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Keep it Simple – 1 word to adhere to in 2014

January 11, 2014

I’ve have been blessed in the past 2 years in many ways, both in terms of opportunities, & some harder lessons learned. I am fortunate to know Russ Williams – Chief Inspiration Officer for the Ethical Edge & Leaders of Integrity.  I am currently serving as one of 12 members on the Advisory Council for ‘The Ethical Edge’. Our focus is to inspire leaders in business and the community to practice values and behaviors of trust, service, benevolence & higher moral & ethical standards that produce the Good at Home, Work and our Community. While the organization has existed in Orange County for a number of years, we’re now working with business leaders from around the country to expand the message throughout business community. We’ve just started our planning, but have set a 3 year target to get this done.  Sign up for the Ethical Edge & daily inspirations.

At our meeting yesterday, our Russ Williams, asked each member of the Council to come with a single word that defined our personal focus for 2014. My word was “Commitment” for both personal & professional reasons.

In some ways it is a Resolution, plain & simple. I will wake up every day, see my Word & all the meaning it has behind it & I will focus on seeing it through – for Faith, Family, Friends, Work, Health & Community.

What is your 1 word for 2014?


2 Words Only – Name the single most important trait / factor employers should look for in their employees?

June 19, 2013

What is the 1 single most important trait or factor that employers should look for in their employees? You can give 2 words in your answer. Let’s focus on executive/director level employees.

Last month I asked the question concerning the “1 word required to make a great leader.” You could only give a 1 word response. This month let’s turn it around a bit.

Think about all the classified & job openings out there on LinkedIn, Monster, Careerbuilder, Ladders, Indeed & so many more.  Consider the role of recruiters, headhunters & specialty placement firms, as well as human resource & talent acquisition personnel inside hiring companies. Let’s limit this to executive / director level jobs …. Regardless of the position, discipline or industry – what is the single most important trait or factor that employers should look for?

You will regularly see requirements such as…  “must have 10 years specific industry experience”  … “must be CPA“, …”must have sales experience” … “must have worked for Fortune 100 company” … must, must, must….

For my time, money & opinion – I offer “Demonstrated Results.”  I think Experience is way overrated.  Last year I was asked to support 3 gentleman who had 90 years banking & finance experience combined. Their experience looked great, but their results… 3 failed banks & 1 bankrupt company.  I am all for learning from your mistakes, but I require a much stronger win/loss record.  You can have 20 years experience & never accomplish anything. Some folks aim to survive, rather than thrive. Keep our head down & cruise under the radar.  I will take a proven winner & train him/her regardless of their specific industry experience every day of the week.

If you are an Engineer, or Doctor,  – than yes specific expertise is needed.  I  firmly believe however, that H/R & Finance roles can readily cross virtually any vertical industry.  I think Sales roles (even technical sales roles) should be able to cross most any vertical as well. Winners find a way to accomplish their goals.

Your turn….  So are what is that one trait or factor…  is it – industry experience?, skills?, expertise?, leadership?, honesty?, trust?, integrity?, drive?, open-minded?, faith?, positive?, results?, personality?, humor?, humble?, caring?, assertive?, passionate?, character?, chemistry?, loyalty? supportive?,  What do you think?  2 words to define 1 trait or factor.

Do you see this factor or trait at the front of the classified posting for your next executive/director?  If it is most important, why isn’t it?  Why do companies & recruiters compromise from the start?

Thanks for reading & offering your opinion.

Continued Blessings!

Chris O’Connor

1 word required to make a great leader? You only get 1 word response.

May 28, 2013

If we eliminate ‘Trust’ from our vocabulary, … Can you give me 1 word required to make a great leader? Most important factor, attribute, characteristic in your opinion…

I offer – ‘Relationship’

Your turn!

Continued Blessings,

Chris O’Connor


Is the word ‘Sufficient’ acceptable to use in business & charities?

May 9, 2013

I believe the word “Sufficient” is totally unacceptable in business & charities.  Yet some people are unmasked when they accept it.

There are people in need…  9 out of 10 local agencies / ministries that distribute food are SPREADING THE WORD to get people the food they so desperately need across Southern Orange County.  You can make a difference too!

“Love thy neighbor” – sound familiar?

  • Do you know anyone unemployed or under-employed?
  • Maybe a single parent with kids?
  • How about any elderly neighbors?
  • Are you having trouble making ends meet?
  • How about your neighbor? Can you help them?



The 3 biggest issues…

  1. No marketing funds to get the needed info & resources out to the public.
  2. It’s sad how proud people are.  They are embarrassed to take charity.
  3. As a result of no marketing, many leaders are insulated & don’t recognize the need to help.

The fact is… Most of us will never understand what it is to “Truly Give”… until we have personally received.  Humble yourself, and your Heart will feel so incredible. You will want to ‘Give’ like never ever before.

Someone in a position of authority & control recently told me when I was asking for their support to get more food for the needy… “Our support for them is sufficient….”  What does that mean? It makes me sick to hear clueless people speak like that. Folks that never had to use a food bank or miss a meal.  The same people who are outward ‘leaders’ in the community, are merely talking but not walking.  They make token efforts & spend more time touting their contributions versus spending time making a real difference. “Our support for them is sufficient. This matter is not a high priority for me at the present time (although it seems to be a high priority for you), because there are other administrative matters requiring my time, energy, and attention…”   (Yep, said it in writing!) – Like raising $1.9m, a person of the people, hiding behind their desk.  It’s okay to ask for help & talk about ‘sacrificial giving’, but do as I say, not as I do. One Way Street.  How do you understand the needs of people if you make administrative matters the higher priority?

In my passionate opinion, this person & their food bank director have NO right to say such things – especially when it costs them nothing to feed more people, get more food & spread the word. They were offered a program that is fully funded, but they refused the offer to be part of it.  Why? They think they are doing a good job & most importantly, they like the power & control – Sufficient is acceptable when they are not personally affected…. But in fact they are not business savvy & as a result are unwittingly cheating on both sides…

  • Are they making the most of donations they get?
  • Are they getting as much food as possible to give the needy? 
  • Isn’t there an obligation to make the most of blessings given?

Does ‘sufficient’ mean: Be happy for what we give you. ?? OR…  Are they walking in the shoes of the people humbled & forced to come ask for food. These people who have to go from food bank to food bank every week to make ends meet? Yes – Many of these families have jobs & are still struggling. What does sufficient mean?

  • Do your kids get ‘sufficient grades’ – Are “C’s” acceptable in your book?
  • What is ‘sufficient care’ for a sick patient look like?  Take 2 aspirin & call me in the morning?
  • Sufficient – to a food wholesaler means a “10% discount” & they still make a healthy profit.
  • Sufficient – to an on-site director handing out the food means “be thankful for what we give you.”
  • Sufficient – to an off-site administrator (who hasn’t visited site 5 times in 5 yrs), is ‘taking the word of a controlling director’.
  • BUT, Sufficient to a Hungry under/ unemployed family means – ‘enough food & fresh produce for the next week, not just 3-4 days & forced to worry where the next meal is coming from.’
  • Do you ask HOW your donations are spent? Not only the percentage, but HOW is it spent!We made ‘sufficient’ use of the money donated. We didn’t necessarily get the best deal, but it all went to a good cause and a preferred vendor in our community.  (Yep – a wholesaler that gave a mere 10% dsct. Sarcastic WOW!) – Fact is you paid on average well over 50 cent/pound versus opportunity to get 5,000 pounds of fresh produce for free. Why not do both!  Do their Donors know this FACT?
  • ‘We sufficiently help people, but our policy is not tell them about other resources in the community.’ They refuse to hand out flyers to clients.  “Our Food Bank will not be directing persons to other food banks, nor will our food bank be passing out flyers…”  (Yes – in writing!) WHY NOT? This is not a competition!  This flyer contains information listing other resources all across South Orange County in the area (211 sheet), that people need. WHY refuse to hand this out?! There are absolutely NO legal conflicts in handing out flyers with resources to the needy.  9 out of 10 similar agencies/ministries have no problem handing out such flyers.

We all should expect more & can in fact do more. A ‘C’ grade is only acceptable when you have done your utmost best effort & come up short. Have you ever read John Wooden’s definition of success?  “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of …”

These knuckleheads sure haven’t.  Fortunately – 9 of 10 local agencies do walk the talk.

We need businesses to step up to the task as well.

$300. (with banner) buys 10,000 lbs of food which feeds 500 people for a week in your local South Orange County communities.  That is 3 cents a pound!  Even cheaper if you don’t want banner!  Tell me where you can buy any food for 3 cents a pound & have it delivered to a Food Bank?!  This is efficient x10.  Won’t your business HELP?

We MUST aim higher.

There must be an effort to exceed ‘”sufficient giving” to approach “sacrificial & bountiful giving”.

If every business gave $200 or $300, once a year, we could support the 427 agencies around Orange County dedicated to helping feed the hungry in your communities on a weekly basis!
In these hard economic times, there are more & more families that unfortunately need help. Not just the homeless but under-employed, hardworking families too.
We MUST go beyond the minimal ‘sufficient’ support & attempt to walk in the shoes of those in need & often too proud to seek help.

(Luke 12:48) “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to who they entrusted much, they will demand more.”  Our ‘leaders’ need to walk the talk.

News Flash – Sufficient is not acceptable in BUSINESS today.  It should NOT be acceptable in Charity either.

Wake up call – Charity is a Business. Charity involves fund raising (business development), volunteer (H/R) support, logistics, supply chain, promotion, distribution, payables & collections, data collection, IT, & legal reporting.  All Business functions! If you want the best for the people you are supporting (CRM), do not allow use of the word – “Sufficient”.  It sure sounds like ‘average, good enough.’

Did Jesus ever say – ’good enough’… or ‘that’s sufficient.’??

What are the 2 greatest commandments again?… You will Love God sufficiently with your heart, mind, soul & strength… & love your neighbor sufficiently as you sufficiently love yourself….  ??  I don’t think so!

Another dear friend & mentor once told me… “If you don’t give 100% effort & try your hardest, you are cheating God & cheating yourself.”  

I guess they are also cheating their donors & the many folks in need too.  There is a lesson here.  Don’t make the same mistake this isolated organization made. It is far less painful to learn from other people’s mistakes & poor judgment.

So when I hear a knucklehead tell me that they sufficiently provide for the hungry & won’t Spread the Word nor give flyers to the ‘clients’ they see regularly… it obviously gets me going…  I know they have read James 2:14-26.   Faith Without Works Is Dead.  Hey, I was a late bloomer & needed a slap upside the head myself.  Pray for the 1 in 10 that doesn’t get it. It is time our ‘leaders’ to Walk the talk!

We can do more.  Spread the Word!  Love your neighbor & let’s feed more people folks!

Contact me & I will get you needed info for all the local agencies/ resources in South Orange County, CA, to help them!  Don’t be 1 of 10… Make a difference & Spread the Word!

Fellowship In Business Food Pantry is officially on the map!  Making a huge difference in Rancho Santa Margarita & surrounding communities!  10,000 pounds of Food, (50% fresh produce), delivered for distribution for only $200!  ($300 if your company wants a banner.)  On 4//18/13, within 4 hours all 10,000 pounds were distributed…  to 18 families, 32 seniors, & 9 ministries/ agencies in South Orange County + 1 Abbey!  WOW!   Please Spread the Word!  In the future, with the help of business leaders, like you, Fellowship In Business will offer to subsidize Mobile Pantries across all of Orange County in cooperation with Second Harvest.

For more information call or write to: The Bell Tower Foundation, 23361 Cobblefield, Mission Viejo, CA 92692

Do you need food or know someone who does?  Next distribution date is Thursday 5/16,  1pm-6pm,  at The Bridge Church parking lot, 30162 Tomas, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92692

Don’t Accept “Sufficient!”

F.A.M.I.L.Y. – Forget About Me, I Love You.

Chris O’Connor

Executive Director – Fellowship In Business

Why do we need another Food Bank in Orange County?

April 3, 2013

I am pleased to announce RSM & surrounding communities will soon have a new additional Food Pantry to help supplement the fine work that San Francisco Solano, SC Outreach, and other lesser known ministries/agencies do for our communities.

Why do we need another food bank you might ask?
The fact is, there is perception & reality.  My research & hands-on experience over the last 20+ months proves that there is a new kind of poor/ needy in our communities.

  • The single mom with 2 kids,
  • The under-employed family scraping to get by.
  • The unemployed men or women who’s EDD have completely run out.
  • The senior that can’t make it on Social Security, &
  • The often forgotten about Elderly.

Did you know that Second Harvest supports over 427 ministries/ agencies/ & shelters just in Orange County?! YES Orange County folks!  I am not merely talking about Santa Ana, Orange, Costa Mesa or Anaheim.  I am referring to RSM, Mission Viejo, SJC, Newport Coast, Laguna Beach. There is an underground of proud people just trying to get by that are living out of their cars,  renting out rooms in their homes, fighting foreclosure, bankruptcy, mounting debt & doing what ever possible to make ends meet.

The 2 biggest issues are:

1)  Most people do not know these resources exist & are available to them at no cost. There is no Marketing Budget to get the word out from all these independent organizations.  Many folks are simply too proud to ask for charity or embarrassed to receive food.

2)  The vast majority of our local business & community leaders Do NOT know / understand…
a) the needs of people,
b) that such resources are readily available. (The RSM Chamber of Commerce had NO idea there was/ has been a Food Bank in town for 20 years!  Now they do!)   When people do realize there is a problem, many folks want to help make a difference. Will you?

I totally support the philosophy of… “Give a man a fish, feed him today, Teach him to fish, feed him for life.”   Over the past 2 years however I have volunteered for our Food Bank & helped at 2nd Harvest & the Council on Aging for Orange County.  People are proud, humbled, & overwhelmed. Most Food Banks only allow families to visit once month.  The SFS Food Bank provides food to folks every week! This is awesome, But that is NOT enough.

For the past 2 years, I have personally hauled anywhere from 300 lbs to 1500 lbs of fresh food per week from 2nd harvest to our SFS Food Bank.  It is a drop in the bucket.  Every week is a crap shoot. I never know what we will get for the hungry. When this is distributed to the 70-100+ families that come every week, they get less than 4 days of food for a family of 5 – if they are lucky.

So please stop & think – consider just 2 things… for just a second…
1) Do I have to worry about where my family’s next meal is coming from? –  If you say “Yes”, we can help!
2) How blessed am I, compared to others!  How can I help them?

There is a definite problem.

But I have a great solution!

For $200 we will get 10,000 lbs of food from Second Harvest delivered to the Food Bank’s door with a program called “Mobile Pantry”! Over 50% of it will be Fresh Produce!  This is unheard of at most food banks. I don’t ever want to hear someone say, “we do enough.” Their bellies are not empty.  10,000 lbs of food will easily feed over 500 people for a week!  We initially do not expect enough needy people to know about this Food Bank. It will take time. I have spoken to the following ministries/ agencies that welcome our support:

  • Isiah House / The Catholic Worker,
  • SOS of Costa Mesa,
  • St Michael’s Abbey,
  • St Killians,
  • Promise Land Ministries in Laguna,
  • FAM of San Clemente,
  • South County Outreach.
  • ARK of RSM,
  • SFS Food Bank is welcome to have this food as well.

All these will accept any excess food we have – they will pick it up or we might need to deliver to them. We will be feeding a great deal of people for $200.   This is the equivalent of 2.5 cent/lb.  This is equal to feeding a family of 5 for a full week at the cost of only $2. 00 Incredible! Amen!

If you are donating to a charity – it is important your contribution is fully used to maximum benefit.  I am making sure this occurs & more folks are fed.

Fellowship In Business has partnered with RSM’s Bell Tower Foundation, The Bridge Church, St John’s Episcopal Church, & Lion’s Heart Teen Service, in addition to other businesses to start this new Fellowship In Business Food Pantry that will serve RSM, MV, Trabuco Canyon, Ladera Ranch, Lake Forest, Foothill Ranch & surrounding communities.

Fellowship In Business Food Pantry starts distribution on Thursday 4/18, at The Bridge Church Parking Lot, 30162 Tomas, in RSM – from 3pm to 6pm.

Fellowship In Business has 2 goals –
1st) To connect business leaders & inspire / promote “Doing Business for the Right Reasons”. (Servant Leadership)

2nd) To create an organization that can subsidize Mobile Pantries across all of Orange County to all 427 agencies on an as needed basis through the contributions & donations of Business & Community Leaders, thereby minimizing the expense of the above smaller underfunded charitable organizations allowing them to get the biggest bang for dollars donated.

We will start the program distribution once a month but eventually plan to make this a weekly event.  We have plans to get the support of local companies, & ideally all Houses of Worship in RSM. This is COMMUNITY ORIENTED. This is Not religious based. We are all God’s Children & we need to feed them all & support each other.

Eventually Fellowship In Business envisions a thriving membership  of executive leaders all focused & accountable to each other , their families & employees to “Do Business for the Right Reasons” – creating ‘win-win’ scenarios in every opportunity.

We need your support in 4 ways. …
1) We need your Prayers!  Please pray for those in need & the success of another avenue of support for these families.
2) We need you to spread the Word!   If you or someone you know needs food, please have them visit  “The Bridge” starting Thursday, 4/18, from 3-6pm
3) We need your hands & smiles to Volunteer at time of food distribution. 3 shifts from 1pm to 6pm – Children are welcome with a parent. Great learning!
4) We need donations from our local businesses & those who want to make a real difference!.

The total budget for 50 weeks is $10,000. 100% of funds goes to Food. 100% volunteer, No Overheads costs!  If a company wants a banner to show they sponsored a event, it will cost an additional $100 (for 2 banners, Food Pantry keeps 1, you get the other one.)  The donor can keep it after the event.  It will not have a date on it.  Donations are Tax deductible! Make checks payable to The Bell Tower Foundation,  23361 Cobblefield,  Mission Viejo, CA 92692.

F.A.M.I.L.Y. = Forget About Me, I Love You

Continued Blessings!

Chris O’Connor

Experience and technical knowledge are overrated. Sorry!

March 6, 2013

Experience, Technical knowledge and Sales Prowess are all overrated. Sorry!
The above are all “Me” oriented, and thus limiting.
Communication & Chemistry are “We” oriented.

The fact is most  Headhunters, recruiters  & internal talent acquisition experts understand this (I hope), but lack the intestinal fortitude to  explain this to hiring companies / managers.  They instead focus on experience & technical knowledge.  The whole interview process is skewed from the beginning & literally dooms companies to repeat the same mistakes over & over, that ultimately translate into lower employee satisfaction, increase turnover and  reduced productivity.

Come to think about it,  Most recruiting companies don’t get it or do they? They are burn & churn factories themselves. They quietly have among the highest level of employee turnover.  I guess they do practice what they preach after all.  I suppose that is what keeps these folks in business.  I’m not buying that sermon however! Don’t you wish more Recruiters, H/R managers & even CEO’s were required to watch Jerry Maquire once a month? (side note – of the 100+ recruiters I’ve met over time, I care to deal with only 5 of them.) 

Does your company have a Mission Statement or Vision clearly defined?  Do all your employees understand these ‘well thought out words’, OR are these just plaques on the wall?  Everyone needs to walk the talk, starting at the top.  Everyone must be “We oriented”.  Even the hunter /killer sales reps.  Get on the bus or get run over!

You have heard this and probably even said it… “My company is unique.” or “The product / service we provide is special.”
These might be true statements but do NOT get confused.  Products & Services are unique. but Business is Business.
While we each have an expertise,  I’ll take a good  ‘Business-person’  that has tangible results & knows how to get along, versus the experienced technical wiz…. any day.  I’d love to get the best of both worlds but that person is a rare find!

What do you pay per hour for the Xerox/HP / Ricoh repair person to fix your printers /copier?
What do you pay per hour for your Lawyer to draft a letter or provide response to a problem?
What does your Specialist / Doctor / Psychologist / Recruiter charge per visit?

What do all these uniquely skilled professionals have in common?   2 things –
1) They are taking your money.
2) They largely provide a ‘Tactical’ reactive service.
You always have a choice, but you are stuck paying someone.

That is a huge disadvantage to you.  Is this how you are hiring people for key positions too?

You need to be much more strategic.
The majority of my clients (I’m not a recruiter, I’m a Fractional CFO/COO), admittedly ‘initially’ come to me with a current or lingering problem with a Tactical solution in mind.
All too often, they are focused on the ‘effect’, but either don’t know or don’t want to address the ’cause’. 

I know a company that is looking to hire their 3rd CFO in less than a year.  Ouch! I bet they’re a model of efficiency. You think they are looking in the mirror at all?  Who’s job is it to help wake them up? It’s admittedly a tough job! Only 1 person has a lock on their job at that company & that’s the Director of H/R… human restrictions.  Totally tactical, putting out fires, more than likely either  A) too busy,  B) too afraid or C) clueless to push for a better process.  

John Wooden said it best : “If you do not have time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?”  Far too many companies repeat the same problem & turnover is a huge impact. Recruiters just love it!  The average  tenure for a  blah blah blah is 24-36 months…  Yah! I wonder why? You mixed & served the drinks – no duh!

Buzzword time:
Effect = Tactical, which equates to ‘Take a Tums to relieve your heartburn.’  You implicitly endorse masking the problem.
When you take the Tactical approach, you have a short term frame of mind & view the cost as an expense.

Cause = Strategic, RCA = Root Cause Analysis. “My cash flow stinks.”  There are probably 10 possible causes.
The immediate & wrong response is: “We need to be more diligent in making collection calls.
That by the way is Last on the list of needed improvements in 90% of the cases!
Let’s tactically address each one & Strategically put a few ‘simple’ processes in place to make sure it doesn’t slip again.
‘Strategic’ is a longer term focus. Cost is considered an investment.  Your frame of mind for your business is far wiser.

Do you own any Life insurance or Health insurance?  These are strategic purchases.
Big question here:  Do you take the other strategic steps associated with these wise investments to limit your reactive costs?
This is the problem!  Most people, owners, CEOs, and executives don’t.  They don’t make time.  Do you?

The same is true for your business.  You are constantly accepting so much reactive tactical costs, that hurt your top line, bottom line, cash flow, productivity & your time (your most valuable & coveted resource)!   “Time is the measure of business” (Francis Bacon Sr.)

The “Trust Tax” Payer, (a Low-Trust Leader /Company) – will use such service in a tactical manner, on a repeated basis.
These clients only call when they are in trouble, something is broke.  They are short term focused & all costs are expensed. They rarely  make investments in their business &  growth is a challenge in many directions/metrics. The norms are:  putting out fires, no time, and plenty of excuses. This applies to fixing a printer or taking far to long to find the right employee for the job because their focus is skewed.

The “Trust Dividend Earner” (High-Trust Leader / Company) – will retain services, trusting others to do what they do best, with high expectations.  These folks take a longer term view. They view such cost as an investment & better leverage their time &  skills where needed to maximize benefit. The High Trust Leader/ company will focus on chemistry & communication to make sure everyone understands the common direction / goals & makes sure everyone  buys in.
They will partner with employees/ vendors/ service providers to address & limit Tactical concerns by Strategically driving positive change thru out the organization
Payback is generally easily verified in multiple manners, from increased metrics, to cost elimination/ savings, increased employee & customer satisfaction.

Maybe there is more merit to  the axiom, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”  While some people think that is unfair, there is a level if Trust required. So enough with  experience & technical skills,  stop thinking “ME”,  focus instead on  chemistry & communication.  Think “WE”! Trust your gut, & your people  to make it happen.  Driven folks get it done, learn faster, work harder & smarter when they are valued & trusted.

Continued Blessings!

Chris O’Connor

What are your Keys to Success? How do you Measure Success?

February 10, 2013

Last year as part of my New Year’s Resolution – My goal was to meet “successful” people.   My approach to attaining and sustaining this goal was to ask other folks I met in the course of business, travel and meetings to think about the most successful person they know.  Would you introduce me to this person please?  I made a point of making sure they define ‘Success’ on their own terms. I was not going to set the parameters out there for them.

Some folks blurted out names right away, others had to think about it and dropped me an e-mail or on-line introduction up to 1 week later.  They had to think what Success meant to them. Some people were skeptical and did not want to share with me.  Their appreciation and understanding of networking obviously is skewed. This told me all I needed to know about them on many levels.

I believe most people are good, but regrettably I have met my share of businessmen with little to no scruples. The ‘Me’ generation on steroids, that literally does not know a Gen X’er from a Baby Boomer.  Being selfish & greedy crosses all disciplines, industries, and professions; from corporate executives and branch managers to independent business owners.  Maybe it’s the economic climate, maybe Daddy wasn’t there when they were kids…  I am not interested in helping make excuses for them.

Over the first 3 months of last year, I enjoyed meeting a wide variety of people in a multitude of industries & professions.   I soon realized that I was being selfish!  Let me explain…  I believe it is important for Successful people to know each other.   When I give a referral to someone –  my name & reputation is on the line!  Just as viruses are contagious, so too is the Good in People!  I believe Success can also be contagious!  Why did I want to meet Successful people?  Very simply, I was honestly hoping something would rub off!

There has been a common thread in the quality of the network I have been building this past year. Everyone judges Success differently, but the folks I have gravitated to have what I call “Proper Perspective”.  There is a balance of fiscal stability and importance, but they also understand the value of ‘giving back’.  I will not start evangelizing the merits of Servant Leadership.  Not many of these folks are millionaires, (I don’t think so).  Some have experienced more ups & downs than they ever dreamed, but they keep getting up!  There is a Positive Peer Pressure that exists when these folks get together!  This past year I have met CEO’s, Investment Bankers, Pastors, and Coaches. I got to know Wealth Managers, Authors, and Entrepreneurs, several folks in Transition, Teachers, a Chiropractor, Realtors and a mother who created a Not for Profit Volunteer organization. I even met one Lawyer, (lol)!

Please excuse that rather long introduction. So I beg the question… What are Your Keys to Success, be it personal or business? There are endless numbers of articles that provide the 4 to 5 buzz words or secrets to Success. There are some common themes.  Here are a select few…

Norman Vincent Peale is quoted for  4 simple words related to attaining Success: “Work, Pray, Think, Believe.”

‘Mr. Self Development’  of the internet says:

  1.  “Preparation,
  2.  Work,
  3.  Remember the Golden Rule,
  4.  Confidence,
  5.  Lead”,  (This fellow actually has several articles with 4, 5, & 7 simple keys to success, but they are all different.  Huh?)

Dr. Cathy Chapman PhD is a smart person. She states:

  • “Knowledge,
  • One or more goals,
  • Know where you stand,
  • The plan,
  • Action.”

Jason Osborn suggests there is only 1 key – “Communication.”

KimAlyse Popkave knows the “4 KEYS TO SUCCESS — How To Discover Your Personal Success” …  but you need to buy her book to find out what the secrets are!  It might very well involve selling ‘self help’ books?  There are many authors who attempt /claim to answer this question.

Dan Oswald has a pretty neat blog called ‘The Oswald Letter’.  He espouses:

  • “Listening.
  • Determine your desired outcome in the beginning.
  • Always remain flexible.
  • Try to make it a win-win.”

‘Keys to Success in’ has 5 easy steps:

  1. Have a balance of goals
  2. Listen to your inner voice
  3. Take action
  4. Reflect
  5. Be willing to change course

You have probably heard the phrase:  “Success is not an event, it’s a process,”  and processes do not end, like a ‘program’ does. Success is a process that continually evolves.  I’m sure you have heard many other recommendations on the keys to success be it at home or work, for you personally or for your family, team or business.  I respectfully offer my list for your consideration.

  1. Have a Goal – write it down, put in on the bathroom mirror,  (& make a plan too.)
  2. Failure is a great teacher, (even better if you’re smart enough to learn from other’s mistakes!)
  3. Don’t wait, do it now! – STAR works! It’s wise to Stop, Think, ACT & Review.  Don’t over-think it, Accept Risks.
  4. Strong Work Ethic Required!
  5. Passion is important, but be careful.
  6. Intelligence – know your trade, business, customer, family’s needs… Passion is useless w/ no smarts.
  7. Visibility – you need to get noticed, by your customer, your investor, your donors, your future wife!
  8. Humility & Open Mind. Don’t try to be the smartest person in the room. Seek help from others & listen!
  9. Grow your Strengths, Not your Weaknesses. – Ask for help. Give up some control for better focus. (TYVM Ralph!)
  10. Determination – different from passion that can wane,   Don’t give up,  but adapt!
  11. Communicate in an honest, sincere & up-front manner, – be willing to Trust others. But don’t be a damn fool.
  12. Think Long Term. Act & make decisions with your  LT future in mind.
  13. Focus on others –  The Golden Rule always wins in the end!
  14. Make it Fun – For All Involved!  Marriage, Work, Volunteering. ” Work that’s Fun, gets done!” (Thanks JP!)
  15. Balance is Required – “Proper Perspective” –  God, Family, Work & helping others, don’t wait.

There are many ‘ways’ to judge Success, but only 2 ‘perspectives or directions’ to view Success:

  • Your personal viewpoint with honest introspection.
  • Other’s judgment / opinion & respect for you.

Personally, I am still working on several of the items above. Remember- Success is a process! Sometimes it is easier to help others with their issues and achieving their success than it is to help oneself!

John Wooden had so many great quotes we can learn from…  I close this entry with two favorites for your ponderance.

“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

Did you notice that “Luck” didn’t make any of the lists above?  The Fact is there is No Secret formula to Success. It’s a compilation of effort & traits that when mixed together just right, create a wonderful recipe that fills your heart and soul… & others recognize it  too!

Continued Blessings … on your journey to both achieve & find what Success means to you!

Chris O’Connor

SFS Men’s Fellowship Coordinator
Executive Director – Fellowship In Business

President & ‘Your CRO’

“Your Trusted Alternative to a full time CFO/COO”