Monday, October 3, 2011

Why Not Establish Key Elements for Leadership Success?

"If your actions inspire others to dream more,
learn more,
do more and become more,
you are a leader."

John Quincy Adams

Leadership is more than just a title or a position. Comprised of numerous and often undefined facets, leaders struggle until they define some simple, fundamental elements that can help to focus energy and talent around those leadership components that will have a positive impact on their business. For me, there are five elements that can help set apart the mediocre from the extraordinary in terms of leadership that can lead to ultimate business and life success.

  1. Results centered. The results centered person has not only clearly defined objectives and goals for themselves, but they always communicate and clarify those results to key stakeholders.
  2. Influence people. Not through coercion or manipulation, instead, the successful leader has the ability to inspire others to get on board with the key desired results.
  3. Initiate and manage change. not waiting until the year end financials or customer service complaints arrive, successful leaders proactively measure and monitor consistently employee and customer interests and satisfaction.
  4. Business acumen. Understanding the critical elements of their business, successful leaders have an understanding of their products and/or services, as well as their roles and responsibilities.
  5. Build partnerships & teams. Leaders appreciate that without followers there is no need for leadership. Establishing strong relationships, selecting the right employees, the right partners and the right customers takes skill and talent.
Being labeled The Leader can be a daunting responsibility. Establishing key elements can help successful leaders focus time, talent and energy towards cultivating attributes that can lead to thriving relationships, growing business and sustainable communities. I thought I would share with you my key elements. Now, I am interested in learning what others identify as those key elements that have led them to business success.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Voices of Leaders that Have Lead

When faced with conflicts or indecision, James Allen recommended that
"Circumstances don't make a person, they reveal him."

When faced with outright fear, Andrew Jackson reminds us that
"One man with courage makes a majority."

When taking ourselves way too seriously, Queen Elizabeth suggests
Let us not take ourselves too seriously.
None of us has a monopoly on wisdom.

When faced with leadership challenges, be advised by Lao Tzu...
"Go to the people, Learn from them. Live with them.
Start with what they know. Build with what they have.
The best leader when the jo is done, when the task is accomplished,
the people will say we have done it ourselves."

When frustrated in living your dreams, learn from W. B. Yeats to share...
"I have spread my dreams beneath your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Great Leaders Transform Activities into Purposeful Action

“When you engage in systematic, purposeful action,

using and stretching your abilities to the maximum,

you cannot help but feel positive and confident about yourself.”

Brian Tracy

All too often, people engage in work or relationships without consciously evaluating what they want. As a result, there is confusion and missteps on how to move forward in their roles and responsibilities.

The key to productive, effective and even efficient performance is to focus on the purpose. When we align our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors towards achieving goals that are directly related to our purpose, we accomplish amazing results.

Great leaders understand this philosophy and make sure that all the team players fully understand, can articulate and embrace the purpose of their job. Priorities are much easier to establish. Goals become more focused. Synergy is prevalent.

Being a transformational leader takes commitment, openness and accountability. Influencing people to fully engage mind, body and spirit to achieve synchronicity will always optimize potential. It all starts with purposeful leadership.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

ACTS to Ensure Relevance

A simple definition of relevance is the "relation to the matter at hand."

"So what," one might say. Well, experience and information is supporting that unless we ensure our relevance to a person, a department, a team, an organization, we can pretty much call it a day and move on.

What does it mean to ensure relevance? It means four steps...

  1. Ascertain your current roles, responsibilities and relationships. All too often, we become immersed, no let me rephrase that, we become entrenched in a position or a part that we play so deeply that we lose sight of what is important. Clearly assessing our current functions and tasks can help to establish how we are establishing our relevance to the situations that we find ourselves in. Once this step is done, we can move forward armed with valuable information. Now, we know what we can bring to the game, the job, the partnership.
  2. Create clarity around what is important. And let's try something novel - a friend in a recent conversation really helped me with this - start with yourself first. This is the time for you to fully understand what you want and need to ensure that your mental and physical energy and are souls are important to the matters at hand. After we appreciate our own wants and needs, then and only then can we start to fully appreciate what is important to others. Now, we can start asking better questions, sharing relevant information, talent and energy.
  3. Transform through thoughtful action. Setting goals is a way of life. In fact, goals are set all the time most of the time without thought and definitely without any consideration for the planned actions that will help accomplish that goal. Investing thinking time up front can and will save tons of time. We can ensure relevance when we go into an interview, a response to an "request for proposal" (RFP), an evaluation or meeting with at the very least a well-defined plan of action that can positively ensure successful outcomes.
  4. Sustain relevance. This last step involves consistent, ongoing, critical evaluation. The quality of what we evaluate is much more important then the quantity of what we are measuring. Sure we may have only made two mistakes, but the mistakes cost thousands of dollars or one or two priceless relationship. On the other hand, perhaps we have 50 clients but each of them only generates $500. Can a business survive on $25,000 or would changing the quality and the service and now the company commands $5000 per client and generates $250,000? Measuring and monitoring tasks, products, services, experiences - you decide what you want to measure, just be sure that it is meaningful.
Ascertaining, creating clarity, transforming and sustaining are approaches that can ensure relevance, that there is a "relationship to the matter or situation at hand" if you choose. The choice is yours.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"I Don't Know." Is NOT an Excuse

Businesses, communities, marriages, careers, lives are suffering, deteriorating or being destroyed everyday in so many ways. And, although there are numerous causes of this suffering, deterioration and destruction, I am consistently receiving this response as one major contributors - "I don't know."

We define ourselves by our thoughts, words and actions. What are we conveying to others when we say we don't know?

We need to question and ask why we are saying "I don't know my responsibilities in my career, my community or family." If we agree to a role or a job, we need to be crystal clear about what we have agreed to or signed up for. If we are the CEO, president, owner, employee, spouse, parent or volunteer, it is imperative for us to have the expectations clearly laid out before we agree to the position.

Recently, I caught a segment of a reality television show - I honestly can't tell you the name - but the show was about an expectant mother who was seeking help from an expert about becoming a new parent. The good news was she was asking for help in advance - She was scheduled to deliver the following Monday and her meeting with this expert was taking place on the preceding Friday, not quite 3 full days before she would bring into the world a brand new baby. To follow is the bad news...

The expert started with a basic intake assessment to determine how much help and information this new mother-to-be needed. The nine month pregnant woman was not able to answer one question correctly, nor could she demonstrate on a doll how she could care for a totally dependent infant. When the expert asked her to show changing a baby's diaper, she asked, "I have to do THAT?"

The expert decided to take a different approach and here is how the interview continued.

Expert, "Will you have help?"

Mother-to-be response, "Oh, yes we have hired a nanny."

Expert, "Is she going to live in?"

Mother-to-be response, "On, no, she's only here during the day or when we are away."

The expert turned to the audience and mouthed, "She doesn't have a clue."

The sad part of this entire scenario for me is that this response is so, so typical. People jump into situations and don't have any ideas of their responsibilities or roles and that is just a disaster waiting to happen. We have to stop using "I don't know" as an answer and start coming in prepared with research, education, questions and an interest in learning more.

Let's start taking ownership instead of looking for the easy way out or believe me, we will be learning some really hard lessons.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How Clear Are You on What You Really, Really Want?

One would think that when a person is asked what they really, really want in work, in life, in a relationship, that the response would be immediate. Surprisingly, or perhaps, not so surprising, the responses are: silence... or "Let me think for a minute," or more sadly, "I really don't take time to think about what I really want, I'm too busy doing."

Silence or "Let me think for a minute"...

These two are interesting responses. They to me indicate that the person is stopped short for several reasons.
  1. Genuinely, I need time to give a thoughtful response because it is important to me
  2. Actually, I am afraid to express what I really want
  3. I need to think about a response that will sound interesting and important enough to share and impress you
  4. I don't trust you and so I'm not willing to share

This third response, "I really don't take time to think about what I really want, I'm too busy doing," indicates several things to me.
  1. I'm not worthy of investing thinking time in myself to fully appreciate what I really want
  2. I'm not used to stopping all the crazy busyness to think
  3. I'm clueless to how important understanding what I really want is to me and to anyone involved with me
Whatever the reasons or stories we have for not clarifying what we really want, it has become profoundly clearly to me, that this is one of our greatest limiting factors in success in business and joy in life. The more I am clear about what I want, the more likely I am to attract that want (positive or negative into my life).

And so, I am leaving you with this question, "What do you really, really want out of ...?"

Or in the words of Henry David Thoreau....will you "live your life in quiet desperation."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

7 How-to's to Inspire Dynamic Energy for Extraordinary Results

Have you ever walked into a room, meeting, conference or ... and felt like the air was being sucked out of you? When this feeling happens, thoughts become clouded, ideas stifled and energy is at an all time low.

How do we turn this around? Especially, if we cannot leave the situation.

Here are some how-to's that I have learned and am continuing to learn:

  1. Wear something bright. If the day feels dark and dreary and you are going into an environment that is darker and drearier add color - bright tie, shoes, jewelry, socks - if you are more daring - add color to shirt, dress, or whatever makes you think and feel more energy.
  2. Walk taller. Yes, square those shoulders and extend your neck. One of the first things I notice is how someone enters a room - is there head down, shoulders hunched and eyes focused on the floor or are holding themselves with confidence, ease and pride. Check yourself out in a mirror and practice walking tall. Always a great energy producer for me.
  3. SMILE. Make sure that the smile reaches your eyes. Feel the lines ease out of your face, except for those "laugh lines" which are well earned, around your eyes. People notice a smile and automatically connect in a much more positive manner.
  4. Adopt a Positive Attitude. This is easier said than done and yet with mental conditioning we can turn even the worst situation into an adventure and a valuable learning experience.
  5. Be prepared. Go into the meeting, conference, day with some information about what you might be getting into. Although this sounds obvious, I am noticing more and more that people sign up and show up without deciding what they want or need to get from the experience. I generally review the team members, agenda or anything else that might impact the me, positively or negatively.
  6. Identify 3 benefits that will happen as a result of you attending. The key to getting extraordinary results, is clarifying those results in advance. It always amazed me to find that people have such low expectations of themselves and others. As soon as I have identified the benefits to me, I become galvanized to take get going. Meeting someone new, hearing a new idea, learning something different - powerful and truly inspiring for me.
  7. Finally, Give yourself space. If you can't, won't don't need to attend or show up, give yourself permission for quiet time. Become aware of what might be affecting your energy, thoughts and actions - believe me - I'd rather stay home than to drain others or my energy. Also, I want to be a contribution not a detriment.
Seven simple ways to inspire dynamic energy. Now go forth and generate dynamic energy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Solipsism, Msispilos or Emotional Intelligence

Have I peaked your interest?

Let's start with some definitions.

Solipsism is...
  • the philosophical idea that one's own mind is all that exists. Solipsism is an epistemological or ontological position that knowledge of anything outside one's own specific mind is unjustified. The external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist. ...
Msispilos is
Emotional Intelligence...

The Institute of Health and Human Potential (IHHP) defines Emotional Intelligence, or EI, as
"an ability or capacity to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of one's self, and of others. Our EQ, or Emotional Quotient, is how one measures Emotional Intelligence. Emotions have the potential to get in the way of our most important business and personal relationships.

According to John Kotter of Harvard Business School,
“Because of the furious pace of change in business today, difficult to manage relationships sabotage more business than anything else - it is not a question of strategy that gets us into trouble; it is a question of emotions.”

I recently talked with an entrepreneur - a very, very successful entrepreneur by the way - who demonstrated tremendous emotional intelligence. He was quite decisive and yet he factored in others' thoughts and ideas, dreams and recommendations. He did this personally and professionally.

I'd like to share his personal story. The entrepreneur and his wife decided to adopt a baby. Traveling to Eastern Europe they visited an orphanage. Here he and his wife were virtually surrounded by more than one hundred infants in need of adoption. The busy care givers were shoving several crying babies at a time into their arms. Overwhelmed, he decided to sit on the floor and just observe. As he sat, an infant boy crawled near to him and sat back to watch. The only child not crying, he looked around and made eye contact with the man and then resumed quietly surveying the scene around him. An old soul of eight months. The next morning, a care giver brought several children out and the quiet child was among them. His wife reached for the child and the child moved into her arms smiling. You guessed it, they adopted the boy. Today the child is almost four. Full of fun, bright beyond belief and his father's best friend.

For me this really put Solipsism, Msispilos and Emotional Intelligence into perspective. If he had been solipsistic, he might not have even wanted to adopt a child. If he had been msispilostic, he might have taken a very needy and challenging child. Because of his emotional intelligence, he found a child that he and his wife could love and would love them back.

The more I read about these concepts, the more I realize that we often trap ourselves into this world of solipsis - self interest that is so limiting that it hurts us at all levels. Or, when we engage in msispilos -other-orientation that we lose total confidence, respect and awareness for self. Two extremes that certainly are not particular useful. While emotional intelligence, transcends and embraces the philosophy that we "assess, perceive and manage" our awareness of self and others. Powerful.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Define Success and Build Foundations

There’s a quote often attributed to Alice in Wonderland that goes like this “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

By defining our success, we at least have a fighting chance of achieving what we really want. Success is unique and special for each of us. Some of us choose tangible success – a gold medal, a degree, a prize, a certain life style and income. Others seek achievement in spite of physical, mental or developmental limitations. Still others seek leaving a legacy such as a breakthrough cure, exploring new horizons, or creating an innovative product or service.

This is not about judging our motivators, Rather, defining success is about clarifying what is really important to each of us. By asking ourselves questions such as…

What lights me up in the morning, or causes me to lose sleep at night?

What provokes me to take outrageous risks and throw in all the chips?

When we start asking ourselves these motivating questions, we become inspired to live a life that is extraordinarily fulfilling. To define success we must discover what “trips our trigger.” Not just forces us, but compels us to take life changing actions.

Henry David Thoreau once wrote

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favour in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

When we define success, we can move confidently in the direction of our dreams and live each day putting foundations under those castles we build in the air.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bearings, Key and Alternator

Paying attention to the signs and messages that show up in life and business can save tons of time, money, and energy. In the past several weeks, a team of 4 experienced car issues, which helped them avoid work and life issues that would have been so much worse.

It started with the newest and youngest member of the team having a "bearings" problem. Now, the definition of bearings is "the direction or path along which something moves or along which it lies ." Guess what? The bearings had to be changed. Often times, people choose a path that quite honestly is not the best. However, because they are on it and in it, they keep forging forward regardless of the consequences. Feelings of frustration, lack of motivation, overwhelmed and certainly tremendous dissatisfaction with self and others happen. When reviewing their current situation, the newest member of the team spent time evaluating their current direction and eliminated one time consuming job that was taking them completely off course. This change affected their thoughts and actions immediately enhancing the quality of their work and life.

The most senior member , the history and teacher"of the team had a key problem. It just would turn in the ignition. Now, the definition of key, "something crucial or central to the issue or problem." The key had to be repaired. This person at the same time started to experience some heart problems. The key, like the heart, is core to our performance and success. This team player had lost some of their purpose due to a major personal life change and was starting to act as if they were no longer needed. This couldn't have been further than the truth. Fortunately, the team pulled together to help this senior member see that they were absolutely essential to their success. As a team, they focused on validating purpose and contributions of each team player. Immediately, the sage of the group started to make some respectful health changes in diet and exercise that actually helped them to be relieved of some very distressing symptoms.

The last two team members experienced an alternator problem. Now, one definition of the alternator is to "charge the battery and to power an electric system when its engine is running. ..." A battery is a source of power for any engine and needs constant charging. How interesting that their alternators needed to be replaced. With the charge there was no power. The charger and the source, also two critical team players had been trying to pick up and take over rather than serve as support. They too had to pull back and go on a retreat, a vacation, so that they could recharge and re-gain power.

Fortunately, the team payed attention to the "car problems" before their life problems became too serious. They regained their bearings, found the key to their purpose and recharged their power in work and life.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Are You Effective in Leadership Style?

Numerous styles of have been shared over the course of time. In my research, I have decided to share two very specific theories which describe behaviors that demonstrate how effective or ineffective a leader can be.

In the 1930's, Dr. Levin, a psychologist, led a group of researchers in a study which established 3 types of leadership - Authoritarian, Delegative, and Participative.

  • Authoritarian, also known as autocratic, was a style where the leader tells you how to think and act. It's the leader's way or the highway. A tremendous amount of distinction between the boss and the underlings and never the twain shall meet.
  • Delegative, also known as laissez-faire, was a style where the leader offers little or no guidance and leaves the decisions up to the group.
  • Participative, also know as democratic, was a style where the leader offers support and guidance. This leader actively seeks input and actually listens and responds to suggestions. In this type of leadership, the leader actually actively engages and participates within their team.
In the 1990's to the present, Dr. Paul Taffinder, an world renowned expert in leadership has been researching and publishing about seven styles of leadership. In 2006, Dr. Taffinder published these interesting styles of leadership in the book entitled, The Leadership Crash Course.
  • The Transformational Leader is a style that transforms commitment and levels of performance, highly goal directed and willing to go against traditional approaches.
  • The Enforcer is a style that are cautiously optimistic while driving towards very specific, defined objectives.
  • The Deal Maker is a style that attracts followers because of the energy, enthusiasm and interest in the new and exciting.
  • The Administrator is a style clear in what needs to be achieved and ruthlessly follow through.
  • The Visionary is a style that inspires people to dream of greatness but fail to follow through.
  • The Serial Entrepreneur is a style that is imaginative, but calculating, gamblers, displaying huge energy and commitment and sweeping people along with them because they make seemingly impossible challenges achievable
  • The Spin Doctor is a style that seems to be everything a leader should be, but their behavior is inconsistent and self-serving.
These are two different approaches to defining styles of leadership. Both experts researched and identified traits and abilities that demonstrate varying degrees of effectiveness as a leader. At any given time, people will demonstrate any and all of these leadership styles. The question now becomes, how can we aspire to become like the traditional style from Dr. Levin's research, participative leader? And the next question, which in my mind now becomes imperative in this time of indecision, ineffective decisions, entrenched styles of leadership become truly transformational as Dr. Taffinder recommends?

I'm interested in your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Capture the Loveliness

A few days ago, the east coast of the United States was beyond dreary and gray. For what seemed like endless hours, the landscape was battered by rain, sleet and snow. Life couldn't have looked or felt more ugly. The next morning traveling was difficult, if not impossible. Meetings canceled, I was faced with the drudgery of playing cleanup in the office.

Fortunately, I received a call and an excited voice on the other end asked, "Are you looking outside? It's glorious. The sun and ice on the trees looks like thousands of diamonds." I could almost see her smile and I definitely felt the joy in her voice. My eyes moved to the window. She was so right - there were diamonds everywhere.

A simple call, a wonderful gesture caused me to stop being upset and negative about having to change my plans for the day. My energy lifted and I found myself cleaning up, clearing up and revamping some of my business plans. The call also brought to mind the poem by Sara Teasdale called Barter.

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things;

Blue waves whitened on a cliff,

Soaring fire that sways and sings,

And children’s faces looking up,

Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell;

Music like a curve of gold,

Scent of pine trees in the rain,

Eyes that love you, arms that hold,

And, for the Spirit’s still delight,

Holy thoughts that star the night.

Give all you have for loveliness;

Buy it, and never count the cost!

For one white, singing hour of peace

Count many a year of strife well lost;

And for a breath of ecstasy,

Give all you have been, or could be.

The call, the poem and taking time to reflect has caused me to re-focus and re-charge my thinking, my attitude and my actions. Wonderful, positive gifts from others and myself to see thousands of diamonds and capture the loveliness of work and life.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

One Brick at a Time

"I don't know what my calling is,
but I want to be here for a bigger reason.
I strive to be like the greatest people who have ever lived."
Will Smith.

We are surrounded by limiting factors. Not enough money, costs are on the rise - health costs, fuel costs, life and work costs. It may almost seem better to cut back and limit. I would like to suggest that we change that mental paradigm and see each challenge, whether real or imagined, as an opportunity to find our own greatness

One of my favorite videos on You Tube is Will Smith's Wisdom - this is a much watch video - . One story that Will shares is a story about his father and building a wall. Smith's father instructs Will and his younger brother to build a wall. At first this seems like a daunting task, and then these two children - Will was 12 and his brother younger laid one brick at a time and in 18 months built a wall.

What a gift, Mr. Smith gave to his young sons. This wall stands today because two mere children were given a job and decided to lay one brick at a time. It didn't occur to them that the wall couldn't be built and so they built it.

Now, it only takes one kind word or expression of gratitude to change a relationship for the better. It only takes one dollar at a time to create an investment program. It only one word at a time to write a book. It one brush stroke at a time to paint a masterpiece.

If two small children can build a brick wall in eighteen months,than I certainly can improve my work, my life, my community "one brick at a time." How about you?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Journaling Tips from Leonardo Da Vinci

From a very young age, I have been an avid proponent of writing in a journal. People often ask me the best approach to successful journaling. Upon scavenging my bookshelves, I found The How to Think like Leonardo Da Vinci Workbook by Michael Gelb. Through seven Da Vinci principles, Gelb creates the perfect exercises to self-assessment, reflect and journal.

Da Vinci's Seven Principles

- an "insatiably curious approach to life and unrelenting quest for continuous learning".

Dimostrazione - is "a commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistake".

Sensazione is "the continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience".

Cryptic is "a willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty".

Arte/scienza is "the development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination".

Corporalità is "the cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise".

Connessione is "a recognition of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena".

Gelb does a masterful job to help expand the creative juices and think like Leonardo Da Vinci.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pay Attention to Signs

There are signs every where. Below you will find three signs that I am noticing in my travels that are serving and saving me in countless ways. I'd like to suggest that we pay attention to these road signs in our lives as well as on the road.

What happens when we come across a speed bump? We slow down. If we don't, we hit the bump and it will slow us down. Why not notice when a "speed bump" sign shows up in life? Every move too fast in a sale or relationship and someone says, "Slow Down"? When we pay attention and take time to listen and learn more, the outcome is so much more successful. Plus there's a lot less damage.

What happens when you see a road closed ahead sign. I recently watched someone stop briefly at a road closed sign and then plow down the road anyway. Minutes later they we backing out of the area. No surprise there. When a road is closed it's closed. Not taking the road is the best solution - no matter how much we want to go down that road.

This is my favorite sign. All too often we want to take a direct route to get results and this sign shows up. Believe me, we need to pay attention when a detour sign shows up. This saves us time, money and relationships in the long run. As much as we don't like change, it's amazing what happens when you have to take a detour.

Three Signs to help us on our journey to success- Speed Bump, Road Closed and Detour - Never deviate from your desired results, just slow down, stop or take another route and life will be much more enjoyable.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Understanding Motivation

Understanding that our motivations cause us to act or not act is a major key to personal and professional success. To further drive home this point, let's start with some basic definitions for motivation.
  1. -"the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior."
  2. - "the activation or energization of goal-oriented behavior. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic."
If our motivators help or hinder us in achieving our goals, I'd like to offer some tips that can be considered to ensure that we achieve the positive results and goals that we desire.

Tip #1 - Set aside time for reflection and review of your motivators. Identify interests, fulfilled and unfulfilled dreams and goals and create a motivation journal.

Tip #2 -Focus on the positive goals or change that you want. The more positive and attractive the thoughts and images, the more likely you will be motivated to achieve the goal.

Tip #3 - Research individuals who have been successful. Read biographies, view movies and videos, interview successful people in your community.

Tip #4 - Find an accountability buddy or buddies. An accountability buddy is a person who will support, listen and provide honest feedback to help you discover what is hindering or supporting your growth.

Tip #5 - Measure your progress. Create a system that tracks your success, your challenges, your opportunities to change and grow.

Tip #6 - Be adventurous. Get out of your comfort zone, attend diverse social, community and employment opportunities.

Tip #7 - Have fun. Understanding one's motivation is a large part of our life and work journey and so we might as well enjoy the ride.

"The only lifelong, reliable motivations are those that come from within, and one of the strongest of those is the joy and pride that grow from knowing that you've just done something as well as you can do it."
Lloyd Dobens

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Feasibility - Look Before Leaping

A feasibility study can mitigate risks if conducted as one of the first steps before leaping into a venture, a relationship, a project, a job or a change.

Why would an individual or company research feasibility?

The following simple definitions are a great start for building the case for investing time, money, resources and talent...
What are the elements for a successful feasibility study?

There are six basic elements for determine feasibility...

  1. Identify Market/Customer Needs.
  • What are the past, present and future needs of the market or client base?
  • What are the services or products they have used, are currently using or would like to use?
2. Identify the Present Benefits and Results.
  • What are the benefits that the products or services will bring?
  • What results will the market or client base receive from this product or service?
3. Identify the Future Benefits and Results.
  • What are the future needs of this endeavor to ensure sustained success?
  • What will it take to ensure that these needs are met?
4. Identify the Resources, Costs, Investments.
  • What will it cost to deliver the product or service?
  • What resources are available to support this endeavor?
  • What are the other investments that are required to make this effort possible?
5. Identify the Alternative Source of Supply or Service, A.K.A. competitive analysis.
  • What sources are currently providing this product or service?
  • How customer friendly are these current competitors?
  • What are the current challenges that the alternative sources of supply are encountering?
6. Identify the Strategy and Financial Plan.
  • What is the purpose of this endeavor?
  • What is the vision and mission of this venture?
  • What are the values required to support this product or service?
  • What are the financial projections for a successful venture?
A feasibility study is not an exercise to delay to the start of a project or change. It is an investment in time, money, and resources to ensure that thoughtful business and life decisions are made. The ultimate benefits and results - leaping into deep water and finding that when you leap you can and will swim and sustain success.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Healthy Cost Savers in the Work Place

The cost of disease in the work place is becoming catastrophic. Currently, it is estimated that the cost of medical services is seven times the national inflation rate. With all the other competing costs that businesses incur, believe it or not, health care is probably the most costly and also the least addressed.

To build the case for focusing on health as a cost saving measure, let's start with some definitions of disease.

According to

Disease is...
  1. "an abnormal condition of the body or mind that causes discomfort or dysfunction"
  2. "Lack of a feeling of ease; uneasiness"
According to

Disease is...
  • Malfunctioning of the body or any part of the body resulting from any number of influences, including genetic errors, toxins, infections, nutritional deficiencies, and environmental factors.
According to

Disease is...
  • "an alteration of a living body that impairs its functioning"
According to

Disease is...
  • "stress condition produced by the effects of a pathogen on a susceptible host"
Yes, disease is often caused by tangible factors. Overeating, smoking, lack of exercise are the obvious causal factors. The bad news is, the intangibles are the factors that are really causing health care costs to rise. The intangibles such as feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and loss of personal value and worth are much so more costly because of the insidious impacts in all aspects of life and work.

The focus to decrease health care costs must shift from disease management to health management. Wellness programs are a great start. However, to really make a substantial impact, we as business and community leaders will need to focus on totally different frontiers. Frontiers such as Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Conflict Resolution, Leadership, Resilience and other so called "soft skills" are shown to have substantial impact on the bottom line. When companies focus on these new frontiers, there is a much more sustainable health impact on not just the benefit dollars expended but also the productivity costs that are flowing out the door.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Power of Attitudes

I've learned over the years these startling statistics about attitudes.
  • The average person generates between 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day
  • Over 80% of a person's thoughts in a day are negative
  • It takes an average of 4 hours to recover from a negative thought or experience
  • It takes 5 positive thoughts or experiences to recover from one negative
  • Conservatively, a negative attitude costs a company 30% in productivity
These are just a few statistics, there are many more about the effects of negative attitudes

This Charles Swindoll poem is a great reminder to me about the power of our attitude...


"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.
It is more impor1ant than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.
It will make or break a company... a church...a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.
We cannot change our past ... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.
We cannot change the inevitable.
The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude ...
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you..."

Any thoughts or statistics to add? I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Power of Reasoning

Cogito ergo sum
"I think therefore I am"

Thinking is the number one way to success. In this day of speed and quick response, we are starting to circumvent "thinking through" our ideas, plans, conversations... Often, we launch into a relationship, a project, a job, a life, rather than engaging thoughtful consideration and then we have to live with the consequences.

Researchers at Georgia Tech categorize thinking into reasoning and problem solving.

I'd like to discuss reasoning today and save problem solving for another time. Reason is comprised of three ways that people draw conclusions - deductive, inductive or abductive.

Deductive reasoning
- using a logical sequence process, from cause to effect. (This can be faulty if the "logic" is based on shaky or erroneous information).

Inductive reasoning - using general information to draw a conclusion about a situation because we don't have all the relevant facts. (Going with our gut instincts can be very useful)

Abductive reasoning - evaluating the fact and action(s) that followed (this may be problematic because the fact or information may have been wrong in the first place)

The more we evaluate our methods of reasoning the more effective our thoughts become. Some questions we might ask to ensure that we tap into the power of reasoning are:

How logical are our conclusions?

From our past experience, what general information can be applied to this situation?

How accurate are the facts in this situation?

When we take the time to think about how we reason through a decision we have made, we generally come up with better, if not optimal decisions. This saves up time, money, relationship and ultimately leads to lasting personal and professional success.

"Those who have finished by making others think with them have usually been those who began by daring to think for themselves."

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Job Doesn't Make Us, We Make the Job

I see this all too often, people are hired for skills and abilities, they are fired for their bad attitude. In this day and age, we can't even settle for indifference in a job - we must come to work fired up and ready to take on the job we signed up for. Starting a job, people come to interviews and the first few days of work with, as my mother would say, company manners, full of ideals, ideas and interest. Then over the course of time, for some shorter than others, interest and motivations are lost.

I recently heard a story about a young man who wanted to produce movies. From a small child, he told everyone that he would be a producer. He went to college and studied film making, graduated and got a job with one of the major networks. Today, he is one of the mail room staff, he starts at 4:30 AM and delivers mail. At first, his parents were very upset, after all he was a college graduate and now he was delivering packages for a living. However, the parents visited him on a work day. The young enthusiast bounded through his work with a light step and an eager hand. People knew him by name, they even sought him out. They commented to his parents how valuable he was and that he made their job and their life so much easier. After that day, the parent introduced their son to everyone a person who was helping to make movies.

I took away from this simple story some profound tips.

  1. Know you passion.
  2. Set goals
  3. Appreciate that there is work involved and enjoy it.
  4. Act as if you are a contribution and that any task is valuable.
  5. Be pleasant, polite and yes eager.
  6. Get feedback.
  7. Let others know that your work is important.
Time and time again, we get tired of the job because we forget our purpose. Keep focused on your purpose and whether you are carrying packages from the basement or the board room, your job will have meaning and success.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Growth Optimizers

To optimize growth can be a painful process. Thinking and feeling comfort and ease are great safety nets, but growth, never, never occurs when we stay too comfortable - we might as well be in a cemetery - it's safe but our life is over. Below, you will read some quotes by great growth optimizers...

"You can't dream your self into a character,
you must hammer and forge yourself one."
Henry David Thoreau

"Circumstances don't make a person,
they reveal him."
James Allen

"The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing,
we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger,
but jump in and scramble through as well as we can."
Robert Cushing

"A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."
Francis Bacon

"Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self confident and more and more successful."
Mark Victor Hansen

"He who moves not forward, goes backward."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Finally, I life to add one of my own-

"Seek potential,
go beyond purpose to achievement
and life will be magical!"

Laura Reider Novakowski

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Life Global Positioning System (GPS)

Achieving visions and goals takes some degree of planning. A plan simply defined is "a process or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making"; an even simpler definition is "a map." Creating a plan involves dreaming, defining, directing and diverting. What tools do we have available to us to ensure that we arrive at our desired destination.

The marvelous Global Positioning System(GPS) comes to mind. With a GPS, one is able to connect to the target because certain coordinates have been plugged in and the time is recorded. When using the physical GPS, there a many options below are a few
  • a map
  • distance
  • real time traffic
  • detours
  • arrows
  • a voice, (my person favorite even when the street names not distinguishable but the person makes a valiant attempt with the interpretation)
having this tool for travel and vacation is marvelous, however, what if we developed our own a GPS for life?
  • A map - a plan that lays out the results we are seeking a career path, a project, any goal or objective that with a little strategic thinking and tools for implementation would make all the difference in the world.
  • Distance - how long or how far do we have to go to achieve
  • Real time traffic - those issues are in front of us every day are we are now prepared to deal with
  • Detours - Contingency plans for the unforeseen circumstances that come up along the way
  • Arrows- the tools that take us right or left, over, under, around or through what ever obstacles are standing in the way
  • A voice - the resources, mentors, self talk that can guide us, counsel us and listen when we get stalled or breakdown.
An electronic GPS saves time and generates peace of mind. With thoughtful planning, a life GPS is adds even more value. Having a plan, anticipating how long it will take, identifying what are the knows and unknows that show up, using visual to help us stay the path and to ultimately have the support and guidance to help us when the going gets tough - that's a Life Global Positioning System. Today, let's start developing our own GPS and see if our journey and work aren't so much better.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Power of NEW

Why do we wait for the New Year for something NEW to take on significance? For me, there is a particular significance to NEW. describes the word new as

"Having existed, or having been made, but a short time; having originated, discovered or occurred lately; having recently come into existence, or into one's possession; not early or long in being; of late origin; recent; fresh; modern; -- opposed to old, as, a new coat; a new house; a new book; a new fashion."

If change our point of view, the Power of New happens everywhere. A clock ticks and a minute is born - that presents a new opportunity to start again. A plan fails - that presents the option to find new approaches. A relationship is struggling - that gives people the chance to start anew, restore or move on.

All too frequently I hear in conversations, I am sure I have even said it myself. This is stale, stagnant or boring, when in reality, it has been the perception, not the reality. Let's try for today to take on the Power of New.

One might ask, "How do we take on the Power of New."

Here on some suggestions:
  • Rise early and enjoy a new sunrise - if it's cloudy, know that there is a sunrise somewhere in the world starting a new day.
  • Review your job and compare to your job description - I'll bet you will find at least one new significant role that you have taken on that can be added (don't just lump it in the "other" line - make it a distinctly new addition).
  • Discover a new route to work - I've had struggling business owners tell me that when they have taken a new route they often are led to a solution to one of their problems.
  • Change your approach - even the most repetitious tasks have some element of the new in them - you can change what you are wearing, the hand that you write with, the tools that you use. No one else has to know and you will be surprised how different one thinks when something new is added.
  • Ask someone you know, what is new in their lives. If they say nothing, ask them if they have met anyone new, read any new books, learned any interesting new facts. It's amazing how people open up.
These are just a few tips to help you discover the Power of New.

Monday, January 3, 2011

3 Simple Strategies for Positive Outcomes in 2011

It's Monday, the first of 52 Mondays in 2011. Let's consider creating a strategy that will tip the scales for not just a successful day, but a successful week and then a subsequent successful year. Part of me wanted to stay in bed and start later and then I realized that the way I start the day, the week, the year not just can but will set the stage for 2011.

Then I decided to ask myself, "What results to do I want for 2011?"

Powerful Physical Health - our bodies are the only vehicle that we have that will transport us through our work and life. Granted we may have some limitations that challenge us and yet we have a responsibility to feed nutritiously and exercise prodigiously to ensure amazing results. When we fail to respect our physical body, the machine will fail. I once heard someone say, "If you don't actively focus on being healthy, you will be forced to focus on disease. It's always your choice." If we want to create more powerful physical health, we need to focus, set specific goals and become more disciplined. Traits that I would like to have attributed to me.

Exciting Mental Growth - Forest Long of the ad agency Young and Rubicam coined the phrase, "the mind is a terrible thing to waste." We are never too old to learn. Finding ways to stimulate and interest the mind are personal and highly individualized for each of us. I am determined to create a strategy that includes excitement and adventure to my year for mental growth. I will NOT waste my mind.

Committed Positive Values and Ethics - Albert Schweitzer once wrote, "Ethics is the activity of man directed to secure the inner perfection of his own personality." At the end of the year, I certainly will not be Schweitzer, however I would like it to be said of me that, "Laura is a person that is committed to justice, compassion and human dignity."

These strategies may sound simple, and yet I know, it's going to take discipline, a positive mental attitude and courage. I am dedicated to give these 3 simple strategies a try. What about your?

May your New Year be Happy and Prosperous.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Have A Happy and Prosperous New Year

12 Gifts to Self in 2011

  1. Set the stage health
  2. Enjoy sunrises and sunsets
  3. Go for walks in nature
  4. Read a novel (or two)
  5. Do something extra at work and tell no one about it
  6. Try something new
  7. Spend an hour or a day in silence
  8. Create a development plan and goals that support growth and development
  9. Be open to finding my talents
  10. Be kinder to self
  11. Hold myself accountable for what I control and let go of all that I don't
  12. List 12 things that I am grateful for and send it to myself as a thank you note
What gifts will you give yourself this year?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year's Resolutions - aka - ACTS(TM)

2010 is coming to a close. Historically, at this time of year people generally start making New Year's resolutions. Popularly New Year's resolutions are regarding losing weight or to stop some other destructive behavior. The tradition is attributed to the ancient Babylonian's - the resolution - returning borrowed farm equipment.

I wonder who was more successful with resolutions, the ancient Babylonians or we in the present day?

There are four ways to make New Year's Resolutions stick.

Step 1 Assess what you would like to change.

At the end of 2009, I reviewed my journal, completed some psychometric evaluations and conducted some informal 360 degree evaluations. The results were astonishing - I needed to work on personal responsibility. (No really, that is not really a surprise, I am notorious for over extending, doing more for others and failing to accomplish my personal objectives and goals. Now, I had a starting point

Step 2 Create a purpose and vision for what you would have identified will help you the most.

I decided to allow myself to expand and innovate. I spent January reviewing my dream inventory (what I would like to accomplish in 2011). My passions came alive in quiet times of reflection and in conversations with close and trusted friends and advisers. I now clearly focused on what I needed to do to ensure personal accountability. and formalized my strategic plan in writing.

Step 3 Transform your life by setting goals and taking action.

I used the wheels of life to help me prioritize my goals physically, mentally, socially, spiritually, financially, socially, financially, and in my career to ensure ta for how I would be more accountable to my purpose with changes This really helped to break my resolution into interesting images for success and growth.Now I could set 1 goal for each area. This simplified the process it was and is easier for me to manage my time.

Step 4 Sustain your progress and success.

In the past, this has been the area where I and most people fail. No pun intended, but now we must hold ourselves accountable for our actions in order to get the results that we desire. I enhanced an approach that I used to monitor my progress weekly, monthly, quarterly and at the end of the year. I changed how I journaled daily to monitor daily when I started something new.

Now you have it, my approach to New Year's Resolutions. This year has proved to be an amazing year in all aspects in my life. I have a very long way to go with personal accountability and I am now in year two for starting ACTS(TM) all over again.

Here's a start for you with ACTS(TM)

What have you Assessed that needs to change in 2011?


What is the new image, vision or picture that you will create for 2011?


What goals will your set and actions will you take in 2011?


How will you measure your progress in 2011?


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Danger of Making Excuses

Transferring responsibility to others has become one of the greatest tricks of the last few decades. The second greatest trick is placing the blame. In either case these actions are called making excuses.

Here are some common EXCUSES:
  • My boss is a jerk, that's why the company is failing.
  • The government has made very bad decisions, that's why this country is failing.
  • My spouse or partner doesn't listen to me, that's why our relationship is failing.
  • My subordinates doesn't know how to do their job, that's why my division is failing.
I could go on for pages and yet I'd like to stop with these four.

My boss is a jerk, that's why the company is failing.

This excuse is really interesting, after all who hired you, or at least is currently keeping you in your position. The boss is far from perfect and so are we. What if we considered that our boss hired us for our strengths, our talents, our creativity, our differences from them in order to find new ways to ensure the company's success? If so, why not take the responsibility to find ways to work with the boss in order to make the company grow and flourish?

The government has made very bad decisions, that's why this country is failing.

This excuse is really popular and takes us off the hook for all the decisions make regarding our economic, social, health and educational position in the world. How much do we know about our rights and responsibilities in a democracy? What are our roles and obligations to help keep this country a world leader?

My spouse or partner doesn't listen to me, that's why our relationship is failing.

In my opinion, this is an excuse of convenience . How often are we having conversations that we reach mutual understanding and respect? What can we learn and do to help us become more honest and effective communicators and collaborators?

My subordinates doesn't know how to do their job, that's why my project, division, community, or family is failing.

This excuse is total abdication of responsibility. What have we done or are we doing to ensure that our staff, subordinates, team mates, children have all the tools and resources they need to be benefit from from influence? How can lead others to make better decisions and take action on those goals to ensure great teamwork ?

I am learning to appreciate that I only have control over me. Which means that I need to own my roles as a follower, a community member, a partner and a leader. I then need to develop those skills and talents that will help me to become a positive influence on others. Making excuses is dangerous, leaving damage, destruction and disappointment in its wake. Consider contributing, rather than making excuses and imagine how amazing the world and our lives would be.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Choices We Make

Shakespeare once wrote, "The choices we make, dictate the life that we lead."

For today, I intend to make choices that will lead my life...
  • in service to others without sacrificing myself
  • in commitment to accomplishing my vision to promote health by being and acting in a healthy manner
  • in appreciation for all the amazing gifts that I am given all year not just in this Christmas season
  • in awe of the magic of the universe
  • in excitement for the mysteries that always show up
  • in respect for the roles that we are assume in life
  • in understanding that sometimes the cards we are dealt are not always fair
  • in total trust that there will always be guidance to make the best choice

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

By Francis P. Church, first published in The New York Sun in 1897. [See The People’s Almanac, pp. 1358–9.]

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Three Elements to Enhance Net Worth

Net worth is simply described as total assets minus total liabilities. It may seem obvious that companies and individual want to have a positive net worth, but all too often, we fall into a trap that causes our liabilities to far outweigh our assets. To ensure that we tip the scales to the positive in side, it now becomes essential to build three elements - Beliefs, Attitudes and Actions.


"Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations,
our possibilities can become limitless."
Jamie Paolinetti

Last night I attended a function that was to be the last celebration for a hospital that had been in existence for more than 100 years. The occasion was bittersweet. Conversations were more subdued. There was a pervasive feeling of sorrow and loss.

In his farewell speeches, the CEO shared his impressions of his time with the organization. The most comment that made the most impact on me was, "although this organization will cease to exist, the value that the people have contributed to the community will continue. We have created a firm foundation for health and general well being. "

This totally changed my belief that the community had lost, then I realized how much the community had gained, as had every individual in that room. One of the strongest assets for enhancing net worth is total belief that we have been enrolled in a job, a relationship, an endeavor that had extraordinary worth. We can walk away with our heads high, believing we had contributed to a worth while cause.


"I discovered I always have choices and
sometimes it's only a choice of attitude."

Judith M. Knowlton

Carl Jung described attitude as "the readiness of the psych to act or react." It's not what we know that is important, but what we do with what we learn. A close friend's mother is experiencing serious medical problems - the diagnosis is grim. The entire family started to move into a mode (an attitude) of grief. The mother said to her family, "I am going to live the rest of my life, not die. I need you to support me with my living, if you can't, you need to visit me less."

She identified her options and has decided to enjoy every moment. I for one, love being with this remarkable woman.


"A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, nothing else."
Mahatma Gandhi

Beliefs and attitudes are not really visible. What becomes apparent are the behaviors - the actions that show our true net worth.

I remember a story of a a woman whose company was downsizing. She was given an hour to clear her desk. In that final hour, telephoned her clients for most of the hour to share with them that a new person would be handling their account, service would continue as usual and the company wanted them to be in the loop with the change. She never told them she was leaving. When her clients realized that she had been let go, her phone started ringing with job offers. Even the company that let her go, called her back.

With the right beliefs, attitudes and actions, our net worth becomes priceless.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Leadership is About Responding with Ability

In a recent interview, an executive was discussing, although it sounded suspiciously like complaining to me, how disastrous the business had become.

When questioned if he had read a 1000 page reform that would have massive impacts on his business and the industry at large, he responded, "I didn't have time to read the document."

Next, he asked the interviewer what were the three to four major issues that reform was addressing. Fortunately, she knew the answer (she had read the reform in preparation for the meeting) It was clearly apparent that she was much more prepared as an outsider to deal with his industry change than he was as the so-called expert.

The interview continue along the same vein, for each question, he didn't know and then he would asked her a question. Great technique if you hold to the philosophy that you only asked questions if you already know the answer. Clearly, he didn't have a clue regarding what his responsibilities were as the leader.

Close to the end of the interview, you could actually see the light bulb come on in this guy's brain. "I know. I'll tell the board that I am forming a committee to address this change and that the committee will be meeting weekly to discuss. What do you think?" he asked of the interviewer.

She looked totally astonished and quickly ended the interview.

Great lesson from this interview, be aware of owning the role, being able to respond with ability and come across as the leader who is truly in command.

Monday, December 20, 2010

There's More to Life and Business Than Ego

A powerful strategist and leader, Napoleon Bonaparte could have been a truly extraordinary leader, instead he used superficial motivation and intimidation to get the job done. Unfortunately, he ultimately failed because he forgot to forge a purpose and his ego got in the way.

3 Signs of Ego

Dangling superficial incentives in front of people.

Napoleon once said, "Men will die for ribbons." As a result, thousands of soldiers marched to their death. Bonaparte was banking on his men to honored with short term recognition. As a result, he won battles at enormous cost and finally lost the war.

Suggestion: Find methods of recognition that are more lasting and meaningful. One suggestion is giving a person a project and allowing them to plan and manage with appropriate supervision (keep in mind, I am not saying lack of supervision). I, for one, thrive in this type of environment.

Any suggestions for incentivizing people?

Using position as entitlement

Known as a small man, Napoleon often tried to intimidate others with his dress, thrown and his title. He was often described as a megalomaniac and as a result had very few true supports. Followers are not the same as supporters, they are often doing a mediocre job because it is easier to stroke someone's ego than to stand up and do the right job in the right manner

Suggestion: Keep in mind that a position of leadership is a privilege. A title does not give a person power, even if they have the authority. A truly great leader will continually earn the respect of their team. One sure way to lose people is to say "I'm the boss and this is the way it has to be."

Any suggestions for how to effectively have authority and power?

Lacking integrity and honor

Napoleon didn't care how he achieved his desired ends. He lied to other heads of state, religious leaders and pretty much one to get what he wanted. He hired criminals and bribed officials to ensure results.

Suggestion: Keep in mind that at the end of the day, all we leave with is our character. I would much rather it be said of me that I am a person of my word, than to have someone say "I can't trust Laura.

Today, healthy business leaders let go of their ego and provide an environment of appropriate acknowledgment and rewards, lead from a positive position and act with honor and integrity. When this happens, employees will always excel and support the company's vision.