From the Judge

I had to be in a courtroom this week and one of the cases I saw was between two people, now divorced, and apparent child support issues with their five-year-old.

The man, who must have been in the military, was now unemployed as his program lost funding and apparently received little notice before he became unemployed. The woman must have also been in the military at some time based on the questions the judge asked. She understood the issues.

What impressed me was the judge. He was a leader. Sure, you might be thinking, obviously he is a leader based on his position as a judge. I don’t consider people leaders based on their titles, though. I’ve seen plenty of judges who I didn’t consider leaders. I’ve seen even more lawyers I sure didn’t consider leaders. The same holds true for presidents of companies. Again, I don’t think all of them are leaders.

Back to the judge. He had one goal with that couple and with every other case he presided over. That goal was “fairness.”

That got me thinking. I wondered if I am always fair. Am I always concerned with the people I’m with or do my own feelings and needs get in the way of being fair?

What about you? What do your people think about you?

One of my first lessons about fairness came from the wisest man who ever lived – Solomon. Remember the story about the two women who both claimed to be the mother of a baby? From the book of First Kings:

“One day two women came to King Solomon, and one of them said:

Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home, and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us.

 One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died. Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me.

In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn’t my son.

 “No!” the other woman shouted. “He was your son. My baby is alive! “The dead baby is yours,” the first woman yelled. “Mine is alive!”

They argued back and forth in front of Solomon, until finally he said, “Both of you say this live baby is yours. Someone bring me a sword.” A sword was brought, and Solomon ordered, “Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him.”

“Please don’t kill my son,” the baby’s mother screamed. “Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.”

The other woman shouted, “Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby.” Solomon said, “Don’t kill the baby.”

Then he pointed to the first woman, “She is his real mother. Give the baby to her.””

Being fair – like Solomon and what I witnessed with the judge I saw. What a wonderful thing to learn. Here is our challenge this week: making sure that start to have the wisdom of Solomon in our business dealings when it comes to fairness. What a great way for all of us to improve as leaders!

Leadership Lessons—From Down Under

One of the Dwyer Group’s goals this year is “self-improvement”—a way for the company’s leaders to improve themselves physically, emotionally and in leadership.

Last week Matthew Kelly spoke to our leadership group. When I saw that Matthew Kelly was coming to town I was shocked that no one told me that our great franchisee from Cleveland, Matt Kelly, was coming. It was then that I discovered it was going to be a different Matthew Kelly. ( I hadn’t heard of him, nor had I heard of his books: “Dream Manager” and “Off Balance.” He has sold more than 10 million copies in 25 different languages.

Amazon describes him as, “captivating audiences around the world since his late teens. Over the past decade, more than four million people have attended his seminars in over 50 countries. Kelly is the president of Floyd Consulting.” He is from Australia and is also the founder of Dynamic Catholic Institute. One of the most impactful speakers I’ve ever seen.

I thought I’d share some of his thoughts and suggest that you buy one his books. They break things down in a way I haven’t seen before and the illustrations make perfect sense to me.

For instance, let’s discuss the engaged and the disengaged people in your company. You know who they are. Engaged people are a people of possibility. They believe the future is bigger than the past. They also believe that they can impact the future.

On the other hand, Kelly describes the disengaged as “QS’s—Those who quit and stayed.” Ever have those folks on staff? They don’t vote because they say it won’t do any good. They are the impossibility thinkers who won’t try anything new because they tried in once in 1984 and it didn’t work then—so it won’t surely work now. Folks with no energy. People who make the room gloomy by just walking in.

One of the most fascinating parts of his one-hour presentation was comparing “smart companies” with “healthy companies.”

Smart companies focus on strategy, marketing, finance, tech skills, industry knowledge and clarity of purpose.

Healthy companies focus on dynamic teamwork, high moral fiber, low turnover, productivity, minimal politics and actually the health of the employees

What Matthew found is there are a slew of smart companies. Most companies that are very dysfunctional have very smart people at the top. On the other hand, the healthy companies are not dysfunctional and outperform smart companies every time. Interesting. It’s all about leadership, isn’t it?

Kelly said, “Most companies only ever scratch the surface of their collective intelligence and talent because they don’t give smart people a healthy environment.”

How is your company? Functional of dysfunctional? Smart or healthy … or both? Are your people focused on getting better at what they do every day? Better yet—just a little better every year? What about yourself?

I’ll finish this week’s article with an illustration he gave. Draw this arrow:


At the top of the arrow is “expectations.” At the bottom is “what actually happens.” If there is a difference between the expectations one has versus what actually happens—it leads to disappointment, resentment, anger, frustration and loss of trust.

Dead on, isn’t it?

Think about the last time someone on your team said they would be at a customer’s house at 9 a.m. By 11 a.m. the tech hadn’t gotten to the house yet and no one called. How was the customer? Disappointed, resentful, angry, frustrated and didn’t trust your company anymore.

A simple lesson by someone who is obviously a great leader—Matthew Kelly!