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by Biagio “Bill” Sciacca

Three roadblocks to effective leadership

If there is one thing I hate in life, it is waste.

My mother always told me not to waste food, and being a good son from a strict Italian family, I ate everything on my plate. (Oh, and by the way, I was overweight most of my life. I’m not anymore, and if I’m full, I stop eating.)

I hate seeing photocopies being made, only to get chucked without being read.

I hate seeing guys at the gym use half of a tube of toothpaste, only to have half of it drip down their chin without ever touching one of their choppers.

I just hate waste.

More so, I hate to see good people waste away their life, only to achieve a sliver of the career and personal success they are capable of, because of some triviality (or trivialities) they do that became so ingrained as to turn into enormous bad habits.

I’ve watched people over the years, and noticed some really good people are only developing to a modicum of their potential because of the following behaviors or scripts they are producing on a daily basis. Actually, many times a day. I invite you to read these three behaviors/scripts and decide if you use any of them. If so, I further invite you to stop.

1. Adverse environmental scan

I have heard it said that everyone brightens a room, some when they enter and some when they leave. Which are you?

What do you focus on when you walk into a room? What about when you wake up in the morning? When you are in a new situation?

Let me set this up for you. If your first thought of the day is, “It’s really cold (or hot) in here,” I guarantee your second thought will be, “No wonder I didn’t sleep very well last night,” followed by, “I’m kind of sore because of the bad night’s sleep and how I contorted trying to get comfortable.”

From there you can now rationalize that it is going to be a not so hot day at work. That traffic is most likely going to be bad heading to work. That you’re going to arrive late and your boss is going to be mad.

And that is going to get you mad and your first meeting will be a problem because of how you feel.

You may be wishing that you never left your old job, that your boss got that promotion so he or she would be out of your hair, and that maybe it is time to dust off your resume and find a place where your skills are appreciated.

Think about what happened here.

All that negative doo-doo in your mind because you woke up with a few goose bumps (or a few drops of sweat).

You have a choice to control your thoughts from the very second you wake up in the morning, to the moment of going night-night. Change the scan to a positive one such as, “Wow! I feel pretty good this morning.” Or, “I can’t wait to get to work because my first meeting is going to be a blast.” Or make it simple: “John and I are having lunch at that new sushi place today. That should be great.

See the difference?

The first few minutes when you arise are critical to setting the day’s outlook. Guard your environmental scan well; control your morning thoughts.

2. “Yeah, but...”

When you say this enough, people you talk to will soon realize everything they said before your “yeah” is meaningless, and everything you say after your “but…” is what you believe. It is degrading and disrespectful.

Instead, try something like, “That’s an interesting perspective; I never thought of it that way. Tell me, have you ever considered…?”

By phrasing your responses in this type of syntax, you are allowing the person to save face, even if you have a better solution. A “yeah, but...” can make the other person defensive and argumentative, even after they agree with your outcome. So be nice. The nicer you are, the nicer they are.

And who knows? Maybe – just maybe – they may make an excellent point.

3. Celebrate after victory…

The rest of the statement is, “never be victorious enough to celebrate.”

I really despise this one.

It reeks of self-importance, arrogance and aloofness. As if one person should judge when enough victory is realized for a celebration to occur.

In today’s complex and rapidly changing business world, a victory can turn into a defeat next week. A final decisive victory may never be had, so let’s never celebrate. Is that what you want to infuse into your corporate culture?

Try instead to celebrate your small wins, your modest victories and your simple gains. Get people in the habit of trying harder because they want to and like the notion of celebration.

The people I have known to use this statement were among the most aloof people in the organization and the least regarded. Most of their employees wanted them to fail. Who wants a reputation like that?

Think hard about these three attributes. If any of them fit and you want to change them, do so.

Biagio Sciacca, known to his friends as Bill, is a Pittston native. He is the owner of Intelligent Motivation, Inc., a global consulting and training firm specializing in management and leadership training and psychological assessment for hiring and staff development. He is the author of several books relating to goal setting, and his third book, “Provocative Leadership,” will soon publish.

Now residing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, he divides his time between his international clients, writing his next book and wondering aimlessly on the beach.

You can reach Bill at or schedule a call with him by visiting and clicking on the “set up a call” tab.