Rick Baker Thought Posts
Left Menu Space Holder

About the author

Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

E-mail me Send mail
Follow me LinkedIn Twitter



<<  February 2024  >>

View posts in large calendar

Recent Comments

Comment RSS

What matters is what you're going to do next.

by Rick Baker
On Mar 2, 2017

It doesn't matter what you've done or what you know or even who you know.

What matters is what you're going to do next and, of more importance, whether or not people are positively influenced by what you do next.

Sure, from time to time, it's fun to reminisce about the glory days. On the other hand, the glory days are not here again until you make it so. And as you make it so you may not be able to do it the same way it happened the last time.

As Dylan taught us - the times they are a-changin'.  

You will need to adapt and accommodate to the current situations.

As Darwin taught us - "Survival goes not to the strongest or the most intelligent but to the one who is most adaptable to change."  

Yes, it is true, what you know is important to a degree.

Better stated, what you know contains potential value. Specialized knowledge is of particular value. The extent of the value of your knowledge is determined by your ability to identify opportunities and do constructive things to convert those opportunities into positive changes [desired by other people].

Your future success boils down to how you intend to put your strengths - that is, how you intend to put your talents, knowledge, and skills - to good use in the future.

Your future success depends on whether or not you can positively influence other people to help you achieve the goals you envision.

Your future success depends on what you're going to do next: positive change happens one action-step at a time.

15 Ways to Influence Thinking & Inspire Action

by Rick Baker
On Dec 22, 2016

Vision inspires

Leadership has a few essential ingredients. For example, the leader must possess a level of intelligence and the leader must possess a character that appeals to followers. Another essential ingredient is Vision. Good-to-great leaders hold a long-lasting, vivid image of what they want in their minds and they communicate that message to their followers. Some good-to-great leaders have an innate gift of communication. Other good-to-great leaders learn the art of communication.

Values fuel the right actions

Everyone lives by a set of personal Values, whether or not they are expressed verbally. The greatest of leaders naturally live by their Values in a most consistent manner. And they have a habit of painting verbal pictures around their Values. Good-to-great leaders' thoughts and actions and communications are consistent. This clarity around Values sends a consistent message to followers. The message energizes followers. In this way, the leaders' Values fuel everything.

Goals provide direction

Good-to-great leaders set long-term goals and they set short-term goals...they know the importance of little milestone steps that guide positive actions toward the long-term goal. Good-to-great leaders know the linkage between good habits and long-term goals. Good habits help people achieve their long-term goals whereas bad habits do not. Short-term goals provide the opportunity for testing, doing, failing, learning, and adjusting the next sets of short-term goals and actions. 

Intent doesn't go without saying

Good-to-great leaders, when compared to average people/leaders, somehow, do a better job of understanding other people. So, somehow, they do a better job of choosing people whose intentions are more aligned to fit on common ground...rallying around a cause. Some good-to-great leaders possess natural gifts of empathy. Other good-to-great leaders figure out how to read other people and they start the process by sharing discussion of Intentions. When in doubt, they ask.

Stories get remembered

Great leaders are great communicators. They are attuned to their life-experiences and how some of those life-experiences serve as excellent examples that can be shared with other people, followers and others who could be followers in the future. Great leaders create powerful, magnetic stories around these pertinent life-experiences. They practice delivering these stories. Then they use every opportunity to present and repeat the stories...to anyone and everyone who will listen.

Take Immediate Steps to Improve Communication

When communication gets off track, straying from the desired direction, good leaders work to improve communication so it returns to the right track. Good leaders do not let interpersonal conflicts fester. They know success relies on a level of harmony between followers. So, when dysfunction is evident they address it. Good leaders communicate to ensure their followers' harmony and focus.

Design Tools to Help People

Tools serve people...making their lives easier, making their lives more productive, adding quality to their lives...assisting them as they build. Good leaders know the power inherent in tools. Good leaders ensure their people have access to good tools. And, to maximize opportunities for performance good leaders ensure their people have customized tools...creative, customized tools.

Focus on Solutions

Leaders see solutions. Solutions and solution-thinking are around the essence of leadership. Good leaders connect with followers who are like minded about solutions. Some followers are naturally solution-oriented, others need to learn that problems are the routes to solutions, growth, and opportunities. Leaders do 2 things to promote solution-orientation: they lead by example...and...they teach.

Seek Simple 

When people go about business things can get complicated and that can happen quickly. Good leaders know the difference between simple, complicated, and complex. Good leaders conserve their energy, saving it for the complicated and complex things. One strategy that ensures energy is conserved so it can be put to best use is Seeking Simple...separating wheat from chaff...helping followers do the same.

Understand Business Contains Only 3 Things: People, Process, & Situations

"People, Processes, & Situations" is an example of seeking simple.  Good leaders know success is all about people...so good leaders invest time connecting with, serving, mentoring, and strengthening good people. Good leaders ensure processes [including tools] serve people, helping people convert actions into results. Good leaders know situations have a most-powerful effect on behaviour, so they plan for and construct situations.

Understand People Do Only 3 Things: Good Habits, Bad Habits, & New Things

Good Habits are things people think and do that help them achieve long-term desires and goals. Bad Habits are things that people think and do that do not help them achieve long-term desires and goals. Good leaders use these simple definitions to inject clarity into their lives. Then good leaders work at reducing their performance of Bad Habits and expanding their performance of Good Habits. And, good leaders test New Things...relentlessly seeking more Good Habits.

Take Talent To Task

Good leaders are fascinated by people's talents. When people's talents show a capability of aligning with the trust of the leader's goals, good leaders ensure the talented person has access to (1) opportunities to put the talent to productive use, (2) specialized knowledge to complement the talent, and (3) time to practice skills to hone the talent into a personal strength. Then good leaders don't leave things to chance - they help people connect personal strengths to important tasks. 

Don’t force change…construct it with comfort

Good leaders know change is constructive only when people are comfortable. And personal and business growth happens when people learn how to expand their comfort zones. Knowing these things, good leaders consider people's comfort/stress levels and design change in increments that help expand comfort zones without triggering the destructive consequences that naturally happen when people are forced into discomfort zones. Good leaders also know this correct approach to change 'dominoes' as confidence escalates.

Repeat clearly, "I do have time!"

Good leaders know the importance of leading by example. So, they know if they say "I don't have time" or "I'm too busy" their followers will pick up on that, think the same way, talk the same way, and act accordingly...spreading the lack-of-abundance mindset to one and all. Knowing this, good leaders remove the "I don't have time" & "I'm too busy" bad habit from their thoughts and words. They replace the bad habit with good habits: as examples, they apply the 80/20 Rule and they practice abundance thought and solution talk.

Change character for the better

All great leaders changed their character. Perhaps Abraham Lincoln performed one of the greatest self-transformations. When he was a young man he had the habit of openly criticizing other people. In 1842 Lincoln publicly criticized Illinois state employee James Shields. Shields took exception to the criticism and challenged Lincoln to a duel. The 2 men faced one another with weapons in hands. Fortunately their seconds intervened. Lincoln used the incident as a life-lesson and he chose to change his character for the better...rarely criticizing others. Lincoln's change of character took him from the dueling field to the White House. 



Persist, repeat...and learn how to handle tough situations

by Rick Baker
On Jan 5, 2016

You have intelligence.

You have self-control.

You have 2 of the 3 essential ingredients required to handle even the toughest situations. And, the toughest situations you experience all have one thing in common...People...at least 2 people - you, being one of them.

In addition to intelligence and self-control you need to have the correct mindset.

James Allen captured that correct mindset as follows:

"No situation can be difficult of itself; it is lack of insight into its intricacies and the want of wisdom in dealing with it, which give rise to the difficulty."

James Allen, 'Byways of Blessedness', (1904)

To handle tough situations you must have insight into the intricacies...

As the saying goes, "The devil is in the details". You remove those devils by mastering the details of situations. You excel at this when you excel at understanding people because the toughest challenges are always about people....the differences in people. To gain insight into the intricacies of people you start with yourself - gain self-knowledge. Then you learn about the differences in people. Understanding the differences in people will cause you to want to listen to others. And, the more you listen the more you will understand the differences in people. That's like adding tools to your tool kit. The more tools you have the more intricate work you will be able to perform. And, of key importance, the more confidence you will possess. That confidencewill serve you well when difficult situations arise. 

Wisdom: wisdom is gained when trials-and-errors are blended with thought and a desire to do better. Knowledge comes from books and personal observations. Wisdom comes from the addition of personal experiences. To handle tough situations one must first learn by experiencing them, making mistakes, and doing better next time. That's the School of Hard Knocks way. As an alternative to learning everything that way, one can anticipate tough situations. Then one can predetermine the best ways to handle those tough situations. That's what sales people are taught to do when they role play various aspects of the buying-and-selling process. Well-designed mental exercise can be practiced and confidence can be gained. Confidence is key. 

Handling Tough Situations:

  • your Intelligence
  • your Self-Control
  • your knowledge of self and other people
  • your wisdom from the School of Hard Knocks
  • your ability to anticipate Situations
  • your ability to think through best courses of action for those Situations
  • your self-Confidence


  1. for more thoughts see the Category called Business Contains Only 3 Things: People, Process, & Situations.
  2. for more thoughts on Confidence visit this link Confidence


Business Contains Only 3 Things | Values: Personal Values

Know People

by Rick Baker
On Dec 23, 2015
Father-to-Son Business Lesson #19
Below is a note sent by me to my son, over 5 years ago.
This note was #19 in a long series of father-to-son Business Lessons.
In this note, I was trying to present my thoughts about ‘knowing people’, as it relates to business and particularly to sales.
“We must work continuously to understand ourselves and to understand others. This is important for business success in any role. This is important for business success in a Sales role.

Responding in the same order you have written...

Centaurs: just like "perfect salesmen", they do not exist

Motivational Momentum: my philosophy is: "Only you can motivate you. Only me can motivate me. So, seek the motivation from within. If you wait for others to motivate you then you will be either disappointed or their slave."

Sales: for sales this is the most-important lesson I can offer…
Sales is not about products and product knowledge.
Sales is not about services.

The essence of sales is: the customer.

The essence of the customer is: people.

The essence of people: maybe it is 'emotions'? I think there is a good argument to support: the essence of people is emotions. Even if it is not the essence it is wrapped up in the same package as the essence....emotions, conscience, thought, wonder, etc.

Sales is about understanding people. What they fear and what they desire....

What makes them happy? They want that.
What do they fear? They want to avoid that.
What do they need? They want that.

The training for Sales is about knowing what makes people tick.

The training for Business is about knowing what makes people tick.

To learn sales - learn people.
To learn people - start with yourself.

What inspires you?

What do you fear?

What do you desire?

What do you need?

Those sorts of questions....

As you start to learn about yourself, and it will be a lifetime task, try to expand your knowledge of people by adding others....those you feel you can trust.

Study famous people who clearly understood people: Gandhi, for example.

Listen to motivational tapes: Covey's 7 Habits, etc

Business = Sales = People.

Get my point?”

First posted July 5th, 2011

Perhaps it is time to revisit Personal Values?

by Rick Baker
On Dec 3, 2015

During a conversation last Friday, we were discussing personal values and my friend said something like, “Well, they bring their values with them”.

This triggered a number of thoughts, which were important to me but not a good fit for the conversation last Friday. So, I promised [myself] I would write them down later…later is today.

Yes – people do bring their personal values with them. If we work at it then we can get a sense of other people’s values by observing those other people. After we have observed people we make decisions about their character.

According to experts, this assessment of character can happen very, very quickly. And, we do not need to rely on experts alone. We know this from firsthand experiences. Every once in a while we get immediate ‘bad vibes’, bad ‘gut feel’, when we meet someone. At the other extreme, we find other people ‘magnetic’. These positive and negative feelings contribute to our assessment of other people’s character. As we decide on character we make assumptions about the underlying personal values that create character.

Yes – people do bring their personal values with them.

But – we must understand more if we are to succeed in dealing with other people.

As we observe and make decisions about people’s character and personal valueswe should not lose track of:

  • Many people will not have taken the time to understand their own values/character
  • For those who have worked at it, their self-analysis will be skewed by their bias:
    • Often people look at themselves through rose-coloured glasses
    • People rarely wear those glasses when they observe other people
  • Few people get into open discussions of values and character
  • When the stakes are high, personal values can take a back seat to personal needs
  • Situations can cause personal values to take a back seat, particularly:
    • When a person is under extreme stress
    • When a person is subjected to a powerful yet dysfunctional leader
    • When a person is surrounded by ‘mob thinking’
  • Situations can help people use their personal values to create Value for other people
    • When people are encouraged to use their Strengths [talents, knowledge, skills]
    • When people are comfortable with a powerful Values-grounded leader
    • When people work in a harmonious environment, with success-orientation

Bottom line: Corporate Culture is a process under the leader’s control

First posted November 2, 2010


Business Contains Only 3 Things | Values: Personal Values

Breaking Bad...Habits

by Rick Baker
On Aug 11, 2015

First of all, this is not going to be about breaking bad habits. It's going to be about replacing bad habits. If you insist on breaking bad habits then I’d suggest you use good-old-fashioned interrogation tactics like tying them to a chair, depriving them of water and nourishment, shining bright lights in their eyes, and beating them into submission. But, breaking bad habits - that’s a topic for another day.

About replacing Bad Habits…

If you want to replace your bad habits then the first step is to understand everyone has habits. Then you must understand, one way or another, everyone fills up all the time in their lives. And, for the vast majority of people the time available to them [the time in their lives] is filled with habits – habits of thought and habits of action.  People's time is for the most part filled with either thoughts or actions...nothing more, nothing less.... just thoughts and actions. 

To the extent people’s thoughts and actions are aligned with their long-term goals the thoughts and actions are ‘good’. To the extent people’s thoughts and actions are not aligned with their long-term goals the thoughts and actions are ‘bad’. At least, that's our definition. 

Should you be thinking, right now, that some of your thoughts and actions have nothing to do with long-term goals then you must conclude those questionable thoughts and actions are ‘bad’, because chances are very high they are ‘bad’ [rather than ‘good’]. In those rare instances when you are trying something ‘new’ – when you are experimenting with new thoughts or actions – you should see those thoughts and actions as ‘new things’…’new things’ waiting to be categorized as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Regardless, you are primarily a creature of habits and most of your thoughts and actions are either ‘bad habits’ or ‘good habits’. For most people, ‘bad habits’ outmuscle ‘good habits’ and consume most of their owner’s time…for some reason, it is easier to slip into and to repeat habits when they are on the ‘bad’ side of our long-term goals.

Generally, ‘bad habits’ consume the vast majority of people’s time. That’s why the vast majority of people fail to achieve their claimed long-term goals.

For successful people, good habits occur for a sufficient amount of time to bring about the achievement of long-term goals.

When you consider your time, your thoughts, and your actions this way you can quickly see that success happens when people are able to keep their ‘bad habits’ under control and maximize the amount of time they spend doing ‘good habits’.

The key, as most self-help gurus confirm, is the learn how to replace your ‘bad thoughts’ with ‘good thoughts’.

The framework, is described above:

  • Set some long-term goals because, without them, you will have no ‘good habits’
  • Monitor your thoughts and classify them as either ‘good’ or bad’
  • Work at replacing your ‘bad thoughts’ with ‘good thoughts’. This will require much practice…more than learning to ride a bicycle…more than mastering piano playing…more than pumping up 18” biceps. After all, we are talking about your wonderfully-complex brain here.


Copyright © 2012. W.F.C (Rick) Baker. All Rights Reserved.