March Madness

Last week and this week we are having a “Blanchard March Madness” tournament here at the corporate office. Last week we had some individual competitions including HORSE and a Sharpshooter tournament, and this week we are having 3-on-3 games. Well, on Thursday we had the finals of the individual competitions, and do you know who won the sharpshooting contest? Yours truly! Ha! I made 16 out of 20 shots from the foul line. What a great time we had, and I couldn’t believe I beat all the youngsters here at the office!

It was interesting. I’m proofreading the second edition of The Mulligan that I wrote with Wally Armstrong, about golf and faith. There’s a lot of mental stuff in there too. Tony Robbins said that if you want to perform well, there are three aspects. One is focus—you have to see yourself doing well. And you know, I used to be a great foul shooter when I was younger, so I just saw myself pouring the shots in. Then Tony said you have to have the physiology—you have to walk like you know what you’re talking about. So when it was my turn, I just walked there like I knew what I was doing. And then Tony said you have to have a routine. So I bounced the ball and tossed it around the same way every time before I went for the shot. So I made 16 out of 20 at the line, which even surprised me.

I also read in there what we wrote about playing NATO golf—Not Attached To Outcome. So you’re not worried about your outcome, you’re just going with the flow. Last week we were at a program called Inspire San Diego. The guy who put it on was Greg Reid, who cowrote a book called Three Feet from Gold, which really built on the ideas from Think and Grow Rich, the classic book by Napoleon Hill. Just listen to this line from Napoleon Hill:  “There are many things you cannot control, but you can control the only thing that really matters—your mind and your attitude. External forces have very little to do with success. Those who program themselves for success find a way to succeed even in the most difficult of circumstances. Solutions to most problems come from one source, and one source alone: yourself. You can do it if you believe you can. You control your destiny. Decide to live life to the fullest. You may be three feet from gold.”

That was fun. Life is a very special occasion, don’t miss it!

Doing Things Right

I have been thinking about how important it is to be caught doing things right. Some people think you have to be careful; you don’t want to praise people too much, because they’re going to get a big head. People don’t get a big head by getting caught doing things right. People get false pride and big heads because they’re not praised enough. And they start to crave it, and they need it, and they start to push and shove for credit. When I was a kid, I was so fortunate, no matter what I did there was always somebody there—my mom or dad or my sister—to give me an “attaboy” and tell me that I did great. I think one of the reasons why I’m able to keep things in perspective, if I happen to achieve anything, and laugh about it, is because I’ve been told I’m okay all of my life. So I don’t really need or crave it or need to push or shove for it. So I just wanted to say to you how important, again, it is to help people who are important in your life and give them an “attaboy” or “attagirl” and tell them that you love them and you care about them. Because what really makes people feel good in the long run is the belief about that. False pride comes when nobody pays any attention to you and you start to wonder if you’re okay. Everybody needs that pat on the back once in a while.

Be an Energizer!

Do you know someone who is an energizer? When somebody is an energizer, when they come in the room, energy starts to increase. People’s energy picks up. Do you know other people who, when they come in, the energy just gets sucked out of the room? Ha!  You know, there are people like that. Things just seem down when they come around. And those are the kind of people that you should be nice to, and love them, but don’t hang around them. The question is: Are you an energizer? Does people’s energy increase when you’re with them? When you come home, does the energy pick up or are you the wet blanket that just slinks in? I think it’s so important that you be an energizer and you gather people around you who pick up your energy. Because what really makes organizations great, and families great, is positive energy. And it takes energizers around people to make the energy come out in them, too. So that’s my message today. Be an energizer. When you come in a room, light it up! Make something happen. You don’t have to be an extrovert to do that. Just by your interest and your energy in terms of what you do can make a difference, people can see that, even if you aren’t being Mr. or Ms. Exuberant. Life is about positive energy. So energize people! Energize yourself!


Listen to this definition of excellence: Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. I just think that is a really interesting thing  –  think about yourself and how you are doing in a caring scale, how you are doing in the risking scale, how you are doing in the dreaming scale, and how you are doing on the expecting scale.  I really think that’s a wonderful definition of excellence. Be excellent today – care, risk, and dream and expect big.

Speaking of excellence… At the University of San Diego, my wife Margie and I teach a course as part of the Master of Science in Executive Leadership program. Our course is “Determining Your Leadership Point of View.” Your leadership point of view is really figuring out who you are as a leader, and sharing it.

There are seven aspects of it:

  1. Who are the role models you had early in life that impacted your belief about leadership? Most people don’t talk about bosses; they talk about their mother or father, uncle or cousin, teacher or coach—what we call “lifelong leaders.”
  2. What’s your mission in life? What are you trying to accomplish?
  3. What are your values – what’s going to guide your behavior?
  4. Based on those three things, what’s your leadership point of view—what are your beliefs about leading and motivating people?
  5. What are your expectations of others?
  6. What do your people expect of you?
  7. How are you going to walk your talk? How are you going to model what you say you stand for?

It’s a fascinating process. We discuss this in Chapter 15 of Leading at a Higher Level. So if you want to find out more about that, get a copy of that book and read that chapter. If any of you haven’t developed a leadership point of view, I would like to challenge you to develop it. Then sometime, maybe in the first part of next year, sit down with your people and share your leadership point of view with them. Because it really does clarify expectations and who you are. It’s not about weakness; it’s about sharing who you are so other people can share who they are with you. It’s a wonderful process. And remember, it’s not just supervisors that should have a leadership point of view—all of you are leaders in some aspect of your life. You’re a leader as a spouse, as a father or mother, or as a volunteer. Anytime you try to influence the behavior of someone else, you’re engaging in leadership. Where did you get your image of leadership? I challenge everybody to develop and be able to share their leadership point of view.

Bring Your Brain to Work!

I used to work with a fellow named Rick Tate, who talked about studying people who trained seeing-eye dogs. What they found was that they kick two kinds of dogs out of the program: The first kind were the ones who were completely obedient, who would do anything that the master said. That was really kind of surprising because you would have thought that the only ones they would kick out would be the ones who wouldn’t do anything that the master said. But they kicked out both kinds.  The only dogs they kept in the program were the dogs who would do what the master said unless it didn’t make sense. They kept the dogs that could think for themselves. I think that’s what we as leaders should always try to do—get everybody to think for themselves. Sure, we have some guidelines, here’s what our policy is and all, but use your brains. You can imagine a seeing-eye dog with his master at the street corner, and the master says, “Forward,” and the dog looks up and there’s a car coming at sixty miles an hour. And the dog thinks, “This is gonna be a real bummer,” as he leads his master out into the middle of the street. So we want to empower people to use their brains – train them to do what the boss wants, or what the policies are, unless it doesn’t make sense. That’s really allowing people to bring their brains to work. So don’t get hit by a car! Use your brain today.