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Chapter One

At each revenue inflection point, a company must reinvent itself and its people, money strategy, business model.

How are your sales? What’s the process of creating and converting new business? Are your incentive programs working? Are sales commissions tied to profit per sale?

People are essentially unmanageable– attempts to control and manipulate people will ultimately fail.

When driven by fear, human beings go to one of 3 places: 1. They get stuck, 2. They solve problems that don’t exist, 3. They focus on the wrong problem, which is low leverage and doesn’t deliver the result they want.

Fear pushes people to take action. Vision pulls people not only to take action but also to care about the outcome.


Chapter Two

Human beings are meaning-making machines. The neural connections and associations we make that give experience meaning are programs we “wrote” between birth and six years old.

Safety, belonging, and mattering are essential to your brain and your ability to perform at work, at home, and in your life overall.

The imagining of a new, better future where there are compelling rewards pulls, attracts, and draws people forward, and emotionally engages them.

What is smart, really? Is it IQ, high grades, college degrees, or the ability to adapt, to be resilient, to persevere in the face of adversity, and to seek challenge, learning, and growth?

Nowadays it’s the smarter fish that win over the bigger fish. The smarter fish have the tools and the ability to manage and shift their and their team’s Critter States into Smart States.


Chapter Three

Where is your focus right now? How present are you right now? Do you have a little voice in your head right now listing all the things you need to do today, tomorrow, and next week?

How are you increasing safety (and encouraging people to take risks), belonging (a “We’re all in this together, we’re the same” experience), and mattering (“It matters that you, specifically, are here””) in each interaction you have.

Leaders sometimes delete the real problems and focus instead on trivia. What are you focusing on?

One of the best ways to get and stay present is to focus on how you are increasing safety, belonging, mattering with your team.

What would happen if you asked questions (inquired) instead of gave orders (advocated)?

Inquiry builds leaders—advocacy builds order takers. 5 inquiries per advocacy!

Safety + belonging + mattering = trust. How are you helping to build trust in your team today?


Chapter Four

Do you know your company vision? Do your team members know it? Do they feel emotional about it?

Being truly clear means we need to take the time to discover what we need, to articulate it clearly, and to be sure the other party understood our communication.

An MBA is optional but a GSD (Get Stuff Done) is essential.

Why are we in business? Why are we doing what we do here? Why does this organization exist?


If you woke up every day and had certain words or phrases posted on your bathroom mirror, as a reminder about the most important things to you in life, what would those be?

Where do you notice a lack of alignment, friction, or tension in the culture, where certain values need to be maintained consistently on an ongoing basis to create the culture you want?


Chapter Five

What does accountability mean to you? Does it mean that your word is your bond? That you can be relied on to follow through?

Assigner’s Clear Expectation + Owner’s Agreement + Personal Rewards and Consequences = Self-Ownership and High Accountability

What consequences do you set for yourself and your team when accountability is dropped? Consequences remind us that not keeping our commitments will carry repercussions.

If you want to know what a person is truly committed to, look at their calendar, their credit card statement, and their behavior. These will reveal their priorities and what they value most.

Trust is broken in 3 levels: capability, commitment, character.

The ego is triggered by questioning someone’s significance, competence, lovability.


Chapter Six

The more influential you become, the more you are putting yourself at the service of your team. Real influence is about empowering others.

90% of our reactions are emotional, and our emotions respond four hundred times faster than our intellect.

Our unique “map” of the world houses our beliefs, shapes our identity, determines our behavior, both the things we want to do and our responses to what happens to us.

Most of us are highly predictable. We react in predictable ways, we have predictable patterns of behavior, we have predictable speech. How predictable are you?

Use Influencing Phrases to shift people into their Smart State: What if, I need your help, would it be helpful if…


Chapter Seven

Use the words growth, progress, and evolution as opposed to change. Change can hurl us into our critter brain, whereas growth messaging puts us in our prefrontal cortex, where we want to solve puzzles, have visions, and be creative.

How can you connect more deeply with someone today?

Where would you like to increase your influence? On others and outcomes? Home, work, or both?

What would you like? What would having that do for you? How would you know when you had it?

Who are the stakeholders in your career? How have you stepped into their world to support them today?


Chapter Eight

The more we focus on the outcomes we want to create, the more we get in our Smart State.

The more we trigger the reward center of our brain (primarily the ventral striatum), the more we move forward with eager anticipation of great things to come.

The more we use our tools for focus, clarity, accountability, and influence, the more structure we lend to both ourselves and our teams to get in and stay in our Smart State.

Energy management must be intentional, conscious, and a key priority. The world is full of brilliant minds unable to fulfill their mission because they burned out first.

Make 3 columns. Label the first column “Gain Energy,” the second “Lose Energy,” and the third “Mixed.” Now fill them in. This is your Energy Allocation Chart.

Being problem-focused sucks our energy, leads us to look for ways to allocate blame, and feels constricting, like a jacket that’s too tight.

Being outcome-focused is empowering and energizing, and fills us with confidence. It firmly places you in your Smart State, where possibility, choice, innovation, love, and higher consciousness are abundant.


Chapter Nine

Is the vibe in your office positive, collaborative, “got your back,” team-oriented—keeping your team in their Smart State? Or is it negative, fearful, “everyone for themselves,” silo-oriented—triggering Critter State?

Behavior change is often transitory. If it is not supported by an identity change it doesn’t trickle in and other concerns will preempt the change.

Want to quickly identify a few of your organization’s beliefs? Notice your results, the behaviors that led to those results, step into an observer position (as if someone else did what you did), and ask yourself, “What would someone have to believe to have that experience?”

What’s your identity? Fill in the blank to learn what your beliefs about yourself are: “I am __________.” Powerful? Confident? Loved? Influential? Smart?

What’s your company’s identity? Fill in the blank to learn what your team’s collective beliefs about the company are: “We are __________.” Market leaders? Perpetual learners? All about client delight?

When you work solely at the environment, behavior, and capability levels, you are working on the symptoms. When you work on identity and belief, you are working on the system. This is true leadership.


Chapter Ten

The intersection of Behavior, Leadership Effectiveness, Mission/Vision/Values, and Organizational Effectiveness will determine the sustainable success of your SmartTribe.

The Organizational Effectiveness Pyramid is your diagnostic tool to create an organization that supports your SmartTribe. The six levels are supported by the SmartTribe Accelerators.

The best way for an organization to drive urgency, focus, and priority is via Needle Movers. Goals are often ineffective.

Having a solid culture and compelling cultural rituals fosters safety, belonging, mattering, staff retention, and high performance.

Want reliable results? Standard Operating Procedures help us promote independence, reliability, consistent quality, quick training and they remove mystery!

Visibility on company results supports clarity, increased decision-making ability and forecasting accuracy at the leadership level. This of course boosts the top and bottom lines and morale since everyone is contributing the end result.


Chapter Eleven

A focused and present leader creates a focused and present culture. Clear communication in the leadership ranks drive clear communication at all levels of the company.

Do you know the 5 warning signs of Founderitis? Severe reality distortion field and no care for the common folks are the 2 most dangerous.

Without appropriate structures, accountability will be inconsistent at best. The word deadline will have no internal meaning, work will be repeated, quality and execution will vary.

Is your exec team as aligned as a rowing team? If not, add an executive code of conduct.

Ask your team: What is it like to work here now? What frustrates you the most? What motivates you the most?


Ask your team: How do you feel about your role and responsibilities? If you could wave a magic wand and have the culture be any way you want, what would that be like?


Chapter Twelve

“Deer in the Headlights” culture happens when a company not only hits an inflection point but its market also significantly changes. The Critter State response is to freeze and pretend nothing is happening.

“Old School” cultures have missed the bus but have the illusion of external safety. They have entrenched behavior patterns and are fighting to keep things the way they are. This creates silos, sabotage, and system dysfunction.

Silos, sabotage, and system dysfunction are symptoms of lack of cultural alignment.

Successfully and continuously adapting to market forces has to involve deep, engaging, and explicit work on core values.

Rolling out a new strategic direction benefits from skills training for all team members.


Chapter Thirteen

“Chaos” culture results in hasty decisions made without due consideration because the Critter State is rampant. Often here we have the right people in the wrong roles.

A “right person” is talented and needs to be put in the right role. A “wrong person” doesn’t match or honor the organization’s values or does but doesn’t uphold the leadership code of conduct.

To end chaos: know what you stand for, why you’re coming to work, and where you would like to go. Then tie your accountability structures to this rigorously.

Build a culture where Victims, Rescuers, and Persecutors are transformed into their positive alternatives.


Chapter Fourteen

You may have a cost model for project execution, but do you really know what it costs, and what it takes, to execute strategy?

Does your team have low energy / low enthusiasm / despondency? You may have “Crushed Culture.”

Signs of Crushed Culture: employees don’t care about clients, commitments are not honored, employees become order takers with low initiative/accountability.

When we understand our universal need for safety, belonging, mattering, we understand quickly how letting people languish is asking for emotional disengagement and bad attitudes.

Do you have an Innovation Incubator Team (IIT) and Innovation of the Month (IOM)? If not, start now to harness the creativity of your team, get them deeply engaged, boost revenue.

Your innovation incubator needs a cross-functional team, tight directive, lively brainstorming, healthy conflict, and relentless follow through.

For each proposed innovation track: category (product, service, process), expected ROI (to be tracked over the next ninety days), details (what it is, why, who is affected by it and is needed to create it).


Chapter Fifteen

Do you feel overwhelmed, stuck, irritable? You’re likely in your Critter State. Join the discussion to get out of it now!

What would you like? What will having that do for you? When will you know you have it?

How do you measure ROI on developing leaders? Our clients see gross revenue, net profit, or profit per employee has increased and undesired employee turnover, cost of sales, number of executive hours spent on low-value activities has decreased.


Coaching ROI should be at least twenty times the money invested annually. Company-wide ROI should be the same—at least twenty times the return in value delivered.

Assess, Act, then see the ROI—this process works GREAT!

When in your Critter State you look at what is not working, what is so hard, and your brain will find all the reasons why things are so difficult. Your brain will work hard to validate your reality.

When you ask, “Why is it so easy?” you’ll fixate on a positive target. “Why is it so easy to streamline our sales process?” “Why is it so easy to find the perfect [new hire role] for our company?” It’s fun, it’s free, and it’ll snap you right into your Smart State.

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