(in my best movie announcer voice)
WHERE EVERYONE WAS STRONG...
ALL THE TIME!!!
It EXISTS!! In a fake world we call FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM!! The real world of leadership doesn't look ANYTHING like the world Mr. Zuckerberg maintains for us!
In the real world, the strong leader only gets stronger when they invest in those who need a part of that strength. The goal ISN'T to be the strongest member of your team. Only one person wins there. The goal is to identify the weakest member, realizing the weakest member changes day to day, hour to hour, and minute to minute, and could be YOU! Leaders embrace them, assist them, and give them the tools to STOP being the weakest member for that minute, hour, or day. When we do that, EVERYONE on the team wins!!
There was a terrible show on TV years ago with a woman that used to say:
"You are the WEAKEST LINK...GOODBYE!!"
Can you imagine if that was the way that the world ACTUALLY worked. We would ALL be fired if in that ONE MOMENT, we were evaluated, assessed, and action was taken!!
Great leaders have the ability to see past that struggling moment to share their gifts, their knowledge, and LEAD (novel concept) that team member to a new positive and successful outlook that helps the team reach their COLLECTIVE goal more effectively!
Stop working to be the STRONGEST and start looking for the WEAKEST to share all that great stuff you have to move your team toward SUCCESS!!
I was completely inspired by this Washington Post article today. The Wampler family is a household name in our awesome community in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Turkey is still big business, but the inspiration doesn't come from the success of the Wampler family turkey business.
I am inspired by the choice one man has made to innovate, dream, create, and MAKE his community a better place for everyone. Many of us can add to an already existing infrastructure to help our community, but few take the initiative, the time, the energy, and MAKE the community better!!
Happy 100th Birthday Mr. Wampler (and Happy Thanksgivng too)....thanks for MAKING a space for me to try and emulate your joy to our community!!!
I LOVE LEADERSHIP!! I think about it all the time, how I interact, how I engage, how I improve, and why I have only chosen to read leadership books. blogs, videos, etc. It has to be because I LOVE LEADERSHIP!! So how do we L.O.V.E in Leadership?
Immature leadership, as well as ineffective leadership, does not LET OTHERS do much of anything. Control, fear, and lack of an ability to share, all contribute to the micro manager, the non listener, and the party of one leadership style, that works in the short term, but over time will lose confidence, lose respect, and lose loyalty of those who work and follow. We MUST LET OTHERS breathe, speak, listen, critique, share, play, run, work, make mistakes, and most importantly LEAD!! Any organization creating a barrier for the young, the forgotten, the new, or the different will eventually find themselves at a crossroads of ineffective leadership.
We are HUMAN.....which means we make mistakes, we have bad days, we hurt ourselves and others, and we might even struggle in the work place at times. The leader who ONLY puts value on the product will never see the value of the people who work tirelessly in front of them. The bottom line is only strong if it can support the people who stand on it. The goals and non negotiables are still carried out by mere humansl The product, which may be made by a computer who doesn't need a leader who Values Empathy, is still dreamed, imagined, and engineered by a human who does need our care. The leaders who have the capability to listen, forgive, and give strength back to the people around them, will find the people around them will do ANYTHING for them!!
So remember to L.O.V.E Leadership! We can probably put it all together and
Let Others Value Empathy sometimes too...because leaders are human, and WE will need someone to be there for us someday very soon!!
What is the only resource we can't make, can't sell, can't buy and we always need more of?? TIME! I firmly believe, and have experienced in many instances in life, that it isn't the most talented organizations that find success, but often times it is the most efficient.
We waste SO MUCH time that we could be using for effective success. Make sure you are RUNNING to the next success opportunity! RUNNING will guarantee less stress, more effectiveness, and in turn, more long term motivation and happiness.
Now, I am not suggesting that we don't talk to each other, engage each other in conversation, or find ways to have fun. Those things are vital and important, but not in the moment where it is time to work. Build in PLAYTIME to your organization schedule. When people understand and know the difference between ON the job and OFF the job, they can separate and become more effective. Our organizations have blurred the lines between work and play, and never actually get good at either. 8-5 doesn't exist anymore. Someone, somewhere, over time, decided that we are supposed to work around the clock. It isn't healthy, isn't realistic, and isn't sustainable. When we are more efficient, we are more effective. When we are more effective, we are more successful. When we are more successful, we are in the mindset to find more joy.
The next time you find yourself walking (or even dragging) to the next task, remember that RUNNING now will create awesome results down the road in all facets of your life!
I don't know about you but, as a leader, I LOVE TO MOW THE LAWN! As I think back, I always have. I remember clearly when my mom gave that job to ME!! I was even more ecstatic that my younger brother was so allergic to grass so I got to KEEP that job. WHY? A couple thoughts....and I suspect you might love it too....
COMPLETE CREATIVE AUTONOMY. My lawn is an open palette to make a choice and be creative. Not feeling it today....straight lines. Feeling saucy....let's zig zag. Have some time...let's make it look like Fenway's outfield (they do a new design before every home game..Go SOX!). Really out there...spell my kids names before I finish for rockstar Dad approval. When are the possibilities so ENDLESS in the real world?? Oh..and when do you get to make ALL the decisions, not be concerned with the bottom line, or worry about how someone feels...never. In the open lawn, it is just you, 4.5 HP of push mower, and the freedom of having a place to do something for you!!
ALONE TIME. Leaders don't get alone time. Our phones, emails, twitter, kids, spouses, and partners need us to talk, make decisions, meet for coffee, change diapers, and change the world. On the lawn, it is just you and the blades calling your name for a trim. The engine drowns out everything around you. Your focus is on placing that front wheel with the line you created before it to ensure every blade is cut with mastery. Your energy is in ONE PLACE, at ONE TIME, with ONE PERSON on ONE THING.
When you are DONE...YOU ARE DONE!! In our leadership world, when is work actually DONE? Never. There is ALWAYS something to do. Complete a project...let's evaluate. Finish an event...what can we do better. Mow the lawn?? Step away and revel in your work from the driveway, from the street, or from the window above and IMMEDIATELY enjoy the riches of your work and the fruits of your labor!!
Congrats!! You have completed SOMETHING and damn...it looks GOOD!! Crack open your favorite beverage, kick off your green stained shoes, and take a moment before heading back to the reality of life.
Oh...and have solace in knowing that you and the open lawn will meet again soon....so you can once again have the opportunity for AUTONOMOUS ALONE TIME to COMPLETE a JOB WELL DONE!!
Spoiler Alert!!! I actually don’t have the all seeing answer for you. Sorry. I am a just a mortal father. I have two children that did make it past two...alive...and healthy! My third is on his way, so I am gearing up and trying to remember. This is what I came up with.
1. Commitment. Stay the course. What you are doing is right….even when you don’t think it is. You are the adult in charge……well as in charge as you can be when they are throwing themselves on the floor, or making THAT SOUND…you know the one that grates your nerves to no end because they can’t ACTUALLY tell you what they want or need. We are in charge and need to stay committed to being the parent we WANT to be and the parent we HAVE to be. When we are asking ourselves if we can make it, remember that you CAN and you WILL if you keep the eye on the prize and not dwell in the present craziness that comes with the love of our lives! They are still going to love you, and later will love you more because you kept it real for them!
2. Consistency. Alongside the vision of the parent we hope to be, comes the need for a child to live in a consistent environment. When I look in that darned mirror, I realize that when he is breaking down, it is probably my fault....somewhere I wasn't consistent. They are so damn cute, that we often laugh at behavior we would be appalled at in just a short time (i.e. look how CUTE they are when they throw their food across the room and then give you that SMILE!). They live for your attention….good attention and bad attention, so remember, although cute, whatever we back away from now, and allow, will come back to haunt us….at the most inopportune times….like in front of that perfect kids parents from down the street who seem to NEVER have issues with their kid...which is a facade...you are only seeing their Facebook/Instagram self....they are having issues too....don't worry!!
3. Compassion. Have you ever been to a foreign country…where they don’t speak your language…and you only learned enough to find the bathroom, even though you know everything you want to say??? Our toddlers live in a world where they understand EVERYTHING and can’t communicate ANYTHING the way they want to. Remember that annoying sound….they are just practicing until they get it right. Through the toughness of consistent and committed environments, sometimes they just ACTUALLY need to be picked up…cause they can both receive AND give hugs equally….and maybe a slobbery kiss to your cheek to accompany that hug too!!
4. Cheerios. Seriously…sometimes our tank is empty…and cheerios are the way to every kid's heart. Plus when they are eating, it is much harder to make THAT SOUND!!
THE FIRST STEP. It often times is overlooked in an effort to get to the goal. Some people rush into the first step, not really considering the ramifications that could follow due to a lack of intentionality with the first step. Some people overthink it so much, they never take it. I want to provide you with four things to consider as you move toward your goals.
1. 80% of SUCCESS happens in the first step...the other 20% follows everything it does. PLAN, PRACTICE, and KNOW where, when, why and how that first step is taking you. The team, who is following you in your journey, is depending on you and needs you, as their leader, to have a firm grasp of ALL ASPECTS of that first step! If you simply step off without considering the when, where, why, and how, you are apt to set yourself, and your team for failure.
2. The first step defines DIRECTION, SPEED, and ENERGY. First steps can come in all shapes and sizes. You define your first step based on your goals, the big ones and the small ones. Too big of a step, you will leave the rest of the team behind. Too fast, and you will get there early and miss the opportunity to capitalize on the highest reward. Too slow, and you will be left behind trying to play catchup the rest of that move. No matter how big or small the goal in front of you is, the first step should match your plan!
3. Make the first step STRONG. A strong first step shows complete commitment. Have you ever seen someone take a first step, wobble and then look befuddled as they try and change directions. They weren't sold on the first step, and thus they will be less effective and efficient. Remember strong doesn't mean forceful, but instead means confident, comfortable, and consistent!
4. There are MANY OPPORTUNITIES to take a first step. Each goal requires a reengagement of your first step. One part needs you to be calm, focused, and purposeful. One part needs you to explode with energy and needs you to move fast!! One part needs you to move exactly in time and purpose with the people around you. One part needs you to step out of the team and lead yourself in your own direction.
Engage your planning, purpose, energy, and focus every time you have an opportunity to take a first step. When you do, you will find that every step that follows will flow more effectively toward your goals!! What is your next step?
I heard something a few weeks ago that I probably need to hear everyday.
In a meeting, where we usually address data, trends, and programming, we spoke about shame and vulnerability (thanks Brene Brown for inspiration). I watched a trusted, compassionate, and hard working colleague share a hurt in her life, in a venue where she didn't want to, but could not control the emotions of her fragile heart. It was beautiful.
It led to many people at the table, including myself, to reach a little deeper. Raw human emotions, like the ones she shared, are so often only for loved ones, the four walls or our homes, or the tears marked pages of our diaries. Her voice was strong, and her conviction was stronger, as she struggled to find that
balanced success in work and at home.
Her words reminded me of why that small still voice talks to me.
When the rush is done, the work is complete, and life is shorter,
there are two things you will NEVER hear anyone say:
I wish I would have worked more. I should have stopped playing the piano.
The fleeting and ridiculous things that seem important to us, in an effort to earn success while we were in our formidable work years, become shadows of remorse and desires to gain back an opportunity to turn back the clock. Time and time again, I hear people share their life's wisdom with the younger generation....with me. They remind us daily that life is short, the days are few, and the important things are the people around us, the difference we make with those people, and the energy we give to each other.
Yet the driven, hard working, success minded animal in us can't stop ourselves from taking for granted what is in front of us, and doing something for someone who
NEEDS US WAY MORE THAN WE NEED THEM!!
When will we listen? When will we stop?
When will we start working to live instead of living to work?
So what can I take away and offer to myself and you?
Don't stop playing the piano...and if you did, it is NEVER too late to start again.
The music that you will make, starting TODAY, will be the memories
you carry with you forever.
Do you ever daydream? Do you think of ideas that stream like consciousness through your mind, some of them full of purpose and others full of shit? I think we all do.
I have one that won't go away. This one has been in and out of my mind for years, maybe decades, sometimes occupying valuable space in my mind which removes me from reality, and other times simply buzzing in my ear like a pesky fly that I just can't shoo fast enough. Regardless of its intent, it continues to be present, gnawing at my mind and filling it with questions and dreams.
Some dreams and ideas are healthy while others are damaging. Some dreams are colorful while some are dark and black. This dream is different. It is neither of these extremes. It simply continues to live and thrive daily poking and prodding me to be something more than I am, be someone different then I am, and be something meaningful to someone.
This dream is confused. It doesn't boast a statement or a clear picture or emotion This dream, the one that constantly prods at my meaning, my core, and my being, keeps asking me these questions, over and over, in different ways, in different voices, and at different moments in my life:
Why are you here? What will your legacy be? What will you be remembered for?
While working to accomplish many things in my first 39 years, finding success in some, while searching for more success in others, the thought of why God placed me on this Earth continually consumes my thoughts when the time is quiet and I am able to dream.
I can't push them away any longer. I can't just listen. I recently have been compelled to act and find out where that small still voice is taking me.
This blog is the first step to beginning to share my passion for people, for change, for leadership, for process, for improvisation, for education, for motivation, and for cultivation. The more I work, the more I learn and observe,
and the more I have to say, share and teach.
It will either work or it won't, but at least I will have tried.
So let's begin.
One foot, in front of the other, to see where this dream takes us.
Thanks for stopping by. These are musings on how I see leadership in the world and how I continue to try and grow through my lens.