Monthly Archives: April 2013

What Can Shawn Spencer From Psych Teach Us About Leadership?



(photo courtesy of USA Network)


If you guys are like me, you enjoy the USA comedy show Psych. If you’re not – well – you’re missing out. This is the first of three posts on leadership in Psych.

Psych is a show about two friends, Shawn and Gus, who help the police to solve mysteries. Shawn is a jokester but has a great ability in his power of observation… which he masks to the police as a psychic ability (hence some of the comedic value).

Shawn’s uncanny ability to observe everything around him with his incredible brain makes him a leader in crime-solving and deduction. Shawn does something every leader needs to do: Observation. The best leaders know what is happening around them at any point in time. Hyper-awareness of one’s surroundings allows a leader to be well-informed so that they make effective and timely decisions. If you’re a business person, you may refer to this as data collection towards establish a KPI. These observations include quantitative and qualitative characteristics. They can be related to the people around you or the conditions of your environment or the time of the day.

Whatever you do… be observant like Shawn Spencer!



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How to Spread Ideas and Interets (video)

Last video for a little bit, I promise. But I swear it’s a good one.

Seth Godin on how to spread ideas and interests effectively.

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Want Change to Happen? (video)

Another Heaths video…this time Dan Heath. Check it; its short and very worthwhile.

See – Feel – Change

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How Leaders Can Make Ideas Stick (video)

Chip Heath, the author of Made to Stick and other leadership books, provides some cool insight…

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Anchoring Change Management…Anchors…


Last Sunday we talked about change management. I’m going to go about this article hoping that y’all have read that one (as I ask in a 4th grade teacher’s voice “has everyone done their homework???”).

In order to consistently run with change management and to be, both, proactive and reactive, it is important for a person or business’s DNA to contain a fulcrum for change management. An organization or person must remain elastic and dynamic in a changing environment and flexibility must be built into the overall schematic.

For instance, let’s pretend we run a footwear company called Renikesics. We’ve got all sorts of shoes that have remained winners throughout the years (Air Scotties?) but it is imperative that we are also trying out new things to expand the future of the company. Therefore, our product line is composed of the foundational products we’ve carried for a long time and a small segment of R & D/experimental products that may bomb or may explode (in a good way) and build our future.

This model is also important in, well, all aspects of a business or organization. An Australian software company  called Atlassian has embraced this concept. Atlassian has “ShipIt” days four times a year, where every employee is given 24 hours to work on their own crazy idea. After creating and refining this idea in a frantic, energetic, and fast time-span, the employee can pitch their idea to the company’s leadership. Out of over 550 ideas pitched, 47 have been utilized in Atlassian’s products and have brought back over $2 million dollars in revenue.

So… for a relatively minute payroll allocation, Atlassian opens up their reins to change management, progress, and originality. If you think about this more critically, you will find that ShipIt days increase buy-in tremendously among the staff and promote an overall culture of progress. Atlassian is an awesome example of what more companies should be doing…

Every company needs a ShipIt day… or an R&D section of the company for having a little adventure. This needs to be a fundamental part of a company’s DNA in order to usher in the future sooner than later.

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5 Questions… with Patti Haberstock

5qsPatti 1

Name: Patti Haberstock

Location: Greenville, SC

Position/Job: Retail Sales Manager
1. Think back to when you were extremely motivated by a boss, leader, or teammate. What did they say or do that motivated you so much and why did it work?

I am motivated daily by a peer in my current position.  He sets an exemplary example of effective leadership by leading from the front with positive energy and a natural ability to connect with others through honest communication, innovation in the way he partners with staff to set and achieve daily priorities, and helping them to evolve and grow in their roles.  Working alongside this man has been inspiring to me and his positive influence will remain with me throughout my career.

2. When have you been very unmotivated by a boss, leader, or teammate? Why did it create a feeling of un-motivation to do your job better?

At a time early in my retail career, I was unsure about the priority of a number of tasks assigned.  When I asked about it, my boss told me, “Get them all done, sucker”.  Not only did that statement not help me to learn about setting priorities, but has stuck with me all of these years as an example of ineffective leadership behavior.

3. What is one characteristic you look for in an effective leader?

Honesty – not only in expectations and performance feedback, but also regarding our business climate and company direction.  It’s easier to pull together through the tough times when everyone knows their part and how it will impact the big picture.

4. When have you motivated another person to better themselves or to be more productive in their job?

We have very high expectations of our sales staff and it is my responsibility to see that each staff member performs to their highest potential.  A number of months ago, I positively influenced an underachiever who had potential to grow in his role.  He was very shy and had a hard time making eye contact with customers.  Though he had product knowledge of his department and was cordial; he was not very effective in sales techniques or in promoting our co-op.  I observed his behavior on a regular basis and coached to enable him with more successful behaviors.  As he listened and learned from coaching, he gained confidence and increased his desire to improve his effectiveness in sales techniques.  He grew in his skill set to the point that he had a much stronger floor presence and even received an “Employee of the Month” award.

5. What is one piece of advice you’d give towards aspiring leaders?

Never get so grounded in your own viewpoint that you do not listen or learn from your staff. Over the many years that I’ve held leadership positions through a varied career path, I’ve learned some very good lessons from heeding this advice; and I have learned some very bad lessons from the times that I did not heed this advice.

Every week, we ask 5 questions to a different person. The questions remain the same but the people change. Some people are leaders, some are followers, but all have valuable input. 

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A great leader


the hearts and minds

of those around them.

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