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No business or organisation will grow beyond or mature past the collective ability of its team and their personal growth. Can a 10L bucket hold 12L of water?

This is quite a challenging thing for me personally as at this stage I’m only mature enough to have built a team of five! What a wonderful team of committed people they are though… obviously I need to grow some more! It’s ok, I’m working on it, constantly!

I believe the biggest thing a leader can do is be a catalyst, an inspirer, a connector for people to truly become the best they can. It leads to very successful businesses and people who are responsible for their own growth, fuelled by their own passion about becoming better and contributing to a better result.

As a leader in a team, business, or organisation it is surely the most important role we have to create a system that builds and grows great people, either to produce great results within our team or beyond in a world badly in need of it. I will go out on a limb and say that surely if we fear particular team members moving on as many do in building leadership with their team, then maybe we haven’t grown enough ourselves to build a system in our own teams that we can place anyone into, with the right attitude, to ensure we constantly produce amazing results.

To do all of this, we need to build bigger buckets … constantly.

That’s what leaders do.

One of the great shames nowadays is all the different ways we’ve come up with to avoid one magical question that can changes someone’s day, when asked with meaning, intent, and dare I say it, love.

The question I’m referring to is ‘How are you’.

I believe we used to use it with far more empathy and we used to mean it. In our fast paced world and techniques of avoidance – you can’t go too deep with just anyone! – we’ve changed it to phrases like ‘What’s up’… err the sky. ‘Whadda ya know?’ … hmmm “lot’s and not much”. Or worst of all, we actually ask “How are you?” but really don’t care and simply are being polite, the encounter an interruption to a busy day and all that needs doing because my day is all about me!

You see the old fashioned approach was to take time and energy when meeting people to actually ask them ‘how are you’ and then genuinely listen for their reply then connect with them. For me, one of the more beautiful elaborations on this theme actually came from the movie Avatar. There is a tribe called the Na’vi tribe who live on the planet Pandora where the story takes place and their standard greeting when they met was ‘I see you’. It’s far deeper than the words though. It was said with meaning, a gaze filled with intent that emanated from the big emotion filled eyes of the Na’vi. It communicated so much for just three short words, the key component communicated one of understanding. ‘I see you’ really said “I’m stopping and taking time to connect with you, your life, who you are AND I care.”

For me it is surely one of the more magical lines of the movie, said many times, as it also espouses the connectedness and community that existed within this magical tribe who completely understood we truly are all connected and to ‘see’ each other was so important that it had to be recognised in such a powerful ‘standard’ greeting.

I’m not suggesting you go out and start greeting people with “I see you”, you might get arrested! However today, let’s look at ourselves and reinvigorate our “How are you”. The first challenge I have is actually use those words, it asks a commitment from the speaker if nothing else. Then lets learn something that’s very real from the very fictional Na’vi people and when we greet people, let’s communicate all that I believe the Na’vi tried to with their greeting. You never know you might connect with someone, a team member, friend, boss. Maybe even your son, daughter, father, mother, wife or husband who really needed you to stop and care. You might even change someone’s life. That’s what leaders do.

So, how are you?

Read this book…

… please! Anyone in leadership should read this, which is anyone in life, for shouldn’t our lives be a constant reflection of someone seeking to live the best life they can, which is to lead with our life? If you are looking for an incredible book, even if you aren’t, even if you haven’t ever made the effort to read a book of this type – make this your first.

It challenged, helped, and moved me. It flushed me out from hiding places built up over time, yes I was self deceived, shock horror! Are you?

It was powerful.

Not compelling enough? Check out this related video about Ignaz Semmelweis:


Love to know if you like/read/have read it and are you brave enough to share about it as we all try to help each other out of the box and…

Lead Anyway

PS – Don’t think you ‘have time’ to read. Get on an audio book tool and start learning, growing, changing in ‘dead time’, driving by yourself, doing lawns and so on.

Just watched

And had to share. I found it a great summary of similar info that’s been sent around on this for some time/recently. Daniel Pink ties it all up in a bow and presents it well, one of those I couldn’t stop watching. As I’ve sought to remain engaged and exited whilst doing the same for our team team, I’ve found that the thing that gets most people going the most is the connection with doing something great, being part of something big, essentially, creating something. And that in itself and the recognition for achieving it is the pay cheque of a life well lived through the time they spend at work as opposed to just ‘having a job’.

Of course doing something great isn’t always some huge solution or project in business… it can be as simple as mastering how to serve on a phone call, connecting with people in a magic way. People want to be a part of something big, important, purpose-full and if the reward of doing that is removed by placing them in a box with an incentive for this or an incentive for that, the very thing they really want as a reward is taken from them, and they remain in the box we have defined for them. We tell them, oh you’re ‘just’ the accounts person, just the tech guy and so on and BINGO! Box created. Instead of creating an unbreakable link with their role and the purpose and amazing hopes and dreams of the business.

I know I do all I can to try and make rewards time spent together, enjoying company with those we work with, dreaming big, telling stories where we’ve kicked big goals or gone the extra mile, or maybe some time for themselves with their own family, those they love, and friends. I’ve played a fair bit of sport and I liken it to the team talk after a tough game we won where we share great moments we got through with a bit of magic or extra commitment. That part seems almost more important than the win itself or whatever reward was the outcome. I think this stuff is the elixir to the spirit that we all crave.

And I know all of this why? Because of course, it’s me, I feel the same way. Do you? What do you think works in this area for you and others? What ways have you implemented rewards that have worked? Please add a comment below.

We all desire a purpose’full’ life and the science in this video proves it, so maybe instead of sitting back and wondering about finding good staff, all we need do is find people who are full of goodness wanting to be part of a purpose, fill them with it and watch as they ‘come good’ as we…

Lead Anyway.

Daniel

Today’s post is after reflecting on something that good friend Kirk Weisler posted over at T4D http://kirkweisler.com/t4d/2012/03/01/do-you-need-to-close-the-account. I understand the risk Kirk presents and wanted to reflect on this myself. A picture he posted effuses “If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in ur (sic.) life, You will be out of balance and in the negative! Know when to close the account” ~ christie williams

… unless you do all you can to ensure your bank always has enough funds.

For me this one is always a tough one to process and comment on as it can sound very self righteous and I also believe Kirk is reflecting on a certain type of person who seems to have made up their mind to never be reached, never be encouraged and it seems those types may well need to have their ‘account closed’ as that may be the best wake up call to actually help them change. Please understand my reply is not and never intended to be finger pointing. As always, we journey together and I share about this to get us thinking and to be challenged. Read on…

Helping Hands

Reach out and touch somebody

I think we always need to stop and ask the question – what is under the surface of these people (one reply referred to them as ‘energy vampires’ and it’s true we’ve all come across them) – and can they be loved to ‘angeldom’. And even if they can’t, shouldn’t I still love anyway.

I believe the only place to begin is always, at the beginning. The beginning for them, what is their story and why do choose this behaviour. As life-giving people, dare I say ‘Christian’, I think we need to take care that we don’t turn our backs on those who truly need the life we have to give. “I can do all things…”. Yet, as Kirk has illustrated, we also need to be so careful about our own attitude lest we fall ourselves. Particularly hard for those determined to ‘suck’, excuse the expression.

I heard it put beautifully the other day by a very wise man Richard Rohr. Let me try and put it here. He said when we respond in a way that confirms behaviour in someone who is down on themselves, down on the world, angry about it all, we simply confirm their condition. We give them the right to continue that way and we say “Yes, the world is a bad place and I have nothing better for you.” Which of course encourages them to repeat the behaviour. When we can show that despite the way they are treating us or talking to us, we can still love and completely ignore the ‘test’ they are giving us in their attitude and behaviour, we communicate that there is actually goodness in the world and I have some of it for you.

I don’t deny that exposing ourselves too often to too many people like this can be a tough gig and we need to be so careful that we remain with a full cup of goodness to share and be poured out for all – other positive AND negative people. I think this is the essence of what you are saying Kirk. But the lesson I’ve learned and seek to live from all those who have done this in great ways is that it is often the least of those around us that need us to be with them the most… and not to give up on them. But wow, it’s hard sometimes and I wish I were stronger for the challenge and better at it. What did Jim Rohn say “Don’t wish that life (insert: or other people) were easier, wish that you were better.”

Which is why we need to visit the well daily to replenish so we can go out and give again. The well of our family, our friends, our quiet time of contemplation.

I just wanted to also include a reflection that I read just the other day that possibly has a link here, see what you think. Understand that I share it as much to challenge myself as anyone. And whether you ‘believe’ or not I don’t think matters if truly here to be challenged and grow. If you don’t believe, then replace the word ‘Christians’ with ‘good people’ and it will work for you 😉 .

It gets a bit heady, just so you know, but my understanding is we are here to challenge ourselves and I found it a wonderful personal challenge. It’s also an example in the ‘extreme’ but it’s all degrees of brokenness for different people…

From: “A Presence that Disturbs” Anthony J Gittins

“Genesis House in Chicago is a place of welcome and support for women trying to escape from prostitution. It is a place where many volunteers and employees first began to understand how unjust and unforgiving some Christians and a certain type of Christianity can be. If human beings do not experience love and thus are not yet able to love others, then to judge them guilty of sin is to be guilty of sinful judgements oneself. In fact, if due to abuse or abandonment a person ahs not experienced love, such a person cannot be morally guilty of failing to love others. The axiom ‘nemo dat quod non habet’ (“One cannot give what one has not first received or possessed”) applies as much to love as it does to anything else. To condemn victimised and unloved persons because they do not meet public standards of behaviour is to add insult to injury…

… only when one of the women of Genesis House, “Teddy Bear” by name, broken by abuse, drugs, and prostitution, discovered that she had found a sanctuary where she was accepted unconditionally could she begin to find the peace and healing she craved. But in her case the ravages were too deep, and her broken body could not live with her rekindled spirit. Yet when she died at thirty-one, she did know what it was to love her neighbour because she had at last begun to love herself.”

Share some of the love you have to give with those who need it most, then get around those who can fill you again … then go back for more and…

Lead Anyway

Daniel

We only become the person we have to,

based on what we have said we would do

or as a result of those challenges that are a natural part of life which we have to face.

We fail to become what we need to

due to the things we give up on

or by not choosing a direction at all

let alone one that challenges us more than our current circumstances.

This explains why so many who experience massive natural challenge in their life,

through tragedy out of their control,

if they manage to get through it well,

tend to be people who others look to and praise,

saying “What an amazing person of great strength.”

To be like them and become great people too,

without the ‘blessing’ of tragedy,

we must seek the tougher paths and strong directions,

or else we will waste our life,

never asking of ourselves to ‘become someone’.

Mark Wellman, paralysed from the waist down, atop El Capitan

Mark Wellman conquers El Capitan

Mark Wellman conquers El Capitan

Let’s do the world a favour and become someone. Let’s

Lead Anyway

I was moved to post about this today as I feel leaders are intricately connected with such a message. True leaders don’t hide behind “I’m a big picture kinda guy”, or “That’s too small an issue for me to be bothered with” as an excuse to miss important things for those they lead. They understand the power of intricacy in people’s lives and that they are an interwoven collection of small events.

The thing that moved me was Kirk Weisler’s T4D:

http://kirkweisler.com/t4d/2012/02/02/the-noticer-and-the-elephant-bite/

Two bits of magic for me. Almost felt like the crux of the whole thing in terms of ‘living’ life instead of ‘surviving’ it…

“Many of life’s treasures remain hidden from us simply because we never search for them.”
And on the ‘small stuff’, how important it is to recognise how often the ‘small stuff’ is actually the small people in our lives. They want to share what we rate a ‘small’ story about something ‘small’ that happened to them that day, or a ‘small’ picture about something you can’t even make out that seems pretty ‘small’ at the time they bring it. You see the problem is, we are on the wrong side of our eyeballs (thanks to ‘Crucial Conversations for that gem) and for our child, this is the biggest moment of their day, bringing something to Mum or Dad and sharing it with them. The story they are telling is at the deepest core of their being, the thing that happened was huge. The picture was something they put everything they had into and it’s contents depict something immense, the artistry of their soul… and the mistake we can make, we continue with what we were in the middle of and we say “Not now son… I’m busy”. Then later in life we wonder why our children are too busy to talk to us, don’t want to share their lives with us – it’s because we trained them that way. We blink and we miss life, one ‘small moment’ at a time, a million blinks at a time. We never stopped and searched for that magic – bringing it full circle to the first quote.

When the little things present themselves in our lives that seem unimportant, remember to…

Lead Anyway.

… and how often have I failed. Often enough to tell you that I wept as I heard the below on audio the first time in the book I’m currently listening to “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, and then the second time as I found a visual of it below.

Please share about how it impacted you in the comments section then reflect, maybe watch it again and with me, spend an extra 60 seconds with those wonderful little ones in our lives today at some point and just hold them, be thankful for them and their gifts and …

Lead Anyway

Implied impact

Firstly, my apologies for such a break. Prioritising to get in here is something I will master.

I began with a long post to try and set the scene and define leadership in some way as I’ve seen it and where any leadership would hopefully lead us – encouragement to act.

Today we reflect on what I believe is the building block of leadership. It’s not about fancy, clever talks, big public displays of inspiration, or even possibly noticeable or identifiable acts. In some ways it ties in with a quote that good friend Kirk Weisler www.kirkweisler.com shared some time back in his T4D:

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”  –John Quincy Adams

Simple. I prefer a starting point back one step here in leadership in it’s simplest form. John Quincy Adams’ quote whilst spot on, talks about the ‘results’ of acts of leadership. I prefer, as I seek to get myself right, as all leaders do, to see any action, no matter who is watching or who I may lead or inspire, as either leadership worthy, or not.

Why?

I have no excuse not to work on me!! The internal, my thoughts, everything I process day to day. For no one sees those, yet they are what define me. Leaders get this. How I am able to capture a moment, a thought, to stop and think, then act, with leadership as Dr Steven Covey famously wrote, using Victor Frankl’s incredible works as his base “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In those choices lie our growth and our happiness.”

It’s where it all starts and until we hold ourselves accountable and see the unseen as leadership, I believe we’re pretending.

As in Newton’s cradle above, all of these thoughts, actions, and subsequent habits must impact ourselves further internally and others in some way. There is no stopping that, the balls that are released, impact the others. Just as our actions do. They will impact ourselves and others, they will either inspire and be worth ‘copying’ or they won’t.

Leadership or not.

Until next time, remember to… lead anyway

Welcome, I’m glad you’re here.

My name is Daniel and I’ve been an avid follower of leadership material right from the very first time I had my eyes open to the fact that there was material on it. And who helped me open my eyes? A leader of course. Since that time, I’ve read many great books, listened to many wonderful speakers, seen many incredible movies, been gifted with so many amazing people in my life that have all presented material on the sort of things great leaders do.

It has created in me a passion, a desire, and a lifelong ambition to journey on that most challenging road, the road of the continual pursuit of excellence.

I think it’s important that I somehow have a go at putting a least a starting thought or definition or idea that strongly shows what I see leadership as. I think it’s an immense challenge to try and sum up such a large subject matter into such a small space, however less is more and as Albert Einstein once said “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” so, here’s my simple description of leadership…

Leadership is any thought or act that is worth teaching, repeating or copying.

I see a great parallel between this definition and something that was seen as a crucial message by a wonderful, world-changing, woman who walked the earth and lived a live of service and as such, leadership. To give my definition some more rounding I share something she had posted as something important in her residence. It was Mother Theresa who shared:

People are often unreasonable, illogical,
and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
 
If you are kind, People may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
 
If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
 
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
 
What you spend years building, someone
could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
 
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
 
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
 
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
 
You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
 

Now, don’t get caught up in the God thing – if you do and that stops you going further due to not having that connection, I don’t believe you are serious about leadership. Leaders are able to consider all people, beliefs and views. If it makes you more comfortable, just take out those final two lines and if you are serious, read on. I see the great connection with this reflection and with leadership as I see so many of the points made in this reflection that can be tied in by simply replacing ‘do it anyway’ with, ‘lead anyway’. All of these acts or virtues are worth learning and doing and the actions of true leaders are done because they are seen by leaders as the right thing to do, not due to seeking any sort of result or payoff.

I’m under no illusions that there are immense amounts of material out there on leadership these days too. I am conscious of the risk of ‘yet another leadership blog’ and just rehashing all of that stuff. I do believe that principles are certainly principles so leadership hasn’t really changed all that much over thousands of years but I truly believe and hope that you agree that my take on some of this may be a little different to the usual ‘stuff’ and that this place will discuss things in a different way than you’ve experienced before.

This place is not, as I see it, about many of the traditional views people may have about leadership and if you are not challenged in thinking here, I am not doing my job. I want to flip some of those views on their head and talk about leadership as not always being the big grandiose type of acts but also great things done in small, quiet ways. Mother Theresa did things like this. Gandhi did things like this. They were so great though in their ‘littleness’ that their acts ended up becoming famous. However, I know so many people who don’t have such fame yet I consider leaders, possibly even more so, as they do those quiet things that are worth teaching or repeating, thus demonstrate leadership. I will also cover how I see and have implemented such leadership in business, in teams, in organisations, just to be clear there is a place, a very strong place, for this type of leadership in those places.

I begin with the end in mind though. So what is the end? Well, if I am to take the great message I have heard repeatedly in my life, that in fact there is no end and you’ve never completely ‘made it’  in the pursuit of excellence, then surely that is the end unto itself. So…

We need to get off our ends and see ourselves as a constant beginning.

This place is a place, my place, to share the different ways I’ve encountered great leaders, how they’ve impacted me, lead me to change, and ultimately been a part of me accepting and living the leadership role that’s been uniquely asked of me through the person I am with the gifts I have and the life I’m being asked to live.

I would love for you to join me so we can journey together for the travel is only the more richer when taken with company.

My ultimate hope is that as we journey together and you face situations where you have been challenged by the sorts of issues that were covered in the reflection that Mother Theresa valued so much, that you will draw strength and in the final wash up you can look at any action you may have taken and…

Lead anyway.

Daniel