Take Inventory of Your Regrets to Create a Better Future

Living With Regrets

 

“I often regret that I have spoken; never that I have been silent.” –Publilius Syrus

 

His eyes still haunt me months later.

I was in Chicago for a conference. Early on my first morning there, I found myself exiting the elevator into the well-appointed lobby. Taking a few minutes to warm myself in front of a roaring fire, I braced myself for the cold wind outside. Leaving the hotel was essential to go a block or so to Starbucks where I could find a jolt of caffeine.

That’s when I saw him. As I got closer, I could see him panhandling. A well-dressed businessman silently crossed the street in order to avoid him. I discretely slipped a few bucks from my wallet before he saw me, depositing them into my front pocket. When he asked for some help, I responded with a smile and the money.

The same thing happened the next day.

But, the third day, I thought that this wasn’t working. “Hey, I already gave him money,” I said to myself, “And it’s not like it does any good.” So, I smiled, but kept walking.

How utterly ridiculous. How self-centered. How insensitive.

A few bucks would have helped him a great deal and meant little to me. I regret not giving him those dollars and even more.

 

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” –Lucille Ball

 

Take Time to Think About Your Regrets

It got me thinking about other regrets. Sure, some people can live with the “No Regrets” mindset. I, on the other, take time each year to think about what I do regret, what I should have done differently, what I could have done but did not do. And, painful as it is, and somewhat embarrassing, I am sharing the top 10 of this year’s list with you. I don’t do this as a way to provide an impossible penance or pay a debt. I do it because it acknowledges what I want to change. Hopefully, it sparks something in me to be a better, more caring person. And maybe you, too.

 

“To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity.” –Bodhidharma

 

When I do this each year, it reminds me that, if I listen to my inner voice early enough, I will live life to its full. I will look back and not think of regret, but smile with a joy of knowing I did exactly what I was supposed to do.

 

“Listen to your inner voice early enough to change and live life to its full.” -Skip Prichard

 

What you’ll notice is that my regrets go in both directions. That’s because too much of one thing equals not enough of another. You will also notice that they start with “I.” Normally, I frown on writing with “I” because it is self-centered; however, this list is all about personal responsibility. And that always starts with I. Anything less would place blame where it should not be.

In a randomized order, here is my list:

15 Bad Habits that Inhibit Brand Building

Managing A Global Brand

Building a global brand today is different than it was only a few years ago. Globalization, localization and personalization are forces that impact how to best manage a global brand. In Larry Light and Joan Kiddon’s new book, New Brand Leadership: Managing at the Intersection of Globalization, Localization and Personalization, the authors share their over 50 years of experience in building the world’s largest brands. From forming a brand vision to measuring its performance, they share a framework for developing and executing a global brand strategy.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Larry Light about his new work. Larry is the CEO of Arcature LLC. He was a senior executive and board member at BBDO and President of the international division of Ted Bates. He was Global CMO of McDonald’s from 2002 to 2005. More recently, Light was the Global Chief Brands Officer of IHG.

 

“Low price and best value are not synonymous.”

 

Bad Habits That Inhibit Brand Building

Would you share the bad habits that inhibit brand building? I found myself nodding and think readers would find these compelling.New Brand Leadership

We identified 15 bad habits that impede organizations from building brands, regardless of industry, category, and geography. These habits are not stand-alone forces: there are two underlying connections among these, and these are enterprise culture and leadership. First, culture matters. When there is a conflict between culture and strategy, culture wins. Culture fights change. Culture fights for the status quo. Culture nurtures complacency. Second, brand leadership is different from brand management. Brand management is taught in business schools. Effective brand leadership is different. Brand management is about the execution of specific brand-building actions. Brand leadership is different. It is about getting the right results through the efforts of others. It is about educating, inspiring, influencing and evaluating. Effective leaders create results by getting others to do the right things to produce the right results. Effective brand leadership is top down. For example, none of the work we did at McDonald’s could have happened without the leadership of Jim Cantalupo and Charlie Bell. Nissan needed Carlos Ghosn. IBM needed Lou Gerstner. Popeye’s needs Cheryl Bachelder.

 

“Brand leadership is different from brand management.” -Larry Light

 

15 Bad Branding Habits

  1. Complacency
  2. Change for the Sake of Change
  3. Financial Engineering as a Growth Strategy
  4. Cost-Managing the Way to Profitable Growth
  5. Focusing on Customers You Do Not Have at the Expense of Customers You Do Have
  6. Failing to Keep the Brand Relevant
  7. Price Segmentation Instead of Market Segmentation
  8. Thinking the Lowest Price Is the Same as the Best Value
  9. Failing to Instill a Quality Mind-Set
  10. Silo Mentality
  11. Focusing on the Short-Term Rather Than Creating a Short-Term/Long-Term Strategy
  12. Not Sharing Across Functions, Geographies, and Brands
  13. Believing the Regions Are Not as Sophisticated as the Center
  14. Believing That Brand Management Is All About Marketing Communication
  15. Allowing Data to Decide

 

The Most Insidious Bad Brand Building Habit

What’s the most common bad habit you have witnessed?

One that is becoming increasingly visible and insidious is the desire to satisfy the demands of Wall Street over satisfying the demands of customers. Ultimately, the sustainable source of cash flow comes from customers exchanging money for your offer. Financial engineering is not the basis for enduring profitable growth. Managing money is not the same as managing brands. Stock buybacks and increased dividends indicate that a company believes that investing in product and service development, innovations and brand-building will not yield satisfactory returns to shareholders. So, they just give cash back to shareholders and let them decide where to invest.

 

“To grow trust, we need to grow quality.”

 

The Evolution of Global Marketing

200+ Motivational Quotes to Turbo Charge Your Thinking

The Power of Words

Words have remarkable power.  Choosing to fill your life with positive, inspirational words is like fueling the engine of your mind.  I believe that our circumstances can change based on what words we read, hear, and speak.  That’s why in every blog post I try to pull out quotes that will spur new thoughts and actions.

Share a few of your favorites or stop by anytime to add one to your social media streams.  You never know when a few words will be just the fuel someone needs.

“Success is something you attract by the person you become.” –Jim Rohn

“Tread softly; breathe peacefully; laugh hysterically.” –Nelson Mandela

“Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” -Helen Keller

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” –Dr. Seuss

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” –Jim Rohn

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” -Arthur Ashe

“Argue for your limitations and they’re yours.” -Richard Bach

“To know how to wait is the great secret of success.” –De Maistre

“It is our attitude toward life that determines life’s attitude toward us. We get back what we put out.” –Earl Nightingale.

“If you run around with 9 losers pretty soon you’ll be the 10th loser.” -Les Brown

“The more you talk about negative things in your life, the more you call them in. Speak victory not defeat.” –Joel Osteen

“Hope is the beacon which points to prosperity.” –Edward Counsel

“You can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind.” -Zig Ziglar

“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” -John Wooden

“Vision without execution is just hallucination.” -Henry Ford

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” -Walt Disney

“Patience and fortitude conquer all things.” -Emerson

“Strive not to be of success, but rather to be of value. -Einstein

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” –Jim Rohn

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” -Bruce Lee

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” -Michael Jordan

“The speed of the boss is the speed of the team.” -Lee Iacocca

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” -Henry Ford

“Teamwork makes the dream work.” -Bang Gae

“If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality.” – Jim Rohn

“Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true.” –Brian Tracy

“Don’t count the days. Make the days count.” -Muhammad Ali

“To endure is greater than to dare.” -Thackeray

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller

“The strength of the team is each member. The strength of each member is the team.” -Phil Jackson

“Only you have the power to determine whether your future mimics your past.” -Skip Prichard

“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom” –Jim Rohn

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” –Zig Ziglar

“A successful team is a group of many hands and one mind.” -Bill Bethel

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” –Nelson Mandela

“Good teams incorporate teamwork into their culture creating the building blocks for success.” -Ted Sundquist

“Circumstances will never determine your amount of happiness. Circumstances only highlight who you already are.” –Dan Miller

“None of us is as smart as all of us.” -Ken Blanchard

“No individual can win a game by himself.” -Pele

“You are not a true success unless you are helping others be successful.” –Jon Gordon

“The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.” -Henry Ford

“Negative thoughts are the nails that build a prison of failure.” –Jon Gordon

“Simplicity, of all things, is the hardest to be copied.” -Steele

“Confidence is a habit that can be developed by acting as if you already had the confidence you desire to have.” -Brian Tracy

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” -David Brinkley

“Humility is the light of understanding.” -Bunyan

“Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.”– Laird Hamilton

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” -Zig Ziglar

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” –Jim Rohn

“If you’re going through hell keep going.” -Winston Churchill

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” -Epicurus

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” -Oscar Wilde

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” -John D. Rockefeller

“Peace rules the day where reason rules the mind.” –Wilkie Collins

“If I fail, it will be for lack of ability, and not of purpose.” -Lincoln

“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution.” -Brian Tracy

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” -Albert Einstein

“If you go out and make some things happen, you will fill the world with hope.” –Barack Obama

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Sir Edmund Hillary

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” -Zig Ziglar

“Anyone who attempts to build great things will face challenges.” –Jon Gordon

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” -Thomas Jefferson

“The starting point of all achievement is desire.” -Napoleon Hill

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” –Tony Robbins

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” – Picasso

“Passion is more developed than discovered.” –Dan Miller

“Whatever you believe with feeling becomes your reality.” –Brian Tracy

Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead

Navigating Change

Studies show that the companies that navigate change well last the longest.

Why do some corporate leaders navigate through massive change while others seem oblivious to it?

How do you position your organization ahead of the trends?

Is it possible to learn to anticipate and prepare for the future?

 

Rob-Jan De Jong is a speaker, consultant and faculty member at Wharton’s executive program on Global Strategic Leadership. His new book, Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead, outlines what it takes to become a visionary leader. Sharing examples and principles from his research, Rob-Jan’s mission is to increase your personal visionary capacity.  I recently had the opportunity to ask him about vision and the art of looking ahead.

 

“Anyone can grow their visionary capacity.” –Rob-Jan De Jong

 

3 Keys to Unleashing Vision at All Levels

As a CEO, I just loved this sentence:  “Vision is not an exclusive for those in top ranked positions.”  It’s really something for everyone, not only those with a title.  How do corporate leaders unleash creativity and vision at all levels of the organization?

  1. Empowerment and trust. 

An important success factor is around empowerment and trust.  A directive company culture is detrimental for people’s engagement.  Having a sense of influence is a prerequisite for getting people to become involved in the hard work of engaging with uncertainty and anticipating the future.

 

“Vision is not an exclusive for those in top ranked positions.” –Rob-Jan De Jong

 

  1. Fault Tolerance.

A second critical factor is fault tolerance. This naturally goes with empowerment – people will get it right and every so often they will get it wrong. These are the important moments of truth for you as the leader, as your response will set the standard for the culture that shapes from these moments. People will be on the lookout about how serious you are about empowerment. My simple suggestion is to not focus on what went wrong but to focus on what the person has learned.

 

“Visioning, future engagement, anticipation is a skill set and a mindset.” –Rob-Jan De Jong

 

  1. Enabling Others.

And a third factor that should not be underestimated is that you will also need to enable your people to do this. Visioning, future engagement, anticipation is a skill set and a mindset. And it is often a step aside from the environment people have grown accustomed to, so you will need to enable your people to strengthen themselves in this area.

That might sound like blatant promotion for my work and my book, but I’m absolutely convinced that this has been a gap in management theory.  Despite the widely acknowledged importance of ‘vision’ in leadership, little – if any – systematic support has been provided in terms of developing your visionary side as a leader in a responsible way.  Scholars, business schools and strategy textbooks agree that a vision is one of the most powerful instruments a leader can have.  And how you go about developing this side of your leadership has been met with tremendous silence.

It was my intention to fill part of this gap by offering a comprehensive perspective on the topic, original ideas, a developmental framework, various practices, and many stories and anecdotes to draw lessons from.

 

“Vision, the hallmark of leadership, is less a derivative of spreadsheets and more a product of the mind called imagination.” –Abraham Zaleznik

 

Learning to Be Visionary