J Allen (center) was the inspiration behind the Master’s Alliance Young Leaders, Good Leadership Breakfast. Janet Benton, (left) is bringing her TCO colleague Katherine Schipper (right) to the breakfast to help her grow with goodness.
This morning I spent some time reflecting on all of the mentors along my journey who helped me see what’s possible in my life. Teachers, coaches, family, friends, bosses – mostly people who had no idea they were role-modeling a life of goodness for me. One person in particular, our family physician Larry Finney, helped me see a picture of who I could be when I grew up. The question for me now is: Who am I doing that for?
Announcing the Master’s Alliance Young Leaders, Good Leadership Breakfast
One of my current friends, partners and mentors, J Allen, founder of Master’s Alliance is role-modeling how goodness grows through mentoring. He’s about 20 years ahead of me in the journey, and he’s still a vital CEO. Wow! It was J’s idea for us to create a Good Leadership Breakfast focused specifically on young leaders. “I was very fortunate to have mentors who encouraged me to move along in my career,” he shared. “I gave the Good Leadership team the idea to do the Young Leaders breakfast, because I think we can do more to encourage young leaders to grow their careers with goodness. The world needs it.” Master’s Alliance is the sponsor for the young leaders event in August.
The Good Leadership Breakfast is a great place to help young leaders grow in their career around the idea: Goodness Pays.
Friday, August 17 is the date – all sponsors and ticket holders have the opportunity to bring along a young leader as a complimentary guest, courtesy of J Allen. Get tickets here.
“I’m so excited to see where all the positivity comes from,” said Katherine Schipper, a coordinator with Twin Cities Orthopedics. She’s a twenty-something leader whose life experience includes being the captain of the University of Minnesota Women’s Hockey team. With TCO, she’s applying her marketing and entrepreneurial management degree to help them grow with goodness. “For a couple of years now, I’ve seen and felt the positivity that returns to the office after my role models inside TCO come back from a Good Leadership Breakfast. I’m curious about the goodness message. Now it’s my turn to see what it’s all about!”
Katherine will be the guest of Janet Benton, Director of Business Development at TCO. “When I heard about the Young Leaders breakfast, Katherine immediately came to mind. And I know she’s going to meet some really good people, that’s one of my favorite parts of the breakfast. I can’t wait to see how many other mentors bring young leaders with them in August.”
What is goodness to Katherine and Janet?
The summer interns from our firm Jack (center) and Tony (right) will be our Young Leader guests – Who are you bringing with you?
“Goodness to me is about teamwork – being a team player and helping other people succeed,” observed Katherine. “It’s definitely not a power thing.” Her mentor Janet added, “It’s about leading and getting things done in the mentality of serving others with kindness – people will reciprocate kindness. And it’s about being strong as a leader through fairness and good communication.
For me, I’m finding joy and purpose in thinking back to my own roots. I’m tracing the steps on the path to where we are today. It will be fun to tell our story, and spark “What’s possible!?” thinking in the leaders whose decisions will shape the society we live in going forward. It’s exciting!
Good leaders recognize and appreciate all of the mentors and role models who helped them grow with goodness. And they pay it forward, by mentoring young leaders for our future.
The Good Leadership Team will have several young leaders in the room: interns Jack and Tony, and at least a couple of Batz kids.
Please share with me: Who will be at the Master’s Alliance Young Leaders, Good Leadership Breakfast with you?
My friends at Irish Titan celebrated their award winning onboarding process at the Minnesota Business 100 Best Places to Work event.
Two weeks ago, I was the Master of Ceremonies, and part of the team that hosted the MN Business Top 100 Best Places to Work celebration. Instead of a snoozy dinner, the event felt more like senior week before college graduation. It was a party! This annual event has emerged as the best one in its category. Because the best and brightest of the MN small, medium, and large business scene get just a little bit rowdy in celebrating their success. It was awesome!
Awards, worth the investment?
Business awards in general create a divide: there are skeptics who think the awards are trivial, the application process is a waste of valuable staff time, and the winners are predetermined. The other half realize the power of celebration in creating a culture of goodness that pays. Employee pride and engagement pays in quality, customer loyalty, speed to market, generosity, and most of all, financial performance. Every company in the room was a company worth investing in. That’s big news.
My colleagues Erin, Amy, and Kathy joined the Minnesota Business team in hosting the award ceremony. Award winner, Darin Lynch, sat to my left.
As I congratulated 20+ winners, and shook literally hundreds of hands, I felt the difference between the average places to work, and the great places to work. The winners have created an environment where employees and owners believe they can thrive together. In other words: the employees don’t feel the owners will profit at their expense. That’s goodness, and when it comes alive, it deserves to be celebrated.
Celebrations drive out the darkness
In the exact moment Matt Kusilek and I went to our microphone check, we were interrupted by a CNN report of another mass shooting in Maryland. The dark noise just keeps coming! As global citizens and business leaders, we feel obligated to stay in touch with what’s going on in our world. And yet, the dark noise of murders, crime, natural disasters, and general shenanigans by celebrities makes us either numb, or depressed.
Stacey Stratton (4th from left) and her team at True Talent Group sponsored the bar, and led the partying.
Then, Matt and I saw the power of how a healthy workplace culture can drive out the darkness. When people have best friends at work, a sense of purpose in their job, and a connection to the mission of the owners, the workplace can be healing. I saw evidence that good work heals people. That’s goodness. And that’s worth celebrating!
Good leaders invest themselves in creating a workplace that fits the personal and professional aspirations of their colleagues. And they celebrate how much they love their work.
Please share with me: What makes your firm a best place to work?
As much as I’m loving the World Cup soccer tournament this year, I’m slightly muted in my joy because the USA isn’t in the mix. I love chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!,” even when we are getting our butts kicked.
Maybe it’s my advancing age, but I’m feeling my patriotism surge these days. Yes, the dialogue coming out of Washington D.C. is troubling. And yes, I’m sick of mass shootings and corporate shenanigans. But, I’m also the son of a Veteran. My father-in-law is a Veteran as well. And I’m a small business owner in the best country in the world to do business. Everywhere I turn, people ask me “how can I help you?” That’s amazing! But not really, it’s the fabric of the good ‘ol USA.
So, here’s what I’m celebrating:
I’m proud to be an American. I’m always happy to return to Minnesota soil when I travel. I’m investing my life’s savings in a business that promotes the idea: Goodness Pays. And I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather take that risk.
So, I’m celebrating the 4th of July with joy and admiration.
Good leaders learn to celebrate the land they stand on – including the flaws. And they dream about what’s possible when we all work together.
Our firm has a handful of clients in Los Angeles who expect us to help them radiate goodness.
The end of a very satisfying week of coaching in Los Angeles ended with this familiar comment from a client: “I’m so glad we returned to the basics today,” he exclaimed. “Even though I’ve heard the same story many times before, I heard it fresh again today.”
Returning to the basics is all about revisiting the four values which support “goodness” in leadership – excellence, generosity, fairness, and positivity. We call them the Cornerstones of Goodness, because the foundation of everything coaching is built upon are these four enduring values.
Charting our understanding of goodness
This flip chart was the result of a client brainstorming about the synonyms and antonyms of the Cornerstones of Goodness.
The “basics” is an exercise we call Understanding Goodness – it’s a Synonym/Antonym activity that helps clients discover their own sense of what each of the cornerstones mean. The team we engaged last week was a high-profile hospitality organization whose mantra is “Excellence with a Smile.”
The Understanding Goodness exercise involves brainstorming both synonyms (means the same) and antonyms (means the opposite) for excellence, generosity, fairness, and positivity on a flip chart. The left side of the chart is filled with opposites, the right side of the chart is consistent with goodness.
What does goodness mean to you?
Popular antonyms for excellence on the left side of the chart include: sloppy, mediocrity, and cutting corners. Synonyms for excellence on the right side include: quality, consistency, and reliability.
Popular antonyms for generosity on the left side of the chart include: stingy, closed-minded, and selfish. Synonyms for generosity on the right side include: available, giving, and sharing.
Popular antonyms for fairness on the left side of the chart include: disrespectful, biased, and judgmental. Synonyms for fairness on the right side include: transparent, trustworthy, and thoughtful.
Popular antonyms for positivity on the left side of the chart include: negative, toxic, and gossip. Synonyms for positivity on the right side include: optimistic, happy, and believe.
Goodness comes from many leaders, in many forms – including excellence with a smile!
The client added: “The key to staying on the right side of the chart – both literally and figuratively – is our ability to anticipate all of the things that can happen as a result of our leadership. That includes the good and the bad. We only get sucked into the antonyms when we are threatened by surprise!” That’s really important when your in the hospitality business, and your customers expect “Excellence with a Smile!”
A lesson for each of us
Regardless of your business or your role in your family – what happened to your mood and tone the last time you were surprised? Did you embrace the moment in ways that role modeled excellence, generosity, fairness, and positivity? Or did you slide down into the darkness of the antonyms?
Good leaders who radiate goodness spend time appreciating what’s come before them, and anticipating what could happen next. Because they intend to radiate goodness everyday, especially when they get surprised.
Please share with me: How do you anticipate goodness?
This book has two effects on people: fear or inspiration. It took me three years to find the inspiration.
I’m feeling younger today. This past Saturday, my daughter Katie and I “graduated” from the ten-week fitness challenge at Farrell’s Extreme Body Shaping in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. You may recall, I blogged about my 55-year old insight that I need to learn better self-care on May 1st of this year. The punchline was how I was lured into the Farrell’s kickboxing based fitness program as Katie’s accountability partner. It was an easy decision for two reasons: 1) Katie is irresistible (always has been for me). And 2) the nagging sense that I was ignoring the advice from the book I really like called: Younger Next Year.
Katie and I found a way to enjoy the extreme body sculpting class at Farrell’s.
I wrote a blog about the book in 2015 – at the time I was fascinated with Hot Yoga. It was short lived, even though the Younger Next Year authors basically make the argument that part of our “job” when we live past 50 years old, is to invest one hour a day in vigorous fitness activity to slow the steady decline in muscle tone and cognitive ability. There’s no real proof this advice will help us live longer, but it’s easy to understand we can feel better, and feel younger into the future.
Looking forward to more
Now that the shock to my body from the kickboxing is gone, I’ve moved past the chronic muscle soreness and fatigue to feeling much younger. I definitely sleep better, and my concentration is better as well. Even though I mostly ignored the nutrition component of the program, I lost 11 pounds (mostly around my belly) and my stamina during the day is much better. And Katie and I liked it so much we signed up to become “FIT” members for the next year. Wow.
Class photo on the final session in the ten-week challenge. That’s me, barefoot in the blue shorts with no glasses!
The main benefit is the confidence I feel knowing that I’m not ignoring the “fitness” part of my Seven Fs Wheel. This morning, I smiled as I gave myself an “8” on fitness! That confidence has found it’s way into my daily leadership, and my golf game is as sharp as twenty years ago. And for the first time in my life, I’m not making jokes about fitness. That feels good.
Compassion for myself and others
Finally, the unexpected benefit of my newly-found fitness routine is a deep sense of compassion for the people I’ve met in the class whose commitment to the Farrell’s program has literally changed the trajectory of their life. Katie and I met people who learned new eating habits and fully embraced the program and lost 75+ pounds. When the program started, they had trouble getting up off the mat after the stretching.
The impact on me emotionally was significant! I was positively charged by the stories of my classmates for why they joined, and how the program changed their life. And that’s when I made the connection that the benefits for me are far greater than a smaller waistline.
Good leaders are accountable for taking care of their fitness. And they learn to feel younger and more compassionate along the way.
Please share with me: What benefits do you feel when your fitness improves?
When the winds of change create unplanned resistance to your dreams, how do you stay even keel?
Leadership is about many things, including resilience. It’s important for good leaders to show up in ways that are consistently positive…so they can radiate goodness. But what happens when important things don’t go the way we planned?
Grieving, disappointment, and letting go
Within the past week, we’ve had amazing highs around here: a lot of new clients, projects, and investments that are beginning to shape our future. And we’ve had some tough decisions that tested our positivity. We said “goodbye” to a client who needs to go their own way without us. It was our decision to part ways, and it’s the right thing for both of us. But we’re still grieving the loss of the friendships, and our own separation from their mission. Grieving is good, because we care.
Another client postponed some exciting/innovative work until 2019. It’s totally OK, but we’re also mourning the loss of the thrill we were anticipating this summer. Disappointment is good, because we care.
Another client chose to bypass our recommendation and boldly launch into something we don’t think they are prepared to handle. It stings, because we believe our recommendation is the best path for people we really care about. But we are letting go, it’s good because we care.
Where is the goodness in this?
Good leaders can find the goodness in every situation – whether things go as planned or not.
Anna Mary Batz graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College this past Saturday. Melinda and I are feeling successful.
This past Saturday, June 2, 2018, our youngest child, Anna Mary Batz, graduated from college. It was one of those moments where I really felt successful. What does that even mean? By whose definition of success would I make that statement? And why is it important to “feel successful?”
Yes, my work is important, but without a doubt parenting is the most satisfying part of my life. Melinda and I share many things, but mostly we share the idea that the behaviors of our children is an important measure of our own success. It’s important to both of us that Ben, Katie, and Anna make their lives count.
Anna’s grandfather, Richard Moen, started our Gustavus family tradition that is still thriving today.
Anna graduated Magna Cum Laude, with Honors and a Psychological Science Major. On her big day, she was surrounded by fierce friendships, amazing classmates, and an adoring family. Anna’s grandfather, Richard Moen, started our Gustavus journey in the 1950s. Melinda and I met there in the 1980s, and our kids attended in the 2010s. The feeling of momentum felt successful.
One of my mentors, Richard Leider, is the world’s most recognized authority on the power of purpose in the lives of leaders. In one of our early conversations, he shared this transformational idea with me, which I talked about on one of our first Goodness Pays Leadership Podcasts: The day you are OK with the idea – I would be satisfied with my life if today was my last day – is the day you really start living. This morning, I am thinking of the idea: “really start living.”
If I am truly feeling successful: Am I taking enough risk?
If I am satisfied if today was my last day: Have I said “thank you” enough?
If I am proud from the momentum: Are my goals big enough?
Savoring the feeling
Our big day started in Christ Chapel, with Anna singing her last commitment with the Gustavus Choir.
During the commencement ceremony, two simple and profound pieces of advice rang in my ears – collected from a series of intimate moments with people I admire.
1. We get out of life what we put into it.
2. If we live with goodness…it goes so fast, and it just keeps getting better!
Today the satisfaction is in the unity I feel with my wife, Melinda. We reached one of our life goals – to see all our kids thrive in college. For the rest of the week, I plan to replay the music of the weekend ring in my ears: The Music of Living, The Olympic Fanfare, and Pomp and Circumstance over and over again. Because it makes me feel successful.
Good leaders celebrate the moments that make them feel successful. And they use the positive momentum to build a better future.
Julie’s Woman of the Year journey began when her two-year-old son Cole was diagnosed with Leukemia. As a family, they embraced the challenge and partnered with the healthcare system to give Cole every chance. “We are so fortunate to have a wonderful family support system, and a fantastic medical community in Minnesota that saves lives,” Julie shared with me. She told her story to the Good Leadership Breakfast guests in April, and asked for our help in fundraising.
What I saw was a woman on a mission: she hosted parties, involved family and friends, and approached business partners with an artful ask: “Would you help us raise money for kids and families who are facing Leukemia or Lymphoma in Minnesota? There are still kids who don’t get the support they need.”
Julies cheering section has “Julie on a Stick” at the Grand Finale event to celebrate her contributions.
And we helped! Julie’s contingency at the gala included more than 16 tables of ten people to support her at the Grand Finale event. When the totals were announced, Julie raised more than $150,000 in a few short weeks to accept the title: Woman of the Year. Cade James Miller was the Man of the Year.
Those of us living and working in the upper levels of society often lose sight of our wealth and privilege. But, when kids have blood cancer it brings us all back to the same level. So the philanthropic work of Julie McDonough is all about making sure kids and families of any economic situation can survive the journey, and look at their cancer in the rear view mirror.
What I admire about what Julie did the most is this: there are fundraising galas every weekend. Every one had a good cause, with good leadership. Julie stepped up in ways that were role-modeling the spirit of “what’s possible?” for everyone in her path. Her goodness was magnetic. We all saw it. Especially her son, Cole.
Julie McDonough (right) is the co-host of the Good Leadership Breakfast where she welcomes guests and introduces sponsors like Lisa Moncrief from Alerus.
Good leaders dedicate their lives to significant pursuits. And they engage people in the journey, because nothing significant ever happens alone.
Please join me in celebrating Julie McDonough, LLS Woman of the Year. You can
Amanda Brinkman shared here message of goodness with a sold out Good Leadership Breakfast crowd last Friday.
“You need to make it good yourself,” a teacher and mentor told Amanda Brinkman. That’s how her brilliant career began. Amanda was the speaker at the Good Leadership Breakfast last Friday, May 18 – ending the Spring 2018 series. Today she is Chief Brand and Communications Officer for Deluxe Corporation, and her message “doing well by doing good” was well-defended and exceptionally well presented. Here’s what she shared with us last Friday:
“As a child, I was fascinated with the commercials on TV – everything about it, the production, the cameras, the talent, everything!” she said with a sparkle. “But, I confessed to a high school teacher that the advertising industry had a wrapper around it that was [dishonest.]” His answer shaped how she looks at everything today when he challenged her: “How can the industry get better if people like you don’t get involved. You need to make it good yourself!”
Cool career just keeps getting better
Amanda shared strategies for how advertisers could change the world with the $500 billion spent every year.
Her career journey included international PR and advertising jobs and several cool marketing roles before she landed the top marketing role at Deluxe Corp. Deluxe is a 100+ year old, publicly-traded company which made its mark as the dominant provider of printed, paper checks for personal and professional financial transactions. “While paper checks are still a big part of our business, it’s not where any future growth is going to come from. Our growth will come from advocating for, and promoting the health of, small businesses which are the backbone of America. We’re doing well, by being a good marketing partner,” she explained.
Amanda was a vibrant and entertaining speaker who was direct, honest, and funny in our interview.
Dressed in a brilliant blue dress with smashing shoes, Amanda dazzled guests with really big concepts: “More than $500 billion (half a trillion) is spent each year on advertising that lots of people just skip through. How many of the world’s problems could solve with $500 Billion?” she proposed. “At Deluxe, we decided to help our small business clients improve their marketing to survive against the threats of big box retailers and internet shopping. It’s a really important cause, and we are growing because of that strategy.”
Goodness grows on TV
The strategy to help small businesses became the type of a television show she dreamed of producing as a child. “Today, the Small Business Revolution TV program distributed on Hulu is the highest watched program of its kind,” she smiled. She’s in love with the challenge, because she is both the producer and the on-screen talent. “We are spending our advertising dollars teaching small businesses – which largely exist on Main Street in small towns – how to grow. It’s a wonderful cause, and I am so grateful to have this job!”
Sponsors Lisa Moncrief from Alerus (left) and Karen Kozak from Cargill (right) helped Amanda and me congratulate Candi Danek from Creatis who won the Bucket of Goodwill drawing.
Good leaders find ways to follow their passions in their work. And they thrive by making things better for more people every day in their career.
Please share with me: What does “doing well, by doing good” mean to you?
Congratulations to Candi from Creatis who won the Bucket of Goodwill. With audience contributions of $5,330, our total contributions exceeding $250,000 since we began – that’s a quarter million dollars!
An African Safari was the #1 item on my Bucket List, after starting my own firm. The giraffes were breathtaking.
What we concentrate on grows. Ten years ago this month, I started concentrating on the idea that I needed to start my own firm. It took me 18 months, with the help of a good friend, to take action. If you read The Bucket List Book, you know that after starting my own firm, the #1 item on my list was an African Safari. It was #1 because I knew the firm had to be successful for me to take a month off to make the Safari happen.
Carpe diem – a big family trip
The Batz Family, loaded up and ready for adventure in our Land Cruiser. It felt like Jurassic Park!
The dream came true this past March when our friend Debbie Rigby invited the whole Batz family to participate in her wedding – hosted in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. A wonderful travel planner, Remarkable Journeys, helped us find the Kichaka Luxury Game Reserve inland from the Eastern coast. The setting was the most enchanting place I’ve ever been, and the safari was the coolest thing I’ve ever done. Here’s why:
As an urbanite, I’m accustomed to freeways, sidewalks, and office buildings framing my daily routine. The South African Savannah provided a totally uninhibited, 360-degree skyline over mountains, valleys, forest, and endless grassland. The three-hour Land Cruiser rides at sunrise and sunset provided a technicolor backdrop for the main event.
Within 30 minutes, we found a pair of adult lions. Wow. That’s when my Bucket List moment became real.
“What animal do you want to find first?” our guide (and protector) David asked? “Lions!” we sang in chorus. Less than 20-minutes later we found a pair of fully grown, black-maned brothers who were resting after a mid-day kill. Game on! After that we found every animal we expected, except the elusive leopard which is only seen by 5% of safari-goers. With David’s artful navigation we encountered thousands of antelope and zebra, and dozens of elephants and giraffes. We tracked a rare rhinoceros pair with a newborn (under the watchful eye of professional anti-poaching patrol.) We marveled at water buffalo, and laughed at the playful hippopotamus, who teased one another in a muddy watering hole.
Aspirational thinking: the currency for good leaders
By happenstance, our first day on safari was also my 55th birthday. The Kichaka staff sang and danced the traditional Xhosa birthday greeting, followed by a scrumptious homemade chocolate birthday cake.
What does a Bucket List Safari have to do with good leadership? It’s a reasonable question. The simple act of making a Bucket List is an exercise in aspirational thinking. Good leaders do that. And when we concentrate on achieving those aspirations, our leadership grows.
Good leaders have bold aspirations tied to personal goals. And they concentrate on making all of the changes in their lives to make those aspirations come true.
Back at the office, I immediately began setting new goals and sharpened our business plans, because new adventures await. Please share with me: How are you planning your dreams?