January 2nd, 2014 by John Gallagher 2 Comments

podcast photo

So, here it is! Episode 1 of “Timeout” – A LEADERSHIP podcast for coaches, parents and players by two brothers with a passion for all things sports.

My brother, Michael and I have been talking about doing a podcast for a while now. Well, in 2014, we wanted to stop talking about it and start doing it. This will evolve. We want to have fun with it and the best way to do that is to have you, our listener and reader, join in on the conversation. We want to know what you want to hear about as a coach, parent, OR player in sports.

Click on the Play button above to listen in


December 31st, 2013 by John Gallagher No Comments



The end of the year is a great time to rest and reflect on the accomplishments and challenges from the past year.

2013 year in review

I have a very simple process that I use for my year-end review.  It consists of 4 steps (last year it was 3…):

1) Goal review –  I review how I did relative to the goals and disciplines I targeted for the year.  The tool I use to track this is the Life Plan.  You may have a different method of tracking, but the important thing is to track.  If you don’t track, then maybe that should be one of your goals for 2014…to track your goals!  What you measure, you control.  What you don’t measure, you accept.

2) The simple “+/-” tool.  I make a T-diagram on a piece of paper and list the things that went well (+) on the left and things that could have gone better (-) on the right.  Try not to over-think it.  Just blurt.

3) K,S,S – After listing out the pluses and minuses, I review them and reflect.   I then list out the things I need to KEEP doing (things that went well), START doing (to take the things that went well to the next level, or to remedy the things that didn’t go well), and most importantly, what I need to STOP doing.  Too often, we take on new goals and don’t stop doing things that are getting in the way.  Be aware of the habits you have developed that could get in the way.  There are many distractions.

4) Ask for help –  Share your things you need to do with someone.  Share it with God in prayer…Ask for help.  Share it with your spouse…ask for help.  Share it with a mentor…ask for help.  Share it with a family member…ask for help.  Share it with a friend…ask for help.  Key thing.  Don’t try to do it alone.

That’s it.  It will take me a couple hours and I will feel refreshed going in to 2014.  Bring on 2014!

So, do you use a process to review your year? What steps would you add to this process?

5 Key Actions of Successful Lean Leaders

December 12th, 2013 by John Gallagher No Comments

Recently, I had a chance to attend a large conference and speak to a small group and discuss challenges that leaders face in attempting to transform the culture in their organizations.  The leaders were part of a larger group of over 5,000 Healthcare leaders at a two-day conference learning tools & techniques to improve quality, reduce cost, and improve the experience that patients receive in Healthcare.  There were lots of resources… over 100 books for sale, 100+ vendors, 400 story boards and 200+ workshops.  Lots of learning opportunities.

leadership key

When I had my chance to talk to a small group, I described actions necessary for leaders to be successful in transformation.  When leaders turn these actions in to regular behaviors, the chance of success increases exponentially

1) Lead by example – To transform an organization, you will need to ask your team to change behaviors…some they have learned over years of work and education.  Are you willing to lead by example and change as well?  Your team must SEE your willingness to learn

2) ‘Round’ for improvement – This was a Healthcare conference, so ’rounding’ was a familiar term.  To transform an organization, you won’t be able to do it from behind the desk in your office.

3) Follow Leadership Standard Work – What are those disciplines you need to repeat on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to achieve success.  Write them down… check them off. This is not natural or easy, but is rewarding.

4) Ask coaching questions – As the leader, you don’t have to have all the answers.  Challenge your team to solve the problems.  You must ask them coaching questions to get them to think and act differently

5) Relentlessly reflect – When was the last time you sat down and spent time ‘alone’ reflecting on how things are going?  You must plan reflection time in your week.  Put it in your calendar.  Protect it and treat it like other important meetings you have.  Ask yourself, “What is going well?”, or “What needs to improve?”  Write these things down and then develop a plan to keep doing the good and changing what needs improved!

Do I think this is an all-inclusive list?  No.  But, if you can develop the discipline to complete these 5 actions, the other things will come easier.

Are you completing these actions in your leadership?  What do you need to improve?  What is going well?  What is a critical action you would ADD to this list?  Let me know in the comments.  I will choose one commenter at random on December 25 to receive a ‘Christmas present’ from me.  A copy of Leading the Lean Enterprise Transformation by George Koenigsaecker, who has been an influence on my leadership development.


November 29th, 2013 by John Gallagher 2 Comments

A friend shared this video with me.  It hit me in many ways and I wanted to share.  You see, in my line of work (Lean Healthcare Consulting), I get to experience some stories like this.  Also, I have to travel a good bit on airplanes and walking through the airport might be similar to walking through a hospital of clinic.  I need to be more aware of the fact that everyone has a story.  If I take the time to recognize that my behaviors, words, and actions have an impact on their story, I can be more effective as a leader.  This 4 minute video is worth the watch.

So, next time you find yourself in a crowded place, be patient and aware.  Ask yourself in an Empathetic tone and not and Apathetic tone, “What’s Their Story?”  Let me know how it works for you.


October 26th, 2013 by John Gallagher 5 Comments

Recently, I posted about needing a coach.  I mentioned in the post that you may want to consider employing a good coach.  If you aren’t quite ready to make that investment, there are several other effective ways of coaching.  One of the methods I employ is to follow other leader’s (aks, coaches) blogs.  Many leaders are gracious to ‘give’ away their content for FREE to help you to grow.  I follow many types of blogs including Leadership, Lean, Health Care, Sports, and Spiritual blogs to help increase my knowledge in each of the areas.  Following the blogs is easy.  I use Internet Explorer to compile the RSS feeds so that when a new post is written, I automatically receive the link. (I will blog about this process in a later post).


Here are a few of the Leadership blogs that I follow:

Andy Andrews

Michael Hyatt

Robert D Smith

Kristen Gielow

Skip Prichard

Now, what a blog post doesn’t do that an actual coach WILL do is hold you accountable.  Self-discipline is very important when you choose this path of Coaching.

Do you subscribe to blogs as a way to grow personally as a Leader?  What blogs do you recommend?


October 25th, 2013 by John Gallagher 2 Comments




The dictionary defines a coach as: “a person involved in the direction, instruction and training of the operations of a team or of individual “.  I think that is a fair definition.  I expand that definition myself to : a coach is “a person involved in leading an individual or team to a place they might not be able to go on their own.”


As a leader, you should want to develop and grow as an individual.  Do you need a coach to help you grow?  Here are 3 questions that you need to ask to determine if you might need a coach:

1) Do you have someone that asks you about your personal goals?

2) Do you have someone that asks you about your business or professional goals?

3) Do you have someone that asks you about your family goals?

If you answered ‘no’ to any of those questions above, then you probably need a coach.  Now, you don’t have to go out and sign up for an executive, business or life coach (although that may be helpful!), but you do need to have someone in your life that will ask you these questions above and hold you accountable to making changes.  You also might need to start reading more in the areas of these questions.

Ultimately, we have to make a choice to want to be coached.

So, did you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions?  What would be possible for you if you had a coach? 



September 15th, 2013 by John Gallagher No Comments

“Are you the person you want to be in a relationship with wants to be in a relationship with?” – Andy Stanley

business relationship

To be successful, you need to hang around people that are more successful than you are.  You learn from them.  You grow if you have a learning spirit.  Do you find yourself hanging around the right people?  If not, there may be some specific reasons.  Here are 3 that come to my mind that may keep you from being with the right people:

1) You chronically see the negative – Listen to your words and what comes out of your mouth.  Do you have a tendency to be a pessimist?  To me, these folks are energy vampires.  They suck the energy right out of me.

2) You are self-focused – Do you spend more time talking about yourself than you do learning about the person you are getting to know?  Assess where you are here.  If I only want to know about you, I can go look at your LinkedIn profile.

3) You ‘hang out’ in the wrong places – Let’s face it.  You have to be where other successful people are.  Where do the people ‘hang out’ that you like to be around?  Are you attending great conferences? Are you reading great books?  Are you listening to great podcasts?  Start a hang-out like a book club.  See if you begin to grow.  Share a podcast you love to listen to with another leader.

Andy Stanley’s podcast question challenged me.  I am putting my own twist on it:

Are you the kind of person you want or need to hang around with …wants or needs to hang arount with?  If the answer to that question is no, you may need to make some adjustments.

What other reasons might you not be hanging out with the right people?