Archive for Etiquette

Rise Up from “We the People” to “We The Leaders”

Ryan Underwood is the CEO and Chief Leadership Officer of TEAMTRI and a Sector Partner of GiANT Worldwide. Ryan helps multiply leaders to serve and create awesome futures. Ryan and his wife Carrie Underwood attended the Presidential Inauguration and share with us lessons from this unique experience. Email:   Twitter: @TEAMTRI_CEO

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We recently had the opportunity to attend the 58th Inauguration of the President of the United States as guests of Congress. Our home, like all of our Team at TRI, split our votes Inflatable pool Canada in a number of ways for a number of candidates just like America did.

The point of this reflection is not to call out a party or politics, but, to call up all of you to reach for a higher level of leadership, service, and love from yourself, for one another, and for our nation.

In the video I shot on my phone from my vantage point on the inaugural platform, you’ll experience what we experienced during the swearing in ceremony. Listen closely. This is what most of the world didn’t hear if you watched it on TV.

Listen past the Supreme Court Chief Justice trying to conduct the ceremony. Listen past the pledge of the President. Listen for the voices in the crowd SHOUTING the Preamble to the Constitution over the top of the ceremony to try and distract, disrupt, and derail the proceeding. They are not hard to miss.


Did you hear “WE THE PEOPLE…?!”

Did you hear some of the audience trying to disrupt the swearing in ceremony?

There was nothing wrong with the inaugural platform, speakers or AV. There were speakers placed throughout the platform and we all heard every speech, presentation, and prayer clearly during the ceremony—until this moment.

The Preamble was being SHOUTED in a rehearsed, choregraphed, and orchestrated fashion right over the top of the swearing in ceremony. How the Chief Justice and President got through this moment without error still amazes me. It was the exercise of the First Amendment guaranteeing FREE SPEECH at full volume carelessly attempting to interrupt the first part of the Constitution that makes possible that very same right.

And while inauguration week ended with the transition of power, my lesson on that day comes from the beginning of the week when we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Day.  Dr. King famously said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

As I’ve reflected on inauguration day and Dr. King, it occurred to me that, “Drama cannot drive out drama, only leadership can do that.”

In a democracy, we choose officials who represent us. They do more than represent our perspective, issue, or opinion—they represent our current collective level of leadership.

If we want better leadership, we’re not going to get it by SHOUTING at officials rudely as that is exactly what our leaders are going to do back to us. We’re going to get great leadership when “we the people” become “we the leaders.”  When we use our voices as leaders in the right time and the right space with the right message not to “call out” others but to “call them up” to the higher level of leadership we as citizens exhibit and expect.

A clear example of using your voice the right way, at the right time, with the right message can be learned from Dr. King.  And, I’m not talking about Martin Luther, I’m talking about another Dr. King—his youngest daughter Reverend Dr. Bernice King.


I loved her message, especially at the 12:55 mark when she said, “People no longer care whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, they are looking for leaders willing to serve humanity at all costs.”

When we limit our view to seeing ourselves as just people, then we the people disrupt and shout. And we get people at all levels who disrupt our lives and shout at us.

But when we see ourselves as leaders serving humanity at all costs, we are going to get leaders who serve us and humanity at all costs.

The best the laws of man can do is create a Constitution for we the people. But, the laws of humanity call us to stand on the foundation of the Constitution and rise and reach to become we the leaders.

Rising up happens in your house…in my house…before it happens in The White House. Rising up means we can do better than shouting. Rising up means realizing actions do indeed speak louder than words. Rising up means we serve. And when we rise, we the leaders will raise up true leaders to serve humanity and the shouts we hear will be shouts of joy!

5 Tips for An Awesome Announcement!

Planning a successful announcement – whether it be for a new product, campaign, or initiative – can be challenging. In today’s crowded digital environment, there is a very real chance that your announcement may get lost in the noise if not planned and executed correctly.

Here are 5 tips for planning and implementing a successful announcement that is sure to get people talking.

1. Plan Ahead

In business, just as in life, planning ahead is crucial to success. When it comes to a big announcement, you will find it helpful to start early and map out exactly what steps need to be taken to roll out your announcement.

One great way to do this is to create a calendar with your team that outlines what and when things need to be done. Planning your campaign in a visual way not only helps you stay on track, but can serve as a way to keep the rest of your team on the same page with deadlines and deliverables.




2. Be Innovative

By definition, innovation is achieving a result in a non-traditional way. When thinking about how to capture people’s attention for your announcement, don’t look too much at what others have done before. Instead, put yourself in your audience’s shoes by asking

  1. Which platforms do they use?
  2. When do they use them?
  3. How do they use them?
  4. What is likely to stand out and grab their attention?


By working backwards, you can tailor your specific strategies around their behaviors, thus increasing your chance of successfully getting your message in front of their eyes. If something hasn’t been tried before, maybe it should.


3. Create Anticipation

When Apple makes an announcement, they don’t just decide to host an event and hope that people will show up. Instead, they sent out cryptic invitations out ahead of time in hopes of creating a sense of anticipation.



For an announcement, consider creating some teaser content that provides your audience with details about when the big reveal is.


In my work in the nonprofit world, Nevada DECA did just that before announcing their state theme.

When Samsung was preparing to announce their new line of innovative smartphone, which they dubbed “The Next Big Thing,” they provided popular bloggers and other tech influencers with an opportunity to test out the new product before it was announced to the public. The result was pivotal: positive reviews flooded the Internet the day of the launch, and people were motivated to get their hands on the phone.


When you are planning a big announcement, get a few members and advisors in on it by providing them some details and encouraging them to help spread the news.

5. Maintain Momentum

After the big announcement, don’t let the excitement fade away! Continue creating content that not only reminds people of what was announced but also continues the hype.


If you announced a state theme, include that theme in your future social media posts. If you rolled out your community service project, provide updates that remind people to take action. Whatever your big announcement is, concentrating on maintaining the excitement around it.

Good luck!

I Love Deadlines! (And So Can You)

I am a little crazy about dates. Not dating like going somewhere and doing something fun (although I enjoy that too), but deadline dates. I have to admit that I am totally, 100% date–driven. It is shaped into my personality. I’m the type of person who makes lists of other lists just so I don’t miss anything. Without a due date for things, I feel paralyzed. I’m the type of person that doesn’t do anything, unless it has a deadline. Sad to say, but yes, I’m that person who schedules in time for “spontaneous fun”.

When I got married, I married a man that isn’t 100% into deadlines. Not to be mean, but I don’t even feel that 90% of him is driven by deadlines. My husband, a great man, doesn’t schedule time for spontaneous fun. He tells me that spontaneous fun is supposed to be that…spontaneous. However, even when I was a little girl, I hated surprises and liked (and still love) when everything is planned. However, when I got married, I told myself I would change. I would learn to be that spontaneous person. Little did I know how date-crazy I really was.

I’m writing this article for two reasons:

1) To show my husband that being a deadline lover, in my case at least, is a good thing.

And 2) To teach all the readers out there that setting deadlines and being a date lover can help you!

I have been wanting to post this blog forever. I wrote this two years ago. I just never told myself a due date to get this in. Ironic, right? I felt that there was always a way to tighten it up a paragraph. I felt that there was always a word that could be tweaked or a sentence I could re-write to make it sound better. I found myself living a life (well, with this one blog) that I was not loving. I didn’t set a deadline for it, therefore, it was never going to be posted.

Having deadlines focuses your energy. You feel as if you HAVE to get something in by that date. It will drive you mad, but at the time, it drives your creativity. Let me explain in four steps:

  • Expectations: When a deadline is set, everyone, whether it’s one person, or two hundred people, understands when the work is to be completed. In a fancy word, it’s like a contract. Because deadlines set us up for expectations, it means that people are working together and in sync. It really is amazing how just a deadline can change the whole process of a task!
  • The Value of Time: We all have 24 hours in a day. Everyone is busy. Everyone has projects. When we choose to set deadlines, we are committing to the value of the time of the project. Let’s use an example. If you are in school now, this should be easy for you, however, if you are out of school, go back in time and remember all the papers and projects that were assigned the same week as all the tests. Are you thinking of this time? You had to push. You had to push yourself to get everything done. Sometimes, you even stayed awake all night just to finish that very important paper that was due the next day. Deadlines give us the value of time. I am the type of person that would rather not stay up all night to write a paper. Call me an old grandma, but I like my sleep. For me, I am the type of person that tries to get things in days before the deadline is there. However, if we didn’t have deadlines, we never would push ourselves.
  • Prioritize: Deadlines help us with our workflow. Let’s say you have a report to turn into your boss on Friday, and the next week you have a school paper due on Wednesday. Knowing our deadlines helps us know that we should do first things first. Meaning, you should work on the report due Friday, before working on the paper due Wednesday.
  • Self – Imposed: This is your own deadline. Give yourself deadlines. Hold yourself accountable to your own deadlines. At work, I have deadlines for projects. Being told that something needs to be emailed by Friday, or sent it to my boss on a Monday. I found that what worked best for me, was setting a personal deadline the day before the “real” deadline. This means that I was finding myself a day always ahead. I even did this in college. Making it so I was weeks ahead in classes, enjoying college life way more than the person that was up till 2:00am still writing their paper and not even being able to go to the school dance. When we self-impose and set personal deadlines, we are forcing an effort throughout the process.

Bonus Step: Consequences and Rewards: When I was in school, there was a consequence for missing a deadline. There was also a reward for getting things in on time…higher grades, ice cream runs with mom, etc. When we create deadlines for ourselves it makes us think through the steps that we need to achieve it. Each step does in fact require time. Finishing all the steps helps motivate you to start tackling more and more deadlines. Learn to celebrate deadlines. Learn to let deadlines become a reward. I did this, and I found that everything I do that is fun, I see as a reward for getting my stuff done early.

And that’s why I love deadlines!

9 Powerful Leader Hacks to Help You Reach Your Full Potential! #12DaysOfLeadership

Welcome to TeamTRI’s 12 Days of Leadership! From now until Christmas we’ll be celebrating the holiday season by sharing 12 days of powerful leadership ideas, resources and content. We hope these articles get you in the holiday spirit and ready to go lead the world to greatness! Today’s article is by Chris Tuason (@TeamTRI_Chris)

As 2014 comes to a close, it’s time to start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions.  Perhaps you want to learn new skills, improve your life or the lives of others, or maybe you want to learn a new language or how to play an instrument.  Regardless of what you decide, as you think about your New Year’s resolutions, here are nine Leader Hacks that you should consider to help you get things done in 2016. These nine hacks will help you increase productivity and efficiency!

1. Chew Gum While Studying

Why chew gum? Studies have shown ( that chewing gum can increase heart rate and cortisol levels, which may result in a better mood. Experts even suggest the act of chewing keeps people alert and focused.  The next time you have a big exam, chew the same flavored gum that you chewed during your study session.  Your sense of smell will help you remember!

2. Tie Your Shoe Correctly

When I was a young boy, my father signed me up for the Boy Scouts of America.  In Boy Scouts, we learned many life skills that still remain with me in adulthood.  However, there was one lesson I ignored, but really should have paid attention to: how to tie knots.  Twenty years after the Boy Scouts, I was still incorrectly tying my shoe laces.  If I had only listened to my instructor, I would have been tying my shoes correctly for years!

Make sure you know how to tie your shoe laces correctly using the steps below.  There are two types of knots when you tie your shoe lace. Here’s the unbalanced knot:

And here’s the balanced knot:

Learning the correct knot has been a life saver! My laces are secure, balanced, and look like a million dollar knot!  Something as insignificant as tying your shoe may seem unimportant, but remember that sometimes the small advantages in life, lead to a greater advantage later in life.

Here’s an old Boy Scout rhyme to help you remember how to tie this knot on your shoes:

“Right over left, left over right

Makes a knot both tidy and tight”

3. Conduct an Info Interview With a Professional

We are told to practice our interview skills, but what happens when the interviewee becomes the interviewer?  Interviews with professionals and leaders in your community can be extremely valuable.  These successful members of your community will likely not turn down a request for an interview.  In fact they will be flattered and be more than happy to teach you lessons they wish they had learned at a young age.

In your interview, dress in your professional attire and be prepared to ask questions.  Also, be prepared to talk about your own future too.  Where do you see yourself in five years?  10 years?  You will be remembered and possibly use the person as a reference.  Remember to connect with them on LinkedIn!

4. Take A Picture Of Objects You Lend to People

You just purchased the latest gadget, movie, book, or toy that you’re really excited about.  Then a friend asks to borrow it.  “No problem!” you think to yourself.  Two months later you find yourself wondering where your Toy Story DVD went, and you get frustrated about why you can’t find it and can’t remember when you last saw it.

One way to solve this challenge, is to take picture of the person with the item that they borrowed.  Such an easy way to track your items!

5. Use Paper Towels The Correct Way!

Not only is this one of our favorite TED videos, but we believe everyone should see this video.  Take action towards a greener earth today by watching this video! Remember: Shake and fold!

6. Ask Your Grandparents to Tell You Stories About Growing Up

Growing up, my grandparents lived in the Philippines, so I only saw them about every 5 to 6 years.  Also, there was a language barrier because I knew very little Tagalog (main dialect of the Philippines) and they knew little English.  I cherish every story they told me, but I wish I knew more.  They lived through many historical events, and yet I knew very little about their lives.

During this holiday season, take the time to ask your grandparents about their stories.  You never know, you may just learn something important about your family history.

7. Contribute One Act of Service Per Day

Leadership is a service that we must continue to develop.  We can do this by building good will every day.  If you are practicing service in your local community, you’re practicing leadership which is an excellent way to also build good will.  What do we mean by this?  Let’s use a bank as an example.  You have to make deposits before you make a withdrawal.  Same with leadership and life — make deposits in service to build strong relationships that will help contribute to your growth and development in the future. So, the next time you see the trash piling up in the kitchen, take it out to the garbage can, instead of waiting for someone else to ask you to do it.

8. Use Powerful Tech Shortcuts!

Like a hammer, or any other tools in your toolbox, a computer is a tool to allow us to get work done quicker and more efficient.  However, a computer cannot help you to its fullest potential if you do not know how to use its features.  Take time to learn the best ways to use your computer and other technological devices to help make life easier for you.  The last thing you want to do is use the wrong end of the hammer to take a nail out of a piece of wood.  This often happens with our devices.  Here are some useful tech shortcuts to try today!

9. Know Your Modern Manners

There will be many dining opportunities during this holiday break, from family dinners, to holiday parties, so take note of these simple rules about dining etiquette and represent yourself at the dinner table with class.

  • BMW – When looking at your table setting, remember the word BMW:  Bread, Meal, and Water.  This will remind you to grab the water to your right as the water on your left belongs to the person next to you.
  • Fork and Knife – Forget where the fork or knife goes?  Remember Fork and Left have only 4 letters and Knife and Right have 5 letters to remember which is on which side.
  • Make Others Feel Comfortable – When in doubt on what to do at the dinner table, just have one goal in mind…to make others comfortable.  Follow the lead of your host and be prepared to engage in delightful dinner conversation to secure yourself another invite to the next gathering!
Did we forget any great leader hacks? Let us know by tweeting @TeamTRI or leaving a comment below!

Expand Your Horizons! Three Awesome Lessons From A Summer Abroad In China

Made in China. We have all come to embrace those three words as part of the norm in in our status quo. We see those words on the bottom of the ceramic dinnerware at home, on the tag of your favorite J. Crew joggers, and probably under the laptop or tablet you are using right now. Brimming with vitality, China has emerged into one of the most powerful economies in the world, with Hong Kong serving as its financial center and gateway into the market. It is there where I made my home for five weeks this past summer, studying Supply Chain Management with the University of Texas in partnership with Target and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Among the many experiences gained and the lessons learned, the following three thoughts in particular opened my eyes most about the world we live in:

1. The world is not your factory. It’s your marketplace.

One of the fundamental misconceptions growing up in a developed country is that we believe the rest of the world is merely a sourcing ground, or a place that saves you X amount of dollars by the end of each quarter. However, not only is this notion fading, but quite simply, there is more in this world to discover – from business strategies to educational opportunities – that will help you accelerate to prosperity, be it mental, physical, or financial.


2. Understand the culture of your surroundings, always.

In China, business cards are both given and received with both hands, often with a slight bow. Textbooks don’t teach you that. The next time you pack your bags and travel, take the chance to observe your surroundings and take in the local customs and behaviors. Not only will this help you in a business context, but it will also allow you to grasp how diverse this world truly is.


3. Everybody in the world is connected, and that is absolutely beautiful.

As a native Texan, I take pride in our culture of southern hospitality. It provides a sense of warmth and welcoming that I will always know and love. However, thousands of miles away in Hong Kong, I felt a different kind of warmth. I felt it when connecting with locals over a game of basketball in the streets. I felt it when a Chinese student taught me how to properly use chopsticks for the first time. I breathed in a sense of connection every single day. I didn’t have to know Mandarin or Cantonese. I didn’t have to look the same or dress the same as everybody around me. I just had to be me, and the world appreciates that. The world will make you grow, laugh, prosper, and feel for one another. Never take that for granted, and always be ready to give the world the best version of you.

Ziyaad Khayrattee is a student (and huge Houston Rockets fan) studying at the University of Texas-Austin, as well as a State Officer Coach with TeamTRI. Follow him on Twitter @Ziyaad_Khay and be sure to watch the video of his adventures above!