Sometimes you should quit.

Seth Godin


In this week’s edition:


1) Why sometimes it’s good to quit.


2) Video: Justin talks about how to use the power of story to raise your event to the next level.


3) Feedback from SABMiller, and Incolabs


4) Article: “What’s your story?”




Vince Lombardi is famous for saying: “Winners never quit and quitters never win” but according to Seth Godin he’s wrong. In fact winners quit all the time, they just know what and when to quit. Sure, it’s wrong to quit just because you’re feeling short term pain, but its right to quit when you find yourself in a dead end or better still, in the very beginning, when you can see you’re heading for one. May sound obvious, but I think it’s important to debunk the self-help myth that quitting is always wrong. Heck if you never quit crawling where would you be today? Check out Godin’s book, ‘The Dip’, to help you figure out when to quit.




Need an emcee for your next event? See how you can use the power of story to take it to the next level. Using the power of story at your next event.




Justin Cohen was the keynote presenter at the SABMiller Leadership Development program in Johannesburg. He presented: “Leadership Inside Out”.


That was amazing, thank you, I definitely want to use you again. What I really appreciated was the way you included key elements from our Action Learning Leadership Program.

Priyal Ramdass, L&D Consultant: Leadership & Performance Management, SABMiller



What can I say, phenomenal! You really brought home our ‘Good to Great’ theme.

Glenn Brauns, CEO Incolabs




What’s your story?


Many organisations are good at recognising success, just not replicating it. The key is imitation. The most powerful learning human beings do is through imitation. Underperformers have simply imitated poor behaviour. If you want to unleash their potential, you could pair them up with your star performers. This is effective, but it only gives one person at a time the chance to learn from your stars. A better option is to get the stories about how your top performers do what they do and spread them through the organisation. This enables everyone who hears the story to emulate the star’s behaviour.


Of course, it’s not just the star performers who exemplify greatness. Every day in every organisation there are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Most of these everyday heroes go unnoticed. There is a basic principle of learning: what gets rewarded gets repeated. When you tell these stories, not only are you recognising excellence, you are linking that recognition to a specific behaviour, ensuring that it happens again.


Stories are also a great way to bring corporate values alive. In most organisations, values are forgotten almost as soon as they’re created. Even if they’re remembered they seldom change behaviour. When staff tell stories about how they or their colleagues have lived those values, people see how they themselves can put them into action.


To get these stories, I help my clients set up “story time”. Instead of spending meetings purely on policies and procedures, they start off with each person sharing a success story about how they or someone they know has lived a value, delighted a customer or in some way achieved success. You should feel the spirit in the room. It’s an amazing thing: no one ever leaves an organisation because there’s just too much praise and recognition! More than just recognition, each of those stories gives the rest of the team a model of excellence that they can emulate in their own lives.


Another opportunity to tell stories is award events. In many organisations when someone wins an award most people know what they did (increased sales by 30%), but not how they did it. To discover the specific behaviour of the star performers, you need to get their story and share it at the event so that everyone learns how they can do it too. You could interview them on stage or get your emcee to research and tell the story.


Some of my clients produce short videos of their top success stories, to check them out go to . Others compile their stories into an Organisational Bible which helps to acculturate new members of the organisation and keep established members on track. These stories become a blueprint for “the way we do things around here”.


But just why are stories so powerful? Perhaps a story will illustrate. Have you ever got on a plane and wondered if the pilot is a first-timer? You think to yourself: “Hey, if he’s flying this Boeing 747, he must be a bright guy, but what if this is his first time?” You remember the first time you walked, you fell; first time you cycled, you crashed; first time you drove a car, you stalled. You don’t want to be uncharitable, you know, everyone’s got to have a first time, just why does it have to be with you on board! Then you remember that documentary you saw about flight simulators. The pilot has already had his first time, he’s had his 100th time in a computer simulation so real that if you were sitting in it you wouldn’t know the difference. A pilot learns to fly in a flight simulator. We learn to live in a life simulator. When you tell someone to give good service, it’s like teaching them to fly by telling them to have a good take-off. When you tell them a story about good service, you put them inside a simulator. The greatest gift that a story has to give is the lesson of a life that we didn’t have to live.


For more articles go to


Go to your destiny!









Justin recently presented ‘The Psychology of Success’ at a Shell strategy session.


“Inspirational! Thank you for a powerful presentation.”

Fatima Shaik

Country HSSE Manager

Shell Oil Company