Win Every Day – book review

Mark Miller sells chicken. He also writes books.

Blake Brown is the main character in Mark’s High Performance series of books. Blake is a fictional business leader who teaches us principles of influence and execution through his life story. In Mark’s new book, Win Every Day, Blake learns, from his son’s high school football coach, how to lead a team to consistent quality results. Whether or not you are a sports fan, the principles in this book can help you reach your organizational goals by bringing out the best in your people.

“We will not drift to greatness.

Coach Moore reminds Blake that we must be intentional – each and every day – if we want to achieve great things. That intentionality shows up in three ways:

  • Pursue Mastery – a level of skill where the desired behavior is consistent, execution is flawless, and the behavior is second nature.

On this point, I appreciated the important distinction between pressure-filled, discouraging expectations of specific behaviors and motivating goals that inspire us to aim for desired behaviors every day.

  • Own the Numbers – visible, personally-owned metrics that keep each person accountable

This is an area that is challenging in a faith-based non-profit organization – people progress is not easy to measure. However, Blake’s story has convinced me that it is worth the effort to define markers that make a difference that each person can care about and aim for… and celebrate when reached.

  • Help Others Win – teamwork that encourages and challenges each one to give his/her best effort

Blake also learns that individual “players” do not keep up this kind of intentionally without the leader continuing to coach the process and communicate well while guarding against arrogance and complacency.

I liked the way Mark integrated simple yet powerful principles into the story. I resonated with the combination of coaching the best from people, creating helpful systems, and using metrics to measure progress towards desired goals.

“Your choices are the only things you can control.
Choose wisely.

In our crazy complex and changing world, there is little we can control… but we do make choices every day. This book is an easy-to-read, helpful reminder of basic principles that make a difference to those we lead and in our results. When we are passionate about what we do, our results matter.

How might you apply one or more of these principles as you lead or influence others?


Win the Heart

Do you love your job? Are you excited about the work you get to do?

In my work, we talk a lot about engagement, not the pre-marriage kind of engagement, but rather the whole-hearted, full-energy, dedicated-to-our-work kind of engagement. We offer personal and professional assessments to individuals and development training to our team leaders in the hope that we can help build that type of commitment for the work we do. I’ve just read a new book that is a great resource for those of us who desire to see full-out engagement in our co-workers and wanted to share it with you.

We CARE about our people,
and we want our people to CARE about their work.

Mark Miller, author of the new book, “Win the Heart“, understands true engagement is a matter of the heart. He explains that engagement matters because people matter. He believes, “We can create a place where [people} can bring their best selves to work every day”, where people find meaning and purpose, and where they gain energy as they work.

Engagement is also an important element of organizational culture. It unlocks the potential in people and increases productivity for our mission and goals. Engagement helps to create a high-performance organization that recruits top talent, develops quality leaders, and excels in all we do.

Mark writes in a simple yet powerful way through the medium of story. The main character in the story, Blake, takes personal responsibility, as the team leader, for the sluggish indifference of his team members. Blake goes on a journey – through history and around the world – to discover the secrets that will equip him to help his team engage fully with their work.

Blake’s journey leads him to discover four cornerstones of CARE:

  • CONNECTION – conversations with clients and each other
  • AFFIRMATION – saying “thank you” and other forms of appreciation
  • RESPONSIBILITY – empowering versus micromanaging team members
  • ENVIRONMENT – a combination of mindset, belief, and resources

Through the story, Blake finds both historical examples and practical tips for how to build these cornerstone elements into team relationships. I think story is a great way to learn new concepts, and I highly recommend Mark’s book for any team leader who cares about their team and wants to ensure that the team members feel encouraged and empowered to do their best work. The examples and tips are helpful and easy to remember (maybe a bit more challenging to apply!).

Team members will also enjoy this engaging story and learn a vocabulary that can assist in conversations that will help build the optimal work experience that produces top results.

Mark’s book is a quick read, but applying the concepts of CARE will have a long-lasting positive impact on your team’s engagement. You can also visit Mark’s new website or read some of his other great books: The Heart of Leadership, The Secret, Chess not Checkers, Leaders Made Here.

I’d love to learn from you…

What motivates you to care about your work?

How have your built engagement on your teams?

Leaders Made Here – new book!

Hi All!

Leaders Made HereOne of my favorite authors has put out a new book! Mark Miller writes creatively through story about leadership and character in a way that is immediately useful to readers. Mark’s new book, “Leaders Made Here”, helps us know how to create a leadership culture that supports a leadership pipeline for our organizations. Check it out HERE!

Below is a very practical guest post from Mark for you!


How to Create Catalytic Meetings

Most meetings are useless. I’m guessing the more meetings you attend the more you’ll agree with that statement. Think about the REAL value of the last five meetings you attended. How much action was initiated or change realized as a result? How can we generate more action as a result of our meetings?

First, let me begin by affirming the value of well-designed and executed meetings. Here’s my vision for meetings…

Meetings are a forum capable of empowering teams and individuals, identifying and solving problems, reinforcing core values, encouraging, affirming, learning, challenging, helping people grow, collaborating, building community, increasing accountability, changing behavior, improving performance and more!

If the meetings you attend don’t do these things, you should work to make it so. But, the truth is, if you can’t use your meetings as a platform to generate productive action, you’ll be wasting tremendous potential.

To create catalytic meetings, here are five ideas guaranteed to make things happen…

  1. Start with the intent to create action. All meetings are not created equal. If you attend a meeting with the purpose of updating people on projects, don’t expect this to create much activity. My recommendation is to focus 75% of your meeting agenda on performance management. Intent is the primary driver of action.
  1. Ensure closure on every agenda item. This may seem obvious – unfortunately it is not. This is not to suggest you will actually finish every item you address. However, you should never conclude your discussion without identifying appropriate next steps. There are infinite options including identifying work to be done outside the meeting or the date on which the team will address the topic again.
  1. Visually display action items during the meeting. This simple step increases accuracy and agreement. Allowing individuals to capture his or her own action items does not provide sufficient visibility for the rest of the team. This is more powerful than you can imagine. A flip chart in every meeting, used to document action items, would revolutionize most businesses.
  1. Be sure you really have an action item. Again, this is basic but often missed. Unless you know WHO is going to do WHAT by WHEN, you do not have an action item. And, to be sure everyone else knows, I recommend reviewing the action items at the end of the meeting, distributing them after the meeting and distributing them again with the agenda for the upcoming meeting.
  1. Review all action items at every meeting. Once an action item is identified, by definition, it must have a completion date. Therefore, it falls to the facilitator to be sure every agenda has a designated time allocated to review previous action items. When the team begins to hold people accountable, you will see more action as a result.

One reason meetings have such a bad rap is a lack of action. If your meetings begin to create positive action, you may be surprised how quickly their reputation will change.

Mark MillerMark Miller is the best-selling author of 6 books, an in-demand speaker and the Vice President of High-Performance Leadership at Chick-fil-A. His latest book, Leaders Made Here, describes how to nurture leaders throughout the organization, from the front lines to the executive ranks and outlines a clear and replicable approach to creating the leadership bench every organization needs. 


Which of Mark’s books have you read? What have you learned from him?

Additional Resources:

You can register for Mark’s FREE Webinar on March 22 at 1PM ET HERE!

You can also read my posts on some of his other books:

Chess Not Checkers —  The Heart of Leadership — The Secret of Teams

chess not checkers

I don’t even know how to play chess, but I loved this book! chess not checkers

In typical Mark Miller style, he writes the book as a story, weaving humor, wisdom, care, and pragmatism in a quick, easy-to-read format. The main character, Blake Brown, takes a new CEO job in a struggling organization. Work is frustrating and drudgery, teamwork is non-existent, morale is weak, and customers are going elsewhere. The game has changed, old strategies aren’t working, and losing is miserable for everyone.

Blake begins to meet with a chess master mentor who teaches him four simple – yet essential – principles for playing a new game in today’s complex world:

1. BET ON LEADERSHIP – Identify and invest in emerging leaders. Mark gives excellent tips about developing yourself, your team, and the organization.

“…proactively develop your leadership.
The earlier in their career you invest in them, the better.”

“Leadership growth always
precedes organizational growth.”

2. ACT AS ONE – We know this as alignment, and it requires excellent communication. Mark describes it with a helpful illustration:

“Think of your organization as a car
driving at high speeds down a bumpy, dirt road.
The car will constantly be knocked out of alignment.
Part of your never-ending role is to keep the organization
aligned on what matters most.”

3. WIN THE HEART – Greater engagement happens when you allow people to contribute their unique gifts and work using their personal strengths.

“This is the way you need to look at your people.
When you deploy them thoughtfully,
you create greater value.”

4. EXCEL AT EXECUTION – This involves the important areas of resource allocation, measurements, and systems versus personality design.

“To help your team improve execution,
measure what matters most.”

There is much more in the book. I highly recommend that you pick up a copy today!

Any leader who implements these timeless principles will grow personally and improve the game plan for their team and their organization.

Which of these principles is most urgent for your situation? How can you apply new and improved strategy in your context?

Check out the great book trailer video HERE!

You can also find Mark Miller blogging on his website, Great Leaders Serve.

I also wrote a summary and review of some of Mark’s other books: The Secret and The Heart of Leadership. 

“El Secreto” del mejor liderazgo

The Secret
¡Feliz 10º Aniversario a “The Secret” (El Secreto)!

El libro, “The Secret” (El Secreto), está celebrando su 10º aniversario, y con mucho gusto, revisé la edición de aniversario. Ken Blanchard y Mark Miller escribieron “The Secret” (El Secreto). Es una lectura rápida y fácil, lleno de principios poderosos para aplicar a cualquier rol de liderazgo. Aquí es sólo una muestra del excelente contenido:

“¡No importa cuán larga sea la pista de aterrizaje, 
ese cerdo no va a volar!” ¹ 

Esta es una gran manera de recordar que el propósito de la formación y el desarrollo no es “arreglar” a la gente. La gente puede aprender y mejorar, pero siempre va a ser más potente en sus áreas de fortaleza… y nunca va a eliminar sus áreas débiles. Una responsabilidad clave para un líder es “acoplar” a la gente en un papel que es bueno para ellos, un papel que coincida con sus áreas fuertes.

Con el fin de asignar a la gente en su mejor papel, un líder debe conocer la visión y las funciones necesarias para el cumplimiento de la visión. El líder también debe conocer bien a su gente.

La herramienta del SER, HACER, TENER, y AYUDAR ²

Blanchard y Miller mencionan este marco impartido por Bobb Biehl. La herramienta es útil para conocer a tus seguidores y para construir una relación más profunda con ellos. La idea es preguntar a alguien que comparta las cinco cosas más importantes que ponen en cada categoría: cinco cosas que quiere ser (ej. ser mejor mamá), cinco cosas que le gustaría hacer (ej. asistir a un evento especial), cinco cosas que quiere tener (ej. más tiempo con la familia), y cinco personas/áreas en las que le gustaría ayudar (ej. caridades favoritas). Entonces, como líder, buscas unas oportunidades para apoyar en estas áreas – proporcionar un boleto o sugerir un mentor, un contacto de tu red, una capacitación/un seminario, ajustar la carga/horas de trabajo, etc.

Los Principios SERVE (servir) 

principios de liderazgo2
Cada letra representa uno de los cinco principios clave de éxito en el liderazgo. El formato del libro de un cuento entretenido es efectivo para explicar cada uno de estos principios.

También hay una auto-evaluación útil de estos principios incluido en el libro.

Si deseas mejorar tu liderazgo, te recomiendo este libro. Si ya lo has leído hace diez años, tal vez ¡te gustaría volver a leerlo!

Según tu experiencia, ¿qué es parte clave del secreto de liderazgo?


¹ Blanchard, K. and Miller, M. (2014). The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do (El Secreto: lo que saben y hacen los líderes grandes). Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. (p. 70)
² Ibid (p. 94)
Celebra los 10 años al leer una porción gratis de #TheSecret por @kenblanchard y @LeadersServe aquí:  (parece que sólo existe el libro en inglés por ahora 😦 )

“The Secret” to great leadership

The SecretHappy 10th Anniversary to “The Secret“!

The book, The Secretis celebrating its 10th anniversary, and I gladly reviewed the anniversary edition. Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller wrote The Secret. It is a quick and easy read filled with powerful principles to apply to any leadership role. Here is just a taste of the excellent content:

“No matter how long the runway,
that pig ain’t gonna fly!”

This is a great way to remember that the purpose of training and development is not to “fix” people. People can learn and improve, but they will always be more powerful in their areas of strength… and never eliminate their areas of weakness. A key responsibility for a leader is to “fit” people into a role that is good for them, a role that matches their strengths.

In order to “fit” people into their best role, a leader must know the vision and the roles necessary for accomplishing the vision. The leader must also know their people well.

The BE, DO, HAVE, and HELP Framework²

Blanchard and Miller mention this framework taught by Bobb Biehl. The tool is helpful for getting to know your people and building a deeper relationship with them. The idea is to ask someone to share the top five things they would put in each category: five things they want to be (ex. a better mom), five things they would like to do (ex. attend a special event), five things they want to have (ex. more family time), and five people/areas where they would like to help (ex. favorite charities). Then, as the leader, look for opportunities to resource these areas – provide a ticket, a mentor, a network contact, a training, a workload/hour adjustment, etc.

The SERVE principles 

SERVEEach letter stands for one of the five key principles of leadership success. The book’s entertaining and effective story format explains each of these principles.

There is also a helpful self-assessment on these principles included in the book.

If you want to improve your leadership, I highly recommend this book. If you read it ten years ago, maybe you would like to read it again!

What do you think is part of the secret of leadership?


¹ Blanchard, K. and Miller, M. (2014). The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. (p. 70)
² Ibid (p. 94)
Celebrate 10 years by reading a #freesample of #TheSecret by @kenblanchard & @LeadersServe here:

el corazón del liderazgo


Palabras de impacto. Excelente historia. Libro de fácil lectura. ¿Qué podría ser mejor?

Acepté la oportunidad de formar parte del equipo de lanzamiento del nuevo libro de Mark Miller, The Heart of Leadership (El CORAZÓN del LIderazgo). Lo leí en unas pocas horas(!), pero estaré refiriéndome de nuevo a él durante mucho tiempo.

Sin carácter de liderazgo,
a nadie le importan tus habilidades.

El libro de Mark cuenta la historia de Blake Brown y su búsqueda por aquello que hace a un líder diferente después de haber perdido una ascenso de liderazgo. Blake busca la ayuda de su mentora, Debbie Brewster, quien lo manda a entrevistarse con cinco personas especiales. Cada una de las cinco comparte con Blake un elemento del carácter de liderazgo. Blake hace tanto un cambio en su corazón en el proceso, como en su liderazgo en casa y en el trabajo. 

Este libro es de lectura fácil, sencilla y rápida… pero de gran profundidad en su contenido. Aquí hay un pequeño resumen de los puntos claves de The HEART of Leadership (El CORAZÓN del Liderazgo), pero ¡te recomiendo mucho que compres el libro!


AMBRE POR SABIDURÍA   La sabiduría afecta todas nuestras decisiones. Mark menciona cuatro maneras para cultivar un hambre por sabiduría: 1) enfocarse en la búsqueda y no en el resultado; 2) estar abierto a las aportaciones, nuevas ideas, opiniones diferentes; 3) crecer constantemente y 4) establecer una red de mentores para   pedir consejo. 

E 2SPERAR LO MEJOR   Los líderes ven el potencial, lo que podría ser. Generalmente son optimistas y creen lo mejor de los demás y de ellos mismos. No ignoran la realidad o los hechos, pero por lo general ven el vaso 100% lleno – ¡mitad líquido… y mitad aire!

A 2CEPTAR RESPONSABILIDAD   Mark dice que los líderes “se apropian” de sus acciones y de las acciones de los demás. Aceptan la responsabilidad cuando el equipo fracasa. Los líderes no culpan a otros; evitan el orgullo y el complacer a las personas y… ¡dan el honor a otros!   

RESPONDER CON VALENTÍA   Los líderes no dudan cuando se topan con situaciones difíciles o desafiantes; toman la iniciativa para mediar relaciones rotas, desafiar a la gente a crecer o tomar decisiones difíciles o poco populares. Puede que se equivoquen alguna vez, pero deciden actuar.  

T(THINK) PENSAR PRIMERO EN OTROS   Este es el punto más importante de todos. El líder siervo trabaja para asegurarse que los demás tengan éxito y que se sientan honrados y valorados… pero debe actuar con una actitud de corazón sincera; no puede fingir o manipular.

Al leer el libro de Mark, sentí numerosos tirones en mi corazón en cada capítulo. Al igual que el imaginario Blake, descubrí evidentes áreas débiles y muchas otras en las que puedo mejorar. Mark usa un iceberg para ilustrar que tan sólo el 10% del liderazgo son las habilidades que se muestran sobre el agua y el 90% del liderazgo es el carácter de liderazgo debajo de la superficie.

Nuestros hogares y trabajo y el mundo necesitan líderes con gran carácter… con gran CORAZÓN. Estoy lista para trabajar en mi CORAZÓN. ¿Quieres cambiar el mundo conmigo?



Mark Miller, reconocido líder de negocios, autor de best-sellers y comunicador, está emocionado por compartir The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow (El Corazón del Liderazgo: Convirtiéndose en un Líder que la Gente Quiere Seguir) con aquellos que están listos para dar los próximos pasos.

Puedes descargar un capítulo muestra GRATUITO o comprar el libro completo en Amazon o cualquier librería.

También puedes seguir a Mark Miller en Twitter @LeadersServe y a través de su excelente blog Great Leaders Serve.

the HEART of leadership


Powerful words. Great story. Quick-read book. 
What could be better?

I accepted the opportunity to be part of the launch team for Mark Miller’s new book, The HEART of Leadership. I read it in just a few hours(!)… but I will be referring back to it for a long time.

Without leadership character,
no one cares about your skills.

Mark’s book tells the story of Blake Brown and his search for what makes leaders different after he misses a leadership promotion. Blake seeks out help from his mentor, Debbie Brewster, who sends him to meet with five special people. Each of the five share with Blake one element of leadership character. Blake changes his heart in the process, as well as his leadership at home and at work. 

This book is a simple, quick, easy read… but there is great depth in its content. Here is a quick review of key points from The HEART of Leadership, but I highly recommend you buy the book for yourself!


UNGER FOR WISDOM  Wisdom informs all of our decisions. Mark mentions four ways to cultivate a hunger for wisdom:1) focus on the pursuit, not the outcome; 2) be open to input, new ideas, different opinions; 3) grow constantly, and 4) establish a network of counselors/mentors for advice.

E 2XPECT THE BEST  Leaders see potential, what could be. They are generally optimistic and believe the best about others and themselves. They don’t ignore reality or facts, but they generally see the glass as 100% full – half liquid… and half air!

A 2CCEPT RESPONSIBILITY   Mark says that leaders “own” their actions and the actions of others. They accept responsibility when the team fails. Leaders don’t blame others; they guard against pride and people pleasing and… they give the praise to others!

RESPOND WITH COURAGE  Leaders don’t hesitate when faced with difficult or challenging situations; they initiate to mend broken relationships, challenge people to grow, or make hard or unpopular decisions. They may get it wrong sometimes, but they choose to act.

THINK OTHERS FIRST  This is the most important point of all. The servant leader works to ensure that others do well and that they feel honored and valued… but they must act with a sincere heart attitude; they can’t fake it or manipulate.

As I read Mark’s book, I felt numerous tugs at my heart in every chapter. Like the imaginary Blake, I saw obvious weak areas and lots I can improve. Mark uses an iceberg to illustrate that only 10% of leadership is the skills that show above the water. 90% of leadership is the leadership character below the surface.

Our work and homes and world need leaders with great character… with great HEART. I’m ready to work on my HEART. Want to change the world with me?


MarkMiller_About_179x240_050813Mark Miller, well known business leader, best-selling author, and communicator, is excited about sharing The Heart of Leadership: Becoming A Leader People Want To Follow with those who are ready to take the next step.

You can download a FREE sample chapter or buy the complete book at Amazon or bookstores everywhere!

And you can follow Mark Miller on Twitter @LeadersServe and through his Great Leaders Serve blog.

do you work in a team or a family?

I have worked in Latin America for many years. I love the Latin culture – especially the emphasis on relationships: relaxed meal times, fiestas for any occasion, inter-generational activities, inclusion of children at events, incredible friendships and loyalty. These characteristics provide an incredible richness to my life.

However, any strength – at its extreme – can also be a weakness. I was often uncomfortable when our organizational staff claimed that we were a “family”. I knew that, although I cared deeply for many of my co-workers, they were not a real family for me. I also knew that we did not treat each other like we would members of a true family. There was something I didn’t like or agree with that statement, although I couldn’t put it into words.

Today I read a blog post by Mark Miller that clarified this exact issue for me. His post helped me to understand that when we view our team through a family perspective, we often allow performance to suffer. This is a common problem for non-profits and religious organizations. I remember many times when we erroneously did not confront poor behavior, implement consequences, or even ask someone to leave the organization… because we did not want to lose a “family” member. This distorted perspective means that we postpone and avoid crucial decisions that often cause great harm to the individual and to the organization. 

This wise comparison comes directly from Mark Miller’s post:

team or family

Mark clarifies that many of the “family” characteristics are great additions to a healthy and fruitful team environment. Applied correctly, these elements create community, which leads to greater trust, shared responsibility, and performance. A sense of community on a team is beneficial, but as Mark says, “However, unlike in a family, to be a member of the community is conditional.”

Does your team work like a team or a like a family?

*** For excellent content on leadership, follow Mark Miller’s blog, Great Leaders Serve, at: