Remarkable Leadership with Kevin

Kevin Eikenberry
Chief Potential Officer
The Kevin Eikenberry Group

Kevin Eikenberry is a world renowned leadership expert, a two-time bestselling author, speaker, consultant, trainer, coach, leader, learner, husband and father (not necessarily in that order). He is the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a leadership and learning consulting company that has been helping organizations, teams and individuals reach their potential since 1993. Kevin’s specialties include leadership, teams and teamwork, organizational culture, facilitating change, organizational learning and more. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies, small firms, universities, government agencies, hospitals, and more. His client list includes the American Red Cross, A & W Canada, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, John Deere, Purdue University, Sears Canada, Shell, Southwest Airlines, the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Mint, Verizon and many more.

Kevin writes two email-based publications: Unleashing Your Remarkable Potential, a weekly publication read by more than 22,000 worldwide, to assist organizations and individuals in turning their potential into desired results; and Leadership Updates, sent several times each week. In addition, his Leadership and Learning Blog has been recognized on several occasions as one of the best leadership blogs in the world.

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I travel enough to have a lot of travel and airline stories. Overall, I have as many positive ones as negative ones. In fact, I am typically very productive on airplanes, even when the seating space is tight. Today, however, I want to talk about one of “those” travel days. This particularly interesting travel happened about a year ago, but recently I was reminded of it. My day was supposed to be relatively straightforward – fly from White Plains, N.Y., through Chicago to Phoenix, arriving there about 12:30 local time. But that isn’t how it went.

I live in Indianapolis, Indiana. When I travel and people find out where I live, one of the questions I get asked is, “Have you ever been to the Indianapolis 500?” The answer is, yes I have. I’ve been purely as a spectator. In 1986 I was there as a part of the Purdue All American Marching Band, marching on the track before the race and playing "The Star Spangled Banner" and "Back Home Again in Indiana" before the race.

Why do you hire new employees? OK, this seems like an obvious question, and no, it isn’t a trick. We hire people because we have assignments that need to be completed, sales to be made, and products to be created, manufactured, shipped and billed. We hire people to be productive; to get work done. Yet, that is too often not how we judge them. Too often, we judge them based on hours worked. Let me explain …

We all find ourselves in social situations or at networking events, or perhaps even on airplanes, and people ask us, “So, tell me about yourself.” Most of us answer that question the same way - we provide some labels or hooks for who we are. For me it would include some of the following: I’m a husband and a father of two. I own a company and have for the last 19 years. I am a speaker. I am an author. I blog. I do a lot of training. I coach and consult on leadership. (I could go on, but you get the idea.) You could, and would, likely do the same thing. But are these labels who we are?

Some time ago I was delivering two workshops in Toronto. During the first, there were a couple of comments about professionalism, along the lines of, “I want my people to act like professionals.” Others in the room nodded their heads, and while I considered asking a follow-up, clarifying question, I opted to move on with the workshop. The question I could have asked would have been something like, “And what does professionalism look like?” While I didn’t ask it, I think it is a good question and one that I received an emphatic answer to later that evening.
There are plenty of things that can go wrong with meetings, and the litany of complaints about them is long. In my 25 years of attending, observing and facilitating meetings, one of the biggest challenges I’ve seen is groups staying on topic. The problem is a natural one – if you put a group of intelligent, interested people in a room, they are going to have thoughts that aren’t completely in line with the current topic, and when they get voiced they can put the group off task or topic.
Maybe you find yourself in a new team environment and leading a team for the first time, or maybe you have been working with and leading teams forever. Either way, the keys in this article – whether as new information or a fresh reminder – can make a world of difference in morale, productivity and results from teams.
There is little doubt that the National Football League is the national pastime of our country. And while it is an enjoyable pastime, it can also be a massive productivity sucker. So how can you balance being a football fan and being productive for the next 20+ weeks?
If I could give you a tool or resource that would change your life in positive ways, change your results, create more happiness in your life and help you get better at anything you desired . . .  And if I could promise you that this tool would cost you nothing, require only yourself and could be used at any time . . . Would you be interested? I bet you would.

Everyone thinks teams are a good thing.  Leaders like to form teams.  People, for the most part believe in the value and purpose of teams . . . “All of us are smarter than each of us.” and  “1 + 1 = 3” . . . are just two common phrases that reinforce and prove how pervasive our belief in teams is. And that belief is justified . . . sometimes. The fact is, sometimes we would be better off without a team - with individuals contributing as individuals. What? No team? At least not the type of team you probably think of when you think of a team.

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