This was the home of my blog from March 2004- November 2009. Here you will find over 870 posts about leadership, training, learning and more. I wrote here to help you become more effective and successful in all parts of your life.
My business (and yours) looks different than it did in 2004 - and the world of blogging and blog tools is certainly different as well.
For all of those reasons, I am now blogging in a new location, using new tools. While the name of the blog has changed (it is now Leadership & Learning with Kevin Eikenberry), my goals haven't changed - I write to help you tap into and move closer to your remarkable potential.
However you found this page, whether you were referred, found it from a search engine or you bookmarked us long ago. I hope you will follow over to the new blog to continue to learn, grow and be a part of our expanding community of leaders and learners.
We can find success secrets in many places - though they aren't always secrets. Success, you see, leaves clues, and when you observe, listen to and learn from the very successful in any arena of life you will find these clues . . . if you look for them.
This morning I found them in a USA Today story about Will Smith (in part a promotion for his new movie Seven Pounds), The story, titled 'Seven Pounds,' seven keys to Will Smith's success , gives you a glimpse into the success habits of one of Hollywood's most respected leading men.
If you want to see some of these clues,read the article. Pay particular attention to his seventh point - "Leave Nothing to Chance." In this short section you will see a clue about the importance of purpose in our lives - in this case in the context of marriage.
For us to maximize our success (by whatever metric you want to use - not just monetarily), we must operate from a position of purpose. Whether as a leader, team member, peer, , or in your personal life, purpose is a powerful thing.
One of my wife's favorite television shows is The Biggest Loser. If you aren't familiar with it, it is a reality show where people who have health and personal needs to lose weight - and lots of it - compete against each other to lose the most – and become the "biggest loser."
While watching the show I have noticed a couple of very important lessons for all of us – whether you are at your perfect weight, would like to lose a few pounds before the holidays, or are thinking about being a future contestant.
1. While the winner gets a large cash prize - $250,000 I think - you never hear people talking about it. They are talking about staying in the game to lose more weight for the ways it will change their life, improve the lives of their children, etc. In other words, their biggest motivation is internal. And these rewards are more meaningful – than external rewards.
2. While the contestants (and the viewers) learn about healthy eating and exercise habits, the reason these folks lose incredible amounts of weight is about more than changes in exercise and eating habits. They succeed because they change their mindsets and beliefs. While changing mindset isn't enough (you won't lose weight if you keep eating a half an apple pie everyday), without that change the progress won't come nearly as fast or last for long (if it will happen at all).
These messages that I draw from watching the show - and they are important messages for us as all. Internal motivation is always the strongest and longest lasting, and our mindset matters in all matters of achievement and success than we give ourselves credit for.
. . . that is the title of one of my favorite songs. It was written by Kent Blazy and Garth Brooks, and performed by Garth. Normally I would link you out to the lyrics, but since they are central to this post, here they are.
That old wind that's whippin' out there It's whistlin' your tune That wind blew pyramids to Egypt And footprints to the moon
And that old star that you been wishin' on Is shinin' mighty bright But it's the fire inside your heart That's gonna lead you to the light
How you ever gonna know What it's like to live there How you ever gonna know victory How you ever gonna know What it's like when dreams become reality How you ever gonna know How it feels to hold her How you ever gonna know What it's like to dance How you ever gonna know If you never take a chance
You know failure isn't failure If a lesson from it's learned I guess love would not be love Without a risk of being burned
Anything in life worth havin' Lord, it has its sacrifice But the gift that you're receiving Is worth more than the price
How you ever gonna know What it's like to live there How you ever gonna know What you never knew How you ever gonna know If you're down here doin' What the good Lord put you here to do How you ever gonna know If you could have done it How you ever gonna know How it feels to fly How you ever gonna know If you never dare to try
Listen not to the critics Who put their own dreams on the shelf If you want to get the truth to admit it You gotta find out for yourself
How you ever gonna know What it's like to be there How you ever gonna know If you're the best How you ever gonna know What you believe in If you don't put it to the test How you ever gonna know How it feels to hold him How you ever gonna know What livin' means How you ever gonna know If you never chase the dream
How you ever gonna know Your potential How you ever gonna know victory How you ever gonna know What it's like when dreams Become reality How you ever gonna know How it feels to hold her How you ever gonna know What it's like to dance How you ever gonna know If you never take the chance
Do yourself a favor. Before you go on, read them again, and ask yourself the questions.
When we think about our future, and reaching any goals we might have, we must first get past our fears of failure, of the unknown, of resistance, of looking silly and even of success. We must get past that fact that change might require us to work harder or different. We must no longer settle. And most of all we must believe we can achieve.
This song shares for me a powerful message -
how will you know . . .
. . . until you try?
. . . until you take action?
The reality is that you won't, and you can't.
If you want any of the things in the song, or any of the things metaphorically represented in the song, you must go after them!
At some level we already know that, but yet we don't try, we dont take a chance, we don't move forward confidently in the direction of our dreams.
I don't share that to brag or make some sort of pronouncement. I share it here for the lesson it gives to all of us.
If you want something, you must take action.
I've been writing articles for several years - well over 300 of them at this point (not counting over 700 blog posts). In that time I have gotten better (I hope), I have had some great things happen and met some wonderful people. But none of it would have happened - including receiving the email today - if I hadn't:
1. Decided to write. 2. Write. 3. Keep writing.
If I stop at 1 (which many people do) or at 2 (because "I wrote an article and nothing happened"), the results I am receiving and will continue to receive wouldn't have come to me.
By the way, this article isn't about writing unless that is your action too. This article is about deciding to do the things that will help you become more successful and reach your goals.
Maybe you want to be better with Customers. Maybe you want to be more creative. Maybe you want to be a better team member or team leader. Or maybe you want to learn something new.
It doesn't matter what your "what" it; the formula remains the same.
1. Decide 2. Do 3. Keep doing
Chances are you know what your what is. You may have even taken step 1 by deciding to do it.
Now it is time for action and discipline.
This is a very simple success formula. It's time to get going.
Earlier this fall I was asked to give a talk on Ethical Leadership to a student leadership conference at Purdue University. One of the students who heard me, asked me to speak on the same topic to his student group - the Mechanical Engineering Ambassadors, which I did last evening.
Part of my talk was to give my definition of ethical leadership. It is one that I have synthesized over time, and I am sure draws heavily from various things I have read (I'm sorry that I can't link to any of them for you).
Ethical Leadership - Knowing your core values and having the courage to act on them on behalf of the common good.
There is much I could unpack from that single sentence, but as I drove home last night I kept thinking about the core values piece and how that impacts us as leaders.
When I woke up this morning, my subconscious having worked on this idea through the night, I came to this point - living your core values is the the ultimate strategic leadership practice.
What could be more strategic that aligning your work, actions and decisions with your highest principles?
So here is your leadership activity for today:
1. Reflect on your core values.
1a. If you don't have a list of them, today is the best day to create it.
2. Identify at least 2 ways - by looking at your schedule or action list - that you can live them in your work today (there are probably 22 ways, but two is a good starting point to make this a more conscious activity).
This simple but powerful practice will help you reconnect to the most important strategic actions you can take, and is a way, in 5 minutes or less to build more effective leadership skills (and habits) today.
I've been thinking about choice a lot lately - for myself and the implications it has for us as leader. Here is a case in point - what I sent to our Powerquotes subscribers earlier this week -
"You can always do what you want to do. This is true with every act. You may say that you had to do something, or that you were forced to, but actually, whatever you do, you do by choice. Only you have the power to choose for yourself."
-- W.Clement Stone
Questions to Ponder
What choices am I making?
Do I recognize them as in my control?
Recognize your power to choose.
Use this power wisely.
Recognizing that we are making choices and valuing those choices is something that effective leaders must do - it is a leadership activity of champions.
Having the right focus on choice allows you exercise your leadership influence more effectively, will help you create a more empowered and engaged workplace and brings accountability and responsibility into focus more clearly.
But all of this starts with you.
You must recognize that you are responsible for your choices; you must focus on what is inside of your control. When you do these things consistently you will create better results for yourself (in all parts of your life) and for your organization. You will also be modeling this behavior for those you lead.
Choosing the recognize the power of choice isn't just a great concept for you personally, it makes you a more effective leader.
Improving your skills in this way doesn't require an organizational leadership development process. It doesn't require a formal leadership development program of any kind. What it requires is you stepping up and making choices based on what is in your control.
Recognize the power you have over the choices in your life and the outcomes those choices create. Use them wisely.
Ryan, the good looking middle-aged executive that everyone loves is in a tragic car accident, and when awakens from a brief coma, the worst has occurred. He has amnesia! He can't remember any one or anything at all. Suddenly he is beginning life new, with no clue about the people he knows or the strategies that have made him who he is . . .
Ryan is a make-believe person, and the story is ripped from soap opera television (any show, most weeks I'm told). In the past when people would tell me of television story lines like this, I always thought, "I don't know anyone who as ever really had amnesia."
That isn't how I feel anymore.
Now I realize, that we all suffer from amnesia, and it affects our performance and results everyday. Yes, we remember the names of the important people in our lives and the way to work and our address, but we forget all sorts of important things all the time.
The things we forget are tools and techniques that affect our leadership skills. We walk through our day not doing things we know work; in effect operating as if we have amnesia related to the activities that lead to effective leadership.
There are many ways we can cure this unnoticed amnesia, but like any affliction, we can't cure it until it has been diagnosed. We can diagnose it with a 360 assessment. A 360 assessment can provide clues and pointers to show us and remind us of our blind spots. I have never coached someone on a 360 assessment where there wasn't at least one thing that the person felt they "knew was important" but just wasn't doing - a classic case of leadership amnesia!
Once diagnosed, the cure can come from executive coaching, or any coaching and mentoring process, as well as personal reflection and and being on an ongoing learning path.
Ryan's amnesia was catastrophic, our much less evident. And yet when we diagnose and understand our personal case, we can begin the long and beneficial road to recovery.
Pick one technique, tool or idea that you know works but haven't done lately (for whatever reason). Notice the results you get.
And smile knowing that you are on the road to recovery from leadership amnesia.
There are opportunities for us to learn from everyday life situations . . . everyday . . . but only if we look for them and take time to reflect on and digest them.
Recently we've all shared a common experience, that I know we can learn much from - and learn different things than you might think. That event? The U.S. Presidential campaign and election (and if you are reading this from outside the U.S. the lessons are just as valuable). As a leader, there are probably hundreds of lessons we can take from these events . . . but only if we step back, think, and reflect on them.
I've been doing that thinking and reflecting over that last year, as I have watched the polls, the press, and the process. As I've examined the speeches the systems, and the selection, I been learning and relearning key leadership lessons.
And as a result of this I've built what I believe to be a very innovative leadership tool for your leadership development right now.. That tool is a teleseminar titled Leadership Lessons from Presidential Politics. During it I will share over 25 ideas, tips, techniques and skills that I've extracted from the process. All of these ideas result in more effective leadership skills for you and can be applied right away!
Consider this as the most innovative leadership skills training you will participate in this year! Whether you are focused on upper level corporate leadership or supervisor training you will find lessons you can apply immediately.
This teleseminar will offered twice on November 12 - 2 pm ET and 9 pm ET and I'm paying your registration fee (people normally pay us $57 for live teleseminars) - but you can participate even if you are unable to attend. To learn more about the specific ideas I will be sharing, and to register, sign up for Leadership Lessons from Presidential Politics here.
Many years ago when asked what the most powerful force in the universe was, Albert Einstein said, "compound interest." What I am writing about today, might be, with all due respect to Albert, just as powerful. The reason is that it in many ways they are the same thing: compound interest allows your money to grow on itself, and Incremental improvement allows your skills and productivity to grow on themselves.
In short, if you want to improve your skills, your best approach is get a little bit better everyday. You can't make quantum leap improvements each day (there are certainly situations where a new idea, technique or approach may in a short time drastically improve your skills or abilities, but you can't rely on these occurring regularly.) If you want to get 10% better at a particular leadership skill in the next 30 days, that might seem daunting. But can you get 1% better every day for a month? That seems easier and more realistic. We can all get 1% better each day.
So let's do the math. We'll just use the working days and assume 20 working days in the next thirty (even though there are plenty of ways to work on leadership development everyday). At the end of our 30 days we will have improved by: 20.81%. This is certainly a powerful concept for us personally and should cause you to be excited and ready to start learning, but this is just the start.
The power of incremental improvement is perhaps the most when considered as an organizational leadership development idea. Ask yourself this question: what would happen to productivity, profitability, and results overall if everyone on my team improved by 1% each day. Now you don't have one person improving 20.81% in a month, but EVERYone improving by that amount.
And this is just month one.
Want a strategic leadership initiative? Build a process, tools and expectations to help everyone in your organization work on a single skill each month, with the goal of getting 1% better each day. Then, move to another skill next month.
When I give keynotes on leadership and learning, I often tell people that it is never too late to reach for their goals, learn and achieve more - whether as a leader or in any other part of their life. I have some great examples I share, but today, I have a new favorite.
Ken Mink, at age 73, just became the oldest person to play college basketball - and he scored two points on free throws. You can read the full story here.
We aren't born leaders or basketball players. While we might have natural gifts, in order to make a difference we must apply our talents, and remain a learner. Ken Mink is my new hero. He is living his dream and reminds me that learning leadership (or anything else) is something that we can do any time, regardless of our circumstances.
It is never too late to move towards your leadership (or basketball) potential.
This post, as the title suggests, talks about how we learn, and equally importantly, how we can teach new technology. While I hope you read the post (hint, hint), one of the key points is that it isn't about the tool or the software, but the process of learning it. In other words we don't want to learn the technology, we want the benefits that can be derived from using the tool.
This is true for technology, and true for learning and teaching anything else as well. When we focus on the benefits, the "why" we are will far more motivated, dedicated and even disciplined in learning anything.
Jim's post uses Twitter as an example of a technology, so I wanted to comment briefly on that as well. The learning I received from reading Jim's post came from Twitter.
Because the note Jim sent me about it, came from Twitter. I read Jim's blog but I doubt I read every post. Being connected there allowed me to think about and learn something great - and do it much sooner than I might have otherwise. I am sure he sent me the message in part because of a brief conversation we had on a related topic recently.. on Twitter. It continues to build my relationship with Jim. Because the post mentions another speaker and writer, Mike Figliuolo, I have now read his blog and connected with him on Twitter.
My hope is that the "Twitter part" of this post is an example of one of the principles in Jim's post - that it shows, through a story process, some of the benefits of Twitter. If you are on Twitter, or if this post intrigues you enough to check it out and gain the benefits I am gainig, make @Figliuolo, @Canterucci and @Kevineikenberry three of the first people you follow.
How to Get the Most From Your Conference Investment
Posted at 3:26 AM on Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tomorrow, I'm off to Las Vegas for Blog World Expo. This is a conference I have been looking forward to for some time! Usually when I attend a conference I am a speaker and an attendee. This time, I'm purely in the learning mode. AS I started my preparation for thsi event, I was reminded of an article I wrote several years ago. I've cut and pasted it here, and now, as I read it, I will highlight key ideas and add new comments and ideas in red.
I hope you find it useful for the next time you are at a conference. And if you are going to be at Blog World, follow me and send me a note on Twitter.
Tips on Getting the Most From Your Conference Investment
All professionals attend conferences, seminars, and trade shows each year. Through my observation and person experience here are my top tips for maximizing your time and monetary investment in these events.
1. Set goals for the event. Think about what you hope to gain from your attendance. Be specific and write them down! Consider your goals for specific content areas, specific questions you hope to have answered, number and kinds of people you want to meet and/or amount of new business you hope to gain. Goal setting here is like in anything else. Be specific, write them down and then focus on achieving them. If you don't start with this one, all the rest will be less effective. Is there room for serendipity? Of course, but have goals too!
2. Invest some time in planning. Sit down before the event with the schedule or agenda. Think about which sessions will best help you meet your goals. Schedule your day to take best advantage of those opportunities. Often you find yourself with many good sessions to choose from. This is one of the values of your goals. Refer to your goals and let them guide you. You did bring that list of goals with you didn't you?
3. Schedule your meals! Conferences are a prime time to learn in a more relaxed atmosphere. Schedule your meals with key colleagues, clients, presenters, or others you would really like to meet. You'll be surprised how easy this is to do, even with people you don't know yet, if you plan ahead just a little. Have too many people you want to have meals with? Invite more than one! Or schedule some meetings during a slower time during the conference program. This one is huge - for this trip I have scheduled a dinner reservation for 15, and am working on filling up that reservation - and beyond. Do you think great learning, fellowship and relationship building will happen at that dinner? You bet! 4. Network! Take advantage of all the networking opportunities available. If there is planned networking activities, be there early! Consider the Exposition or trade show as a networking opportunity (not only with the exhibitors, but also with your fellow participants. Who knows who you might meet standing in a line?) Have plenty of business cards and spend more time listening than talking. Don’t forget the time before a session starts when most people just sit and wait for something to happen. Don’t just sit there, network!
5. Capture ideas. Sometimes there isn't much room but your lap to write during a session. Don’t worry! Follow your instincts and your best habits about the amount of notes to take. I urge you though to, at a minimum, to write down the action ideas you got during the session. These ideas might not even have anything to do with what the speaker is saying - no matter! Capture those gems so you have them for later. Maybe you will use your laptop or iPhone. I don't care how you take the notes. The question is are you capuring the ideas?
6. Have fun! All of these tips require a little bit of rigor and planning - even this one! As you try to reach your goals and maximize your time, leave time for some fun and allow yourself the opportunity to let serendipity happen. If at the last minute your instinct says to go to a different session than the one you had planned, or to skip a session to get to know a new person, let yourself! It may be the best time you spend during the whole event.
7. Get some sleep. Conferences and shows can be long and harrowing. You will be at your best if you get some sleep. Too much of #6 (having fun) may leave you short on this one. Find some balance and get some rest. You’ll be glad you did. Yes, even in Vegas.
And when you are on the plane home or when you get back the office.
8. Review your notes and ideas. Compare your list to your goals. How did you do? Take the time to prioritize the ideas you generated. Schedule the most important ones - with the rest of your tasks, giving them appropriate priority. If you can't find time to implement what you learned, why did you go? Make sure you take action on at least the most beneficial of your new ideas. If you have notes beyond action ideas, consider scheduling a short amount of time each day for the next week to review those notes. The repetition will help solidify the new concepts and principles in your mind, increasing the learning you gained from the session. Pick one idea and get started. Implement something immediately. This will give you results and keep your momentum up for implementing more. Otherwise, the list will become as stale - and useless - as week old bread.
9. Send thank you notes. You collected business cards as you networked right? Or made a note of the really fabulous session leader you listened to? When you get home, take the time to write some brief thank you notes. You benefit by sending positive thoughts into the world, as well as being more memorable to the receiver. True gratitude is important to acknowledge and share. Make the time to do it! Schedule that time in your calendar, like a meeting, before you leave. Yes, and add people to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. (pick the tools of your choice) too.
10. Share what you have learned. Whether you share with a colleague face to face, on your blog, through Twitter, with your mastermind group or whomever - make sure you share what you have learned. When you do this you begin to own your knowledge (i.e. learned it more deeply), you improve the likelihood you will do something with it, and you will have passed that learning on to others for their benefit as well.
If you will take action on these ten tips, you will gain more from your conference dollar, improve the return on your time investment, as well as making the Conference more fun and a better learning experience.
He asks you to consider the best use of your online time, if you move from link to link, exploring and presumably learning, when perhaps you really moving away from your biggest goals and best use of your time.
Both his webpage, and my watch are reminders of the classic question - "What is the best use of my time right now?
This is my first (of what I hope will be many) video blog posts. The production value and my "performance" will get better (I promise!). This is of course what being on a path of learning is about - we don't need to wait until things are perfect to get started.
Aside from that, I think the message of this video is important for all of us, and yes, I DO love my watch.
If you are intrigued by the Now Watch you can check it out here.
That was the message of the short keynote I gave last week to Rainmakers, a fast growing, difference making business networking organization in Indianapolis last week. My goal was convince them that everyone is a leader, and that we can all become Remarkable leaders too.
One of my team members, Jenny Pratt, our resident pop culture expert has been telling me about Project Runway - a television show on Bravo for some time. She keeps telling me I need to watch it and why. So I asked her to write it all down, so we could share it with you. Here's Jenny . . .
Among other things, September is called "Cable TV Month" (although in my house every month could be called Cable TV month). To celebrate, I would like to share one of my current favorite cable television shows: Project Runway.
If you haven't seen - or heard of - the show, here's a brief synopsis: 16 unknown fashion designers are brought together to compete for the Project Runway title. Each week the designers are given random inspiration and must dream, design and sew outfits to be seen on the runway. One person is sent home each week with the top three designers ultimately staging runway shows during New York City's fashion week.
Even if you know nothing or care very little (if at all) about the fashion industry, Project Runway is a great lesson - every week - in creativity and innovation.
Challenges this season have ranged from creating fashion only from the supermarket (the winner that week made a cocktail dress from vacuum cleaner bags and coffee filters) to creating a look for U.S. athletes to wear during an Olympics opening ceremony to who knows what next. And they're given very little time to go from concept to completion - usually less than 24 hours.
You may be wondering how any of this relates to your professional and/or personal development…
Making It Work for You
Ever had a meeting start with "we need to find an answer to this question before we leave the room this morning" or "we need a new website design - yesterday" or any number of other "what are we going to do now" moments? Project Runway shows that even in the world of high fashion - one of the ultimate creativity hotbeds - it doesn't have to take long to be innovative.
Plus, every time I watch the show I learn something about interacting with people, sticking up for what you believe in and taking critiques from Customers and experts - all good things for leaders in any area.
Yes, Project Runway is a reality show complete with unnecessary show-induced drama, off-beat banter and continual, often redundant, references to the show's theme "in fashion one day you're in, the next day you're out." Even so, it's worth it.
In the U.S., Project Runway airs on the Bravo network - check your local listings. If you don't have cable - the show has an extensive website and previous seasons are available on DVD.
Kevin again . . .
This is a perfect example of learning from everyday life - in case especially about creativity. I'll watch it soon and while I'm not a fashionista, I know I'll love the lessons.
Three things I read this morning, all of which were fun and useful learning for me.
About using Twitter for my business. I am on a quest (slower than I wish) to learn more about using Twitter to leverage our business. This post from Laura Fiton of Pistachio Consulting may be the best place for me to move forward from here.
About eating for better performance. In part because of a lack of focus and exercise, and in part because of the Indiana State Fair, I'm a couple pounds above my target weight. So this post on Brain food was especially helpful this morning too. (Why not lose weight and help your brain too?)
Yes these are random, but they are relevant to me. And the process by which they arrived for me is instructive.
I am open to learning in these areas, I am allowing lessons in these areas to come my way. And I took the time to learn when the knock came to the door. None came from a conscious search. All came because I am open. This is only a partial list, and it is only 10:30 am.
We are pleased to announce All Things Workplace by Steve Roesler as the winner of the second annual Best of Leadership Blogs Competition!
As the winner, Steve will receive complementary six month Silver membership in the Remarkable Leadership Learning System (a value of over $750!) to use for himself or one of his readers. He will also be given the logo you see above to place proudly on his site.
While I am an early riser, I know many people aren't (and some of these people would like to be). There are also many people who label themselves as either "morning people" (aka Early Risers) or "night people". By placing these labels we imply that our inclinations are set in stone by genetics and that we can't alter them.
Back in May of 2005, Steve Pavlina wrote a post about this that created quite an online stir. I contributed to that stir as well here and here.
Then fast forward to this week, when I read a new post on this subject on the Zen Tricks blog that takes a slightly different approach, but ends up at the same place - you can alter your habits to become a morning person/early riser.
This may be interesting for you as your job situation is changing and your schedule is being altered. Perhaps you are looking for some more productive time, time to exercise or pray/reflect/meditate. Most people find the morning and excellent time for all of these activities.
Or perhaps you have a friend who is interested. In any case all of these resources can be valuable to you!
Tuesday night my family and I went to see Jimmy Buffett. I have enjoyed his music for many years, I've read his books, and I've been to a concert in the past as well. Why do I blog all of this? because, Jimmy is one of my heroes. As I reflected on the concert, I thought about what I have learned from Jimmy - and why he is a hero of mine.
Here are six things that I learned, or relearned from Jimmy this week.
The Power of Passion. Jimmy Buffett loves what he does. From the stage to the trip to points around the world that was chronicled on video during the show - he loves his work. When people love what they do, others are drawn to that passion - in this case 24,000 plus, a sellout for the 21st consecutive year in Indianapolis (are you kidding me, sellouts for 21 straight years?). What are you passionate about?
The Value of Purpose. Jimmy has purposefully created a life that allows him to use his skills and strengths to the fullest - singing, songwriting, writing, marketing, and many other things. His purpose also allows him to create space for his interests outside of his work - surfing, fishing, and flying among them. If you want a picture of this purpose, read the words to one of my favorite of his songs - Schoolboy Heart. These are the words of person who knows who he is and why he is on planet earth. What is your purpose?
The Need for a Plan. He's 61. He's been touring for who-knows-how long. I'm sure he doesn't need to tour, or do many of the other things he does. His tour gets shorter every year, and yet, at the end of the show, he told us, I'll see you next year. And you could tell he meant it. What is your plan?
The Importance of Personalization. Jimmy knows his Customers, and talked to us like he knew it throughout the show. He mentioned a variety of things about the state, the crowd, the earthquake a few months ago and more. This wasn't just, "if it's Tuesday I must be in Indiana," it was our show on our night. When we personalize and customize for our Clients they will notice. How do you personalize your work or your Clients and Customers?
The Perfection of Play. I had tshirts made several years ago that say, "Make Work Play" (the first five commenters to this post will get tshirt, by the way!) Jimmy doesn't need the shirt, he lives it. How (and how often) do you play at work?
The Sound of Paean - Paean is defined as a song of praise. Jimmy certainly can sing, this is obvious. What is less obvious is that he showers his praise on his Customers (in this case the audience). He is grateful. He is thankful. When we sing praises to and for those we serve, and approach our work and lives with a spirit of gratefulness, we will always be happier, healthier and more successful. How grateful are you?
Oh, and he is also VERY good at what he does. In part because of these other five points, but we can't leave that one out either!
There are more lessons, these are just five. Hopefully one or more of these resonate for you, whether you like Jimmy's music or not.
If you want a complimentary tshirt, you must be one of the first five commenters!
Authors Carmine Coyote, Peter Vajda, and John Fletcher of Slow Leadership offer interesting and challenging articles to help readers think through issues and find ways to enjoy life and work to the fullest.
They believe "slow leaders" are only slow in making decisions or jumping to conclusions and that it's essential to think more clearly and make better choices, free from today's obsession with meeting unrealistic, short-term expectations.
This post is the 2nd in their "Become a Slow Leader" series. I think it's a great lesson.
Courage can build a leadership style to be proud of on Slow Leadership (January 24, 2008)
When things get rough — as now — beware of cowards, mixed messages, and macho managers
Tough times sort out the true leaders from those who wear the clothes but have nothing beneath them. Leaders lead; mere administrators, whatever their job titles, panic. Worst of all, fair-weather bosses infected by Hamburger Management send people mixed messages. In today's atmosphere of frantic competition and short-term focus, mixed messages caused by "macho" management can make bad situations far worse and leave a business wide open to crushing problems. It's time we recognized that moral courage is often a truer test of leadership than mere quarterly results.
If nothing else has results from our boom and collapse economy, it ought surely to make everyone aware of how many supposed leaders are nothing of the kind; and the ease with which such executives, under pressure to "deliver the goods or else," cross the line from tough business practice to dishonesty and fraud.
A few past offenders have been caught and punished, but that doesn't mean the underlying problems have been cured.
Best of Blogs: All Things Workplace by Steve Roesler
Posted at 1:05 PM on
Steve Roesler's says his blog All Things Workplace is designed to "teach smart people practical ways to become extraordinary." He leads the Roesler Group, an organization effectiveness firm that specializes in communication training and development by emphasizing improving systems, relationships and large-scale change. Steve also is the co-author of The Age of Conversation.
Among other things Steve creates leadership programs, prepares executives for presentations, mediates conflicts among high-level executives, and leads CEO selection processes for NYSE companies. Steve was once a Drill Instructor in the Army, a musician and singer, and he's been involved in broadcasting for more than 30 years. All of this combined with his deep interest in the global nature of business makes for an interesting – and often fun – take on leadership.
Here's a passionate look at leadership from Steve:
Try Talent, Passion and Purpose by Steve Roesler (March 13, 2008)
The Passion discussion started on February 26th as a result of Phil Gerbyshak's "Wow" Factor article (Phil, I hope you've found some of those "Wow" people by now).
Since then, the discussion about passion and work has been passionate.
I'm sure there are as many individual reasons as there are individuals. These are mine:
1. Passion is, by definition, an emotional word.
2. A significant portion of the population is not wired to inherently associate the words passion and work. That doesn't mean those folks don't care about work, aren't enthusiastic, or don't excel in their chosen fields. It's just that the two words create dissonance when used in the same phrase.
Steve Farber says just like wearing spandex doesn't make you a cyclist or looking at the world through Oakley sunglasses doesn't make you a snowboarder, printing 'leader' on your business card doesn't make you lead. Steve, the best-selling author of The Radical Leap and The Radical Edge and the Extreme Leadership blog, says – among other things – "real leaders take us places we've never been, turn nothing into something and change the pieces of the world they touch for the better."
Steve has a passion for coaching and inspiring extreme leadership at all levels. In addition to consulting, speaking and writing about extreme leadership, Steve also is the co-founding director of The Center for Social Profit Leadership and sits on the board for Up With People.
Here's a great post from Steve on being greater than yourself:
Your GTY Project by Steve Farber (June 19, 2008)
The essence of the principle of Greater Than Yourself (GTY) is this:
Your own greatness as a leader (or in just about any other role, for that matter) lies, paradoxically, in your ability to cause others to be greater than yourself.
You could argue that this is just the right way for one decent human being to act towards another, and I'd whole-heartedly agree, but let's set altruism aside for a moment.
Is there a personal payoff for you? A benefit other than a warm, toasty feeling in your chest?
Consider this: If you get a reputation for being the one who elevates people, for being the one who gives freely to others at work, and, as a result, for turning out superstar after superstar, what’s going to happen?
Best of Blogs: Peronal Leadership Insight by Rhett Laubach
Posted at 12:52 AM on Friday, July 25, 2008
Personal Leadership Insight is one of Rhett Laubach's two blogs. Rhett is an author, speaker, coach and trainer and the founder of YourNextSpeaker.
He says Personal Leadership Insight is about finding meaning as a leader in your private and public life and focuses on helping leaders develop the ability to positively influence people and situations to create value and growth.
One of the things I like about Rhett is that he offers thoughts for student leaders. Not only students of leadership (like you and me), but student leaders on campuses and in school building across the country (in fact these future leaders are a major part of Rhett's writing and his business). Rhett wrote this post in March geared toward student leaders, but I think it applies to every single one of us (you could easily take student out of the title):
Vision: Three Giant Leaps Every Great Student Leader Takes by Rhett Laubach (March 4, 2008)
Everyone knows great student leaders live life differently than the average Joe. However, not everyone knows how they do it. The three giant jumps is about a few of those differences. These are three very large leaps highly-effective student leaders make in their personal and social development that allow them to make a difference in their world and the world around them.
Before we look at the jumps, let's examine the structure.
Each jump has three elements:
1. The starting place 2. The ending place 3. The leap from one to the other.
All three are critical components of that particular leadership lesson. However, the leap itself is where the magic lives.
Best of Blogs: LeaderTalk by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner
Posted at 12:01 PM on Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The Leadership Challenge blog - also called LeaderTalk - highlights themes from Jim Kouzes' and Barry Posner's best-selling book, The Leadership Challenge. Jim and Barry have collaborated on more than a dozen other books and are preeminent researchers, award-winning writers and sought after teachers.
Their philosophy (similar to ours) is that "leadership is everyone's business." They say more than ever there is a need for people from every walk of life to seize opportunities that lead to greatness; for leaders to inspire people to dream, participate and persevere. Jim and Barry wrote the The Leadership Challenge, their other books and their blog to inspire people to take the initiative and make a difference.
Here's a great post from Jim about leading during times of adversity.
Adversity Introduces Us to Ourselves by Jim Kouzes (May 13, 2008)
The economy is in a foul mood, and it's not being nice to anyone. You can be an eighty-year old banking icon or high-tech startup with ink still wet on the incorporation papers, and this market is going to mess with you. In my last three phone calls with clients, I have heard stories about layoffs of hundreds of middle managers, declining sales in retail stores, and no upward mobility in the firm "for the first time in our history." And on all these calls I have been asked if I might share some thoughts about what leaders can do to keep people engaged and inspired in times like these.
The calls bring to mind a comment made by John McDonnell, former CEO of McDonnell Douglas, when that company was going through its struggles before eventually merging with Boeing. "Adversity introduces you to yourself," he said, reflecting upon what that struggle had brought for him. And another thought from Randy Melville whom we interviewed when he was with Pepsi. Quoting his Princeton University basketball coach, Pete Carril, Randy said, "Adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it." Challenges, difficulties, setbacks, adversities…they are all familiar sights on the leadership landscape. And one of the things that they cause us to do is to come face-to-face with ourselves. They are a rather harsh way of reminding us of what's important, what we value, and where we want to go.
Leaders are no strangers to challenges. In fact, exemplary leaders thrive on them. Here are a few tips on what you can do as a leader to enable others to learn to thrive as well.
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