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The Best Leadership Question:

“How Am I Doing?”


Julie and I recently got a well-deserved three-day break to Suncadia. It’s a couple hours east of Seattle. In the summer you can play golf, swim, and hike. In the winter, it’s a winter wonderland.

On our first evening we went to a neighboring winery for a quiet dinner. I hadn’t pre-planned my conversation opener… but simply asked: “Honey, how am I doing as your husband?” What followed was perhaps our best heartfelt conversation in months. She was tender in her critique. She was humble in her suggestions. She lovingly shared how I could improve.

She built me up with some nice positives too! Bottom line: I came away with valuable intel… The kind that can really help improve a husband, a father and a leader.

Question: If you lead – At any level… when was the last time you asked, “How am I doing?”

I heard once managers ask, “How are you doing?”

Leaders ask, “How am I doing?”

I have found every time I’ve asked my children my wife my clients… How am I doing? I received valuable feedback that accelerates my personal leadership, growth, and influence in their lives.

Part of my leadership manifesto is to be humble enough to ask for feedback and then make adjustments in order to be a joy to those I love and serve. Try it this week… four words: “How am I doing?”

Your partner in success,

Steve Gutzler

Contact Steve for information on keynote presentations, team workshops, and one on one coaching at:



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This post was originally posted on Steve Gutzler and Leadership Quest blog on July 24th, 2012. 

This week’s Leader in the Spotlight is Donald Van de Mark! He is the author of The Good Among the Great, 19 Traits of the Most Admirable, Creative and Joyous People, a speaker and former CNN anchor and CNBC reporter. I am so excited to have him as part of our Leader series!

1. As a distinguished news anchor at CNN, what was a key learning in your interviews with politicians, business celebrities, and achieving individuals?
That the traits that distinguish a great person from a great achiever were common to the good men and women at the top – the admirable, joyous, lasting leaders.

2. What is one leadership principle that has guided your personal leadership as a news anchor and now a successful author and keynote speaker?
More important than the will to win is the will to prepare, which is humbling as well as wise.

Continue Reading…

Reblogged from Steve Gutzler and Leadership Quest, July 17th, 2012

This week’s Leader in the Spotlight is Bob Burg!


Bob Burg is an internationally-acclaimed speaker and author on the topics of influence and business development. His books, including The Go-Giver (coauthored with John David Mann) and Endless Referrals have both sold over a quarter million copies and are two of four books to sell over 200,000 copies each. Visit Bob at and download first chapters from several of his books. Also, while there, check out and subscribe to his blog.

I am so thrilled and honored to have him as part of this series. He has provided great insight into leadership and marketing below.

1. As a highly-acclaimed speaker on influence and relationship marketing, what one piece of advice would you give to someone desiring greater success?

While I’m not sure that one piece of advice would ever be sufficient (and, if it were, it would be from people far wiser than I), I’d certainly suggest that key for anyone desiring greater success would be to shift your focus from yourself to the other person. When your focus is on providing value to others, they respond to this in a very positive way. Not only do they want to know you better; they quickly begin to like you and to trust you. They KNOW you have their best interests in both mind and heart. Of course, it’s important to be authentic in this regard. And, as you continue to establish yourself as an asset of value to others, you’ll quickly see yourself attracting people into your life who see you as the “go-to’ person, both in terms of direct business and referrals, as well. Remember that, all things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.

2. In this day and age of great turbulence, what are a couple of success keys to help us get on track with new business?

Understand that while you cannot control the economy, you can absolutely control your economy.This begins, not by looking at ways to decrease the value you provide to others but by looking for new, better and more creative ways to add it. This certainly does not mean spending more money. It does mean doing those things that your competitors are not, or won’t. While there are numerous non-monetary ways to creatively add value, they can pretty much all be put into five key areas or – what we call – elements of value. These are: Excellent, Consistently, Attention, Empathy and Appreciation. How you use these in your business during the difficult times is directly proportional to how well you survive, and even thrive. Remember, in shaky times, most business people go into retreat mode. When you, however, go into proactive mode, sure, you still might have to work harder to make the same or even a bit less money right now, but when things turn back you’ll be in position to dominate your niche.

3. Who do you look to as a leader or mentor to help inspire your personal development?

While I’ve been very fortunate to benefit from the wisdom, advice and inspiration of many people through a combination of books, audio programs, coaching and mentorship, there really isn’t one person at this time I look to as an end-all, be-all in this regard. However, I read constantly (and seem to come across exactly what I need at the time I read something) and am fortunate to be connected with many wise and caring individuals – people I’m blessed to be able to call friends – whose wisdom and inspiration I’m able to tap into on a constant basis.

4. You are the master networker, how can someone strengthen their network for business?

Thank you. Not at all sure I’m “the” master networker as there are a lot of great ones out there. Your compliment is very appreciated though. The way one strengthens their network is first, by being aware of the need to do so. Secondly, by understanding exactly what networking is and is not. For example, going to a business event, handing out business cards to everyone and “pitching” them (yuck, I hate that word unless we’re talking baseball) on your services is not networking. I define networking as “the cultivating of mutually beneficial, GIVE and take (actually, receive), win/win relationships.” When you’re more focused on providing value to others you are creating the environment for this relationship to develop. Thirdly, by learning how to network effectively. There are many excellent books on this topic by a number of excellent teachers that there is no excuse for someone not learning how to do so correctly and effectively. Fourth is going out and doing it on a steady, constant and consistent basis. Again, focusing on others and how you can provide value to them; at first not directly through your product or service. And, of course, as Harvey Mackay says in one of his many excellent books on this topic, “dig your well before you’re thirsty.” Here’s a quick tip that, by it’s very nature will help you to focus on the other person and immediately communicate value to them. Ask, what I call, “Feel-Good questions. These are questions that are not invasive or intrusive, but simply very quickly establish a rapport. If you’ll visit you can find these questions and print them out. Keep in mind: you’ll never have time to ask any more than two or three of the questions in any one conversation. Also, note the One “Key” question at the end. It’s a powerful differentiator.

5. What is one of your “high-value” practices you try to do daily?


6. How do you stay encouraged and continuously positive?

Reading good positive books and being around good, positive people. Please don’t confuse “positive” with unrealistic or a “head in the sand” type mentality. It’s nothing like that. It does mean you place yourself in a situation where encouragement and positivity is part of the very environment itself. Hey, we’re all human and discouragement does take hold at times. It’s part of life. Things don’t necessarily go as we’d like them to at times and thus, this kind of environment is extremely important.

7. What is one upcoming project you are really excited about?

More of an ongoing project. Part of our “Go-Giver” brand – based on the book by that title – is our Certified Go-Giver Coach program we have and which is growing very nicely. People who either already are speakers and/or coaches and would like to expand their information platform to be able to teach The Go-Giver methodology as well as that from my Endless Referrals book and program (or, people who are already successful entrepreneurs in another field and wish to move into speaking and/or coaching) license the materials from us and participate in our ongoing training program. We have a team of terrific people onboard already and – as mentioned – it continues to grow.

8. Your best-selling book, “The Go-Giver,” is exceptional. What would you say is the main message?

Thank you. That’s very kind of you to say. The main message is that “shifting one’s focus from getting to giving (in this case, by “giving” we mean constantly and consistently providing value to others) is not only a nice way to live life, but a very financially profitable way, as well. It’s based on Five somewhat counterintuitive Laws, which are the Laws of: “Value, Compensation, Influence, Authenticity and Receptivity.”

9. Bob, if someone is an entrepreneur, what one resource that you have created would you recommend in your collection?

I’d suggest first reading The Go-Giver, as that book (coauthored by great friend and exceptional writer, John David Mann), presents a foundation for building a very successful and value-based business (and life). The next one would probably be Endless Referrals. This book is a true “how-to” in terms of building relationships that will lead to lots of A-list, high-quality prospect, customers and clients as well as a strong referral-based business.

10. Finally, you are truly a proven leader in your field and beyond. Who influenced you the most and shaped your remarkable life?

No question about it; my Dad. I was blessed (and still am) to have two of the greatest Parents in the world. My Dad has been the person I’ve most emulated in every way that has added to my success; especially in the way he was/is able to relate to others with tact and kindness. Everything I teach in the area of influence is based on what I’ve learned and observed from my Dad.

Thank you for your time and your thoughts. We have learned a lot from your expertise and hope to hear from you again soon.

To learn more about Bob Burg and his work, find him below:

Bob Burg’s Website
Bob Burg on Facebook
Bob Burg on Twitter
Bob Burg’s The Go Giver