Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Last weekend's white trash/ugly sweater Christmas Party was a blast! Thanks to everyone for attending and making it such a memorable night! The Secret Santa gifts were pretty good too! You can check our Facebook page for pics as we will be posting them there soon!
Special Congrats to Glenn in his promotion to Assistant Manager last week!!!!! You've earned it! We are all excited for our expansion next year!

And a special shout out to the team, today marks our 1 year anniversary in Sacramento! Congrats to everyone!!! Because of all your hard work and determination, we have had a banner year! I look forward to what awaits us in 2012!!!!

Final Installment of Building Great Teams!

From Darren Hardy's Blog, Success Magazine:

Building Great Teams (3 of 3)

We’ve learned that great teams beat great players, leaders and competitors every time. We found that the most sabotaging influence to team cohesion and performance is ego and “headwind hogging.” Now let me identify the two most important ingredients for building high-performing teams.

As Patrick Lencioni wrote in his excellent book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, the No. 1 dysfunction is an absence of trust. Interestingly, you don’t even need to like each other, but you do have to trust each other to form the cohesion and solidarity needed for high performance.
So what do you do to build more trust?
I’m a believer in always giving what you want first. If you want trust from your team, give trust first. Things that foster trust are transparency, honesty, vulnerability and complete integrity.
Brainstorm five ways you can demonstrate trust to your team.
Thought starters:

Open the Kimono: Open up your books. Share the good, the bad and the ugly of your financial statements. Become far more transparent with how information is shared and communicated.

Marionette No More: Drop the puppet strings. Give others more responsibility and decision-making power without micromanagement and approvals. Train, but then trust them. Let them lead.

Expose Your Chest: As my friend Waldo Waldman teaches about leadership, “expose your chest to daggers,” meaning, show your vulnerability first. Be more open and honest in the disclosure of your own fears, failures and shortcomings.
Remember, people relate and connect more with your struggles than your successes. What do you fear? When do you feel scared? When have you tried and failed? When does your confidence waver? Share that with your team and you will witness the veil of false posture lifted from your team.

Perform Pancreaticoduodenectomies: This is the surgery you need if you have pancreatic cancer—one of the most deadly of all cancers. Cancer in your team is gossip, negative talk, the “meeting after the meeting” and separate alliances or factions within the team. First, never do such things yourself. Second, stop others whenever they do them. Cancer cannot be tolerated; it has to be killed and surgically cut out before it becomes too widespread. Left too long it will destroy the whole body (team).

Be Worthy: To be trusted you first must be trustworthy. Demonstrate you are by doing what you say you will do and being where you say you will be precisely when you say you will be there. Deliver on your promises and be the example you want everyone else to follow. Simple, easy and pretty straightforward, right? Why do so many screw this one up, then? Baffles me.
Decide your five and start doing them this week.

“Perhaps no human need is more neglected in the workplace than to feel valued,” as written in The Way We Are Working Isn’t Working by Tony Schwartz. Feeling significant is as basic as food. This begins at birth and never goes away. The need for significance at work is a manifestation of our inborn hunger for meaning in our lives.
Here’s the trick, though: Just like I learned in marriage, people have different “love languages,” and have different ways of feeling valued and appreciated. If you just do it as you would want it done, there’s a great chance you will be wrong and miss the mark completely. The answer is to ASK them (same goes for your spouse).

Do This: Pick five people on your team. Sit down with each of them and explain how much you appreciate them, but are unsure how to express that fully, correctly or in the manner which matters most to them. Ask them when in the past they have felt the most appreciated and what they would like to see from you.

Decide your five and start doing that this week.
There you have it—the formula for building fantastically successful teams. Do just 20 percent of what we talked about here and you will greatly improve the performance of your team. Diligently work on all of it and you and your team will be unstoppable in your industry.

Go for unstoppable!

Building Great Teams (2 of 3)

From Darren Hardy's Blog:

Building Great Teams (2 of 3)

(If you missed it, here’s post #1)
The Single Most Sabotaging Force of Team Performance
When a duck falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone. Left out of formation for too long it will eventually tire out and drop out completely.
We see this happen on sports teams when one player tries to showboat and carry the game. Eventually the headwind of trying to fly alone will wear him down and the opposition will prevail.
You saw Mark Cuban on our November cover of SUCCESS. His Dallas Mavericks faced the Miami Heat for the 2011 NBA Championship. The Heat demonstrated a prime example of this sabotaging force. Many argued that never had more individual talent been assembled (and paid for) on a single team in the history of the NBA as was on the 2011 Miami Heat. They had the “three kings,” or whatever they called themselves (that had to be a clue).
Meanwhile the Dallas Mavericks, while they obviously had good players, didn’t have nearly the individual superstar/celebrity talent the Heat had. The championship should have been a blowout. And it was. Teamwork blew out talent 4 games to 2.
While the Miami Heat had more ‘eagles,’ let’s say, the Dallas Mavericks played as a unified flock, or team, and beat the Heat decisively. That is the power of teamwork and that is the detriment individual egos can be, sabotaging the greatness of a team.

The important team lesson here: No one member of your team can or should be taking the headwind all the time. Just like a duck, he or she has to have the humility and the ego strength to rotate to the back of the formation so another duck can take the lead position to keep the flock moving at top speed.

Think about it. How often, as leaders, do we not recognize how many other leaders we have behind us? Others who want to also be leaders and share in our burdens? Leaders that, if given the opportunity, may be able to take your group to a higher level not yet obtained?
Sometimes, true leadership is to know when to step aside to let someone else lead for awhile. Then, stand by that new leader and offer support and encouragement.
And therein lies another lesson from the duck. When in formation, the ducks quack from behind to encourage those up front.
How often do we encourage those who are leading us? We need to make sure that our “quacking” from behind is encouraging—not something less helpful or damaging.
How about this one: Did you know that when a duck gets sick or wounded, two ducks will drop out of formation and follow it down to help protect it? They stay with the wounded duck until it is either able to fly again or dies. Then, they launch out to join another formation or work together to catch up with the flock. Beautiful isn’t it?
Are we standing by the people around us when they are in need? Or do we turn a blind eye and say, “Oh that sucks for you, duck”? Being part of a team is being there in the good times and the bad.

Takeaway action items:
  • Are you hogging the leadership ball? Think of several people and several ways you can have others take the lead. Then be sure you are there to quack encouragement all along the way.
  • Are you taking care of the entire flock? Is there someone you need to be there for, helping them heal some personal hurts?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Building Great Teams! (1 of 3)

From Success Magazine publisher Darren Hardy's post:

Building Great Teams (1 of 3)

Nature Gives Us Clues
If you were going to pick a model from nature for how to create and operate as a great team, which animal would you pick?
How about lions, tigers, hippos or bears?
Those species are known to eat their young, or the new guy or gal on the team, in our analogy. That doesn’t make for good team building!
How about wolves or hyenas?
These animals are known to constantly have ego fights for dominance—definitely not good for trust and the morale of a team.
How about salmon?
Certainly their long struggle to swim upstream in dedication to duplicate (procreate) the team has to be a good role model, right? Yeah, well, the only problem is, once they have finally done the quiver (seriously, that’s what they do—they align themselves next to each other and “quiver” while they each do their part of the act), they die. That can’t be good if every time new people are brought into your team the leaders die. So salmon are out.
I know what you are thinking… eagles, right?
Eagles are good role models for soaring to individual heights, but they are poor team players. They are known to be territorial, pretty hostile toward one another and constantly stealing prey from one another.

Get this… momma eagle usually lays two eggs and most often the bigger of the two siblings (which is usually the female, as they come out bigger) kills the other sibling while mom looking on (harsh, right?). No, you don’t want the new recruits killing each other or the leaders stealing sales and clients from each other. Eagles, team players? Not so much.
No, the animal species you want to learn from and emulate in working together as a team are… ducks.
Ducks, because they work together to accomplish feats that seem unimaginable and impossible for most any other animal.
Ducks fly distances of hundreds or even thousands of miles, a distance almost no other animal can travel and it’s possible only because they do it as a team.
As you know, ducks fly together in formation. As each duck flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird following and that is perpetuated throughout their V formation. Each duck takes its turn leading the flock in flight. When the lead duck gets tired, it fades from the front and is enveloped back into the fold of the flock and naturally another bird takes the lead. By working together, the whole flock adds 71% more flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Like ducks, people naturally gravitate toward organizations that will shelter and protect them and make their life easier than if they were left to fend for themselves. I have found that people want to belong; they want to be a part of a team. It gives them a sense of purpose, where they can be a part of something bigger than themselves.
I also find that most people perform to their greater potential when on a team than when on their own. They rise to meet the expectations of the team; if left alone to their own motivations, they wouldn’t push themselves nearly as hard.
I find that lots of people do more for the recognition of others than for their own satisfaction. Thus, team environments are a powerful force for drawing out the best within our individual potentials for achievement.
Amazing feats are created when the collective whole becomes greater than the sum of the individual parts. That occurs when teamwork is working well.
So in business, people who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier when they travel on the thrust of one another.
As leaders, it is our job to cast the vision and enroll others to share in that vision. As teams, we need to help one another and to offer encouragement and support as the success of the individual creates uplift for the rest of the flock… or team.