29. February 2016 · Comments Off on Innovation: The Cleveland Clinic Way by Thomas J. Graham MD · Categories: Uncategorized

Commentary on the Wharton Business School’s site on the book Innovation: The Cleveland Clinic Way by Thomas J. Graham MD is worth taking a look at. The commentary features the Cleveland Clinic’s Ten Commandments of Innovation.

My favorite commandment was number nine as cited below by Graham. This allows for an acceptance of failure and to learn from it by experience.

“Because of the inherent challenges associated with innovation, celebrate the pursuit and process, not just the outcome. Nothing kills innovation faster than the weight of expectation and reducing its measure of success to patents granted or dollars earned. If failure is not anticipated and even celebrated, the innovation culture will be stifled. This doesn’t mean that innovation should be sloppy, wasteful or lacking a level of expectation. But even failure has a welcome by-product, experience. While solving some of the biggest health care problems, stumbling is to be expected and makes eventual success that much sweeter.”

26. February 2016 · Comments Off on Favorite Quotes/Passages from Start With Why by Simon Sinek · Categories: Uncategorized


Page 41, “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”

Page 50, “Knowing your WHY is not the only way to be successful, but it is the only way to maintain a lasting success and have a greater blend of innovation and flexibility. When a WHY goes fuzzy, it becomes much more difficult to maintain the growth, loyalty and inspiration that helped drive the original success. By difficult, I mean that manipulation rather than inspiration fast becomes the strategy of choice to motivate behavior. This is effective in the short term but comes at a high cost in the long term. ”

Page 50, “A failure to communicate WHY creates nothing but stress or doubt.”

Pages 57-58, “In contrast, decisions made with the limbic brain, gut decisions, tend to be faster, higher-quality decisions. This is one of the primary reasons why teachers tell students to go with their first instinct when taking a multiple-choice test, to trust their gut. The more time spent thinking about the answer, the bigger the risk that it may be the wrong one. Our limbic brains are smart and often know the right thing to do. It is our inability to verbalize the reasons that may cause us to doubt ourselves or trust the empirical evidence when our gut tells us not to.”

Page 59, “…the art of leading is about following your heart.”

Page 60, “Great leaders and great organizations are good at seeing what most of us can’t see. They are good at giving us things we would never think of asking for. Great leaders are those who trust their gut. They are those who understand the art before the science. They win hearts before minds. They are the ones who start with WHY.”

Page 62, “It is not logic or facts but our hopes and dreams, our hearts and our guts, that drive us to try new things.”

Page 62, “If we were all rational, there would be no small businesses, there would be no exploration, there would be very little innovation and there would be no great leaders to inspire all those things. It is the undying belief in something bigger and better that drives that kind of behavior.”

Page 69, “Being authentic is not a requirement for success, but it is if you want that success to be a lasting success.”

Page 78, “Ask the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders what their secret is and invariably they all say the same thing: “I trust my gut.” The times things went wrong, they will tell you, “I listened to what others were telling me, even though it didn’t feel right. I should have trusted my gut.””

Page 80, “The goal of business should not be to do business with anyone who simply wants what you have. It should be to focus on the people who believe what you believe. When we are selective about doing business only with those who believe in our WHY, trust emerges.”

Page 83, “Herb Kelleher, the head of Southwest for twenty years, was considered a heretic for positing the notion that it is a company’s responsibility to look after the employees first. Happy employees ensure happy customers, he said. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders-in that order.”

Page 85, “Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you-not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.”

Page 90, “We do better in cultures in which we are good fits. We do better in places that reflect our own values and beliefs.”

Page 92, “When you fill an organization with good fits, those who believe what you believe, success just happens.”

How did Ernest Shackleton’s entire crew survive their attempt to explore Antarctica?

Shackleton started with WHY when he wrote the job ad to recruit his crew, the ad is cited below:

“Men wanted for Hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”

As Sinek states on page 92, “The only people who applied for the job were those who read the ad and thought it sounded great. They loved insurmountable odds. The only people who applied for the job were survivors. Shackleton only hired people who believed what he believed.”

Pages 92-93, “When employees belong, they will guarantee your success. And they won’t be working hard and looking for innovative solutions for you, they will be doing it for themselves. What all great leaders have in common is the ability to find good fits to join their organization- those who believe what they believe.”

Page 95, “Companies with a strong sense of WHY are able to inspire their employees. Those employees are more productive and innovative, and the feeling they bring to work attracts other people eager to work there as well.”

Page 99, “Average companies give their people something to work on. In contrast, the most innovative organizations give their people something to work toward.”

Page 99, “The role of the leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of the leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen. It is the people inside the company, those on the front lines, who are best qualified to find new ways of doing things.”

Page 105, “Great organizations become great because the people inside the organization feel protected. The strong sense of culture creates a sense of belonging and acts like a net.”

Page 137-138, “No matter how charismatic or inspiring the leader is, if there are not people in the organization inspired to bring that vision to reality, to build an infrastructure with systems and processes, then at best inefficiency reigns, and at worst, failure results.”

Page 140, “The pessimists are usually right, to paraphrase Thomas Friedman, author of The World is Flat, but it’s the optimists who change the world.”

Pages 142-143, “And perhaps the most trusting relationship that exists is between the visionary and the builder, the WHY-guy and the HOW-guy. In organizations able to inspire, the best chief executives are WHY-types- people who wake up every dya to lead a cause and not just run a company. In these organizations, the best chief financial officers are high performing HOW-types, those with the strength of ego to admit they are not visionaries themselves but are inspired by the leader’s vision and know how to build the structure that can bring it to life.”

Page 147, “Great organizations don’t just drive profits, they lead people, and they change the course of industries and sometimes our lives in the process.”

Page 150, “…success is a team sport.”

Page 163, “It is not a company or organization that decides what, its symbols mean, it is the group outside the megaphone, in the chaotic marketplace, who decide. If based on the things they see and hear, the outsiders can clearly and consistently report what an organization believes, then, and only then, can a symbol start to take on meaning.”

Page 181, “Achievement is something you reach or attain, like a goal. It is something tangible, clearly defined and measurable. Success, in contrast, is a feeling or a state of being.”

Page 200, “Successful succession is more than selecting someone with an appropriate skill set-it’s about finding someone who is in lockstep with the original cause around which the company was founded. Great second or third CEOs don’t take the helm to implement their own vision of the future; they pick up the original banner and lead the company into the next generation. That’s why we call it succession, not replacement. There is a continuity of vision.”

Page 223,”When you compete against everyone else, no one wants to help you. But when you compete against yourself, everyone wants to help you.”

Page 224, “What if we showed up to work every day simply to be better than ourselves? What if the goal was to do better work this week than we did the week before? To make this month better than last month? For no other reason than because we want to leave the organization in a better state than we found it?”



14. February 2016 · Comments Off on Elements of Mentoring by W. Brad Johnson and Charles R. Ridley · Categories: Uncategorized



The Elements of Mentoring by W. Brad Johnson and Charles R. Ridley serves as a handbook for those interested in mentoring and those considering mentoring. I find this book to be very useful as there is currently no regulatory board or governing body that certifies the essential components of a mentorship.

The six main chapters are

  • What Excellent Mentors Do: Matters of Skill
  • Traits of Excellent Mentors: Matters of Style and Personality
  • Arranging the Mentor-Protégé Relationship: Matters of Beginning
  • Knowing Thyself As a Mentor: Matters of Integrity
  • When Things Go Wrong: Matters of Restoration
  • Welcoming Change and Saying Goodbye: Matters of Closure

My favorite quotes are as follows.

Page 3, “Mentors must behave like prudent investors; they must be selective in their choice of protégés. The investment should pay dividends for both mentor and protégé.”

Page 4, “In business settings, mentorships that begin informally often are more effective than those that are brokered or “arranged.” The mutual understanding, respect, and trust that naturally evolve in an informally developed mentorship increase the chances that both parties will find the experience satisfying. “

Page 7, “Mentors never settle for mediocrity. Mentors should expect more of their protégés than their protégés typically expect of themselves. This raises their expectations and lifts their performance.”

Page 10, “If you could do only one thing as a mentor, affirm your protégés.”

Page 12, “Sometimes mentors can open doors that protégés cannot open for themselves. They can endorse protégés membership in important organizations, invite them to exclusive meetings, and endorse them for work on special or high-visibility projects.”

Page 17, “Encouragement and support are necessary throughout a mentoring relationship.”

Page 27, “Who is better suited than a mentor to nurture creativity? Mentors themselves are typically creative. They model creativity by pursuing unusual solutions to problems, questioning accepted standards in the field, and displaying energetic excitement in the face of challenge. They are first hand exemplars.”

Page 36, “Excellent mentors understand that the protégé whose only outlet is work is ill-prepared for life and that the protégé who specializes only in one focused area of work is ill-prepared for a career.

Page 40, “When it comes to being a mentor, talk is cheap. To say it bluntly: put your time where your mouth is or do not commit to mentorships.”

Page 64, “It may seem like a paradox, but from the outset, excellent mentors plan for development, change, and even ending a mentorship. Mentors must take a long-term perspective from the start.”

Page 79, “They (outstanding mentors) look for opportunities to promote and encourage the careers of junior minority personnel.”

Pages 81 and 127 discuss the phases of mentorships that management professor Kathy Kram has identified.

These are:





Page 88, “Because no legislative or monitoring body serves to hold those who mentor accountable, good mentors must be constantly self governing. Mindful mentors temper personal ambition with an orientation toward service and the protection of their protégés.”

Page 91, “Mentors who fail to care for themselves may reach a point where they are unable to care for their protégés. Eager to succeed, some mentors mistakenly disregard their own needs. But not even the greatest of mentors is superman or superwoman-just a capable human being. That is why mentors who endure over the long haul attend to their personal needs and consistently practice self-care.”

Page 93, “Outstanding mentors assume leadership roles in the field and are seen by peers as hard workers and innovators.”

Page 95, “Competence to mentor demands that mentors exude benign personality characteristics as well as a good measure of interpersonal savvy. Listening skills, warmth, caring, and preferably a sense of humor, are needed.”

Page 97, “All enduring relationships are based on trust. Trust is the fabric or glue that binds mentor and protégé together in a safe, productive, and committed relationship.”

Page 102, “Seasoned and successful members of any organization or profession are the most influential and potent developers of junior personnel.”

Page 105, “The key is that the humble mentor appreciates his or her assets as special gifts not as evidence of personal grandeur. Mentors of this ilk focus less on self-centered outcomes and more on the developmental needs of their protégés.”

Page 116, “The wise mentor balances confrontation with compassion.”

Page 130, “Healthy mentors appreciate the seasons of a mentoring relationship. They anticipate and gracefully tolerate relationship transitions and take the lead in discussing these with their protégés. Healthy mentors accept endings when mentorships have run their course and facilitate closure when it is time for a protégé to move on and function independently. Excellent mentors help their protégés to appreciate the past but also welcome the future.”

Page 131, “Preparing to say goodbye to a protégé is among the most often overlooked yet richly satisfying elements of successful mentoring. Quite often, only the most seasoned mentors carefully honor endings.”

Page 133, “Authentic mentors never stop mentoring.”


13. February 2016 · Comments Off on Visme: Visual Presentation Company Is Set to Launch Upgrade · Categories: Uncategorized

What is Visme?

Visme is a company which produces online software that allows one to take an idea and create high quality visual content to explain or promote that idea. The company’s website states that, “Visme is a simple and powerful tool to translate your ideas into engaging content in the form of Presentations, Infographics, Reports, Web Content, Product Presentations, and Wireframes.” The company started in 2013 in Maryland and has been perfecting its product ever since. For more information about Visme see Jeremy Brown’s October 2015 article in Rapid Advance http://www.rapidadvance.com/blog/visme-what-is-it-and-would-your-small-business-benefit-from-it. In addition, also see Eileen Brown’s May 2015 article in ZDNet at http://www.zdnet.com/article/visme-presentation-and-storytelling-simplified/#!

Are there any videos out there of the Visme product in action?

Yes, for some samples videos see the YouTube video entitled Visme – the Best Online Presentation and Infographic Tool at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbtT2jcmQ1s and the YouTube video entitled How to Easily Create an Animation Using Visme at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhYYxFfRW4s&feature=youtu.be.

Who does Visme seek to serve?

Mainly it is for people with little or no graphic design experience. Individuals and organizations can both take advantage of the product. Visme’s website indicates that its product is used by over “300,000 marketers, communicators, executives, educators and non-profits from over 50 countries.”

What is the cost of the Visme product?

Currently, there are three pricing models. The basic model is available for free. The standard model is $7.00 a month, and the complete model is $16.00 a month. For more information see http://www.visme.co/pricing/

When will the new Visme product upgrade will ready for review?

The company is forecasting the product upgrade being ready for review in the upcoming week.

How can I review the Visme product?

Those interested in reviewing the product can contact the Visme Support Team at http://support.visme.co. You can ask for a complimentary Premium Account and Visme will follow-up with you.



09. February 2016 · Comments Off on Following Guy Kawasaki’s Tips on Being on a Panel · Categories: Uncategorized

Recently I was invited to participate in a panel discussion at a conference:

Guy Kawasaki has some tips on how to “Rock the Panel” in his book Art of the Start 2.0. These are worth sharing and they are helping guide me with my panel presentation.

Being a panel participant is harder than being a solo speaker. The two main reasons this is so are as follows. First, you cannot control the tempo of the discussion which you can easily do if you are making your own speech. Second, you get much less air time because you are sharing the discussion among several panel speakers.

Pages 210 to 212 provide some practical tips on how to ace the panel.

What is your main goal with being a panel speaker? I like Kawasaki’s goal of being the person on the panel that everybody wants to talk to after the panel is over.

How do you do this?

  1. Know the subject that the panel will be discussing. If you do not know the subject then decline the invitation to be on the panel.


  1. Control your introduction. Do not assume that the moderator has your up to date biography. Before the panel starts make sure the moderator introduces you properly. Kawasaki suggests handing the moderator a three sentence biography to read verbatim.


  1. Speak Up. This means getting close to the microphone and making sure your voice projects to the audience. Kawasaki recommends that you “make love to the microphone.”


  1. Entertain, don’t just inform. As Kawasaki says, “The funnier you are the more people will think you’re smart because it takes intelligence to be funny.”


  1. Tell the truth, especially when the truth is obvious. Work on being funny and a straight shooter. Kawasaki, phrases this as “The truth will get you glee.”


  1. Answer the question that’s posed, but don’t limit yourself to it. After quickly answering the question take the conversation in the direction that you want it to go.


  1. Be plain, simple, and short. Avoid a lot of jargon when you are speaking. Kawasaki says, “Reduce the most complex and technical issues to something plain, simple, and short, and you’ll stand out.”


  1. Fake interest. Look engaged in listening to other panelists even when it may be difficult to do so. Forgo checking email or playing with your phone while the other panelists are speaking.


  1. Never look at the moderator. The audience does not want to see the side of your head which is what happens when you look at the moderator. Speak directly to the audience.


  1. Never say, “I agree with the previous panelist”. Kawasaki suggests saying, “I think that question has been answered. For the audience’s sake, let’s move on.”