Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Quantum leaps: What it takes…

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Success is the offspring of leadership. It takes having a good leader for a group to achieve results at whatever it sets out to accomplish. Now, excellent leadership brings significance, which is the highest quality in the success family (lack of leadership leads to survival, poor leadership leads to stability, good leadership leads to success and excellent leadership leads to significance – those are the four members of that family: survival, stability, success and significance). Leadership has a lot to do with having the right vision, the courage to pursue it, the aptitude to share it and the wisdom to develop others as they join in the dream.

What it takes to achieve excellence is greatleadership. It takes a certain kind of nurturing by life’s events before one begins to change his posture and ascend in the nature of results that he or she gets from life. Quantum leaps come from dramatic alterations of perspectives, positions, purposes and passions. All it takes is leadership – not money, not ideas, not buildings, not anything else – but excellent leadership! 

The Next Level or A Legacy?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

People today are consumed with the idea of going to the next level in their lives, be it in their relationships, careers, finances or other area of life. While this is great because it motivates them, I find it can limit our true potential. We need to be consumed with the idea of the kind of legacy we will leave behind at the end of the seasons of our lives. Thinking about your legacy every day, rather than thinking about the next level only, makes you a better leader. Thinking about a legacy makes you other-people centered while thinking about going to the next level tends to make one self-centered.

How do you transition from thinking about the next level to thinking about developing a legacy?

1. Be more focused on other people rather yourself

The idea of being a ‘people person’ has been around for a long time. Dale Carnegie’s 1936 masterpiece, ‘How to Win Friends and influence People’, has helped so many people over the years to develop a people-centered perspective that has enabled them to leave great legacies. I would highly suggest a reading of the book. 

2. Ask how you can help rather than what others can do for you.

President John F. Kennedy immediately became a world figure with his acceptance speech in which he said, ” And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of teh world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” In order to leave a legacy you must ascend in thought to where you are asking what you can do for others rather than what they can do for you. 

3. Be a giver more than a receiver

Nothing shapes a legacy more than the spirit of giving. When you give of yourself to others you become a part of the solution. It’s solution-centered thinking that sets the pace for the kind of legacy a person will leave behind. Again, when one is thinking of going to the next level, the pre-dominant question is “What can I get (or receive) that will take me to the next level?” When one is thinking of leaving a legacy, the pre-dominant question is “What can I give that will help others?” Be more of a giver and your legacy will be unshakeable because the truth is that what we give is ours forever!

4. Be a leader more than a follower

Leaders impact and influence other people greatly. The great thing about being a leader is that you are able to take other people to the next level as you develop a legacy. What a beauty! Leaders pass along the best in themselves to other people. I’m always pleased when I hear from people I led in high school and at the university. They always say things like, “Herman, that idea was awesome. It took our group to a whole new level.” While those short-term moves were great for whichever group I led, the best thing is that a legacy was developed because even today they still talk about what we did.

Are you living for the next level or developing a legacy for and with your people? Start shaping your legacy today. 

Fundamental Optimism

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

No man demonstrated greater leadership in the 20th Century than Nelson Mandela – that icon of a man who was jailed for more than twenty years yet stayed focused and came out to break apartheid’s back, becoming his country’s first black president. In his book, Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela has a quote that I have always enjoyed reading. He says,

I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature of nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lay defeat and death“. (p. 377)

Leaders face many unique situations. There are times when their vision is clouded by present circumstances and it is so easy to give up and throw in the towel. There are times when even driving the process of change becomes a weary task and their motives and judgements are brought into question. All leaders experience those times when they are surrounded by situations that don’t seem to align with their purposes and plans. It is in those situations that true leaders thrive. True leadership demands an optimistic attitude. If you are going to achieve that which you set out for, you must stay focused and continue to believe in the vision. That is the key to success as a leader. 

The Art of Influencing Others Positively

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Making a mark with people means being able to influence people positively. Everything we accomplish with people happens because of our efforts to influence them positively. The key to doing this is to master the art of positive influence. The art of positive influence centers very much on your ability to meet with people where they are and inspire them to a higher level. This happens through our perfection of the skill of encouraging people to go to the next level.

To make a mark, we all need the support and encouragement of others. When we positively inspire them through our interaction with them, a desire is birthed within them to want to work with us. This is a key competence for anyone in a leadership position; but it is also an essential competence for anyone, regardless of leadership position or title. Influencing people means appreciating them. It means listening to people. It means sharing ideas with them and equipping them to be better people. If you master the art of influencing others posititvely, you will make a mark worth remembering.

Defining Reality – The Present Situation

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

It’s understandable that many organizations have vision statements that attempt to define and crystalize what the future will look like for them. However, many of these organizations fail to develop a clear idea of where they currently are. The present situation is the key to a future desired vision of where and what the organization will accomplish. Great leaders take the time to define the present as well as they define the future.

Someone once said that leadership is taking a group of people from where they are to where they should be. Based on this definition, it is clear to see that an understanding of where your people currently are is critical to the journey of taking them where they should be. Defining where they currently are means looking at their present successes and failures, clarifying the obstacles in their path, reviewing their resources, assessing their capabilities in light of past accomplishments and outlining what is being done that is bringing in desired results. Every journey has a starting point and an end. By starting with where you currently are, you are able to set in motion a process of advancement to where you want to be. 

Vibrationary Leadership

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

We live in a critical day that calls for more vibrationary leadership than visionary leadership. If you’ve seen the movie Click you may be able to discern how we need to go BEYOND vision and into a vibration mode of life. So much has been said and written about visionary leadership but few people understand vibrationary leadership. I’m calling for a new kind of leadership. I am calling for vibrationary leadership!
The difference between visionary and vibrationary leadership is that whereas visionary leadership guides and directs by the power of a compelling desire propelled by a glimpse of the future, vibrationary leadership discerns trends, senses opportunities and taps into potentialities. Understanding the heartbeat of the future is more powerful than any vision we could ever have. We learn this easily from the human body. Before thoughts are deposited in the mind, they are birthed in the heart. The heart is therefore the center of life. Out of it flows the issues of life. The seed of vision is always in the heart. That’s why a visionary has passion and fire in his soul. His heart is ablaze. Vibrationary leaders develop the ability to hear the silent beating of coming changes in society and thus strategically position themselves to make the very best of the moment.

If we are going to be precise in the 21st century, we must transition from visionary leadership to vibrationary leadership. Otherwise we shall have visions that will stall in the face of rapid societal changes. A New millenium requires a New strategy. Our organizations should be able to vibrate with the beating of society’s heart. Transitioning from vision to vibration is in essence shifting our focus from seeing to hearing. While it is essential that we be able to see what is happening in our environment, it is much more important that our ears be well tuned in order to hear the silent rumblings of change. This means that our ears should be close to society’s heart and needs. Sound is a series of vibrations moving as waves through air. Ringing a bell for example, sets off vibrations in the air. Detection of these vibrations or sound waves is called hearing. It is essential to understand how the ear works. Humans hear by bone conduction or primarily by detecting airborne sound waves, which are collected by the auricles. The auricles help locate the direction of sound. Then one turns to focus on the direction. Therefore hearing comes before seeing. This is very important.

This transition will require a change from structure to rhythm. We should be able to learn the unforced rhythm of guiding our organizations through transitionary moments. This will require a greater degree of sensitivity. Making the transition from visionary leadership to vibrationary leadership will require that we change from critical thinking to modulating. What we hear should be properly deciphered and transmitted to the masses. What are you hearing? Make the big transition – be a vibrationary leader!

Thinking Makes A Difference

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Human beings are so designed such that they move forward based on the quality of their thinking. If our thinking is stagnant then our growth will be stunted! One of the things that keeps many people at the same level is herd-think – they go with the masses instead of using their quality of thinking to chart out a path that is truly theirs. A few years ago I enjoyed reading John C. Maxwell’s book, Thinking for a Change, which helps in developing that ability to think efficiently and correctly. I had already been practicing some of the concepts he developed in the book but he added superb insight to my understanding of the essence of good thinking. Three of his ideas stood out:

1. Good Thinking Creates the Foundation for Good Results

What do you want to achieve in life? The key to that will be in developing a reservoir of good thoughts that are well implemented. Your progress in life is directly proportional to the quality of your thoughts.

2. Good Thinking Increases Your Potential

Many of the thought leaders I have come to respect have been great proponents of the need to understand and pursue one’s full potential in life. Potential is simply the capacity that a person has for effectiveness in life. We can all attain our potential as we begin to elevate our thinking. Good thinking increases the level of results one can expect in life.

3. Good Thinking Produces More Good Thinking IF . . . You Make It a Habit

Nothing dominates life more than a habit. As you practice good thinking, you develop a foundation from which you can continue to harvest even better thinking. Internationally respected leadership authority, Stephen Covey, explains that we cannot face the challenges of today with the responses of yesterday. We have to continually raise our response – it takes a habit of good thinking to do that.

Will you climb out of the pile or will you stay rooted in it? As you climb out of the pile, remember the story of the crabs in a bucket. As one tries to climb out, the others will, without question, try to pull it back in. But know this one thing, there are encourager who will make themselves available to push you out of the pile and I’m one of them.

Nurturing Your Seeds of Potential and Promise

Monday, June 1st, 2009

I once read a quote that I’ve enjoyed requoting over the years. I don’t know who gave us the quote (might have been some wise wag like Socrates, or something) but here it is: “A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.”Ideas are seeds of potential and promise. Careful nurturing of ideas leads to breakthroughs and success. Poor nurturing results in a failure of not knowing what might have been. I grew up on a farm in the Western region of Kenya. We had lots of chicken and one of my favorite tasks was collecting eggs after they had been laid. Eggs for me have always symbolized ideas – you drop them and they are gone. It’s very hard to salvage a dropped egg. I’ve seen some people scoop it up and still use it but by that time it’s already a mess that not worth saving.

Well after the eggs had been laid, I would go around and collect them into a nice padded bucket. Some of the eggs would go to the market right away and others would be carefully selected and put aside so that the hen can brood on them at the opportune moment. There are some eggs that are usually ready to go to the market soon after they are generated. These eggs don’t last long in the market. After a short while they get cooked and eaten. But there are those eggs which are brooded on by the mother hen. These eggs usually hatch into beautiful chicks which become the hope of the future of poultry population.

Now, think about your ideas. Are you sending them to the market too early or brooding on them? Do you want to add value or to multiply value? Which one is more preferable to you: making profits or reaching pure potential? Learn to nurture your ideas and your ”brooded on” idea will become the seed of pure potential. 

Making a Mark in Your Niche Area

Monday, June 1st, 2009

When I was a student in college, one of my favorite subjects was marketing. One of the main concepts that I learnt was that businesses succeed when they find a niche area in which they can concentrate their efforts. A niche area is simply a focused and targeted area of the market. Finding a niche enables a business to custom-tailor it’s marketing programs and products so that it can adequately serve the market for maximum gain. This concept can easily apply to our personal lives and the idea of making a mark.

If you will make a solid mark in life, you must find your niche. Your niche is that ‘sweet spot’ that enables you to be your very best and operate at the highest level of performance and service. Your niche may also be referred to as your calling. If you have no idea what your calling is, spend some time in personal reflection. What are your strengths? Where do you enjoy serving? Talk to people around you about your strengths and weaknesses. Ask them for feedback regarding your performance. This will enable you to learn the things you do well. There are also many valuable tests that you can take to discover what your strengths are. Two that have been particularly useful to me are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) personality inventory and the Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment. Find your niche area and you will make a solid mark.

Life’s Two Constant Choices – Grow or Go!

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Life is all about growth. Every day we are faced with situations and circumstances that provide us with two choices – grow or go! Having a menatlity of growth is the first step towards being able to maximize your life and live above the level of mediocrity that plagues most of society. If you don’t grow, you will go! No question about that. I call this “Life’s two constant choices”. What choice will you make today? Will you make every circumstance that comes your way an opportunity for personal growth or will you shrink away from growth and give in to mediocrity? Life’s two constant choices are right before you today. Make the better choice – a choice for better life! 

Optimistic Leadership

Friday, April 17th, 2009

No man demonstrated greater leadership in the 20th Century than Nelson Mandela – that icon of a man who was jailed for more than twenty years yet stayed focused and came out to break apartheid’s back, becoming his country’s first black president. In his book, Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela has a quote that I have always enjoyed reading. He says,

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature of nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lay defeat and death“. (p. 377)

Leaders face many unique situations. There are times when their vision is clouded by present circumstances and it is so easy to give up and throw in the towel. There are times when even driving the process of change becomes a weary task and their motives and judgements are brought into question. All leaders experience those times when they are surrounded by situations that don’t seem to align with their purposes and plans. It is in those situations that true leaders thrive. True leadership demands an optimistic attitude. If you are going to achieve that which you set out for, you must stay focused and continue to believe in the vision. That is the key to success as a leader. 

The Traits of a Winner

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

There are many different traits that are essential for a better life but when it comes to truly winning in life, there are three crucial traits that one must embody. These are knowledge, passion and humor. Let’s take a quick look at each of these: 

Knowledge

Knowledge is the key quality that enables a man or woman to realize his or her true personal potential. Knowledge sets one apart since it enables you to demonstrate higher capacities and capabilities. The difference between one’s current state and a future desired state is normally bridged by the quality of one’s knowledge. Knowledge lifts you up from the pit to the pinnacle of your desires. 

Passion

Passion separates between the committed and the non-committed. Passion is the one essential quality that enables the realization of dreams and desires. Passion births zealous commitment in an individual and enables him or her to stay focused on the quest for a better life. All revolutions throughout the history of mankind have always been brought about by passion individuals.

Humor

Humor is an essential trait because it provides us with the motivation to continue striving through situations that may not fully be desirable. Having a sense of humor about life is essential. Fun, excitement, enjoyment, laughter and happiness are key pieces in teh puzzle of life. Life offers us many unique experiences and challenges. Humor enables us to ride these unique experiences and challenges without losing motivation.  

Your Potential and Capacity is Unlimited!

Friday, March 20th, 2009

We have a saying in Kenya that “A granary cannot be pushed into a hut”. This saying has been upper-most in my thoughts this week as I looked at the idea of personal potential in the light of current capacity and the limitations that surround it. We all face moments when our ability to perform is limited by current structures that pose immense threat to the vision within us. What is one to do in those situations?

A granary is a storehouse for grain. It symbolizes the fruit of one’s labor, or the yield of one’s hard work. A hut on the other hand is a dwelling of simple construction that is the common living area for many in African rural areas. Most huts are usually made of mud and have grass thatched roofs. Granaries on the other hand are made of wood and have tin/aluminium roofs.

Let us think of organizations. Robert Schuller once said that “You can’t fire a missile from a canoe”. A leader’s vision for his organization may sometimes be limited by current structures in the organization. There are also times when vision may be limited by structures that are not present within the organization. The organization’s objectives too play a great role in determining the results that will be yielded. There must be a solid foundation that ensures that any goals pursued will be achieved satisfactorily. A granary cannot be pushed into a hut.

How then do we ensure that our output will be measurable to our input without having to demolishing our present structures? How do we develop a system that allows us to fire missiles from canoes without toppling over into the water?

Every vision needs to be strengthened by the underlying philosophies and values that guide the organization. You can’t expect to achieve a big vision when the guiding philosophies do not match up to the vision. You cannot expect to accomplish great things when your strategy is flawed. Here are some ideas that can enable you to secure an output that is worthy of your input:

1. Have a Mission that matches your Vision

A company’s daily undertakings need to fit into the bigger picture of it’s ultimate objectives. Many organizations have dropped the ball by engaging in activities that are outside the range of the company vision. Vision is guarded by staying on the key path that is aligned with the company mission. Do this and you will be able to fire missiles from your canoe. I guarantee it!

2. Develop Goals that align with your Philosophy

Company philosophy is crucial to the outcomes and output of an organization. Your goals should align with the values that the company holds dearest. Every organization needs to clarify what it is that it holds as fundamental to it’s existence. Enron failed because the leader’s activities veered off the course of the company’s core values. Your have to hold onto your core values. Do this and your granary may be able to fit into your hut.

3. Create a Strategy that builds on your Accomplishments

Strategy is the key to building value in an organization. Value is measured by an organization’s accomplishments. The more a company accomplishes, the more it acquires a competitive advantage over other companies within that industry. Strategy therefore is key to the long-term existence of a company.

These three keys, applied in an orderly manner, will not only ensure that you fire missiles from your canoe but also that your granary fits into your hut.

To Till the Land is to Love Oneself

Monday, February 16th, 2009

There’s an old African saying that “To till the land is to love oneself”. When I was a kid I heard this saying a lot. I come from a community that tilled the land using very rudimentary tools. It wasn’t easy but it was rewarding. I remember being in the village and tilling the land for upto six or seven hours a day. Work works wonders. In today’s blog, I would like to share a few thoughts on work.

1. Work should be driven by purpose

Work is supposed to be meaningful. The key to this is for the work to be driven by a vision that is guided by purpose. This means that you have to know what your purpose is first. Work that is done outside of purpose is activity without productivity. This leads to sweat and waste. You want your work to be sweet. This begins by having a solid vision that is founded in your purpose. In an organization, leadership has to clarify to employees what the purpose is. Once they clearly understand what the main objective is, then they will have joy as they work.

2. Work should add value

The beauty of giving time to work is that you have an opportunity to add value. Value is the prime motivator for the expenditure of energy. People enjoy putting in the hours when they know that they are adding value. True reward does not come for the time put in at work but for the value added during that time. Adding value means being able to see a measurable change. When I tilled the land back home in Kenya, I would always look at what I had done with immense satisfaction and joy. Nothing brings more fulfillment than work that adds value.

3. Work should be fun and exciting

When I was in High School I used to enjoy playing soccer and rugby. It was always fun to score in any of these games. It was even more exciting just to be part of a winning team. Most people enjoy sports because of these two reasons: scoring and winning. Work should be fun and exciting too. The key to this is to create an environment when scoring and winning is possible at work. People need to be able to celebrate these moments too. That’s what brings spirit to work. It’s unfortunate that too many people think of work as burdensome and boring when it can be exciting.

Work does work wonders! May this be an enjoyable day of work for you!

The Critical Importance of Goal Setting

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

In my previous post, I wrote on the topic of planning and explained how it trumps making resolutions. I want to continue with this angle of thought. Great organizations know that in order for them to stay on the cutting-edge of their pursuits they need to follow a certain specific schedule for managing their projects. They therefore utilize what has commonly become known as the Critical Path Method. This is a technique whereby all the activities to be undertaken are listed, the time duration is clearly outlined and the elements of the project are taken into consideration. Through CPM, critical activities are determined and float times are developed for less critical activities.

If we are going to be successful in pursuing our personal objectives and goals in 2008, I would like to suggest going through a similar process. Any resolutions that we make must be clearly outlined in terms of goals. Once the goals are set they must be clearly prioritized and the various elements specifically outlined. Each goal and its elements must have a specific deadline for it’s accomplishment. Once this process is complete, we must develop a laser-like focus that will keep us on target with the pursuit of those goals.

Engaging in a process like this will enable us and our organizations to have a fruitful 2008. Our quest this year should be effectiveness and excellence. Modern organizations have developed crucial software that is used for this process but you can be as effective or even better with the use of only a pencil and paper. During the course of the year our task will be to analyze our critical paths and determine what elements need to be accelerated and which need to be decelerated. I encourage you to bookmark this page as we will be sharing ideas that will be essential to keeping you and your organization on the critical path throughout 2008.

Maintaining “Flux” During Shifting Times

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

A few years ago (actually seven years ago) I made a commitment to certain personal objectives. I came up with fifty dimensions of intent which I penned in a book that I wrote for myself and titled, “My Life Vision”. One of my intentions (please review the article on Serendipity and Synchronicity from December 23) is to embrace a state of constant shift and flux in my life as I pursue my destiny.

The word shift means to change; for example to shift gears in an automobile from one ratio to another. It can also mean to move; for example to transfer from one place, position, direction, etc. Flux, on the other hand, means continuous change, passage or movement. It may also mean a constant flow. Life is in constant flow and we must learn to change in order to attain the better life. Embracing change and being open to movement is a sign of great maturity and understanding of the processes of life. In order to attain true significance, our attitude should be: “shift happens … flux is fun“. As we enter into 2008, my primary objective is to embrace great changes and allow the flow of life to lead me towards a higher dimension of my destiny.   

Organizations thrive or flounder in seasons of flux. Leaders must therefore be masters at navigating shifting winds. Organizations themselves also need to shift leaders and people around every so often (… insanity is doing the same thing – or having the same people doing the same things – all the time yet expecting different results). Flux is fun! Shift happens!

Trends, Opportunities and Potentialities for 21st Century Leadership

Friday, October 10th, 2008

We live in a critical day that calls for more vibrationary leadership than visionary leadership. If you’ve seen the movie Click you may be able to discern how we need to go BEYOND vision and into a vibration mode of life. So much has been said and written about visionary leadership but few people understand vibrationary leadership. I’m calling for a new kind of leadership. I am calling for vibrationary leadership!
The difference between visionary and vibrationary leadership is that whereas visionary leadership guides and directs by the power of a compelling desire propelled by a glimpse of the future, vibrationary leadership discerns trends, senses opportunities and taps into potentialities. Understanding the heartbeat of the future is more powerful than any vision we could ever have. We learn this easily from the human body. Before thoughts are deposited in the mind, they are birthed in the heart. The heart is therefore the center of life. Out of it flows the issues of life. The seed of vision is always in the heart. That’s why a visionary has passion and fire in his soul. His heart is ablaze. Vibrationary leaders develop the ability to hear the silent beating of coming changes in society and thus strategically position themselves to make the very best of the moment.

If we are going to be precise in the 21st century, we must transition from visionary leadership to vibrationary leadership. Otherwise we shall have visions that will stall in the face of rapid societal changes. A New millenium requires a New strategy. Our organizations should be able to vibrate with the beating of society’s heart. Transitioning from vision to vibration is in essence shifting our focus from seeing to hearing. While it is essential that we be able to see what is happening in our environment, it is much more important that our ears be well tuned in order to hear the silent rumblings of change. This means that our ears should be close to society’s heart and needs. Sound is a series of vibrations moving as waves through air. Ringing a bell for example, sets off vibrations in the air. Detection of these vibrations or sound waves is called hearing. It is essential to understand how the ear works. Humans hear by bone conduction or primarily by detecting airborne sound waves, which are collected by the auricles. The auricles help locate the direction of sound. Then one turns to focus on the direction. Therefore hearing comes before seeing. This is very important.

This transition will require a change from structure to rhythm. We should be able to learn the unforced rhythm of guiding our organizations through transitionary moments. This will require a greater degree of sensitivity. Making the transition from visionary leadership to vibrationary leadership will require that we change from critical thinking to modulating. What we hear should be properly deciphered and transmitted to the masses. What are you hearing? Make the big transition – be a vibrationary leader!

Activate the Momentum Principle in Your Life

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Our degree of productivity in life is directly proportional to the momentum we have going for us at any particular moment or task. Momentum is really our best friend because it enables us to enter a zone of productivity that brings out the best in us.  The momentum principle reveals that although it may take tremendous amounts of energy to overcome inertia and get going initially, it takes far less energy to keep going. The idea then, is to get started and really put our best effort in from the front-end. Activate the momentum principle in your life and you will be assured of continued productivity and results in life. 

The Power of Leadership

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

Success and significance in life are the offspring of good leadership skills, qualities and competencies. There must be a good leader for a team, group, department, company, constituency or nation to achieve results at whatever it sets out to accomplish. There are four levels of results in life and I’d like to explore how leadership impacts each:

1. Excellent leadership brings significance and a legacy

I want to start with excellent leadership because that should be the predominant focus of our passions. Excellent leaders get there because they work every day at making themselves better people and better leaders. Lasting excellence in leadership comes from continued study and a relentless passion for making a mark. Excellent leadership is the key to leaving a lasting legacy. 

2. Good leadership brings success and achievement

All human beings want to have success at some level or another in their lives. One must have some kind of leadership skill or competence if any success is to be attained in life. Individuals who attain success but do not continually work to become excellent leaders will achieve a lot of good things but will never be able to leave a legacy behind them.

3. Poor or Mediocre leadership leads to stability and maintenance

The majority of human beings live stable lives. The majority of organizations in society are stable. The majority of nations on earth are stable. Stable means life has very few surprises. It means one can make it from one month to the next. It means an organization does not have any major problems. It means a country is doing okay. But stable is not enough. We need to go beyond the norm. The key is to develop our leadership.

4. Lack of leadership leads to survival and struggle

Survival and struggle are the lowest levels of life. People who live at this level have nothing to look forward to – no dreams, no vision, no purpose. We should never be at this level because everybody has a skill or two that they can utilize in going to the next level. We are not designed to spend all day holding ‘help me’ signs at an intersection. Developing leadership skills is the first step towards living a successful life.

The one question that each leader needs to consistently ask herself is whether she is doing enough to go to the next level and also take others around herself to higher levels of experience in life. Leadership is more than just having the right credentials; it’s more than just reading a couple of best-selling books and gaining insight. Leadership has a lot to do with having the right vision, the courage to pursue it, the aptitude to share it and the wisdom to develop others as they join in the dream. Leadership is powerful.

The Power of Focus

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

When I was a kid my dad bought me a couple of magnifying glasses of varied colors. I enjoyed playing with the glasses and feeling like a serious detective as I roamed in and out of the house looking for clues to mysteries that I created in my overactive imagination. Perhaps the greatest power of those glasses, I came to discover, was that when I held them over a piece of newspaper and allowed the sun’s rays to stream through, pretty soon I would have a fire (I was a little older and understood the need for safety). We lived directly under the equator and the sun was always hot and directly above us for most of the day. However, it’s rays never burnt anything until when they were brought to a point of focus.

While bringing those rays to a point of focus might seem like reducing the sun’s power, it actually increased it’s intensity and resulted in the generation of heat. This is the same thing with our potential. When potential is brought to a point of focus it results in greater output and results. Activity is not necessarily productivity. It’s what you focus on that brings about your greatest productivity. Much has been said about the Pareto Principle, which I believe to be true. According to Pareto, 80% of your productivity will come from 20% of your activity (paraphrased). Here’s the key to generating lasting results: find the 20% of what you are most effective at and give it 80% of your time and resources.