Archives For Mark Miller

This post comes courtesy of Mark Miller, a best-selling author of 6 books, an in-demand speaker and an executive at Chick-fil-A. His latest book, Leaders Made Here, describes how to nurture leaders throughout the organization, from the front lines to the executive ranks and outlines a clear and replicable approach to creating the leadership bench every organization needs.

More than 10 years ago, I had the privilege to co-author The Secret with Ken Blanchard, a book about Chick-fil-A’s point of view on leadership. It was a lot of fun doing the book with Ken and even more fun talking to groups all over the world about leadership. What I didn’t expect was the question that I received over and over again… “We’ve read The Secret, what’s next?”

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Is complexity leaving your organization behind?

That’s a question we considered at a workshop I attended recently. Author Mark Miller and a team of facilitators walked a large group through the content of his new book Chess Not Checkers. The boardgame imagery? It’s symbolic for what happens as organizations grow. In the early stages of most small organizations or teams, the rules are simplistic and team members may play interchangeable roles much like the game pieces in a checkers game. But as growth occurs, complexity kicks in. Roles require specialists to address additional complications. The playing field starts to resemble a game of chess, rather than checkers. If we’re not careful, we’ll fall behind.


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Great Leaders SERVE

July 21, 2014

I had the chance to travel to Greece and Bulgaria recently and give a series of leadership presentations to several university groups with a small team of business professionals. The sights, food and people were reward enough, but getting to share our leadership presentations with the future leaders of two countries added a special sense of purpose to the trip. Even better, our message had been carefully constructed to include leadership principles that have proved timeless across all disciplines. Let me tell you more about it.

Mark Miller developed the SERVE model and curriculum and collaborated with Ken Blanchard to publish it in their book The Secret. Each member of our small team presented a portion of the model. I’ll summarize it for you here below.

Waiter Serving Dish

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“How do you get someone to push you?”

I was taking a wrestling class as a kid and that was the question the coach posed as he demonstrated a new move.

“You push him first. Then he’ll want to push back and you can use his momentum to your advantage.”

That may have been the first practical lesson I was given in the art of influence. People respond in kind. The actions we get are often reactions to our own actions. The question is: how do we begin?

Caps for Sale

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This year has just about come to a close. The Type As among us are probably wrapping up their goals and planning for the new year (if they aren’t finished already). The rest will catch up. Maybe.

I saw a great post from Mark Miller last week on New Year’s resolutions for leaders – and it really challenged my thinking. I’m not sure what your leadership goals are for the new year, but if you haven’t thought about it, I’d suggest picking something from these ideas below.

New Years Resolutions Continue Reading…

Wanted: Optimists!

December 9, 2013

Is the glass half empty or half full?

You’ve undoubtedly been asked this rhetorical question before. Apparently how you answer is supposed to quickly reveal whether you are an optimist or a pessimist – and perhaps a lot more about your inner worldview.

I’m not sure what the “right” answer to the the glass question is – although I always think it should somehow depend on what’s in the glass to begin with. But when it comes to being an optimist, I’m am sure of this: optimists are in high demand.

Here’s why.

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It’s Time to Be Generous

November 18, 2013

On November 7, 2013, one of the most intense storms in recorded history Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines. Wind gusts were estimated at 195 mph. Early estimates suggest over 10,000 people have died in the city of Tacloban alone and more than 11 million citizens have been displaced. Aid workers continue to struggle against the debris to provide food and shelter before the survivors succumb to starvation, exposure or disease.

If there was ever a time to be generous, it’s now.

Residents walk near vehicles and debris floating on a river after Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Tacloban city in central Philippines Continue Reading…

Several years ago when I was in graduate school, I invested a summer at a major restaurant franchise with the hopes of landing a corporate role after I graduated. I worked with an incredible operator who went out of his way to help me build my network with the corporate staff. Through one of the connections he shared, an area director agreed to stop by the restaurant to chat with me one Friday.

I still haven’t forgotten that day, but not for the reasons you might expect.

Businessmen Climbing Continue Reading…

I read an excellent post by author Mark Miller recently about what it takes to create a leadership culture. It couldn’t have been more spot on. To create a winning leadership culture, according to Miller, you must define it, train it, practice it, measure it, and model it. Want I want to add is another dimension on how to position your organization to sustain the culture changes you wish to implement. Here are the three considerations:

Corporate Culture Continue Reading…

It’s pretty common that my friends or folks in my network will ask me what book they should read.  I love the question, but it always puzzles me just a bit.  Without any context, it feels kind of like they are asking me what outfit they should wear that day!  But after a couple interchanges, it turns out they are usually referring to some kind of leadership book that will help them get to the next level.

Girl Reading

Principles of Reading

August 22, 2012

Stack of BooksI came across an alarming statistic awhile back from Dan Miller that college graduates on average will spend more money on soft drinks than on post-graduate education.  Right then and there, I resolved that this would never be true of me.  I heard Dave Ramsey say that the average millionaire reads one non-fiction book a month.  So I committed to read two a month.  And I heard Charlie “Tremendous” Jones used to say that you’ll be the same person in five years that you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.  So I decided I would never stop reading.