedly, for some of us more than others. Not only were most of us taught to respond to questions. Furthermore, we were not taught to ask even better questions in return.

Asking Better Questions

The good news about succeeding in life is that it is not always about how you start. It is not always about how mediocre or bad the cards are in the hand you were dealt. Or even how much of a victim you feel like.

Instead, it is about how you finish the race. It is about how well you play the hand that you were dealt. Or adjusting your fixed, victim mentality to mature into a growth mindset.

In light of this good news (that you are NOT the victim), we are grateful to pass on the very model that we use, with up and coming leaders. Specifically for asking better questions.

We call this model the L3x Model.

L3x Model

First, the model itself.






Lead with questions


Rinse and Repeat 3x


Closing Word

At the end of the day, our aim at Shandel Group, is to help you accelerate the healthy growth process of your leadership journey. There are few things, if any at all, that will help you lead and lead well, like asking great questions!

Asking great questions lets you adapt and pass the test of time like few skills. Consider this word from John Maxwell.

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”

Asking questions helps you know how much or little to adjust your sails!

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

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Make Your Communication Stick!

Alan Andersen

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Communication…We all know how important it is to communicate, yet what I find is we are sometimes not equipped with how to deliver our message. Brad Lomenick has some great tips below on How to Make Your Communication Stick. What he shares are simple, yet engaging ideas that will inspire you to get that conversation going, and in a way that is meaningful and memorable!

I talked about communication in Silence is Not Golden, it’s Deadly. Employee surveys reveal that communication is virtually always at the top of the “needs improvement list.”  Problems in communication can mean inaccurate information or insensitive comments. However, a huge chunk of it fits in the negative category of not communicating information properly.

Much of what is shared involves some of my favorite coaching topics: Be vulnerable. Be authentic. Connect personally.

Which step are you going to embrace today to communicate better with those in your sphere of influence?

Grateful to be your Coach,

Shandel Sutherland

8 Ways to Make your Communication Stick

By Brad Lomenick

Whether you are a seasoned leader, college student, author, professor, CEO, politician, or pastor, we all have to learn to communicate well. Whether we are speaking to thousands, speaking to our staff, giving a report, making a speech, teaching your kids soccer team, or addressing your company, it’s imperative as leaders we know how to communicate. To make our point. To deliver a message. And communicating is much easier said than done. Actually it’s the saying part and the doing part that make it difficult.

So here are some tips that might make communicating a bit easier for you and a bit more enjoyable for those listening. To make it stick. 

1. Keep it Simple. Stay focused on a few key points. And use common sense. If it sounds confusing, it probably is. If it sounds cheesy, it probably is.

2. Tell great stories to validate your points. Unless you are just an amazing communicator, your points probably won’t hold me. So sprinkle in some great stories, good analogies, personal connections, and current events.

3. Inspire action. Push me towards doing something, not just hearing something.

4. Know your audience. Seems simple, but many miss this one. Make constant connections to your audience. If you’re talking to a group of high school students, don’t use the same jokes and intro as you did with the local Lions Club mens pancake breakfast the day before.

5. Create hooks, repetitions, and memorable phrases. I won’t remember all you said, but I might remember something you said. Our current culture is now built around soundbytes- status updates, tweets, texts, etc. So keep it simple, but also keep it short.

6. Connect personally. Look people in the eye. Recognize individuals in the audience and mention their name. Find people in the crowd and speak directly to them. Make eye contact with the entire room, from side to side. If your audience thinks you care about them, then they’ll care about what you are saying.

7. Be authentic, vulnerable, and funny. The key is to just simply be you. Allow the audience to get to know you. Make yourself vulnerable by talking about a failure or something that gives you instant connection. Be funny and find ways to keep your content light and humorous.

8. Land the plane on time. Not just ending on time, but actually ending with the right timing. Don’t keep circling above the runway – land it now.

What other tips would you add for communicating well?

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Want an Abundant Life? Change Your Thinking

Alan Andersen

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There has been so much conversation about “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset” over the last 5-10 years that embracing a growth mindset almost seems common language.

However, the truth is, practically speaking what can make or break you is in your mind. Therefore, we’re going to spend a moment with Michael Hyatt and look at what true abundance can mean for us!

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

The context

Sometimes when you are running, things really come into view. A few years ago, I had been considering two different kinds of thinking that lead us in very different directions as I jogged.

One way of thinking that I considered—which many call scarcity thinking—usually leads to failure, fear, and discontent. These are the sort of limiting beliefs that I have come to warn people against.

A Better Way?

The opposite of scarcity thinking is abundance thinking, which gives us a shot at success, joy, and fulfillment. These more generous ideas have much in common with the liberating truths I have used to help leaders drive out doubt and overcome significant obstacles.

A Tale of Two Thinkers

My friend Robert Smith, author most recently of 20,000 Days and Counting, is a great example of abundance thinking in action.

Robert is one of the most generous people I know. He always greets me with a big smile, a hug, and an encouraging word. I leave his presence energized, feeling great about being me.

And I have noticed that he is like this with everyone. He treats employees, vendors, booking agents, publishers, and others as if they are his best customers. He routinely invests in their success.

It comes back to him in a thousand ways.

One of my former clients—who we’ll call Charlie—is just the opposite, and a perfect example of applied scarcity thinking.

Charlie exhibits a hoarding mentality. He never picks up the check, even if he asks you to lunch. He constantly complains about everything. When I was working with him, I always left his presence drained and diminished.

And he is like this with everyone, I learned. His employees roll their eyes when you mention his name, but don’t dare say anything that could get back to him. They live in constant fear that their livelihood and well-being are at risk.

Not coincidentally, the success that their boss craves always seems to elude him.

More Than Enough vs. Never Enough

When I got home from running I wrote down this list of polar opposites, with Robert and Charlie in mind:

Abundance thinkers:

  • Believe there is always more where that came from.

  • Share their knowledge, contacts, and compassion with others.

  • Default to trust and build rapport easily.

  • Welcome competition, believing it makes the pie bigger and them better.

  • Ask themselves, How can I give more than is expected?

  • Are optimistic about the future, believing the best is yet to come.

  • Think big, embracing risk.

  • Are thankful and confident.

Scarcity thinkers:

  • Believe there will never be enough.

  • Are stingy with their knowledge, contacts, and compassion.

  • Default to suspicion and find it difficult to build rapport.

  • Resent competition, believing it makes the pie smaller and them weaker.

  • Ask themselves, How can I get by with less than is expected?

  • Are pessimistic about the future, believing that tough times are ahead.

  • Think small, avoiding risk.

  • Are entitled and fearful.

Change of Heart

I don’t think I’ve overdone the contrast here. Robert and Charlie are just that far apart, in how they behave and in the results of that behavior.

But I don’t think for most of us it’s that cut-and-dry. We have a little bit of Robert and a little bit of Charlie in us. I know I do.

We ought to strive to grow as abundance thinkers, to be more like Robert and less like Charlie in our careers and in our lives. Proverbs reminds us that as a man “thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Originally posted by Michael Hyatt

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Partly Cloudy or Partly Sunny – How to Energize Others

Alan Andersen

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Would your team say you are partly cloudy or partly sunny? Is there a difference between what we think of ourselves and what our team members think of us? Read on to find out how to be a mostly sunny leader.

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

You see yourself as sunny. Others think you’re cloudy.

The way you occur to others and the way you perceive yourself are two different things.

When you look at the sky:

According to the National Weather Service, partly sunny skies are between 37% and 63% sunny. But partly cloudy skies are also between 37% and 63% cloudy.

Partly cloudy and partly sunny mean the same thing.

When you look at the sky, do you see clouds or blue?

If you spend 50% of your time focused on problems, you might think you’re a beam of light, but you’re cloudy.


You think you’re cheerful. They think you’re cloudy. People magnify clouds and minimize sun.

A short spring shower from you is a downpour to your team.

The mostly sunny leader:

It’s not about smiling, although smiling helps.

A leader worth following energizes people even when it’s raining.

How to be a mostly sunny leader:

  1. Let people know they matter. You don’t have to be bubbly. Just make people feel important.*

  2. Believe improvement and progress are possible with energy and teamwork.

  3. Find something good to say.

  4. See the clouds and choose the sun. Don’t ignore issues, problems, and challenges. But for goodness sake, see the good.

  5. Take action. Talk without action is a power outage. Focus on something you CAN do.

If you talk about problems 80% of the time and solutions 20% of the time, you’re a tsunami of energy sucking negativity.


Rate your interactions for a week with a + or -.

  1. Did you make someone feel important? Record a plus.

  2. Did you complain most of the time? Record a minus.

  3. Were you solution focused? Record a plus.

  4. Did you talk but not take action? Record a minus.

  5. Did you see a problem as an opportunity? Record a plus.

Review and adjust appropriately.

How might leaders better energize people and teams?

Originally posted by Leadership Freak

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Exercising the Right Muscles

Alan Andersen

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4 minute read.

A CFO at one of our clients recently told me that I am “so good at conflict resolution.” As I shared with them, the truth is that I simply exercise my conflict resolution muscle more than most people. You too can be very proficient at wherever you invest your focus.

Where your focus goes, your energy flows.

And at times it can be helpful to have a compare and contrast list. In this instance Dan Rockwell has served us very well and created such a list.

Enjoy the quick read of what not to do!

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

Top Ten Toxic Behaviors of Lousy Leaders:

#1. Neglecting relationships. A short conversation about someone’s family while getting coffee isn’t a waste of time. If you want great results, build strong relationships.

#2. Tolerating bad apples. Time makes bad apples rot. They don’t ripen with time. Your team is waiting for you to reassign, retrain, or remove people who don’t fit or don’t contribute.

#3. Avoiding tough conversations. Bad gets worse when you avoid it. Try saying, “I noticed…,” when the topic is uncomfortable. Describe it. Don’t judge it.

#4. Making feedback conversations personal. Don’t criticize someone’s character. Describe behavior and impact. “When you (behavior) the team (impact).”

#5. Spending too much time focused on problems. Fixing is a backward-facing activity. It’s necessary to fix problems, but the future is built by seizing opportunities.

#6. Never apologizing. “I was wrong,” builds more trust than self-justification or excuses.

#7. Failing to see the good side of bad qualities. The things that irritate you about others may reveal strengths. A slow decision-maker may be great with details.

#8. Hiding behind weaknesses and faults. “That’s just the way I am,” is a leader’s way of saying get used to me interrupting you, for example. The other sentence to listen for is, “I’m just not good at that.”

#9. Listening too little and talking too much. Listening saves time. Stop answering questions that aren’t being asked. Bloviating leaders suck the life out of teams. Jumping to conclusions diminishes others.

#10. Listening with a critical fault-finding attitude. Explore other people’s imperfect ideas. Most people don’t need to get their way. They just need to be heard.


  1. Hoarding good jobs and delegating crap assignments.

  2. Defining yourself by your successes and others by their failures.

  3. Believing success is transferable.

  4. Neglecting culture.

originally posted by LeadershipFreak Dan Rockwell

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There Is No Shortcut

Alan Andersen


This will be short and sweet. Sweet like pepper!

I legitimately love this word from Seth’s blog. So much so that I’m sharing it here. It will only take 2 minutes to read, however, the principle will give a lifetime of positive results… If you adhere to it day in and day out!

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

This one simple trick makes everything faster and easier

Here it is, tested, effective and worthwhile:

Stop chasing shortcuts.

Personal finance, weight loss, marketing, careers, beating traffic, relationships, education–everything that matters to someone often comes with heavily promoted shortcuts as an alternative.

Fast, risk-free, effortless secrets that magically work, often at someone else’s expense.

But if the shortcuts worked as promised, they wouldn’t be shortcuts, would they? They’d be the standard.

A shortcut is not an innovation. It’s not a direct path, either. Those work, but they require effort, risk and insight.

If you can’t afford the time and effort to do it right, you probably can’t afford to do it over after you realize that the shortcut was merely a trap.

Originally posted on Seth’s Blog here.

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approaching a defensive boss

Alan Andersen

rowing leadership.jpg

There are fewer things that give us delight than helping people navigate hard conversations. After all…

Communication is the cornerstone to all productive action.

We’re going to see some practical strategies in how to communicate with a defensive boss. Whether you’re proactively pursuing a “leader” before the conference call begins or mid-swing in the meeting and your boss goes sideways, there are some practical ways that you can increase the likelihood that you can be victorious.

I trust you’ll enjoy this article from Mike Gellman as much as we have!

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

How to Give Constructive Feedback to a Toxic Boss

The best bosses are leaders -- men and women who encourage open dialogue and make it easy for employees to approach them with workplace concerns.

Sadly, not all bosses fit into this category.

Consider the following boss-employee interaction, in which an organizational leader at a nonprofit publicly flayed her HR director for the "egregious" offense of suggesting an update to the organization's policy guidelines that would discourage employees from using profanity on the job. 

The HR director – who had made the suggestion in an indirect attempt to curb her boss's own colorful workplace language – backed down. Familiar with their boss's defensive behavior, no one else spoke up. The profanity continued and eventually the HR director left, taking the organization’s last hope of civility with her.

Unfortunately, feedback averse bosses can be a common fixture in the workplace; if you've ever found yourself stuck in a similar situation, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there a few strategies you can use when approaching a defensive boss. Start by scheduling a face-to-face meeting, and then approach the task strategically.

Before the meeting

Self-assess to determine your role in the problem. It's important to understand and acknowledge your contribution to the issue: Has your silence, attitude, or accusations added to the tension in some way? Have you misrepresented or distorted any facts? Have your emotions gotten the best of you? Take an honest look at your own behavior.

Identify what you want the conversation to achieve. While many folks are clear on what they don’t want, they haven’t thought through what they do want to accomplish. Are you simply trying to make your boss aware of how he or she comes across? Do you expect your boss to change his or her behavior and attitude? Or do you want your boss to acknowledge his or her mistake and apologize to you? It's hard to achieve a desired effect if you’re not sure what outcome you want in the first place.

Schedule strategically. Certain times and places are better than others to deliver feedback, especially if it’s of a sensitive nature. Consider broaching the subject with your boss beforehand to determine when, where and explain why you wish to meet with him or her. Your goal is to create a safe environment that will be conducive to your boss taking in what you have to say rather than blindsiding or “sticking it” to him or her.

During the meeting

Start with assurances. Your boss may not be aware of what’s bothering you. Keep in mind that many bosses act defensively because they feel threatened in some way, i.e. they feel like you’re challenging their authority, competence, or ability to run the team. Put them at ease by providing some assurance up front about your intention for the conversation. For example, you may want to start by:

  • Reassuring your boss that you understand and respect his or her position of authority in the situation

  • Informing your boss that something he or she is doing is affecting your ability to perform at your best

  • Outlining in specific terms the actions he or she has taken that undermine the quality of your work or have interfered with your ability to achieve your goals.

  • Reinforcing your desire to build a positive working relationship

Stick to neutral observations. No one likes to be the focal point of blame. One of the quickest ways I’ve seen employees put their boss on the defensive is to launch into full-scale accusations and negative conclusions. Since you’ve prepared for this meeting with your boss, first describe the impact his or her behavior has had on you or your work before sharing any conclusions. Acknowledge your role in the situation to the fullest extent possible.

Summarize what’s been said. Emotionally-charged conversations tend to cloud people’s thinking. Keeping your cool and clarifying perspectives are useful tools that help maintain an atmosphere of respect and minimizes defensiveness to ensure you and your boss’s views are heard. Be sure to summarize what has been resolved and what remains to be resolved along with any commitments that have been made. 

After the meeting

Be gracious. Saying thank you after the meeting, regardless of the outcome, is always a classy gesture of professionalism. Courtesy goes a long way and sets the stage for addressing and resolving future issues that arise.

Follow up. Constructive conversations often fail due to the lack of necessary follow-up and ongoing feedback. We have a discussion and then continue on our merry (or un-merry) way without circling back. Ideally, you and your boss will agree upon a time to “check-in” with each other in advance.

Renegotiate, if necessary. Scheduling a follow-up provides a natural opportunity for you and your boss to reassess agreed upon terms when things aren’t working out as originally anticipated.

By using these strategies to minimize defensiveness, hopefully you will experience greater success in achieving outcomes that work for both you and your boss.

 Mike Gellman originally published on

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Pain: Are You Growing or Dying?

Alan Andersen

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4 Minute Read


Pain is much like death and taxes. It is an inevitable part of life, regardless if one is looking at their personal or professional endeavors, pain will impact them.

Candidly, I know that this is not particularly motivating to hear or even maybe a “normal” topic that you will find on a professional services blog. However, it is the truth.

One of the best leaders that I know of, a person who exceeds expectations in both their personal and professional world, shared one of the wisest gems that I’ve ever heard.

Before I pass it on, I’ll share the context. I aim to grab coffee or lunch with this gentleman as much as I possibly can (typically monthly). As we’ve gotten to know each other over time, I finally asked him how he had become so wholistically “successful”. His response was gold and as follows.

Alan, you have to be willing to be hurt. I am willing to be hurt. I don’t necessarily try to get hurt, I don’t make reckless decisions. In fact, I strive to be a faithful steward of everything and everyone that I am entrusted with. And yet, I know I will be hurt by others at some point or another. I have been hurt by others, but that pain has not been wasted.

Wow! Even as I review my notes now from that meeting and reiterate them here, I am blown away. Maybe you’re wondering why are you so easily awed. But seriously, who in their right mind is OKAY with getting “hurt”? Or to put it another way, who is on the lookout for pain and doesn’t merely avoid it at all costs?!

The truth is, the best of the best. Exactly like this gentleman that I mention here. High performers do not shrink from a challenge, they rise to the occasion.

This idea may seem like an “extreme growth mindset”, but it reminds of one of my favorite quotes. A quote that we’ve likely all heard (from one of the greatest boxers of all time, mind you).

"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."

While Mike Tyson said this in the context of the boxing ring, does it not ring true for every area of life? I submit that it does. Namely, we must be open to embracing the growing pains of maturity.

Side note, one of the biggest lessons an aspiring boxer must learn is that it is not only about how hard one punches, but how well that person can take a punch and keep going.

The Gist

As we begin to experience pain or hurt in realtime, my aim is to help begin to say, “In spite of this pain, I will keep moving forward in the right direction.” However, what if we are not naturally able to practice this mindset?

Growing vs. Dying

Practicing self-awareness is where we begin to learn how to distinguish between growing pains and dying pains. We strive to embrace the discomfort of healthy pain and differentiate between unhealthy (or unnecessary) pain.

Physiologically, most people can see and or sense the tremors of “would-be” pain. Whether this is the pain of interpersonal differences, conflict resolution or simple communication contrasts.

Here is how we can learn to embrace the growing pains and hurdle the dying pains.

  1. PAUSE

    At the first signs of pain, pause. Don’t run away, don’t hide, AND don’t just dive head first into the thick of it. Pause for just a moment to get a “good look” at what you’re experiencing.

  2. ASK

    Consider the nature of perceived or apparent pain and ask yourself, “If I avoid this situation will it come back to bite me?” Or, “Will this be more difficult to deal with in a day, a week, a month, etc?” Or, “What if I embrace this situation now, while it’s a smaller deal or incident, will it save me time, energy, and headache?” In my experience, it’s usually the latter!

  3. ACT

    For God’s sake take action! Indecision is nearly as bad as pure avoidance. Why? Because our brain and body can become accustomed to doing nothing… which in most cases is actually choosing to breath to death!


    Finally, after a decision has be made, whether to embrace the clunkiness or to ignore it, look back and see what would have been best for you to do. Then next time simply iterate based on what you learned.

In closing, I want to remind us of a fundamental reality. As my friend and former navy SEAL Leif Babin so often says, “There’s no growth in the comfort zone.” That is the truth!

Now, let’s embrace the growing pains so that we can hurdle the dying pains.

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

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Instantly Spotting a Great Leader

Alan Andersen

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At the end of the day, our intent is to help you accelerate the healthy growth process. Practically speaking, a great way to stunt that growth is to not attract excellent leaders (and or would-be leaders) to join you on that journey.

So just how can you speed up that process? First, you must live up to the standard that you desire to see in others. Second, you need to have an eye for “talent”.

Let’s learn from Buffett on how to zero in on identifying the right people.

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

Knowledge vs. Wisdom

Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, captures the world's attention with simple wisdom that stretches far beyond wealth and investment.

The billionaire's hiring advice, for example, should be common sense for any organization choosing which leaders it will hire and promote to higher ranks. But, truth be told, Buffett's advice is not common practice in the age of narcissism. He said:

We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if they don't have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you're going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.

So it's time to hold up the mirror. Do you hire for integrity? The pinnacle of a person's character should be explored in-depth but is often overlooked in interviews, which can be costly later, especially in upper levels of the hierarchy.

6 Reasons Integrity is Key

Here are six reasons you should consider basing your leadership hiring decisions on people with integrity.

1. An orientation toward the truth.

The ability to connect with others and the ability to be oriented toward the truth are two non-negotiable parts of a person with integrity. In essence, this is someone who will leverage both abilities to operate from honesty, embrace change, reject wrongdoing, and get real results.

2. Practicing what they preach.

Leaders walking the talk of integrity follow through on their commitments and deliver on "doing the right thing." Of course, they allow room for mistakes and failure (they're human, after all), but they hold themselves accountable to a high standard absent of outside influences. 

3. Giving others credit.

Leaders with integrity know they're the experts and understand the power they possess. What they don't do is take advantage of their status and hog the spotlight. They make a constant effort to praise and acknowledge an employee's contribution; they give them credit for exceptional work.

4. Being generous with their time.

Leaders with integrity make it a top priority to know their people in order to grow their people. They spend considerable time pouring into the lives of others through mentoring and by exposing them to new responsibilities that will stretch their development.

5. Cutting through conflict to solve problems.

Conflict is unavoidable when human beings are involved. Rather than being passive-aggressive, leaders with integrity are aware that cutting through conflict with active listening skills to understand a situation from all angles is a much faster solution to resolving an issue than running away from conflict and avoiding people.

6. Putting away the mask.

A common tendency for people at work is to put on a mask that hides who they truly are when faced with difficult people or situations. A leader with integrity shows up with her best and most authentic self; she'll face difficult people and situations with unfettered, emotional honesty and transparency.  

Originally published on Inc.

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What Is Leadership

Alan Andersen

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While we have already shared our working definition of leadership, we want to zoom out and look at the big picture of leadership. You might ask why and here’s the truth.

We are seeing more and more leaders (and would-be leaders) look at leadership all wrong.

There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the reality of being a leader. Therefore, let’s look at the two major factors for practicing healthy leadership, namely, Attitude AND Action.


Ever taken an inkblot evaluation (formally called the "Rorschach" test)? If we had more time, I would take us through a variation of the inkblot test with an emphasis on leadership. The truth is that healthy leadership is MORE about…

  • Accountability not Accolades

  • Responsibility not Rewards

  • Patience not Instant Gratification

  • Persistence not Give-In

  • Tenacity not Slacking

At the end of the day, healthy leaders are focused on serving others to the very best of their aptitude and ability with a happy, humble ATTITUDE. Healthy leaders are not primarily focused on about being served themselves.


Now, let’s look at the other side of this metaphorical coin. Using a simple but practical analogy, consider the contrast between two characters. In fact, these two characters are doctors. They are experts in their field and let’s imagine their next appointment is to give their respective patient an annual check up but here’s the twist…

Doctor 1 Doctor 2

Scenario A

Doctor 1 is all about getting you in and out in the quickest, most helpful manner possible. So the visit goes something like this, after waiting a few moments in the back room. Doctor 1 arrives, cordially greets the patient and commences with the physical.

A short time passes, Doctor 1 clearly begins to wrap up and share something to the affect of “continue with your regular exercise, eating healthy, and don’t drink more than a few alcoholic drink beverages per weeks. See you next year.”

All in all, not bad. You got what you came for. Either a clean bill of health or progress steps to pursue health.

Scenario B

Doctor 2 is equally all about getting the patient in and out in the quickest, most helpful manner possible. Instead though, as soon as he arrives, he verbally sets expectations for the duration of the physical and begins to verbalize EVERYTHING that they are doing.

For instance, they say, “I’m taking my hand and running it from the top of the thigh to the bottom of the knee. Then I’ll use my reflex hammer to assess each leg’s reflexes. Then I’ll monitor blood pressure and we’ll verify stress level too.”

Do you see what is happening in this second scenario? Is Doctor 2 more competent than Doctor 1? Negative!

Doctor 2 is simply verbally communicating what is going on to minimize guesswork and dispel fear. In other words, while Doctor 2 is not necessarily a “better” physician than Doctor 2. The patient feels more in control and subsequently more bought in to getting things done!

A Winning Recipe

I’ll drive this point home. Can you tell the subtle but clear differences between scenario A and B? I’ll bet you can.

As a healthy leader that is focused on embracing responsibility versus looking for a reward. He or she also exercises the muscle of verbally, proactively communicating what they’re doing in order to make the people in their sphere of relationship feel comfortable.

Great leaders eliminate guess work and increase trust with everyone in their reach. This is not through rocket science, but simple, proactive communication that expresses their observations, expectations, and intended results.

Now let’s get out there and build our muscle in these two areas. Practice having a great attitude and communicating proactively discuss in order to keep others in the loop and bolstering trust.

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

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2 Questions Every Leader Will Ask

Alan Andersen


Inevitable Questions

Do I have what it takes?

Will I be found out?

Even the most successful leaders struggle with one or both of these questions at some point in their career. After 15 years in the business, I can assure you there are solid, healthy, affirming answers to these two tough queries.

But only if you are willing to look deep into your heart to find the source of the question.

Often the hidden self-talk to these questions can sound something like this:

Do I have what it takes to reach the next level of success? Will I be able to be successful in the long run? Will I be able to survive the inevitable challenges? Can I really be all that I want to be, or is this it? Do I have what it takes?

Leading Well

If you are going to lead well, you need to answer these questions and stop making a fool of yourself trying to prove yourself. If your identity is grounded in your job, your business title, your status, then these questions will haunt you.

However, if you excel your leadership maturity process, you can rest in the confidence and challenge that great leaders before you have calmed themselves with this simple truth: 

Your identity is not your job. Your job does not define you.

Great leaders believe they have what it takes to do whatever their purpose requires of them. While at the same time, they are humble to stay open to the fact that they do not know everything and need others to help and support them.

When we walk in humble confidence, these questions lose their power over you. 

Do I have what it takes? Yes, and if not, I have a team around me to help me figure it out. 

Will I be found out? I already have been found out. I did not get here alone and I will not get to the next level without a team of people around me. I am confident of our future success because of the people I have around me.

When your identity is not in being “all that” and “the best” but simply your best, then you will find you are the very best you can be, today and always.

If you are ready to answer some of these questions for yourself we are here to support you in the journey!

Your Coach,

Shandel Sutherland

(Repost, but still so GOOD!)

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Navigating Success

Alan Andersen

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The biggest secret to success is determining what success actually is for you. And then defining success for your team, your department and or your organization.

Too many times we just jump into work without doing the heavy lifting of thinking on what “success” actually looks like. (Side note, if you don’t think about it, how will you know when you get close?)

After you’ve determined what success looks like, then you need to FOLLOW THROUGH. Working toward the end game will look different over time. And this is why we’re learning from Dan Rockwell on this topic.

In the industry and on social media, Dan is more commonly known as Leadership Freak. Soak this in!

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen


The path to success is messy. You’ve seen straight-line growth arrows, as if success is neat, safe, predictable and always in the upward direction.

The path to success is a volatile ocean that takes you through uncharted waters. Sometimes you circle back on yourself, lost in the fog.

The Call to Adapt:

Tenacity doesn’t serve you well until you know how to adapt.

Every stormy sea is a call to adapt as you go.

The captain of a ship knows the ship drifts. Winds blow her off course. Invisible currents pull sideways.

You never arrive at the correct destination without adjusting course as you go.


#1. Adaptability is the ability to shift expectations. Failure to adapt means you either get what you expect, or you get nothing. But people fall short. Expectations are off target.

Hold to long-term goals. Adjust short-term objectives.

#2. Adaptability is the ability to navigate disappointing results while continuing to work for great results.

#3. Adaptability is the ability to take full advantage of the team you have, not the team you wish you had.

Successful team members use THEIR strengths everyday in service to organizational mission.

Expecting performance out of weakness is a fool’s errand.

#4. Adaptability is the ability to extend second chances. You never get where you want to go if you aren’t willing to start again after failure.

#5. Adaptability is the ability to reach high – fall short – and reach high again.

A leader who can’t adapt ends up giving up.

#6. Adaptability is the ability to find something good when things don’t go as expected. Performance seldom meets expectation when you reach high.

#7. Adaptability is the ability to learn.

Disappointment is a learning moment for adaptable leaders and teams.

Bonus: Adaptability is the ability to renew energy.

Fill in the blank: Adaptability is the ability to ….

Fill in the blank: Unhealthy adapting is ….

Previously posted on 7/1/19 by the Leadership Freak blog. Follow Dan, he’s tremendous!

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Alan Andersen

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To follow through or to not follow through — that is NOT the question!

The question, what does it look like in your world to be a master of the skills of Follow-Up and Follow-Through? (See previous blog entries for the Why and the How!)


  • Have a vision for your commitments. Use visual reminders in your work area to boost your motivation.

  • Provide encouragement and motivation to others. You’ll uplift yourself in the process.

  • Follow prevailing standard operating procedures (if established) until you can improve on them. Model your actions on someone successful.

  • Plan your processes ahead of time. Create checklists so you don’t have to rely on memory to ensure each step is completed.

  • Schedule next steps using specific dates and times. Use business tools such as mobile devices or computer calendars to set automatic reminders at the time you schedule.

  • Respect other people’s time and wishes by asking what works for them and being on time.

  • Plan to take actions every day that can move you toward your commitments.

  • Schedule periodic evaluations of your effectiveness. Identify what actions were missing that could have improved outcomes and add them to your checklists.

  • Offer resources of value to others based on their needs, working towards a win-win situation.


  • Embed your campaign with value. This is helpful for building new relationships, maintaining current ones and expanding current engagements into larger accounts.

  • Build a favorable “personal brand recognition” with your customers by using frequent, brief emails, tweets or phone calls to provide communications the customer is genuinely interested in.

  • Educate people to aid their decision-making process and motivate them to action. Help prospects move towards making a decision without pressure or hype.

  • Personalize your efforts. Plan ahead to provide something of value from the other person’s point of view.

  • Be persistent, but don’t continually pester people who have told you no. Have a valid business reason (such as new information) for asking them to reconsider.

  • Ask permission to follow up with them at a later date when they may have further needs. Set a reminder to do so.

These are just the beginning of applying Follow-Up and Follow-Through in your working world. Of course you can (and need to!) apply Follow-Up and Follow-Through in your personal life as well.

If you could use a little assistance in strengthening these skills, let us know. We’ll follow up with ya!

Your Coach,



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Passing the Test of Time, Pt. 1

Alan Andersen


Winning the Long Game

If you have done any amount of work with Shandel Group, you have undoubtedly heard us discuss “passing the test of time.” In other words, we want you to win the long game!

Our aim is to help you excel in both your personal and professional life. In order to do that, we are taking a couple of weeks to highlight first, “what is on the test” and then second, “how to pass the test”.

Our intention is to make this process simple so that you can take immediate action.

What's On the Test

The truth is that every human is essentially taking the same test. There are varying degrees of importance to be sure, however, for the most part we’re all working within similar constraints. For instance…

  • Everyone has the same amount of time in a day, a week, and month

  • Everyone has a body that needs to be nurtured (by discipline)

  • Everyone needs sleep (and whitespace)

While the list can go on, I’m trusting that you can see a principle emerging.

Namely, regardless of life stage, income level, or even competence EVERYONE is responsible for wholistically keeping themselves healthy and actively competing in the game of life.

Clarity Creates Direction and Focus

In paraphrasing the intent behind David Allan Coe’s quote captured above, it is far less important for us to look at the external trappings. Emphasizing things like looks, charm, status, wealth, and other less imperative frills. Instead, we must first value the foundation with which our external structure stands on. Like our understanding our purpose, values, vision, and mission in this short life.

And yes, even if you live until 150 years of age (which may not be altogether impossible, though it does sound terrible) that is still quite short in comparison with all of recorded history.

Our encouragement is for you to pause, and consider…

“How can you live life while keeping the end in mind?”

Closing Questions

In fact, when was the last time you updated your eulogy? Or, better yet, have you ever even written your eulogy in the first place?

If the answer is a hard negative on both accounts, start there. And if that seems too hard or even dark, let me encourage you that it is far better to live with the end in mind than to have to approach the end having never before considered it.

If you’re reading this now, you still have time, time to prepare to pass this test called life.

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

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Leadership Defined

Alan Andersen

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What is Leadership?

Seriously, take just one moment and consider how you define it. Moreover, have you ever defined it?

If we’re honest, most of us have not paused long enough to think through a clear, concise definition of what leadership is. Much less, have we taken the time to write anything down in order to pass on the idea to others or maybe even to set expectations for new leaders.

Therefore, we want to define leadership, or at minimum share a simple version for you to build upon. After all, how can you empower and equip someone in something that has not been defined? Now, maybe that is a rhetorical question, however, the truth is that you can’t lead most optimally when there is uncertainty.

Finally, before we share our take on leadership. It is important to consider why we need to define leadership. In brief, we live in a “new” context where there are fewer “ready-made leaders” coming out of high school, college and even graduate school than previous generations. To prove this point with a little levity, consider this as a reflection of our current society.



What is Leading?

Leading is less about managing and more about serving, developing, and growing (yourself and others). In other words, you manage resources, finances, etc. but you lead people. Those are not inherently the same things.

Now, at Shandel Group, we fully understand that management is more commonly used. However, our reasoning for contrasting management and leadership is simple. With powerful apps that automate reports, or the computing power of software, and countless other tools that will help you maintain control of resource allocation we would be wise to notice the difference between human development and non-human development.

To put it plainly, it is unlikely helpful to relegate leadership and management as that same act or task.

Leadership Defined

We believe that leadership is healthy growth that has an impact on you and others.

How do you define leadership?

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

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Intellectual Honesty

Alan Andersen

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Intellectual honesty is amongst the most important principles that must be honored in our industry of Professional Training and Coaching. Too many times people can lean into their own intuition or isolated incidents. In so doing, they can even elevate their own experience to be more than a simple experience.

Today we work through a very helpful and brief write up on this very topic by Steve Hunt, Senior Vice President Human Capital Management Research at SAP SuccessFactors. I trust that you will find Steve’s voice to be as helpful as we have.

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

Fallacies about feedback: almost everything about feedback in this article is wrong

It frustrates me when things are presented as truths when they are at best opinions, and at worst self-serving fabrications.  This is the reaction I had to a recent article in the Washington Post interviewing the author of a Harvard Business Review article about his soon-to-be released book about performance feedback.  My goal here is not to attack this author*.  My goal is to point out things the author is doing that I believe are both wrong and inappropriate. I will do this by critically examining a few quotes the author makes during the interview.  The quotes are placed in two categories of things people do when trying to generate market publicity using misleading pseudo-scientific claims.

First, make stuff up.

One common way to generate publicity is to make bold statements that are counter to prevailing beliefs. Never mind that many common beliefs are common because they are true. The author demonstrates this technique by leading with the following statement:

we think the thing we should be doing is continuously giving each other feedback. But there’s no research at all that says that leads to greater performance”

This claim is flat out false. There are hundreds of studies looking at the impact of feedback on performance.  The overwhelming consensus is feedback improves performance if it is delivered the right way in the right conditions. Note that the part about how feedback is delivered is really important, as feedback delivered the wrong way can hurt performance. Nevertheless, on average feedback does tend to positively impact performance.  Here is small sample of findings from this massive body of peer review, non-commercially oriented, empirical research:

  • “[Based on analysis of 21 studies representing 7,707 employees] nearly all the effect sizes for direct report, peer, and supervisor feedback were positive.” (Smither, London, & Reilly, 2005)

  •  “A meta-analysis (607 effect sizes; 23,663 observations) suggests that feedback interventions improved performance on average” (Kluger & DeNisi, 1996)

  • “Combining feedback and goal setting is superior in affecting performance to providing goal setting alone.” (Neubert, 1998)

The author then attacks the belief that high performers often share common traits. He uses this to claim that feedback does not work since supposedly there are no common elements associated with effective performance. 

“but you actually look at excellent sales people, excellent nurses, excellent doctors, excellent leaders, and the first thing that strikes you is they all look and behave differently”

This claim reflects something called “restriction of range”.  If you compare a sample of excellent performers against one another, you may observe that they do not all act identically. But if you compare a sample of excellent performers with a sample of average performers you will see things excellent performers have in common that make them different from average performers. For example, a study of anesthesia teams found that high performing nurses share common mental models not found in lower performing teams (Burtscher et al, 2011). 

The author’s claim that excellent people “all look and behave differently” is like saying elite NBA basketball players all look and behave differently. That may be true when they are compared to each other. But they share a lot in common compared to average high school players. Next to average players, most NBA players are highly similar in the sense that they are much taller and faster, and have far greater mastery of basic skills like dribbling, shooting and rebounding. 

Now, discover stuff we already know

Another marketing ploy used to generate publicity is to repackage well-established scientific findings as though they were new research discoveries. The author does this when he starts talking about what companies should do instead of feedback:

 “There’s only three sources of input that are valuable to a team member: facts, steps, reaction.”

 The author goes on to explain that to increase performance you should observe someone’s performance, provide them with facts that will help them be successful, tell them if there are specific steps they should start or stop doing, and let them know how their actions might affect or be perceived by others.  This sounds like another psychological process often covered in Introduction to Psychology textbooks. It is called “providing performance feedback”.   The author is just restating several well-established rules for providing effective feedback. Feedback should be specific, describe observable behaviors, and be delivered in a non-judgmental fashion.

 I have no problem with people restating the importance of applying well-established psychological principles like the use of behavioral-based feedback. What I object to is making unfounded criticisms about the value of feedback to generate publicity. And claiming to have discovered something new about feedback that is already extensively documented in existing studies. It is damaging to our field as HR professionals, misleading to the business customers we serve, and disrespectful to the researchers who have gone before us


*If you want to know who the author is do a Google search using the title of this blog.

Burtscher, M. J., Kolbe, M., Wacker, J., & Manser, T. (2011). Interactions of team mental models and monitoring behaviors predict team performance in simulated anesthesia inductions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 17(3), 257-269.

Kluger, A. N., & DeNisi, A. (1996). The effects of feedback interventions on performance: A historical review, a meta-analysis, and a preliminary feedback intervention theory. Psychological Bulletin, 119(2), 254-284.

Neubert, M. J. (1998). The value of feedback and goal setting over goal setting alone and potential moderators of this effect: A meta-analysis. Human Performance, 11(4), 321-335.

Smither, J. W., London, M., & Reilly, R. R. (2005). Does performance improve following multisource feedback? A theoretical model, meta-analysis, and review of empirical findings. Personnel Psychology, 58(1), 33-66.

Article originally posted via Steve Hunt on LinkedIn

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Minimizing Frustration

Alan Andersen

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Reactive Expectations

Let’s consider the root cause of frustration for just a moment together. As Dr. Lewis reminds us, the core of frustration is an unmet expectation.

In light of this simple reality the question that we would be wise to ask is…

“How can I most effectively minimize frustration?”

There are certainly several ways to decrease the likelihood of frustration. Yet one of the more simple ways is to make sure that you are rightly seeing whatever triggers irritation. In other words, too many times we overlook the context of whatever pain point or annoyance that we experience.

Reflect for a moment on a manager and team member relationship.

When a manager is mentoring their team or team members and someone does something wrong, a healthy manager would be wise to pause and consider if:

The employee tends to make mistakes despite my leadership.


The employee trends to make mistakes despite my leadership.

This is a subtle but important distinction. Things can tend to break or fail from time to time. As leaders, we should learn to be gracious and flexible. The world is dynamic, people are ever changing, and especially the context of business can be a moving target. So when legitimate mistakes take place, we should expect it and help correct it.

However, if someone has a habit of making poor choices or mistakes. Namely, they trend to misappropriate time, energy, or effort. We must be prepared to coach them up or coach them out of the organization.

Maybe a question you are asking is, “This is all fine and good. The distinction between “tends to” and “trends to” makes sense. But…

How can I proactively get in front of potential frustration with my people?

Proactive Expectations

The way that we can minimize frustration for all parties is by walking people through our pathway of Empowering Action.

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Once you set expectations, the final key to making this process sustainable is to have a consistent feedback loop or regular rhythm for candid communication.

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

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When Productivity Equals Toxicity

Alan Andersen

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Admittedly, this is going to be a longer post than normal. BUT before you decide to skip it, let me emphasize the significance of this read.

We get to learn from Dave Bookbinder and he has done a tremendous job breaking down a study from Harvard. Essentially, he helps us see that working with a highly productive but ‘toxic worker’ does more damage to an organizations bottom line than having more employees that are less productive, but collaborate with one another.

Please read this and share the idea with the decision makers who hire people in your organization. This wisdom will be the equivalent to a headache curing Advil for you and your company.

Originally Posted @ TLNT

It’s all about THEM

Toxic employees don’t care about a company’s goals, nor do they care about building relationships with co-workers. More than just self-centered office bullies, toxic employees are actually strategic and covert.

A 2015 study by Michael Housman and Dylan Minor published by the Harvard Business School defines a “toxic” employee as:  “A worker that engages in behavior that is harmful to an organization, including either its property or people.”

The data suggests that toxic employees drive other employees to leave an organization faster and more frequently, which generates huge turnover and training costs, and they diminish the productivity of everyone around them.

To gain some additional insights behind the research, I spoke with co-author, Dr. Housman. According to Dr. Housman: “Behavior is contagious… we find that when a toxic person joins a team, others are more likely to behave in a toxic fashion.”

Paraphrased by a the Harvard Gazette, Minor observed that client customer surveys indicate that toxic workers “absolutely” tend to damage a firm’s customer service reputation, which has a long-term financial impact that can be difficult to quantify.

The study also estimated the value of finding a “rock star” — defined as workers in the top 1% of productivity — as compared to the value of avoiding a toxic worker.

According to the findings, by avoiding the hiring of a toxic employee, companies will save an average of $12,489 through the avoidance of potential litigation fees and avoiding a reduction in employee morale, among other things.

The findings show that avoiding a toxic employee generates returns of nearly two-to-one as compared to those generated when firms hire a rock star.

This suggests more broadly that “bad” employees may have a stronger effect on the firm than “good” employees.

To further my understanding of the impact of toxic employees, I visited with Candida Seasock, founder of CTS & Associates. Candida has successfully assisted management teams ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to emerging growth companies through her award-winning approach “Growth Path to Success.”

According to Candida, companies make the mistake of hiring potentially toxic employees by not focusing on hiring to fit corporate culture. “Skills can be taught or developed, but honesty and integrity are found from within” she says. Candida also warns that some of a company’s earliest hires might not be the best fit as the company grows. “Holding on to employees who are resistant to change and growth, can result in toxic behaviors as those employees try to survive,” she says.

This can be a costly mistake.

Productivity or toxicity?

The Harvard study found evidence that toxic employees are more productive than the average worker. This helps to explain how superstar athletes who are bad in the locker room or have “off the field issues” for example, can remain with their teams, and why toxic employees can remain with their organizations.

Dr. Housman notes, however, that, “While toxic employees are more productive, meaning getting more things done, the quality of that productivity often is less than desirable.“

Organizations are often confronted with the situation where they need to decide whether to terminate a high-performing toxic employee for the betterment of the team’s morale. How many are able to do that, as compared to looking the other way because the employee’s “numbers were just too good?”

Candida says, “The toxic employees are top performers because they’ve literally become know-it-alls. As a result of their behaviors, they pick up valuable pieces of information along the way.”

But these behaviors can only be tolerated up to a certain point.

Toxic workers cost you

Presented with the apparent correlation of high productivity among the toxic employees, the Harvard researchers explicitly examined the trade-off in increased productivity vs. the propensity for toxicity.

As it turns out, avoiding toxic workers is still better for the organization in terms of net profitability, despite losing out on a highly productive employee. Avoiding a toxic employee (or coaching them up to becoming an average employee) enhances performance to a much greater extent than replacing an average employee with a rock star.

What role does management play in creating or fostering a toxic environment? Even when management is not contributing to the toxic behaviors, Dr. Housman says that, “By not policing toxic behaviors, management can create an environment where people feel that they can ‘get away with’ behaving badly.”

What to do with a toxic worker

Clearly it’s best to avoid hiring a toxic employee in the first place, but if you’ve got them in your midst, Candida recommends that the toxic employee either needs to be terminated or isolated.

For management teams that just can’t give up the high performance, Candida emphasizes the need to “recognize the toxic behavior and separate the toxic employee from the rest of the workforce by letting them focus on what they’re really good at.”

But at some point, the toxic behavior outweighs the high performance.

Afraid to cut the cord? Wondering if removing a toxic “superstar” really pays dividends? Take the case of a Pennsylvania metal shop that had a highly productive, but toxic worker. For several years, the owner attempted to coach him. It didn’t work. The situation worsened to the point that a group of workers switched their lunch time so they wouldn’t have to be around the man and his team.

When he and two of his team were finally terminated, the value of shipments per labor hour jumped a month later by some 40% — from $85-$90 per labor hour to $123. And that was without three of the shop’s most productive workers.

Check out Dave’s new book on Amazon

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Getting Things Done (GTD)

Alan Andersen


If you’re like me, you learned about David Allen’s GTD method about 10 years ago. While not an early adopter (since GTD was published in 2002) there was still some geeking out on this new productivity method.

Then there are a number of you who don’t care. You don’t need a method for GTD. You just put your head down and get things done. No need for tricks, tips or frills. (Boy, do I envy you!)

Regardless of where you land on either side of the conversation, I want to highlight the imperative key to unlocking productive action. Namely, Clarity.

Okay, Alan. Clarity seems like a broad concept to state as “the key” to GTD.

I’ll clarify by sharing a familiar scenario:

  • Manager hires new team member that has industry experience, but from a different culture and business approach.

  • On-boarding ensues and new hire is given information about company culture, industry approach, and his/her responsiblity.

  • Post on-boarding new hire is expected to get after it.

  • In the first two to four weeks, the new hire is scrambling to keep learning. Working to grasp company tools, tactics, contacts (internal and external), culture, etc.

  • In the first two to four months, the new hire is feeling tired, colleagues may feel like he/she is not pulling their weight, and the direct manager is likely unclear why the new hire seems to be producing “so little”.

Let’s end the scenario right there. While we could go on let’s get straight to the solution.

The Key to GTD

The missing clarity that I was highlighting early is this. As leaders, we must understand our personal wiring, have sharp tools, but most importantly get REALLY clear on communicating expectations.

What does that look like practically?

Good question. The foundation of GTD is having…

  1. A clear understanding of the objective (and number of them)

  2. Proficiency to prioritize said objectives in order of importance

  3. Competency to accurately execute action

I really like how the military has modeled this for us. They make it even more simple. Prioritize and Execute.

Quality GTD Leadership

My point here is that most of the time we get caught up with someone not GTD in the same manner that we do. Or a person prefers different tools than we like. The reality, as the leader, is that our job is to make crystal clear what the concrete expectations are.

Are we so clear that when a team member begins to “drop the ball” there is no doubt that you set them up for a “Win”? Or is there reasonable doubt that they were not given a fair shake in GTD. Much of the time we burn through employees because we deem them unsuitable for a job when in reality they were never given the clarity they needed to be successful.

Once we’re crystal clear in communication, setting concrete expectations, etc. Then we will adequately know if someone is not a good fit. Instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Do you disagree with my GTD assessment?

I welcome feedback or even pushback!

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

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The Top 10 Ways to Be in the Present

Alan Andersen

Sometimes we are so focused on the future that we neglect the day in which we are living. Let us focus on this very moment and make it the best it can be!

What are you doing TODAY to focus on THIS 24 hours?

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen


1. Change your affirmations from future to present tense.

Change “I will be five pounds lighter in June” to “I choose healthy ways to nourish myself.” By stating our goals, visions, and beliefs in the present tense, we give them immediate power to happen now.

2. Gently redirect your mind back to the present whenever your thoughts stray.

Being in the present is a gradual process. Forcing, punishing, and feeling bad about yourself will disempower you.

3. Live your life with joy.

If you are presently content, you have fewer reasons to chase illusions.

4. Open up all of your senses and experience the moment.

What do you see, hear, feel, smell, taste, and know on the deepest level about this moment? These thoughts can help ground you in the present.

5. Realize that time is never wasted; it’s only spent.

6. Celebrate the passing of time by enjoying each season.

7. Deliberately place your focus on present action rather than past regrets or future worries.

8. Keep your fear in proper perspective.

Fear is a tool for survival, but it shouldn’t be leading a filibuster in your head! Allow other emotions to have airtime.

9. Look at the big picture.

Often we get caught up in the details and our perspectives become skewed. Take a step back – take three steps back. Expand the picture as far as your mind can conceive.

10. Breathe.

This piece was originally submitted by Erica Wang

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