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Asleep at the Wheel

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Drop and give me 200…seconds!

Asleep at the Wheel

Leadership is a dynamic process and a learned trait.  All of us are born with a certain amount of talent in a variety of different areas.  What we do with that talent based on our skill we put into it (practice) is what eventually will define us.  You would rather be the person that has gone above and beyond with limited talent then the one with all the talent and little to show for it.  That all being said I think it’s absolutely critical that leaders at every level know what’s going on around them and take responsibility for their actions and those under their charge.  Look, there will always be things that happen that are out of your control; things you don’t directly manage or affect.  However, responsibility falls back to the “leader” and President Harry S. Truman said it best when he declared “The buck stops with me.”

No leader wants to be embarrassed, ridiculed or exposed in a scenario where they seem as if they had no idea, training, or experience into what happened.  Murphy’s Law comes into play at times and “stuff happens;” how you deal with that as a leader will define you.  President John F. Kennedy had his own issues when he took office in January 1961.  He immediately was thrust into the debacle known as the  “Bay of Pigs.”   This operation actually began in the Eisenhower administration and captained by the CIA.  The plan was to use counter-revolutionary insurgents (Cuban exiles) trained by the U.S. to overthrow the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba.  As history tells us this was a complete disaster and many feel JFK was pressured into the invasion from his more experienced senior civilian and military advisors.   Afterwards JFK didn’t deflect the issue to a previous administration, or to advisors that were possibly misinforming him in the hopes of making him look bad.  Rather JFK went on the air and took public responsibility for the failed invasion and said “…we got a big kick in the leg and we deserved it. But maybe we’ll learn something from it.”  People are not dumb; they can accept the truth and most often will welcome it regardless of how hard it is. Key note: the highest point of JFK’s Presidential approval ratings came in wake of Bay of Pigs disaster.  Despite the embarrassing admission the White House made about the U.S. involvement in the botched invasion, JFK actually received a bounce in his approval ratings.  It’s also important to note JFK then fired three top CIA officials immediately after this failed invasion.

Now there are hundreds of other leadership examples out there and you can each do your own research and form your own opinions.  Taking responsibility for not only your actions but also the actions of the people and situations you are overall responsible for, shows that you are “manning the helm” and being answerable.  When you don’t take responsibility, or defect accountability, or make counter accusations, all you do is display the perception that you’re “asleep at the wheel.”  As a leader, you have to keep abreast on what’s happening around you.  Many times we surround ourselves with very smart and extremely competent people.  The advantage of this is you can give these folks a direction and distance and they can get the task accomplished with little guidance.  The disadvantage is the left and right limits of the task sometimes get wider, making the target objective larger, slowing the effort.  Then you also have what I like to call the “good idea fairy” that comes into effect; beware of this!  The good idea fairy only complicates the process by adding layers to the objective when you should be “staying the course.”  Simply, plan your fight (task) and then fight (execute) the plan!  If there are changes to be made then take time to make sure it’s the right change and don’t make change because you hit a speed-bump.  Key note: we would often say in the military “don’t scrap the plan at the first sign of gun-fire.  This is to be an expected part of what we do.”  The same goes for business.

The Take-Away:

If you’re a leader at any level, know what’s happening around you.  Manage, don’t micro-manage. Ask questions (a lot of questions), look for multiple solutions, and regardless if you made a particular decision or not, its your responsibility to be accountable for it.  You may get it wrong from time to time but the leadership value you will learn will assist in your expertise moving forward.

I never kept count of the times I was wrong, all that does is eat at your spirit and fuel a negative leadership style.  What I always do remember is standing there and being accountable for the men and women under my charge and my decisions and their actions.  Believe me, that’s what they will remember most!

I look forward to your comments and an always, Lead From the Front!  Hooah!

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Warriors learn from Warriors

Never Give Up, Never Surrender!

EliteLeadershipTraining

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Warriors learn from Warriors

We laid to rest this week one of the greatest Warriors of all time, her name was Patricia G. Spisso. She was not only a brilliant educator and champion for Women’s rights, she was also the greatest mother any family could ever ask for. Warriors learn from warriors, and we learned from the best!

As a modern day performance coach and leadership consultant I often speak about being a warrior, winner, leader and survivor. Four key attributes that define the best of the best and what I challenge everyone to be. These attributes all have sub-attributes, which complete the definitions. Though only four simple words they are very complex. For example, you can’t be a winner if you’re not a gracious winner or a sore loser. Winning is the action but a “winner” is what defines the attribute.

I often ask clients what their definition of…

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TV Interview: JB Spisso Discusses Women in Combat

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TV Interview: JB Spisso of Elite Leadership Training Talks About Notre Dame Football’s Change of Heart

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Warriors learn from Warriors

jb-spisso-credit

Warriors learn from Warriors

We laid to rest this week one of the greatest Warriors of all time, her name was Patricia G. Spisso. She was not only a brilliant educator and champion for Women’s rights, she was also the greatest mother any family could ever ask for. Warriors learn from warriors, and we learned from the best!

As a modern day performance coach and leadership consultant I often speak about being a warrior, winner, leader and survivor. Four key attributes that define the best of the best and what I challenge everyone to be. These attributes all have sub-attributes, which complete the definitions. Though only four simple words they are very complex. For example, you can’t be a winner if you’re not a gracious winner or a sore loser. Winning is the action but a “winner” is what defines the attribute.

I often ask clients what their definition of a warrior is? What do they believe embodies a warrior and more importantly defining an example of one? A warrior is not only the Spartan jumping off the rock impaling the enemy with his spear. Being a warrior is much more than the physical attributes (though it does have a part); being a warrior is working hard to be the best at what ever you do and doing it with honor, personal courage and character.

My warrior traits and ethos I learned from my mother. She absolutely set the standard and did so with a kind heart, gentle touch, and a brilliant mind that taught my sisters and I toughness, humility and passion.

Toughness is a trait often mistaken for someone with the rough exterior and attitude to match. Being tough has nothing to do with being a prick, nor being cold, callous, mean or aggressive. Toughness is the ability to do the right things, despite the “crowds opinion” or personal consequences. My mother had the look of an Italian movie star and the toughness of a Spartan Queen. She stood for Women’s Rights in the most unpopular times and squared off against some of the most chauvinistic and ego maniac men that Western Pennsylvania had to offer. Her battle armor was her spirit, her mind and the knowing she was making life better for others. As a brilliant educator (41 years), she worked tirelessly to help the children of the rich, middle class and poor receive an education. She showed kids from all walks of life how to succeed, how to move forward and especially how to do it with the humility necessary.

She challenged my two older sisters and I to leave a “footprint” in life. Mom always said if we did it the right way with honor, personal courage and integrity that others would use our path for their own success. She never let herself be bogged down with negativity or negative people, and taught us to do the same. If you wanted my mother’s help, you better show up positive and ready to work; the “oh poor me” attitude was never accepted.

My mother didn’t come from money nor married into it; my father and her raised three successful children on a middle-class budget and inspired all of us to follow our dreams and leave that “footprint.” All of us have that work ethic, and though we might have a few more “things” than our Parents, the values we have learned are the foundation.

My mother accepted another warrior into our family many years ago, my loving wife. Cut from the same mold they quickly formed a bond that was untouchable. Throughout the years she taught my wife and I how to love and understand each other more than we thought was ever possible. My mother and father were married over 53 years; she shared with us her tools to a happy, healthy, blissful marriage. Some say sons marry their mothers and it’s no different in my case; my loving wife has all the attributes my mother possessed, taught, inspired and loved.

Warriors learn from Warriors. Teach, coach, mentor, train, inspire, be passionate and motivate; these are what I do best, but only because I learned from the best!!

Patricia G Spisso, 10/09/2011
Rest in Peace Mother, you will never be forgotten!

JB Spisso
Performance Coach & Lead Consultant
Elite Leadership Training LLC

Twitter: @Leadership_Trng

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http://www.eliteleadershiptraining.com

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Get mad, get over it & get on with it

No one likes making mistakes, well at least I’ve never met anyone that does. The bottom line is we cannot live in a zero-defect environment, we would all like to but it’s not practical nor reasonable.

You cannot as a leader in any business have a “zero-defect/zero mistake” policy. Granted, there are limits, and if laws are broken or standards not adhered to that put peoples lives in danger, the axe must fall.

This blog isn’t about your tolerance as a leader, it’s about understanding that we all make mistakes and not to let those mistakes (yours or others) derail you from the mission.

If you’re like me, mistakes can burn at your internal armor, sometimes it actually just pisses me off. A Special Forces (SF) Sergeant Major (SGM) and fellow friend of mine gave me this advice years ago and I’ve put it to use and it works. “Get mad, get over it, and get on with it!”

Simply, it’s ok to get mad over a mistake or issue, get pissed if you have to. However, get over it and get on with the task at hand.

There are some great leaders out there that can do this, some better than others of course. The best don’t let these issues or mistakes stew at them. This doesn’t mean they don’t take care and concern in these issues, rather they understand you have to review what happened but always keep moving forward. These types of leaders can give you the necessary “ass chewing” if it’s warranted, but five minutes later it’s back to the mission.

To this day I hate mistakes, it’s in our nature. I plan contingencies in detail to mitigate mistakes; the fact of the matter is, they still happen from time to time.

My solution: “Get mad, get over it and get on with it!”

HOOAH!

Put this in your leader tool bag and give it a try!

JB SPISSO
Performance Coach & Lead Consultant
Elite Leadership Training LLC

http://www.eliteleadershiptraining.com

Info@eliteleadershiptraining.com

Twitter: Leadership_Trng

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Don’t sweat the small stuff

With the way our fast past, always moving society is today we often make mountains out of mole hills. There’s a line at our local coffee shop, or there is no parking in the vicinity of the store we want to shop. All goes to hell in a hand basket, life is just too hard!!!

Seriously, don’t sweat the small stuff!

I’m an expert planner, especially when it comes to our leadership classes and team building exercises. As mission hit times approach, my attention to detail increases and also does my intensity level. I want everything to go as planned, on time, and to perfection. The bottom line, no mission ever goes perfectly as planned but as long as you can adapt, improvise and use your contingency plans you will will be in great shape.

I say this because I have to remind myself at times to not sweat the small stuff. Don’t confuse this with a lack of planning or preparation (no excuse for that), but an unwanted grey hair should not throw a grenade into your days events.

There are enough stressors in today’s life to fill your life glass full and then some. Don’t add to it by adding unwanted stress that frankly have nothing to do with life, limb or eyesight. I had a layover in Philadelphia airport a couple weeks ago and my flight to NY was cancelled. Passengers hit the roof! Yelling and screaming and though the airline agents were rather “unhelpful,” there’s no use in getting nuts. There are dozens of flights a day from Philly to NY, you’re going to get rebooked on another flight, and the worst that happens is you spend most of your day in the airport (which happened to me!).

I actually was starting to get a little irritated about hour 6 in the airport, until I sat back and thought of all our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines & Coast Guardsmen who are standing on a post somewhere, eating cold chow, thousands of miles away from their families. I immediately said to myself “suck it up Sergeant Major & stop whining.” I’ll see my family soon enough, there is plenty of hot chow, and though the airport latrines might lack the “G.I. clean” standards, there are plenty of porcelain toilets to choose from!

Just put life into perspective.

I stopped at our favorite coffee shop today and the line was eight people deep, I just smiled and said to myself, don’t sweat the small stuff!

Keep moving forward! Hooah! JB

JB SPISSO
Performance Coach & Lead Consultant
Elite Leadership Training LLC

http://www.eliteleadershiptraining.com

Info@eliteleadershiptraining.com

Twitter: Leadership_Trng

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Always is a good time to lend a helping hand

My day started off as usual with a great cup of coffee with the “Six” (military call-sign for either the boss or wife, in this case it’s both!) and headed out to the pet groomers to get our Malinois her brush out.

On the way back I stopped at a very nice but busy Circle K for fuel. As I was fueling my truck I was banging out a few emails on my phone and checking my schedule for the day (no the phone does not make the gas pumps explode, watch Mythbusters!). While I was multi-tasking as most Americans do, especially in the AM on their way to work, I hear this loud banging over and over again.

I look up to realize a young man was having trouble with his car door and was slamming it repeatedly to try to close it. He then jumped out and was literally shaking the door to try to realign it and get it closed. He stood at least 6’4″ and 260lbs, had lots of tattoos and was driving a war-beaten faded Chrysler whose better days were behind it. The place was full of cars, people getting gas, coffee and their morning bagel. All this was going on and I watched in amazement as not one person flinched to lend a hand.

This was just a regular guy, granted he came across as potentially “scary,” and his car wasn’t new, but no one was offering to help this guy and EVERYONE heard the banging and continued to ignore him. I watched him struggle a few more seconds with the door, stopped my gas pump and walked over to him and asked “Do you need some help?.”

He said, “The door is off the hinge and I can’t get it closed.” I said, “Well, I’m not a mechanic but I’m a dam good problem solver, let’s check it out.” After a minute or two of assessing the situation I found what I thought was the problem, told the guy, he says “Oh yeah, that’s it!” and proceeds to fix his door. He gets in his car, I slam the door a few times with him inside to get it to secure, and he’s good to go.

I start heading back to my truck and he yells, “Hey sir, hey sir!” I walk back to his window and out comes this giant winged spanned arm and massive hand, he shakes my hand and says “Thank you sir, I appreciate the help.” I tell him in my best Sergeant Major voice “No worries young man, have a great American day”. He smiles and drives off.

I then begin the “stare down” to all the others that were immediately to the left and right of this young man. Hey don’t “choke on that bagel your sucking down” were some of my thoughts. Seriously, just because he wasn’t wearing a suit and driving an expensive car have the generosity as a human being to provide some type of assistance.

Now if you know me you know that there is all truth in that statement I’m definitely not a mechanic! But this young man didn’t need a mechanic, he needed somebody to put fresh eyes on the situation, help him diagnose the problem and get him on his way.

Always is a good time to lend a helping hand!

Look past whatever distractors you need to look past and if the opportunity arises, just lend a hand. Most times you don’t have to be a subject matter expert, just a person willing to roll up your sleeves if the situation arises, and dig in!

Have a great day! Hooah!

JB SPISSO
Performance Coach & Lead Consultant
Elite Leadership Training LLC

http://www.eliteleadershiptraining.com

Twitter: Leadership_Trng

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Supporting your goals & dreams

Many people say to get ahead in life you must take the road less traveled and to do it yourself. There is some truth in that, especially the “self-motivated” part of it.

One of our main training objectives is Performance Coaching. I can’t help someone become a professional athlete or business leader unless they want it down to their core. If they want it and put in the effort & sacrifice we can assist them in reaching this goal!

The fact of “doing it alone” has gone the way with the dinosaur, and is very difficult to do without, as a minimum, the support of someone.

I attended a military promotion ceremony years ago for a Colonel being promoted to Brigadier General. He was a very intelligent, motivated, hard-core man with both technical and tactical experience. He spoke well, knew everyone’s name, led by example, and was the type of leader all Soldier’s could look up to. He said fittingly in his promotion ceremony that “next to every successful leader is even a more successful cast.”

This tells the story, having someone to support you in your hopes, dreams, goals and desires.

I have a goal for both our company and myself, but frankly could not have taken on this challenge without the support (and initiative) of our company president (also my wife), who realized I have so much to offer those outside of the military. I’ve always been a great motivator and passionate about what I’m doing and the men and women to my left and right. But taking this to an unfamiliar audience is always challenging.

I have found that inspiring and motivating is a common thread, especially to those wanting to be the best! The traits of being a Warrior, Winner, Leaders & Survivor run deep into the hearts and souls of those that want to be successful. The common theme however is, YOU CAN’T DO IT ALONE!

Find those that believe in who you are and what you want to accomplish (as long as they are all positive goals; the assumption here). Tell all they “nay sayers” to GET LOST! Your goals need the positive reinforcement of someone. It doesn’t need to be an entire staff of folks, but just a few that believe in your goals & when your having an “off” day, someone to remind you why you are on this quest.

Thanks to those that support me and continue to give me the personal courage to take what I’ve learned, been taught, and have experienced and share it with others. Especially to my loving and caring wife, who each day tells me to keep moving forward and have fun while I’m doing it!

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote given to me by my great friend Coach Tom Renney. When anyone tells you something is impossible, read this quote back to them!

“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion usually coming from those that have never measured themselves in the face of adversity!” ~TR

Have a great day! HOOAH!

JB SPISSO
Performance Coach & Lead Consultant
Elite Leadership Training LLC

http://www.eliteleadershiptraining.com

Twitter: Leadership_Trng

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Trust your Instincts: When to change a professional service

It’s often said “we only know what we know.” A military commander cannot make a sound and timely decision on a battle plan if the reconnaissance element doesn’t get the necessary information to the commander. The same for the business/corporate field. Bottom line, we put trust in the professionals that do the job or provide a service.

We all know or have known a local automotive mechanic that we could take our vehicle to for service. It would be fixed in a timely manner, and we would not be sticker shocked on the bill. I’m not a mechanic (though I did rebuild a motor in a ’73 Ford Truck from a Chilton’s manual!), so when I take our vehicles in for service we “trust” the professionals providing the service will do a sound and timely job and they will do so with a professional “responsibility” as if they are working on their own car. Much like the commander expecting the Recon Sergeant to provide him or her with an accurate assessment on the enemy situation.

Now we all know that quality service only goes as far as the level of quality we expect, the trust we have, what we are willing to pay or how far to we want to be ripped off. We’ve all had bad service at restaurants, barbers, retail stores, etc… We have to gauge the price versus the service or what we want to deal with.

When we are hired for leadership training, team building or character development, our goal is to provide a “First Class” service and also give the client “bang for their buck.” That’s our motivation, our foundation, our ethics. If we cannot do something or if there is something that is better suited for another company, we are upfront and honest with our clients. We would rather provide the best service to a few, then a sub-standard effort to many.

This motto is unfortunately not the standard across the professional community. With the economy the way it is, businesses want to take on as much as they can, and if they limp to the finish line with a sub-standard performance, their satisfied because they were paid.

This is much more than a lesson in ethics, it’s about doing the right thing by each client regardless of the circumstance if you accept a job. For us it doesn’t matter if you are a professional sports team, major soft drink or pharmaceutical company, or the family owned pool company with six employees. You will receive 110% effort each and every day.

Now this blog isn’t about pumping up Elite Leadership Training, rather this blog is about when is it time to change professional services?

Some say to give a professional service one chance, if you’re not satisfied, move on. But what about the instances where you receive great service initially, and the service over time worsens?

I get my hair cut a lot, probably three times a month (old Army Ranger habit, high & tight every 7 days!), so if I receive a bad haircut the first time I change Barbers, but I also know I’ll have a chance of a better haircut in 10 days!!!

But let’s talk about key professional services like a doctor or lawyer, positions that require both stellar education & ethics. I’m an educated man but I’m neither a doctor or lawyer. My days of being a Ranger EMT & Army Sergeant Major did not prepare me for either position. So if a doctor or attorney tells me something, I take it as fact. They went to medical school or law school; this is their profession.

Granted the Internet has helped in finding out pieces of information, but much of the Internet is not fact. You have to decide when the information you’ve received is “what you want to hear” and the professionals no longer have your best interests in hand. Easier said then done in many instances.

Everyone has attributes they do well and don’t do well; if you do everything well your lying or your ego makes you a narcissist. I’m a terrific motivator who leads with passion & wears his heart on his sleeve. I’m also a very trusting person and I take people a their face value. Do what you say your going to do and be upfront and honest. That’s what I expect and how I live my life; unfortunately that’s not a standard 100% across the board.

My answer for when is it time to change professional services is simply “trust your instincts” and “don’t ignore those instincts.” My “instincts” told me years ago to make a change in a professional service (as well as my wife’s instincts); but when aggravated I would be told what I wanted to hear from that service, receive the necessary reassurances, and oh by the way there is new bill in the mail!

I’m an overly trusting person (my attribute that needs work) because it’s what I give so what I expect. I ignored my instincts, the advice from my wife, and I’ve overpaid for a service that lacked the quality and professionalism necessary to complete the mission. Shame on me, but I’ve learned and moving forward! Hooah!

Here’s the standard, do what you say your going to do and if you can’t, or you are not qualified, or it’s too hard, or you just don’t want to do it, then tell me from the start. We have lost this sense of professionalism somewhere.

The foundation of trust in a professional service has to be the keystone in being a Warrior, Winner, Leader & Survivor.

Trust your instincts! HOOAH!

JB SPISSO
Performance Coach & Lead Consultant
Elite Leadership Training LLC

http://www.eliteleadershiptraining.com

Twitter: Leadership_Trng

*This is NOT an attack on Doctors or Lawyers; my family has four medical professionals in it & I have several great people of character that are attorneys. This point can be made about a home builder, electrician, driver or anyone offering professional services. The point being made is understood that doctors & lawyers are some of the upper echelon of educated professionals.

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