Sunday, April 24, 2011

Positive Passion Leads To Success

“Genuine leaders never pursue or expect adulation or “star” status. When they receive it, they accept it graciously and move on to the next challenge. Leadership is not about personal victory. It is about winning through teamwork and positive energy by and for every member of the team.”

 Wayne Kehl

My book, “A Passion For Leadership” is about the power of positive reinforcement in the workplace and in life. I called the simple, yet complex concept of consistent and persistent positive reinforcement, Positive Passion. In the book, I created the following anagram for the word, POSITIVE to bring greater meaning to positivity and to make it more memorable. Here it is:


If you live with EXCITEMENT, VISION, INTEREST, TOLERANCE, INTELLIGENCE, SENSITIVITY, and take advantage of the OPPORTUNITIES they bring, you will find the POWER that leads to SUCCESS!”


If you practice Positive Passion, you will have the power to accomplish anything and everything you want. Remember what I always say, “no one has ever succeeded through pure negativity.” You cannot possibly get the things you want out of life unless you approach everything you do with a positive attitude. I want every one of you to be successful and I want every one of you to be the best you can be…Most importantly though, I want every one of you to be happy. Happy people are the winners in our society and they have the power to do anything they want!


The power of Positive Passion will make your job much easier too! Imagine a workplace where everyone is happy! Imagine a workplace where every task that each and every one of your employees undertakes, is done with a smile. Imagine how a consistently happy employee group could impact on your sales. Just imagine the comments you would receive from your customers if they met nothing but happy, cheerful employees in every area of your business. Think about how easy your job would be if all of your employees came to work with a good attitude everyday and none of them ever got into a dispute. Imagine what life would be like if none of your people ever talked badly about any of the others.


Positive Passion is an opportunity to grow as a person and to improve your relationships with virtually every person you come into contact with. Just think how much stress you could shed if you drove all negativity from your mind. The majority of stress we carry around with us is based in negative thoughts and negative situations. If you can simply begin to see only the positive elements of any situation and look for ways to be positive with every person you meet, you will find that stress will become a thing of the past and you will greet every morning with a smile on your face. When you think negative thoughts you almost always create a negative result. If for example you believe that you are going to have a bad day…you will have a bad day…guaranteed! If you believe that one of your employees is going to let you down…they will surely let you down.


Have you ever noticed who the popular men and women are in any group of people?

They are generally the ones who have only good things to say about people, things, and situations. They constantly make positive comments and find the good in everyone. When someone does something good or bad, the popular people encourage them and offer them positive reinforcement. If something goes well, they pat them on the back. When something goes badly, they let them know that they have done their best and that they should keep trying. They turn every challenge into an opportunity to reinforce the value of each human being they meet.


Have you ever noticed which people are referred to as nice and which people are most trusted in any group of people?...I have! They are those positive people who say kind, supportive things about everyone they meet. They never speak badly about anyone behind their backs and they always counter negative commentary from others with a positive point of view. The thing I find interesting about this phenomenon is that mankind cherishes and reveres positive people and yet most of us spend a huge amount of our time being negative.


It is almost as if we choose to be negative because we think that a purely positive attitude is something we can never really achieve. We seem to feel that negativity is somehow honorable and appropriate when we are not getting our own way. We also seem to think negativity will somehow or other create a positive result. We think that if we criticize someone, they will become better…but they won’t. We think that if we complain about a problem it will go away…but it won’t. We think that if we speak badly about the place we work, our boss will find out about it and suddenly go out of his make things better for us…But he or she won’t!”

“It all starts with you,”

This is your opportunity if you choose to accept it, folks! Choose to be positive…Choose to be happy and successful! Take the opportunity to be positive about every aspect of your life and you will always win.

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl
From: "A Passion For Leadership" ©Wayne Kehl, 2008 Available at Amazon.com at this link: Order "A Passion For Leadership"

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter Is For Leaders

Easter is a holiday celebrated each spring in many countries throughout the world. It is essentially a Christian religious celebration based on the scriptures which indicate that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. Each year we celebrate the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Interestingly, Easter can be considered a moveable feast since the date of it is not fixed in relation to our calendar. It is in fact, celebrated on the first Sunday after the northern hemisphere’s full moon or vernal equinox. Hence the date can vary between March 22 and April 25.

“So, why do we celebrate Easter with eggs and bunnies?” you might ask. These modern-day symbols of Easter are attributed to ancient legends. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the earth hatched from an egg and therefore it symbolized new life that returns. The Egyptians also believed that rabbits symbolized new life and rebirth. The visit of the Easter Bunny apparently came about due to a German legend that a poor woman decorated and hid eggs for her children during a famine. Just as the children found the eggs, a large rabbit was seen hopping away. Most children these days know about the resurrection of Jesus but very few give any thought as to why they eat a lot of candy eggs and bunnies at Easter.

The point of all of this is that the human race has shown itself to have an incredible propensity for creating traditional holidays based on ancient stories, despite the graveness of their origins. People need traditions in their lives but they tend to diminish the seriousness of the religious aspects of them by creating icons like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Valentines Hearts have all but eradicated the remembrance of Saint Valentine, himself. These icons appear to have been created to make the traditions less serious and more fun for children. Human beings like to have fun whenever they can and the more light-hearted aspects of the celebrations are what creates dedication to, and longevity of, our traditions.

When we celebrate Easter we are really celebrating the rebirth of the greatest leader of mankind, Jesus. Despite any religious view you might have it occurs to me that when Easter Sunday comes around each year, we should think about mankind and how history is replete with leaders that made our world what it is today. Non-Christian countries also have celebrations based on ancient leaders and icons. Muslims, for example celebrate Ramadan, which is a month-long celebration for the revelations of God to humankind. It is apparently, the month in which the first verses of the Qur’an or Koran were revealed to the prophet and great Muslim leader, Muhammad. In India, Sikhs celebrate Diwali, which is said to celebrate the release from prison of the sixth guru, Hargobind who rescued 52 Hindu kings held captive by the Mughal Emperor in the Gwalior Fort in 1619. In China they have the Duanwu Festival or Dragon Boat Festival which is believed to be a celebration of the ancient Chinese leader and poet, Qu Yuan who drowned himself in the Miluo River after being banished by the reigning king of the state of Chu. As you can see, virtually every culture on earth has celebrations based on great leaders of the past.

The great that that are honored with holidays all over the world possessed a common thread...each and every one of them is known to have been a kind, caring leader who thought nothing of his own life or safety. They were willing to give up their own lives for their people.

We don’t need a holiday to celebrate the greatness of those who went before us. We can quite easily honor and respect the goodness of mankind’s leaders every day. We should all educate ourselves on what made the great leaders of the past deserving of such deep reverence by modern people and attempt to emulate, in some small way, the thoughts, actions and attitudes of them. We can all become better people and a good first step is to learn from those who went before us.

When you celebrate Easter, Ramadan, Diwali, or the Dragon Boat Festival this year, have fun, enjoy the day, and spend a few minutes thinking about how those great leaders of the past made it possible for us all to enjoy better lives.

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Harassment...A Leadership Dilemma

The world of business and industry has improved dramatically for women over the past two decades but we are still hearing a lot about male chauvinism, glass ceilings and gender discrimination. Despite the positive efforts of business leaders, I personally believe that there is a diminished but definite level of unfair and unfounded gender discrimination still alive and well in North America today. We are evolving to a better world, but evolution is a slow process. This discussion of harassment is intended to bring some clarity to one of the most provocative elements of the glass ceiling challenge.
Here is one interpretation of the word, “harassment”:

When used in the workplace it can be generally defined as unwelcome comments or conduct based on sex, race or other legally protected characteristics that unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance or is intimidating, hostile or offensive to another person.

Examples of sexual harassment can include but are not limited to:

Leering or staring in a sexually suggestive manner; offensive remarks about appearance, clothing or body parts; unwanted touching, pinching, patting, or intentional brushing against another person’s body; telling sexual or lewd jokes; making sexual gestures, making unwanted sexual advances, displaying or circulating sexually suggestive emails, letters, notes, images or other materials.

(Each jurisdiction has its own laws and interpretations on the subject)

Note that the harassment need not necessarily be directed at the person who ultimately makes the complaint. Any of these scenarios when overheard or viewed from a distance that make another person uncomfortable can be construed as harassment. Note too, that although men are considered the usual culprits, sexual harassment is not the sole domain of males. Women can in fact be guilty of harassing men or other women, should they be guilty of initiating any of the scenarios noted above.

The distaff side of society has men running-scared on the sexual harassment front. There has been so much media attention focused on it that men are often afraid to be too friendly or simply act like themselves around women at work. As much as harassment should not be tolerated, it must be real and tangible before it is acted upon. Interestingly, as business and industry evolve, we are beginning to find that some women tend to mimic men in the workplace in order to move up the corporate ladder. That evolutionary behavior seems to include more cursing, more talking about sex, more leering at men, more sexually suggestive remarks about men, (and to men) on an ever-increasing level.

While most men are trying to be more politically correct and cautious about how they speak to women, a small number of ladies are reversing the roles by becoming more provocative and in some cases by adopting the chauvinistic ways of men. Unfortunately, women must be cautious when emulating male attitudes since more-liberated, less-feminine conduct might be misconstrued as promiscuity or even sexual harassment against men. As they endeavour to shatter the glass ceiling, women in the workplace have a very complex line to walk.

It is important to understand that anti-discrimination laws are not concrete, universal codes of conduct. In other words the laws do not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not intended to be serious. The conduct must be so offensive as to alter the working conditions of the person being harassed. The harassment must actually create a tangible and negative effect on the life of the complainant or be sufficient to create a hostile work environment. In other words, people who have a bad sense of humor or a bad attitude are not to be considered guilty of sexual harassment unless it becomes an extremely egregious or harmful matter for another employee. Before anyone brings a formal charge of sexual harassment, they should document their complaint and make certain they can formally back up the justifications for it.

A charge of harassment can end a career or destroy a life so it must be taken very seriously!

Some suggestions on how to deal with harassment:

Always remain calm and think before reacting.

• Always respond to improper behavior rationally and without anger.

• Bring complaints of discrimination or harassment against others only when you know it is real and deliberate but never allow genuine discrimination or harassment to go unnoticed. Genuine harassment should be stopped and the offender dealt with very seriously!

• Managers, supervisors, and leaders at all levels must do everything they can to discourage and prevent harassment in the workplace.

• Parents must impress upon their children that harassment is very wrong from an early age.

• When faced with adversity or prejudice at work, forge on with dignity.

Harassment in the workplace is a very real dilemma for leaders because it is bad for morale and can affect production and performance levels. Men and women can get along very well at work when they strive deliberately for it while carefully avoiding the common pitfalls. Many women are moving up corporate ladders by practicing patience and pushing aside stereotypes while refusing to accept anything less than what they deserve. Persistence and consistently good performance will win over gender bias or negativity fostered by old stereotypes and chauvinistic attitudes every time. Just think about some of the great female leaders of history such as Elizabeth Fry or Mother Teresa. They acted with gentility and kindness in a male dominated world at times and in places where women were more likely to fail than succeed…yet succeed they did!

All the Best!
Wayne Kehl

From “A Man on Women” © Wayne Kehl 2010

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

If Babies Ruled The World

On April 2, 2011 my daughter gave birth to a bouncing baby girl. I put a photo of the little darling on my Facebook page with the caption, “This is my new granddaughter. Cute Huh?” Within seconds the comments and “likes” started coming in. Within 24 hours I received dozens of complimentary messages from old friends and people I don’t really know all over the world. People who had never corresponded with me in any way, shape or form in the past suddenly found me interesting and felt the need to comment on my granddaughter. They said wonderful things like, “she is so beautiful”; “she is absolutely precious”; “so adorable”; “priceless,” to name a few. People sent me emails and stopped me in the street to congratulate me, almost as if I had been the one that gave birth. As I pondered this sudden and unexpected notoriety, I asked myself the following questions:

Why is that people of all ages, races, cultures and genders are so attracted to babies?

• Why would people who never communicated with me before want to communicate with me just because my daughter had a baby?

• What is it about a baby that causes such immediate outpourings of emotion from people who don’t even know the baby or its parents?

• Why do people wish the best of everything to the family members of a new baby whether they know them or not?

Now please don’t get me wrong...I have appreciated and enjoyed every one of the kind comments I have received but I have to think that the answers to these questions are rooted in psychology. Babies after all, serve little purpose immediately after their entry into the world. They really just spend their time being extra work for their mothers and fathers as they develop and mature. Most people do not enjoy changing diapers, late-night feedings, or screaming fits but all of those things are forgotten whenever a baby smiles or makes a funny noise. People who are excited by the birth of another person’s baby have deliberately forgotten about the challenges of baby-rearing and are instead overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the miracle and wonder of birth. Babies bring joy to all who view them and their mere presence is cause for celebration. Here are some reasons why babies would make better world-leaders than adults do:

1. Babies are totally trustworthy. They are incapable of deceit, malice or guile.

2. Babies are always cute despite their physical appearance. They are far too precious to ever be considered ugly.

3. Babies speak badly of no one. Their speech is limited to short, unintelligible blurbs that are always assumed to be positive.

4. Babies bring such joy to their families that other people want to share in the emotional outpouring.

5. Babies provide a positive image of the present. They have no history and their future always looks bright.

6. Babies are not selfish, arrogant or greedy. They will not learn those things for years to come.

7. Babies are helpless and in need of nurturing. Most adults achieve great satisfaction from nurturing others.

8. Babies are loved by everyone. Only the worst human beings would actually dislike a baby.

9. Babies never argue or criticize. They must be trained to do that by their peers and parents.

10. Babies provide adults with a much more positive view of the world than they can possibly garner from other adults.

These observations brought me to the realization that babies represent the best of the human race. If you re-read the ten items above, you will soon recognize some traits that we would like to see in our bosses, leaders, spouses, friends and family members. It is clear that if everyone on earth possessed those qualities, we would seldom have fights, arguments, wars or any other form of strife. If babies ruled the world, there would be no stress, no psychosis, no psychosomatic illness and very little need for psychiatric help.

Of course, I know that physical and intellectual limitations would prevent babies from actually ruling the world as it is today. However, wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if more adults dropped their guards of defensiveness, their walls of egoism, their images of importance, their need to be better than others and simply learned to be kinder, gentler people?

Babies just want to live, to learn, and to love. Why can’t we all be like that?

We can all learn something from babies. The next time you see a newborn baby, think about the joy that they bring just by being in the world. Imagine how we could all benefit from living life with the simple, untainted qualities of our tiniest human beings.

In the words of my children: “Babies Rule!”

All the Best

Wayne Kehl

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What Makes A Superstar Employee?

The secret to success that all great employers have discovered is as simple as, “right person-right job.” When people are placed into jobs they can excel in every time, miracles can happen. Think about the following questions:

Have you ever noticed how managers, supervisors and leaders of all kinds often expect everyone to perform at the same level?

• Do you ever wonder why some people become superstars in their jobs, outperforming all others in the same field?

• Do you wish you could be acknowledged as the very best at what you do?

Just as in the fields of entertainment and athletics, every profession has its superstars. In any workplace it is quite easy to find someone who consistently does more work in a shorter period of time than the rest of their team. Often they will also turn out a better product and make fewer mistakes than their less capable counterparts.

“So, why can’t everyone perform at the same level?”

The answer has less to do with aptitude than it does with motivation and behaviour. Aptitude can be defined as natural skill, talent or job-specific intelligence. That comes with time, but at the core of every superstar is a natural motivation toward the work he or she does. Athletes are often borne with natural size, excellent hand-eye coordination or exceptional speed, but before they have the opportunity to show off their abilities they have to be motivated to become athletes. They must have a desire to run, throw, kick, skate, bat or do whatever activity is required. If they have no interest or motivation toward athletics, they will struggle, fumble, and ultimately fail while those borne with the same natural physical characteristics AND a great interest in being a superstar athlete will succeed.

“Behaviour is the offspring of motivational satisfaction.”

Hence, those who are highly motivated will exhibit better attitudes and their behaviour is likely to be peppered with excitement and elation. On the other hand, their less-motivated counterparts will ultimately exhibit lethargy, disinterest and defeat.

The same phenomenon that we see in athletes applies to every person and every job on earth. When we place people in jobs that they have no real desire to do, the best we can expect is mediocre results. For example, if we were to take two people of identical ages, identical IQ’s, identical education, but with contrary methodological motivations and put them both in the profession of accounting we will probably find that one does better than the other. It is conceivable in extreme cases that after their training is complete one will become a superstar accountant and the other will not be able to do his or her own personal taxes.

“We all enjoy doing things we do well and there is a greater chance of us doing well at something we enjoy because our motivation will drive us to greater effort and better results.”

Despite all of that, employers and employees keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Employers continue to expect benchmark performance from every person in every job and employees keep applying for and acquiring jobs that they have no chance of ever performing well in. When that happens, a performance bottleneck occurs as the motivated employees work around the poor performers and the less-motivated workers inadvertently or deliberately slow everyone else down.

“In many cases the poor performers do not know or will not accept that they are not as motivated as their superstar co-workers.”

Usually poor performers simply resent over-achievers for their obvious tenacity and drive and tell themselves that they are just as good as anyone else. Their self-deception often causes them to make excuses for their poor performance and to look for ways to make the superstars look bad. The result: Poor morale, lack of teamwork and ultimately, reduced production and poor financial performance for the entire organization.

What is the answer? For employees, it is imperative that they know what their motivations are and then seek out jobs that excite them. People who apply for jobs that do not interest them for the sole purpose of achieving status or fortune will generally achieve neither. Employers who hire random bodies or people who say the right things during interviews instead of hiring people who are truly motivated to do the job they are offering, are continually disappointed. Often they are left scratching their heads as to what went wrong. If you want to be happier in your work, identify your passions and find a job where you can realize and cultivate them.

“If you want to run a high-performing workplace, there are a lot of motivational assessment tools on the market that can help you avoid the all-too-common mistake of hiring unmotivated employees. Buy them and use them.”

Highly successful businesses with superstar workers do not happen by accident. They are the product of great leadership that puts that right person in the right job every time. And don’t forget that very successful people get to do what they do best everyday so discover what motivates you and do everything you can to make it an integral part of your work.

All the Best
Wayne Kehl