Heads Down VS. Heads Up by Josh Linkner

We’ve all heard people in the business world proclaim that they are “heads down” on a project. Or that they are unable to explore new opportunities since they are “heads down in execution mode.”

Consider, for a moment, the advantages of being “heads up” instead. Let’s compare the two states of being:

Heads Down

  • Focused on delivery
  • Tuning out distractions
  • Avoiding influence from your surroundings
  • Execution
  • Getting things done
  • Right now
  • What is
  • Deadlines

Heads Up

  • Focused on possibilities
  • Embracing new things
  • Welcoming outside influence
  • Curiosity and awareness
  • Questioning everything
  • The future
  • What could be
  • Imagination

There is a time and place for both approaches. When you are working to ship a new product out the door, it’s heads-down all the way. The problem is that so much of the business world languishes in that heads-down state of mind, making it increasingly difficult to shift to heads-up position. Yet it is the heads up time where we discover new ideas, gain fresh insights, and unleash our most powerful breakthroughs.

What if you scheduled just one hour each week to be heads up? Give it a trial run for 30 days if you’re skeptical. While it may feel frivolous at first, you’ll likely look back at your hourly refuge as the most productive part of your week.

The urgency of heads-down demands usually supersedes the longer-term importance of being heads-up, so many people rarely visit this vantage point. As you work to expand your creative capacity, make sure to proactively schedule some heads-up time for yourself and your team, and hold each other accountable not only for grammatical errors on a memo but, more importantly, for being heads-up and unleashing your imagination and creativity.

Heads up is where history is made. Make yours.


About Josh Linkner:

Josh Linkner – who started his career as a jazz guitarist – personifies creativity, entrepreneurship and disruptive innovation.  He has been the founder and CEO of four tech companies, which sold for a combined value of over $200 million. Josh is the author of two New York Times Bestsellers: Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity, and The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation.


To Learn more about Josh contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866 727-7555 or [email protected]

Success Boiled Down To One Simple Phrase by Seth Mattison

Over the past few months I’ve been spending a lot of time studying and reflecting on what makes some individuals rise to extreme heights while others simply seem to be settling for a life on the sidelines.

What makes the difference? What are the people that are thriving doing differently? Are they some how more unique and special? Are they blessed with powers and intelligence beyond most? How have they broken through to the next level?

It turns out the answer is actually quite simple. You must decide how you’re going to show up.

We all have choices to make in many areas of our lives but I believe that if you want to build a thriving business today or have a thriving career, you MUST decide, every day, moment to moment, how you show up.

Every single day we have a multitude of choices to make as it relates to how we show up in our lives.

Did we attack our challenges with courage or not?

Did we push to earn the commitment from a colleague or client today?

Did we invest all of ourselves in advancing our relationships or not?

We’re we patient and kind or short-tempered and annoyed?

The list goes on.

The truth is these are all choices and ss much as we like to blame our circumstances for our emotion, mental, and physical state, we always get to choose.

The most successful people own that fact that every single day we get to decide who we want to be how we choose to show up in the world.

The great news is that it’s a period of time where if we can show up as our best selves, our most courageous selves, there is an abundance of opportunity but it requires MORE OF YOU today.

To pull this off you need to leverage the power of intentionality. We have to be intentional about how we show up. You can’t leave it up to chance. If you do that, I promise you’ll always find a reason to not play to your highest level.

Are you being intentional in your life today? Are you waking up with a specific and focused goal in mind or are you simply reacting to the challenges that life throws your way.

The good news my friends is that if you didn’t nail leading up to this moment, right here right now, you get to choose again. Decide. Commit. Own it.

About Seth Mattison

Seth Mattison is an internationally renowned expert and author on workforce trends, generational dynamics, and business strategy. As Founder and Chief Movement Officer of Luminate Labs, Seth advises many of the world’s leading brand and organizations on the key shifts happening around talent management, change and innovation, leadership, and the future of work.

 

To Learn more about Seth contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866 727-7555 or [email protected]

 

 

Are you Engaged Or Supporting at Work? by Waldo Waldman

Situational awareness (SA) means having a 360 degree picture of your environment and can increase your ability to adapt to change and improve your chances of success.

The key to building SA is teamwork, and a critical component of teamwork is understanding one’s roles and responsibilities in every engagement. In combat, the way fighter pilots delineate roles and responsibilities is by having an engaged fighter and a supporting fighter.

The engaged fighter’s job is to take out (i.e. engage) the threat, while the supporting fighter’s job is to support that fighter by building SA, advising on other threats, and even taking over if necessary. The key to this collaborative relationship is staying focused on your responsibilities and staying disciplined in your role. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen!

As you explore your business environment, understanding who’s engaged and who’s supporting can make a huge difference when it comes to successful execution.

About Waldo Waldman

Known as “The Wingman,” Lt Col (ret) Waldo Waldman is a combat decorated fighter pilot, executive coach, Hall of Fame Speaker, and the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Never Fly Solo. He helps organizations build collaborative cultures of trust, courage, motivational strategies and commitment in order to adapt to change, break performance barriers, and overcome adversity.

 

To Learn more about Waldo contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866 727-7555 or [email protected]

What’s Dragging Down Team Performance? Tips from Mike Abrashoff

A work environment teeming with bureaucracy, trivial work tasks, and inefficient leaders chokes enthusiasm and builds impenetrable barriers to success. It’s your job to make sure these barriers to great ideas are torn down.

You must establish trust and create the ideal climate so your people can do their best work every day.

On Benfold, I first focused on the importance of connecting my crew members to our purpose. We focused on that only if we acted like a team and foster collaboration, not competition could we achieve our goals. This is the foundation for creating a culture of excellence. Once purpose and a sense of unity are established you can then begin to:

  • Create the ideal climate for success.
  • Remove barriers to great ideas.
  • Establish what winning means.

Your job is very simple at this stage. Use the leadership skills you already have developed to rely on the help of your front-line employees. These members of your team are most likely to help you breakthrough barriers because they feel the pain of inefficient processes and systems. They want to make a difference. And it is your job as the leader is to challenge business practices that no longer make sense.

Create the right climate for success

How can you ask your team to perform a job if the systems and processes governing the job are ineffective? People who do not trust their systems will not trust their leaders. Our employees must understand your determination to create an environment that breeds success. They must understand that all processes and systems are liable for review.

Remove barriers

Most employees want to be productive and successful. They just don’t know how or are facing obstacles that impede their goals. Breakdown these barriers by setting the right example through your actions. What you do is far more important and instructive than what you say. Your team will give you 100% if your actions convey your willingness to succeed. If your signals don’t match your words, you will fail to win the trust of your crew.

What gets measured gets done

People need to know how winning is measured. It’s not fun playing a game if you don’t keep score. The more your team knows that their efforts are contributing toward winning, the more it will cause them to give the extra effort.

You need to inspect what you expect. With customers, first impressions are important. Do your customer service representatives create an inviting atmosphere for customers when they call? Are your salespeople following up on leads? Are your employees creating loyal customers?

Benfold’s crew was very clear about how we measured success. When your team knows what you are measuring, whether it be customer satisfaction indices or customer loyalty, they will make the effort to positively affect those scores.

Diagnosing Barriers to High Team Performance

Analyze your processes and people. Jot down answers and comments to the following questions and techniques to diagnose your barriers to high performance:

Are people spending time on what Is Important?

  • When you observe your employees in action, do they consistently do meaningful work?
  • Does the time it takes to perform certain jobs outweigh the value they provide?
  • Are there redundancies in your processes or systems?

On Benfold, the best performance indicator was analyzing where people spent their time. Once the crew knew its mission, purpose, and goals, it became easy to spot time-wasting jobs and work. Similar to your organization, training was a vital part of our job on Benfold. Unfortunately, we were not spending enough time on training. We were too busy doing busy work. Do you see similar trends at your organization? Has busy-work started to dominate your team’s time? As a leader, it is your responsibility to challenge the validity of every system or process at your dealership and show your team the importance of eliminating wasteful practices.

What obstacles do you see?

  • Analyze all of your systems and determine if any need to be updated or eliminated.
  • Outline the steps in your various processes, and eliminate items that are not contributing to your goal.

Most talented employees have little patience for inefficiency, and will constantly find better ways to leverage their time. Watch these employees closely, and observer what they do and how they interact with the team.

On Benfold, what I saw was eye-opening. When select crewmembers saw the same mistakes or problems repeated, they would create alternative solutions. I quickly realized that we needed to implement what they were doing throughout the entire ship.

Are decisions made in a timely manner?

  • Outline the decision-making process at your organization.
  • List the decision makers at your dealership and the decisions they are responsible for.
  • Determine if the responsibility for making decisions falls too heavy or too light on your team.

The most important thing we did on Benfold was to make sure everyone knew what decisions they could make, and when they needed to get their boss involved. In the end, it was one simple guideline: If you would not feel comfortable having the outcome published in the Washington Post, don’t do it. We taught our crew that if a decision could possibly impact Benfold’s ability to perform its mission, then get your supervisor involved.

Remember, decisions that may impact profitability or customer satisfaction may require management involvement. Your team should be able to handle most other decisions.

About Mike Abrashoff

Mike Abrashoff‘s inspiring speeches challenge people to re-imagine their own leadership thinking and instill a renewed responsibility for results and success. At the age of 36, the Navy selected Abrashoff to become Commander of USS Benfold, at the time the most junior commanding officer in the Pacific Fleet. The immediate challenges that faced him on this under performing Naval war ship were staggering: exceptionally low morale, high turnover and unacceptably low performance evaluations. Few thought that this ship could improve. In many ways, the USS Benfold was actually an extreme example of the same problems facing many organizations today.

To Learn more about Mike contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866 727-7555 or [email protected]

How 2 CEOs Used Purpose to Unite Their Companies by Jeanne Bliss

Nostalgic for his mother’s thick and natural yogurt years after immigrating from the mountains of Eastern Turkey, Hamdi Ulukaya got a small business loan in 2007 for $700,000 to make his own yogurt. He bought a Kraft yogurt plant that was about to be shut down to produce his yogurt, which he named Chobani, meaning ‘shepherd’ in Turkish.

Taking care of employees, using natural ingredients, and doing good in the world are the values of the multi-billion dollar Chobani company. What makes Ulakaya inspirational is how personally he takes his business. For example, during the first five years of his operation, people who expressed any kind of dislike for his yogurt, for whatever reason, received a surprising and very human phone call from Ulakaya, who wanted to make it right for them.

Ulakaya takes the high road in more ways than one. He extends his personal commitment to his employees. An inclusive and compassionate leader, he’s given every employee a 10% stake in the company. Ulakaya has the attributes of a growth by generosity leader. In an interview with Fast Company, he said, “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t travel back to my childhood.”

Does what you learned as a child—those behaviors—guide your gestures and your organization? Actions that align with purpose are the hallmarks of leaders who can move mountains like Ulakaya did to start an unexpected business and grow it to the top of its industry. There are many leaders who are articulating their purpose, but far fewer are in the slog everyday, working to deliberately translate that purpose into action.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, for example, proved he is one of those kinds of leaders when he made a commitment that Southwest Airlines would no longer sell more tickets than it had seats. Not even one. Amid world wide passenger angst, they initiated what the airline calls “transfarency” in which they pledge to keep low fares without any need for that dreaded nickel and dime-ing. For companies of all sizes, purpose and how a company lives it, matters.

Shane Green, who wrote the great book, Culture Hacker, states that more than 50% of employees leave within the first year of their roles because they don’t see their company’s stated purpose lived out in the workplace. Would you make a promise to your mom, and then break it? Of course you wouldn’t.

The Deloitte Millennial Survey in 2017 validates Green’s findings that purpose matters. This consumer group of millennials in particular seek companies whose actions and behaviors display values congruent with their own. But I would assert this desire expands well beyond this intriguing group—that most of us would like to see companies behave with this congruence of heart and habit.

This is our opportunity to deliberately connect the dots between why a company states that it is in business, and its actions to live that in its promise.

About Jeanne Bliss

Jeanne Bliss pioneered the Chief Customer Officer position, holding the role for over twenty years reporting to the Chief Executive Officer at Lands’ End, Allstate, Coldwell Banker, Mazda and Microsoft Corporations, where she moved the customer to the strategic agenda, redirecting priorities to create transformational changes to each brands’ customer experience.

 

To Learn more about Jeanne contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866 727-7555 or [email protected]

10 Speakers That Were Trending in October 2018

Every month, Clients call, email, and even text us asking about different Speakers they are considering for upcoming events.  They ask questions, view videos, read testimonials and in some cases request a call with a Speaker, something we are delighted to arrange. Based on all that activity, here are the 10 Speakers clients were talking about in October 2018..

Michelle Ray | Change, Communication and Leadership Speaker

Born in Australia and now residing in Vancouver, Canada,  leadership  expert, Michelle Ray is an award-winning speaker and founder of the Lead Yourself First Institute. Michelle began her career in the media industry with one of Australia’s leading broadcasting networks. She worked her way up the management ladder and was responsible for the sales revenues of 25 radio and television affiliate stations.

Video: https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Michelle-Ray

Adrian Gostick – Bestselling Leadership Author & Organizational Culture Expert

How do today’s best leaders accelerate business results? By engaging their employees to execute on strategy, vision, and values. In his challenging, information-packed talks, #1 bestselling  leadership  author Adrian Gostick provides real solutions on managing change, organizational culture, driving innovation, and leading high-performance teams.

Video: https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Adrian-Gostick

Janet Lapp – Expert on Change and Employee Motivation

What would happen if everyone in the organization saw the positives and not the problems in change? This question inspired Dr. Janet Lapp and her team to conduct decades of research enacting these types of changes in the workplace, with amazingly positive results. Janet shares the evidence-based results derived from years of experience in both her books and stage performances. She has a professor’s ability to translate complex theory into usable answers, and a humorist’s knack for getting ideas across in an entertaining way.

Video: https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Dr.-Janet-Lapp

Stuart Knight – Award Winning Entrepreneur, Critically Acclaimed Author, and Hit Producer

Stuart Knight has written, produced and starred in live presentations that have been seen by over one million people and each year speaks internationally helping some of the world’s biggest companies reach new levels of success. When he is not on the road speaking, you may have seen or heard him on some of Canada’s biggest TV and Radio stations where he is often asked for his expert opinion on high level communication.

Video: https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Stuart-Knight

Greg McKeown – Social Innovator, Peak Performance Speaker & Author

Greg McKeown has dedicated his career to discovering why some people break through to the next level—and others don’t. The definitive treatment of this issue is addressed in McKeown’s latest project: the instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller,  Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

Video: https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Greg–McKeown

Polly LaBarre – Bestselling Author, Co-Founder of Management Lab,  Founding Writer of Fast Company

For more than 20 years, Polly LaBarre has used her writing, business consulting, and speaking to help organizations unleash and organize human potential in ever more powerful ways. Polly has devoted her career to helping leaderslearn to lead differently. The disruptive  business environment today demands it, and the best leaders and companies today have found out-of-the-box ways to invent the future by shedding bureaucracy and engaging their people in completely new ways.

Video: https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Polly-LaBarre

Dr. George Friedman – Speaker and Author on the Future of Geopolitics

George Friedman is an internationally recognized geopolitical forecaster and bestselling author. As Founder and Chairman of Geopolitical Futures, a new online publication dedicated to forecasting the course of global events, Friedman combines his passion for writing and publishing for his readers world wide who follow international affairs.

Video: https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Dr.-George-Friedman

Natalie Stavas – Harvard Doctor, Athlete, International Humanitarian, Motivational Speaker

Dr. Natalie Stavas shares inspiring real-life stories based on her experiences as a physician at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She is also described as a healer, educator and Boston community leader, and received the 2012 Change Maker award from The Boston Foundation.

Video: https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Natalie-Stavas

Josh Linkner – Speaker on Creativity, Innovation, and Leadership

Josh Linkner – who started his career as a jazz guitarist – personifies creativity, entrepreneurship and disruptive innovation.  He has been the founder and CEO of four tech companies, which sold for a combined value of over $200 million.

Video: https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Josh-Linkner

Commander/Dr. Mary Kelly – Author, International Speaker, and Leadership Economist

Dr. Mary Kelly with a PhD in economics, is an internationally-known economist and expert specializing in the fields of leadership, productivity, communication, she focuses on strategy and tactics that improve productivity and profit growth. Commander Mary Kelly served 25 years in the US Navy as an intelligence and logistics officer, mostly in Asia. She was an HR Director, a chief of police, and she was part of the team that ran Pearl Harbor.

Video: https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Dr.-Mary-Kelly

To Learn more about these speakers contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866-727-7555 or [email protected]

Leadership = Solving Problems by Ty Bennett

A few weeks ago we realized that we lost the one and only key to one of our four-wheelers at our cabin.

I rolled it up the trailer and took it to the local ATV shop and asked them to put in a new ignition so that we could have a new key. They had to order in the part and so it would take a couple of days.

They called three days later saying that it was done but I wasn’t heading back to our cabin for another week. When I arrived to pick it up they realized that they hadn’t put in the new ignition, the part was just sitting there. They said they could put it in quickly but when they went to put it in they realized it was the wrong ignition.

If they would have put it in a week earlier like they were supposed to they would have realized the mistake and been able to fix it before I came to pick it up.

The problem was that I had a group of people coming to my cabin the next day for a retreat and I needed the four-wheeler. They were at a loss on what to do. They had created a problem and I was not happy about it. We needed to solve it.

After a couple of minutes at a loss of what to do, I suggested they take the ignition out of one of their other machines they had for sale and then replace that with the correct part when it came in. They weren’t sure if they could do that and so I asked to talk with the manager. I explained the situation and so solution I proposed and he agreed. 10 minutes later I took my four-wheeler with the new ignition back to the cabin.

This type of situation happens in business all of the time. It could be problem’s with customers, sales, morale or a myriad of other problems that arise everyday. Leaders are problem solvers. They don’t get caught up in the problems. They identify the problems. They control their emotions and they focus on finding solutions.

Are you a problem solver?

Leadership = Problem Solving


About Ty Bennett:

Ty Bennett has impacted more than one million people from 50 countries who have learned from his insights on Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Communication. When Ty was 21 years old he started a business with his brother Scott, which they built to over $20 million in annual revenue while still in their twenties. He was recently featured in Utah Business Top 40 Under 40.


To Learn more about Ty contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866 727-7555 or [email protected]

No Exit From the US-Saudi Relationship by Jacob Logan Shapiro

The Saudi government is probably not in immediate danger. King Salman and MBS have successfully centralized control of the major nodes of power in Saudi Arabia: the tribal elites, the national guard, the military, the interior ministry and the clerics. The speculation that MBS will be ditched because of Khashoggi’s murder is misplaced; King Salman has ordered a reorganization of Saudi intelligence services as a mea culpa, but he has put MBS directly in charge of the process. There may very well be a crisis of succession when King Salman, who at 82 years old may not last to see what becomes of Vision 2030, dies. MBS has positioned himself as the heir apparent, but he himself skipped a few places in the line of succession, and there’s no guarantee that someone else won’t try to do likewise. But a succession crisis is a far cry from overthrowing the current king, who still enjoys widespread loyalty. While he’s around, there is no institutional force inside the kingdom that can bring about regime change without foreign intervention or outright revolution. This is why King Salman and MBS are so skittish in general, and why they are taking no chances with dissidents like Khashoggi – or any of the numerous other Saudi officials who have been purged in recent years.

All the while, Saudi Arabia will try to accomplish the impossible – a complete reorientation of its political economy in 12 years. It will probably fail. So long as Saudi Arabian oil keeps flowing, the kingdom can buy allies such as Egypt and Pakistan, and so as long as the United States remains committed to countering Iran, the Saudis can be sure that Washington will ignore its human rights abuses. Turkey is better positioned than any other country to capitalize on the friction that comes from this arrangement, and already it is moving to take advantage of the opportunity. It does not need to balance against Iran while the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia engage in that hard work. It can simply play the role of a beneficent power and de facto spiritual leader, the sultanate and the caliphate reborn in the 21st century.

It’s ironic that Saudi Arabia and the United States have what they thought they wanted from their relationship. Iran is buckling, and the Islamic State has been crushed. What’s unclear is whether Riyadh and Washington can continue to be useful to each other now that the unintended consequences of their reinvigorated relationship have been laid bare.


About Jacob Logan Shapiro:

Jacob Logan Shapiro is the Director of Analysis for Geopolitical Futures (GPF). At GPF he oversees a team of analysts, the company’s forecasting process and the day-to-day analysis of important geopolitical developments. Prior to working at GPF, Shapiro worked at Stratfor, the geopolitical intelligence firm founded by George Friedman in 1996. He joined GPF after Friedman left Stratfor in May 2015 to help found a new company dedicated to publishing excellent analysis and accurate forecasts based on the geopolitical method Friedman pioneered.


To Learn more about Jacob contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866 727-7555 or [email protected]

4 Great Books on Communications Everyone Should Read

We have been reviewing and researching speakers on communication for 18 years and have seen some incredibly  insightful presentations. Based on client feedback, here are 4 of the best books on communications by 4 great speakers.

Kindra Hall – Author, Speaker, and Communication Expert

Kindra Hall knows the challenges executives, top performers and brands experience as they try to capture attention in a crowded marketplace. Kindra is former Vice President of Sales for a multi-million dollar enterprise, national champion storyteller, 2014 Storytelling World Award recipient, a former board member of the National Storytelling Network, and she earned her Master’s Degree in Organizational Communication and Management conducting original research that examined the role of storytelling in organizational socialization.

Video: https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Kindra-Hall

Dr. Nick Morgan – One of America’s Top Communication Theorists and Coaches

Dr. Nick Morgan is one of America’s top communication speakers, theorists and coaches. A passionate teacher, he is committed to helping people find clarity in their thinking and ideas – and then delivering them with panache. He has coached people to give Congressional testimony, to appear on the Today Show, and to deliver an unforgettable TED talk. He has worked widely with political and educational leaders. And he has himself spoken, led conferences, and moderated panels at venues around the world.

Video: https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Dr.-Nick-Morgan

Curt Steinhorst –  Speaker on Strategic Communications & Digital Distractions

Curt Steinhorst is the bestselling author of Can I Have Your Attention? Inspiring Better Work Habits, Focusing Your Team, and Getting Stuff Done in the Constantly Connected Workplace. He is on a mission to rescue us from our distracted selves. After years studying the impact of tech on human behavior, Curt founded Focuswise, a consultancy that equips organizations to overcome the distinct challenges of the constantly-connected workplace.

Video: https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Curt-Steinhorst

Margie Warrell – Author, and Speaker on Human Potential & Communication

Margie Warrell is an international thought leader in human potential who is passionate about empowering people to engage in bigger conversations and lead more purposeful lives. Margie draws on her professional background in Fortune 500 business, psychology, and coaching to provide programs on communicationleadership and resilience to a diverse range of organizations worldwide.

Video: https://thesweeneyagency.com/speakers/Margie-Warrell

To Learn more about these speakers contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866-727-7555 or [email protected]

Decisions: How To Manage Grey Space by Ross Shafer

Your life will be judged by the thousands of decisions you have made. Some decisions will be as easy. Some will be hard. Others live in what is called GREY SPACE. Come back in five seconds and I’ll explain how to manage the GREY SPACE. RLC . Ross Shafer here and I want to talk to you about GREY SPACE…those times when ambiguity causes your decision making to freeze up. Grey Space can make you see a problem both ways; which makes you pause. You stall. You postpone because you think you need more evidence. And if your company and coworkers are depending upon YOU to make a choice, WAITING is a bad option. And, compiling more and more data isn’t always helpful either.

It merely makes the Indecision of Grey Space last longer. So how can you unblock yourself? First you have to be realistic about WHO YOU ARE. If you are new at this particular kind of decision and don’t have a lot of experience, relying on data is safe. You’re like an airline pilot who trusts the instruments in bad weather. However, if you have a lot of experience and you’re still frozen to decide, you are probably trying to reconcile the data – with your instincts. Consider this: Author Malcolm Gladwell, in his book BLINK, describes how data can’t tell the whole story. Gladwell says, according to a lot of Big Data, Millennials are highly mistrustful. They don’t trust companies or politicians or food labels – yet that data doesn’t explain why they will happily get into an UBER vehicle with a total stranger…or rent their home through AirBNB to someone who could be a serial killer.

The data and the behaviors don’t match but that gives you a lcear decision path. The fact that UBER and AIRBNB are successful is the answer. If you can’t decide, look at what is selling. What sells – and what doesn’t sell is always the best indicator. Watch Shark Tank. Inventors come to the Sharks with Data like, “Wooden Bowls are a $200 million dollar industry and I have the finest bowls; hand-carved from Peruvian Ironwood. “It’s $1,000.” A shark says, “How many have you sold?” “Four” “I don’t care how big the industry is, I can’t invest $200,000 in making Thousand-dollar bowls that don’t sell.

People want a $12-dollar bowl from Wal-mart.” Don’t get me wrong. I love data. But when you are trapped in the Grey Space because you’re still trying to convince yourself you need more evidence, STOP! More data isn’t the answer. The best decisions are made from a recipe that contains data, instinct, and most importantly…results. If you want to eliminate the Grey Space in your brain, the best decisions will be based upon actual behavior and actual sales.


Ross Shafer is an Emmy award winning network talk show host and comedy writer who has turned that same talent toward the corporate marketplace. He has written and produced 14 Human Resource training films on Customer ServiceLeadership, and Sales. Ross has also authored several business books, which include Nobody Moved Your Cheese, Customer Empathy, The Customer Shouts Back, and Are You Relevant?. His most recent book is Grab More Market Share: How to Wrangle Business Away from Lazy Competitors.


To Learn more about Ross contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866 727-7555 or [email protected]