Why I write the way I do – Why it’s important

your_success_typewriterMy demeanor has always leaned toward the more serious end of the spectrum. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been intrigued by business, leadership and the multitude of elements that make it work. That being said, it makes sense that I’ve been an entrepreneur for almost my entire working career. In the mid 70s, my passion for business found three powerful vehicles that allowed me to reach and interact with other business owners – public speaking, coaching and writing. I started my first coaching company in 1978 and never looked back.

I regard my ability for public speaking, coaching and writing as gifts that allow me to have a positive impact on the lives and businesses of others. At 64 years old, the passion, thrill and fulfillment is as powerful as ever.

But because of who I am, what drives me and how I’m wired, I focus on and write about the tough stuff – the real stuff – that owners and leaders deal with on a true day-to-day basis. My “no-compromise” reputation is a reflection of who I am, and people have come to expect and depend on me to talk straight and not candy-coat the issues. Still, I find it interesting that my presentations and writing receive feedback that call it inspiring and motivating. I truly never regarded myself as a motivational speaker…and yet my work has inspired many to take action. My coaching provides the tools, systems, thinking and leadership behavior that can be described as “best practices.”

Last week’s Monday Morning Wake Up on “Is it time to hit the ‘Reset’ button,” received a comment from a long-time reader and business owner expressing his opinion that my writing is negative in tone and seems intent on discouraging people from going into business. He was therefore canceling his email subscription to seek inspiration elsewhere. (Yes, I read every comment.)

Being the no-compromise leadership guy that I am, I willingly accept constructive feedback. Yet as appreciative as I was, this owner’s observation that I come across as negative deeply troubled me because that is so not my intention. I sent his comments to my team of coaches asking for honest feedback to see if maybe I need to take a more balanced approach. What I got back surprised me … and gave me a needed no-compromise smack in the head.

Strategies Coach Melanie Loboda said it best, “I believe that those of us who are passionate about what we teach can often be labeled as ‘opinionated, condescending, negative, or know-it-all.’ In general, I believe it is when we hit a nerve by calling out something or some behavior that we see that this happens. I think there does need to be balance. For Strategies, the balance is that there is always hope when we recognize the ugly that is rearing its head. There is hope of getting off the hamster wheel if we just open our mind to new thinking and behavior – that winning the gold doesn’t mean doing everything we love … It means combining that with what we are passionate about in order to create success.”

No one goes into business or leadership because they want to deal with employee issues, cash-flow problems, budgets, debt, drama and negativity. People start companies to bring a vision to life, to create opportunities … to win.

So here’s the bottom line: I write about what matters. I write about what’s behind the curtain. I write about the stuff that keeps owners and leaders up at night. I write about building extraordinary companies, dynamic cultures, financial literacy, accountability and achieving your full potential … and providing opportunities for your employees to achieve their full potential. I write about real problems and business challenges.

What I write about most are the disciplines for success. I push leaders out of their comfort zones. I hold the mirror up in front of them so they can look directly at the origin of most of their challenges … because all change must begin with the leader. Yes, I write to make you uncomfortable. I write to push you to take action, to pay attention, to listen and to confront reality head on. I push you to achieve your full potential because that’s the only way I can achieve mine.

This is Monday Morning Wake Up #317. That’s 6+ years of MMWUs. Add 14 years of writing Strategies Magazine, my three books – Fast Forward (first and second editions), No-Compromise Leadership and Wake Up! – and you have a writing voice and style that resonates with you. That’s why you keep reading my stuff. Along the way, my writing style, my message and my strategies may turn some people off. My stuff may not be a good fit now or never … and that’s OK. But over 10,000 people read my MMWUs and as long as that number keeps growing … I’ll keep delivering my No-Compromise Leadership message. And I will always listen and work hard to get better.

Neil Ducoff

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click above to comment.

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.


7 Responses to “Why I write the way I do – Why it’s important”

  1. 1 Sue Hardin
    February 17, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Neil ,I still thank your GREAT. I no longer own a salon ,but I still use everything I learned in classes. No I did not always like what you said. There is no need to take classes from your company unless your ready to clean it up. During my coaching sessions I learned so much about my leadership and ways to improve my business. Holding ourselves accountable is hard at times, but I know that is what separates the big dogs from the puppies. I know my money and time was spend well with your company. Keep up the good work!

  2. 2 Joseph Wollack
    February 17, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Neil, I liked last week’s message. I even mentioned it on LinkedIn. Business owners need to have a reality check once in a while.
    Joseph Wollack, CPA

  3. 3 Pat
    February 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Neil, rarely do I have time to respond to anything on social media today. Our business demands so much of our time. But, I do know that my wife and I would not have a business if not for your forward thinking ideas (your very first book “Fast Forward” from many years ago proved to me that you are always forward thinking in your ideas. I would never consider your ideas to be negative). Your ideas have always stirred me to think about how I can implement your ideas into our world at Mango. I use the phrase “Mangoizing Neil’s No-Compromise Teachings!” You know better than most how difficult it is to implement even the best ideas. So keep sharing your ideas with us. Our challenge is adapting your ideas to our world knowing full well that we will have a few bumps in the road to success. But, that road does lead to success.


  4. February 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    With 10,000 readers (congrats), I am surprised you don’t p_ss more people off! Maybe you should up your game and shoot to upset 25 – 50 people per week? As I tell you on a frequent basis, I love your writing, your message, your wisdom! I used to say to you that you were the “next Tom Peters”, I have been wrong for some time! You are Tom Peters replacement!

    Stay in your zone brother! You are doing a great job!

    • February 17, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks Jim.
      Incredibly humbling response to today’s MMWU. Damn … now I have to come up with some really awesome stuff to meet expectations. And that should definitely p_ss 25-50 people off.
      In all seriousness, I take feedback seriously. I can’t please everyone, and one reader responded … “Besides, you’re too old to change now.”
      – Neil

      • February 18, 2014 at 5:44 am

        I share the MMWU with my team on a regular basis – your message encourages, cajoles, pushes, and sometimes gives us a well deserved kick in the butt. Direct and frank conversation has become a lost talent in today’s world of soft accomplishment and “make everyone happy.”

        But the reality is that high performance organisations of all types – sports, politics, business, social, school – are rarely comfortable/cozy places to work/play. High performance teams feed off honest and critical feedback, it is the breakfast of champions. If someone confuses this with pessimism – he is the one in need of a reality check.

        Success is earned, honesty is the fuel it consumes – thank you for being direct with all 10K of us! You help make us into better leaders, of businesses, of families, of our society.

        Pierre Chamberland
        Founder & Chief Energizing Officer

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