Leading yourself …


The first step in articulating your leadership philosophy is determining how you’ll lead yourself. Nobody is going to follow you if you don’t know where you’re going (except out of curiosity).

This aspect of leadership is tricky. It requires introspection and a frank, honest conversation with yourself to understand where you’re headed and how you want to get there.

To start that discussion, there are four areas you must explore:

1. Finding your internal motivation

Why do you get out of bed every morning (alarm clocks, crying kids, or an overfull bladder are not  acceptable answers here)? Why are you excited to drive to the office? The answers to these two questions can help you articulate a leadership maxim.

2. Charting your path

What are your professional goals? What will your epitaph say? Grim, I know. But at the end of it all when you become worm food, what will you want the summation of your career to be?

Allow me to assist you in developing your maxim on this one Mad Libs style. Simply fill in the blanks for this sentence: “(Your name) stood for (BLANK) and we’ll never forget (BLANK) about him/her.” Imagine someone is reading that statement as your eulogy. Once you’ve reflected on that and filled it in, you have a good start on a maxim for this point.

3. Stating how you’ll move down your path

We’re human. We make mistakes. Having guardrails on the path of our lives helps keep us on track. Sure, we’ll run into those guardrails occasionally (and sometimes find ourselves crashing through them and ending up in the ravine on the side of the road). The important thing is to put those guardrails in place and adhere to them as much as we’re able.

4. Inspiring yourself

Life will knock you down. It’ll kick you in the teeth. It’ll spit on you and call you names. The big question is how will you pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and get back in the fight?

As a leader, your team is looking to you in these situations. There won’t always be someone there to lift you back up. You sometimes have to find that inspiration within. This maxim is all about creating an anchor phrase for yourself that you can use to reignite the fire in your belly.

My maxim on this comes from Ernest Hemingway: “Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” Every time I’ve had the wind knocked out of my sails, I find myself referring to that quote to remind myself that I don’t stop fighting and I need to get back up. What phrase, quote, or image will you use as your anchor?

That summarizes the leading yourself aspect of leadership. Is it holistic? No. Is it a great way to start articulating your leadership philosophy? Absolutely!

Disengaged … Disconnected … Unaware


Leading a business in today’s economy takes more than just forecasting numbers, budgeting, setting goals and developing a long-range plan. It requires an understanding of the significance and integrity of the business and the people who make up the organization. The current economic climate will test the stability of many companies more than ever before. Businesses that understand the value of all the people it interfaces with are the most successful. Businesses that allow fear to dictate decisions are disengaged, disconnected and unaware, and are more susceptible to failure.

Disengaged – When a business is disengaged it is disconnected from its customers, clients and vendors. It is essential that business leaders are proactive in reaching out to client, customer and vendor bases, and that they establish a mutually beneficial partnership to see what can be done to help each other weather any challenges. Personal communication, feedback, support and guidance are critical when fostering long-term relationships with businesses and establishing trust.

Disconnected – A business operating in survival mode can become disconnected from its employees. It is important more now than ever before to connect with the members of the team. Solicit honest feedback and in return be direct with them on where the company stands and where it is headed in the future. An open dialogue of honest communication creates trust in the workplace and allows employees to feel supported and remain focused on their jobs and the company’s future success.

Unaware – A business will miss out on opportunities when it is operating from fear and is unaware of new possibilities when they present themselves. The reality of today’s economy is that some businesses will be unable to weather the storm and only the strong will emerge. Businesses that take this opportunity to focus on customer service and connect with their employees will not only survive, they have the opportunity to dominate in their industries.

At Rapport Leadership International, one of our favorite quotes about leadership came from John Quincy Adams. He said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” When he said this quote, John Quincy Adams was speaking of the types of leaders who are engaged, connected and aware and lead from integrity. And these are leaders who have a complete understanding of the significance of their business and value the people.

10 Practices for Change and Success …


Creating change may entail learning a new habit or skill. Yet simply learning something new generally does not correlate to a change in behavior or performance. In its training, Rapport Leadership applies proven practices for creating true performance change. Below are ten practices you can incorporate into your plan of action. Consistently applying these practices will result in immediate and ongoing impacts on your behavior and help you achieve successes.

1. Self Awareness

Learning begins when you become aware of your own strengths, opportunities for growth and self-limiting behaviors. In its training Rapport Leadership provides the opportunity for you to “look in the mirror” and assess your performance. Start by taking a one hundred percent honest look at yourself and assess your performance. Ask yourself, “How am I doing?” and “What will I do differently?” You must be self-aware in order to make meaningful and lasting changes.

2. Practice and Experience

Just as in sports, athletes practice skills and techniques in order to improve performance. Through practice and experience, performance is enhanced and continues to improve over time. Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Sometimes getting started may be the hardest part and once you get started, keep moving in a forward direction letting your experience enhance your performance and propel you toward your goal.

3. Feedback

Receiving feedback will provide insight into your behavior. Feedback will empower you and move you forward to your next level of performance. Great coaches in sports, business, and training have the power to unleash the potential of individuals by seeing traits or behaviors they may not see for themselves. It is not enough to rely on your own perspective. Assign an accountability partner to keep you motivated, help you stay on track, and provide you with honest feedback.

4. Motivation

The key to motivation is not necessarily to motivate someone, rather it is to allow him/her to discover, uncover and tap into his or her own internal motivations. It is necessary to find out what is important to you in order to achieve your goals.

5. Anchors

Anchors are words, phrases or movements used a prompt to recall a behavior, an emotion or past experience. At Rapport Leadership, anchors such as “Just Focus and Do It (JFDI)” are used so that after training, participants have quick easy ways to recall and apply specific leadership competencies. Use an anchor that will help keep you focused and motivated.

6. Focus on What You Have

In a CNBC television interview, actress Suzanne Somers was asked about the sequential successes of her books, made-for-TV movies, and array of wellness products. Her reply was that she shifted her focus from her what she did not have to what she did have. Many successful leaders achieved success by focusing on what they had and how they could leverage it—whether it was a certain talent, a particular type of knowledge or people within their circle of influence.

7. Believe in Yourself

Napoleon Hill, author of the classic Think and Grow Rich, said “You can be anything you want to be, if only you believe with sufficient conviction and act in accordance with your faith; for whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” Musicians, scientists, inventors and countless others have attributed their successes to the consistent application of this principle.

8. Work with a Coach

We know that successful leaders put their goals in writing. Another powerful strategy for achieving success is to participate in a coaching program. This strategy has been called a secret of the successful because personal or executive coaching will help you clarify your strengths and purpose; create action steps for achieving your goals; and keep you focused, to name a few benefits. Rapport Leadership provides coaching to its course graduates.

9. Acknowledge Your Successes

In his book The Success Principles, Jack Canfield references a management study which revealed that 46% of employees left their company because they felt unappreciated and 88% said they did not receive acknowledgement for the work they did. Like these employees, it is important for you to recognize your successes, no matter the scope or scale. Without acknowledging your successes and appreciating your strengths you will find a reason for not sticking with your plan.

10. Just Focus and Do It

According to Jack Canfield, “winners take action.” Action is what makes the difference between those who achieve success and those who do not. By taking steps toward achieving success, you will learn by doing; you will get feedback that will empower you to move forward; people around you will recognize that you are serious about your plans—you have decided to stop talking and start doing. Once you begin to take action you will realize you are no longer putting off your plans, you are actually doing it. JFDI!

Important Takeaways

Achieving success involves creating behavior change, staying focused on your successes, and taking action. Success also involves focusing on what you have instead of what you do not have.

Consider hiring a coach to help you determine your goals, visions, and action steps. In today’s competitive world a coach is as indispensable to you as he/she is to an athlete.  

Remember to always believe in yourself because whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it will achieve!



Canfield, Jack. The Success Principles

Conversations with Michael Eisner, CNBC

Hill, Napoleon. Think and Grow Rich

5 Strategies for Thriving in Changing Times

Beautiful young woman jumping on  a green meadow with a colored tissue

Today’s leaders know a changing economy means taking action that moves them from surviving to thriving. Here are a few steps you can implement to start thriving now.

1. Write Your Own Rules for a Rebound.

That’s according to a Fortune Magazine article that asks, “When will the business climate improve? That’s exactly the wrong question to be asking. Top CEOs are ditching the waiting game and writing their own rules for a rebound.” These CEOs have decided that instead of waiting for normal to return, they will run their businesses as if “this is the new normal.”

2. Be a Leader, Not Just a Manager.

This lesson holds true during any business climate and more so in a challenging one. Rapport Leadership International graduates know being a leader is about much more than possessing management skills, it is about focusing on people, unleashing others’ potential, being innovative, and inspiring trust to create profitable outcomes for your company.

3. Soar Like an Eagle.

In a tough economy, it is easy to pressure your team into doing better or blaming them for not working hard enough to impact the bottom line. Leaders who swoop in, make noise, and dump negativity on their employees and then leave, are like seagulls. Leaders who provide support, listen to feedback, and empower their teams to take charge, soar above the competition like eagles.

4. Become the CEO of what you do.

Regardless of your title in a company, you are the leader of what you do. Taking complete ownership of your role as if you were the CEO of sales, marketing, or human resources causes you to look deeper for ways to earn revenue, cut costs, or make systems and processes more efficient.

5. Be at Cause, not in effect.

The difference between being at cause versus being in effect as a leader is simple. When you worry, are being a victim, are angry, or resentful you are in effect. When you are willing to be responsible, joyful, at peace, or be free, you are living at cause.

By implementing these strategies and remembering that, “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with it,” you will begin to shift your attitude from surviving in a challenging climate to thriving in changing times.

Start Thriving!

The leader within …


Google “leadership” and you will no doubt find articles about whether or not leaders are born or made. The conclusion that most reach is that they are made (or trained).

So what is leadership? There are hundreds of definitions out there – but put quite simply it is the ability to enroll and inspire others to head in your direction.

Enrolling and inspiring others to follow your lead – means becoming a great communicator.

When people ask to think of great leaders … they are often larger (and louder) than life.

However most communication occurs non-verbally.

According to experts, a large portion of our communication is non-verbal.  Every day, we respond to thousands on non-verbal cues and behaviors including postures, facial expression, eye gaze, gestures, and tone of voice.  From our handshakes to our hairstyles, non-verbal details reveal who we are and impact how we relate to other people.

Being present in the company of others – so you not only pay attention to what people are saying and not saying is an important skill that can be learned. Some call this active listening.

Luckily this trait can be learned. And it is essential in the toolbox of tools of any great leader.



Can you have leadership without rapport?

Not all leaders have rapport – but all great leaders do. The ability to build rapport is a skill many leaders know they must possess in order to get the very best out of their teams.


Peter Drucker said: Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.

However results in business cannot be achieved without people – and you get the best out of people when you have a rapport with them.

Prior to the presidential election, Mitt Romney famously said of Barack Obama “The president may be a nice guy, but he’s just over his head”.  So why did he win the election?

People do business with people they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST. Businesses are lead by people who build TRUST and RAPPORT.

What do you think? How important is the skill of rapport-building when it comes to leadership?