Monthly Archives: July 2013

Significant change requires a change of the heart.

the-best-and-most-beautiful-things-in-the-world-cannot-be-seen-or-even-touched-they-must-be-felt-with-the-heartLeading a significant change effort requires significant effort if you want to see significant results.  When it comes to this large of a change, John Maxwell says, “People don’t need to turn over a new leaf, they need a new life.” In his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John teaches us that the way to a life changing experience is through the heart. 

“Leaders touch the heart before they ask for a hand.” John Maxwell

At eighteen months old, Helen Keller had a brief illness that changed her life forever.  As a result of her illness she lost her sight and hearing.  At the age of eighty-four she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her lifetime of public service. Like John Maxwell, Keller teaches us that the way to a life changing experience is through the heart. 

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller

If you want to lead through significant change, you must lead through the heart:

Start with the heart of the leader

Leaders of significant change must ensure their heart is fully dedicated to the effort and speak from their heart.  There is no other way if you want to succeed.  Your team will only follow you if they feel you are passionate, energized, and committed to reaching the goal.  John Maxwell says it like this, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

If you have traveled to a foreign country you know what happens when you speak your native language slow and loud – it doesn’t help; you are still not understood.  I have found travel much easier if I know how to communicate in the local language.  Leading through significant change is no different.  If you want to be understood you must speak the language of the heart. 

“What is uttered from the heart alone, will win the hearts of others to your own.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Finish with the heart of the team

Now that the leader of significant change is speaking from their heart, they must speak to the heart of their team. Eddie Robinson, the former Grambling State football coach who for 56 years amassed a win loss record of 408/165 put it this way, “Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting them to believe in you.”

Another great college coach, Mike Krzyzewski from Duke basketball, not only successfully coached basketball, he wrote a book on lessons in leadership titled Leading With The Heart.  Coach K is quoted as saying, “A common mistake among those who work in sport is spending a disproportionate amount of time on the ‘x’s and o’s’ as compared to time spent learning about people.”

You see, it’s been said, “People won’t remember what you did.  People won’t remember what you said.  But people will always remember the way you made them feel.”  This feeling comes from the heart of the leader, through the heart of the team.


Leaders: Are you confused and concerned? Do you lack the confidence to move forward? Ask the right questions and listen for the answers.

student-quotes-attitude-quotes-Take-the-attitude-of-a-student-never-be-too-big-to-ask-questions-never-know-too-much-to-learn-something-new_As leaders we want to have all the answers all the time.  We want to be able to answer all of the questions.  Well that isn’t always possible.

Leaders don’t control everything so we won’t always know everything.  We might not understand why our boss is assigning a project to us.  We may be short on facts as to why our colleagues are making the decisions they are.  These decisions may have an impact on how we lead our teams. You are confused, you are concerned, and you are unable to lead in confidence.  The only sure way to resolve this dilemma is to ask the right questions.

“If you do not ask the right questions, you do not get the right answers. A question asked in the right way often points to its own answer. Asking questions is the A-B-C of diagnosis. Only the inquiring mind solves problems.”  – Edward Hodnett

When you are confused: You don’t understand why things are happening the way they are.  You don’t think the decisions being made line up with the vision of the company.  Relax.   It may be that all is well with the plan, but it hasn’t been explained in a way that makes sense to you.

“Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not yet understood” – Henry Miller

When you are concerned: If your assumptions are correct and there is a new vision, a new plan, then there are impacts to you and your team.  If there are new goals then you need to know.  No need to worry.  Once you understand you will adjust and lead your team.

“There is a great difference between worry and concern.  A worried person sees a problem, and a concerned person solves a problem.” – Harold Stephens

When you lack confidence: You aren’t sure which road to take because you don’t know if the company is heading for the same destination as you once thought.  If you knew the vision you would diligently pursue it.  Rest assured, you will lead without fear once again.

“Confidence comes not from always being right, but from not fearing to be wrong.” Peter T. Mcintyre

If you are feeling confused, concerned and don’t have that old confidence anymore because things have changed, here’s what you do:

Ask the right questions.

What is the new issue that needs to be resolved?

What is the new plan for future decisions to be made?

What is the new end state look like?

What can I do to add value to the new process?

Leaders: How strong is your system for growth? Will it change the world?

steve-jobs-quoteLast week we talked about helping others grow so they can achieve their maximum potential.  What happens when you are no longer there to offer your help – will the growth continue? Will you have changed the world?

It’s not automatic you know. Long before I arrived the Earth was spinning, the sun was shining, and the seasons came and went. I am very sure that these systems will continue long after I am gone.

Robert Frost once said, “In three words I can sum up all I’ve learned about life; it goes on.”  That is all that is guaranteed.

Apple founder Steve Jobs said he “Wanted to make a small dent in the universe.” Did he?

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Leadership isn’t something you do; it’s the life you live.

LEADERSSHIP-QUOTES-4-EMPOWER-OTHERS1A life of leadership is focused on helping others grow so they can achieve their maximum potential.  That sure sounds altruistic.  Well it’s more than that.  Read on to find out how living a life of leadership will bring your personal success.

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Leaders: How to orchestrate a successful comeback.

comebackThe word comeback has a couple of different definitions.  It can be used to mean a clever retort, usually in response to a negative comment.  Or it can indicate a return to a previous level of success.  If you want to learn more about the first definition of comeback I suggest you watch some Seinfeld television show reruns.  However, if you are interested in returning to your prior position, popularity or prosperity, read on.

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Leaders: Do you have healthy competition?

competition with myselfThere is nothing wrong with being competitive.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to win.  It’s how you go about it that makes competition healthy or not.

Healthy competition focuses on improving yourself and as Bill Walsh said, “Letting the score take care of itself.” Unhealthy competition focuses only on defeating others, and looks for methods to accomplish just that.

Healthy competition provides for positive outcomes beyond the short term success of winning any one game or medal in sports; and any one client or contract in business.

Here are the three different ways that healthy competition improves your chances for long term success:

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