Leading Blog



07.14.17

5 Leadership Lessons I Learned by Walking the Camino de Santiago

Victor Prince

T
HE Camino de Santiago is a network of ancient hiking paths that all lead to a shrine to St. James in northwest Spain. I first walked that trail – 435 miles over 29 days – in 2013 and have returned twice since. My passion for discovering new hiking trails was what drew me to the Camino, but the lessons from the Camino are what keep me going back. Here are five of those lessons that have helped me become a better leader.

1. Welcome Help
When you walk for a month, you inevitably get lost. In one little village, three older gentlemen sitting in a shady spot outside the little café jumped and pointed me in the right direction when I took a wrong turn. I realized that they were sitting there specifically to help direct lost hikers. It was their pastime. That experience taught me that welcoming help from others was not just about the specific piece of help I received when I asked. It also made the person helping me feel good and be invested in my success. Ever since the Camino, I have vowed to be more welcoming of help from others, at work and beyond.

2. Learn from the Past
When I decided to walk the Camino, I eagerly jumped into the planning. I plotted out a 29 day itinerary that optimized my distances per day and found a bed I could reserve each night. That exercise took days, tapped my analytical skills, and resulted in a large spreadsheet that I was proud to show off. That is until I realized that I had recreated the same itinerary that several guidebooks had already figured out. People have been walking the Camino for over 1000 years. Instead of taking a step back to see what I could have learned from others who went before me, I plunged right into the task. Since the Camino, I am more thoughtful when I start a new project to look for lessons from the past.

3. Think About the Future
Any trail that has remained popular for over 1000 years can teach us how to build longevity in our organization. One thing behind the Camino’s longevity is the ethos of the hikers who walk it to leave it better than they found it. Hikers generally don’t litter on the trail and pitch in where they can to keep the churches, hostels and facilities along the trail in good shape for hikers to follow. That same ethos is important for leaders. Leaders need to think about their successors as they make decisions in their jobs. Their goal should be to leave their role and team in a better position than they inherited it.

4. Don’t Judge Others
People from many different backgrounds from all over the world hike the Camino. Everyone dresses in much the same way while walking, giving few clues from their outward appearance about their background. Hikers learn to reserve judgment about others. Instead of silently critiquing others, hikers support each other as they go through the same difficult challenge of walking across a country. They may not know how or why another person got on the trail, but they know the shared challenges they are facing and simply focus on those.

5. Stretch Yourself
Walking across a country sounded like a crazy thing to do before I did it. By doing it, I gained self-confidence to do other bold things. Walking the Camino emboldened me to check off a goal that I had long thought was beyond my abilities – writing a book. While I was walking the Camino, I thought a lot about my career and the leadership lessons I had learned. I decided to write a book about those insights. That book, Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide their Teams to Exceptional Results (Career Press), was named a Top 20 Leadership Book of 2016. This week, my third book, The Camino Way: Lessons in Leadership from a Walk Across Spain (AMACOM) comes out.

I recommend hiking the Camino to anyone who can. The combination of the physical challenge, the alone time for introspection, and the opportunity to meet people from around the world is a wonderful means of self-improvement. If you can’t walk the Camino, search for other experiences that provide those three elements.

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Leading Forum
This post is by Victor Prince. He is a leadership consultant, speaker, and managing director of the consulting firm DiscoveredLOGIC. He has 20+ years of experience in corporate and government leadership, including positions as COO of the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, strategy consultant with Bain & Company, and marketing executive with Capital One. He holds an MBA in finance from the Wharton School. Prince can be reached at www.victorprince.com.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:53 AM
| Comments (0) | Leadership Development

07.10.17

The Mathematical Corporation

Mathematical Corporation

Y
OU WILL SOON be able to give over almost half of your cognitive work to the machine. This is not to say that you will lose control, but rather, it points to the fact that the human role will become even more critical.

A mathematical corporation is one that takes advantage of machine intelligence by collaborating with it to achieve leading-edge results. It will require a shift in your thinking. “As a leader,” say Josh Sullivan and Angela Zutavern in The Mathematical Corporation, “you need to evolve your focus to excelling through imagination, creativity, reasoning, and problem structuring.”

Leading in the era of the mathematical corporation means learning to work with the machine to investigate mountains of data not by braking them down, but by keeping them together to mine insights never before imaginable. It means being able to distinguish what machines are good at doing from what people are good at doing. When people and machines are appropriately paired we can explore heretofore impossible strategies and execute incredible solutions.

Machines will not replace people but we will need to develop and capitalize on some uniquely human skills. “People will continue to be better than machines at many of the loftiest cognitive tasks, like asking questions to clarify a problem, composing experiments to test hypotheses, and drawing on truths in one discipline to elicit insights in another.”

Because of the machine’s ability to synthesize vast amounts of data, it would be wise to question your own judgements when machines offer a different conclusion from your own. Machines for example can recognize patterns better than we can. That said, “computers don’t know the cause of a pattern. They don’t have the human appetite to get to the bottom of the matter, and they don’t ask, ‘Just how does cause A lead to effect B?’ They learn, infer, and have high recall accuracy, but they don’t know the story of cause and effect. So, the task of taking a cause-and-effect understanding of a business system and crafting a strategy from it remains a people job.”

Getting the Questions Right

While Big Data adds complexity, it is only a problem if you don’t know how to mine it for value. The key skill for leaders is to be able to ask better questions than to offer solutions. Asking the right questions is critical. Poor questions lead to questionable insights. “That’s why as a leader, you need to remain at the tip of the process, seeing the world in a much broader and more differentiated way than others.”

Not only asking the right questions but removing our own biases from them, will bring us breakthrough insights and more nuanced answers. Another issue we will have to work through is not projecting our limitations and constraints on the machine. Although we have a mental model that we filter the world though, we must be careful not to constrain the machine—our questions—in the same way.

What About Intuition?

In the mathematical corporation, the role intuition will shift from judging reality to judging models. “No matter your feeling on intuition, its role is destined to shift to a smaller, if still critical position. As machine intelligence converts implicit understanding to exploit facts, replaces implicit assumptions with data-givens, counters biases with hard evidence, we have to admit the superiority of the cold facts encoded in 1s and 0s.” Often it will require a leap of faith on our part.

We will need to learn to ask bigger questions and questions that will lead us to better questions. The best machine collaborators will see this as a learning journey. “Conventional strategic planning practice calls for a relentless search for answers during a detailed analysis of context and a relentless analysis of the opportunity to find the right answer in one go. But when the answer is over the horizon, no amount of analysis of the landscape up front will reveal it. You need to go on a learning journey—sailing to the far shores to find the best answer.”

It requires a commitment to a cycle of questioning and learning, questioning and learning.

As digital technologies continue to develop and improve, leaders will need to become wise and discerning leaders of machines. Leaders will not only be expected to use this technology to their advantage to solve their own organizational issue but to help answers the questions that exist beyond their own walls.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:24 PM
| Comments (0) | Leadership , Problem Solving , Thinking

07.05.17

The Bridge to Growth

Bridge To Growth

W
HAT’S MORE IMPORTANT, strategy or execution? I believe both are critical. But what if something else is just as important? There is a third ingredient to business success, one that many companies undervalue: servant leadership.

In today’s business climate, the cadence between strategy and execution is compressing, making the integration of the two more important than ever. Too many workers are being left out of this equation. More and more people are disconnected from their company’s goals, even though they still report being satisfied with their jobs. A Global Workforce Survey conducted by Towers Watson revealed that a mere 21 percent of workers feel engaged and truly committed to their company’s success and goals, even though 86 percent report liking their jobs. Is this reflective of a failure of leadership, a shift in the attitudes of today’s workers, or both?

Apparently, many people are settling for a job that satisfies their basic needs, yet denies them a motivating answer to two important questions: “How does my personal work connect to my company’s goals, and how can I help us achieve them?” In these cases, leaders have unfortunately failed to fully engage workers in either the development or execution of their company’s mission, goals, and ultimately its journey toward success or failure. Too often, workers are being over-managed and under-led. I believe this “commitment gap” represents the largest source of untapped potential to create economic value in our society today.

How can leaders tap into this gap and raise the performance bar? This question matters more now than it ever has. As our world becomes more socially connected, more women progress into leadership roles, and millennials seek more meaning and purpose in their work than previous generations did, the principles of servant leadership are becoming more relevant than ever before.

Based on my experience leading high performing teams over the last 36 years, I developed a blueprint of nine proven leadership principles I've used to improve the performance of several businesses by moving workforces from satisfactorily disengaged to enthusiastically committed to winning:

1. Grow leaders and difference-makers, not just followers.

2. Build and orchestrate synergistic, high performance teams more powerful than the sum of their parts.

3. Focus your organization on strategic priorities and simplify operations to accelerate progress.

4. Champion the people who purchase and use your products and services.

5. Cultivate a performance-based culture of innovation that unleashes the innate desire in the people you lead to solve, create, and contribute to winning.

6. Communicate relentlessly to give your workforce the context they need to sign up for and truly commit to achieving company goals.

7. See the world through the eyes of others, and your example will breed a healthier organization.

8. Be the model you want emulated. Operate transparently, deliver on your promises, and remain steadfastly focused on doing the right things.

9. Coach people to achieve more than they thought possible. They need a model of success more than they need a critic. Inspire your entire organization to step up by revealing what success looks like, catching people doing something well, and showing your gratitude publicly.

If you connect with these principles, I encourage you to check out my new book The Bridge to Growth. It's packed with useful tips and tools, and each leadership principle is articulated using real-world success models that bring the principles to life.

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Leading Forum
This post is by Jude Rake. He is a veteran CEO with a 35+ year track record of building businesses to create economic value, from well known consumer packaged goods companies such as The Clorox Company, PepsiCo, and SC Johnson, to smaller family owned and private equity backed businesses. He founded JDR Growth Partners to help other leaders achieve growth.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:03 AM
| Comments (0) | Leadership

07.04.17

America Through the Eyes of the Founding Fathers

America Through the Eyes of the Founding Fathers

I
N A LETTER from the second president of the United States, John Adams, to the Officers of the first Brigade of the third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts dated October 11, 1798, Adams cautioned the country against hypocrisy—saying one thing and doing another.

But laws he believed, could not prevent this hypocrisy. No law, no constitution could save an immoral people. While the Founding Fathers believed in the necessary separation of Church and State, they believed no discussion of morals was possible without an agreed upon philosophy – a philosophy that superseded the logic of men. So Adams concluded that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.”

George Washington also said as much halfway through his Farewell Address of 1796. He stated: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports.” He added, “And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

Both Adams and Washington are appealing to a morality that was eternal—beyond the customs of man. A morality that didn’t shift on convention.

John Adams wrote to the Massachusetts Militia:
While our country remains untainted with the principles and manners which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the world; while she continues sincere, and incapable of insidious and impious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned us by Providence.

But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation, while it is practising iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candour, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world.

Because we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. Oaths in this country are as yet universally considered as sacred obligations. That which you have taken, and so solemnly repeated on that venerable ground, is an ample pledge of your sincerity and devotion to your country and its government.
James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, believed that the governed were obliged to control itself. Furthermore, it was the responsibility of a virtuous people to select leaders that would reflect that ideal. Leaders that would be capable by virtue of their own character, to adapt these eternal morals that Adams often spoke of, to particular circumstances. Madison wrote:
But I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks--no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:47 AM
| Comments (0) | Government , Leaders

07.01.17

First Look: Leadership Books for July 2017

Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in July.

  The Bridge to Growth: How Servant Leaders Achieve Better Results and Why It Matters Now More Than Ever by Jude Rake
  Designed Leadership by Moura Quayle
  Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity by Steve Greene
  Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact by Phil M Jones
  The Little Black Book of Decision Making: Making Complex Decisions with Confidence in a Fast-Moving World by Michael Nicholas

Bridge to Growth Designed Leadership Love Leads Exactly What to Say Black Book of Decision Making

For bulk orders call 1-800-423-8273
discounted books


Build your leadership library with these specials on over 39 titles. All titles are at least 40% off the list price and are available only in limited quantities.

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"A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
— Marcus Tullius Cicero


Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:15 PM
| Comments (0) | Books

06.30.17

LeadershipNow 140: June 2017 Compilation

twitter

twitter Here are a selection of tweets from June 2017 that you might have missed:
See more on twitter Twitter.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:52 AM
| Comments (0) | LeadershipNow 140

06.28.17

4 Characteristics of Great Teams

4 Characteristics of Great Teams

T
HE AMERICA'S CUP is the world’s oldest international sporting trophy, first contested in 1851 when the schooner America crossed the Atlantic and beat 15 British yachts. The trophy became known as the America’s Cup for the winning yacht in 1851.

This year at the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda, Team New Zealand beat the defending Oracle Team USA. What made their victory possible was a new team with a new approach.

Great Teams Serve Each Other

Team New Zealand operates as a team. Skipper Glenn Ashby said, “Everyone on this team is as important as the next guy. It’s a whole team policy where we have a belief in the collective power as a whole and not any one individual to get the job done.” A cyclor for New Zealand, Andy Maloney, added, "We pride ourselves on not everything being put into [skipper] Peter [Burling’s] or Glenn's hands. Whereas you see Jimmy Spithill and Tom Slingsby [of team Oracle] pretty much doing 99 percent of the work on the other boat.” When all members of the team serve each other through many small acts of service they balance out the whole team.

Great Teams Maintain Their Composure and Focus

Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton made an effort to stay behind the scenes. He also placed emphasis on the importance of the crew as a whole rather than individual team members. Team New Zealand believed they could win despite the odds and remain determined to do so despite the skeptics.

Great Teams Overcome Adversity

After their defeat four years ago, the New Zealand team was fractured and bitter. There was a lot of finger-pointing and some team members left. Skipper Glenn Ashby said, “It is very much a new team from 2013 across most departments and, as a result, we have a very healthy and fresh team culture.” They learned from 2013 and kept moving forward. They were able to tune out their critics.

Great Teams Innovate

Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton has said that the team almost folded due to lack of money. The board of directors came to the decision that they had no option but to shut the team down. Only a last minute influx of cash saved the team. But the lack of cash made them think and get creative with the resources they did have. They made a habit of doing things differently; operating at the margins. As a result, their innovations were a large part of their success.

Specifically, they employed a revolutionary "cycling" system to power the hydraulics needed to control the catamaran's foils, which lift it out of the water, and the vast "wing" sail which drives it along. Great teams can set aside their limitations and innovate.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:15 AM
| Comments (0) | Teamwork

06.26.17

What Sets Apart the Greatest Teams of All-Time?

Captain Class

S
AM WALKER revisits the popular idea of leadership. In The Captain Class, Walker describes what makes an elite captain by analyzing the leadership of sixteen of the most dominate teams in history. What he found is that each team had the same type of captain—a singular leader with an unconventional skill set that drove the team to achieve sustained, historic greatness.

Ironically, it wasn’t the Roy Keane’s or the Michael Jordan’s that made it happen. “The best leaders in sports history were not mesmerizing characters. They didn’t always make for great television. That’s what we’ve come to expect, however. So that’s what we continue to get.” And so teams choose the wrong people to lead them. They promote people with the wrong characteristics. It’s typically not the player with the highest market value. What it takes to lead is not always what it seems.

What Walker discovered are the Seven Traits of Elite Captains. They explain why captains of exceptional teams are so influential. And it explains why we often look for the wrong kinds of leaders to lead us.

1. Extreme Doggedness and Focus in Competition

Elite Captains just keep coming. They overcome a group dynamic known as social loafing. It’s what happens when a single person’s contribution to a team is not noticeable or unidentifiable. We put less effort in. An Elite Captain improves everyone else’s performance by leaving nothing in reserve themselves. Their willingness to give everything—all of the time—encourages the rest of the team to raise their effort level to match.

2. Aggressive Play That Tests the Limits of the Rules

Elite Captains play the edges. Walker identifies a “hostile” variety of aggression to do harm and an “instrumental” variety that is used in pursuit of a worthwhile goal. “While the captains of Tier One often did ugly things, they did so while operating within the fuzzy confines of the rules of sports. (Although you can try to parse aggressive behavior and justify some but not all, it does matter how you win. Contrary to the examples of a couple of Walker’s Captains, winning at any cost is not a sustainable value.)

3. A Willingness to Do Thankless Jobs in the Shadows

An Elite Captain serves. This finding is worth giving a little extra thought to. It is the person willing to carry the water that makes the best captain. “In fact, superior leadership is just as likely (if not more so) to come from the team’s rear quarters than to emanate from its frontline superstar.”

Walker relates the story of the San Antonio Spur’s Tim Duncan. Duncan suppressed his own skills (and salary) in order to promote the goals and values of the team. “By lowering himself, he was able to coax the maximum performance out of the players around him.”

Walker notes: “One of the great paradoxes of management is that the people who pursue leadership positions most ardently are often the wrong people for the job. They’re motivated by the prestige the role conveys rather than a desire to promote the goals and values of the organization.”

4. A Low-Key, Practical, and Democratic Communication Style

Effective teams talk to one another and the person that fosters that culture is the captain. “They engaged with their teams constantly—listening, observing, and inserting themselves into every meaningful moment. They didn’t think of communication as a form of theater. They saw it as an unbroken flow of interactions, a never-ending parade of boxing ears, delivering hugs, and wiping noses.”

5. Motivates Others with Passionate Nonverbal Displays

Jack Lambert of the Pittsburgh Steelers, went out of his way on the field “to project extreme passion and emotion.” This is distinct from verbal communication. Great captains project their feelings to have a strong impact on the thoughts, feelings and emotions of their teammates. Communication based on displays rather than words.

6. Strong Convictions and The Courage to Stand Apart

All of the Tier One captains stood up to management in some way in their careers. It served to bring the teammates closer together and cement their leadership. Some dissent is a good thing and captains should stand up for the team even at the risk of displeasing superiors. But they focus on task conflict and not personal conflict. “Tranquility isn’t more important than the truth—at least the kind that’s told by a captain who is known to be fiercely committed, who labors in the service of the team, and who avoids attacking people on a personal level.”

7. Ironclad Emotional Control

Elite Captains have a kill switch; they are able to mute their personal emotional tendencies. Emotion and enable and it can disable. The Elite Captains walled off “destructive emotions in order to serve the interests of the team. They developed a kill switch for negative emotions.”

What Does This Say About Leadership?

Walker says we overcomplicate things. “We’ve been so busy scanning the horizon for transformational knights in shining armor that we’ve ignored the likelier truth: there are hundreds upon thousands of potentially transformative leaders right in our midst. We just lack the ability to recognize them.”

We are often swayed by the force of a person’s personality or talent, but real leadership is not readily found on a resume. It’s found in the day-in and day-out activities that reveal who they are.
The truth is that leadership is a ceaseless burden. It’s not something people should do for the self-reflected glory, or even because they have oodles of charisma or surpassing talent. It’s something they should do because they have the humility and fortitude to set aside the credit, and their own gratification and well-being, for the team—not just in pressure-packed moments but in every minute of every day.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 01:00 AM
| Comments (0) | Leadership

06.20.17

Humility is the New Smart: Are You Ready?

Humility is the New Smart

S
MART used to be a quantity game. “I know more than you. I get more things right.” But Ed Hess and Katherine Ludwig say that in the new Smart Machine Age, that’s losing game. The new smart is about quality. Specifically, the quality of your thinking, your listening, and your relating and collaborative skills.

Are you ready?

The Smart Machine Age (SMA) will revolutionize how most of us live and work. In Humility is the New Smart, the authors state that “smart technologies will become ubiquitous, invading and changing many aspects of our professional and personal lives and in many ways challenging our fundamental beliefs about success, opportunity, and the American Dream.” This means that the “number and types of available jobs and required skills will turn our lives and our children’s lives upside down.”

New skills will be needed. Uniquely human skills. Those skills, while uniquely human, are not what we are typically trained to do and require a deal of messy personal development. We will need to become better thinkers, listeners, relators, and collaborators, while working to overcome our culture of obsessive individualism in order to thrive in the SMA. Humility is the mindset that will make all of this possible.
Most of today’s adults have had no formal training in how to think, how to listen, how to learn and experiment through inquiry, how to emotionally engage, how to manage emotions, how to collaborate, or how to embrace mistakes as learning opportunities.

In short, say the authors, we need to acquire and continually develop four fundamental NewSmart behaviors:

Quieting Ego

Quieting Ego has always been the challenge for us humans. As they observe, “Even if we don’t consider ourselves part of the ‘big me’ cultural phenomenon, for many of us to feel good about ourselves we have to constantly be ‘right,’ self-enhance, self-promote, and conceal our weaknesses, all of which drive ego defensiveness and failure intolerance that impedes higher-level thinking and relating.” This tendency negatively affects our behavior, thinking, and ability to relate to and engage with others.

Managing Self—Thinking and Emotions

We need to get above ourselves to see ourselves impartially. We all struggle “to self-regulate our basic humanity—our biases, fears, insecurities, and natural fight-flee-or-freeze response to stress and anxiety.” We need to be willing to treat all of our “beliefs (not values) as hypotheses subject to stress tests and modification by better data.”

Negative emotions cause narrow-mindedness. Positive emotions on the other hand, have been scientifically linked to “broader attention, open-mindedness, deeper focus, and more flexible thinking, all of which underlie creativity and innovative thinking.”

Reflective Listening

Because we are limited by our own thinking, we need to listen to others to “open our minds and, push past our biases and mental models, and mitigate self-absorption in order to collaborate and build better relationships.” The problem is “we’re just too wired to confirm what we already believe, and we feel too comfortable having a cohesive simple story of how our world works.” Listening to others helps to quiet our ego.

Otherness

To create these new behaviors and mindsets, it should become obvious that we need to enlist the help of others. “We can’t think, innovate, or relate at our best alone.” As Barbara Fredrickson observed, “nobody reaches his or her full potential in isolation.” Jane Dutton out it this way: “It seems to be another fact that no man can come to know himself except as the outcome of disclosing himself to another.”

The NewSmart Organization

Optimal human performance in the SMA will require an emphasis on the emotional aspects of critical thinking, creativity, innovation and engaging with others. “The work environment must be designed to reduce fears, insecurities, and other negative emotions.

To do this it means “providing people a feeling of being respected, held in positive regard, and listened to. It means creating opportunities for people to connect and build trust. “It means allocating time and designing work environments that bring people together to relate about nonwork matters.” Finally, it means getting to know employees and helping them to get the “right training or opportunities to develop and provide feedback.”

The NewSmart organization needs to be a safe place to learn. “Feeling safe means that you feel that your boss your employer, and your colleagues will do you no harm as you try to learn.”

The New Smart

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Of Related Interest:
  Learn or Die

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:28 PM
| Comments (0) | General Business , Human Resources , Leadership Development , Personal Development , Positive Leadership

06.09.17

9 Things Positive Leaders Do

9ThingsPositiveLeadersDo

J
ON GORDON is a prolific writer. He has written at least a dozen books on leadership that I am aware of. The Power of Positive Leadership summarizes much of his thinking and provides a great introduction to all of his other work. As a result, it is full of good practices and thinking.

Positive leadership is grounded in reality. We must confront the negativity we come across, but we shouldn’t dwell on it. We deal with it and move on. It is because we will have to overcome negativity, adversity and problems that we should be positive. “Positive leadership is not about fake positivity. It is the real stuff that makes great leaders great.” Positive leaders focus on solutions.

Gordon cites psychologist Barbara Fredrickson’s research that finds that “people who experience more positive emotions than negative ones are more likely to see the bigger picture, build relationships, and thrive in their work and career, whereas people who experience mostly negative emotions are more likely to have a narrower perspective and tend to focus more on problems.” Positivity doesn’t guarantee you will succeed, but it makes it much more likely. A positive mindset reveals possibilities and gives you the courage to take the actions required to move past negative situations.

Gordon explains nine things positive leaders do. Nine actions that will enhance your leadership capabilities and positively impact all of your relationship—your family, your friends and your team.

1. Positive Leaders Drive Positive Cultures

Culture is everything. A positive leader lives the culture because it is an extension of who they are. “They understand that every day there are forces seeking to sabotage their culture and success, and so they work relentlessly to keep it strong.”

“When you create a culture worth fighting for and invest in your people to the degree that they want to fight for your culture and for each other, your organization will have grit and strength to overcome the challenges you face and become an unstoppable and positive force.”

2. Positive Leaders Create and Share a Positive Vision

Former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ford Motor Company Alan Mulally, said, “Positive leadership—conveying the idea that there is always a way forward—is so important because that is what you are here for—to figure out how to move the organization forward.”

Positive leaders see and create a brighter and better future. They see “what’s possible and then takes the next steps to rally and unite people to create it. Every invention, project, creation, and transformation starts with an idea, an imagination, and a vision of what’s possible.”

A positive leader needs a telescope and a microscope. The telescope helps to keep your eyes on the big picture. The microscope helps the leader to focus in on what needs to be accomplished in the short term to realize the vision in the telescope. “If you only have a telescope, then you’ll be thinking about your vision all the time and dreaming about the future but not taking the necessary steps to realize it. If you only have a microscope, then you’ll be working hard every day but set-backs and challenges will likely frustrate and discourage you because you’ll lose sight of the big picture.”

3. Positive Leaders Lead with Optimism, Positivity, and Belief

“Ultimately, being a positive leader is all about leading with faith in a world filled with cynicism, negativity, and fear.” We all face this battle between faith and fear. A leader’s job is to fill your people with faith.

How respond to our world depends on the stories we tell ourselves. When you face adversity you can tell a positive story and then work to create a positive outcome. It’s always your state of mind and your thinking that produces how you feel and respond. When you see that the world has no power over you, you will lead more powerfully in the world.”

4. Positive Leaders Confront, Transform, and Remove Negativity

“Positive leadership is not just about feeding the positive, but also about weeding out the negative.” You must address negativity. Develop a culture where negativity is not acceptable. People will either change or leave.

A positive leader is more positive than the negativity they face. Every negative situation is an opportunity the strengthen your positivity. Don’t allow complaining unless one or two possible solutions are brought forward also. “Complaining causes you and your team to focus on everything but being your best.”

5. Positive Leaders Create United and Connected Teams

“Positive leaders unite instead of divide. They are able to create unity, which is the difference between a great team and an average team.”

It starts at the top. “As a positive leader, you must be a unifier and connector who fosters relationship between others.”

“You can be the smartest person in the room but if you fail to connect with others you will fail as a leader.” Also, “You may not have the most talented people on your team, but if you are a connected team, you will outperform many talented teams who lack a close bond.”

6. Positive Leaders Build Great Relationships and Teams

People first follow who you are. “Leadership begins with love.” Love your people. Build relationships first. Too many leaders share rules before they have first built a relationship. I’ve had many leaders tell me,” writes Gordon, “that when they focus less on rules and invest more in their relationships they experience a dramatic increase in performance, morale, and engagement.”

Positive leaders are also positive communicators. They smile. They spread positive gossip. They listen and welcome ideas. They rely on positive non-verbal communication. They encourage.

7. Positive Leaders Pursue Excellence

Not satisfied with the status quo, positive leaders pursue excellence. “How can I get better to make the world better?”

Positive leaders are humble and never stop learning. Pablo Casals, one of the greatest cellists of all time, was asked why he continued to practice the cello at the age of 95. He said, “Because I think I’m making progress.”

Positive leaders ask daily: “What do I need to know that I don’t know?” and “What do I need to unlearn to learn?”

8. Positive Leaders Lead with Purpose

Purpose fuels positivity. “Hard work doesn’t make us tired. A lack of purpose is what makes us tired. We don’t get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it.”

Have purpose driven goals. “The truth is that numbers and goals don’t drive people. People with a purpose drive the numbers and achieve goals.”

9. Positive Leaders Have Grit

“When we look at successful companies and organizations, we see their current success and prominence but what we don’t see is the leadership and grit that powered them through all the failure and moments of doubt, heartache, fear, and pain.”

Positive leaders embrace failure and trust the process. “Leadership is knowing the critics will criticize you while still saying what needs to be said and doing what needs to be done.”

Positive leadership is a choice. Through great stories, Gordon encourages you to make a positive difference as a leader.

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Of Related Interest:
  3 Ways to Be a Positive Leader
  Are You Having a No-Good, Very-Bad Day?
  10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy

Positive Leadership

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:58 AM
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06.05.17

How to Avoid Your Leadership Gap

Leadership Gap

T
HE GAP IN OUR LEADERSHIP arises as a result of the disconnect between how we think people are experiencing our leadership and how they are actually experiencing our leadership. And where we find that disconnect we limit or even derail our leadership potential.

In The Leadership Gap, Lolly Daskal addresses this gap—what it is, why it happens, and what we can do about it. The gap is always there but at some point it comes the surface to sabotage us. What if we don’t know what we think we know?
The problem is that one day, suddenly, what once worked so well to propel their rise stops working. And the very same traits that had worked for them actually start working against them.
It is at this point that we need to begin asking ourselves some questions. “What is the gap between who I am and who I want to be, and do I know what it is I still need to learn?” In short, “Who am I being?” We need to rethink how our behaviors are perceived by those around us. And when there is that gap between how we want to be perceived and how we are actually being perceived, we need to take action. “Learning to recognize your leadership gap is the factor that determines your greatness as a leader.” Sometimes we overuse a strength and sometimes we drift into the shadow side of our strengths. Either way, an understanding of what drives can give us the insight we need to avoid our leadership gaps.

Daskal invites us to look at who we are being and the instincts that drive our behaviors. The “shadow” you. She has developed seven leadership architypes to help us gain some clarity as to what drives our beliefs and therefore our behaviors. We aren’t necessarily one type as we tend to shift from one to another depending on the circumstances but “we tend to lean repeatedly toward the same archetype persona.”

The Seven Archetypes

rebelThe Rebel who is driven by confidence. “How can I push the envelope?” The gap is self-doubt. The gap architype is The Imposter who is so insecure they play havoc with their mind because they have self-doubt. The key to the Rebel’s success is confidence, but self-doubt that often accompanies great success, undermines their confidence and they act out of the imposter syndrome. They undermine their leadership thus keeping them from achieving greatness.

explorerThe Explorer who is fueled by intuition. “What can I discover?” The gap is manipulation. The gap architype is The Exploiter who manipulates every chance they get just so you will not know how powerless they really feel. The tendency for the Explorer is to use their intuition to manipulate others to gain control. Daskal notes, “Whereas intuition makes things better for others, manipulation is always about making things better for you.”

truthThe Truth Teller who embraces candor. “Where should I speak up?” The gap is suspicion. The gap architype is The Deceiver who is suspicious about everyone because they cannot trust themselves to speak the truth. Discovering the truth and then speaking up for what is right is never easy but when we find we have been deceived, we can become paranoid and suspicious of others undermining our influence. We can become a kind of victim that will not speak up when we need to because of our paranoia.

heroThe Hero who embodies courage. “Where is courage needed?” The gap is fear. The gap architype is The Bystander who is too fearful to be brave, too conservative to take a risk, and too cautious to take a stand. Once enabled by courage, they are now sidelined by fear. “Most of us not really afraid of being brave—we are afraid of what it takes to be brave. We are not really afraid of losing everything—we are afraid of what will happen when we have nothing.”

inventorThe Inventor who is brimming with integrity. “How can we make this better?” No matter what you do you will be “held accountable and responsible as people. Everything in business, leadership, and success is founded on the virtue of integrity—it is the force that leads the way.” The gap is corruption. The gap archetype is The Destroyer who is morally corrupt. While an Inventor puts their personal values into practice, if those values become corrupted, usually by forces such as ego, personal gain, or anger, they destroy the organization from within. The Destroyer advocates cutting corners, quick fixes and compromising quality and standards. “The Inventor maintains his or her integrity while thinking outside the box.”

navigatorThe Navigator who trusts and is trusted as they guide people to where they need to go. “How can we get to where we need to go?” The gap is arrogance. The gap architype is The Fixer who a chronic rescuer no one trusts They want to help too much, fix too much and rescue too much. “Navigators have a way of making the complicated simple, and the simple understandable. They inspire trust. But their ability and confidence to know where to go and become an arrogance that attempt to control others—to do for others what they need to be doing themselves.

knightThe Knight for whom loyalty is everything and will stand beside you and will serve you before they serve themselves. “How can I serve you?” The gap is self-serving. The gap architype is The Mercenary who is self -serving and put their own needs before those of the team, the business or the organization. Often the transition from serving to self-serving is subtle. “Loyal employees become disloyal one infraction at a time. Only after unfaithfulness shapes itself does the self-serving attitude emerge in a way it can be detected and deciphered.”

Daskal reminds us that understanding our weaknesses is our greatest strength. From these seven architypes we can see how each has powerful abilities and hidden impediments. By knowing the gaps we can get into we can better use our strengths to achieve our own leadership greatness.

Daskal explains each of these architypes in detail and importantly how we avoid these gaps. She describes what the positive looks like and what the negative looks like with examples for each.

The Leadership Gap provides the antidote for leading on autopilot. Daskal provides the insight into our behaviors and beliefs that can if not managed properly can derail even the most talented and successful leaders. Confronting and avoiding our leadership gaps is the key to attaining long-term leadership success.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:03 PM
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06.01.17

First Look: Leadership Books for June 2017

Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in June.

  Built for Growth: How Builder Personality Shapes Your Business, Your Team, and Your Ability to Win by Chris Kuenne and John Danner
  Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude by Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin
  Collaborating with the Enemy: How to Work with People You Don't Agree with or Like or Trust by Adam Kahane
  The Mathematical Corporation: Where Machine Intelligence and Human Ingenuity Achieve the Impossible by Josh Sullivan and Angela Zutavern
  One Mission: How Leaders Build a Team of Teams by Chris Fussell with C. W. Goodyear

Built for Growth Lead Yourself First Collaborating with the Enemy Mathematical Corporation Leadership Gap

For bulk orders call 1-800-423-8273
discounted books


Build your leadership library with these specials on over 39 titles. All titles are at least 40% off the list price and are available only in limited quantities.

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"A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
— Marcus Tullius Cicero


Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:50 AM
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05.31.17

LeadershipNow 140: May 2017 Compilation

twitter

twitter Here are a selection of tweets from May 2017 that you might have missed:
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:16 AM
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05.26.17

Lifestorming: Creating the Life You Want

Sam Zell

T
WO OF THE TOP top coaches of our time, Alan Weiss and Marshall Goldsmith, have come together to write a book about how to grow into possibility—your unique possibility.

Lifestorming: Creating Meaning and Achievement in Your Career and Life presents life as a journey without a “there.” An evolutionary journey through life. The goal for each of us is to take on life and enjoy it immensely by developing the required character and engaging in it enormously.

As we go through life, “people skills are usually the key differentiators of success.” It is imperative that we work on ourselves. We begin by understanding where we are and then where we want to be. “The fundamental work of changing our behavior for the better is ultimately our own responsibility.”

Going it alone is not easy and not the most effective way to implement major changes. We need a coach—or someone in our life that can act as a coach—because we need accountability and frankly, all too often, we don’t know what it is we really need to change.

Replace Poor Behaviors

When thinking about change, our strategy needs to be not to change poor behavior but to replace it. We cling to poor behaviors because we get something from it. Even in the midst of painful consequences we can find some comfort in reproducing old ways of thinking. So, we need to find a positive, constructive behavior to replace the negative behavior that is currently generating the reward we seek without all of the collateral damage.. “We often engage in behavior for no other reason than that we’ve never examined alternatives.”

Challenge Your Beliefs

If we can get to the beliefs behind our actions we can better regulate our behaviors. It’s important to remember too, that “we aren’t in a snapshot; we’re part of a film. We deal with what is today, knowing that it shouldn’t necessarily be what is tomorrow.”

Beliefs form attitudes which in turn create behaviors. “Attitudes are the connectors—the synapses—between beliefs and behavior, a self-comforting way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically reflected in a person’s behavior.” Everything we do comes from how we look at life—our personal reality.

Remaining Faithful to Our Growth Plan

We need to create a support system and we are responsible for creating our own support system. As a journey, we need to understand that behavior is more important than victories. “If you engage in consistently correct behavior, you’ll be successful.” Seek excellence, not perfection. “Once you’re content with excellence, you’ll improve daily and will act daily with alacrity and intent.” And learn when to fold and when to hold. “There is a time when you cannot change things, they will not get better on their own, and you need to take a sharp right turn to escape your predicament.” They caution: “If we don’t accept the things we can’t change, we’ll forever be stressed and unhealthy.”

A growth journey is not always easy and there will be obstacles. “Achieving success does not immediately or automatically make life easier. Instead, it usually creates new challenges—often ones we didn’t anticipate.”

“We know that whatever fate delivers, we have some agency—even if it’s only in how we react.” We need to stay in control of ourselves and only take prudent risks. For example, don’t gamble with finances, time, health, or relationships.

As we grow, a spirit of generosity will help us to keep from backsliding. A scarcity mindset weakens and limits us. We must expand our view. “We have to think differently and think bigger. Instead of extrapolating from where we are today and looking at arithmetic growth, we must paint a picture of the future and decide how to achieve it through geometric growth. Our journey is a moving target.”

Lifestorming addresses the pitfalls of growth and the traps we fall into—like the need to be right. You will find a complete and effective plan to guide you on your own growth journey. The authors also share their own personal stories for encouragement. Lifestorming pack years of experience into one book.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:25 AM
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05.19.17

9 Key Principles for Business & Life from Sam Zell

Sam Zell

B
ILLIONAIRE investor Sam Zell has put down on paper an account of the principles that guide how he does business in Am I Being Too Subtle?

He doesn’t claim to be self-made. He credits his parents with handing down to him values that have served him well in life. He is the son of Jewish immigrants who fled Poland in 1939 to avoid the Holocaust. “My parents were very disciplined and very focused on work and achievement, and they led by example.” His parents “never dumbed down the conversation for the kids.” Lessons were taught through examples and stories.

His parents provided Zell with a different perspective than his friends. They were given a bigger-picture orientation. As a result, he was “more comfortable standing apart” than he was trying to fit in. It was to be a defining characteristic of his life. “Conventional wisdom,” Zell writes, “is nothing more to me but a reference point.” But he notes, you can’t create your own playbook “unless you understand the rules of the game and play well within the lines. As long as you know where everyone else is, you can play the game.”

Below are nine of Zell’s key philosophies for how he approaches business and life:

1. Be Ready to Pivot
I never hesitate to pursue a new endeavor just because I haven’t done something similar before. I just use what I’ve learned that might cross over. I see myself as a frontline player, and that means being able to envision where demand is going to be, or where it won’t be—not just in the next five years but in the next twenty or thirty years. It means not sticking to assumptions that limit your opportunity. The fact is, I am eclectic, and the fun of my life is being able to gain access in new arenas.

2. Keep it Simple
I stay true to the fundamental truths: the laws of supply and demand; liquidity equals value; limited competition; long-term relationships. They offer a framework through which I view potential opportunity. Problem solving is my passion. Breaking issues down to their barest elements, simplifying them. Finding the fulcrum. It’s something anyone can learn to do. After that, experience makes the difference—doing it again and again until it becomes distinctive. Experience builds discipline and insight that sometimes allows you to see over the abyss before you step into thin air. It’s being risk aware. It is a matter of organizing your thinking.

3. Keep Your Eyes (and Mind) Wide Open
I rely on a macro perspective to identify opportunities and make better decisions. I am always questioning, always calculating the implications of broader events. If there’s one consistent theme, it’s that I’m always on the lookout for anomalies or disruptions in an industry, in a market, or in a particular company. Recognizing the psychology of market extremes can lead to attractive points of entry. Any event or pattern out of the ordinary is like a beacon telling me some interesting new opportunity may be emerging. If you’re a seeker of information and a serious observer, it’s all there to be learned. But with today’s access to an overwhelming amount of information, most of it drivel, you have to focus on what’s meaningful.

4. Be the Lead Dog
In my businesses, I like to be the lead dog, to control the “scenery” in every industry I enter. It means not being less than number two in any industry, and referable being number one. If you’re not the lead dog, you spend your whole life responding to others.

5. Do the Right Thing
When you’re in it for the distance, you do it right. Ethics are a cornerstone. I have always known that success for me would be guided by principles. For that reason, there are some deal I just won’t do. Everything I do is predicated on the assumption that there’s another deal. And the way you get to the next deal is to lay it straight. Sometimes my team argues with me—they can’t believe we’re leaving money on the table. But I want to create an environment where everyone wants to keep playing.

6. Shem Tov – A Good Reputation
In everything I do, I’m consistent, and I’m never tempted to something that’s at odds with my name. In business, people always want to know who you are—in other words, will you do what you say, will you make a reliable partner? Reputation is your most important asset.

7. Prize Loyalty
I believe loyalty defines your character. Do you stick with your friend, colleague, or partner when it’s not easy? Do you consider their circumstances as much as you consider your own? As you can imagine, for someone in my position, loyalty and trust are priceless commodities. And they go both ways.

8. Obey the Eleventh Commandment
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Ego and pride have their places, but when they are not self-regulated, they can be detrimental, if not debilitating. But for me the Eleventh Commandment implies something more. Simply put, it’s being the first person to laugh at yourself. To me, the Eleventh Commandment acknowledges that we’re all human beings who inhabit the world and are given the gift of participating in the wonders around us—as long as we don’t set ourselves apart from them.

9. Go All In
The minute you acknowledge that a problem is insurmountable, you fail. If you just assume there is a way through to the other side, you’ll usually find it, and you will unleash your creativity to do so. I equate this fundamental truth with an entrepreneurial mind-set. It’s tenacity, optimism, drive, and conviction all rolled into one. It’s commitment to get it done, see it through, make it work. In my world, I call that being an owner.

Zell advocates an owner/entrepreneurial mindset in business and life. “An owner is consumed with making the most out of what he already has. He’s all in. An entrepreneur is always looking for a new opportunity. He’s always reaching.” As he tells his grandkids, “Your responsibility is to maximize the skills you were given. But whatever you decide to do, invest everything you have in it—excel. What I’ve done is not the example I wanted to set; it’s the way I’ve done it that I hope you emulate, through focus, effort, and commitment.”

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:29 PM
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05.11.17

Be a Spark!

Spark

T
O CO-AUTHORS Angie Morgan, Courtney and Sean Lynch, to be a Spark is to be a leader. “You must recognize yourself as a leader. Know the pathway to leadership development and commit yourself to it. You’re not chosen to be a leader. You choose to lead.” When you behave like a leader you become a Spark.

Sparks initiate action and create the conditions for success for themselves and others.

Knowing the pathway to leadership development is a personal development job. In SPARK: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success, they offer seven essential behaviors that every leader needs to develop. None of us are born leaders. These behaviors are not innate and take time to develop.

Character:

By gaining awareness of what you truly value, you can think and act in ways that allow you to direct your life and have influence over others. Leading with your own values is the gateway to leading others.

Credibility:

Credibility is the foundation of your leadership style. It forms the basis of trust. If people can’t trust you, you can’t lead them.

Accountability:

Sparks resist the powerful, human instinct to place blame. They seek to identify how their own actions, or inactions, have contributed to the situations in which they find themselves in.

Act with Intent:

By having a clear vision and making choices consistent with it, take actions that lead themselves — and others — towards it. Sparks differentiate themselves by having the discipline and the fortitude to execute, even when they aren’t sure what to do next.

Be of Service:

Sparks are always aware of others’ needs and take action to meet them. This outward focus strengthens relationships and creates camaraderie and connection. When people feel cared for because you’re serving them, they begin to feel safe and experience your commitment to them. They focus less on themselves and more on the team.

Confidence:

Your confidence level will determine the level of results you experience. Sparks don’t leave their confidence to chance. They consciously manage their internal thought process to achieve a level of steadiness as their sense of confidence rises. We can control our confidence.

Consistency:

Sparks set a high standard for consistency in their everyday work. To achieve it, they first need to understand the value of readiness, know what perseverance really means, and have the courage to “own” their time. Consistency is about being a “sometimes person” or an “always person.”

A chapter is devoted to each of these seven behaviors and conclude with practical suggestions on how to develop these qualities not only within yourself, but how to inspires others to begin their own Spark journey.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:26 PM
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05.01.17

First Look: Leadership Books for May 2017

Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in May.

  Lifestorming: Creating Meaning and Achievement in Your Career and Life by Alan Weiss and Marshall Goldsmith
  The EQ Leader: Instilling Passion, Creating Shared Goals, and Building Meaningful Organizations through Emotional Intelligence by Steven J. Stein
  One Minute Mentoring: How to Find and Work With a Mentor--And Why You'll Benefit from Being One by Ken Blanchard and Claire Diaz-Ortiz
  The Power of Little Ideas: A Low-Risk, High-Reward Approach to Innovation by David Robertson with Kent Lineback
  The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness by Lolly Daskal

Lifestorming The EQ Leader One Minute Mentoring Power of Little Ideas Leadership Gap

For bulk orders call 1-800-423-8273


Leadership ClassicThe Leadership ChallengeThe Leadership Challenge, Sixth Edition
by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner


discounted books


Build your leadership library with these specials on over 39 titles. All titles are at least 40% off the list price and are available only in limited quantities.

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— Bell Hooks


Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:58 AM
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04.30.17

LeadershipNow 140: April 2017 Compilation

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twitter Here are a selection of tweets from April 2017 that you might have missed:
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:48 PM
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04.28.17

4 Ways to Avoid False Humility

False Humility

H
UMILITY IS A CHOICE. When you meet a humble person you know you will be accepted, respected and listened to. They won’t try to manipulate you, control you, criticize you or try to impress you. They are safe.

When we haven’t conquered our pride putting on false humility might seem like the shortcut to the benefits of being a truly humble person. We’ve all met these kinds of people. False humility is nothing but arrogance.

In Humility: The Secret Ingredient of Success, Pat Williams, author and senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, suggests four ways we can avoid the mask of false humility.

1. Take time to reflect on the person you are—and the person you want to be.

If we are genuinely humble, we are keenly aware of the disparity between who we are and who we aspire to be. We recognize that we have not already arrived, in terms of our character, integrity, and accomplishments. We are works in progress.

We need to remember that it’s easy over time to become someone we really don’t want to be. Williams cites Stanford professor Roderick Kramer:
When I ask respondents to explain why they think the process of experiencing great success will not change them in any fundamental way, they typically say something along the lines of, “Because I know what kind of person I am”….It is as if in finding success they will become merely bigger and better versions of what they are now. They can’t even imagine that they could ever fall from grace. And that, of course, guarantees that some of them will.

2. Ask a few trusted friends to be brutally honest with you.

We all need people in our lives who will hold up a mirror and show us who we truly are so we won’t be walking around with the moral equivalent of spinach in our teeth. Truth is a powerful antidote to self-deception and false humility. If you always have people in your life who will tell you the truth for your own good, and if you humbly need their wise counsel, they will save you from a multitude of self-inflicted wounds.

3. Immediately and humbly admit your faults and failures.

In other words, apologize without delay. Anyone who tries to achieve anything is bound to make mistakes. The greater your goals, the bigger your potential blunders. Our natural tendency is to deny our failings and shortcomings. We don’t like to admit that we’ve messed up. We prefer to protect our pride and our egos.

If you want to recover from a moral failure or a lapse in judgment, the key is o apologize fully, specifically, and humbly. Don’t try to get away with a non-apology apology. Be sincere. Take your lumps. Learn your lessons.

4. Be honestly humble and humbly honest.

Don’t inflate your resume—but don’t deflate it either. It’s perfectly wise and acceptable to own yur achievements and state your qualifications. Just don’t brag or take more credit than you’ve earned.

There’s never any need for false modesty. False modesty tends to break down authentic humility because it becomes hard to know where your real humility leaves off and your phony humility begins. Yu become so accustomed to devaluing your own talent, accomplishments, and self-worth that you actually lose confidence in yourself. Yu stop speaking up, stop advocating for what you believe, stop pursuing your own goals. In short, you start believing your own self-depreciating falsehoods.

Genuine humility is the best policy. False modesty comes from ego and pride. As Canadian humorist Eric Nicol observed, “I am keenly aware of the need to avoid false modesty. Which, like false teeth, can make you talk funny.”

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Adapted from Humility: The Secret Ingredient of Success by Pat Williams with Jim Denney

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Of Related Interest:
  Humility Casts a Wide Net
  Humility Is a Core Quality Found In Great Leaders
  Footwashing for Leaders

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:16 AM
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04.26.17

Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less

Stretch

I
N HIS BOOK Stretch, Scott Sonenshein dispels the notion that having more resources = getting better results and replaces it with the conviction that a better use of resources = getting better results.

We are under more pressure than ever to do more. The idea that we can stretch and do more with what we already have begins to remove us from the dehumanizing rat race for resources that is impossible to win. Chasing limits us. Stretch liberates.

Especially in uncertain times, “stretching equips us with the abilities to adapt and change when facing a less predictable set of circumstances.”

One of the reasons we chase instead of stretch is because fail to see how we might see a resources beyond its traditional use. It’s also easy to assume that if we just had more money we could spend our way out of our problems. It’s often easier to acquire things than to think about how to use those same resources in more productive ways. “The problem is that chasers become so fixated on acquiring resources that they lose sight of what those resources will do for them” so we end up squandering them.

We need to place more focus on what we already have. “Stretchers find beauty and richness in places where others struggle to see anything of value. Too often, we understand, interact with, and use things at face value, locking ourselves into conventions that limit possibilities.” Our creativity is sparked by constraints. Filmmaker Robert Rodrigues comments:
The creative person with limitless imagination and no money can make a better film than the talentless mogul with the limitless checkbook every time. Take advantage of your disadvantages, feature the few assets you may have, and work harder than anyone else around you.
Outsiders can often stretch by seeing possibilities that we can’t because we are the expert or just too close to the issue. “Breadth of experiences helps people stretch.” The well rounded often outperform those who are deeply focused on a single thing especially when trying to solve complex problems. It makes a case for a liberal arts education.

We need to repeatedly go outside ourselves. “Temporary departures from our small worlds can come from short bursts of new activities such as reading about another field, finding a hobby, or having conversations with people from different backgrounds.”

Stretching is not about being a cheapskate. There is a difference between frugal and cheap.

A Stretching Roadmap

In summary, here are a dozen ways Sonenshein suggests to help get us into the stretching habit.

Just Say NoStretching
Just say no to more resources. Ask: “If I only didn’t have these resources, I could…” “By saying no to more resources, we’re saying yes to an entirely new outlook on working and living.”

Find a Sleeping Beauty
It’s easy to miss what is right before us. Again an outsider can help here. “In the world beyond fairy tales, a lot of resources lie dormant. If we look hard enough, we’ll find resources all around us waiting to be activated. We just need to awaken them to benefit from more than we thought we had, allowing us to solve different problems and pursue promising opportunities that otherwise might be impossible.”

Go Explore
Dedicate time every week to reading something different, educate yourself outside of your industry, take lunch with someone new, or spend time with outsiders. Leave your comfort zone.

Take a Break (and Pay Less Attention)
Consider rotating between difficult work and mindless work. “Mindless work recharges our batteries, readies us to do more down the road, and lets our mind wander to find new connections among our resources.” Take a walk to find new connections. Consider putting yourself on the clock to provide a mandatory beginning and ending to your work.

Pick New Neighbors
“Whom we spend time with shapes a lot of our behavior.” You don’t need to change zip codes. “Instead, identify one stretcher you admire and already know. Commit to spending at least one hour with him or her once a month.”

Appreciate
“When people are grateful, they expand how they think about resources, often in ways that try to help others.” Also, by appreciating what we have, it makes it easier to say no to tempting things we lack but really don’t need.

Shop Your Closet
Use what you have. “Many of the best known inventions came from existing products. Play-Doh started as a wallpaper cleaning compound that became obsolete with the rise of vinyl wallpaper in the 1950s; the corkscrew came from a military tool to remove bullets; and Pyrex came from material from train lantern glass the wife of a scientist at Corning Glass Work experimented with to bake a cake.”

Plan Backward
Think improvisation. Without a plan is often difficult to get started. But “jazz music replaces a plan with improvisation, teaching us to act and respond more spontaneously. Once we get moving, we free ourselves from worrying about plotting and following a plan and focus on observing and learning from our actions.”

Scramble the Back Row
To remove chess players from entrenched thinking, Bobby Fischer suggested randomly scrambling the back row. “If we find ourselves too regularly on autopilot, it might be time to scramble our back rows. There’s comfort in habits, but it’s critical to avoid being complacent with how things are, closing off the possibility of imagining how things might be better.”

Make Midyear Resolutions
“Why wait until the beginning of the year to make a pledge. The midyear resolutions also allow us to take stock of how we did with our New Year’s resolutions and set additional goals from a presumably clearer head space.”

Break it Down
If we can break down our resources to their smallest components, then it becomes easier to see the hidden potential.

Turn Treasure into Trash
Keep a benefits diary to records unexpected benefits from you key events, activities, or experiences. “Once we find a hidden benefit in something, we can turn it into a treasure.

Stretch is a very well done book. Good and relevant examples give power to the points he is making. By chasing resources we really limit our potential. Stretching brings out our best.

Equals

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Quote 
In Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less - and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined, you will learn to rethink what you need to succeed, and do more with what you already have. Scott Sonenshein examines why some people and organizations succeed with so little while others fail with so much.


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Of Related Interest:
  A Beautiful Constraint
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:55 PM
| Comments (0) | Management , Personal Development , Problem Solving






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