Have You Been Caught Speeding Lately?

Accountability Authenticity


Key Point: Sometimes everyday life events can humbly remind us that living The Character Triangle is about daily consistency rather than perfection. It involves daily practice and self-awareness. When we fall out of the Triangle we just need to accept, learn and constructively jump back in as fast as possible. Have you met a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman (RCMP) lately? Read on to find out what it’s like.

The other day I picked up a speeding ticket awarded by an esteemed member of Canada’s famous finest (and a healthy fine too). It was raining hard, a big truck in the lane in front of me was throwing up water and I decided to pass him. As I did, I cranked the car up and a radar clocked me about 15 mph/20 kilometers over the posted speed limit. Nice. After a dramatic lights flashing “pull over,” the officer comes over to my window and my response included…”I’m sorry if I was speeding officer but…”

1. “The truck beside me was spewing water and a few rocks, and I thought it was safer to pass him.” (It was not my fault. I’m an innocent victim of circumstances.)

2. “There was a Mercedes beside me going the same speed; just curious officer… Why me, and not him?” (Poor victim me: I was picked on, it was obviously discriminatory, or some faulty radar).

3. After the policeman leaves and has already handed me the ticket… “They picked on me because I drive a sports car and had U.S. plates and why don’t they use a little judgment. (Who is “they?” Geez…).

My wife, who has been fully immersed in The Character Triangle, looked at me in amusement. When I stopped grousing she asked me a simple question: “Were you speeding? Yes or no?”

Then with a well-placed grin, she flashed a well-timed Triangle sign with her fingers to me. Boy, did I earn that one, haha.

Character Move:

  1. Self-accountability is an everyday opportunity. We need to recognize when a situation we find ourselves in is not acceptable and take positive action to constructively move forward. (Blaming or feeling victimized usually does not help. We usually get the “speeding ticket” anyways).
  2. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize when we’ve joined a “pity party.” Occasionally we feel sorry for our poor little self. That’s when it’s great to get frank and receive well-intended feedback from a trusted associate/friend who can flash that Character Triangle sign. (In this case my wife played this role very effectively, ha).
  3. When we do fall out of the Triangle, blaming ourselves is not helpful either. Accept, learn and move forward. And use the experience to jump back in the Triangle with a fresh self-awareness and understanding.

No speeding in The Triangle, 



Can You Use 2×4 Leadership?

Abundance Organizational culture Organizational leadership


Key Point: Two very simple but effective leadership actions that have a BIG return on their investment are: Giving recognition AND having regular one-on-one meetings with your direct reports. Giving sincere recognition is an outcome of having a “personal growth” mind set. It is the ultimate tool for confirming the value exchange between people. There is a lot of questioning whether daily work is providing measurable value in companies today. Recognize the results you want and you will get more of it. There’s no Mensa membership required to understand this concept but recognition is still underutilized in many organizations. Regular (at least monthly) one-on-one meetings that are short, snappy AND “direct listening” oriented, help focus resources on actionable behavior addressing the business priorities. Read more to discover what I mean by applying 2×4 leadership to better leverage these two elements.

1. Recognition: Too often it is thought of as something we have to do (an additive task) versus part of how we think and act. When we constantly observe the action of others and acknowledge the positive impact they have, we not only reinforce desired activity but we also benefit from constantly sharpening our observation and personal development skills.

35 percent of workers and 30 percent of chief financial officers in an Accountemps poll cited frequent recognition of accomplishments as the most effective nonmonetary reward. Thanking people for their hard work and commitment is a vital element for helping people to appreciate they are adding value.

2. One-On-One Connect: In many organizations people get so busy with daily work, they forget to check in with each other to really examine if the work people are doing is really what’s needed and valued. Who is the customer? Do internal or external customers willingly pay for the work being done? Do they really care? I often see employee survey data where it is evident that people don’t sit down for those talks until some serious redirect of activity or behavior is involved. And then the conversation is obviously more challenging for all. In most cases waiting for annual performance reviews is too reactive and too late, (and often an administrative exercise with minimum benefit to anyone).

Character Move:

Apply 2×4 leadership this way. It is simple but effective. Do your own research to see if it works!

  1. Regular Personal Recognition. Focus on your key value drivers and recognize people who are having an impact on those drivers at least four times per day or week. Make it specific AND personal. Use whatever method you want but make it clear that the behavior the associate you are recognizing is having a positive impact on the company, others, you and them. It needs to be part of what we do and who we are. Set up a process in your management system to make it a positive habit.
  2. Regular Personal one-on-one connect: Ask four simple questions in your regular one-on-ones and you will likely have a constructive discussion. They are: What is going well that we want to keep doing or do more of? What is tricky or challenging? What can we do better going forward? How can I help you help yourself get valued results?

That’s it. I don’t want to over simplify but I have historical data and lots of experience that doing these TWO things; regular personal recognition and regular personal one-on-ones (AND applying the FOUR recognitions and questions) will result in significant positive outcomes! Obviously the 2×4 leadership idea is to help provide a framework… No reason it can’t be your 2×5 or 2×3, etc. Just try it.

Using a 2×4 in The Triangle,



7 Steps to Thinking Big

Accountability Personal leadership Purpose


Key Point: Why can some people think big and actually achieve their audacious goals? I gave some practical guidelines on the power of “small wins” in my previous blog. Read on for supplemental insight on how to increase size and scope.

What if you were a broke 20-something, expecting your third child? And you decided to write down 107 goals including the following: Have dinner at the White House, a private visit with the Pope, become head football coach of a Division 1 football team, get a hole on one, and land on an aircraft carrier. It can seem unrealistic and even “crazy,” but that’s what Lou Holtz did. To date, he’s achieved 102/107 goals. Frankly, when you see and meet him, you wonder how the heck this guy achieved all that he has.

From Michael Hyatt‘s book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World research reinforces the following as imperative steps to thinking and achieving BIG!

 1. Imagine the possibilities! In his new book Wishes Fulfilled, Dr. Wayne Dyer reinforces this. This is powerful. Learn more about this step.

2. Write down your dream. No one knows why this works for sure, but the data says it does. Read Dr. Henriette Anne Klauser‘s book, Write it Down, Make it Happen, to better understand the magic in this step.

3. Connect with what’s at stake. You must discover your “why.” Read the work on “life’s purpose” by Harvard’s Dr. Clay Christensen to help you get this. If you only do this, this blog will be a win.

4. Outline what would have to be true. Start with describing the end state and work backwards. It relates to writing it down but is important in its own right.

5. Decide what you can do to effect the outcome. This is the many “small wins” approach. See my last blog.

6. Set an aspirational deadline and “small win” deadlines. Put urgency behind the progress. If you don’t have a “by (insert date),” you are missing a piece of the puzzle.

7. Review progress daily. Ask yourself daily what you did to move the “ball down the field.” Put a red X on every day you made progress!

Character Move:

  1. Between the last two blogs, you have priceless research and a model to achieve BIG!
  2. Decide that you want to and you will! It is in you… No excuses!
  3. If you don’t want to, accept and understand you aren’t ready. Don’t drive yourself crazy by hoping for the aspiration without taking the steps. Go buy a lottery ticket. And don’t beat yourself up. When you’re ready, the roadmap is here for you.

GO BIG in The Triangle,