Welcome back brew nation!  It’s the “Friday Coffee Guy” coming to you with The Champion’s Brew, a weekly assembly of material I am reading, listening to, watching, or thinking about that is designed to equip and call you to uncommon leadership.  I often add my own little spin based on my takeaways and would love your input as well.  Any of the points especially impact you?  Drop me a note at [email protected], or comment on the blog to keep the conversation going!  I believe you will discover that the format is not only useful, but also that you can consume it within the time it takes you to enjoy your daily ‘brew’!  Become a member of the Champions Brew Nation by subscribing here!!

Here is your weekly sip of what I have been reading, listening to or watching to equip me to:

  • Eat Healthy (or is it, Eat More Chicken!) – One of the podcasts in my regular playlist is the Corporate Competitor podcast, hosted by Don Yaeger.  Recently, he interviewed Chick-Fil-A Chairman Dan Cathy.  They discussed how Chick-Fil-A continues to be successful in the fast-food industry.  I had a few takeaways I wanted to share:
    • On succession – Dan used the metaphor of a relay race to talk about succession.  He related back to a story when he ran track and the coach told him that it isn’t the fastest four individual runners that win a race, but rather it is the TEAM that can get the baton around the track the fastest.  The handoffs in succession need to be seamless and when values and principles are aligned from leader to leader, succession can be much smoother
    • On developing others – Dan was a stickler at coaching leaders NOT to go alone when you go on a learning adventure, but take someone with you! 
    • On persistence as a leader, especially when it comes to values – Dan stated that “Leaders are repeaters”.  If you have been to Chick-Fil-A, you probably understand the term “my pleasure”.  Well, that situation didn’t stick immediately.  It took S. Truett Cathy 10 years of repeating that expectation over and over before it became part of the fabric of the organization

If you have an extra 30 minutes, I encourage you to listen to the entire episode and follow the Don Yaeger’s podcast.  Each of the executive leaders he speaks with played sports in high school or college, and he facilitates a discussion each episode  that defines how sports helped to shape those leaders.

  • Work Hard – I continue to progress through Success is Not an Accident by Tommy Newberry.  This week included a chapter on investing your time wisely.  Tommy outlined ten (10) Vital Time Tactics:
    • Overcome procrastination – Probably one of the toughest tactics.  Be a doer, not a wisher or hoper
    • Organize your workspace – This includes your desk and also your computer desktop!  The cleaner your work are, the more you will get done.  In Lean terms we talk about the 5S – Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize and Sustain.  More on those another time!
    • Handle reading material efficiently – While I have never done this, he recommends taking a speed reading course.  Have any of you done this?  Drop me a comment in the blog and let me know your experience with speed reading.  Also, scan the table of contents and only read what’s most important and aligned with your goals.  If you read an actual magazine, tear the article out to read later.  Also, consider services that provide overview of various books.  I tried that years ago.  I may consider trying it again.  And, BY ALL MEANS, read the Champions Brew weekly when it comes to your inbox!  😉
    • Handle everything once – Pick it up and don’t put it back down until it’s 100% complete
    • Delegate – Activities that don’t directly advance your goals and dreams are simply routine maintenance.  For me, that would be handyman activities(something I have never really enjoyed and takes me 2-3 times longer than it should!) and lawn mowing (something I actually do enjoy, but I am not the best at it and it is a significant amount of time to do it well, so I delegate it to Ducky!  He does great!!)
    • Control your phone calls – Research shows that unplanned phone calls last five to seven minutes longer than planned calls.  Twelve unplanned calls a day could waste an hour or more.  Let it go to voicemail and return calls at a planned time each day.
    • Manage interruptions – Open door policies are bad policies.  While you want to be available, a ‘controlled’ open door policy is best.  I have a client who this week started an experiment of placing a red card on their cubicle or office door when they are NOT available unless it is an absolute emergency.  I look forward to hearing the results of this experiment.  I think it could be HUGE for their productivity.  Another way to do this.  Turn your desk away from the door.  When folks walk by and you make eye contact, it may be an invitation!
    • Batch similar tasks – Do similar things together and in flow.  For example, maybe you do training on Mondays, product development on Wednesdays and meetings on Fridays.  Create themes for your days.
    • Block out chunks of time – I KNOW this works and I don’t always follow it.  This week, I was intentional and I had 3 or 4 of the most productive days I have had in a while.  Do you have a project that needs an hour a day or week to get the work done.  Turn all your distractions off and set a timer for 47 minutes.  Stay focused for 47 minutes and I guarantee you will have 13 minutes at the end of that hour to have a little refresh time each hour.  Your time will be much more productive.  Remember, simple does not mean easy!  (And, of course, block out 15 minutes to read your Champions Brew each week.  20 minutes would give you enough time to drop a comment on the blog!!)
    • Run masterful meetings – There is all kinds of material on this.  Does the meeting have a purpose? Do you start on time? Do you end on time? Does it need to be every day for an hour, or could you get it accomplished in 30 minutes if you had an agenda, a purpose, started on time and stayed on topic?  You know the answer!
  • Quote – “There is no such thing as bad weather… only the wrong clothing!” – John Maxwell

What You Need to Do:

Call to Action:  If you don’t control your time, someone else will.  What one tactic above can you put in place this week to help you regain control of your time?  Do you have another that the author may have missed?  Drop a comment on the blog and start up a conversation!   

Also, are there some topics in leadership you would like to hear more about?   Email me at [email protected] and let me know what topic or topics have been on your mind.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Champions Brew. If you did, I would appreciate it if you would share it with someone who might enjoy it as well and ask them to subscribe! I will make sure they automatically get this email every week.

Until next time think positively, exercise daily and Grow Champions!

P.S. – Are you a podcast fan?  Maybe the Uncommon Leader podcast is for you.    Are you interested in being a guest on the Uncommon Leader Podcast?  Do you have a story to tell?  Email me [email protected] and let’s have a chat and set something up!!

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To become Champion leader, we have to be on a continuous improvement journey for ourselves and others.  We have to be able to take advantage of the precious seconds that we have each day.  
There are things that I come across each week that help me, inspire me, relax me, motivate me, and are sometimes are just funny that I want to share with you so that you can smile more, build faith, think positively, network well, exercise often, eat healthy, and grow daily.

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