Increase Your ABILITY to Connect

How many people do you know that connect brilliantly with other people, almost effortlessly? 4, 5, 10?

Now, How many people do you know that absolutely have zero emotional intelligence and can connect with people to save their life? 10, 20, 30?

As a culture we still celebrate IQ, the competency of a person intellectually. SAT scores, academic certifications and specialized awards and achievements. And yet, I have experienced that the smarter you are doesn’t mean that you are equally successful in business or life. In fact, it seems to me that the higher the IQ the more ineffective people are in connectivity and social influence.

Because my work is to speak, write and work with business leaders I get to hear the craziest stories about social miscues in business and life. The guy who said the oddest thing at the wrong time or the lady who has no idea she is losing influence because she doesn’t know when to shift to a different level of conversation and wears everyone out. Emotional Intelligence is the missing element in many cases. To connect well is both an art and science. It is the ABILITY a person has to understand, emotively connect and add value to those you are conversing with. This ability is something that can be learned, but only through intentional effort, like running a marathon or losing wait, etc.

Do you need to improve your ABILITY to connect with others? If so here are some areas to think about in doing just that.

1. Know Your Setting. There are right and wrong settings to have specific conversations. A discussion about your latest Quarterly P&L is not the best conversation starter around the dinner table with your children.  In the same vein, being bored stiff in a social setting with friends is completely inappropriate just because the conversation isn’t around business or your particular interest. There is a time for everything. My next book, written this fall, speaks specifically about this art and science of knowing your settings and communicating appropriately.

2. Become Aware to Connect Well. Most people don’t think about it. They just do their thing, which is mostly doing. Instead of wondering why so and so was distant or why your friend was awkward, look in a mirror and ask yourself how approachable you are. To improve your ability to connect better with others is actually the process of becoming self-aware and leading yourself in your behaviour and communication.

3. Practice. Be curious. Learn to be more interested in others rather than ready to share your thoughts. Practice connecting well with your family, with your co-workers or boss and with your neighbors or others in your community. Practice in the way you communicate and the timing of when you communicate. Observe your tone of your voice and your body language as well. You can improve if you try.

When you improve your ABILITY to connect you increase your influence.

People like to be around people they like. Likability creates chemistry that leads you down the road of influence and significance. Let’s go after it together – improving our ability to connect with others. When we do we will notice a peace of mind that comes when you are rightly connected with those in your everyday world.

Let’s BE Different

Turn up the volume on this blog post as you read this. Shake yourself, wake yourself and hear the heart behind this.

Let’s be different! Let’s go above and beyond what most tend to do. Let’s lead differently than the normal dominating style of leadership that uses loud voices with no positive action to build others up. Let’s go beyond all the typical dead leadership to awaken people to higher standards – larger goals.

Let’s awaken our souls to awaken the souls of those we lead.

Let’s fight for those who can’t fight for themselves, but then teach them how to fight for the highest possible good of others as well.

Let’s learn to liberate others by supporting them and challenging them to be free in who they are meant to be.

Let’s speak the truth in love. Truth and Love. Speak life into others!

Let’s choose to be learners, responsible for our growth and those around us.

Let’s choose not to gossip, spread malice or slander, but build – build others up to higher levels.

Let’s CHOOSE to BE Different.

We spend far to much time following the lifeless, demeaning, insecure leaders. Be the example, change the rules. Liberate.

Don’t judge, but instead inspire others to a higher example. It starts in yourself. When others see you leading yourself they will ask what it is that is within you. Tell them. Show them.

Today, Let’s choose to be for others what we would want for ourselves. Let’s be consistent, life-giving, transformational world-changers!

Manage the Sub-Cultures or Lose the Entire Culture

Most of our time at GiANT is spent helping organizations radically accelerate the health of their cultures. The way we do it is through apprenticeship and impacting 90% of the organization not just the top 15%. And yet, we continue to observe something that is global and true – sub-cultures can often control the entire culture if not careful.

Take Manhattan for example. The culture of the big apple is actually the culmination of its sub-cultures. The sub-cultures of Wall Street and Harlem are mixed with the sub-cultures of Tribeca and Times Square. The mish-mash of countries, religions, and socio-economic realities create the overall culture of Manhattan. However, if one sub-culture becomes a bit overbearing or out of line it can cause disruption and mayhem to the entire culture of the city. The sub-cultures are meant to exist, but not to dominate.

Take the same illustration inside your organization. Are there any sub-cultures that are dominated the whole of the organization? Is there a department that is trying to be the alpha male of the company? Or is there an individual that is clearly out of line and dominating the flow of work or efficiency of a department because of their ego? These sub-cultures or dominant people are not meant to rule the entire culture, but rather play their role in the growth and health of the entire organization.

If you are the leader of the organization then it is your responsibility to support and challenge each sub-culture as you move together for the greater good of the whole. If someone is out of line then it is your role to get them either moving in the right direction or moving out the door. Liberating leaders challenge people to the standards, called values, and the vision of the organization. Liberators also support.

Sometimes, culture clashes occur because people are not supported correctly.

Other times, culture clashes need to be addressed head on with proper challenge.

Please hear this very important message:

Sub-cultures are not meant to dominate the entire culture, but rather help the organization to grow for the good of everyone.

If your culture is out of control then it is up to you to lean in and deal with the situation with clarity, challenge and proper perspective. I didn’t do this well over the past 8 years as I allowed a sub-culture to dominate the whole because of one person and my abdication to them. It has taken me years to figure out how important this issue is.

If you desire to build a healthy culture then you must lead.

If you want to become a leader worth following then you must challenge people appropriately to the higher calling.

If you want to lead an organization that everyone wants to work for then it is imperative that you set the tone and create a culture that celebrates sub-cultures but does not allow them to lead the entire team.

Fight for the highest possible good in others and lead where most don’t want to lead.

If You Need It

It’s Friday. The end of summer is upon us. For many the kids schools are starting and a new semester is here.

If you have kids then there is a lot of new to deal with. New clothes, new supplies, new classes or schools. Even if you don’t have children then the feel of fall brings and the start of September tend to feel like a new season. As I sit and I write this from London there is a nip in the air that feels like Autumn is coming soon.

And yet, still, for some of you nothing feels new. If, today, you feel lifeless, hopeless and just spent then this post is for you. If you are full of hatred or animosity or you sit here reading this with a lifeless stare, then this is for you.

What is happening in your world? What is causing you to feel the way you do? Is it a relational breakdown? Frustration with your own behaviour? or maybe just tired of your work and life? If this is you then let’s do something that might bring hope.

First, I want you to take out a single piece of paper to write down your emotions/thoughts/feelings. It may be one big phrase like, “I HATE MY JOB” or it could be a small font that reads, ” i am lonely.” Whatever it is write it down. You may have three things. Whatever it is, just write it down.

Second, think through your insecurities that this is touching and write next to those phrases. For instance, if you wrote “Relational Breakdown” then the words might be “I feel rejected” or “I am frustrated with the way I treat them”. Just doodle next to the phrase any of your thoughts associated with that issue. Get it all out.

The goal is for you to get what is inside out on a piece of paper. When fear is addressed you can deal with it more effectively. When it is stuck inside it can become a cancer, literally. When you make a list then it comes out into the light and has less control over you.

Now, take the peace of paper and turn it over. On that clear page list what you want to see or would like to happen. It may read something like, “I want to be closer to my wife” or “I just want to be free from my addictions” or “I want peace in my heart.” Begin to write words that you hope for. Write down your dreams and my desires. Write as many as you want. Fill up this new side of the paper with hope. Hope is to believe in something you don’t see yet. Cover over the other side of the paper with the things you desire to happen.

If at all possible say a prayer for the other side. Pray for peace over the frustration. Ask for help, guidance and hope in the relational breakdowns or the anger towards someone. Give that situation up. When you have finished that then pray for the things you hope for. Ask for it as a gift.  This Friday, could you begin hoping again? Could you begin looking at the bad side with hope? What might happen if you pray for those people or situations today? How would you feel if you began to feel hope again and began to be grateful for what you do have?

There is an amazing prayer found in Romans 15:13. It is yours this Friday.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may OVERFLOW with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” I emphasised the word for you today – Overflow. That you may overflow with hope.

Today, this Friday, may you be full of hope and joy and peace. I encourage you not to allow the things that kill you to control and own you today. Don’t limp into the weekend with despair, but take hold of the hand of hope and begin to deal with the things in strength and encouragement.

I know this is different than most posts I share, but this is meant to encourage anyone who needs some hope and some joy and maybe some new perspective. Pass this on to anyone who might be in that state.

For you always,



One page has frustrations.


Why We Need Global Liberators

Last night, as I sat in our home originally built in 1583, I was in a historically reflective mode and decided to watch a war documentary about the 5 day war between Georgia and Russia in 2008. It prompted a series of thoughts and reflections as we face the same issues globally that we have seen for centuries – domination, manipulation, coercion and fear-laden communications to gain and obtain what is not yours.

As I sit here in London and look at the landscape of war, conflict and ideological madness around the globe it is dumbfounding. There is a part of me that feels like we, as humans, have progressed so much past this, especially as some groups are being forced to play into a political correctness of supposed progressive living. And yet, the majority of the world is acting like savage beasts.  The double standard is that a person that comments about a political party is verbally and emotionally crucified through the media while people holding to a base belief of Christianity are literally being crucified.

Russia. Israel-Hamas. Syria. Iraq. Iran…

I suppose this is nothing new. Every decade has its wars and unrest and killings, which is precisely the point. Some people try to create civil society that keeps peace through political boundaries. And yet, it doesn’t work and will not work until something turns on in the heart of every man. While the radical Imams brainwash young men to destroy others for ideological gain and a self-centred paradise once they are dead, we need leaders willing to put their lives on the line to give them an alternative example.

We live in a land of dominators while our political leaders are protectors and abdicators, worried more about their own political power and personal gain than the young children being beheading by a truly mad group of fanatics. The solution is not simple, nor easy. It will require something that will take years to develop and grow amidst continuing drama and heartbreak and frustration.

We need a systematic campaign of planting and growing LIBERATORS in every sector and city of this world. 

Liberators fight for the highest possible good of those they lead. They are secure and confident leaders who operate in humility for the best of the greater good not for their personal power.

To liberate means you must first be liberated. It means that you need to learn how to support people and challenge them at the same time. Liberators fight, but they fight in humility for a bigger purpose. They don’t use and abuse people in order to manipulate others to do what they want.

Vladimir Putin is not a liberator, though he uses that language in Crimea and Ukraine. He is a Dominator.

ISIS is a Dominating movement using fear and power to control and dominate people for an Ideological end.

Assad is a Dominator, killing his own Syrians to keep his own power.

Hamas is a Dominating group, overwhelming the Palestinians and using them as shields as they spread their rage.

Where are the Global Liberators?

It is evident who the Abdicators are and the Protectors, but where are the Local, Regional, National and Global LIBERATORS?

Pray for that. Pray for more Liberators who will bring security to the people, settle lands and governments down into rational peace loving leading. Liberators fight with one hand and serve with the other. We need those people who have the guts to do what is right for the rights of others.

Name Your Fears in Order to Breakthrough

Almost everyday I talk with leaders about some sort of issue. Most of the issues are fear related “what if’s”. “What if this doesn’t happen. What if they do…”

The best way to deal with the stresses of life and breakthrough inhibitions is to name and face your fears. You may have heard that before so I decided I would list some fears to make them more concrete for you to think through and name personally.

What are you afraid of?

  • Fear of being left out – when others are getting invited and you are not.
  • Fear of losing salary/money – when you sense that things are unstable at work or with a client.
  • Fear of being embarrassed – when your work could be held up as insufficient to others.
  • Fear of the unknown – the change that occurs in transition with nothing is settled. It can be unnerving.
  • Fear of being insignificant – If you feel like your work or life won’t make a difference.
  • Fear of missing the big opportunity – when you are always looking for opportunities are afraid of missing them.
  • Fear of confrontation – you know you need to challenge someone or something but you are afraid of the drama.
  • Fear of people’s perceptions – when what people think of you is more important than what you think of you.
  • Fear of letting others down – when you work so hard to please others and wear yourself out.
  • Fear of connecting with others – when you are afraid to let people down.
  • Fear of failing – when you are afraid of losing status, wealth or perception of others.
  • Fear of being boxed in – when you believe you are bigger than the box others have given you.

Recognize any of these?

I was simply writing from personal experience. All fear isn’t evil by the way. I have a healthy fear of snakes which doesn’t allow me to go pick them up in the wild. I also have a healthy fear of self-preserving monies that enables me to invest as best I as I know how for the future. However, most of our fears are not healthy and cause us to do things for the wrong motives which affect consequences negatively.

Our Personality (Nature) deals with fears differently. If you know your wiring then it helps deal with fears.

Our Experiences (Nurture) give us insight into how we deal with fear based on how we were raised and the examples we have in our lives.

Our nature and nurture and how we handle our fears cause us to make either good or bad choices. If, for instance, you went back through the bad choices you made in your life can you see the patterns and the drivers of those choices? Bad choices are made because of fears. Naming them and dealing with them cause them to have less power of you and allow you to look at situations from a different perspective, which often leads to better decisions.

When you allow fears to drive your decisions then you will suffer the consequences for the rest of your lives. I know of one CEO from years ago who was so afraid of the perceptions of his employees and his status dropping as a result of potential bankruptcy that he allowed his fears to drive him straight to a bank only to rob it at gunpoint to pay his employees. Needless to say, that decision altered the rest of his life and gave him a social mark worse than bankruptcy. All of which could have been avoided had not fear clouded his rationale mind.

While that is an extreme example the same goes with you and me. Fear leads to sabotage. It clouds our minds, changes our views of people, and affects the way we make decisions. It starts with naming it – realizing what is inhibiting you from being your best.

What are some other fears that I have missed above?