Dale Earnhardt

Power of MindShift :: Emotion (Part 2)

September 8, 2020

What can NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s tragic death teach us about emotions and mindset?? Actually, a lot! His death cast a global spotlight on safety in NASCAR. Media outlets were camped outside Dale Earnhardt Inc., as well as NASCAR’s Daytona headquarters interviewing heartbroken fans and asking the question, “has NASCAR done enough to keep their drivers safe?” The late Bill France, Jr., was running NASCAR when this happened and he lost his close friend. It was a difficult time for members of the NASCAR industry as well as for the millions of fans who loyally followed the sport – and The Intimidator – Dale Earnhardt! NASCAR hired Jody Powell, a Washington heavy weight who was well-equipped to handle crisis situations. You see, Jody served as President Jimmy Carter’s Press Secretary. Jody told me the story of a meeting he attended at senior-level meeting at NASCAR headquarters in the wake of Earnhardt’s death. He told me how Mr. France was, rightfully so, very angry with how the media was portraying the sport – his sport (as Bill’s father, Bill France, started NASCAR in 1948). While being extremely angry (and voicing it clearly, as Jody recounted), Jody mentioned that none of the people in the room were making eye contact with Mr. France. It was a very tense situation, for sure. When Mr. France paused for a moment, Jody stepped in with a simple, yet powerful, statement – “Mr. France, with all due respect, being pissed off is not a strategy.” At that moment, Mr. France acknowledged that to be true and then looked to Jody and said, “you are right. So, what are we going to do about this?” How can we use the phrase, “being pissed off isn’t a strategy.” help us embrace emotion, yet still move towards action? We are experiencing a wide range of emotions these days, but we have to determine whether those emotions are moving us forward or holding us back! How we deal with our emotions and put them on display for others to see and experience also impacts our reputation. Make no mistake about that. Our consistent, daily actions influence how people see us and how they form an opinion of you and your reputation. Watch my video HERE to hear more about how emotions can keep us out of the race! Keep digging!

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20 Ways to Build & Protect Reputation during COVID-19

March 14, 2020

20 Ways to Build & Protect Reputation during COVID-19 As we face the localized impact of COVID-19’s global public health crisis, it is vital that leaders recognize that these are times that can either build up or tear down your and your brand’s reputation. It’s your choice and will be dictated by whether a proactive or reactive strategy is implemented. For some leaders, this may be the first major crisis you have faced in your executive post.  For others, this may be another notch on your crisis management belt.  Regardless of what camp you are in, I can assure you from my more than two decades of crisis management work, that every crisis is its own beast – and must be planned for and addressed in that manner. I have helped many organizations and leaders find reputational opportunity in the face of adversity – and to be clear, that does not mean being opportunistic and taking advantage of people! What I mean is that these are times when leaders have the opportunity to draw closer to their customers and employees.  There are opportunities to become more than a service provider, an association organization, or an entertainment destination.  These are times when you can become more than the product or service you deliver or provide.  You can become a resource of comfort, understanding, healing, inspiration, and solutions, that will deliver huge reputational dividends both during and after a crisis. Many of you have already begun to implement customer and employee Social Distancing protocols.  For those that do not have internal systems in place, it’s easy for this to become a follow-the-leader scenario. But remember, your organization is not a follow-the-leader brand, is it?  Of course not. Below is a 20-point crisis resource for you and your team to review and use.  I’d urge you to consider how you can implement this in your own way to build, protect, and strengthen your reputation and, ultimately, your business. I broke this resource into two key buckets as the majority of crisis work falls within these two areas of work – communication and customer service – and encompass a large percentage of key audiences to address. Communication Never speculate during a crisis situation to your employees or customers; it is acceptable, when questioned, to say that you/your team are gathering information to ensure it is accurate. Then, you must deliver on this as soon as you can. Media training for one, designated representative must be done to ensure that key messages are effectively delivered and best represent the brand and its values. Those messages could include your company’s safety protocols, customer service channels, working with local health authorities, etc. Regular internal employee communication is absolutely critical to snuff out rumors. Remember that speculation breeds in the absence of information.  Senior leadership should set up and use internal communications channels and alert your employees that leadership will be providing updates, perhaps daily or weekly. Social Media is a vital channel for communication and should be used to deliver updates for customers or other key stakeholders. Ensure that you have a senior executive reviewing all corporate […]

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How To Drive More Opportunities in 2020

January 13, 2020

How To Drive More Opportunities in 2020 Looking for a way to create more opportunities in your life in 2020? Building and strengthening your reputation is a simple secret to doing that! If you aren’t, you are missing out on one of THE best opportunity drivers in your life! Relationships are a foundational piece of building your reputation (and opportunities)!  But are we being intentional with how we are authentically building and nurturing those relationships? Or, do we tell ourselves that we, or they, are busy and we’ll get to it soon? Here’s my challenge to you for 2020 – I challenge you to make 156 reconnects in your network this year! Sound impossible? It’s not.  I promise! Here are the simple steps: 1. Carve out 90 minutes a week – whether that’s 90 minutes in one day or 30 minutes three times a week. 2. Make a list of the people in your network that you haven’t connected with in a while. 3. Make the calls!! Make three phone calls to people in your network each week and you will have made 156 reconnects over a 52-week period. This is your chance to ‘check-in’ and ‘catch up’ with those people in your life to see how they are doing? What are they up to? How is work?  Maybe you even offer help or encouragement. Don’t think that will drive opportunities? Don’t think that will strengthen your reputation? If you own a business, this is also an opportunity for you.  I have a very dear friend who shuts down his office at Noon every Friday. Now, his team doesn’t leave.  They actually spend the balance of the day making calls to people in their network – old colleagues, old clients, old friends. Over time, he started tracking when he was generating the most new business for his agency.  When do you think that was? You guessed it – on Fridays between 12-5! So give it a try and see how this enriches your life and blows open the doors of opportunity! Want to watch this message? Click here to watch a short video on my YouTube channel. Be intentional … be deliberate … drive your reputation forward this year to experience opportunities you never knew existed! Cheers to 2020 and your success! Keep digging!

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3 Keys to Avoid Change Fatigue

July 3, 2019

3 Keys to Avoid Change Fatigue How many times do we hear that people WANT change, but don’t WANT TO change? I’m a believer in that, however, I believe that leadership and Change Fatigue has a lot to do with the latter! A study on change management featured in Forbes article illustrated that 70% of organizational change fails! Change is thrown around so much these days that it can cause more harm than good – for individuals and organizations. Change Fatigue can happen when people have experienced poor change managers and management – “Here we go again! What makes them think it will be different this time?”, is a refrain I’ve heard in hallways over the years (both as an employee and change agent). People have to belief that the promise of the new is worth the abandonment of the old. What can prevent Change Fatigue is change WITH leadership serving up healthy portions of vision, planning, and communication! It takes all three if you are leading change and only providing 1/3 or 2/3 of that equation (in any combination) will lead to team frustration, dissent, ambiguity, anxiety, and disenfranchisement, to name a few areas of concern! For many people change can be paralyzing. Change can leave them wondering about their value and worth within the team or organization. “Am I going to work myself out of a job?” “I’ve been known for this skill on the team, but will it still be needed? Will I still be needed?” Vision: Where are we going? Why are we going there? How will this benefit our organization, and me?? These are just a few of the questions that must be addressed, built out, and clearly defined if people are going to put forth the effort and invest the time required to bring this vision to life! Planning: How will we make this vision a reality? What is my role? What are the benchmarks that tell us we are heading in the right direction? Planning brings to light the tools and processes that will be required to bring the vision to life! Communication: The consistent cadence of updates, reminders and encouragement during challenging times of change is vital when we often don’t see the immediate results. Communication becomes a glue that will help bind teams and individuals together – or, if there is not enough well-thought-out communication, can erode trust and enthusiasm. I once read that if people on your team can’t do a good impression of you, then you aren’t communicating enough! The responsibility of change rests on the shoulders of leadership. So, if you are considering change within your organization or team, embarking on change, or in the middle of change, make sure that you are hitting the vision, planning, and communication targets to drive the change you are looking for and drive out Change Fatigue! What are your experiences with Change Fatigue?

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What’s the Difference Between Ignorance & Apathy?

June 10, 2019

What’s the Difference Between Ignorance & Apathy? I was recently at my son’s New Student Orientation day at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and one administrator was telling the parents about how she works with new students to shift their mindsets from high school to college. One way to do this, she said, was to ask the students what the difference was between ignorance and apathy.  She said she got an interesting response from a student one time that went like this, “I don’t know and I don’t care!” First off, what a priceless answer, but after the room of parents composed itself, I really started to think about that question and what came to life for me when I reflected on the answer and its mindset. For me, as I thought about the question, answer, and subsequent mindset, I began to think about the word complacency! I can’t afford to be complacent in my work as I build my practice or the value I strive to deliver to those in my life.  In order for me to create, evolve, and make an impact, I cannot be complacent.  I cannot sit back and be satisfied, nor can I just sit and wait for opportunities to just show up. Years ago, that mindset would have scared me because it meant that I was always on and couldn’t celebrate or be happy.  And, for a long period in my own life, I was that person.  I feared that if I showed any sign of happiness or contentment for my work that I would fall behind. I learned that is not a healthy way to live or work towards my goals (not for myself or the people around me!). I’ve learned that I can chill, that I can celebrate wins, and be happy – and, most importantly, that I won’t lose my edge to be competitive, to create value, and drive forward! But, getting back to complacency … I’ve written that word on an index card as a visual anchor to keep me focused on making that call … sending that email … creating that piece of content in order to keep moving towards my goals – and, yes, still celebrating along the way! I’d love to know what word pops into your head when you think about this! Please share it in the post and let’s continue to motivate each other … if you’d like to see this video message, please click here and enjoy! Cheers to you!

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Shed Your Skin of Survival!

May 19, 2019

Shed Your Skin of Survival! We are living in an amazing time of greater awakening and personal awareness to “what could be?” Many are waking up to question that little voice in their heads telling them all the fear-based reasons they aren’t enough … Many more are harnessing the courage, strength, and vision to drive themselves towards greater opportunities – a greater life!   A greater life is purely defined by the individual, but I can tell you that it is definitely not a life of survival! It’s not a life of sleep walking!   New habits will create a new life.   Can you catch a glimpse of a vision that you can run towards? Can you put a name to the habits that no longer serve you in this new season?   Remember, habits are also the thoughts that we give credibility, acknowledgment, and belief to … habits are also our self-talk! The way that we speak to ourselves when thinking through choices of either staying in survival mode or breaking out to thrive in new ways.   So, what are you saying to yourself?   We can’t underestimate the power of that little voice in our heads … but here’s something to remember – the more we think about and move towards breaking out of our comfort zones to do more or be more, the louder that little voice will become … know why? Because that voice is rooted in survival! It’s fearful … it knows that if you listen to another voice – the one in your heart – that you will no longer need it … and, the truth is, you don’t!   Check out this quick video HERE that brings the message to life!   Cheers to you shedding the skin of survival!

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Get Outside of Your Jar!

May 7, 2019

I recently spoke at a business owner summit and asked the audience how often they checked the finances of their company.  The answers ranged from quarterly and monthly to weekly and daily. Then I asked them why they check their finances? Their answers included “to get a baseline”, “to properly forecast spending” and “to see if there are any problems that could be coming and prepare.” All very responsible answers, I told them! Then, I asked “when was the last time you did a check on your reputation?” The room fell silent! You see, the finances are an external measure while our reputations hit us personally.  And, that usually freaks people out because it makes us vulnerable. However, within vulnerability comes immense strength – if you have the courage to step into it in order to grow, evolve, and make an impact. “It’s hard to read the label when you are inside the jar!” While a Reputation Audit can be done for an organization, I’ll focus this on you, the individual! Here are Four Key Steps to performing your personal Reputation Audit: Identify Your Core Group – Choose a small group of people that you trust will tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear. Trust is critical for this exercise because when we know the intentions are for your growth, then we know the feedback is honest and for our greatest good! Ensure that these people represent different aspects of your life – work, social, faith, community, family. Communicate Your Goal & Ask Questions – These are individual conversations, so let them know that you want to check in on your reputation, that you want to ensure it’s strong or whatever your goal in this may be. Then have some questions ready to go, for example: “Do you know my values by the way we interact?” “Do my actions align with my values?” “Do I live into my commitments?” “Am I responsive?” “What is my reputation?” Since you will be getting answers from people in different areas of your life, you may begin to see trends where people are having/seeing similar experiences with you.  Listen. Don’t Talk! – Stephen Covey once said that people often listen with the intent to reply, not with the intent to understand. Don’t try to “explain” your behavior when people are giving you feedback. Just listen and take notes. Again, this is where those behavior trends may start to emerge and you may see gaps and opportunities appear.  Perhaps you realize that the decisions you rationalized as “not a big deal”, were in fact a big deal to those around you! You won’t know until you ask and listen. Make A Plan & Act – Now, gather the information and target one or two areas that you can begin to work on.  Start with small steps to ensure that your actions and decisions are aligning with your values.  By doing this, with consistency and over time, you can make an impact and then move on to other areas.  Continue to think ‘long game’ on this! There is no […]

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Was Anyone Spotting for John Skipper?

March 24, 2018

I feel for John Skipper, former ESPN chief.  It’s hard not to, in some capacity, when you see someone’s life work unplugged and unravelled.  But here is where my mind goes after reading his fall-from-grace story – he was not alone. I grew up watching ESPN and I know a lot of what I came to love about the ESPN brand and sports was a direct result of John’s efforts and passion. As a professional, I also had the privilege of working with ESPN on numerous occasions with NASCAR, NHRA, B.A.S.S., and other sports properties.  I can tell you that the people who worked there reflected John’s attitude and vision – they were first-class people. Now, I also believe that we make and must stand by our choices.  And, like John, we are not alone. In racing, we have spotters.  These people have an elevated perspective of the race track and tell drivers what is happening in their blind spots and how to navigate through wrecks happening ahead of or around them.  There is a remarkably high level of trust between drivers and their spotters to ensure their safety and ultimately their success – as a team. I don’t know who John’s spotters were in his years of cocaine addiction, or if they tried to help and he ignored them.  But I can’t believe he was alone. Can we learn from this? Yes. Who are your spotters? Who are the small group of people in your life that are looking out for you?  The ones to tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear.  We may not like what they have to say, but if they are trusted, then we know from where their words are coming – and we need to listen. So, who are they? Can you rattle off their names right now?  Do they even know that you consider them your spotters? Who are you a spotter for in your life? We are all in this journey together and need each other to have our backs when we are operating in our blind spots. Career stage does not matter.  Life stage does not matter either.  We all need spotters and they need to know that we need them to shoot straight with us and that we will listen! John, I have no doubt you will rebound from this and be stronger than before!

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2 Critical Components to Rebuild a Reputation

February 4, 2018

I am often asked if a person or company can recover from a reputation crisis.  The simple answer is, “yes”, but the effort and discipline it takes to do so is not that simple and is solely up to the individual or the leadership of an organization to act upon two vital elements – consistency and time. While reputations are fragile, and once cracked can never quite be put exactly back together, recovery can be achieved if there is genuine and transparent acknowledgement of what was done, if there is clear and consistent behavior to make amends, and this is done (again) consistently over time. Robert Downey Jr., comes to mind when I think of a person who rose to prominence, fell, and then repaired his reputation to find success (and work in Hollywood) again.  Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol brand is another example of a brand that lost confidence among consumers, but through diligent and consistent efforts, earned that trust back to regain its place as a global category leader, and a product welcomed back in people’s homes. Consistency – the key here is to recognize what actions or behaviors led to the reputation issue, make the proper amends, and then outline the ways in which you or your company will move forward in an authentic way to demonstrate your intent to regain trust and reputation – day in and day out! Downey Jr., took time to rehab his body from the addiction to drugs while also nurturing his mind and spirit to focus on what would be meaningful in his life and surrounding himself with like-minded people.  People soon saw that he was consistently working to make amends and move forward in a positive manner.  I’m not saying that the Iron Man franchise would not have happened without him, but there’s no question that his involvement and talent made it a blockbuster! Time – people can be skeptical as well as forgiving, so the critical element here is consistent behavior over time.  Commitment to a vision of regaining reputation is what will drive the consistent behavior over time.  Repetition (not only in how I ended the last two sentences) is the key to turning skeptics into supporters and from supporters to potential advocates.  Tylenol’s emergence from the cyanide tampering in the 1980s is an example of not only acting quickly (another form of time – see this story for the power of time), but also how leadership focused on creating a tamper-proof solution that would continue to demonstrate trust and reliability over time. If you or your company have been caught in a reputation crisis, it does not signal the end!  However, it will take deliberate planning to outline what must be done differently, clear communication to your family, friends, colleagues, customers or other key constituents as to what will be done differently moving forward, and then ‘walking the walk‘ each and every day!  Easier said than done, but your future and your reputation are more than worth the work! Don’t you think?

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