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These 5 Factors Make You a Bigg Dog

dog_daysToday we’re wrapping up our five-part Dog Days series. Mark Twain said:

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

Bigg dogs aren’t bigg because of their size. They’re bigg because of their attitude.

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There are 5 C’s that put the fight in the dog:

Calling

Bigg dogs just know they were put on this earth to do something special. They can feel it deep in their gut. It consumes them. They have to live up to their full potential. It drives them each and every day.

Courage

Sure, bigg dogs have fears, but they don’t let their fears drive them. They conquer their fears by confronting them head on. That’s one of the first victories we experience in our quest for bigg success: victory over our fears.

Confidence

They have confidence that their time will come. They don’t doubt that they will find their bigg opportunity. They know they will have their moment in the spotlight. They believe they will live their bigg dream.

They also have confidence that they will be ready. They know they will do whatever it takes to prepare for it. They will work harder and smarter than anyone else to be ready when their time comes.

For these reasons, they have confidence in themselves. They have prepared – mentally and physically – for this day that they knew would come. Now that it is here, now that the game is on the line, they want the ball. They are the go-to person and they will find a win to win.

Contemplation

Bigg dogs are thinkers and doers. They are always on the look out for opportunities that match their passions, preferences and proficiencies. When they see potential customers with a problem, they know they may be on to something.

They determine how easy these customers are to identify and reach. If it can be done, that spells opportunity.

Then they look at competitors. They know they don’t want to go head to head with large companies. They also look at competitors of all sizes.

If there aren’t any large companies dominating the niche and if there aren’t too many competitors in total, they get going!

Contempt

They know they will face adversity. They show scorn in its face. They press on to bigg success and that what makes them bigg dogs!

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Thank you for reading our post. Check out the entire Dog Days series. You'll find the links below under 'related posts'.

A lot of us have seen our portfolios take a huge hit. Please join us next time when we’ll talk about investments that don’t lose value. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Starting from Scratch – Part 1

scratch_beginnings We had a special guest today on The Bigg Success Show. Adam Shepard is the author of Scratch Beginnings. After graduating from college, he conducted a real-life experiment, by starting out homeless with only $25 and the clothes on his back, to see if the American Dream is still alive. His book chronicles his year-long journey. Here’s a summary of the conversation …

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marylynnI loved your book, Adam. There were times when I couldn’t put it down because I was worried about you! I can’t imagine what your mom and your dad must have felt.

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adam_shepard
They definitely did not sleep much on that first night … that’s for sure.

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george
I can imagine, because your first night was quite traumatic.

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adam_shepardI was in Charleston, South Carolina. There’s the Rhett Butler “Gone with the Wind” side of town, but then there’s also the other side of town. I arrived in a pretty shady part of town, so I think my parents were right to be a little bit nervous.

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The “Scratch Beginning”

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marylynnLet’s go back to the “scratch beginning” because you didn’t have to be homeless. You had just graduated from college.

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adam_shepardYeah, I graduated from college and told my mom and dad I was going to be homeless for a year. The project was for me to start with $25 and the clothes on my back, in a city randomly chosen out of a hat, to see if in one year I could have $2,500, a car, and a furnished apartment. For me, that was the idea of the American Dream.

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marylynn
You had some rules. You weren’t able to use your old contacts, your credit, or anything.

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adam_shepardRight – and no college education. The whole idea is that I was starting from scratch. I had to take blue-collar work. I couldn’t just go out and get a job as an accountant. I tried to level the playing field as much as possible.

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marylynn
And why? Why did you want to do that?

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adam_shepardI wanted to represent a story that many people can resonate with. I didn’t want to use any special skills or talents. I’m just a regular guy and that’s what this story is all about – regular guys that I met along the way that are making things happen. There’s no trick here that I’m using.

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marylynn
So now going back to that first night, you really got lucky twice.

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george
And not getting lucky the way you want to get lucky in college either!

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adam_shepardThat’s how I could have spent my $25! There was a lady who told me where I needed to go; she could see that I was a stranger to town. So she told me to go to the homeless shelter. As I was waiting at the bus stop, I had a confrontation … well, a near confrontation. I thought he wanted money, but he didn’t. There was just this miscommunication. I narrowly defeated the book being just twelve pages long by getting on the bus and heading down to the shelter!

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Moving Out

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george
So tell us, how did you start working your way out of the shelter?

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adam_shepardThe shelter was great because I had a place to sleep and hard boiled eggs in the morning. So I was able to save my money instead of having these expenses. So that was the whole idea – to put money away – as opposed to spending it on other things like beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets. I wanted to save my money. For the first two weeks, I did little day labor jobs – anything I could get my hands on to get money today for things I needed right away – pants, shirts, shampoo, and I’m a total pretty boy so I needed conditioner. But then the idea was for me to get a permanent job where I had money coming in and I could control the money going out.

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marylynnYou say that the shelter was great. I know from reading your book that there were some things that weren’t so great. You make it sound really easy – you were living for free, you could go and get a job – but some people don’t leave the homeless shelter. What do you think is the reason for that?

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adam_shepardI know that when I do interviews it sounds like this was just a walk in the park. When you read the book, you see that it was much more challenging than that. I think the difference between one guy, who’s able to make it out, and another guy is so complex. There are all kinds of dynamics – mental illness, addictions – that plays into this. But if you put a healthy guy next to another healthy guy, the one who has the better attitude, that strong work ethic, and who wants to get out, he can get out. I think that’s what is so great about my experience in the shelter. I made it out; I did it. But there were guys right along side me that had these plans – to get out of there in 30, 60, or 90 days. They had that attitude and focus to get out.

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georgeI know your major wasn’t sociology but this was an amazing sociological experiment. You did this from “scratch beginnings” as you say. To me, your story illustrates so well how any of us can get to that next level in life. It’s the same thing. One person will make it; another person won’t. It comes down to attitude, focus, setting realistic goals and a number of complex things as you said.

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adam_shepardAbsolutely. I think that’s why I’m so passionate about this story now. Whether I’m speaking to a college, a corporation, or a homeless shelter, it’s the same! It doesn’t matter if you have $25 or $25,000. It doesn’t matter what kind of educational background you have. There’s somebody out there just like you that’s fighting and clawing for the top. That’s why it’s always a hustle. The American Dream and the American spirit exist at every socio-economic level. That’s where I think the value in Scratch Beginnings is. You can read it and it relates to your life no matter where you are. It’s always a hustle!

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Learn more about Adam and purchase his book at scratchbeginnings.com. Next time, we’ll continue talking with Adam and find out how one shelter resident helped him turn things around. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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How to Deal with a Mean Person

balance We hear a lot about violence on television, in the movies, and in video games. When violence is discussed, it’s usually physical violence. USA Today cites a recent study at Brigham Young University that shows that seeing people being mean to others affects us as well.

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Participants responded just as aggressively, no matter what type of aggression they had encountered – be it physical aggression or relational aggression, as the study defined it.

We’ll call the latter mental aggression – seeing people being mean to other people.
We all deal with mean people, or at least people who can be mean from time to time. 

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marylynn Prime example – when I was a Production Director, which means I oversaw commercial production for a group of five radio stations, I implemented a new procedure that some of the sales people didn’t like. I was back in the sales area, with all the sales people in their cubicles, and one decided to call me out. He was rude and confrontational.

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georgeI remember someone we were grooming for management. He seemed to have all the right characteristics. However, when he faced a situation where someone was angry or upset, he only made it worse. As a leader, you have to learn how to diffuse situations, not inflame them.

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How to diffuse a situation

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marylynn Back to my story of being confronted by a sales person in front of the sales staff – it caught me off guard, but I stopped and collected my thoughts. Then I said, “I’d be more than happy to talk with you about this my office. But your sales manager signed off on this procedure. So if you really have a problem with it, I’d suggest you talk to him.

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Get away

When you feel your blood start to boil, get away before you say the wrong thing. If you’re face-to-face, suggest you take up the issue again in a little bit. If you’re on the phone, excuse yourself and let the other person know you’ll need to call them back. Even with e-mail, refrain from being too quick to reply.

Talk it out

Tell a friend, a colleague, or your spouse how upset you are. Get it off your chest, as they say. Let it all out. By talking to someone, you get to say what you’d like to say. Now you can start focusing on how to say it productively.

Write it down

If no one is available to talk to, write it down so you get the cathartic release you need. Don’t do it as a “Reply” just in case you hit the wrong key and the message gets sent!

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georgeWhen I get really upset, I feel sorry for my keyboard. I’m pounding away, but it gets it out of my system rather quickly. Then I get away for awhile. When I come back to it, I’m ready to construct a response that will move things forward.

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Report what happened

Show the other person that you understand their concerns. State it back to them in the way in which they should have stated it. When they know you have heard their concerns, they’re more likely to listen to your response.

Focus on resolutions

A great leader has to meet confrontation head-on, but also must always keep the bigger purpose in mind. Find a way to respond that doesn’t make the other person defensive. Move the conversation’s focus to solutions, not problems. 

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A recent study shows that eighty percent of all employed people want to start their own business. Next time, we’ll see if we can talk you out of it.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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How to Crack a Crabby Co-Worker

Bigg Challenge
Melissa e-mailed us about a co-worker that she works with regularly on projects. Her co-worker is never in a good mood. In fact, she’s often downright unfriendly to everybody. Melissa tried taking a personal interest and killing her with kindness, but it didn’t matter. She wonders how to deal with this difficult co-worker.

 

Bigg Advice
Ah, the crabby co-worker with the hard exterior shell that you just can’t crack! It seems like every office has one. We’ll offer some suggestions, Melissa, but just remember you can’t change anybody but yourself.

You’ve tried being nice, but it hasn’t helped. Sometimes the nicer you are to people like this, the meaner they get. They’re like the bully that we all picture from our childhood days.

So don’t be afraid to stand up to the bully. One of two things will happen when you do – they’ll either be more of a bully or they’ll respect you for standing up for yourself.

So confront her directly, but don’t be in-her-face about it. There’s a good chance you’ll catch her off guard, because bullies aren’t used to being called out for being rude.

When she says something curt, just ask, “Have I done something to offend you?” You can expect one of two responses:

  • She may say “Yes”.
    That gives you the opportunity to follow up. Just ask, “I wasn’t aware I had offended you, what did I do?”

    Now at least you can have a conversation. She may get it off her chest and you might become one of the few people she treats well.

  • She may say, “No, why?”
    That will open the door for you to say something like, “By the tone of your voice, I just felt like I must have upset you.”

    In some cases, bullies have behaved this way for so long (and gotten away with it), they don’t even realize that they’re doing it. By bringing it to her attention, she might change her attitude toward you.

No matter what, Melissa, be sincere. Don’t worry about her attitude and don’t take it personally – it’s her problem, not yours.

Lower the bar

On the show, George shared some advice that he learned from one of his mentors. This mentor said he discovered early in his career that he wouldn’t like everybody with whom he worked. However, he worked hard to not dislike any of his co-workers.

So lower the bar! Try to find ways to not dislike her. For example, maybe she’s really good at what she does and you can respect her for that.

Thanks, Melissa for sharing your bigg challenge! 

If you have some tips for Melissa, share them with all of us! Comment below!

Our bigg quote today is by Anais Nin:

“From the backstabbing co-worker to the meddling sister-in-law, you are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life. You can either give negativity power over your life or you can choose happiness instead. Take control and choose to focus on what is important in your life. Those who cannot live fully often become destroyers of life.”

So don’t fret too much about your crabby co-worker. Plenty of people will melt like butter from the warmth of your personality.

Next time, in honor of Mother’s Day, we’ll talk about mom’s lasting legacy. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Help – My Spouse Spends Too Much!

 
man_holding_money

Bigg Challenge
We received an e-mail from Diane, one of our newsletter subscribers. Diane says her husband has a passion for electronics and their credit card debt just keeps rising. She wants to know how to confront him and get their family finances back in order.

Bigg Advice – 4 tips to stop the bleeding without getting bloody

#1 – Plan for a conversation, not a confrontation.
You want to solve the problem, not have an argument. So use the word “we” frequently and “you” infrequently. Now that may be tough when you’re not the spender. If it’s easier, talk about the “situation”, so you remove yourself, too.

#2 – Make it an event.
Gather up any needed information and go out for cup of coffee or a very inexpensive dinner. This signals that you’re not planning on arguing, so your husband’s defenses will be lower. Find a place that’s private and doesn’t have a lot of background noise, so you can hear each other.

#3 – Agree to this rule, “Pay today or say no way.”
Repeat this rule out loud to each other, over and over again. This is where you have to start. Stop the future bleeding today so you can focus on the problems from the past tomorrow.

Saying it is one easy, doing it is hard. If your situation is really extreme, put yourselves on a cash allowance and agree what expenses that covers. If it’s less extreme, you can use debit cards that draw on separate accounts – one for you, one for your husband.

#4 – Create a fun account.
Set aside an agreed percentage of your incomes into this account. IF, and only IF,   you’re able to pay all of your other bills in full, THEN you get to spend this fun money.

So if you’ve met your goals, your husband gets bonus money for the gadgets he wants. By the way, you’ll get bonus money, too. This is how you get his “buy-in” and keep him from going into withdrawal, which is crucial because you can’t do it alone.

Don’t think you have to be debt-free to trigger any bonus money. You just have to see a reasonable level of progress. Sometimes a small investment in rewards pays bigg dividends.

For example, you may agree that when you’ve reduced your debt by 25 percent, you’ll draw down 10 percent of your fun account.

As you get your financial house in order, check out our article on the five piggy banks. This will help you keep it in order.

Thanks, Diane for sharing your bigg challenge. We wish you bigg success!

Do you have a bigg solution for Diane? Share it with a comment.
Are you facing a bigg challenge? We’d love to help!
E-mail us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

We don’t know who originally came up with our bigg quote today, but we sure like it!

“Between work and family, I’m really not spending
enough quality time with my money.”

So give yourself time to get to know your money so it can get to work for you!

Next time, since it’s leap year, we’ll look at leaping from place to place. You can see the world while you work! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Pages

Stand Up for Yourself … to Yourself

By Bigg Success Staff
04-07-08 

Life Skills

reflection 

This may surprise you, but learning how to talk to yourself is a crucial skill in your bigg success. We all engage in self-talk. But is your self-talk productive?

Do you ever say something to yourself that you would never say to anyone else? Things that you know would hurt them? Or make them upset, maybe even angry?

Then, why do you say them to yourself? And why do you let yourself get away with saying them to yourself?

Defend yourself
Don’t allow yourself to talk to yourself any differently than you would talk to someone else. Because you are likely to come to believe anything that you tell yourself if you don’t stand up for yourself to yourself.

Sounds kind of funny, doesn’t it? Stand up for yourself to yourself.

But it’s likely that you let yourself get away with things that you wouldn’t put up with in others. You would respond in any number of ways – from discontinuing the relationship to outright confrontation.

However, you can’t end your relationship with you! So, you have to confront you!

Tell yourself that you won’t put up with that kind of talk. You’re not the type of person who tears people down. You encourage people. You support them. You’re their friend.

You need to extend the same courtesy to yourself!

How to talk to yourself

You need to learn to encourage yourself. You be your best source of support. Your best friend.

Until you learn to give yourself these wonderful things, it will be hard for you to give them to others without draining your reservoir.

So learn to talk to yourself. Learn to rebut negative comments. Learn to freely offer yourself positive affirmations. Talk to yourself like you’re a good friend.

It’s hard to break old habits. But be vigilant in telling yourself that you will succeed. Give yourself credit when you do well. Cut yourself some slack when things don’t go your way. Remind yourself of the lessons you learned so you do better next time because now you’re one step closer to success!

The most important person to learn to talk to is you!

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4 Characteristics of Constructive Criticism

By Bigg Success Staff
02-24-08

Leadership Skills

 

One of your responsibilities as a leader is to admonish the troops who fall out of line. It could be that they aren’t performing up to expectations. Perhaps some behavior isn’t in line with the code of conduct you established.

You have to respond to these errant troops so your whole team keeps progressing toward the victory you defined. There are four characteristics of your response:

Quick
The longer you wait to address the situation, whatever it may be, the more you risk that the behavior will become systemic. Don’t think that you’re too busy to deal with these situations. They need to be a top priority.

Logical
While you need to react quickly, you shouldn’t respond if you’re still feeling emotional about the situation. You’ll do more harm than good. If need be, let it sit overnight. The key thing is to address the situation as soon as you can discuss it logically, not emotionally.

Private
You should discreetly pull the person aside to have your discussion. No one likes to be called out in public. It’s counterproductive – you may find the person you’re disciplining defending themselves more aggressively. Worse yet, they may withdraw and become less productive. It also has repercussions with your other troops.

Systematic
Prepare for a conversation, not a confrontation. Before you do that, know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. You’ve established consequences for underperforming and violating the code of conduct. You have to be prepared to dispense those consequences or risk that your code will become meaningless.

Try to start off the conversation with some positives – things they’re doing well. Then discuss the situation at hand, helping them understand why it is not acceptable. If it involves performance, offer him or her suggestions or resources to help them get back on track. Finish off with some encouraging words along with a time to review progress.

Admonishing your troops when they fall out of line is one of the most important abilities of a great leader. If done correctly, you’ll find that most of your people get back on track quickly.

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Create a Code of Conduct to Create a Covenant with Your Troops

By Bigg Success Staff
03-11-08

Leadership Skills

people 

As a leader, you have to establish the ground rules for your troops. Your rules, also known as your policies, define the code of conduct. If done correctly, they are not a negative. They are a covenant between you and your troops as well as between your troops themselves.

What they are

The problem is that, much of the time, ground rules are written as negatives. So your people view them as negatives. It doesn’t need to be that way. They simply establish how all of you must proceed to get where you want to go.

Your ground rules define how your people work with people – each other, you, your customers, your vendors, your community, and more. They are designed to minimize individual behavior that harms the group effort. Period. When all of your troops understand that, they will buy in to the rules.

Your ground rules should answer these questions:

  • How do things work under your leadership?
  • What behavior is acceptable and unacceptable?
  • What are the consequences for inappropriate behavior?
  • What resources are available to members of our team?
  • What are the team rewards for achieving victory?


Why you need them

Your attorney will tell you that you need ground rules to protect yourself from liability. That’s true – and you should get your attorney’s advice throughout this process. However, there are even more important reasons to establish the ground rules.

Your ground rules help new troops get acquainted with your culture. They will be able to get “up to speed” more quickly when you clearly define the expected behaviors.

They also establish that you are trying to be fair to everybody. There’s a set of rules to which you refer when a certain behavior is called into question. It’s not a who’s who where favorites get treated one way and everybody else gets treated differently.

Occasionally, you will override the rules because of a specific situation. After all, your troops are humans, not machines. You’ll use your best judgment to determine when the good of the group calls for bending the rules a little. If done correctly, your troops will respect you for that.

Keep it simple
Make sure your rules aren’t written in legalese. They should be easily understood by all your troops. If it takes a lawyer to interpret them, rework them.

How extensive your rules need to be depends in large part on the emotional maturity of the people you lead. In general, the more mature your people are, the fewer rules you need. And the fewer rules you can get away with, the better.

Resist the 1% rule

Novice leaders often create rules in response to specific acts by a minority of people (1%) that are infrequently repeated. Then, the overwhelming majority (99%) of their troops has to live with them. This is a primary reason why people resist rules.

For example, picture a leader who says that there is a new dress code because one person out of a hundred is wearing inappropriate clothing to work. Instead of dealing with that one employee, this leader chooses to create a rule for all of the employees.

These leaders see it as an easy solution – it’s easier to write a policy than deal with an individual employee. They may have the time or they may not like confrontation. Whatever the reason, it may be easier in the short run, but it is almost certain to create even bigger problems in the long run when dealt with in this way.

The code of conduct you establish for your troops is essential to insure you reach your goal. You want rules that your people buy in to so you create a covenant between yourselves that insure a smoother path to victory.

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7 Steps To Lead Your Troops To Victory

By Bigg Success Staff
02-21-08

Leadership Skills

soldiers 

Just like great generals lead their soldiers into battle, you guide your troops to success. Great leaders, like great generals, develop a battle plan and then execute around it. With that in mind, here are seven steps to lead your troops to victory.

#1 – Define victory
What’s your vision of success? You need to clearly communicate that to your troops. Your vision should be short, compelling, and memorable. It should paint a picture of what victory looks like and what it means.

#2 – Delineate roles
Your people need to understand their role in your vision. Don’t make the mistake of relegating duties. As a good general, you’ll delegate responsibilities along with the authority needed to carry out their mission.

#3 – Establish the ground rules
You need to set the boundaries. Clearly state how you and your troops will work together on the path to victory. Let them know what resources are available to aid them in the battle. Finally, let your troops know the rewards for achieving victory.

#4 – Set the example
The battlefield is no place for “do as I say”. You have to show your troops that you are committed to the cause. You’re willing to do whatever it takes, subject to the ground rules you’ve established, to get the job done.

#5 – Admonish appropriately
You’ll have troops that fall out of line – in their behavior and in their performance. You must respond quickly. Do it privately – criticizing publicly rarely produces good results in the long run. Don’t think of this as a confrontation. You’ll do much better if you plan for a conversation.

#6 – Share the glory
As you march toward victory, recognize the people who have made the most significant contributions. Do this publicly. Great leaders share too much of the glory – this reinforces their bond with their troops. Everybody loves being part of a winning team!

#7 – Stay focused
Constantly keep your vision in front of your troops. Focus all your energy and resources on achieving what you set out to do. Don’t let anything distract you and your troops from your mission – achieving the victory you defined! 

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