Rick Lozano

About Rick Lozano

Rick Lozano is an energetic, unique keynote speaker who combines his work as a musician with his expertise in talent development to produce keynotes that audiences rave about. He specializes in helping people amplify their impact as leaders, individuals, and teams, he also helps organizations and teams elevate their performance, create customer loyalty, and build work cultures people crave.

Stop. Collaborate and Listen.

Collaborate! Do it now! Do it often!

Stop.

Collaborate?

Listen, before we go too fast here…

We keep shouting about collaboration from the highest levels of leadership but we might want to stop and take the time to do two important things that might help us collaborate more effectively:

1. Define what a collaborative culture is – Sounds like a no-brainer, but what does collaboration even mean? Every company does it a bit differently, every situation might require it a bit differently,  so before we can build a collaborative culture, people have to have a clear understanding of what that entails at YOUR company and in THIS type of scenario.

Is it knowledge sharing, running ideas past a larger team, vying for consensus? Is it only when we are working on group projects and we need a brainstorming session? What are the norms and guidelines for when we do and don’t collaborate? When we all agree on what is expected, we are more likely to collaborate effectively.

2. Start with the behavior then the tool – All too often, people come up with a magic bullet for collaboration and it often involves technology such as Slack, HipChat, Sharepoint, etc.. And while those tools are great and can take collaboration to the next level,  how often has your organization rolled out a new tool only to have one or two people sharing information between the crickets chirping?

Before we jump to tools, lets focus on behavior.

Get analog collaboration happening first so that you have a much better chance of succeeding in the digital space.

Stop. Collaborate and Listen.2018-03-12T21:59:45-06:00

Learning Under Water P.3

Bruce Willis Ruins All Films

Whether you agree with that statement or not, it is a good pnemonic for remembering to check your gear before you dive. In order, you check:
 Bruce – BCD (Buoyancy Control Device)
Willis – Weights
Ruins – Releases
All – Air
Films – Final check/Fins
..,before you start your dive.
Safety first, right? Check!

And that’s the way we now start every dive, thanks to our instructor, Bill Becker. He taught us this simple, yet absolutely important method to begin our dives safely, and held us accountable during our initial training if we forgot.
Onboarding properly makes a difference.
As we’ve developed as divers, I’ve noticed that not everyone does the protocol, but we always do – every single time, no exceptions. It is our commitment to each other to always perform the safety checks to keep ourselves and each other safe. And… on the rare occasion one of us forgot, the other stepped up and insisted.
This is how we do it.
(…go ahead, click it, you know you want to!)
The way you are introduced to things matters, whether it is scuba diving, leadership, a new team, or a new organization.  The initial tone – and the subsequent accountability – dictates how people will behave. It creates the norms and expectations for what great looks like and, when done properly, can impact everyone’s morale, engagement, and in this case, safety.
Onboarding is the first exposure. Make it count.
It is tempting to go fast, to hit the ground running, to get people up to speed and productive asap.  To skip the details and just jump to results.  After all, we don’t have time to waste!
But taking the time up front saves you time and money later. Set people up for success and safety.
And now that we’ve discussed that, I have a confession…I liked The Sixth Sense.  Bruce Willis is fine.
Learning Under Water P.32018-02-20T07:42:31-06:00

A New Guitar and the Art of Asking

For the first time in almost twenty years, I bought a new acoustic guitar.

This one…

I didn’t mean to.

I mean, I wanted it, I just didn’t expect that I would actually buy it.

Let me explain. The guitar that I’ve been gigging with forever has gotten a little road weary. Over the course of 20+ years it has been dropped, cracked, and fallen off more guitar stands than I can count.

While still sounding great and working beautifully (after repairs…thank you, Guitar Tex!), I started thinking about a backup guitar in case I found myself in a position where I needed one on the fly.

So I eyeballed the Martin GPC – 15ME. It’s pretty. I wanted it. But I didn’t yet want to spend the money.

And then I saw an email from Sweetwater.com selling a demo version of that guitar (meaning it’s been on display on their showroom floor and has a few small imperfections) for $200 off the price.

“Huh. That doesn’t look bad at all…still, that’s more than I want to spend right now. If only it were $500 off the price”, I thought to myself.

So, almost without thinking, I sent my sales rep an email asking him to lower the price by $500. I told him that if he did that, I would “buy the guitar today!”.

I didn’t expect he’d actually do it.

(Cue the text message to my wife…“Honey…guess what I just did…”)

Here’s the thing…sometimes you ask and the world responds.

I’ve been talking about this a lot lately in my keynote, “Amplify Your Impact”, how you “create” your next opportunity rather than trying to “find” it. But I suddenly realized just how many times this has held true for me recently, great things have happened because I took a chance and ASKED. That’s it. I opened the door to possibility, threw myself out there just a little bit and, in doing so, created these opportunities.

I came up with this crazy idea for a paid sabbatical as volunteer scuba diver this past summer- asked – and was approved.

I got to play at the legendary Irish Kevin’s in Key West, Florida simply by asking Irish Kevin what it would take to play there.

And now, the very guitar that I spent hours daydreaming about was mine at a nearly 40% discount. Because I asked.

Now, mind you, I probably have asked for many other things that have yet to come to fruition (come on, Paul McCartney, it’s just lunch), but the truth is in life sometimes we just have to be willing to throw it out into the world and the world will respond. Rather than waiting for opportunity, create it.

What are you waiting for?

**** Update – Shortly after I wrote this I sent the guitar back. It was beautiful but didn’t have the sound I was looking for. (insert sad face)

And – support your local guitar shop, those folks are awesome.  Thanks again, Guitar Tex!

A New Guitar and the Art of Asking2019-03-10T09:48:13-06:00

Empathy Under Water

“There’s nothing to be nervous about”

I caught myself saying that to Angela right before we were about to descend. My intent was pure, by this point she was an experienced diver and we had done this many times before. In my mind, a few simple words of encouragement would help alleviate the anxiety she happened to be feeling before our dive that day.

But then I realized how ridiculous I sounded. Has saying “don’t be nervous” ever really helped anyone not be nervous? To that end, I didn’t even know what she was anxious about! Simply telling her not to be nervous wasn’t going to help.

(and this is the ocean, where, you know…these things live)

(that moment at :12 when the shark raced towards us briefly…yikes!)

And then I thought of our journey to this point.

Diving came easy for me, it really is something I’ve always wanted to do, but Angela had her reservations.

We’d snorkeled a lot over the years, but the idea of sinking below the surface and breathing underwater was an uncomfortable one. She didn’t enjoy putting her head underwater, and never did so, even in our backyard swimming pool! Diving was much more difficult in the initial stages for her.

Yet, here she was…not only was she doing it, she was rocking at it! She had, time and again, overcome her anxiety, given the thumbs down “descend” signal, and developed into a great diver. But it took considerable more effort on her part to get to this point, she worked harder at it than I did and has the right to feel any damn way she wants to feel!

So I stopped. I stopped telling her not to be nervous, or reminding her how many times she’s done this before. Now on the rare occasions where either of us have the pre-dive jitters, we’ve established what we refer to as “The Process”. The process includes simply stopping. Breathing. Understanding whatever is causing the concern. Taking the time and space to work through it. And then (most of the time), proceeding underwater.

That made me think of how many times in life I’ve probably done this, not been a great friend or colleague because I wasn’t empathetic to where the other person was coming from (and Empathy is one of my top 5 strengths!), and how I can benefit from a “Process” for being emotionally intelligent.

Here’s what I’m working on these days:

  1. Validate the emotion. It is there. It is real. It is THEIRS. Who am I to say they have no reason to feel sad/angry/frustrated/anxious/concerned. It isn’t my emotion! And, really, if I was feeling that way, I’d be even more frustrated that someone was dismissing my frustration!
  2. Understand the emotion. As much as possible, examine what is causing it. Not in an attempt to “fix” it, but rather, as a way to understand how to best serve the other person. Maybe all they need is someone to listen. Or, maybe, there’s something of incredible importance that we need to be aware of. In Angela’s case, we’re about to engage in this unnatural act of going eighty feet underwater and breathing from tubes and tanks while swimming with sharks and jellyfish – there’s always room for concern!

and finally,

  1. Proceed. In whatever direction the other person feels is right. Ask questions, listen, understand what is happening, and go from there. In the case of scuba diving, if either dive buddy doesn’t have a good feeling, it is ALWAYS ok to stop and try again later. And if we are already underwater, either partner ALWAYS has the right to terminate the dive.

So, that’s what I’m working on. What process works for you?

…and here’s a cool grey Angelfish!

Empathy Under Water2019-03-10T09:15:32-06:00

Learning Under Water P.1

Down Below We Go!

Less than a year ago, my wonderful wife, Angela, and I began scuba diving. In the span of 10 months we have gone from the initial lessons and certification to now having logged almost 60 dives. We’ve spent around 50 hours total underwater, obtained our Advanced Open Water Certification from PADI, and dove in conditions ranging from the pitch black and ice cold of a Texas lake in February, to the beautiful reefs of the Florida Keys and Mexico.  And yes, there were sharks.
It has been an incredible journey and I am thrilled this is a part of our lives and I can’t wait to get underwater again!
And I’ve learned a ton, some things about myself, some things about Angela (she’s a bad ass!), so much about the ocean and the incredible creatures in it. We’ve made some friendships with some great people in the local dive community, learned how to use a compass, we even won an underwater navigation contest!  (full disclosure…we were awful but apparently everyone else was slightly more awful!)
And it has opened my eyes to some things that have helped me grow personally and professionally and, to that end, I thought I’d share a few lessons learned regarding:
  • Empathy and emotional intelligence
  • Trust and communication
  • Navigating through discomfort
…and more. All while watching Goliath Grouper and Barracuda hanging out underneath my boat while I’m trying to get back in it.
So I’ll hope you’ll join me for my little series of “tales under the sea”, but before I get to writing the next post, a few ideas regarding scuba diving:
The community is refreshingly inclusive. I’ve seen a great mix of genders, ages, and body types. You don’t have to be Michael Phelps to want to get in the water!
Most dive shops offer a “discover scuba” session where you are gently introduced to scuba diving, that could be a great way to get your feet (and everything else!) wet. If you’ve thought about it, give it a go!
If you do really want to add diving to your life, buy your own gear. People with their own gear dive more, pure and simple. It is more cost effective in a lot of ways, but there are also two additional factors that make this a wise investment if you are willing to take the plunge:
  1. Knowing your gear makes you safer. If you dive with familiar equipment, it is easier to adjust things underwater, troubleshoot issues, and react in an emergency situation.
  1. There is a certain pride and attachment with owning your own gear. It is YOUR kit. You build it, you care for it, it grows and changes as you continue to grow as a diver.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money to start, we chose one of the lowest kit options and it worked out great for us.
So there you have it. I could go on for hours, but for now that is all. I’ll get to the real learning concepts in the next posts.
For now, adios!
Learning Under Water P.12018-01-17T09:53:41-06:00