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Letting Go: Turning your Burdens into Bridges

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to repurpose your resources for greater productivity. Reading time: 1:41.

          I tripped while out for my daily run on a country road a few years ago and found myself with a rare view of leadership in action– a view that gave me a  better understanding of how leaders turn burdens into bridges.

       Come and take a peek with me.

Ants are strong. This cheerio is at least five times the size of the ant.

             I’m face down on the pavement, virtually eye to eye with an ant– a strong and determined ant — hauling a load four times longer than itself. Then the burden became insurmountable.

       The ant stood staring at a huge crack in the road, a chasm too wide and too deep to walk across –a chasm that seemed to doom this expedition of carrying the equivalent of a 24-foot long telephone pole to you and me.

        But the ant solved the problem, creatively, productively, counter-intuitively. The ant, struggling to get a grip, let go. Continue reading


To Quench Your Thirst for Success : Stir

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you take more decisive action. Reading time: 1:46.

          “Yucky,” the little girl said, after taking a sip of her iced tea at a restaurant. Her mother intervened: “You have to put sugar in that.”

          The little girl tore two packets of sugar and poured them into the iced tea while her mother was busy taking care of her two other children. The little girl tasted the iced tea again. “Yucky!” The girl’s mother looked up and said matter-of-factly. “You have to stir it.”

        How many leaders have the right ingredients but forget to stir it? Taking action is critical. As the wit said,”Indeed, God may have given us the ingredients for Our Daily Bread but He still expects us to do the baking.”

   Just Do It

       Turn up the temperature on your oven. And get started baking. Don’t worry about next steps. Focus on THE NEXT step.

     Don’t worry about heading in the wrong direction. Just start out. You can made adjustments in your plan. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “The voyage of the best ship is a zig-zag line of a hundred tacks.”

        Adapt and adjust but keep going. Like the Nike iconic ad said: Just do it. “Boldness has genius, power and magic in it,” said German philosopher and author Johann Wolfgang Goethe. “Only engage and the mind grows heated.”

        Continue reading

Quick Start: Well Begun = Half Done

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you launch your initiatives more effectively. Reading time: 3:10.


   “Move ’em on, head ’em up. Keep them doggies rollin’. Rawhide.”

Carl Lewis in LongJump competition

          Those lyrics from the 1960’s TV show Rawhide still ring in my ears. And no wonder. I was fascinated with how the real life cowboys of yesteryear could herd 3,000 cattle over a 1,000 mile route –hoofing through 16 miles a day on average –over two months despite rain, terrain and pain. Amazing since I can’t herd three cats into a room in a warm, comfortable home.

        What’s the secret? A quick start.

Track star Carl Lewis Celebrates a Victory

          And that’s an instructive leadership tactic for any complicated project filled with many moving parts.

        Turns out that over the first four days of the drive the cattle covered twice as many miles per day as they would average for the  rest of the drive. Why so quick a start? Fewer strays from homesick cattle.

        Indeed well begun is half done as the Roman historian Horace observed, echoing Aristotle’s notion that “beginning is said to be half the whole.” Continue reading

Productivity: Unwrapping Your Present NOW!

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to be more productive –now. Reading time: 2:41.

4-year-old daughter:
“Dad, what time is it?”
Dad:    “Now.”

 “Yeah, now.”
Dad:   “Now.”

 “Stop fooling around, dad. What time is it?”
Dad:   “Now.
“Now is the only time that really matters.”

          In the NOW, leaders know that yesterday is a cancelled check; tomorrow a promissory note. Today is the only real currency leaders have to spend.

    In the Now, leaders leverage the moment —into MOMENTum!

      In the Now, leaders see more congruence than coincidence in the quirk that the word “Now “is “Won” spelled backwards.

     In the Now, leaders board the train of life determined to DO something Now !

     Yet many procrastinate.  They’re paralyzed in their own fear. They’re frozen in their own time waiting for that NEXT station in life –  you know the one always just around the next turn —where you will : FINALLY achieve your dreams (after the kids are out of college);  FINALLY get that promotion (after the owner retires); FINALLY, win that piece of business (after your new product introduction) or FINALLY buy that bigger house (after you get that bonus) . Continue reading

Sloooowww Doooown to Speed Up Your Performance

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to enhance your performance. Reading time: 2:57.

          You’re busy. You’re late for your next meeting. The Corporate Merry-Go –Around seems to be speeding up every day. Everything’s a blur. Faster. Better. Cheaper. Go. Go. Go.

          Whoa there, Speed Breath. Sloooowww Doooown to speed up your performance.

          That’s what the most effective leaders I know do. They perform like highly tuned athletes.

          Time seems to stand still to athletes when they are performing at their highest level.

           Athletes tap into their perception of time slowing down to become more aware of their surroundings, more sensitive to the issues confronting them. As time slows they find themselves with more time to make minor adjustments that result in major achievements and record breaking performances.

          In slow motion, these leaders don’t over react even when confronted. They slow down. They take a step back. They  better assess the entire situation with a 360 degree perspective. Then –and only then- do they ascertain the most productive response. They exude all the power and poise of a well-trained karate practitioner who when attacked–pauses–then steps back assesses the situation before defending himself or herself. Methodically.  Continue reading

Giving Your Staff Room To Grow

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you more fully train your staff. Reading time: 2:57.

         The five-year old girl and her dad enthusiastically browsed the bicycles in the shop. A red bike caught her eye. She climbed on the bike and looked up at her dad for permission to “ride it just down that street.”  She pointed to an aisle in the crowded bicycle store flanked by sparkling two-wheelers of all colors and stripes.

       The little girl wobbled a bit riding 25-30 feet in the bicycle store. Her dad caught her just in time as she fell. “I think we better get you some training wheels too,” the dad said.

       “No, no, I want to be like the big kids. I don’t want the training wheels.” The little girl’s face grimaced. She fought back a tear or two.   “I want to be like the big kids,” she blurted through her sniffles.

       They brought the bike home, training wheels and all. But within an hour, the youngster was riding the bike in front of her house. By herself. Without the training wheels.

     “Dad, in the store, I was afraid of running into all those other bikes ” she explained her sudden confidence and poised performance, “but outside here I can do it. I can really ride.”

       My daughter taught me a leadership lesson that day  more than 20 years ago that I still struggle with at times:  Give your staff room to grow and get out of their way.

       Sometimes I forget to step back and look at the big picture, especially from my staff’s point of view.  Sometimes I  over-react when I see some of my staff  “wobbling” through the workday.

     Sometimes, I’m too quick to slap on the “training wheels” when all they really needed was a broader proving ground where they could literally get up to speed.  Continue reading

Productivity: Making It Simple Not Simpler

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to add more clarity to your problem solving. Read time: 2:49.

         The minister announced that his sermon on this Sunday morning would be “childishly, simple.” He paused and then added very seriously: “I really worked at it to make it that simple.”

          Leaders  work very hard to make complex ideas THAT simple. They maintain the richness of the context without dumbing down the content. Those simple-minding leaders are anything but simple-minded.

         They enrich themselves and others with the same train of thought that billionaire Warren Buffett rides in leading investment strategy.    “Successful investing is simple but not easy,” Buffett says.

        So too, is successful leading: It’s simple but not easy.

        In fact in takes great courage and confidence to be simple, according to Jack Welch, the former chairman of the General Electric Company.

      “You can’t believe how hard it is for people to be simple, how much they fear being simple,” Welch says.  “They worry that if they’re simple, people will think they’re simple-minded. In reality, of course, it’s just the reverse. Clear tough-minded people are the most simple.”

         Yet insecure managers hide behind complexity. They snow you with a blizzard of  paperwork; they flood you with deluge of information. It’s a movie that Welch has seen too many times.  Call it the Complex Cinema where  “frightened nervous managers use thick, convoluted planning books and busy slides filled with everything they‘ve known since childhood.”  Continue reading