Monday, August 29, 2011

It Takes A Hurricane

While watching the drama of Hurricane Irene unfold as she made her way up the east coast of North America, I was impressed by the good humour, co-operation, camaraderie, and overall humanity of the folks who reside in the path of the storm front. The media did a great job of televising scenes of people working together, boarding up buildings and doing whatever they could to make certain that everyone in their respective communities was safe.

Tragedy and impending danger tend to bring people together in a universal environment of compassion, charity and civility that is often absent when things are good.

When widespread, collective problems or fears abate, most of us return to our usual human pattern of competition, aggression, avoidance, and intolerance of others.During a hurricane, a war, a flood or an earthquake the love of mankind and our need to aid and nurture each and every person threatened by a common disaster becomes a singular, communal driving force.

Why can people not consistently maintain and exhibit the natural tribal loyalty and altruism that is innate in all of us?

Human beings are essentially pack animals, which helps to explain why we live in cities and work in huge buildings together. Pack animals know that survival depends on the power that is created when of a number of members of the species live, hunt, share and work together in harmony. Of course our pack-communities are what we know as countries, cities, neighbourhoods and companies, but they represent essentially the same patterns and hierarchies that we can observe in nature.

The wolf-pack is perhaps the most popular non-human example of an effective tribal cooperative.

In the wolf community a leader is selected when he shows superiority over any weaker males who dare to take him on in an all-out fight. In the human community we occasionally have dog-fights to select our leaders, but most often we have a democratic election process where a superior leader is chosen from a slate of qualified candidates.

Whether wolf-pack or human-pack, the hierarchical process is the same: The leader makes decisions for the pack and the followers carry out the work required to maintain the security and integrity of the commune. In both cases, leaders who under-perform can be removed and replaced at almost any time. In case of wolves and humans, replacing a leader usually requires another fight for superiority.

The major difference between wolves and humans is that wolves have almost complete respect and admiration for their leaders while humans often disregard them or resent them to the core.

Getting back to Hurricane Irene; it seems that human beings quite naturally and unavoidably fall back on their primordial instincts when danger threatens the pack. At that point, gone is ego and selfishness; gone is arrogance and superiority; gone is competition and intolerance. In the face of peril, the negative elements of human interaction are quickly replaced by the positive elements of the pack-animal system. Cooperation, collaboration, nurturing and protective instincts flood the minds of the victims, leading them to unusual and amazing acts of courage and kindness.When danger threatens, people become almost universally good again. They become akin to the wolves that will fight to the death as a group to protect all members of the pack.

When people work together during an impending or actual disaster to protect, save, nurture, and help one another it is a truly wonderful thing to see.

When human beings are not threatened and the usual human vices of egotism, greed, guile, selfishness and rudeness return to the fore, our species takes on an unpleasant air that most of the members of our pack find intolerable. We often hate what we see in the human race, but as the Bible says in John 8:7, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Ask yourself if you have been guilty of being human lately.

If you answer, “NO”, I think you might need to take stock of the human vices that we have all learned to recognize and acknowledge as unacceptable behaviour in the new millennium.

Most of us make excuses for our vices and sins. We are constantly casting stones at others because they did something to us first.

We believe that a first strike at our integrity, dignity or ego is a perfect reason for us to retaliate in kind, or with even greater force.
All over the world today, fingers are being raised to errant motorists and foul language is being used to upset timid sales clerks. Husbands are yelling at wives and wives are hollering at daughters and sons. Every day, neighbours silently hate neighbours and employees and bosses hate each other collectively. Conversely, in the wolf-packs of the world, there might be a fight for superiority going on somewhere but more often than not if you find a pack of wolves you will find them living, hunting and sharing together in harmony. They know instinctively that they must work together to assure the survival of their community.

Why can’t people be more like wolves?

Let’s not wait for the next disaster before we begin caring for the other human beings on earth again. Let’s start now!

All the Best!
Wayne Kehl

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How To Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking

Everyone on earth, except perhaps those who have completely taken leave of their senses, has fears of one kind or another. Fear is as much a part of the human emotional system as joy, anger and love. Many times, our fears add value to our lives because they prevent us from doing dangerous things but on other occasions our fears detract from our lives because they prevent us from doing the things we truly want to do.

Everyone has different fears.
Various studies tell us that one of the greatest fears known to mankind is the fear of public speaking. In my case, that is not true at all. I do a lot of public speaking and not only am I not frightened by the prospect of it, but I enjoy it to the point that I look forward to it. I did however, have a profound fear of public speaking in my youth. Until now, I had not considered how I overcame my greatest fear because it happened over a period of years and after a number of fumbles and bad starts. It was an evolutionary change brought on by the necessities of my career. The more I did, the more my confidence rose and the less fearful I became.
Usually, the fear itself is not as great a challenge as the ability to overcome it. Facing the idea of battling a fear head-on is much more daunting than actually living quietly with it.
In order to reduce or eliminate a fear, we must understand what is causing it. Fears are warnings of things that have not happened yet. When you are fearful, your mind is setting up a series of mental alarms and emotional defence mechanisms designed to prevent you from doing something. The emotion of fear and the accompanying emotions of anxiety, trepidation, depression or anger are all put into play when the assemblage of your experience, knowledge, memories, nightmares and advice of others come together to focus on the event, thing, person or situation before you. Even though nothing bad has happened yet, the combined body of intelligence that is your psyche’ begins to tell you to avoid a situation that could, conceivably put you in harm’s way. If you allow fear to control you, it will never cease to torment you.
When fear takes hold, it causes us to become weak and helpless.
If the fear is imminent and potentially harmful enough, it might cause us to react with a physical action of some sort. This is commonly known as the fight or flight response. When our brain tells us that fight or flight is necessary, our reactions can vary from a full-on attack on the person or thing that we fear, or a simple turn-and-run-away response. In both cases, our intention is to save ourselves from potential harm. If we attack, we might destroy the object of our fears or drive it off...thereby neutralizing it. If we run away we will leave it behind...at least temporarily.
Living with fear or living a life of fight or flight is not an acceptable way to get through our short time on earth and accordingly, it is best to move beyond our fears. However, we cannot push past a fear until we understand what causes it. In the case of the fear of public speaking, I learned over time, that the basis for my early fear was that I had a desperate need to avoid failure. I had an unspoken belief that if what I had to say was inadequate for the audience, or if I stammered, stuttered or forgot my lines, I would be made to look foolish in front of my peers and superiors. In the worst case scenario I might be jeered, insulted and chased off the stage.  I was afraid not only of the actual speaking, but of the ridicule, embarrassment, dishonour and distress it might cause me.
The next time you are faced with a fear, ask yourself these questions:
·         What am I afraid of?
·         Why are other people I know not afraid of this?
·         What is the worst thing that could happen?
·         Will challenging this fear end my life?
·         Will this situation cause me any physical harm?
·         What precautions can I take to avoid failure?
·         Will the embarrassment, dishonour or distress of failing damage my career or my relationships with those most important to me?
·         Will others forgive me if I fail?
·         Can I forgive myself if I fail?
·         Is it worth the effort to overcome this fear?
Most fears cannot be overcome immediately.
Because real fears are lodged firmly in the instinctive part of your brain, the Amygdala, your fight or flight response will continue until the cognitive part of your brain, the Neo-cortex rationalizes the fact that there is no imminent harm presented by the object of your fears. With strong desire and real effort, you can convince your brain, in time to accept the negative potential events you fear and eliminate its effects on you.
If you never give up trying to overcome your fear and face it often you will eventually succeed. Practice speaking in front of a mirror, in front of friends, and in front of small groups. When you see the smiles on the faces of your friendly audience your confidence will soar. When your listeners nod knowingly and applaud when you are done, you will be a public speaker and you will no longer have to live with fear.
Five steps to public speaking success:
·         The only way to overcome fear is to put your toe in the water and test the temperature often. Speak every chance you get.
·         Have friends or loved ones come with you for emotional support while you try it out.
·         While you are trying it out, convince yourself that failure is an option and that once you have gotten all of the missteps and fumbles out of the way, you will improve.
·         Always maintain a belief that you can succeed.
·         Practice, practice, practice!
Most people can be much better speakers than they actually think they can. Push your fear out the door and give yourself a chance to be great!
All the Best

Wayne Kehl

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Leadership Can Be An Unpopular Business

Throughout my career in leadership I had to accept this one major truth: I will not always make decisions that will make me universally popular.  

When leading, we must always put our followers first; we must always do our best for our team members and we must always be servant leaders. However, in the course of business, as leaders we will occasionally find ourselves in a position where in order to do the best for the team we must make hard decisions that are not easily understood or agreed to by them.  

In order to lead, you must have the trust of the team. However, you must also do everything you can to maintain the profitability of your organization. If you are in a leadership position and never find yourself making unpopular decisions, you are probably not doing a very good job.  

Always communicate the reasons for your difficult decisions to your team. Through open, honest, timely communication you will gain their undying trust.  

A leader who is indecisive, inconsistent, misleading, or a pushover will be much less popular than one who is open, honest, decisive, and courageous. Team members need strong leaders; leaders they can trust to fight for them. Are you that leader? 

I am Wayne Kehl from Dynamic Leadership

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What Is Leadership?

With a title like that you might think I bit off a little more than I can chew. You might be right, but because there are literally thousands of articles, blogs and websites dedicated to discussions of leadership, I wanted to offer a logical definition of it in a thousand words or less. Here goes...

Despite the multiplicity of interpretations we read every day, leadership can be defined simply as:

“Organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal”

A leader can be anyone. There is no need for any formal authority to lead. A person simply needs to have the will, the courage, the charisma and the ability to capture the imagination of one or more followers in order to be considered a leader.

Centuries ago, it was assumed that good and powerful leaders had naturally occurring leadership traits that set them apart from others...Hence, the term, “leaders are born not made”.  However, more recent studies have made it clear that given the right set of circumstances and with the appropriate motivation, most people can become true and effective leaders.

Some of the naturally occurring traits that make leadership ability come more easily to some people are:

·         Intelligence

·         Assertiveness

·         Diligence

·         Openness

·         Courage

 When those instinctive traits are combined with learned skills and natural talents, variable levels of leadership ability may be reached. Without all of those traits, effective leadership is possible but much more difficult to achieve.

It is important to note that one can lead much more effectively when the leadership endeavour involves something that the leader has good expertise in so that he or she may set an example”

It must also be something in which the followers have a need for or an interest in being lead in. For example: An expert tennis player might make a great tennis coach but a lousy sales manager. In addition, there would be no point in trying to lead someone to better customer service skills when he or she works in the depths of a coal mine.

 As trite as those examples might seem, it is not unusual that people are put into leadership positions that they are not capable of handling simply because they have done well in another unrelated area. Also, self-promoting or toxic people who have no business trying to lead will often attempt to influence or lead coworkers in inappropriate directions. Both situations will create poor results.

“Good and powerful leaders need to have self-awareness and a solid grip on their own emotions”

 Leadership skill necessarily includes the ability to set a mood or tone for the team. Leaders unavoidably telegraph their moods and attitudes to their followers who will adopt the preeminent emotional tone of the leader and carry it throughout the organization.

“One must not assume the only way to achieve financial success or even team success is through servant leadership, participative leadership, or compassionate leadership”

Given the right impetus and favourable circumstances an autocratic, command and control leader can drive his team to success both in the business world, on a sports court or on a battlefield. In the twenty-first century, we tend to reject that style of leadership, but it can be an effective (albeit, potentially negative and harmful) form of leadership nonetheless. If the team is not engaged and motivated, a strong autocrat might be the only leader who can create the environment needed for success.

Modern leadership lecturers and writers also reject the term “management”, since it seems to imply a lack of compassion and favours transactional or task orientation as opposed to transformational or people-oriented leadership. In reality, all organizations have some form of tasks and a specific number of people so it is evident that management may still be an integral part of the leadership cycle in many cases.

 “In essence, even bad leadership is a form of leadership”

The efficacy of any leadership style can only be measured in results. In other words if the team meets or exceeds all of its goals, under the direction of its leader, those who benefit from those results may assume that the leadership was good regardless of the leader’s style. However, it is important to note that bad leadership in any form is usually short-lived.

The best and generally, most effective form of leadership occurs when a leader is able to maintain a high level of concern for his or her people while simultaneously keeping high-level performance paramount in the minds of all participants. This form of leadership often goes a step beyond servant leadership because it allows the leader to accurately control production and monitor results for maximum success. A leader who can juggle tasks and people without sacrificing integrity for either is a great leader indeed. That leader will almost always turn out better performance, more production and measurable growth while presiding over happy, well-engaged employees.

“It is important to recognize that groups of working people are assembled primarily to create some sort of product or service”

Great leaders are able to create buy-in to the vision of the organization while accepting and embracing the direction of its leaders. The key to buy-in and strong followership is communication.

"Great Leaders are Great Communicators!"

Ten ways to recognize a great leader:

1.      Great leaders create a sense of unity amongst all team members.

2.      Great leaders have strong interpersonal skills and they encourage interpersonal communication amongst team members.

3.      Great leaders have the ability to create a unanimous desire amongst team members to achieve common goals.

4.      Great leaders communicate their vision to their team enthusiastically.

5.      Great leaders constantly seek feedback from team members.

6.      Great leaders never stop learning new leadership techniques.

7.      Great leaders set fair and reasonable performance standards and assist team members in achieving them.

8.      Great leaders set a conscientious, diligent example for the team.

9.      Great leaders never settle for mediocrity from themselves or from their team.

10.  Great leaders give credit for great results to the team.

 What is leadership?

“Leadership is the embodiment of the positive dynamics evident in all great human relationships within one person or leadership team!”

All the Best
Wayne Kehl 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Are You Living An Authentic Life?

There is nothing sadder than the death of someone who has never lived!

Here is a quote from the late rocker, Jimi Hendrix: “I’m the one who’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.”

This quote speaks to me of the human need to go along or succumb to the pressures of the groups we find ourselves being members of. In life, we tend to do what our leaders tell us to do whether or not we agree and whether or not they may be contrary to our own desires. We wear fashionable clothing that we don’t like, we work at jobs we do not enjoy, we are polite when we would rather be outspoken, and we often do whatever we are told without thought.

As Jimi said, we must accept that our leaders, mentors and critics will not be there to tell us how to live our deaths even though they constantly told us how to live our lives.

I admire people who are authentic and true to themselves; the people who do what THEY want to do despite criticism from others. As long as their actions and thoughts are positive they harm no one.

For me, success is the happiness and satisfaction that comes from doing the things that we truly want to do. After all, there is nothing sadder than the death of a person who has never lived!

I am Wayne Kehl from Dynamic Leadership

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Value Of Honesty

As children, most of us had parents who tried to convince us that cheaters never prosper and liars will not go to heaven. The theory is of course a great one, but almost every day in the news I hear about business leaders being charged and convicted for a variety of commercial crimes. 

Sadly, I am beginning to think that a lot of prosperous people are the worst liars on earth and that heaven must be crowded with some of the most philanthropic cheaters ever born. Happily, we are all aware of completely scrupulous people who prosper and reach great financial heights while exercising pure honesty. However, despite the teachings of our parents, dishonesty is still a large factor in business today.

Do cheaters and liars prosper?...Of course they do! Do they live happy lives?...Of course not!


There are basically five types of liars in the business world:

1.       Compulsive liars ...People who are so psychologically insecure that they believe lying is necessary for survival. They will pile one lie on top of the next and sometimes begin to believe them.

2.       Blatantly dishonest, remorseless liars ... Those who cannot differentiate between right and wrong and believe that lying is a great way to get what they want.  They are usually extremely greedy and some of them have actual criminal intent.

3.       Strategic liars ...People who stretch the truth, make up false stories or withhold the whole truth in order to win or make a point. These folks are often the best negotiators and deal makers in large, successful businesses.

4.       White liars...They are the ones who believe that a small white lie now and again is not really a lie at all. These people often justify a lie because they believe it helped someone or at the very least did not harm anyone.

5.       Situational liars...These are the lesser liars who do not make a habit of lying but will twist and turn the truth in order to avoid an unpleasant or difficult situation. They might cheat on their taxes or fake an illness to avoid work.


You can find people from all five types at all levels of business. The most common form of dishonesty at the management or executive level is the Strategic type. North American business standards require that corporations succeed and grow. In order to grow, businesses must compete with others in their field and often the best way to show superiority to potential customers is to tell lies about their products and services. It is also a common way to lure new employees into the fold or convince others not to leave.
Business leaders who convince customers and employees of falsehoods in order to grow and succeed are often rewarded with huge paycheques and amazing bonuses. In some cases they are pushed into a web of lies in order to keep their jobs or get the next promotion. Success is the primary goal and anything short of outright criminal activity is justifiable as long as profitability is maintained. Occasionally the dishonesty crosses the line and alas, criminal activity ensues. The twentieth and twenty-first centuries are replete with successful executives-turned lawbreakers.
Some high level leaders think nothing of lying to employees and customers. They wear their dishonesty like a crown and pride themselves on their ability to negotiate favourable deals at the seemingly minor expense of truth.
They justify their larceny by convincing themselves and those around them that the business world is a kill or be killed environment where only the strong shall survive and a win by any means is a good win!


Despite their financial success, most dishonest leaders are never truly happy. They are often cynical, distrustful and fearful that someone might lie to them or catch them in one of their own lies. Many often show signs of extreme fatigue and others seemed distant or agitated at the most inappropriate times. They have difficulty being present and they will occasionally lapse into inexplicable disengagement or anger.
No matter how much money they make, they can never relax and enjoy it.  They live in a jungle of mistruths, misfeasance and larceny that no normal human psyche can withstand for an extended period of time. Often, the thirst for success is so powerful that even the money they want so badly will not soothe their troubled souls.
It is true what they say: “Money does not bring happiness!”


When you live of life of pure honesty you have far less to worry about! It is almost impossible to regret being honest and telling the truth virtually never brings any personal guilt. Honesty produces wonderful reputations and creates friends wherever it goes. Most people want to associate with an honest person and everyone will come to the aid of someone who consistently tells them the truth. Honest people smile a lot and find the positive elements in everything they do. Often the positive attention they garner will bring opportunities for financial success that dishonest folks will never be offered. They are the good people of the world and others enjoy watching them succeed.
The trust that honesty brings can catapult good people to fabulous wealth!

Honesty, like success cannot be measured in money.  Honest people may or may not achieve the financial success of their less-honest brethren, but regardless of their bank balances, their lives will be more fulfilled and they will be truly honoured and celebrated after death. They are the real leaders of mankind... the ones we all look up to and the ones we all want to emulate.

What is the value of honesty?................It is Priceless!

All the Best!
Wayne Kehl