Do these 3 things and watch your organization grow by leaps and bounds!

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If you are reading this article, you are most likely involved in some form of a group (Leads groups, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, etc). Actually, let me re-phrase what you are really involved with- a “tribe”. As Seth Godin so aptly quotes, this is a simple, almost instinctive thing that is about CONNECTION…..and it is something that people have wanted FOREVER.

I caught two important words in this quote- WANTED and FOREVER. Forever is a really, really long time, and it goes to show that no matter how we use technology to “disconnect in the name of efficiency” we still desire from life something very basic, very tribal, and very instinctive- Positive human connection!

So why are so many missing this basic point? Referral groups that have limited or negative net growth, Chambers of Commerce that have not grown in years, groups that we are involved with that never seem to really add new members? Does this sound even a little familiar?

My experience comes from working in the referral marketing industry for about 23 years. I started off as a member and eventually became an Executive Director before selling the company back to the franchise last year. The tips I am about to share with you were key in helping us to have growth in our regions on a consistent basis. Growth in any organization can be cyclical, however, from our experience, if you follow these 3 basic ideas, your organization (tribe) will start to grow again.

Are you ready to grow?

Tip #1: The Grand Poobah effect: This is something really simple, yet is missed by most organizations. When we have visitors in the house, we make sure that the head person of the organization (The Grand Poobah) takes a little extra time to make sure that they connect with the visitors, get to know them a bit, and welcome them to the event. It is important for them to show interest in the visitor, and it needs to be authentic and genuine.

Tip #2: The Tribal Tour Guide: Several people in the organization act as a “Tour Guide” for visitors. They arrive early (that is when most visitors show up) and greet visitors. They make sure to find a best seat for the visitor and spend their entire time introducing them to everyone in the organization. Any question a visitor to our tribe would have during the meeting is easily answered by this tour guide. (interestingly, even if the visitor does not join the organization, a lot of time a relationship is established that goes on long past the initial visit)

Tip #3: They want you to ask them to join: Someone has thought enough of the tribe to bring a visitor. There should be NO REASON not to ask a potential applicant to join our tribe, or at least fill out an application to get the conversation/interview started. If you skip this step, the chance of them actually joining as a member is much less than if you have that conversation with them right then and there, once the meeting/event is over.

What can you do to make it easy to join? Have an ipad on retainer with a square? You could help them get started filling the app out with a laptop? The main point I am trying to make is this- THEY WANT TO FEEL WARM, WELCOME AND WANTED– it is something that is instinctual- they want to belong! If you do not ask them to join right then and there, I can almost guarantee it will be harder to get them to become a member later on, if at all.

These are 3 basic tips that do not take a lot of time to get in order, and will have amazing effects on any group that you belong to. Try these out this month and see what happens.

What are you REALLY seeking?

A few years ago I experienced a time in my life and career that really “rocked my soul.” It was not the struggle in building my first business from scratch. It was not the challenges in my second business of bringing in enough income to pay our bills.

It was a moment when I realized that we had made it to the top of this particular mountain. We had been climbing this mountain for over 3 years! We finally made it!! I took a virtual “look around” and what this was all about. And then a thought entered my mind that “chilled me to the bone”. What was that thought?

“So….this is IT????

Let me explain so I do not send out an incorrect message. It was exciting to take a company from scratch to the top of the mountain. There were some great moments. I want to say that to this day I am very grateful for the opportunity we had at that moment in time. The problem was not the situation, the problem was me. I thought that the trip to the top would bring me happiness. When I got to the top and did not have happiness, I was incredibly disappointed to say the least.

This is why it hit me the way it did . I was in pursuit of happiness rather than meaning. There is nothing wrong with being happy. Many workplaces have incredible amenities and things to make employees “happy”. Complimentary gym memberships, office parties, amenities. But what are they doing to help the team find “meaning” in the things that they do everyday? This is essentially what “engagement” can look like for teams.

One of the best resources to dig deeper on this thought is the classic book “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl. He was a Jewish psychiatrist who was sent to the Nazi concentration camps during WWII. He helped create a way of looking at the world called “Logo Therapy”. Logus denotes meaning, and so Logo Therapy is essentially “looking to the future for meaning”. This is not just a great personal way of looking at life, but also has some incredible business applications.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms- to chose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to chose ones own way.”

The Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment can help your team find meaning. The Gallup Q12 survey can help ID and find the soft spots. We welcome the opportunity to have a conversation with you and your company. Helping TEAMS find meaning gives us meaning.

May you and your TEAM find meaning in 2019. And may you discover what you are REALLY seeking.


Here is to the trailblazers…the risk takers….the disruptors!

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

~Edgar Albert Guest

The world needs more coaches….is it you?

We live in very interesting business times- it seems that what worked in regards to motivating and engaging employees does not work quite as well any more.  The statistics compiled by Gallup show that in the United States, employees that are truly engaged is coming in a little over 30%.  This statistic tells you that 70% of the rest of the workforce in the U.S. are either slightly disengaged (no plans to leave, but no plans to really “soar”) or totally disengaged (every plan to leave and possibly take others with them).  Engagement is about the opportunity to do what we do best every day- our strengths!

What we are experiencing is a “shift” in thinking!

-My paycheck vs. My purpose

-My satisfaction vs. My development

-My Boss vs. My Coach

-My annual review vs. My ongoing conversations

-My weakness vs. My Strengths

-My job vs. My life

What we are getting ready to enter (if we have not already entered) is a “Job War”- countries and organizations vying for the same talent, with the top talent looking for things beyond just a paycheck and title- quality of life ideals!  Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, has some great thoughts and ideas on this upcoming shift- Click HERE if you would like to hear a fascinating overview of

Every company that manages people needs someone on their side ….someone to guide them through a different, almost revolutionary way of thinking- someone that goes against shoring up weaknesses and facilitates growth by empowering employees to do what they do best…everyday!

What the world is looking for right now are incredible coaches.!

What do followers look for in a leader?

Leadership is a topic that has many titles, and many experts.  There are a TON of fantastic ideas available in the form of books, seminars, podcasts, articles.  Leadership is an ongoing journey, and true management is something that is worthy of a life time of study and practice.  Gallup did a survey of 10,000 followers as the basis for the book “Strengths Based Leadership” by Tom Rath.

What was interesting about the study was the fact that the successful leaders who Gallup studied were very different in almost every way.  Matter of fact, they stated in the study “We are yet to find (2) leaders who have the same sequence of strengths”

So what did these leaders HAVE in common?  To get that answer, you have to ask the followers of successful leaders.  There were a lot of different answers, but all the answers generally stated (4) traits that made this group want to follow the successful leaders they worked with.

  1. Trust (honesty, integrity, respect)- This one feature strongly impacts employees engagement.  What was most interesting about the study was the TOP teams rarely spoke of or on trust as a team.  On the contrary, the topic of trust DOMINATED the discussions of struggling teams
  2. Compassion (Caring, Friendship, happiness, love)- The general gist of this trait is that successful leaders have a positive bias.  “There are some leaders when the ENTER the room, the room lights up….there are some leaders when they LEAVE the room the room lights up”
  3. Stability (Security, Strength, Support, Peace)- What followers stated with this trait is that they need to know that your core values are stable.  Stability=Transparency
  4. Hope (Direction, Faith, Guidance)- As a leader, if you are not creating hope and helping people see the way forward, chances are, no one else is

So how do the Clifton Strengfinder Talent Themes fit into these traits?  Great leaders spend time not only developing their dominant talents, but they make sure to take the time to learn the talents of their teams.  Greatness in leadership and management is about putting team members in the best spot to win.  Here is a winning equation you can take to the bank: natural “talents” + Skills/Experience= Strengths.

When team members are doing what they do best, every day, you have happy team members.  Happy team members = better engagement= increased productivity.

Here is to happier, more engaged TEAM members in 2018!

Mike Tobin


Let the Rabbits Run- A Parable

Mike Tobin Gallup Certified Strengths Coach Let the Rabbits Run A Parable

Imagine there is a meadow.  In that meadow there is a duck, a fish, and eagle, an owl, a squirrel, and a rabbit.  They decide they want to have a school so they can be smart, just like the people.

With the help of some grown-up animals, they come up with a curriculum they believe will make a rounded animal:



Tree climbing,


and flying

On the first day of school, little Br’er rabbit combed his ears, and he went hopping off to his running class.

There he was a star.  He ran to the top of the hill and back as fast as he could go, and, oh, did it feel good.  He said to himself, “I can’t believe it.  At school, I get to do what I do best.”

The Instructor said:  Rabbit, you really have talent for running.  You have great muscles in your rear legs.  With some training, you will get more out of every hop.”

The rabbit said: “I love school.  I get to do what I like to do best and get to learn to do it better.”

The next class was swimming.  When the rabbit smelled the chlorine, he said, “Wait, wait!  Rabbits don’t like to swim.”

The instructor said, “Well, you may not like it now, but five years from now you’ll know it was a good thing for you.”

In the tree climbing class, a tree trunk was set at a 30-degree angle so all the animals had a chance to succeed.  The little rabbit tried so hard he hurt his leg.

In jumping class, the rabbit got along just fine, in flying class, he had a problem.  So the teacher gave him a psychological test and discovered he belonged in remedial flying.

In remedial flying class, the rabbit had to practice jumping off a cliff.  They told him if he’d just work hard enough, he could succeed.

The next morning, he went on to swimming class.  The instructor said, “Today we jump in the water.”

“Wait, wait.  I talked to my parents about swimming.  They didn’t learn to swim.  We don’t like to get wet.  I’d like to drop this course.”

The instructor said, “You can’t drop it.  The drop-and-add period is over.  At this point you have a choice:  Either you jump in our your flunk.”

The rabbit jumped in.  He panicked!  He went down once.  He went down twice.  Bubbles came up.  The instructor saw he was drowning and pulled him out.  The other animals had never seen anything quite as funny as this wet rabbit who looked more like a rat without a tail, and so they chirped, and jumped, and barked, and laughed at the rabbit.  The rabbit was more humiliated than he had ever been in his life.  He wanted desperately to get out of class that day.  He was glad when it was over.

He thought that he would head home, that his parents would understand and help him.  When he arrived, he said to his parents, “I don’t like school.  I just want to be free.”

“If the rabbits are going to get ahead, you have to get a diploma,” replied his parents.

The rabbit said, “I don’t want to get a diploma.”

The parents said, “You’re going to get a diploma whether you want one or not.”

They argued, and finally the parents made the rabbit go to bed.  In the morning the rabbit headed off to school with a slop hop.  Then he remembered that the principle had said that any time he had a problem to remember that the counselor’s door is always open.

When he arrived at school, he hopped up in the chair by the counselor and said, “I don’t like school.”

And the counselor said, “Rabbit, I hear you.  I hear you saying you don’t like school because you don’t like swimming.  I think I have diagnosed that correctly.  Rabbit, I tell you what we’ll do.  You’re doing just fine in running.  I don’t know why you need to work on running.  What you need to do is work on swimming.  I’ll arrange it so you don’t have to go to running anymore, and you can have two periods of swimming.”

When the rabbit heard that, he just threw up!

As the rabbit hopped out of the counselor’s office, he looked up and saw his old friend, the Wise Old Owl, who cocked his head and said, “Br’er rabbit, life doesn’t have to be that way.  We could have schools and businesses where people are allowed to concentrate on what they do well.”

Br’er rabbit was inspired.  He thought when he graduated, he would start a business where the rabbits would do nothing but run, the squirrels could just climb trees, and the fish could just swim.  As he disappeared into the meadow,  he sighed softly to himself and said “Oh, what a great place that would be.”

~Taken from the book, “Soar With Your Strengths”, by Don Clifton and Paula Nelson

So, how can I tell if I am working in a “Talent”?

A question that we hear a lot when discussing a persons “Talent Themes” is the question “How Can I tell I am working in a Talent?”  The easy answer would be to use the analogy of kayaking on a river.  When you are in a truly working in your talents, it is like being on a river, and kayaking downstream with the current. The paddling seems fairly easy (or fast paced and adrenaline-laced if that is how you like it)  You have been thinking about the river for weeks, and now it is time for your journey.  You are learning how to read the river well, and even if you have a spill or mishap, you are a quick learner, picking up clues from the river.  Time seems to stop as you enjoy your journey down the river, and there are moments that you show some true river excellence!  Camp is set on a quite, secluded sand bar and you are enjoying moments of greatness.  Even the people you are traveling with are impressed with your “river prowess” and you all have a most incredible trip.  The next trip is being planned in your mind before you even conclude the trip- you cannot wait for your return trip to the river.

Now, I could do another analogy where you are paddling against the current, the river comes up and floods your tent, and the story ends with you and your friends keeping warm huddled around a jet boil stove that is quickly running out of fuel and it is dark….but I will leave there!

So what are some clues to talent, even if you have not yet taken a Strength Finders Assessment?

  1. Yearning– What you are working on, it seems like you have been attracted to the task, job, activity.  Matter of fact, this may be something you can draw from as early as your childhood.
  2. Rapid Learning– Talents are natural patterns of thought.  The learning curve on things that involve talent are typically very short.  Sometimes people say things like “They were born to do this” or “It just seemed so natural”.  Many times when you are working in something that is a talent, it can be difficult to understand why others are not “catching on” like you are
  3. Flow– You start to work on a project that is talent based, and next thing you know, it is 4 hours later and you do not remember time or even where you are.  You totally get into whatever you are working on- and this occurs most of the time
  4. Glimpses of Excellence– There are things that happen when you are working in your talents- special things.  Moments of true excellence.  Sometimes they come noticed, often they are not noticed- but they are there!
  5. Satisfaction– We like to call this the “Roller coaster effect” – once you get off the ride, you run back so you can do it again.  That is what satisfaction will do to any working in their talents

People who work to develop talents into strengths build and grow potential. Working in talents will bring an authentic and real “you” to the most important river, the river of life.  A strengths coach can help people and teams get unstuck, see new points of view, build awareness and act as a sort of mirror- in other words, help everyone on the team paddle “down stream”.

Here is to more “downstream paddles” both in business….and in life!