Apr 122014






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Hi and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about freedom of speech and gender equality. So is freedom of speech unique to America? Is gender equality unique to America? Hell, no. Hell, no! [Laughs] People in America have no idea and I blame the American media. People here think that like we’re the best country in the world because we have freedom of speech, not realizing that the entire Western world has freedom of speech. There’s nothing unusual, absolutely nothing.

The problem is that the media, we don’t hear anything about Germany, we don’t hear anything about UK, France, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea. These are all developed countries around the world. The only countries we hear about on our media are these developing countries that are struggling and having problems like Iraq and Afghanistan and Syria. That’s what our media tells us about – Egypt, India. We hear about those second-world nations, third-world nations that are struggling, and of course in those areas there’s no question that there are more restrictions and they don’t have freedom of speech the way we do, and gender equality issues or there’s really no gender equality in those countries. But there is a huge Western world. We are just one country of many developed countries.

Now, there are things that distinguish America and reasons why we should be proud of being Americans and certainly why I am proud of being an American and why I moved to this country from Canada, and I’ll get to that in a second. But freedom of speech and gender equality? No way, man. They’ve got that all around the world in the developed parts of the world. And in fact I had a conversation, I was at a dinner party and I was speaking to a woman who was at the party, and she was saying that there isn’t any gender equality in Europe and that we’re way ahead in gender equality. This is categorically untrue. In fact, the percentage of women who are graduating with university degrees is much higher or significantly higher in Europe than it is in America. Of course, many of the countries in Europe have had female leaders like Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel and many others. So they’ve elected women to the highest offices of their land whereas we have absolutely not done that so far. So gender equality – Europe is ahead.

Now, I’m not necessarily a big fan of Europe, but the fact remains that in terms of gender equality they are ahead of the United States. We are not ahead. We are behind. We are more conservative and more traditional than Europe. Europe is more progressive, and certainly with respect to gender equality they’re ahead. Same is true in Canada. Canada is ahead in terms of gender equality.

Freedom of speech – freedom of speech exists across Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia. All these countries have freedom of speech, so that does not represent something unique that makes America the best country in the world. It’s very common, and I think Americans need to know that that is not the distinguishing factor.

So what is? What’s the distinguishing factor that makes America better in my opinion than the rest of the world and the reason why I moved here? The thing that distinguishes America is entrepreneurialism – individualism, entrepreneurialism, and innovation. People here think entrepreneurially. They’re very independent, they’re very self-reliant, and that causes some problems politically. That’s one of the biggest motivators behind the American gun culture, is that everyone wants to be able to protect themselves against anyone including their own government. Americans hate their government. It’s different than Europe; they like their government and they take ownership in their government. But here in America, people hate their government, which is what fuels the gun rights lobby and the NRA.

But the point is that that individualism and that entrepreneurialism and that self-reliance and that whole entrepreneurial perspective breeds innovation, which is why the US leads the world in business innovation, why a lot of the tech startups come from here, a lot of the innovative new ideas, technologies, thought leadership – a lot of it comes from the United States because of that entrepreneurial individual, that rugged individualism. That is something that we can be proud of.

The fact that the media and even our political establishment tries to sell it to us that we’re the best nation in the world because of freedom of speech, I mean I agree, freedom of speech is excellent, but it’s nothing unusual. It’s very common and they have it all around the world. In the developed world, freedom of speech has been around for decades. And gender equality? We’re not in the lead. We’re doing pretty good, but there are a lot of countries, mostly European countries and Canada, are ahead of the US in terms of gender equality. What we have that they don’t is rugged individualism and innovation.

So let’s get that straight. Maybe this video will help, and I certainly appreciate you watching. My name is Patrick, reminding you as always to think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at conferences and conventions in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Please click the button below to inquire about speaking fees and availability.


Apr 112014

Here is the reading list I promised. I just created this on the fly and will come back later to make it prettier. I plan to add images of the book covers and a short paragraph summarizing each one. But for now, this will have to do. Enjoy.

Drive by Daniel H. Pink

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Mastery by Robert Greene

Mindset by Carol Dweck

Strategic Vision by Zbigniew Brzezinski

The Age of Context by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

How We Decide by Jonah Lahrer

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin

How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Contagious by Jonah Berger

Tribes by Seth Godin

Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown

Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schoberger

The Social Animal by David Brooks

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt

The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

Focus by Heidi Grant Halvorson

FREE by Chris Anderson

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Leadership 101 by John Maxwell

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell

Developing the Leader Within You by John Maxwell

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitmore

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stankey

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive by Jack Canfield

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

 Posted by at 12:38 pm
Apr 062014






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Hi and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about how to be happier. How can you be more happy? I’m going to give you seven things that you want to incorporate into your life. If you don’t have them already, these are seven things. And I’m bringing these seven things out of three different theories on happiness. I’ve done a fair amount of research on happiness and what actually makes people happy – some fascinating research on this.

So one of the blog posts that I just read recently actually broke it down to just three things, and they’re going to make up three of the seven I’ll share with you today. They basically said people who exercise, people who have sex, intimacy in their lives, and people who socialize and have relationships are happier. Exercise releases endorphins. Exercise is so important, even not necessarily for…I mean, it’s great for weight loss and so on, but just put that aside. Put the health stuff aside: When you exercise, you’re happier.

Number two, sex and intimacy. People are happy when they have intimacy in their lives. It’s very important. Like a lot of marriages, I know some friends of mine, they’re actually married and they hardly ever have sex. Even people in my own family, they’re in relationships and they’re not having sex, like hardly ever. It’s very common. This is very, very common. And a lot of it is because people, they feel self-conscious sometimes about initiating sex. It’s very difficult to do in some cases. But I encourage you: To be happier, find a way to incorporate intimacy more into your life.

And number three, relationships. Relationships are very important. And the funny thing is, when we need them the most, that’s the time when we retract and we kind of push them aside. In other words, when people are depressed, what do they do? They go to themselves. They go by themselves and they don’t hang out with people. That’s exactly when they need those relationships the most. So if you’re down, if you’re struggling in life, go out and socialize with people, be with people. It’s going to make you happier.

Alright, let’s keep going. There’s a second theory of happiness that says that essentially the first level of happiness is pleasure; the second level of happiness, which is one step up, is passion; and the third level is purpose. So pleasure we kind of already talked about. Obviously, sex falls into that category, or going out for a great meal or whatever. But passion – let’s talk about passion. That’s going to be our fourth thing to remember. Okay, we got sex, exercise, socializing, and passion.

Passion is when you’re doing something that you love, like maybe you’re painting, just like a painter – it’s a great example. Sometimes people paint and like they think they’ve been painting for 20 minutes but they’ve actually been painting for like three or four hours. When you lose track of time, that’s passion. You know you’re doing something you’re passionate about because you’re losing track of time. It could be playing a sport or it could be playing music, or it could be having a great conversation with someone about a topic you’re passionate about. Do things you’re passionate about.

So this theory that we’re talking about right now, pleasure is first, passion was second, and what’s the third one? Purpose – being part of something greater than yourself, people volunteering their time or they’re doing things for charity or they have a grand vision of something and they’re working towards some larger vision of humanity or whatever it might be. In fact, parents who have children consistently rank their lives higher with respect to purpose because their child is their purpose in life, is to make sure their child or their children live a successful, healthy and happy life. So have a purpose in your life. If you don’t have children, go volunteer, contribute to a charity, be part of something greater than yourself.

So that’s the fifth one. So we’ve got exercise, sex, socializing, passion, and purpose so far. We’ve got two left to go.

So there’s another theory of happiness that says that people who are happy have on average four things in their life. Again, these are all different studies done by different researchers, but this is another one that I really think is fascinating. So they find that people who are happy in life have four things, namely: They have a sense of perceived control, they have a sense of perceived progress, and they have relationships, and they have purpose. So we’ve already talked about two of these: We’ve talked about relationships – that’s socializing, and we’ve talked about purpose. We just talked about that in the last one. So we’ve got these two covered.

But let’s look at these first two: A sense of perceived control and a sense of perceived progress. You want to have some kind of control over your life or you want to incorporate things into your life that you have control over. Like sometimes you can feel out of control in your life because there are things in your life that other people are dictating to you. Like it could be your work that you have to be a part of or even a relationship or the demands of your children can make you feel out of control yourself – but try to incorporate something in your life that you control. It’s very, very important. If you have a sense of perceived control, it makes you happier.

And the second thing is a sense of perceived progress. What’s that all about? It’s about making goals for yourself and making small goals so that you can achieve them regularly. There was a company that had this milestone where if you had a certain job for three years you got this raise and a higher designation. They changed it to having six smaller steps every six months for three years. The step was exactly the same, the pay raise was the same, but instead of doing it in one step they did it in six small steps. And immediately their turnover—in other words, the people who left the company—their turnover went down. People were happier because every six months they had some more progress. They took a step forward. They got one step closer to their goal. They were recognized for something. So we can all do this by setting small goals in our lives, even every day or every week. Say, “I’m going to do these three things this week,” and then you can go out and do them and you have a sense of perceived progress. That’s the seventh one.

So let’s just review. We’ve got seven things that will make you happier. Get some exercise. Protect the intimacy in your life; cultivate intimacy in your life. Number three, socialize, have relationships with people. Number four, do things you’re passionate about, things that make you lose track of time. Number five, have a purpose in your life, be part of something that’s great than yourself. Maybe it’s a charity or something like that, or your children. Number six, have a sense of perceived control in your life, add things to your life that you control. And number seven, make little goals and more of them in your life so that you have a sense of perceived progress in your life. If you do those seven things—think about how you can incorporate those into your life—if you do, you’re going to be happier. The research shows it.

Thanks for watching this video. Pass it along. There are a lot of people who need this message. I found this because I was in need of it myself. My name is Patrick, reminding you as always to think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at conferences and conventions in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Please click the button below to inquire about speaking fees and availability.


Mar 302014






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Hi and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about life hacks – what’s your hack in life? What’s your secret weapon? What’s your secret weapon to move ahead and achieve success in your life? I’m going to tell you a story about how this started for me years ago and there were six words that changed me in a particular situation from being a complete failure to being one of the top producers in the company that I was working for. Let me tell you this story.

This is when I was like 22 years old, 21 years old, like 21 probably, and I took a job with a company that sold products door-to-door, literally direct sales. And by the way, this is something I think we should all do at one time or another in our lives because I learned so much this summer. But I needed a job and I took this job, and we were selling coupon packages for the Ottawa Rough Riders. I lived in Ottawa, and the Rough Riders is a CFL team – Canadian Football League. And we had these coupon packages where you got it for 20 bucks and you got like two free tickets, and you got all sorts of other things like two-for-the-price-of-one meals at restaurants at the stadium and stuff. It was 20 dollars.

And we went out on what’s called a day of observation. When I first got hired, they took me out on a day of observation so I could see how the other guys were doing it. And these guys—they were almost all guys, a couple of girls but mostly guys—we literally went to a strip mall and these guys would like walk up to people getting out of their cars and be like, “Hey, I got this great thing,” and they’d tell them about them, and they’d get into these conversations and people would look at it. And some people would be like, “No, no, no, I’m not interested,” but other people would look at it and every now and again they’d sell one and they made money.

And I was like, “Oh my God, this is the most low, pathetic job in the world,” but meanwhile these guys were making money and I needed money at the time. I was broke. That’s why I took the job in the first place. So I was like, “I got to give it a try.” And I sold one here or there, but I really struggled. It did not go well for me.

And one time in particular I was with this guy and he went into these office towers in downtown Ottawa, and it says “No Soliciting” right on the door and he just walked right in. It’s like he belonged there, and he went right to the top floor and he started just walking into offices and doing his pitch. And he was a funny guy—his name was Scott—and people would listen to him, and they’d look at it and he’d make a sale here and there. I couldn’t believe it. And he was like, “You know what? You take the next floor. You take odd floors, I’ll take the even floors, and we’ll meet at the bottom.”

So I took the odd floors and within like two minutes I got kicked out of the building—someone called security—because I was uncomfortable doing it. I couldn’t do it. I was nervous, I was awkward, I was doing it all wrong. And this actually—believe it or not—happened two buildings in a row. So I was literally waiting at the bottom of this building for the second time—it was like for a half an hour—while Scott was inside making sales. He was making sales. I felt so pathetic and small. It was awful. Truthfully, it was one of the lowest points in my life, and there I was thinking, “This is unbelievable.” So I was like at the bottom of bottom in terms of my psychology.

And this guy was walking down the sidewalk towards me, and he was wearing an Ottawa Rough Riders jacket. His jacket had Ottawa Rough Riders on it. And I must have looked so pathetic, [laughs] but I went up to him and I was like…I didn’t even go up to him. He was just walking past me and I was like—it must have been so pathetic, I can only imagine—but I said, “You look like an Ottawa Rough Rider fan.” And he was like, “Yeah, yeah, I’m a fan.” And I was like, “Well, I have this package,” and I showed it to him. And again, it must have been so pathetic, but he looked at it and he was like, “Yeah, I’ll take one. Sure, absolutely.” I couldn’t believe it. I was like outside of my skin. I’m like, “Are you kidding?”

But he said, “I don’t have any money on me, but there’s an ATM machine just down the road. If you walk with me, I’ll take the money out of my bank and I’ll buy one.” I thought he was like kidding or he was going to pull me down the street and then abandon me there and not give me any money. I was all suspicious. I was so insecure about my position. It was crazy. But he ended up going to the ATM machine – he took money out and he gave some of it to me and he bought one of these packages. I couldn’t believe it. So I was like, “Thank you, thank you.” He walked away.

And then right there in front of the bank there was a hole in the concrete. They were working on the road and they were working on the pipes and things. And it was Ontario Hydro, which is kind of like the local gas and electric company and there were three guys there. Two of them were in the hole and one guy was by the truck. And so I was like, “You guys look like Rough Rider fans.” [Laughs] And one of the guys was like, “Yeah, I am,” and the other guy was like, “Yeah, sure.” And I was like, “Well, I got these packages here. It’s a great deal for 20 bucks.” I sold two to these guys.

And it happened. Right there I found my hack. I found my hack: “You look like a Rough Rider fan.” You look like a Rough Rider fan – those six words. I spent the next two months in all kinds of places in Ottawa and I said that to everybody. It didn’t matter if they were in high heels or businesses or skateboards or whatever they had – “You look like a Rough Rider fan,” and I showed them the package. It became my hack.

Now, what happened afterwards—this is the important part—once I did that, it was my path to a new belief system. It was my path to doing something that I didn’t think I could do. Like when I first saw it, I didn’t think I was capable of doing this. But then I found my hack. I found this path. I found a little secret weapon that allowed me to do what I didn’t think I could do. And then what happened – I started to get comfortable. I started to build confidence in this new activity. I started to get more and more into it and confident and relaxed.

The biggest thing with a confident person is that they’re relaxed. They’re natural. It’s not forced. When I first did it, it was all forced. It was unnatural. But when I found my hack, I started to get comfortable with it. I started to get more confident. I started to get more relaxed. And people could sense that, so they weren’t as like defensive when I came up to them, because I was just coming up and be like, “Hey, I got this thing.”

And after a while, I didn’t say, “You look like a Rough Rider fan,” anymore. I started just having all kinds of things. It was just random. It depended on the situation or what they wore. See, my mind was more clear because I was confident, and so in any given situation I could say something natural.

So what it allowed me to do – one hack allowed me to build confidence, and then afterwards fan out and do all the things. Like I never would have been able to just to go from A to B. I had to go through that hack first. This is true for anything in life. Like you’ve got things in your life that you want to do, but you don’t know how to do it. You don’t know how to get from where you are to that vision of your future. In order to do that, you have to find a hack. You have to find a little secret way. You have to find some path where you can get in there to experiment and start feeling comfortable. And as you build that comfortable, then the confidence grows, and all of a sudden you will be able to fan out and do the whole thing, to do what Scott did.

Like I ended up being able to do what Scott did. I could go into offices and I could say something and it would work. I could never have done that at the beginning. But because I found my hack, I found a way to secretly get in there and build my comfort zone and build my confidence. And once the confidence was there, I could fan out and do all those things that I couldn’t do before.

This has happened to me in a number of different ways in my life, but it all boils down to finding a hack. We all need a hack. You have one belief system and then there’s another belief system, and we can only have one belief system at a time. So you can either think that this is possible or it’s not possible, and if it’s not possible then you’re still at this lower belief system. So in order for you to get from this belief system to this – see, in other words, if you can only have one belief system at a time, if you get to this one you have to abandon this one. It’s no longer there. It no longer is valid.

So how are you going to do that? How are you going to abandon your current belief system to get to a higher level of consciousness, a higher level of success, a higher belief system? The only way to do it is to find some sort of a hack. It’s a path. It’s a path from one belief system to the next. And once you find it, you’ve got to exploit it. You have to exploit that hack and just dive into it and build your confidence in that tiny space, because afterwards you can fan out and embrace that new belief system and leave the old one behind. And now you’re at a higher level – a higher level of success in business, a higher level of success with relationships in your life. You’re at a higher level of consciousness.

So what’s your hack? Always search for your hack, your secret weapon, the way that you can move from where you are to where you want to be. I wish you luck.

And if you have stories to share, times when you’ve gone through something like this, share it in the comments. I would love to hear those stories. My name is Patrick. Thank you very much for watching this video. I always tell people at the end, I remind them to think bigger about their business, think bigger about your life.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at conferences and conventions in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Please click the button below to inquire about speaking fees and availability.


Mar 232014






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Hi and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about employee performance and how to be a better manager. Are you a manager? Do you manage a team of people? Let’s talk about how you can manage their performance, and in particular, let’s look at the reasons of why does poor performance happen? There are four reasons why poor performance can happen in your employee teams. Let’s take a look at them.

Number one, understanding – do they understand? Did you give them clear instructions? Number two, capability – do they have the aptitude or the training—and the training, actually—to do the job properly? Number three, do they have the resources to do the job? The computers or the equipment that they need or the space or whatever it is – do they have the resources to do the job properly? And number four, do they have a willingness? Do they want to do a good job?

Now, here’s the important part: Of those four, three of them are on you as the manager. They’re on you. Understanding – did you give them clear instructions? That’s on you. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to give them clear instructions.

Number two, capability – we said two things there, aptitude and training. Aptitude is, do they have the mental capacity to do the job? That’s on you. You have to go through that when you hire them. Did you hire the right person for the right job? Sometimes you have the right people on your team but they’re in the wrong jobs, so it’s a question of calibrating and making sure you have the right people in the right job. That’s on you. That’s your responsibility as the manager.

Number three, resources – do they have the computers and the equipment, the lighting, the space, whatever they need to do the job properly. That’s on you. That’s your responsibility, to make sure they have those things.

So the only one that’s on them is willingness. That’s the only thing that’s on them, is willingness. And here’s the thing: Most people want to do a good job. As a manager, you can take a fair amount of confidence that your team, they want to succeed. People want to succeed. We have a tight…not a tight job market, but we have a lot of unemployment, elevated levels of unemployment, so people know that they want to keep their job. They want to do a good job. And even just as a matter of pride, it’s a natural human instinct that people want to do a good job.

Now, is there a chance that you have some people who just don’t have a willingness, they don’t care about it and they don’t want to do a good job? Of course. Of course there are always situations like that, but they’re not that common, is the point. So if you have a situation where the people you manage are not doing a good job or they’re not doing the job you need them to do, you can look at willingness to see if there is an issue there, and if there is certainly you need to address it, but the other three are on you.

So ask yourself, have I given clear instructions? Do they have the understanding they need to do the job correctly? Capability – did I hire the right person for that job and did I give them the training that they need to do it correctly? And number three, resources – did I give them the resources they need to do the job properly? If you manage those things, you can immediately circumvent a lot of the poor performance or change poor performance into better performance without immediately thinking “I’ve got the wrong person” or “they’re doing it wrong” or blaming them. If you want to be a good manager, you need to take on those responsibilities yourself and realize that those people, even if they’re not doing a good job, they probably want to do a good job, but there’s something stopping them from doing a good job and it’s probably your responsibility to fix it.

So I hope that gives you some clarity on possible reasons why you might be dealing with poor performance, and I hope you can use it to turn those situations around. My name is Patrick. Thank you very much for watching this video. I’d like to remind you as always to think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at conferences and conventions in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Please click the button below to inquire about speaking fees and availability.