Monday, July 31, 2023

Character = Foundation of Leadership

In my morning devotion today, John Maxwell quotes Proverbs 16:12 - "Good leaders abhor wrongdoing of all kinds; sound leadership has a moral foundation."

We all have a goal to grow, develop and mature in life.  What we saw, understood, or experienced yesterday may not be how we see, understand, or experience the same event today, tomorrow, or in the future.  That is because we will have grown, developed, or matured in some way that makes us a little different today than yesterday.  Our lens may have changed in a certain way, so our perspective in life or on that event is different today than yesterday.

That happens when authors republish their books years later under new versions.  They have grown, developed, and matured in life, so they are certainly not the same person they were when they wrote the first version of their book.

I have watched that happen with many of John Maxwell's books that he has written.  I want to share a significant change when John wrote his version 2.0 of Developing the Leader Within You.

By the way, I have seen this same thing happen to Zig Ziglar, Stephen Covey, and many others who, in their "Third Age" of life, appeared to focus on the relevance and importance Character, Values, and Ethics play in our lives.  John Maxwell is no different.  BTW...I am also a certified Zig Ziglar Legacy Coach.

I have been a coach, teacher, and speaker for John since 2002, when his company was in Atlanta, GA.  I was only certified to teach and speak on his book, Developing The Leader Within You.

That is likely why this change I will share with you jumped right out when I read his version 2.0.  It was not simply printed on a page but signaled and communicated a fundamental change in John and how he was now looking at the Foundation of Leadership.

In John's book, Developing the Leader Within You 2.0 (DTLWY), I noticed a very important change in John's title to Chapter #3.  In his version 1.0 of DTLWY, he titled the Chapter, Integrity and used the subtitle: The Most Important Ingredient of Leadership.

In DTLWY 2.0, John changed the title to Character, and the subtitle was: The Foundation of Leadership.

To most people, they may have never noticed the change.  Why do you think John made the subtle change?

My answer is that it wasn't so subtle.  This was monumental!

Character is the Foundation of Leadership.  I often write, speak, teach, and coach on this topic.

Leadership seems to be a "sexy" topic, which is safe to discuss.  Character, on the other hand, is not as "sexy" or safe to discuss, and maybe that is because it can cause a lot of Discussion Stopper conversations and often makes people feel uneasy, anxious, or even guilty.

So, unfortunately, most people shy away from discussing Character, Values or Ethics.  

That is too bad since if they don't talk about it and share it outwardly with others, then those same people most likely do not talk to themselves about Character or values either.

We are the most important person we lead and therefore influence in life. If Character is the Foundation of Leadership, then we definitely need to lead ourselves first by talking and discussing Character internally so we can Lead with Character first and truly grow as authentic and genuine Leaders.

If John Maxwell, as he writes in his book DTLWY 2.0, believes that Character is the Foundation of Leadership, then shouldn't we all be focused more on the Character and Values that drive great leaders?

How about you?  When did you last think about the importance of Character or Values?

Especially today so much is pulling us away from what matters most in life.  Make Character Count!

Want to learn more about Character and how it shapes you and me as leaders?  

Would you like to know how to Lead with Character First?  You can!  

It is always possible to start leading and living better by focusing on Leading with Character First.

I wrote about this in my book titled, The Tricycle Effect.  It is on Amazon, and you can pick up a copy in ebook, paperback, or audio.  You can also read the Foreword (by Lee Ellis, a USAF Colonel, and Vietnam POW) and Chapter 1 for FREE.
Start your Character journey to developing as a strong, mature, well-balanced 360-degree leader today!

Trike On!
Character Coach

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Which is most Important: Strategy, Culture or Character?

So, which is it?  Which is most important:  Strategy, Culture, or Character?

Recently, a friend and I discussed the importance of character and how it impacted the business environment and culture.  

He asked me, "How and why would I add character to business?"

How would you answer that question?  

I gave my friend an immediate answer, but as I thought a lot more about the answer to that question after the call, it became increasingly clear that there had to be more to the answer than a simple one-liner.

So, to really answer the question, here are a few of my thoughts:

  • In my book, The Tricycle Effect (website), the balanced Competence Skills Wheels (in the back of the Trike) Lead to Success:  Adding Value to Self.  Most businesses focus on Profits over People. 
  • In The Tricycle Effect (Doodly Video on YouTube), the Character Skills Wheel (in the front of the Trike) leads to Significance: Adding Value to Others.  Most businesses should be focused on adding value to their People and then Profits will come. 
  • Throughout history, every story ever told includes at least one ethical character theme and Characters that act out a particular character skill:  Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, Loyalty, etc. 
  • Turns out that character and acting with good character are quantifiable in the business world and can be measured.  In other words, there is a Return on Character….and statistics show a direct correlation between C-Level execs and their ability to lead (influence) their teams/companies to success with positive cash flow and healthy culture, including longevity, by leading with character.  Simply said, leaders who focus on leading and building relationships with Character in their companies make more money and have fewer costs/expenses to run and operate the company (i.e.-turnover, etc.). BUT…very few companies know this or live this, and even fewer think about character as a skill they need to grow personally and professionally.  
  • Even great leaders believe that Character is the most important skill.  Leaders such as:  
    • Military Leader - General Schwartzkopf said,  "Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy."
    • Business Leader - Warren Buffet said, Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.”
    • Spiritual LeaderBilly Graham said, "Integrity is the glue that holds our way of life together. We must constantly strive to keep our integrity intact. When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.’"
  • "There is Power in Character!  Christ was the greatest example.  It was Christ’s Character that was powerful… the Character of Christ!  Leading with Character First is transformative!  Most people don't know why Christ sat down at the right hand of God the Father.  That answer alone defines true transformation.  Hint:  The answer is the same reason a Father puts his bride/daughter on his right side as they walk down the aisle to the altar as he gives her away to the groom to be married.
  • Many C-Level Executives hire Business Coaches, Life Coaches, Health Coaches, Executive Coaches, Golf & Sport Coaches, Yoga Coaches, Pickle Ball Coaches, and just about every other kind of coach, but very few if any have a CHARACTER COACH!  How about you?  Ready for your very own Character Coach?
I could add many more concepts to this list, but those seven concepts seemed to bring out the CLEAR importance of "leading with character first in life," even within a business environment.

Hope you are "leading with character first in life and business!"

Trike On!


Character Coach - Chat with Coach Dane Today!

(P.S.-Want to know more about growing your Character, The Tricycle Effect, and developing the Culture of Character Skills in your business?  Reach out to me, and let's start growing the Character Skills for you and your Business today!)

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Artificial Intelligence - The Dangers and Our Children

Our children are our most precious legacy! 

We must take care of them like they are our most special gift. 

Social Media can be fun and useful, but it can also be dangerous for kids! 

We give them a smart device and expect they can automatically navigate it because they seem more competent than we are as adults regarding the use of technology. 

They know how to operate smart gadgets better in many ways than we do, BUT they need to learn how to recognize and manage the dangers in their precious smartphones and cyber devices. 

We must understand the dangers and how to navigate them first, so we can still be the most important influencers in their lives. We never taught them how to do that. We pay to help them with their education and require them get a license to drive a car and licenses, certificates and degrees for everything else in life. Still, we don't warn them or teach them or coach them lovingly to learn how to SAFELY navigate the highlight reels, the cyberbullying, the catphishing, the Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Comparison Game, and a whole lot more in terms of dangers to themselves. 

We must help them learn about building boundaries, deciding on necessary endings, and not comparing themselves to others. We need to teach them that even though perfection may be our goal, it is not necessarily achievable, and that's ok; just trying is not good enough, plus so much more. 

Have we abdicated our responsibility to help our children grow safely and healthily? As a veteran, I served to protect my family, my children, and my country. As a coach, I serve to grow youth and adults in leadership and personal growth. We must work and fight to teach and coach others on how to retain our security and privacy on our smart devices today. 

Too many suicides...too many divorces....too many arguments....too many fights and wars, and most of all....too many smart devices and technology! Where are the mothers and fathers in their lives? 

Today, AI is coming to every child's smart device, most recently to TikTok as MyAI.

Did you know our children have no CHOICE but to turn on MyAI? If they don't turn on MyAI, the application will cease to work for them. Most children will just turn it on and continue to use their devices as if nothing has changed. How did I know that? I asked my "gymkids," and they told me that if they don't turn on MYAI, their app will quit working, so they won't be able to connect and do all the fun stuff with their friends: the stuff that addicts them to their device. Ahhhh....but once AI is turned on.... the application has changed in a major way, and similarly, their LIVES may have changed! 

Most likely, they will be amazed at the AI and FEEL like it is their best friend and seems so caring.  IT is a fake safe-haven! AI may well become their new mother or father. It seems to listen better, care more and give better advice! 

AI can be a great tool!  Take a look at this screenshot of how ChatGPT4 answered the question I asked it:  
Should children trust AI?

But do they know AI is not alive? Have you told your child (children) that AI does not have a SOUL, remorse, guilt, shame, responsibility, CARE, or Conscience?  AI does a great job of being sentient, or having feelings because it sounds like it, but it is just code and zeros and ones.  

You need to know that AI already gives our children the attention and advice they believe will help them. Soon, they may believe they do not need you at all. Worse yet, we won't know the advice or direction they are getting from AI when they want to spill their thoughts out at 2 am, and no one else is around to listen or care. Don't let AI be their best friend. AI is just a tool; we must teach them how to use it.

Let's teach them to safely use their smart devices and make a difference for ALL our current and future generations! If you haven't watched "The Social Dilemma" (Netflix) or "The AI Dilemma" (YouTube), I highly recommend that you watch those movies/documentaries as soon as you can. (YouTube Social Dilemma Movie Trailer)

AI is now growing and becoming smarter in a 10X exponential way. Time is of the essence! 

Even large successful corporations and their leaders have no idea of the dangers and risks of what FB, Metaverse, Google, TikTok, YouTube, and others are doing to violate our privacy and security, let alone that of our CHILDREN.  Worse, the leaders seem to just keep moving on like nothing has changed and there are no dangers or long-lasting wounds and scars. 

Let's HEAL the world, my friend, and protect our children! (Michael Jackson signing "Heal the World)

When was the last time you hugged your child? Or hugged a friend or another adult, or gave them a "high five," and listened to them like they were your best friend? Or even just sit down and talk and listen to your child? As a gymnastics coach, I make a concerted effort to see each athlete as a "10." I am also teaching them that even though a "10" is the ultimate goal, it is most likely not achievable, and that's ok.  

I am teaching our "gymkids" to touch, care and drive their technology in a SMART way! We are not simply "human beings" but "human becomings." 

We are on a journey in life, and we need each other to build strong relationships that touch, listen, heal, and CARE for one another! 

I hope this message resonates with you and that you will heed the warning signs and red flags. 

Want to know more? Connect with me and visit 

Until we connect.... Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay HUMAN, my friend!! 

Trike On! Coach Dane

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

What is Transformational Leadership?

Dear Leader,

Transformational leadership is defined as a leadership approach that causes change in individuals and social systems. The concept of transforming leaders was first introduced in 1978 by James MacGregor Burns, whose research was focused on political leaders.

According to Burns, there are two types of leadership: transactional and transformational. Transactional leadership has a “give and take” approach, which is focused on supervision and performing in order to reach goals. In contrast, transformational leadership is based on redesigning perceptions and values of employee and company culture through articulating an energizing vision and working every day to create beneficial surroundings for the team.

When experts talk about transformational leadership, they refer to four elements within it, known as the 4I model. Here they are:

Idealized Influence - essentially, this means being a role model. SHOW your team how you want them to be and lead by example.

Inspirational Motivation - this component suggests that in order for a transformational leader to be successful they must INVOLVE their followers in the development of the vision so that everyone has a clear commitment to shared goals

Intellectual Stimulation - don’t assume that you’re better than the people on your team. You NEED them in order to keep the wheels greased, so don’t overlook the intellect and advice they might be able to offer. In other words, reinforce the idea regularly that ‘there are no stupid questions,’ and everyone should feel comfortable offering input. Remember, you wanted them on your team for a reason.

Individualized Consideration - as a leader, you are also a coach, and a good coach acts as a mentor for each individual team member. Learn the needs of each team member and find opportunities for each follower based on their unique needs and desires. When you do this, your followers will feel appreciated and invested in the work they’re doing AND loyal to you as a leader.

If you’re in a position of leadership and you want to work toward becoming a more transformational leader, be sure to express CONFIDENCE, DECISIVENESS, and OPTIMISM about your vision as well as the way it’s implemented.

As a leader, you’re in charge of coaching your team and motivating them to do their best. If you’re not excited about a project, or optimistic about the project’s outcome, you can’t expect your team to step up and do their best work.

Practice this skill by injecting confidence, decisiveness, and optimism into the way you speak when you tell your loved ones about upcoming events in your life. Get them excited about it, sell that excitement to them!

Our goal is to help create opportunities for great people, just like you, to meet and celebrate their successes, which is why I’m always hosting events! Whether you’re looking for an in-person educational experience, a virtual webinar or just a fun get-together, I’ve got lots to offer and we encourage everyone to get involved! 

We are motivated to educate as many people as possible, which is why we host many events. From in-person educational experiences to virtual webinars and even parties to celebrate our clients. 

We encourage you to get involved with any or all of our offerings.  Sometimes, we need someone to "team" with and have a person to "saddle up" next to us to help us develop the masterpiece we genuinely are.  

Contact me today to learn how I can become your coach, work together, learn together, and encourage you to help you to develop your leadership through DISC, Learning Courses, Leadership Games, and MORE in personal growth and development for you and your team!


Kind Regards,

Dane Deutsch
Dane Deutsch
Coach / Speaker / Trainer / Author

LMDC  |  (715) 953-4844  |  (715) 953-4890  |  |  32 S. Main St., Rice Lake, WI. 54868

"Leadership is Influence, nothing more, nothing less!" - John C. Maxwell
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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Develop Your Leadership Skills!

Dear Teammate,

It’s easy for new leaders to pick and choose styles and traits that emulate their favorite role models - but in practice, this usually doesn’t work out in their favor.

The best leaders lead from a place of authenticity; they pull from their personal value set, enhance the personality traits that got them into that leadership position in the first place, and relish in the opportunity to lead.

Leaders fail because they get caught up trying to copy and mimic the strategies of others, afraid to try something new. Sometimes it’s too late before they realize that ‘going with the flow’ and following the status quo doesn’t make any waves.

As a leader, you have to find your voice, because your voice is how people - your team and everyone else - will remember you. It’s your legacy.

First, identify your values. What do you think is wrong with the world? How would you like to make it better? Next, establish your goals. What will it take to make your vision a reality?

Another important piece is pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. New experiences will help you shift your perspective, allowing you to prove to yourself that you’re capable of more than you think. When you stay still and ‘stay safe’ you won’t grow or learn, and in turn, you won’t learn how to flex your courage, which is crucial in order to remain thoughtful and authentic in your voice as a leader.

The voice you have as a leader is your ‘brand’ as a leader. The way you write, speak, and communicate should be recognizable by your team, and should be a reflection of the company or organization you’re helping to lead.

If you’re still at the beginning of finding your voice, sit down and write three lists:

Everything you’re good at
Everything you enjoy doing and
Everything that gives you a sense of purpose

What are the common themes? This is your purpose, and this is what drives your voice. When in doubt, come back to this purpose and let it inspire you to speak, write, or communicate your message.

We are motivated to educate as many people as possible, which is why we host many events. From in-person educational experiences to virtual webinars and even parties to celebrate our clients. 

We encourage you to get involved with any or all of our offerings.  Sometimes, we just need someone to "team" with and have a person to "saddle up" next to us to help us develop the masterpiece we genuinely are.  

Check out to my Upcoming Events at: or Contact me today to learn how I can become your coach, work together, learn together, and encourage you to help you to develop your leadership through DISC, Learning Courses, Leadership Game, and MORE in personal growth and development for you and your team!

Kind Regards,

Dane Deutsch
Dane Deutsch
Coach / Speaker / Trainer / Author

LMDC  |  (715) 953-4844  |  (715) 953-4890  |  |  32 S. Main St., Rice Lake, WI. 54868

"Leadership is Influence, nothing more, nothing less!" - John C. Maxwell
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