What Do You Make?

The things we make…make us.

That’s what Jeep declared last summer when they unveiled their newest creation.  I thought it was brilliant.


It just begs the question:   What do you make?

“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business”

– Unknown

I must make money to reach my life goal, but I decided to make something great along the way. You know what?

It “makes” me feel great.

  • When I make a difference, I feel different.
  • When I make someone happy, I am happy.
  • When I make magic happen, I feel magical.

Finally, when I make that last payment towards my life goal, I’m going to feel like a billion bucks.

You and your team must commit to making something special.  It’s a battle sometimes (especially in this economy), but it’s a battle worth fighting.

Fight it.  It’ll make you special.

Have a great night,


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Train as You’ll Fight!

Great coaches and military leaders know their teams must train the same way they plan to fight.

Sloppy training? Sloppy behaviors.
Slow practice? Slow execution when it matters.

It always matters!

For those 8pm Warriors aspiring to run a department, division, or business someday, I offer this challenge:

Start acting like it now.

Like it or not, but you’re always training. You’re either training for something special or training yourself to be just like everyone else. What you do today affects who you become tomorrow.

Don’t wait until your best is needed.  It’s needed now.

Years before it counted, some of the greatest people I know were leading themselves, pushing their limits, asking, listening, and learning. Some say that success happens when luck meets preparation.

Prepare today.

Even when it doesn’t seem like anyone’s watching, be great.

Your day will come.

Have a preparation night,


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Leadership: Motivation Is the Easy Part

This won’t apply to everyone.  If you have trouble staying motivated, my blog isn’t for you.  Try the thousands of CD’s, DVD’s, or books out there designed to motivate you.  (Or try a motivational speaker instead)

For 8pm Warriors, motivation is the easy part.

By nature, we’re motivated people. We have goals.  We have bright visions.  We have big dreams.

Assuming that we also have brains, some level of success is a foregone conclusion.

Unless we get demotivated.

When you find and lead motivated people, remember that the key to success isn’t motivation.  It’s avoiding demotivation.

  • Eliminate distractions
  • Be sensitive to their needs
  • Act respectfully
  • Operate in an open and honest manner
  • Share information
  • Maintain stability

Chances are you already know these suggestions.  Now it’s time to focus on them.

Have a focused night,


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Who Do Leaders Tell When They Stub Their Toe?

We all stub our toes.

We all want to tell someone about it.

When we’re kids, we go to mom or dad.  In school, we call our buddies.  In a marriage, we have our spouse.

I don’t know many successful organizations with two people at the top, and most leaders sit alone when they get hurt, make mistakes, weigh important decisions and need help.

Who was sitting with Leo Apotheker this week as he waited for his firing?  Who helped Steve Jobs pack his things when Apple’s board fired him in 1985?

Leadership can be a lonely business.

It doesn’t need to be.  When leaders allow themselves to join their team and open up, they find something magical happens.

They’re not alone.

Everyone knows we’re human.  We need to act like it.  People expect it and respect it.

We need to open up when we stub our toe.

Have a great night,


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The Magic of User Friendly Leadership

Once upon a time, employees existed to serve their bosses.

Those days are over.

If you want your team members focused on your customers, patients, students, or other team members, you need to figure out what they need, give it to them, and get out of the way. Leaders need to be user friendly.

  • If they have a better way, let them do it.
  • When they have something to teach you, learn from it.
  • As they need guidance, be consistent.
  • If they need you, be there.

They are your customers. Leadership is your product.

Make it user friendly.

Have a great night,


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Why is half your team unhappy? Why are 25% leaving?

It’s always someone else, some other company, some other leader.

The fact remains that most American workers are unhappy with their position.  25% don’t plan on staying at your company.

Since most companies have laid off everyone possible, the reality is that members of your core team may be dissatisfied.


Do we ask for more each year and give less in return?

As a whole, we’ve laid off middle management and cut support.

  • We’ve cut budgets
  • We’ve cut benefits
  • We ask for more
  • We pay less

Have we laid off the joy?  Have we forgotten about people?

What’s the cost of that?

Only you can answer that for your organization.

I know I’ve got work to do…

Have a great night,


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Autopilot Leadership?

Your boss doesn’t know he’s acting like an idiot. Your business partner doesn’t realize she’s grumpy.

They’re on autopilot. You probably are too sometimes…

It’s natural.

All activities can be put on automatic after awhile.  Even leadership.

I drive around in my truck eating, tweeting, singing, and watching out for cops…all at the same time.

Those skills are on autopilot.   The same goes with talking, typing, thinking, and reading while on a conference call.   Even complex skills like leadership can become automatic with enough repetition. That’s why only perfect practice makes perfect.  Every repetition matters.

After a certain number of days, emails, calls or meetings, people are wired to autopilot the activities they’ve mastered.   That’s sometimes a good thing.  Sometimes not.

It depends if you’ve been practicing perfectly or not.

If you’re angry for a long period of time, anger is natural.  If you’re growing, growth is natural.  If you’re respectful, respect is natural.   It’s all in how you train your autopilot.

Are you thinking about your leadership?

Are you letting anger or frustration define you slowly?  Are you letting a bad situation change you?  It’s not worth the autopilot anger.  Every day matters.  The slope is slippery.  The risks are real.

This autopilot leadership problem is exactly why I like social media and blogging so much. It wakes me up.  Sends me alerts.  Slaps me in the face sometimes.

I’m learning a lot from my fellow 8pm Warriors.  Thank you.

Have a perfect practice night!


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What the Heck is an 8pm Warrior?

I didn’t come up with the idea*.  I’m not the first 8pm Warrior and definitely not the only one.

It is a fascinating tribe and I enjoy learning about what drives leaders to work while others play, chase dreams while others sleep, and push on when others quit.

You are an 8pm Warrior

My fellow 8pm Warriors are some of the best people I know.

How do you find one?  Since I write this blog in the evenings (and you’re reading it), the easiest place to find an 8pm Warrior is by looking in the mirror.

However, it doesn’t have to be a lonely path.  If you’re up this evening learning, growing, pushing, and planning, you are definitely not alone.

When looking for other 8pm Warriors, you’ll probably know one when you meet one. However, I thought it would be fun to have a guide.  Just in case you can’t tell, I wrote this blog post for 12most.com about common traits to look for.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

I wrote it with you in mind.

12 Most Common Characteristics of 8pm Warrior Leaders

Let me know what you think in the comment section.  Did I miss one?  List one too many?  What should be #13?

Have a great night!


*An 8pm Warrior is someone who uses the evening or early morning hours to work on a project they love. This includes, but is not limited to leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, designers, artists, writers, or any other person who is passionate about their work and doesn’t confine themselves to a 9 to 5 schedule.

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