"It's time" for a new blog design

February 7th, 2010 by Gallagher John No Comments

It has been nearly 2 years that I have been blogging and I thought it was time to upgrade the content and design. I did this for a few reasons:
1) I wanted to make the design more personalized to my leadership style
2) I wanted to add more information (you will see a new multi-tab format with Pocket Change, About, Resume, and Contact tabs to go along with the Home page)
3) I wanted to have the ability to add more customizable content to the sidebars.
4) I wanted to develop better tracking mechanisms
5) I wanted to make it easier for you, the reader, to provide your comments, so that we can have more than a dialogue and learn from each other.
6) I wanted an easier to remember domain. The new domain is www.johngallagherblog.com . To me, much easier than john-gallagher.blogspot.com

I believe this design does that AND MORE. Special thanks to Ryan Lang for putting the design together and fielding all of the questions I had about tweaking. He was very patient with me!

Look for some more posts upcoming explaining the features in more detail. I am excited about this ‘facelift’ and hope that I can continue to add more value to you with this blog. Let me know what you think!!

John

Book Review – Who's Got Your Back by Keith Ferrazzi

February 1st, 2010 by Gallagher John No Comments

I just finished reading who’s got your back by Keith Ferrazzi.

I had also read Keith’s book, Never Eat Alone, a few years back and was drawn to this book on the bookstore shelf with it’s bright blue jacket, but even more when I saw the sub-title “The Secret to Finding the 3 People Who Will Change Your Life.”

As I jumped in, I was not disappointed.  Ultimately, the book revolves around the four core mind-sets that form the behavioral foundation for creating lifeline relationships (p. 41):
1) Generosity
2) Vulnerability
3) Candor
4) Accountability

I found many different points within the book to be effective.  At the start, he mentions that the people you are relating with now are likely not the ones who you will be relating with as you grow and mature.   Amusingly, his therapist referred to getting into the habit of “plucking the weeds and tending the flowers.”  Weeds are individuals who bring you down and flowers are the relationships you have that bring brightness, ideas, support and meaning to your life.  It is hard to weed out at times in my personal life.  Comes with my personality profile in that I want to believe and trust everyone and don’t want to tell anyone ‘No’.

I probably could have stopped reading this book about 60 pages before the end.  I thought that it got a little long and went from individual relationship building throughout the first 200+ pages to the team relationship building tips.  My personal opinion is that a non-fiction book that goes much past 220 pages or so gets too long.  Oddly enough, on the same day I finished this book, I read a post from Michael Hyatt about “How to Read a Non-Fiction Book”. His first tip was “Don’t feel that you need to finish.” I thought this was a few days late for me!

In any event, there were MANY good points/takeaways as I mentioned above.  I had 7 ‘dogears’  and many highlights throughout the book that I reviewed.  Thus, I would suggest this book for your reading pleasure.  Because I lost interest in  the last 60 pages or so, I would give this book a 6 out of 10 on the dogear scale.

So, how are you cultivating those life-long relationships in your life.  In those relationships, are you being generour, vulnerable, candid in providing feedback and holding yourself and those relationships accountable for their actions?

4 lessons learned about ATTITUDE

January 30th, 2010 by Gallagher John 3 Comments
This silly jump box (aka BLUE monster) taught me a few lessons this week about ‘ATTITUDE’.  First, the timeline leading to the lesson:
Tuesday – Working out at LifeWise Fitness, I point to the box and ask the owner, Che Torry , what that box was for and he said for folks to jump on.  I told him there was no way I could jump on that box. 
Wednesday – Participate in Basic Conditioning class with Che as the ‘coach’ for the class and he had us doing box jumps in increments on an aerobic step.  After class, I looked at the blue step above (you know, the one that I said I could not jump on!) and brought it over to the equipment we were jumping on.  Low and behold…the blue step was about 4″ LOWER than what we were working out with that night.  I just looked at Che and smiled, quite sheepishly.
Friday – Did my regular workout and then brough over the blue step.  I still found myself nervous, but did jump on it a few times.  I even wanted proof.  See video here:
If you cannot see this in your reader, CLICK HERE for the video.
So, what were the lessons learned:
1)  Attitude (Positive or Negative) is a CHOICE.  I chose on Monday to say that I could NOT jump on that blue box without even trying.  “If you think you can, or you think you can’t…you are probably right” – John Maxwell
2)  Most of our fears are unfounded – I was nervous to jump on the box.  The challenge is to funnel the energy we place in our fears into the task at hand.  We tend to fear the worst.  Rather, try to think of the best!
3)  Having a ‘coach’ is important – A good coach will push you just a little bit farther than you will go on your own.  (You can replace the word ‘coach’ with ‘friend’, ‘accountability partner’, ‘teacher’, ‘mentor’ etc.) 
4)  Practice what you preach – After I jumped on the boxes on Wednesday evening and saw that it was higher than the BLUE monster, I was disappointed in my negative ‘choice’ on Monday.
So, what is your current ‘BLUE monster’ and what is it going to take for you to CHOOSE to say that you CAN?!  Time for me to reflect on that…

It's about the 'Experience'..RIGHT? …WRONG!! It's about the Relationships

January 24th, 2010 by Gallagher John 2 Comments

So, as a result of Roanoke’s freezing rain Thursday night, school was cancelled for the kids on Friday. By about 10:00 a.m. we were nestling into our standard rituals. Checking email for me, cleaning the house for Chris, and xBox on a day off for the boys. Now, I don’t claim to be ‘spontaneous’ by any means, quite the opposite…I prefer to have things planned out, but Friday was different. I had everyone get dressed and we took a ride to Staunton, VA, to visit the Woodrow Wilson Presidential library. The family moaned and groaned all the way to the car!!!

Certainly, not a destination spot for the kids, or Chris, but I had been wanting to go there for a couple years now and never planned it. The trip started off eventful, though:
1) As we got closer to Staunton, the temperature continued to drop to freezing and it started to snow
2) In my anxiousness to leave before anyone could talk me out of it, I had forgotten my coat!
3) When we got to the library, we learned that the library was closed for renovation…until…the next day, Saturday!!! This would have been something important for the organization to post on their web site, I thought, but I am glad they didn’t…WHY:

We had a great EXPERIENCE because of the people we met:

  • First, we had a great lunch at Emilio’s restaurant and our server did a real nice job telling us about the history of the restaurant and some of the events that may draw us back to Staunton one day.
  • Then, we got to meet a fine man, Mr. Martin from Ohio, who walked the tour of the home with us and shared a similar interest that I have: To visit all of the Presidential Libraries!
  • Also, our tour guide, Bob, was fantastic, and he ended up taking us into the Library while it was under repair and got us a close-up view of Woodrow Wilson’s Pierce Aero limousine, which was really cool! We could not have done that on a regular tour!
  • But, most importantly, I was simply amazed with my boys’ knowledge of history. As Bob would ask questions about the events of Woodrow Wilson’s time as President, Brendan and Joseph BOTH reeled off answers that had Bob‘s jaw dropping, Mr. Martin’s eyes raised, and a tear in my eye!

It could have been just another day off of school when it started, but I am so glad that we went on that little trip Friday. It wasn’t about Woodrow Wilson, or the restaurant, or the food, or the weather…it was about the people we met and the time we shared as a family. Life really is about relationships…the rest is just details!

Can you share with me an ‘experience’ that you had that started off uneventful and turned into a great experience?

Passion – How to get your 'mojo' back in 2010!

January 12th, 2010 by Gallagher John No Comments

Webster defines Passion as “mean intense emotion compelling action.”  There are many ways to define it.

“Dr. Evil” defined it here:

For me, having Passion about something or someone is a deep feeling in my heart or pit of my stomach that drives me to do something about it resulting in a positive change.  I can say that I have passion for something, but if I do nothing about it, then I am only dreaming or complaining. 

In tough economic times like the ones most of us went through in 2009, it is possible to lose our Passion (capital ‘P’ for emphasis).  I was reviewing my Maxwell Leadership Bible recently and John Maxwell had an excerpt about Passion.  It had some great tips on increasing Passion:

Passion makes for an effective ministry (your ministry can and should be your job, your hobbies, your relationships).  So, how can you increase your Passion?

  1. Take your temperature.  Get an honest assessment from those closest to you.  Are you passionate about what you do?  You can’t start a fire in your organization, home, church, etc., unless it first burns in you.
  2. Return to your first ‘love’.  Many leaders allow life to push them off track.  Think back to when you were most passionate.  What drove you?  What made you enthusiastic?
  3. Associate with people of passion.  Birds of a feather flock together.  Hot coals stay hot when they remain in the fire.  Find passionate people and let them rub off on you.

So, how are you going to get your Passion back in 2010?  How are you going to re-light that fire?  Get back your ‘mojo’ in 2010!  We will all be better off for it.

Is it more important to be 'fair' or 'consistent' ?

January 10th, 2010 by Gallagher John No Comments

I posted this question recently on my Facebook page:  “Is it more important to be ‘fair’ or ‘consistent’?  I received several responses like the ones below:

  •  “being consistent is fair”
  •  “I think I would hope fair”
  •  “how about being consistently fair?”

Some thought it was a trick question.  It was not, but I was curious. 

As a parent (you can substitute the word LEADER anywhere I put parent), one of the statements I sometimes hear is “That’s not fair!”  Are there any parents out there who have NOT heard this?  If so, please let me know your secret.

In any event, I believe the answer to whether it is more important to be fair or consistent lies in BOUNDARIES.  What boundaries have you set up front?  Allow me to use one example that I use with my sons, Brendan and Joseph.  We have set boundaries for being ready for school, giving the kids freedom to wake up when they want.  They each have their own alarm clock, BUT we have set up boundaries.  They MUST be downstairs and prepared to go to school by 7:15.  Prepared means bed made, dirty clothes taken to laundry, teeth brushed and deodorant on, dressed, and school supplies packed.  If they are not down by 7:15, they lose TV privileges for the evening.  If they come down ready at 7:16, is it ‘fair’ that they are not allowed to watch TV that evening?  It might not seem fair, right?  “But, dad, I am only one minute late”.  You can insert your own response here!  Then, as a parent (leader) you must follow through with the consequence, or the consistency goes away and it no longer IS fair.  This is an overly simple example that describes my response to the question.

If I set the boundaries up front, am consistent with disciplining to those boundaries – giving you the freedom to make it happen – then, I am doing my part as a parent/leader.  I think it is more important to be ‘consistent’ to ensure ‘fair’ness.  AND, it really does remind me of another statement my mom would make to me – “Life’s not fair.”  So true. 

Have a great week.

So, do you have a story about fair or consistent you would like to share?  Please comment below.

Book Review – Tribes

January 3rd, 2010 by Gallagher John No Comments

I just finished reading Tribes by Seth Godin.  To say that this was a difficult book for me to read would be an understatement.  As I got to the final pages, I found myself thinking about how I would review the book and the author knew exactly what he was doing(as I had presumed).  In the final 2 pages, there was a section titled “What, Exactly, Should You Do Now?” It followed with: “You made it to the end.  And it’s possible you missed the checklists, the detailed how-to lists, and the For Dummies style instruction manual that shows you exactly what to do to find a tribe and lead it.  I think that was the point.”

Well, I kept saying to myself the last several pages that this book was not organized into logical chapters AND, I think that is exactly what the author intended.  He confirmed if for me.  At least it was confirmed that I was NOT losing my mind!!!

The Tribe in the title is that group needing to be led.  It may be a Tribe that is already created, but they need a leader. 

There were takeaways for me that I highlighted and/or dogeared:

  • He talked about heretics as those wanting to make a difference and challenging the status quo.  I might refer to them as ‘pot-stirrers’, but stirring the pot with the intent to improve and solve a problem, not just stir the pot.  The example he used was “If faith is the foundation of a belief system, then religion is the facade and the landscaping.”  Just because you challenge ‘religions’, doesn’t mean you lose ‘faith’
  • He talked about technologies like Twitter, Facebook, and blogging as ENABLERS, and not as a cure.
  • He did throw in one “How to” about 2/3 of the way through the book by identifying the key elements in starting your movement:
    • Publish a ‘manifesto’ (motto, mantra, story)
    • Make it easy for your followers (Tribe) to connect with you
    • Make it easy for the Tribe to connect with one another
    • Realize that money is not the point of a movement
    • Track your progress

My favorite quote of the book was early on how he differentiates between managers and leaders

Managers have employees…Leaders have followers
Managers make widgets…Leaders make change
Final analysis: In reviewing back through, I had 5 dogears in the book, thus a 5 out of 10 rating.  I think this is a good book to help challenge conventional thinking and has some examples of how some have chosen to make a difference.
Anyone else read this book?  Do you have a different viewpoint?