Monthly Archives: November 2016

The Jaw Dropper

A man jumps out of an airplane at 25,000 feet without a parachute on purpose (!) and aims for a small net set to catch him. Most of us will remember hearing something about this or watching the YouTube clip the day after it happened, but do you even remember his name? Most don’t.

If you are a regular television watcher, by age 18 you will have seen 16,000 simulated murders. Daily you are exposed to 1500 advertisements in America, and social media has jaded us to wonder what information we can trust. Rarely does something truly grab our attention anymore. As a society we’ve become numb.

Motivational messages, marketing ideas, and commercials are a tidal wave of information that continue to numb the senses. Now imagine you are a leader trying to activate, motivate, and even instigate your staff to be driven for success. How are you getting your message through?

In today’s world you have to deliver a jaw-dropping message that really resonates with your target audience. The same ol’ words and approach will not have significant impact. You need to have enough uniqueness to be noticed while delivering a constructive message that gets through. I know! This is tough stuff.

Consider who you are trying to reach.

What method best relates to them? What action are you trying to encourage? Better performance from employees? More loyalty from customers? Better study habits from your kids? Find the words that they need to hear (not necessarily the message you want to send).

No matter how much you beg for them to act, no matter how badly you NEED them to take that action, your message will fall on deaf ears if not crafted to get their attention in a jaw-dropping way they can’t forget and truly feel inspired.

My challenge to my readers is this:

As managers and parents, take the time to consider what it would take to deliver a jaw-dropping message. This is how we get through, especially to the young people raised in a 24/7 information flow. Let me know what you found works for your target audience.

By the way, in case you were wondering: Luke Aikins, age 42, was the man who successfully completed the freefall stunt landing into a 100 foot by 100 foot net moving at 120 mph.

To build your brand and grow your business, join me, Russell J. White,”The Business Coach,” Fridays on WRHI 94.3 FM

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Listen, Don’t Fix



We frequently hear how leaders need to be good listeners. But it takes more than that to be an effective leader. Try these 3 listening skills to improve your leadership listening.

Listen without response

Sometimes people just want to be heard. A solution is secondary.

I’m standing in line at the ticket counter of an airline and I can tell the person in front of me at the counter is upset and very animated about his complaint. Seems he wanted an aisle seat and all that were left were center seats. With each word he spoke, he got louder and more animated. The agent wasn’t looking at him. Instead she was working on her keyboard. She then slapped a boarding pass on the counter and told him gruffly, “You now have your aisle seat.” He looked at the ticket and then looked at her. He hollered, “But I’m not finished yet!” and he kept on complaining.

When an upset customer, employee or even spouse wants to be heard, don’t rush to solution. Allow them to get it all out. Frequently, it’s their top priority.

Allow the silence to hang in the room

When the person talking has finally stopped sharing their information about the situation they felt the need to talk about, don’t jump right in with a response. Allow the moment to hang for a moment. Because we seem to hate silence in the conversation, the other person will frequently fill the void with “the rest of the story.” It’s the rest of the story that is usually the true cause of the initial conversation.

Be careful not to trivialize or marginalize

Responses like “Oh that’s easy” or “It’s just common sense. Do this.” may shut down the speaker. As Stephen Covey taught us, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Once we truly understand where they are coming from, we can then help that person find a solution.

When working with a training opportunity, don’t just solve the problem for them. Coach. Help them to figure out the solution without simply giving it to them. Sometimes being a leader is having a set of open ears and a willingness to listen, not just having a ready solution.

To build your brand and grow your business, join me, Russell J. White,”The Business Coach,” Fridays on WRHI 94.3 FM

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The Wisdom within Silence


When was the last time you unplugged – completely – for at least 72 hours? No electronics, no Kindles, no watches for three straight days. Sounds like an alien concept, doesn’t it? If the thought of this makes you nervous or causes you to think that is an impossible request with everything you have going on, then you aren’t listening to your silence, where great wisdom exists.

Unfortunately, fast decisions are being valued over well-considered decisions in our thirst for immediate action. Social media is the best demonstration why we need to take a moment and listen to our own wisdom. How many careers have been damaged by a swift emotional response on Twitter or a galactically stupid Facebook post that is immediately regretted?

Do one thing at a time

Why do we feel our brains need to be constantly entertained? Cutting grass? Turn on the tunes in your headset. Have a free moment? Quick, check out Facebook. Riding the train? Earbuds in and Kindle on. It seems many of us have developed a habit of constantly feeding our brains instead of listening to our thoughts and experiencing a depth of thinking.

Have you ever tried talking and listening to someone at the same time? This is listening with the intent to respond, not to understand. The same goes with our thinking. If we are constantly driving information into our minds, we are talking over the thoughts that we should be listening to.

Find your silence

This is why wisdom comes within silence. It is well documented that inventors and philosophers found their best ideas and inspirations through silence. Silence can be found in many places if we let it. Go for a hike, a run, a long walk and leave the music at home. Sit on your back deck during the breaking morning on a Sunday with your favorite breakfast beverage and listen to your mind. Then book that 72 retreat silent challenge from the world to let your mind think.

To be a more effective leader, take the silence challenge and spend three days as a human being instead of a human doing. Listen to your silence and feel the wisdom come forth.

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