dedicated especially to my fellow unaffiliated and independent citizens…
An incredibly controversial and difficult question to ask but one we all have a responsibility as citizens of this great country to weigh in on. There are a lot of topics that come up when a candidate is running for office, but much of the talk is not about issues or facts, it is mostly noise. In choosing a candidate, I look at the same process I would look at to choose any leader in an organization…
Is this person a good collaborator? This should be easily evidenced by their past experience whether in the public or private sector. Do they tend to bring people together for the greater good, or do they have a tendency to divide groups? Have they shown evidence of working with others that may have been on the other side of issues in the past? Do they push forward their own agenda regardless of incoming information, or are they receptive to new thoughts and ideas?
Does this person display humility? What makes this a good quality of a leader? I personally have yet to meet someone who is perfect. We will all make mistakes inevitably. The absolute best leaders I have worked with are the ones who are not afraid to admit they’ve traveled down the wrong path and are willing to accept help and feedback to make things right. I have also seen humble leaders surround themselves with people of opposing values and opinions because they are more interested in listening to all sides of issues and ultimately draw strength from those differences.
Are they generous with their time and talents? In society today, politicians are at times looked down upon. Some have shown to deserve this treatment, but many absolutely do not. A politician is called a public servant for reason. Many are paid little to nothing to help try and make their communities better places. They spend countless hours in meetings and events trying to move things forward in the direction they think will be for the betterment of the many. Look at the candidates you are considering and see if you are able to see evidence of good works.
What is the cost/benefit analysis on the decisions the candidate will be making? In other words, many issues are brought up, but how do they actually affect you and society. Will they be making decisions that will actually change things for the better or worse? Will they be leaving something the same that positively or negatively affects things? Remember sometimes doing nothing can actually be the better choice when weighing all options.
Most importantly, will this person promote peace and good will or war and malice? In this country we have been incredibly fortunate not to have had a war or battle take place on US soil since the Civil War. We have had 9/11 and Pearl Harbor and many of us can remember the shock, disbelief, and fear associated with those events. Think back, if you can, to those times and how that felt. Peace is incredibly undervalued by many in our country. If you can find a candidate that can promote peace than you should not take this quality lightly.
Too often there is an incredible amount of false information surrounding elections, especially on social media. If you are able to, take the same approach you would when you would hire someone to work for or with you. Look at their resume, check their references. Who can vouch for them? Go to proven independent sources to verify the information you are looking for. Make sure they truly stand for what you think they stand for.
Does the list above include every possible question or quality of importance? Absolutely not, but in my opinion it represents a good representation of the “big picture” thinking we need to determine the qualities of a strong leader.
In closing, at my son’s school each day a vote was being taken over many weeks time to see how the class was polling on the Presidential election. Each time the results were the same, 2 votes for one candidate, 3 votes for the other candidate, and 8 people did not vote…. Do not be the person who ends up deciding an election by staying home. Your voice counts and is vitally important. Use it to do what’s good and right for the all of the world around you.
Mike Urgo CEO
Mike Urgo Consulting
It’s Monday and for many the countdown begins to Friday from the time we punch the clock. It’s not that you don’t love your job, or that you are dreading the pile of work that awaits you, it’s that you can’t stand working with Fred. He is so annoying! He does not add any value to the company. Everything he touches falls apart. If he was not here, life would be so much more stress free.
We all likely have experienced working with a Fred in our workplace. The key is learning to work with Fred in a way that can make our day more satisfying and even enjoyable. How can this be done, especially if you aren’t in a position to manage Fred?
First, are you being direct enough? If something is bothering you, have you even tried to address it in a non-confrontational manner? Try sitting down with Fred and having a discussion to explain why his constant daily discussions about the upcoming election bother you and infringe upon your ability to do your job. Attempt to listen to him and understand why he acts the way he does. Try and find common ground and a compromise that works for both of you.
Second, take a look at your day and your surroundings. Is there anyway you can change your routine to minimize your interactions with him? Can a simple change in your day help minimize these occurrences? For instance, can you change the configuration of your office? Can you walk a different route to the printer? Can you organize your work day differently in anyway? If so, make these changes.
Third and finally, take a look at yourself. Too often we want to point fingers and blame at others but have we truly looked at ourselves on the job? Are we adding fuel to the fire by gossiping at work, or being rude in any way. Is it possible Fred feels the same way about us as we do about him? Take some time for serious self reflection. Consider sending an anonymous survey to a few of your coworkers asking them to evaluate you using one of the many 360 survey tools out there like http://www.selfstir.com. The greatest performers all realize that self improvement never ends and through self reflection and constructive criticism we can truly reach our highest potential.
Hopefully with a little attention and a proactive approach, you and Fred will become friendly coworkers. If not best friends, at least you will be able to get to work on Monday and not dread the remainder of the week :).
“Providing creative solutions in service, sales, communication, & leadership”
Many companies are faced with this question as time goes on. Some allow it and some frown upon it. Of course much of the answer depends upon the tasks associated with the job, the truth is many positions can be performed from anywhere with only the need for a strong and secure internet connection.
If you are part of a company that has employees that could work from home but don’t, there are probably reasons you have been reluctant to allow this to happen. Here are some of the more common ones along with some reasons you may want to consider changing your corporate philosophy..
Don’t wait for your employee to ask to work from home or remotely. Many employees may feel uncomfortable making that ask and all too often you are losing a great contributor because you did not do enough to retain that employee. Be assertive and if you feel you are able to offer more flexibility, as Nike says, JUST DO IT!
Mike Urgo Consulting LLC
Mike is a graduate of The University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies as well as an Associate Degree in Business Management from The Community College of Rhode Island.
Mike’s experience is extensive and well rounded. He can help individuals, organizations, or businesses implement initiatives and create solutions in a way that no other company can because of his own experience over the years. Please contact him to discuss your needs and find the solutions for which you are looking to his partnership and guidance.
How do I fire a volunteer?
Sound like a ridiculous question? Well to anyone who has been in the non-profit world it is likely something you’ve asked yourself. You know what I’m talking about… that person who has been around the organization for 20 years and does everything their way, which is the best and only way. Or someone who probably had the skills for the job at one time, but those skills have long since gone. Or maybe you have someone who kind of fell into a role because no one else was willing to do it and it’s turned into an absolute disaster having them there.
These issues are not unique to any one organization. Its how we deal with them that can determine our success.
Personally I am not in favor of firing anyone who volunteers their time, but I am absolutely in support of encouraging a change for that person. It’s very likely the individual cares deeply about your cause and that is one of the reasons they’ve been giving of their time. They have formed strong relationships and bonds with colleagues and donors alike.
First, have a conversation with the person. Listen to them and their perspective. Ask them specific questions related to the issues you are experiencing and see what they have to say in response. Tell them that you are looking at making some changes and want to get their opinion and perspective.
Second, assess the conversation. Did you learn something that perhaps changes your opinion? Or are you on such different pages that there is just no way of collaborating? The odds are that things are somewhere in the middle.
Finally, meet again to put your new plan in place. Remember if you have been feeling unhappy with how things are going, it’s likely they too are feeling the stress and inadequacies in the arrangement as well.
It is quite likely that a new role for your volunteer would be a welcome change for both of you. Or you might just learn that this person has a perspective that you had never considered. Either way, you will feel much better having dealt with the situation and everyone connected will see a more cohesive working relationship.
Mike Urgo Consulting LLC
Often times companies get wrapped up in the details. Many meetings with opinions and strategic plans take place to determine how to best sell the product to the consumer. What are the benefits vs. the features? How do we let the world know about what we are doing? Who is it we are trying to reach?
All of these are good questions. What I have found is the best way to tell your story to your end user is to do exactly that…. tell them your story! Think about what it is that brought you to where you are. So often we forget to include the audience on why we have decided on a course of action, or a product offering, or whatever it might be. As human beings we love to hear a good story. We like to have the who, what, where, when, & why answered for us. It’s intriguing to us and if a story is told well and enthusiastically we will almost always listen.
Think about what you are trying to accomplish right now. It could be in business or in your personal life. If you are depending on others to make it happen, consider backing up and telling your story!
At the consulting firm we just finished work on telling a story for Griswold High School. I’ve included the link on this blog. We hope you enjoy it and perhaps it will inspire you to tell your story whatever it might be!
As I watched the Patriots defeat the Vikings today, I admit I didn’t realize that it was Coach Bill Belichick’s 200th win. As only one of 6 coaches in the NFL to reach this mark, it is quite an accomplishment. As a lifelong Patriots fan of course I am a firm “In Bill we Trust” guy and have been since he’s been in New England. It’s interesting to think though, what makes him such a good coach? Why are there so few that have the kind of success that he has? How come more coaches haven’t reached this level?
There are a few characteristics that come to mind for me that define Coach Belichick and his incredible leadership skills. First, he leads in a very different way than most do though. He is very humble. I believe humility is one of the most important characteristics a leader can possess. It shows that you know you are no better than the person standing next to you. It demonstrates that you are human being capable of flying high, and sinking low as we all are from time to time. It is a rare leader that demonstrates this quality in such a genuine fashion and is able to motivate others through it.
Second, the man is consistent. If you have ever listened to a Bill Belicheck press conference you know exactly what I mean. You would not know if the team won or lost by the sound of his interviews. He is always finding room for improvement whether in certain victory or devastating defeat. His regimen for his team is tried and true and he knows that if they follow his formula for success, the Patriots will be a winner year in and year out.
Third, he is as decisive a leader as I have seen. I can remember clearly the year that Drew Bledsoe went down at quarterback and the Patriots had to play a then unknown Tom Brady under center. When Drew was healthy enough to come back, Coach Belichick made a decision that he was going to stick with Brady. At that time, people thought he was insane. Sure Brady had won a few games that year and he was holding the hot hand, but Drew was experienced and it was very unusual for someone to lose their job due to injury. Bill didn’t listen to the outsiders, he knew what was right for the team and he stuck to his decision. He was faced later in the season with the same decision after Brady was injured in the AFC championship game and Bledsoe came in to win that game. He still stuck with Brady in the Superbowl and the rest is history as they hoisted their first of 3 Championship trophies thanks to this decision.
There is no question that Coach Belichick has additional God-given skills that the average person doesn’t have. He also grew up immersed in football as a young child watching his Dad’s successful career as head coach of the US Naval Academy team. As we all know however, we can have all of the talent in the world and not know how to use it. Bill Belichick has shown what it takes to be a great leader over a long period of time, something very few have been able to accomplish in the NFL, especially with one franchise.
Taking just a few cues from him, we can all be great leaders, not only in the world of coaching, but in our professional and personal lives. These skills are something we all possess within us that can be cultivated and nurtured through practice, training, and experience. Keep your skills sharp and always do the right thing and you too can be a humble, consistent, & decisive leader for your team as Coach Belichick has been and will be for years to come!
People have been asking me what my consulting business is all about, or as The Bob’s would say “What would you say ya do here?” I can assure you I’m not lounging at the beach all day, but I’m also not faxing TPS reports either :)! To keep it short, here are a few things that I am doing and some areas into which I am looking to expand.
I am managing business development, marketing, social media, & PR for some clients. I devise creative ideas and new approaches to actively recruit more business for them.
I am helping both individuals and businesses come up with strategic planning for business growth and/ or personal budgeting & financial planning to help them stay on track and reach their goals.
I perform advanced sales trainings that help individuals achieve top production status within their organizations.
I am looking to find a client or two that need help with community relations. It could be an organization that needs someone to represent them externally to spread the word about what they are doing, or internally to help with better communication and morale.
Another area I am looking to expand upon is coaching and mentoring. For instance, I could come into an organization and work one-on-one with employees, management, or executive management to help them achieve a greater personal growth and increased productivity.
Please check out my website for more info or call/email me anytime. I am open to any and all opportunities so please reach out if you have a need. Thanks for reading! – Mike
Some might say I’m frugal. Ok this might be an understatement, but I do spend money when I think it matters. So when I went shopping with the family on vacation, I would have thought everyone would be ecstatic to see me looking to purchase the syrup that cost $6.00 a bottle rather than the cheap stuff. When I grocery shop I try to take the time to look at the ingredients in each item to be sure that we are buying the healthiest option. Lately there is so much stuff in food that isn’t…food. So as I looked at the different options for syrup. The only one I could find that had only the ingredients that should be in a bottle of syrup was a $6.00 bottle, so I bought it.
A couple of days later pancakes were made and my fresh, fantastic, tasty syrup was about to make it’s debut. I couldn’t wait for the kids to see that dad knows his stuff when it comes to condiments and isn’t afraid to step up and spend a few extra bucks to give them the best! Unfortunately, my kids did not share my enthusiasm. They didn’t see the benefit of the healthier option (not that syrup is healthy I suppose). Why on earth did they prefer the syrup that featured ingredients like sodium hexametaphosphate & cellulose gum? What makes kids or adults for that matter, prefer a product that is lesser to one that is clearly superior?
The answer is at least partially marketing. Successful marketing can be so convincing that even your taste buds are fooled. If you are told that something is good consistently and frequently either by advertisements or by word-of-mouth, you will start to believe that indeed it is good, even if it is not.
So how can we use this method to help us succeed in making our “syrup” the best? One easy way is to simply talk about what we do. Talk about it at every opportunity you can. I’m not saying you should be bragging about your success non-stop. That would make people start to avoid you eventually. I am saying you should take each encounter you have with someone you know, or someone you don’t, as an opportunity to sell yourself. You never know if that person might need your product or service now or down the road. If you have a chance to let each person know what line of business you are in, and what kind of syrup you are selling, there’s a greater chance that your encounter will lead to a referral or even a sale in the future.
Of course, we all wish we had the deep pockets that General Mills or Dole has to spend on advertising but unfortunately we do not. Consistently networking and talking positively about your own business though can reap the same kinds of rewards on a smaller scale. If people know what you do, they can make an educated decision to choose you instead of your competitors. Market yourself and everyone will want whatever syrup you are selling!
Mike Urgo Consulting LLC