What To Do When Things Go Wrongstring(31) "What To Do When Things Go Wrong"

My eldest daughter, Ashley, got married earlier this year. The wedding was at a little venue nestled in Southern California near the ocean.

I experienced something during the wedding that is a great lesson for entrepreneurs everywhere. The sign of a good team is when they do their job well when everything around them is going right. The sign of a GREAT team is when they do their job well when something out of their control goes completely wrong – and yet, they find a solution. Finding solutions to unexpected problems is a strength for any business.

The Problem

A couple hours before my daughter’s wedding, a vehicle took out a transformer in the neighborhood and the venue lost all power. This was a disaster in the making. However, the manager drove to a hardware store, and actually bought several generators which his team hooked up to the venue just in time for the wedding.

While the wedding party was frenetic over the loss of power, the manager and his team remained calm (at least in front of us) and positive that all would be right with the world, and they would take care of this. His confidence in his team, flowed over to the wedding party (including me – the father of the bride who paid for all of this!!!). There is much to be learned from an entrepreneur or manager who can respond to a serious problem while maintaining their composure in the midst of frantic clients during an ensuing crisis.

The venue brought the power back up with the generators they procured. Everything seemed ready to go. The power came on within minutes of the time that the wedding was to start. The guests were in their chairs, the music played for me to escort my daughter down the aisle. Then, everyone stood to see the bride just before I began to turn the corner to escort her to her awaiting groom… and the power went out again!!!

I looked to my right and watched a team of people from the venue run to the generators and fix the latest challenge within seconds. And… the power was up once again within a few moments.

With that, the music also started again. The people remained standing. The venue went above and beyond to get all of us to this moment. Now, I had to escort a VERY frenetic bride-to-be down the aisle. Any bride would be frenzied at this point and my beautiful daughter was certainly in that headspace.

The Walk

So, as I walked her down the aisle (a very long aisle I might add), I did what any father might try to do – make her forget about her nerves. I could feel her arm trembling as we took our first steps. I leaned over and whispered in her ear, (see the photo above) “Have you ever wondered why you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?” That was so obviously a random statement to make at that moment that she looked at me curiously and said, “What?” I replied, “Or, why is that you send cargo by ships and shipments by car?” The shear randomness of these questions started to make her chuckle. So, I went on to say, “why do you think we call them ‘cookies’ when we actually ‘bake’ them?” Now she’s actually laughing and people had to be wondering what the heck I was saying to her to make her laugh.

As we got closer to her groom I ended with one last question, “Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?” At this point she was no longer frenetic, and she had a huge smile on her face as I kissed her cheek, told her I love her, and handed her over to her groom. She was beautiful, calm, and very, very happy.

It’s hard enough to do everything right when things are going smoothly. The test of a team’s ability to perform is how they handle things when serious challenges are going on all around them.

The Lessons

The lessons in this story are:
· Remain calm during a crisis and project that sense of calm to your clients.
· Believe in your team (which means you need to have a good one).
· Don’t focus on the problem – focus on the solution.
· Act quickly to implement that solution.

Oh, and if all of this happens just before you walk your daughter down the aisle to get married, take her mind off the chaos and have some fun. This last bit of advice can actually work in many situations throughout your life and your business.

The New World of Work

The New World of Workstring(21) "The New World of Work"

I recently talked with my friend Kian Gohar about how daily life has changed over the past few years and, for many of us, we are now working and meeting virtually as much, or more, as we are in-person.

Kian is co-author of the bestselling Harvard Business Review book, “Competing in the New World of Work,” with Keith Ferrazzi, who is also a friend of mine. Our conversation resonated with me because of BNI®. For 35 years, BNI Members around the world met weekly during in-person meetings. In early 2020, all 10,000+ chapters of BNI changed to online weekly meetings and the organization has continued to grow every year. BNI Members have generated over $18.9 Billion USD in closed business for each other in the rolling last 12 months. We now have chapters meeting virtually, in-person, and hybrid, which is a combination of online and in-person.

Create Emotional Connectivity

Kian and I talked about the importance of creating emotional connectivity with colleagues when working in a hybrid environment. He recommends using breakout sessions during a virtual meeting. By having smaller groups of three to four people, you create a place of psychological safety to share opinions and reduce self-censoring that may happen in larger meetings.

As soon as people are in the small groups during the virtual meeting, ask them to each answer a very simple question: “What is sweet and sour in your life?” Sweet is something that’s going really well in life, whether personally or professionally. Sour is something that isn’t going as hoped. The point of this is to allow people to get to know each other so that they understand the context of what’s going on in their lives.

Maximize Collaboration

Over the past two years, most people have reassessed their assumptions about how we live and socialize and work. However, our assumptions about how we collaborate may not have been reassessed. There is a myth that we collaborate by first calling a meeting to get everybody into a room and then decide how to innovate and collaborate.

Consider this idea to maximize collaboration – don’t start with a meeting first. Create an asynchronous meeting instead. Begin with a document on the cloud. The team leader, or the problem owner, writes down what the problem is, some potential solutions, and who should be involved in the conversation to bring more ideas to the table. The cloud document is then shared with the team. They have a week to ideate individually on this document and add all their thoughts to it. This allows the team leader to see the whole universe of what the various problem sets are that they’re trying to solve. They can identify one and say, “Okay, let’s call a meeting around this particular problem that I hadn’t thought of.”

To maximize innovation and collaboration, start first with an asynchronous meeting, identify all the various problems sets with your team, and then go beyond your team, perhaps include potential partners and vendors, to get more ideas into this particular concept. And then call a meeting, whether virtual or hybrid or in-person, to continue working together toward a solution.

Maximize Resilience

How can we make sure our team is fully resilient to adapting to the future? First, recognize that everyone comes to work with different energy levels. And as a team leader or a business owner, it’s your responsibility to identify the team’s overall energy level.

To establish a baseline of your team’s resilience level, you can do a simple survey every two or three weeks through whatever format is most convenient. Ask your team to rate from 1 to 10, (1 being low, 10 being high), what their level of personal resilience is. And you’ll see a baseline over the course of the next few months. Let’s say everybody’s a five or six. And then one person says, “Hey, I’m a two.” Now you know there’s something going on in that person’s life so you can try to figure out how you can help them.

Additionally, in a leadership role, you want to model the behaviors that are important for the well-being of the team and the organization. Sometimes that means enforcing breaks and creating a space for individual resilience to recharge energy levels. Then, when you are trying to solve the problem as a team, you’re able to support each other and cross the finish line together, even though everyone has different levels of energy on an individual basis.

We are fortunate to have an opportunity to take all the lessons from the past few years and look at how we can make the future better. The status quo is gone, we are not going back to the way things were. We can create a new world of possibilities by reconsidering the assumptions that helped us succeed in the past, and continue to reassess them to help us navigate the constant change the future will bring.

The Importance of Leadership in Business Networking

The Importance of Leadership in Business Networkingstring(51) "The Importance of Leadership in Business Networking"

In all aspects of life, leaders set the tone for how the people in the group or on the team will act. We’ve all seen it happen professionally, personally, and in business networking.

I was once at a networking event when a woman approached me and told me that she had heard of BNI® and was interested in joining a chapter. But she was hesitant based on a recent experience she had when she attended a meeting of a different networking group.

She had been very put off by the attitude and comments of that group’s leader. Being new to networking, the meeting was the first of its kind that this woman, an esthetician, had ever attended. She said that she had expected something very different.

She had been told that the group was filled with positive, welcoming people who would be as interested in learning how to help her promote her business as she was in learning to help them promote theirs. However, when she arrived, she found that very few people even noticed her because they were busy socializing in clusters that were reminiscent of high school cliques. Then, to start the meeting, the group’s leader stood up and announced that he was in a crabby mood and told everyone to find their seats quickly. As soon as she sat down, a member of the group informed her that she needed to move because she was sitting in “his seat.” She got up and, instead of finding another seat, headed out the door.

Unfortunately, it was not the first time I had heard of an occurrence like this. When a networking group doesn’t have strong, positive leadership to set a good example and enforce the structure, the group runs the risk of turning into nothing more than a coffee klatch or a social club.

I encouraged the esthetician to seek out her local BNI chapter despite her bad experience with the other group. I assured her that she would have a much better experience simply based on the difference in leadership. Groups follow the example of their leaders and in the situation of the networking group this woman visited, the leadership set a very bad example and the group members followed suit.

Quality Leadership

People will follow the example of those who are in leadership roles, which means it is imperative for leaders to be positive and solutions focused. One of the most important aspects of a good business networking group is the leadership team that runs the meeting. These individuals should be selected based on their ability to size up any situation, identify the direction that is best for the group overall, and then lead the group toward the most positive path.

Quality leadership is about connecting with people. It is about inspiring others to take action and about coaching people effectively by guiding and helping them. Leadership is about having a positive attitude while maintaining accountability. As I’ve said before, hockey without rules would be boxing on ice. BNI without rules would be a coffee klatch of socializing around a table. You have to have rules. Good leaders apply the policies like Mandela, not Atilla and they maintain accountability with diplomacy.

 Four Keys to Being a Great Leader

I offer these suggestions based on my experience and observations of leadership skills.

  1. Focus on solutions, not problems.
    Some people become obsessed with the problem and become an expert on problems.
  2. Collaborate with your team.
    Effective collaboration is a force multiplier.
  3. Be a culture champion.
    Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
  4. Sincerely care about the success of others.
    People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

I encourage everyone reading this to remember that whether or not you are in a recognized leadership role, people are always observing you.

If the leaders in your life aren’t setting a good example, why not step up and act as a leader yourself?  YOU can set a good example. If one or two members of the “high school clique” networking group mentioned above had done this, other members of that group might have followed their lead and the esthetician might not have walked out with such a negative view of all of them.


The leadership in a business networking group is extremely important for the success of the group and for the experience of the members and their visitors. Remember, leadership is about accomplishing more than people thought possible. It is about using experience and wisdom to guide others in a positive direction. Leadership is about empowering others by serving as an example.

Business Leadership Lessons for Difficult Timesstring(47) "Business Leadership Lessons for Difficult Times"

Today, more than ever, you need your network to help you through difficult times. When your business faces challenges, it is your network of friends and associates that can help you get through. As the Founder of BNI® , which operates more than 10,000 networking groups in over 70 countries, I have learned the importance of this firsthand. I’ve also learned that it starts with our own actions.

You Must Believe

First, you must believe that you can pivot your business and find ways to help more people. You must believe in what you can do for people during the challenging times.

There is an old story of two shoe salesmen who were sent to different parts of a developing nation to see if there was a market for their shoes.  After one week, the first salesman wrote back to the company and said, “No one wears shoes here. There is no market for us. Send me a return ticket.”

The second shoe salesman wrote back to the company and said, “No one wears shoes here – there’s a huge market for our shoes. Send me a large shipment.”

You must believe in yourself and the people around you. Believe that you can pivot. Believe that your network can help you in this process.

I see people in the exact same professions who believe it is possible to pivot, and people who believe it is not possible to pivot during challenging times. Whether you think that you can or that you cannot, you will probably be right.

The Importance of Passion

You must have passion about what you do. Make sure that you and your team are working in your flame and not in your wax.
Let’s be clear about passion – it does not produce commitment.
Commitment produces passion.
Commitment and passion, together, produce results.
Nothing great in life has ever been done without passion and commitment.

Leadership Lessons

It is hard to overstate how important leadership is.
Quality leadership is not about managing and complying; it is about mobilizing and inspiring.

  1.   It is about connecting with people. It is about giving clients and customers love, care, and attention.
  2.   It is about inspiring people to take action.
  3.   It’s about getting people to do six things a thousand times. Not a thousand things six times. It’s not about doing something so many times that you finally get it right – it’s about doing it so many times that you can’t get it wrong.
  4.   It’s about coaching people effectively; guiding people and helping people. It’s about showing up to help them be a better version of themselves. That’s what leadership is.

Don’t overcomplicate things. Business doesn’t have to be complicated.
It is about three things: belief, passion, and leadership.

I believe anyone can do extraordinary things with the right mindset, plan, and effort. I believe that our vision controls our perception, and our perception becomes our reality. Set a vision that makes a difference to the people around you.
Why accept mediocrity when excellence is an option?
Excellence is always an option – even during difficult times.

scholarship

The Misner Leadership Scholarship 2020string(38) "The Misner Leadership Scholarship 2020"

The student leadership program at Gladstone High School (my old alma mater) in Azusa, California, made a huge difference in the man I was to become. As a result of the experience I had at Gladstone, I wanted to give back to deserving students who also had a positive experience in leadership roles at GHS. For that reason, Beth and I created the Misner Leadership Scholarship which awards $2,000 towards college to a student engaged in leadership activities at GHS every year. I have been giving this out for 21 years to outstanding students in the leadership program at Gladstone.

The 2020 Misner Leadership Scholarship winner is Jenna Valdez.

Miss Valdez was incredibly deserving because of her involvement in leadership related programs at Gladstone High School. We were impressed with Jenna’s commitment and her involvement in various leadership roles at Gladstone High. Jenna was the Senior President for her class. Plus, she was the Student Board Member for her school with the Azusa Unified School District Board of Education. Jenna’s photo above is from Miss Valdez’s speech as Senior President during the Gladstone High School’s virtual graduation ceremony. You can watch her speech here. Congratulations Jenna Valdez and the entire Gladstone High School Class of 2020.

While colleges may casually consider “leadership” as part of their scholarship criteria for applicants, we believe that it doesn’t receive the emphasis it deserves. The leadership experience I received while at Gladstone changed the direction of my life. It was an integral part in helping to shape the person that I would become as an adult. It laid the foundation for many of the choices I made in college and throughout my professional career. You might find this personal story about my experience with leadership roles at GHS to be of interest.

The scholarship was given by the Misner Family Foundation.

Misner Leadership Scholarship

Misner Leadership Scholarshipstring(29) "Misner Leadership Scholarship"

The student leadership program at Gladstone High School made a huge difference in me and the man I was to become. For that reason, Beth and I created a $1,000 Misner Leadership Scholarship that we have awarded to a student at Gladstone High School (my old alma mater). I have been giving this out for about 20 years to outstanding students in the leadership program at Gladstone High School where I graduated.

This year’s scholarship winner was incredibly deserving because of her involvement in leadership related programs at Gladstone High School.  This year’s winner, Jacquelin Sanchez, was incredibly deserving of the Misner Leadership Scholarship. The photo above is of Jacquelin and her parents from Gladstone High School’s Senior Awards Night.

The scholarship was given by the Misner Family Foundation.

Steve Farber

Steve Farber says “Love is Good Business”string(53) "Steve Farber says “Love is Good Business”"

Fellow Transformational Leadership Council member and friend, Steve Farber, talks to me about focusing on finding love in business. Steve is one of the best speaker’s I’ve seen on the stage.  His message is both surprising and impactful. When we were in Cancun together last week, he talked to me about love being a part of your every day mantra as a business owner.

It’s true. Love is just damn good business. Here’s the logic:

1. You have a massive competitive advantage when your customers love your product or service.

2. The only way to create that experience for customers in a meaningful and sustainable way over time is to create an environment or culture that people love working in.

3. You can’t create that kind of culture unless you love your business, your team, your colleagues, your employees, your customers, yourself, first.

4. Employees will model how they are treated by their leaders.

Love being part of our every day business

Businesses that promote love and celebrate love still need profits to keep their doors open, but they understand the powerful connection between loving what you do in the service of people who love what you do. It builds strong relationships, trust, loyalty, and the commitment that allows a business to not only make money but make a difference. Love being part of our every day business is no more complicated than the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.

Steve Farber, founder of The Extreme Leadership Institute, is a popular keynote speaker and leadership expert. Steve’s been featured on my blog before. He’s the bestselling author of The Radical Leap, The Radical Edge, and Greater Than Yourself. Learn more about Steve on his website at stevefarber.com

Think of this the next time you order a pizza. It’s a great example of “love is just damn good business” in action. 

great leaders

Great Leaders Do Not Tell You What To Do, They Show You How It’s Donestring(71) "Great Leaders Do Not Tell You What To Do, They Show You How It’s Done"

If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, you know how challenging it can be to find the path towards leadership that works for you. If you find yourself wondering how to become great leaders in business, follow these steps:

Click here to watch this video

The Path to Business Leadership

1. Focus on solutions, not problems
2. Collaborate with your team
3. Be a culture champion
4. Care about the success of others–REALLY care!

Finally, leadership is about accomplishing more than people thought possible. In your business, what are your wildest dreams? What’s your ultimate goal? Never lose that idea and constantly be working towards it.

Watch the video to hear more about the four steps towards becoming a business leader, and leave me a comment on what YOU think makes a leader.

Six Short Lessons On Leadership

Six Short Lessons On Leadershipstring(31) "Six Short Lessons On Leadership"

If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, you know how challenging it can be to find the path towards leadership that works for you. If you find yourself wondering how to become a leader in business, follow these six short lessons on leadership:

  1. Focus on solutions, not problems

If you focus always on the problem, people will always be coming to you with their problems as a Leader, All too often, when facing a problem, the first thing we tend to do is focus on the negative situation. We continue to repeat our patterns, doing the same things that do not work, until we dwell in a feeling of negativity. Many people let their minds wander toward the negative, which then prompts them to focus on more problems instead of searching for ways to resolve the situation and grow from it. You must begin to start focusing on ways to actually resolve the situation by focusing on solutions. Do not just react, take the time to fully analyze the problem then make a list of possible solutions.

For more on this topic, I recommend the book, “The Solutions Focus” by Mark McKergow

 

  1. Collaborate with your team.

Work with your team together.  My team and I still struggle to agree on certain things when we work together on something, but it’s part of the fun of collaboration. Collaboration thrives when everyone is humble enough to accept what others bring. You have your own strengths as an individual and so does everyone else.

Apply the organizational rules like Mandela, not Atilla! Fascism is not a good leadership style!

 

  1. Be a culture champion.

Walk the talk. Leadership is about using your experience and wisdom to move others in a positive direction; it’s about empowering others by serving as an example. You have to know the culture of your chapter.

What you do, thunders above your head so loudly, I cannot hear the words you speak. Live the core values and walk the talk.

 

  1. Care about the success of others–REALLY care!

Great leaders demonstrate integrity, consistency, compassion, and flexibility. They listen, create safety, focus on the goal and remain flexible in how to achieve the goal. They are unafraid of vulnerability, apologize when they make mistakes, and build deep, lasting relationships.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

 

  1. Contextual intelligence.

Good leaders are a good facilitator. They understand the context of the situation. A leader understands the limits of their knowledge and adapts that knowledge to an environment different from the one in which it was developed.

Do not lead with a cookie cutter approach. You can’t treat all situations or people exactly the same.

 

  1. Adaptive capacity. 

It is important for leaders to develop the contextual intelligence to deal with challenges. This is the ability to adapt to the current situation.  We can never conceive of all the potential problems in any given situation.  This means that one’s ability to adapt is truly an important key to being a great leader. Do your best to understand the landscape and adapt.

However, you cannot plan for every unexpected situation. “What cannot go wrong will go wrong.”

 

Finally, leadership is about accomplishing more than people thought possible. In your business, what are your wildest dreams? What’s your ultimate goal? Never lose that idea and constantly be working towards it.

leader

A Great Leader Does Not Tell You What To Do, They Show You How It’s Donestring(78) "A Great Leader Does Not Tell You What To Do, They Show You How It’s Done"

If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, you know how challenging it can be to find the path towards leadership that works for you. If you find yourself wondering how to become a leader in business, follow these steps:

Click here to watch this video

The Path to Business Leadership

1. Focus on solutions, not problems
2. Collaborate with your team
3. Be a culture champion
4. Care about the success of others–REALLY care!

Finally, leadership is about accomplishing more than people thought possible. In your business, what are your wildest dreams? What’s your ultimate goal? Never lose that idea and constantly be working towards it.

Watch the video to hear more about the four steps towards becoming a business leader, and leave me a comment on what YOU think makes a leader.

John Maxwell

John Maxwell Interviews Ivan Misner on “Building Relationships”string(67) "John Maxwell Interviews Ivan Misner on “Building Relationships”"

In this video, I share with John Maxwell how BNI started with my personal need to build my business with referrals. I also share who are my mentors and the philosophy of Givers Gain.  Finally, we discussed how you should make decisions based on the information you are provided WITHIN the context of your value system. Please click on the photo below to watch the video of my personal interview with John Maxell.

John Maxwell interview

John Maxwell Interviews Ivan Misner on “Building Relationships”

Ivan Misner on “Building Relationships”

from The John Maxwell Team on Vimeo.

The Path to Business Leadershipstring(31) "The Path to Business Leadership"

If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, you know how challenging it can be to find the path towards leadership that works for you. With all the information available to us online, leadership styles are a dime a dozen and no one has the time or resources to try every style. Getting back to the basics is important, and understanding how those basics can improve your business is even more vital. Being a leader doesn’t have to be complicated! You’ve heard of the KISS acronym, right? Keep It Simple…well, it’s not the nicest acronym, so I won’t finish. But you know where I’m going.

If you find yourself wondering how to become a leader in business, follow these four steps:

1. Focus on solutions, not problems

2. Collaborate with your team

3. Be a culture champion

4. Care about the success of others–REALLY care!

Finally, leadership is about accomplishing more than people thought possible. In your business, what are your wildest dreams? What’s your ultimate goal? Never lose that idea and constantly be working towards it.

Watch the video below to hear more about the four steps towards becoming a business leader, and leave me a comment on what YOU think makes a leader.

 

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