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Emotional Mastery Takes One Leader to the Top of His Profession – What Can It Do For You?

Since you know I’m always looking for the best real life examples of how top leaders apply my strategies for success and while also dropping in analogies from the sports world, I found this article that does both. Eric Douglas of Leading Resources, Inc. who sent this article in his ezine earlier this week and I am republishing with his permission.

In his book Sacred Hoops, Phil Jackson, the former coach of NBA’s Chicago Bulls and now of the L.A. Lakers, recounts how he learned how to deal with winning and losing under the eyes of millions of fans. He says he was prepared to deal with the constant media pressure because he’d learned “to take his ego out.”

Jackson describes the long road he took to get to that point. After eight years as a player, he went to work in Canada, coaching semi-pro basketball teams. After a
string of defeats, he took time off to reconsider what he wanted to do with his life. He visited an Indian village near his home in South Dakota. He took up meditation. He learned Zen Buddhism. He cites his studies of Buddhism as the turning point.

After this personal journey, Jackson got back to basketball. On a fluke, he wound up as an assistant coach in Chicago. When the head coach was fired, Jackson was suddenly thrust into the top coaching job.

In that environment, he discovered that his “ego-less” approach was highly successful. His calm, cool leadership paid off in big games, when his players incurred far fewer technical fouls than his opponents. It also helped him manage the super-sized egos of professional basketball players. His record of playoff victories and championship rings, unmatched by any other coach in professional basketball, is proof of the importance of staying cool under fire.

As Jackson’s story illustrates, it is vital that in a time of crisis you maintain your cool. Charles Rice, the CEO of Barnett Bank, puts it this way: “Leadership is often about shaping a new way of life. To do that, you must advance change, take risks and accept responsibility for making change happen.”

Leaders on the battlefield are trained to be cool under fire. An adviser to special operations teams working in the Middle East says: “Our people are trained to commit troops to their deaths. They can’t waffle. They can’t ask for more data. They are trained to make each decision and move on.”

Most leaders don’t face life-or-death decisions. But metaphorically they do every day. How should I respond to this hostile e-mail? Should we close a plant? Should we terminate this manager? Should we cancel this program? Leaders experience these kinds of tough questions on a daily basis. They juggle one tough decision after another. How you respond to these kinds of tests – and whether you stay cool under fire – is a sign of whether you are genuinely capable of building a leadership culture.

Phil Jackson mastered the art of “emotional intelligence,” which is the foundation of successful leadership. Jackson’s story reinforces the power of leaders being able to master their emotions that is why I’ve made it the foundation of my Confident Leaders’ Training Camp. The CLTC launches this week but its not too late to jump on board.

To learn more visit

Eric Douglas is a principal consultant, president, and founder of Leading Resources Inc. He specializes in strategic planning, board governance and leadership development. His strength is designing planning processes that result in real, meaningful change and high performing organizations. Eric Douglas can be contacted at

Champion Leadership Tip #49: The Best Leaders Know Money Doesn’t Buy Success or Motivation

With the Major League Baseball World Series starting tonight with the Texas Rangers appearing for the first time in team  history I was reminded that they had the 4th lowest payroll of any major league team, “just” $55 million.

This is in significant contrast to the team they defeated in the American League Championship Series, the New York Yankees, whose payroll was $206 million.

Although this Major League example is a much different scenario than every day business, it provides a poignant, metaphorical example for ordinary business leaders that paying higher salaries and/or bonuses does not necessarily equate to higher performance.

Often times what happens in organizations is that providing an increase in salary or providing a year-end bonus that is not backed up with measurable performance results, usually creates only a higher paid, more wealthy dissatisfied employee.

Studies continue to show that a number of other factors come in front of money as a motivating factor for employees. Other key motivational factors include:

  • Interesting/challenging work
  • Co-workers and other team member relationships/attitudes
  • Relationship with their immediate supervisor
  • Recognition, reward and feedback

Usually money comes in #3 or below in surveys such as Gallup or the Wall St. Journal or Fortune Magazine’s “Best Places to Work” surveys.

As long as pay is deemed fair and provides a reasonable standard of living (it meets the fundamental requirements of Maslow’s heirarchy of needs), it is much less important than other environmental factors.

Yet, I find many business leaders who continually try and throw money at employees hoping to make them more motivated and engaged, only to find the enthusiasm and attitudes associated to that salary increase fade rather rapidly, like within 30-60 days.

It’s better for business leaders to focus on environmental factors and providing employees with greater control over their workplace, decision-making, interesting and challenging work, consistent recognition, appreciation and feedback will reap greater benefits than additional salary.

The money issue also becomes a dis-incentive often times when everyone on the staff is provided similar salary adjustments when there is an impression of significant difference in performance and contribution to the organization because of inconsistent and uncertain performance management processes.

If you would like to experience 7 powerful leadership lessons that can help you create a motivating work environment and engaged employees right away, check out “The Leadership Series,” which is on an anniversary special for just a couple of more days.

A few months ago I created “The Employee Motivation Equation” which provides a unique but accurate strategy to tap into the motivational needs of employees.

I encourage you to download “The Employee Motivation Equation” and take its accompanying assessment.

’til next time, make it a great week!

Treatise: The Critical Importance of Being Unreasonable

In continuing my recent strategy of providing resources from other experts, I found this blog post from a colleague, Dov Gordon, which is a nice follow up to the post last week on “leaders needing to be uncomfortable.” Enjoy, I did!


Do you ever tell yourself “I need to…“, or “I don’t have a choice…“, or just feel frustrated that you’re not yet the person you really want to be?

Here’s what I learned: It’s critically important to be unreasonable.

Unreasonable defined:
When you want – and expect to get – something you can’t have.

Being unreasonable is an entrepreneurial necessity.

When you think “I need this sale” you’re being reasonable.
Stop it.  Try this thought on instead:

“I need a business where I’m not needy of anything.”

“I need this employee.” Cut it out.  Try this:

“I need a business where no one employee will make us or break us.”

“I don’t have time.  That’s why I need to work 12 hours a day.”  You’re lying again.

“I choose to work the hours that I do.  And if I had 36 hours, I’d tell myself the same lies.  What if I only had 6 hours to work?  How would I guard and use every one of them? How would I be different?  What would I do differently?”

Is it unreasonable to think you could get it all done if you only had 6 hours? Well, there we go again. It’s time to start being unreasonable.  Be the person you WANT to be, but “can’t” be for whatever reason.

As far as I can tell, when you are unreasonable:

– You focus your thoughts and energy on what you CAN control now.
– You focus on what you CAN do TODAY.
– You accept responsibility for your life, for your choices and behavior.
– You focus your thoughts and mind on images of the person you WANT to be instead of dwelling on your weaknesses and who you’re not.
– You start acting that way right now.
– You FIRST figure out where you want to go, and THEN you work to get there.
– You make time for what’s truly important to you FIRST and let everything else fall into place.
– You refuse to allow others to make irrational demands of you.
– You expect life to be DIFFICULT and so you don’t shrink in the face of possible failure or hardship.
– You refuse to accept “advice” and guidance from people who don’t have your best interest in mind.
– You don’t allow others to get you worked up or upset. You remember that they are just being who they are in the moment and you can’t change them. So you focus on what you can influence.
– You refuse to give into pressure to rush when you know that the natural order of things will insist that you either go with the flow, or drown in it. (For example: You can’t rush a sale because you need the money.)

Looking back, this whole idea about being unreasonable is sounding very reasonable!

What do you think? Where have you started being unreasonable? And how has that improved your entrepreneurial life? Talk back below.

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