3 Leadership Lessons Learned from Super Bowl LI

More than 111 million people gathered around tv sets in restaurants, bars, and homes and at the stadium to watch the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons battle it out in Super Bowl LI.  New NFL records were set as the Patriots came back from the biggest deficit in Super Bowl history to beat the Falcons in overtime.  Even though my team didn’t make it past the championship round, I found this year’s Super Bowl to be one of the most exciting games I’ve watched in recent history.

As I reflected on the game I could not help but see the leadership lessons that were emerging from how the two teams played.  So, here are a few Leadership Lessons Learned from Super Bowl LI:

Are you playing to win, or playing not to lose?  There is a big difference in the outcome based upon which approach you take.  For the entire first half of the game, the Falcons dominated the Patriots.  They were playing to win the game.  The Patriots, although playing to win, were being overpowered by the Falcons offense, while being stopped by the defense.  It appeared by half time that the game was over.

The second half of the game told a much different story.  The Falcons began playing to hold their lead (playing not to lose), instead of coming out of the locker room with the same intensity that they showed in the first half.  You could see it in their faces and in how they related to each other on the field.  By the middle of the fourth quarter, the Falcons defense was frustrated and scrambling to regain their ferocity with which they played the first half, but it was too late.  The Patriots, on the other hand, played the second half to win.  They had nothing to lose and everything to gain.  And, win they did – setting Super Bowl records along the way.

How are you positioning yourself or your organization on the playing field of your business?  Are you making every decision, every day, from the perspective of playing to win?  Or, are you playing not to lose, to just stay ahead of the competition?  If you play not to lose, you might just wake up one day and find the competition has edged you out at the last minute and you’ve lost the game.

Don’t wait until half time to make adjustments.  The Patriots comeback actually began late in the second quarter.  Coach Belichick was taking notes all throughout the first half.  He began making adjustments to the offense and defense as needed until he finally found the right combination by the middle of the third quarter.  From that point on, he worked the plan and the rest is history.

Too often we go through life just following the same game plan that has worked in the past.  Our profit margins decline, we’re not as effective as we used to be, or our marketing and sales departments aren’t as productive as they used to be.  So, we continue working the same plan over and over with the same results.  At some point, we need to evaluate our systems to see if they are still valid in a changing economy.  Those who evaluate and make adjustments early, are the ones who are most successful in life.  Those who delay, or worse, don’t see that any change is needed, find that they are so far behind they can never catch up.

No matter how bad things look, don’t ever, ever, ever give up!  During the second quarter, with the Patriots down 25 points, the cameras zoomed in on the face of Tom Brady.  What the viewers saw was a man who was discouraged and without hope.  I even texted a friend after that camera shot and said “the game’s over – Brady is defeated.”  I was wrong!

The Tom Brady who came out of the locker room to start the second half had a stern look of determination.  The game wasn’t over, the score wasn’t decided, and not matter the outcome, he wasn’t giving up.  His determination ultimately led his team  to victory.

What was the difference?  Tom Brady never gave up – no matter how bad it looked.  Brady may be one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time, but he also showed a great leadership ability as he led his team to victory.  His determination reminds us that no matter how bad things may look in our lives or in our businesses, we should never, never, never give up!  The game isn’t over and the final score isn’t in.

As you look at your personal life and your business, remember these three leadership lessons from Super Bowl LI:

  • Play to win – never play not to lose!
  • Constantly seek to improve yourself or your organization – don’t wait until half time to make adjustments!
  • Don’t ever give up – no matter how bad things look, the final score isn’t in, yet!


All of life is an opportunity to learn.  There are leadership lessons all around you every day.  Don’t just go through life – take a moment to reflect on your experiences and you might just learn how to be a better leader!

Top 6 Productivity Hacks for 2017

How to get more done in less time!

One of the biggest questions on the minds of people in a leadership position this time of the year is “How can I be more productive with my time?”  In other words, how can I get more done for my organization, my personal life, my family, or my faith community?

If you want to accomplish more in your life in 2017, you have two choices:  (1) Work HARDER (longer hours, late nights, etc.); or (2) Work SMARTER!  The second choice is by far the healthier option of the two.  So, to that extent, I want to share with you my Top 6 Productivity Hacks for 2017.

  • Keep the big picture in mind – take time to reflect on why you are doing what you are doing.  Plan out your year.  What are the goals that you have for the various areas of your life (personal, professional, family, etc.)?  Take time to make of list of the goals that you want to accomplish in 2017 and, then, post them where you will see them every day.  That could be on your bulletin board, your computer monitor, your desk, or even your refrigerator – anywhere where you can see and be reminded each day of what is most important in your life.
  • Employ the Pareto Principle – this principle, as applied to time management, states that 20% of the tasks that you do will yield 80% of the results.  The remaining 80% of the tasks that you complete will only provide 20% of the results that you are seeking.  So, make a “to do” list of all the steps needed to accomplish your goals.  Then, determine what 20% of those tasks will give you the 80% ROI of your time.  Focus on doing those things – you might even be able to decide not to do some of the other 80% because it won’t add much value to reaching your goal.
  • Get organized – spend time getting organized and looking at what you need to do.  David Allen calls this a weekly review.  Spend time at the beginning of each week looking over your goals, your calendar, your appointments, your projects, and any other items that you need to accomplish that week.  Then, schedule it all into your calendar.  Plan your week.

In addition to a weekly review, I also recommend a monthly review once per month to keep a focus on what you will be doing in the next 30-90 days, and a daily review each night to plan your next day.

  • Spend time in the balcony – most people spend so much time in the whirlwind of day-to-day life that they fail to spend enough time in the balcony.  The balcony is the place where you are up high looking down at your organization, your life, and your goals.  It gives you a perspective that you don’t have in the whirlwind.  It gives you the time to determine if you are on track to meeting your goals, or if you need to make a few mid-course corrections.
  • Do everything “Off Peak” – there are times throughout the day when things are at their busiest.  For example, you have to schedule a lunch appointment and you know that your favorite restaurant has a lunch rush that begins at 11:45 am.  If you come after that you’ll spend valuable time waiting in line and waiting for your food.  Instead, arrive at 11:30 am and get ahead of the crowd.  With a little creativity, you can do quite a lot of things “off peak” and shave minutes, or even hours off your day – time that you can use on other projects and goals.
  • Make a “Don’t Do” List – most people have a “to do” list, but very few have a “don’t do” list.  A “don’t do” list is a list of tasks that will take your time, but not add much value to your life.  By removing things or delegating tasks to others, you create more time for the tasks that are most important in helping you reach your goals.

So, this year, employ my Top 6 Productivity Hacks for 2017.  You’ll be more productive, have more time with the people who are most important to you, and have less stress.

ACTION STEP:  Choose one or two hacks from the list above and begin using them RIGHT NOW!

I am excited to be sharing a 3-hour workshop based upon the principles in John Maxwell’s book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.  As an Independent Certified Coach, Speaker and Teacher with The John Maxwell Team, I look forward to adding value to your life and your organization.

Date: March 18, 2017
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Event: 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth Workshop
Topic: 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth
Sponsor: H2H Leadership Transformation
Venue: GSN (Gentle Shepherd Church of the Nazarene)
Location: 3480 Shenango Valley Freeway
Hermitage, PA 16148
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

I am an Independent Certified Coach, Speaker and Teacher with The John Maxwell Team. I am available to speak at your event and lead in-house training for your organization. Contact me for more information about my services.

Leading a Culture Shift in Your Organization

Part 3: Influence the Change

Leading Culture Change

One of the keys to making a permanent culture shift in your organization is, simply put, INFLUENCE!

As the leader of your organization, you have the most direct impact in making a change in the culture of your organization.  Author, speaker, and leadership guru, John Maxwell states, “Leadership is influence.  Nothing more, nothing less.”  The success of the culture shift in your organization is directly related to the influence that you bring to that culture shift.

In my two previous posts on culture shift, you were asked to make a list of what your current culture is like, and what the new culture would be like that you will create in your organization.  Now, it is time to influence the change.

In the book Influencer:  The New Science of Leading Change, the authors suggest that influencing change can be brought about by the following three things:

  • A clear understanding of the result you are looking for AND meticulous measuring of what leads to that result.  Leaders who influence change know exactly what they are looking for and they constantly and consistently measure the factors that lead to those results.
  • A focus on high leverage behaviors that will provide those results.  In a world that is so full of information and distraction, it is easy to get lost in a long list of behaviors that will produce results.  However, it is important to focus on just the 2-3 vital behaviors that will produce the results you desire from the new culture.
  • Engagement of all six sources of influence.  While most leaders and speakers resort to one or two types of influence, successful culture shift leaders engage their organization with all six sources of influence.

What, then, are the six sources of influence that are described in the book Influencer?  The six sources are found within the 2 by 3 grid diagram that the authors suggest.  They include both a motivation aspect and an ability aspect within three areas of life:  personal, social, and structural.  The authors diagram found throughout their book gives the following statements about the six sources of influence.

  • “Make the Undesirable Desirable.”  Successful change influencers motivate at the personal level by helping the individual members of the organization to “love what they hate.”  Culture shift happens at the personal level when individuals begin to love a new behavior.
  • “Surpass Your Limits.”  Successful change influencers help to develop new skill sets at the personal level by helping the individual members of the organization to “do what they can’t.”  In other words, provide training that develops the new desired skill set.  This builds confidence in the individual so that they realize they CAN do what is required of them in the culture shift.
  • “Harness Peer Pressure.”  Successful change influencers motivate at the group, or social, level by providing encouragement and utilizing peer pressure to help further motivate the culture shift.  There is nothing more motivating that hearing from your peers that you are doing a great job in this new endeavor.  As people are encouraged, they also become encouragers – and peer pressure helps to drive the culture shift.
  • “Find Strength in Numbers.”  Successful change influencers provide assistance to the individual members of the organization.  They begin to find strength in the team and realize that they are not alone in this culture shift.
  • “Design Rewards and Demand Accountability.”  Successful change influencers motivate at the structural level by developing a new set of rewards and accountability based upon the new behaviors that will provide the new desirable result.  A new structure that is designed to provide the new desired results is implemented and a new accountability structure is set in place.  These organizational structures provide a motivation to the individuals in the organization to live out the new behaviors that lead to the desired results.
  • “Change the Environment.”  Finally, successful change influencers recognize that the physical environment of the organization needs to model the new behaviors needed to get the new results.  Signs need changed, bulletin board announcements need changed, and perhaps a new logo, slogan, or even physical facility changes need to happen to support the new culture.  Creativity is used in visually reminding the members of the organization what the new result is you are creating.

To quote another famous phrase from John Maxwell, “everything rises and falls on leadership.”  You are the leader.  It is up to you to influence the necessary changes within your organization.  Get started right now and lead your organization to a new and better future by changing its culture through a culture shift!

ACTION POINT:  Influence Exercise

  • Using the two worksheets from my previous posts in this series (part one, part two), write out another list of ways to influence the needed change.  On a new sheet of paper, list the result that you are looking to achieve with your culture shift, how you are going to measure the factors (actions) that lead to that result, and the 2-3 key behaviors that will bring about that result.
  • Write out actions steps for each of the six sources of influence within your organization.  Then, take action at ALL six levels.  You will find you have a tenfold result as opposed to utilizing just one source of influence.
  • Finally, consider hiring a coach to help guide you through the process.  A coach can help you to become more focused by providing an outside look into your organization and the changes that you want to create through your culture shift.  I would love to be a resource to help you in creating a culture shift within your organization.  Contact me and we can discuss a customized approach for your organization while working within your budget.

To order a copy of the book referenced in this article, click the link below:

Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, Second Edition

Free Webinar for Churches under 500

Dr. Samuel Chand
Nov. 21, 2016

I just received an announcement about an upcoming webinar from Dr. Samuel Chand that I thought would be great for you.  If you pastor a church under 500, you’ll find a wealth of information on this webinar.  Dr. Chand is a church consultant, author, and pastor.  Click here to be redirected to his webinar registration page.  I personally am looking forward to what he has to say.

Breaking The Glass Ceiling

Tuesday December 6 at 1 PM EST

How churches under 500 in attendance can understand themselves (even their advantages!!) and how they can maximize their potential.

Leading a Culture Shift in Your Organization

Part 2: Define Your New Culture

Leading Culture Change

In the first article in this series, I stated that the culture of your organization is either propelling you forward or holding you back.  As we explore and evaluate the culture of your organization, you will begin to see a pattern emerge which leads to one of those destinations – forward toward your vision, mission, and goals; or, the inability to accomplish those goals no matter how great the vision and mission.  Your organizational culture is what makes the difference in which direction you are heading!

(If you haven’t read my first article, click here.  Then, complete the Culture Exercise listed in the action point section of the article.)

After you have evaluated your current culture, you will need to ask Am I getting the results that I need to get in order to fulfill the vision, mission, and goals of my organization?  As you look at the list that you created in the Culture Exercise, you need to ask that question first.  If the answer to that question is a resounding “yes,” then your focus needs to be on strengthening the culture that currently exists.  If your answer is “no,” then you need to define the new culture that will help your organization reach those results.

Take a moment to right down your thoughts as you answer these questions.  What does that new culture look like?  How do I get from here to there?  Then, begin by working through the following steps:

  • First, define what “there” looks like.  What results does your organization need to accomplish in order to fulfill the vision and mission, and to meet the organization’s goals?  This is where you need to define what a “win” looks like.  Clearly define what results your organization needs to achieve.  If it is a certain number of parts produced on a production line each hour, then define exactly what that number is for your team.  If it is increased customer service, then clearly define what that means for your team (i.e. every customer receives a greeting with a smile).  Whatever your “win” is for your organization, it needs to be clearly defined in this step.
  • Next, what actions do the members of your organization need to take in order to achieve those results?  What actions will each person need to do on a daily basis that will produce the results that your organization needs?  In the case of the customer service example above, you may expect every employee to smile every time they greet a new customer – both in person and on the phone.  You may teach them a certain phrase that you want them to say as they greet the customer.  Whatever the result is that you are looking to achieve in your organization, define the actions that will get you those results.
  • Third, what new beliefs do they need to embrace that will help them act in such a way as to achieve the expected results?  In order to influence the actions that your team needs to do, define what beliefs they would need to hold in order to achieve those actions.  In many ways, this is a difficult part of the culture change process.  Here, you need to define a list of beliefs that will influence the actions that will drive the results.  What beliefs do the members of your organization need to adhere to that will influence them to act in the way that produces the results your organization is looking to accomplish?

Keep in mind that you ALWAYS act out your belief system.  Beliefs always follow actions, but not always words.  You can say that you believe a certain way, but your true beliefs will be shown by what you do.  Many times they are aligned perfectly.  Many times they are not.  In order to understand what a person believes, look at their actions.

  • Finally, what new experiences do you need to bring to your organization that will help define this new belief system?  One of the best ways to develop a new belief system is to take the members of your organization to visit a company that is doing what you want them to do.  Another way is to bring in a coach to train them and expose them to other ways of thinking and doing.  (Check out My Services page to see if I can help you in this area.)  Try to make a list of 3-5 experiences that point them toward what you are attempting to accomplish with your organization.

Culture change is a difficult task.  It takes great thought, preparation, and planning.  Most organizations can benefit from an outside coach, trainer, or speaker to assist in the culture change process.  As a member of the John Maxwell Team, I specialize in leadership development and culture change.  If I can help you in any way, please contact me.


Take the list that you created from the Culture Exercise in my last article.  Lay out a new sheet of paper with the same four headings:  Results, Actions, Beliefs, and Experiences.  Now, underneath each heading fill in your responses for this NEW CULTURE that you want to create.  Take the information in the article above and answer those questions for this new culture.

Next week, we will compare the two lists and begin to learn how to Lead a Culture Shift.

Leading a Culture Shift in Your Organization

Part 1

Leading Culture Change

The CULTURE of your organization is either propelling you forward or holding you back.  A healthy organizational culture will give your organization the momentum and foundation for achieving the vision, mission, and goals of your organization.  However, a toxic organizational culture is like a cancer that destroys you from within, no matter how great your vision, mission, and goals are and no matter how well you communicate them within your organization.

So, how do you determine whether your organization is healthy or toxic?  And, once you’ve answered that question, how do you create a culture shift in your organization so that your vision, mission, and goals drive your organization to success?  In this series of blog posts, we will address some of the various issues of culture change and give practical advice on how to create a culture shift in your organization.

The concept or idea of making a “shift” involves changing from one idea or concept to another.  In this case, a “shift” takes place as you change from your existing, possibly toxic, culture to a more healthy culture.

So, how do you make this shift in your organizational culture so that you can accomplish the vision, mission, and goals of your organization?

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