Maturity and Leadership is Ownership

In the pursuit of ‘Maturity’ for 2017, one of the first places to start is maturing the thought processes – maturing the mind, the beliefs.

Why is this important?

Beliefs Drive Behaviors

When companies bring us in to start the culture shift, our conversation turns to:

“Build them:

  • from What?”
  • into What?”

Often, the conversation turns to the need to have leaders at every level that embrace the ownership mindset (as opposed to the passive or victim mindset).

There are many reasons for an organization to have a passive, victim mindset but we will save that blog for another day!

As we start to initiate change, here’s my secret sauce: We start having development sessions and discussions that lead to permission and application. HOWEVER, I have a disclaimer:

The workforce uses what we teach as a lens to judge the quality of leaders within the organization.

The process can expose poor leadership by teaching excellence. If titled leaders at the various levels aren’t willing and ready to lead in the way we teach, please don’t bring us in – we will only educate your people to hate you!

From an organizational standpoint, what will you let your people own? How are they taught to think? Are they developed, equipped, then empowered? Dumbed down to a mindless drone? Or just tossed in and expected to figure it out as they sink or swim?

Beliefs are built within an environment. Conversations and experiences shape individual beliefs. The individual’s beliefs combine to become the collective, which becomes the culture.

{The podcast for this week is geared to the individual, if you’d like to have a conversation about shifting the organizational mindset, please reach out for a discussion.}

Owning the mindset

Let’s look at the difference between an immature and mature mindset:


Blames others

Victim mindset


Passes the buck (abdicate)

Success is external (outside my control)

It can’t, I can’t, never be, always been, why try?


Admits their contributing actions

Ownership mindset


The buck stops here (responsible)

Success is internal (beliefs, actions, outcomes)

I can, we can, let’s do it! Let’s get started.

If we were studying the game film of our lives, we would start to see our tendencies. A mature mindset, an ownership mindset, asks:

  • What were my actions?
  • What are my tendencies? (Beliefs? Behaviors?)

Rather than externalize control – let’s work to internalize control. There is always something you can do, some action you can take, to improve the outcome.

If you feel your voice isn’t being heard: Work on increasing your influence.

If you are working for a bad boss: Learn how to lead up and negotiate operating space. Approach an employment lawyer to know how to start confronting adversity with an employer.

If you are under resourced: Find a way (pool resources, offer an internship, do something!)

There may be that voice in your mind right now that is telling you that I don’t understand your situation and that you can’t and here’s the list of 25 reasons why….

Which side of the list above does that fall under?

Can I encourage you to consider the mature, ownership mindset?

Your present is just the starting point. Plug in your desired destination and work with others to map out the moves – the GPS routing – that can find a way to get you where you want to go. It may not happen overnight but the next move can!

You will re-route, there will be twists and turns along the way. It’s OK; It’s all part of the journey

How about a few 1-liners to get you going? I like 1-liners because it helps my mind hold on and they are easy to repeat to counteract unproductive thinking

Nothing is perfect the first time.

Everything worthwhile takes effort and struggle.

If it were easy, everyone would do it!

The struggle is Victory being birthed!

Adversity reveals character.

We make the journey AND The journey makes us.

Mature the mind, OWN your destiny.

Own the Mission, own the mindset, own the methods, make the moves!

For more on this topic, click the mic to check out the full podcast. Have a great week!

How do you know when dreams are just a dream?

I received the following message yesterday from an old friend and thought it would be great to share this conversation with you, as well.

So I’ve read your posts, looked at your website, and watched your sample videos. If you had to pick a starting point for someone who has a dream, but has spent most of their life being “against” themselves, what would you tell them? How do you know if it really IS just a dream?

L – thanks for the message – great to hear from you.  You inspired today’s post.

I use the term Dream -AND it hit me after seeing your message that I don’t like how unattainable it sounds… will it just be a figment of my imagination?


So – I’m changing my phrasing to: Dream big! and then set it up as a “Burled Arch Destiny”!


For those that have read my ‘Iditarod Leadership’ book or followed the Iditarod – you know the term ‘Burled Arch’ – as it is the finish line and the term ‘Destiny’ that comes from the same word as Destination.  Destiny is not ‘Fate’ (whatever happens to me – that’s my Destiny) – no – Destiny is a decided beforehand Destination that I am determined to reach!

With ‘Burled Arch Destiny” – all we need is the map, the skill and the will to get there!

Maps are creatable – Skill is grow-able…. only one question left – do you have the WILL?

So what I would tell people is this: “Dream Big!  AND then learn the steps that it is going to take to get you there.”

  Where are you now along this trail?
  Why do you want this Destiny?
  What will you need to Learn?
  What skills will you need to develop?
  What role will others play in helping you reach this Burled Arch?
  What are measurable steps along the way?
  What is the NEXT step?

If you can understand and take the next step and continue that process (WILL) – nothing can stop you from reaching your “Burled Arch Destiny”!

It’s not going to be perfect – anything worth doing – is worth doing UGLY!   Ugly is how we start and it leads us to continuous improvement!

(remember how bad we all were when we first started learning to play sports as little kids?  Eventually – if the WILL persists, the skill improves and you make JV and then on to Varsity! It takes talent – but as my mentor John Maxwell says, “Talent is NEVER enough!”)

Finally, what do we do with all of the self-defeating voices in our head?

  Fight them with everything you have!
  What the roots drink – the fruits think!
  Celebrate small victories and progress ‘Checkpoints’ like crazy!

Saturate yourself in “Can do – positivity!”  Find a voice – someone that lifts you up – and listen to their positive beliefs.  I listen (almost daily) to speakers that are highly positive and motivational – why?  because I need it too!

Read, listen, watch – anything you can to make sure your tank stays full of the belief in possibilities!

Next – Celebrate any progress – ANY progress toward your Burled Arch Destiny – you learn a new skill, take a new class, spend 30 minutes in dreaming and mapping! – whatever it is mark down and celebrate the wins!  This is the fuel needed to keep it up!  Why keep running if you think you’re not going anywhere?  Mark your progress – celebrate the smallest progress!

Lastly – find an encouraging friend, accountability partner or coach…  when you start to doubt (which we all do!), when you want to quit – you’ll need them to cheer you on!

Keep Dreaming – Keep moving – Keep growing – Keep doing!  The Burled Arch Destiny is attainable!

Organizational Culture – Part 1

Every Organization has a ‘Culture’ and as I’ve discussed in previous blogs – that culture is either by design or it is by default. In any case, the Culture exists.

What is the present ‘Culture’ of your organization?

I define ‘Culture’ as a being made up of three components:

Common Language

It is a rarity, nowadays, that I would get to help create a company culture from scratch – before any employees are hired – before any defacto culture exists. Most of the time, our starting point is two fold from the outset. 1.) Present Culture 2.) Desired Culture.

There are many reasons for Present Cultures: adaptability of the people to work problems, differing perspectives between team performers and team leaders, communication competencies (or lack thereof), aligned (or mal-aligned) incentive/compensation programs, layoffs, cutbacks, growth – and, probably, a hundred more… The Reason(s) are an important piece – as the Root Cause – of any issue is DEEPLY important to change.

So if you took a few minutes today – and simply walked the halls of your office or sat in the break room of the manufacturing plant – What would you hear? What would you see?

Like it or not – this is your present Organizational Culture.

Are your people tired? Does their behavior align to the Company values? What are their individual and collective beliefs? And what does their communication look like?

It is a great exercise to sit, watch, listen, and record the beliefs, behaviors, and conversational language that occurs in your company. It can be VERY eye opening.

You say, “How do I know what my people believe?”

Easy… Watch their actions, listen to their communication.

Belief Drives Behavior.

I could say that phrase a thousand times over – People will reveal what they believe by their actions and by their speech. Their actions are, usually, a truer representation of their beliefs.

Over the next few days (with as much objectivity as possible) just listen, just watch, just record.

Is the Culture Proactive? Or Reactive? Owners? Passengers? Victims? Engaged? Disengaged? Empowered?
The work comes into play once the present ‘Culture’ is discovered – and we’ll discuss that in the next blog!

In the meantime – checkout one of the previous blogs on Culture – Have a great day!

Today is not the day to quit!

I could crank out another book – just on this topic… but for now.. a quick, down & dirty blogpost of encouragement…

Let’s talk about paths today and let me start with the encouragement – Today is not the day to quit!

There are many times that we encounter difficulties along our paths to success and there are MANY times along our paths that we want to quit and give up. Today is not that day!

Paths have rocks and mud, paths have inclines and declines, they have places that are overgrown and places you couldn’t find shade if you wanted to….

Paths have times where you can see for miles and when you can barely see the next step in front of you.

You are going to want to quit – but – Today is not that day!

In a keynote to 400 leaders last Tuesday I asked, “Anybody ever had a problem-free Year? Month? Week? Day?”

The fact is our paths are paths and all of these challenges are going to be a part of the path!

As quick as possible, get past thinking about and feeling the challenges on the path and get to:

• What does my path look like right now?
• What will it take to get me to the next part of the path?
• To get me past this part of the path?

Write it down… start working toward it!

• Have there been times when you conquered your path?

Make a note of those times – remember them – draw strength from them – DON’T live in them – but remember them!

• Have times when the path has conquered you?

Analyze these… find out what the circumstances were and break it down until the unknowns become known and you can work to remedy them.

Your path is not my path, nor the paths of those around you – each of our paths are unique AND similar – there are times when we are going to go through similar things – we are going to be on the same path at the same time – and there are times when our paths will separate and your path will not be my path – once again.

The success of someone else on their path does not limit you ability to succeed on your path!

If someone else is presently succeeding – celebrate their success with them and internally draw strength that someone is succeeding – even if it is not you – someone is succeeding and it should give you hope. You were not put on earth – to be an example of failure for those around you – failure is not your “Destiny” (see previous post) and Today is not the day to quit!

• What do you want your path to look like?

Dream, Strategize, Create the process, Work the process, Don’t Quit!

Today is not the day to quit!

What bib number did you draw?

This week, after being in Tallahasse with a client, I flew to Anchorage for the start of the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled race. (Many of you know about my book, Iditarod Leadership, and my passion about the great leadership lessons learned from mushing and dog sled teams)

Last night was the annual Musher’s Banquet. There was entertainment, a meal, auction items and a chance for the race fans to interact with their favorite musher. As each musher was called to the stage to reach into the Mukluk (boot) where they draw for bib numbers (Bib numbers represent when they will start (which position)) there were pockets of cheering and it was a great time to recognize their sponsors and those that have contributed, greatly, to their being able to run this race.

So here’s what is on my mind for today… What bib number did you draw in life? What bib number do you feel you drew in life?

You see the drawing of starting position in the Iditarod and in life is, completely, random. We have NO control – whatsoever – over to whom we were born or to what circumstances.

What are your thoughts on that? How do you feel about the circumstances of your beginnings in life?

Now that you have that in mind – let’s deal with it..

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING you can do about where, when, to whom, and the conditions of your start – nothing – and because you can do NOTHING about the starting position – it becomes a fact – it becomes your starting position and that’s it.

You might be saying, “Chris, You don’t understand…” and you may be right – but here is what I DO understand – regardless of your starting position – your finish is much more dependent upon your daily actions and attitudes than your starting position.

Your starting position is your history – you are already on your trail – already running your life race… Run it with pride – Run it with intentional purpose… which means – determine your desired destination and set the course to obtain it.

I have talked and shouted many times – that your start is not your destiny – your start is your start and DESTINY – is the same root where we get ‘destination’ from – it is a place that you decide beforehand to make as your goal – your destination – your “DESTINY”.

If you need more schooling, more economic opportunity, more connections, more anything – go for it… what is stopping you from achieving?

Your bib number?


That’s the bib number we were given – we can’t change it – we can’t let it define us! It adjusts our process to achieving success – but it CANNOT effect us unless we allow it.

DECIDE your desitination – your Destiny – or as I call it – you’re “BURLED ARCH”

Make a list of what you will need to get there – or start seeking the knowledge of what will be needed to get you there.

Start – RUN! GO for it! I, for one, believe you can!