Posts in Significance

Leadership Legacy

January 10th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART, CEO, Engagement, Entrepreneur, Inspiration, Leadership, Owner, Relationships, Significance 0 thoughts on “Leadership Legacy”
Leadership Legacy

Leaders Have Vision

This week in my personal blog – #Significance – I discuss three local men who did very well in life, but still made it a priority to give back to their community, each one leaving a legacy for generations to come.

EMBA Assignment

It reminds me of a passage from Business is ART in which I discuss an assignment we received as part of our Executive MBA course curriculum. This particular assignment was for each of the 50 members of our cohort to stand up in front of the others and give a 5-minute presentation entitled “My Leadership Legacy.”

The presentations ran from very funny to deeply moving, but in every case, we came to understand each other on a much greater level than we had the rest of the entire time we were in the program together.

Applying What We Learned

It was such a powerful experience that I brought the exercise back to my business and asked each of the approximately 40 leaders that reported to me to complete the same assignment.

When all was said and done, the same results experienced in the EMBA program occurred – each leader left feeling more connected to one another than before.

But this time, as each leader stood up and presented the leadership legacy statement to the rest of us, I took notes. Later, I went back through the notes and noticed distinct trends, so consolidated them into a series of 11 leadership legacy statements. These statements were subsequently presented back to the team. We then printed and farmed the statements and hung them on the office walls to remind ourselves that this is who we are.

Here are the 11 statements we developed from our exercise, but I highly recommend you come up with your own, whether it’s just you or your collective team that does it. You’ll get to know yourself and others like you never have before.

Be open. Be honest. Have fun! 

Our Leadership Legacy Statements

  1. As a leader, it is my responsibility to own and communicate a vision
  2. As a leader, my actions speak louder than my words
  3. As a leader, I am empathetic to others
  4. As a leader, I instill trust
  5. As a leader, I teach others
  6. As a leader, I am flexible
  7. As a leader, I never stop learning
  8. As a leader, I contribute to the growth of others
  9. As a leader, I recognize the strengths of others
  10. As a leader, I create and promote teamwork
  11. As a leader, I celebrate our success

As a leader you are always on display

December 21st, 2015 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART, CEO, Engagement, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Manager, Owner, Relationships, Significance 0 thoughts on “As a leader you are always on display”
Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

Portions of this post appear in the book Business is ART. The post in its entirety previously appeared at the former Business is ART Blog site on November 4, 2014. I was recently reminded of it from a post by fellow consultant and blogger Matt Monge (@MattMonge) of The MojoCompany and thought it bears repeating.

As a leader, you are on display at all times.  How you behave sets the tone for your business or organization. This goes for general behavior as well as momentary behavior.

Always be cognizant of how others are reading you; because they are.  Every second of every workday, your employees (and clients) are reading you.

One morning, after having had a significant disagreement with someone in my personal life, I let that disagreement influence my workplace behavior.

When I got to the office, instead of the usual, “Good morning.  How are you?” type of greeting to which people had become accustomed from me, I entered the break room with a scowl on my face.  I didn’t look at or engage with anyone. I simply poured a cup of coffee and hurried back to my desk.

Later, one of the most trusted members of my leadership team, and someone I am proud to still call a friend, knocked on my door and suggested that we needed to talk in private.

He closed the door and asked in a very concerned tone, “Are we going to announce layoffs?”

The question stunned me. We were growing. We were profitable. I didn’t know where this was coming from.

“No.  Why?”

“There’s a rumor going around.”

“How did THAT get started?”

“Some employees were in the break room this morning and said you wouldn’t even look them in the eyes, so, they started speculating on what was wrong.  Then they concluded you couldn’t look them in the eyes because you are going to lay some of them off.”

I started the rumor.  I did.  Not knowingly or intentionally, but, because I was not paying attention, it led employees to speculate as to what was causing my “unnatural” behavior, and they “naturally” concluded I was about to chop some heads…probably starting with anyone lounging about the break room!

The good news was, we dramatically cut back on the cost of coffee that day. The bad news was, we lost a lot of productivity due to gossip and worry.  Worse, I lost at least some degree of the faith and trust of some of my employees.

That is a very, very hard thing to win back.  Who knows how long after I tried to assure everyone that cuts were not on the horizon had they assumed I was not being honest with them?

It was probably a long time.

What have you done…lately?

December 14th, 2015 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART, Engagement, Inspiration, Leadership, Relationships, Significance, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “What have you done…lately?”

significance, do for othersYears ago, comedian/actor Eddie Murphy had a funny bit about relationships in which he quoted the Janet Jackson song “What Have You Done for Me Lately” saying that’s exactly what people say to one another all the time, always being sure to add and emphasize the word “lately.”

I once heard a speaker giving a presentation that sort of touched on the same subject, telling the tale of a man who didn’t understand why his wife thought he had stopped loving her.

The marriage counselor asked “Well, have you told her you love her?”

He said, “Yes!”

“How often?”


You might be wondering why I chose this particular photo for a post entitled “What have you done…lately?”

It’s simple really. The wall and the vine are each doing something for the other. The wall provides a place for the vine to grow. The vine, in return, provides the wall with beauty that goes far beyond its plain painted appearance (even if a vine turns out to be poisonous, it looks pretty nice).

In the December 13 edition of my personal blog, entitled #Significance, I explore doing things of significance and ask the reader what he or she has done of significance. It goes on to explain that “significance” doesn’t necessarily mean big, costly or grand and that many times the things by which we are remembered are the little, day-to-day things. Ultimately, I reach the conclusion that it really is not what you say or do for others that is of significance. It’s the passion and emotion with which you do it.

The whole subject has inspired me to try a little Facebook experiment and I am even willing to pay a little to boost the post. Starting Wednesday December 16, I will launch “Good Works Wednesday,” encouraging people to share what good works they are up to and how they do things of significance on a regular basis.

Read the entire post at #Significance by clicking here, and as you do, ask yourself what have you done of significance…lately?


The Purpose of the Strategy

November 21st, 2015 Posted by Business is ART, Engagement, Inspiration, Leadership, Significance, Strategic Planning, Strategy, Vision 0 thoughts on “The Purpose of the Strategy”
1st Lt. Andrew K. Umstead

1st Lt. Andrew K. Umstead

In my weekly personal blog entitled #Significance, the focus is on life and not necessarily business. But in this week’s post, there is a direct business lesson to be gained that is completely consistent with Business is ART – the purpose of the strategic plan is to close the gap between vision and reality.

Read more at the #Significance blog site and see how my Army officer son has employed this theory while he and his team focused on the success of others.

Kill the Monster

November 14th, 2015 Posted by Significance 0 thoughts on “Kill the Monster”
Karen Kelly Brown

Karen Kelly Brown

Karen Kelly Brown is the guest blogger at my personal blog site, ‪#‎significance‬, this week. Karen and her husband were featured in last week’s post and she was kind enough to follow up as a guest this week.

One of the things the Browns are doing is launching a Facebook campaign they hope goes viral, bringing attention to and eliminating the stigma of heroin addiction. Troy Community Radio currently has a FB post that shows you exactly what this challenge is. Go there to check it out, read Karen’s post at #significance, then take the PIE Challenge to do your part to help ‪#‎killthemonster‬.

Thank you, Karen!


Finding What Makes Your Business Different From the Competition

November 4th, 2015 Posted by Inspiration, Significance 0 thoughts on “Finding What Makes Your Business Different From the Competition”

One of the keys to business success is differentiating your business from every other entity in your industry. It’s not an easy task, and it takes a bit of an existential inward journeying, but doing so will put you on the path to elevating your business above the competition.

Nowadays, consumers are inundated with near unlimited choices when it comes to products and services, so much so that decision fatigue and decidophobia have been recognized as real conditions by psychologists.

In other words, people have become tired of the same companies delivering them the same promises day after day. It’s a jaded culture that only reacts when a company so substantial rocks the marketplace.

Follow the Leaders

Years ago, MySpace ruled the social media realm, then Facebook came along and set itself apart with its simpler interface, more social interaction, and of course its initial exclusivity to college campuses.

Next came Twitter with its 140 character limit, which forced users to become wittier versions of themselves, LinkedIn with its focus on professional interaction, and Instagram with its image heavy interface.

Each of these companies has set themselves apart from one another, yet in the end they really all provide the same service to the consumer: social interaction.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

So What Makes You Different?

Not even Business is ART can answer this question for you. What the book can do is get you used to being in the same mindset that the founders of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn were all in when they set themselves apart from the those already in their industry by encouraging you to create the Painted Picture, which is a detailed description of your Vision.

This exercise will help you prepare to really say what sets your company apart from the rest.

A Few Things to Avoid

Don’t go grasping at straws to set yourself apart. There are a few things that may end up hurting you in the process.

  • Being the cheapest: While having low prices is great, people often associate price with quality. Despite higher prices, people still buy expensive coffee, stay in fancy hotels, and buy luxury cars. Low prices are great, but don’t make it the ultimate way to describe your company.
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep: Make sure you can back up what you say. Consumers will always punish those who try to deceive them.

A Few Things to Consider

  • Holes in the industry: What can you do better than anyone else in your industry?
  • Solving problems: How can you can solve the particular problems that your potential customers have?
  • Your guarantee: Whether it is superior customer service, quality products, or anything else, ask yourself what you want your customers to know about your company before they consider your product or service.

Find Your Own Answer

Remember, your company is unlike any other. These are just a few thoughts to get you going, yet none of them may accurately describe your company. It is up to you to sit down and take a deep look inside of yourself to find out what it is you want to achieve and why.

For more resources and business tools, sign up for the Business is ART newsletter. It can help to put on the path to business success.

What is your level of engagement?

October 24th, 2015 Posted by Engagement, Relationships, Significance 0 thoughts on “What is your level of engagement?”

The latest post in my personal blog, #Significance is about how my new bride continues to teach me things about love, and especially about being loved, that I never realized was important or missing from my life.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

You can read more about it by clicking here but basically it discusses how there once was a period in my life in which I frequently commuted to a city 635 miles away from home. And although it was a big part of my life, those closest to me showed little interest in it. No one was actively engaged in it. Although I didn’t consciously recognize it at the time, in hindsight, it bothered me…a lot.

This personal experience led me to wonder. We measure things like employee engagement and customer engagement, which is all about them showing you some love. But how engaged are you with them? Are you sure? What can you do to make it better?

Bad Day? You Know Nothing

October 22nd, 2015 Posted by Inspiration, Significance 0 thoughts on “Bad Day? You Know Nothing”
- Jon Umstead

– Jon Umstead

If the latest post in my personal blog, ‪‪#‎significance‬‬‬, doesn’t inspire you to do something, or at least make you realize that you really don’t have it so bad, then nothing will.

It isn’t because of my writing, I guarantee you. It is because of the story of the person featured in the post (and others like him).

Grab a tissue, then please, go check this out (posted 10/17/2015). Afterward, I dare you to have a bad day.

What inspires you? What makes you go for it despite the odds and critics?

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