Why This Weekend’s Fastest Marathon of All-Time Was Special to Me (& Why You Should Care).

In Vienna, Eliud Kipchoge, the marathon world record holder, on Saturday shattered a record that had been untouchable. As a runner, this was something special for me.

I’ve run three marathons (Chicago 2018, Philadelphia 2018 and Phoenix 2019). It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and one of the most rewarding. I haven’t accomplished my goal of qualifying for Boston, though I got close in February (3:20:13, and needed 3:19:10 to qualify and run the Boston Marathon).

His feat was running a marathon (26.2 miles) under two hours.

There is A LOT of application for all us in our professional career and business, starting with his quote:

Anything is possible.” – Eluid Kipochoge, 10/12/2019

Breaking this record was insane. Some people call him the Roger Federer or Michael Jordan of running. No one has done this on any marathon course. None of the analytic gurus or race experts thought it could be done until much later.

“Just how likely was this? When researchers from Australia crunched data from marathon world records over the past 60 years, they concluded that there was a 10 percent likelihood that the two-hour mark would be fall in May of 2032, and just a 5 percent chance it would happen by 2024.”

There are some who are criticizing this as a “fake run.” To be fair, this wasn’t a sanctioned marathon. It was a course that was flat (but not downhill) and manufactured.

But for anyone that’s run a marathon and knows what it takes to complete one, this is anything, but fake.

If you look at Kipchoge’s history of running, you’ll also see his TOTAL domination of the sport.

“In actual races, Kipchoge continued to be unmatched. He now holds the official world record for the fastest marathon with his performance at the 2018 Berlin race, when his 2:01:39 finish shaved 78 seconds off the previous mark. He followed that up by winning his fourth London Marathon in April of 2019. That put his marathon win streak at 10 straight, including an Olympic gold in 2016.”

He’s also a great humanitarian.

“I wanted to run under two hours and show human beings can do a good job and lead a good life. It shows the positivity of sport,” Kipchoge said. “I want to make the sport an interesting sport whereby all the human beings can run and together we can make this world a beautiful world.”

Three main lessons I want to focus on:

First, like everything in life, there will always be critics. People will point to anything negative they can or “manufacture” their version of the truth.

Instead of replying back, Kipchoge is staying positive and focusing on how this can help others (and other runners). That’s how you can control the conversation. Otherwise, you play into your critics and get into a comparison discussion.

The key is to “swim in your lane.”

In this case, it’s comparing himself to other runners, race conditions, etc.

Second, it highlights how much WORK it takes to accomplish great feats. It took the greatest runner of all-time his entire life to be able to do this. Great feats take a long time. Professional success isn’t instant like an “ESPN highlight reel” and “social media” news feeds.

Think about the successes you are most proud of. They probably took years to accomplish when you look at your first-step and last-step.

Third, Kipchoge first attempt at sub-two hours failed. Nike made a documentary on it in 2017. It took him two-plus years to try again and be successful.

Rarely do we get this right on the first attempt. That goes for extraordinary athletes too. Failure and success are married. They are flip sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other.

In interviewing more than 1,000+ successful entrepreneurs, leaders and managers for my book, Social Wealth, I asked them a question. “How many things do you get right on the first attempt?” The average response was three. That means 70% of the things very successful business people do they fail at the first time. They also said he often took them multiple failures to find the right answers.

They had to learn to pivot, learn their lessons, implement them, and then succeed.

The most forward-thinking companies understand how to leverage failure. You can read up on what Google X does to incentivize individuals and teams to failure.

Harvard has shown through research that the most successful teams report more failures than other teams. That’s one of their “secret sauces.” By communicating failure, you actually progress much, much faster. Plus, you create psychological safety in the process, which creates the optimal environment for high performance.

Best Things in the Workplace Are Free – Connection

“Best Things in Life Are Free.” That’s the classic song in MadMen when Burt Cooper dies. It’s signifies the #1 asset and “secret sauce” that leaders typically overlook. 

People value and are starving for true connection, complete trust, & teamwork with people who deeply care. 

It’s that emotional bond that enables us to accomplish and create the seemingly impossible. 

It’s also what brings the very best out of us individually and collectively. 

People after the fact point to success as the stock price, profit, sales, etc. But that completely misses the mark. That’s the effect, not the cause. 

The gold is in first creating the unbreakable foundation for “the together team.” It’s not to get distracted by process, strategy, etc. Because then leaders make lack of time excuses why they built the foundation on sand. We know what happens over time when they do (and the huge financial cost and emotional turmoil for poor teamwork).

Coco Chanel said, “The best things in life are free. The second-best things are very, very expensive.”

When leaders and managers behaviors and actions prioritize the business over the team, it requires them to pay a very expensive price. 

Here’s the video from MadMen that’s worth a watch: https://lnkd.in/e8gD2HF

Dilemma of Choosing Profits over Principles

One of the most difficult decisions leaders and managers have to make is choosing principles (and values) over profits. 

It’s rarely an easy choice nor is it black/white. 

Lately, I’ve encountered several client situations where this choice had to be made over the past two weeks

1) The top salesperson didn’t feel like they had to follow the same rules as others. They were putting the company at risk with their actions. The challenge was the individual was bringing in a significant amount of revenue and had excellent relationships with clients. It came down to the company making a decision on money versus behavior. 

2) Leader in the company treated a large team pretty poorly. But they were getting excellent KPIs and results. The leader didn’t want to change so the company was at a crossroads on what to do.

It may seem clear cut on what to do, but consider this. First, companies have duties to pay employees (who have families), serve their customers and other obligations. Second, principles are not always valued/shared unanimously. The definitions, understandings, and lines aren’t always clear. 

But prioritizing profits can lead a company, executives, and managers to forget, push aside or change their principles. Those choices lead to negative and very expensive consequences.

Social Wealth was Named as a Top Business Relationship Book


It’s always exciting when someone recognizes your work. Writing a book was one of the most difficult and time consuming things I’ve ever done. Here is what they wrote about Social Wealth (Sold more than 60,000 copies and 130+ five star reviews):

Background on the list:

Relationships can be tricky things. One minute they can be going great, and the next minute everything seems to be going wrong.

The relationship books listed below are amongst the most popular, best rated and best reviewed books on relationships available.

https://www.developgoodhabits.com/best-relationship-books/
This book explores the habits and secrets of people who are successful in all areas of their lives, including relationships. When one is able to have social wealth, they are more likely to be successful. Everything we do in our lives incorporates different people in some way. No one gets to where they want to be alone, with no help.

As you are developing your relationships throughout life, you need to nurture them so they can work for you. Try to get connected to people who can help you achieve your goals.

Social Wealth provides a blueprint of the tips that people need to become successful in their fields. No one is born knowing how to do their job. Learned skills can only be gained while one is on the job and learning how a company really works.

This is a great book for people who want to be social in their business endeavors, but need some direction. This guide provides readers with a high-quality strategy that is built on skills and confidence about learning new things.

This book is written clearly and is easy to understand. The concepts are easy to grasp, and the reasoning behind them is clear. Readers have also found the step-by-step instructions to be helpful

Generosity in the Workplace Should NOT Have to Hurt You

‪Here’s a good article to spur a discussion on the difference between giving, taking and matching. It’s focused on parenting, but it can be equally applied in the workplace.

Adam Grant has an excellent book on this topic, Give and Take, I read it many years ago when it first came out. I’ve also have the privilege to speak to Adam several times over the years.

The key with giving is to have boundaries and priorities. Then you can give freely without the burden of a certain set of expectations. ‬

Why does this matter? Building great relationships is like a bank account. You have to make deposits before you can make withdrawals. So when you lead with giving you can speed up the relationship building process.

The challenge can be not everyone will reciprocate. But there is no way to know that before you do an act of giving.

‪Self-sacrifice by harming yourself or allowing yourself to be taken advantage isn’t generosity. It’s actually selfish & self-inflicting pain. ‬

Selflessness isn’t the issue. That obviously can be good. It’s the application of selflessness.

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others at Work

What to do? Read to find out more.

Here is a ‪very good read on comparing yourself to others (and their successes).

Comparison is the thief of job & saboteur of success. Remember to swim in your own lane.

Why? Because worrying about what others are doing won’t help you and will demotivate you.

It also puts you in a scarcity mindset and you tend to look at the world in terms of a finite set of resources (ie someone has to win and someone has to lose).

What can you do? Here are two specific things.

  1. Acknowledge that other people have a different skills than you or that they have knowledge that could benefit you. A 2018 study published in Computers in Human Behavior found that people who think, “This person has a view on an issue that I’m dealing with,” enjoy better mental health than those who think, “This person is better able to achieve the task than I am.”
  2. The next time you’re tempted to think someone else is better than you, reframe the way you’re thinking about the situation. Ask yourself these questions:
  • What information does that person have that could be helpful to me?
  • What I can learn from this individual?
  • What knowledge, ideas, or areas of expertise does this individual have that could be valuable to me?

Rather than judge people, stay curious. Look for opportunities to learn and you’ll start to see that other people aren’t necessarily better or worse than you–they’re just different.“


Speaking at PRSA Dallas Unsummit Conference

Had a great time speaking at PRSA Dallas 3rd Annual Unsummit Conference on Friday. Spoke about how to breakdown the silos between PR & Marketing, along with how to build great teamwork. 

If you want a copy of the slides, contact me.

How to Have Stellar 1:1 Check-ins With Employees

There is a TON of research that shows if a manager checks-in once a week with their employees their performance typically will significantly improve over bi-weekly or less. It makes complete sense when you think about it.

Why? Here are seven reasons why weekly check-ins with employees matter.

  1. Show you care
  2. Help them stay on track and prioritize what’s most important
  3. Help them remove obstacles and roadblocks
  4. Provide feedback and support
  5. Challenge their thought processes and help them see better strategies, solutions, and tactics.
  6. Results from performance reviews won’t be a surprise
  7. Increase employee retention because 75% of employee quit because of poor managers and 90% of employees state their relationship is a top factor to stay at their company (and with their performance).

But this it depends on how the manager engages with their employees and the questions they ask. Weekly check-ins alone don’t ensure success.

So the next question that naturally arises is: What should a manager ask?

Here are four questions that you can go through in 10 minutes or less. It will ensure priority alignment and maximizes the chances for success that week.

  1. What are your top three priorities for the week (and why)?
  2. What’s going well with them?
  3. What are your challenges? Where are you stuck?
  4. What specifically can I do to help you?

Here are six additional questions managers can also use incorporate with their employees.

1) “What’s the best use of our time today?”

Or “What’s top of mind for you right now?”

2) “What does your ideal outcome(s) look like for the week?”

3) “What do you think is the best course of action for each priority?”

4) “Are you unclear about anything?”

5) “Do you have enough/right resources?”

6) “What was the most useful part of our conversation today?”

Can I Pick Your Brain? NOOO! Don’t Ask it. Here’s Why.

Can I pick your brain is one the worst questions ever. Why? It’s vague. It doesn’t tell the other person what you want. They can’t prepare. They don’t know if it’s worth their time to do it.

So chances are the person won’t reply or will decline to meet.

Have an agenda, questions and goals. State clearly what you want, time commitment, location, etc. To significantly increase your chances, I’d ask for 10-15 minutes. If the conversation is going well, no one will stop it. But you give the other person a clear, quick and easy out. And respect their time too and honor the 10-15 minutes. You’d be amazed what you can do in a short period of time.

Keynote Speaker at SHRM Columbus 2019 HR Symposium on October 24th

Honored to be the keynote speaker at 2019 HR Symposium for the Columbus, Georgia SHRM Chapter on October 24th 2019. The theme is: RIDING THE RAPIDS OF HUMAN RESOURCES. Grab your life vest and join hundreds of HR professionals from all over the State of Georgia and east Alabama at our 11th annual fall Symposium as we learn to ride the Class VI rapids of HR!  This year”s event will feature several high impact speakers, concurrent sessions, and much more.

My interactive keynote presentation will be on building high performing teams and engaged cultures. Attendees will be playing Cards Against Mundanity in small groups to experience how to build high levels of trust, closeness, and teamwork in minutes.

Here’s an overview (and more information on my keynote speaking can be found here):

Think about the best team you’ve ever been on. The team that was the most collaborative, connected, and productive. How did it feel to be connected to something bigger and feel like you could accomplish anything? What if you could recreate that feeling and success on every team you were on? What if you could accomplish this across your entire company? 

That feeling (and success) you just thought of is the most powerful business asset. It’s the foundation for a highly successful “culture and people strategy.”

In this interactive presentation, attendees will learn how to “dial in” to the right behaviors to build a high performing culture and maximize teamwork and employee engagement in minutes. They’ll also play the Cards Against Mundanity game (in small groups) so they’ll experience how these strategies will work for them (including how to skyrocket trust in minutes). 

Attendees will walk away with deep relationships with other attendees and be much more engaged at the conference.

The presentation based on research studies where participants built their closest relationships in their lives with a complete stranger.

HR professionals can also use these strategies with hiring, new employee onboarding, conflict resolution, trainings, and many other areas.

More than 25,000 employees have played Cards Against Mundanity at Amazon, Southwest Airlines, Ernst & Young, Google, Gillette, Microsoft, Oracle, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Worldwide Express, CareHere, Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA team), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Novartis, Merck, Vonage, and many others.

Attendees will:

1. Learn the “secret” strategies to quickly maximize engagement, teamwork, culture-building and employee retention.

2. Discover how to build high levels of trust both internally and externally with third-parties to instantly create great working relationships, reduce conflicts and maximize productivity.

3. Walk away with best practices tools (including a free copy of Cards Against Mundanity PDF version) that can they can implement right after the session to improve company culture and employee engagement. 

4. Use the strategies from the session to influence others and get more buy-in for HR initiatives. 

3.0 HRCI Recertification Credits & SHRM PDCs will be applied for those attending.

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