Reputation – good ones travel fast

Your reputation is a riddle; It is guaranteed to always arrive before you do, and stay after you leave. Knowing this fact can help set you apart from the crowd. Your reputation will serve as your introduction, it will set expectations for those you meet, it will remind others of your demonstrated abilities. In many ways it’s your spokesperson, and you want your spokesperson to have wonderful things to say about you. Therefore, you must carefully build the foundation of your reputation through your actions.

“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”– Henry Ford

Delivering what matters. Not everything has to be done; just the important stuff. Identify which actions make the most difference to the company, project, team and you – then put your energy into accomplishing those.

“You earn a reputation by trying to do hard things well.”– Jeff Bezos

Every day. Start each day with a picture of success in your mind – for that day. Break down your goals into what you can do today and do that every day. Make success a habit.

“Repetition makes reputation.”– Elizabeth Arden

Will pave the way. This is what opens doors, gets invitations, and garners resources. Delivering what matters every day is the foundation for your reputation.

“There is no advertisement as powerful as a positive reputation traveling fast.” – Brian Koslow

Help one, help many

The theme on my blog page is: Change The World Through Leadership Now. I chose that to represent the impact I want to have through my passion for Leadership. Every article, Instagram picture, Tweet, LinkedIn post, or FaceBook post is designed to reach as many connections as possible. My desire is to Change The World, one person at a time, through the sharing of leadership insights.

In his bestselling book, The Go Giver, Bob Burg stated, “Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interest first.” The impact of your helping one person is far reaching. The residual effects of helping one person can truly change the world.

Help them help themselves. As a leader, your help should not be in the form of micromanaging. Sure, you will set the vision and work to align the goals, but your employees need to experiment, build experience and learn to excel using their strengths to accomplish the goals and achieve the vision. Doing it for them is short lived and offers no value beyond the immediate.

“A leader’s job is not to do the work for others, it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves…and succeed beyond what they thought possible.”– Simon Sinek

Help them help you. There are two personal benefits to helping others. First, it’s rewarding to be part of someone’s success – it feels good to help. There’s a Chinese Proverb that says, “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” Second, the people you help will want to help you in return; they want that happiness for themselves.

Help them help others. Changing the world is a big endeavor. And if we are being realistic it’s hard to think of a way to do that. Steve Jobs got really close with Apple and his personal goal of, “Making a dent in the universe.” One way we can all think changing the world is by helping one person at a time who will also help one more person at a time – eventually it will reach the world.

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”– Ronald Reagan

Big goals – What do you do first?

Michael Johnson is a retired U.S. track athlete. He is the winner of four Olympic gold medals and eight World Championship gold medals in the 200 and 400 Meter races. Johnson had a strategy for running the 400 Meter that he called the 4 P’s. The 4 P’s are Push, Pace, Position, and Pray. With a big goal in mind – win the 400 Meter race – Johnson’s strategy broke the race into four 100 meter races each with its own definition of success, that when achieved brought Johnson one step closer to his goal:

Push – Run the first 100 meters near top speed to set tone for the race.

Pace – Keep a good speed – under your maximum – for the next 100 meters.

Position – Press the next 100 meters so you come around the first at the last turn.

Pray – Give all you’ve got left for the last 100 meters, arms pumping and run strong for the win.

This strategy worked for Michael Johnson in track, and it can work for you in anything you want to accomplish. Here’s how I think about this strategy with the big goals I have for my life:

First, break the big goals down into little goals where success can be measured in the short-term.

Next get going – fast – on the first step and rack up quick wins for motivation.

Then, with success on the first little goal, tackle the next little goal, then the next…in the same fashion until the big goal is achieved.

I know this sounds too simple. But you’d be amazed at how often I see people give up on their big goals because the payoff is just too far away to keep up the motivation.

Here’s a real-life example on how this worked for me:

Several years ago, I had a big goal to publish a book on leadership to guide emerging leaders. Here are the small goals I used to achieve that big goal with my book The Leadership GPS.

  • -Read books on leadership for information and style
  • -Research historical leaders to document repeatable patterns
  • -Attend conferences with selected authors to gain connections
  • -Combine research with chosen book style and write manuscript
  • -Talk with author connections for advice on publishing
  • -Publish The Leadership GPS and see it become an Amazon Best Seller

Before I wrote the manuscript to my book, I talked with John Maxwell and he gave me advice on what to do first if you want to be an author:   The very definition of being an author requires you have written something. Simple, but powerful lesson. If I wanted to publish a book I needed to write a book. And if I wanted to write a book I needed to start with one word on one page and continue from there.

If you want to achieve big goals you have to know what to do first.

 

Why do people follow certain leaders?

Some leaders are more successful than others at attracting people to their team. They seem to have few people leaving, unless they are promoted, and can easily fill any opening they have. What do these leaders do that sets them apart? These great leaders accelerate the dreams of their followers.

Are dreams important? William Shakespeare wrote, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on.” The dreams we have for our lives are who we are, who we want to be, where we want to go, there our hope for the future.

So yes, people’s dreams are very important to them. And if you want to be a great leader, they should be important to you. Master motivator, Les Brown laid out the plan for success and dreams when he said, “Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.”

Here are the steps to accelerating the dreams of those who you lead:

Know their dreams. Leading people is nothing more than unlocking the full potential of everyone who follows you. If you want the best team, then you need to know their dreams to bring out their passion in life and work.

“The dreams and passions stored within hearts are powerful keys which can unlock a wealth of potential.”– John Maxwell

Connect their dreams with the team. Each person has unique dreams that are theirs alone. There are many rolls on each team, many activities, many projects, much that needs to be done. Once you discover each person’s dreams, you should find a way to incorporate them into the plans of the team to bring the best thinking to everything you do.

“We need men who can dream of things that never were.”– John F. Kennedy

Lead the dream and the team to succeed. Great leaders can, and must, bring success to their team and to the members of their team. One without the other is not sustainable. The best possible work environment is for everyone to live their dreams while accomplishing the work.

“I don’t dream at night, I dream all day; I dream for a living.”– Steven Spielberg

 

Why comes before How

Understanding how to accomplish something is an important part of being successful. You won’t go far if you don’t know what you are doing. So first we learn how, then we can succeed, right? Wrong. If you really want to win, you first understand why – the purpose of the something you are doing or learning how to do. Because very little that we do is always easy and you will need to hold on to your why when the how is hard.

“Winners are people with definite purpose in life.”– Denis Waitley

Clarity of purpose is especially important when it’s not just you alone working for success, and this is almost always. For some the identification of the team you are on is obvious, for others it is more nuanced. But for almost everyone, you are relying on others to accomplish their individual parts in order to win. The only way this works if there is alignment on purpose.

When you’re surrounded be people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.”– Howard Schultz

A few examples of Why

Music – “Bob Marley is a huge influence…I love the purpose of the songs he writes…It takes your worries away and makes you feel good.” – Cobbie Caillat

Research – “Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.”– Zora Neale Hurston

Political Leadership – “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”– John F. Kennedy

Art – “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”– Pablo Picasso

We are more likely to win when we keep our focus on why – the purpose – of what we are doing.

Do you know your facts?

Whether in discussion, debate, or decision, you have to know your facts. In order to formulate a well thought out opinion that you can support, you need to do your research, ask questions, and gain a mastery of the topic at hand. You will never know everything you would like to, but you can enhance your chance at success by knowing more than you do today.

The founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, said, “I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.” The next step after obtaining the facts is putting them to use. As former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. opined, “The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts, but learning how to make facts live.”

Discussion. The best way to get your message across is first and foremost to have a great message. With an understanding of the facts – the vision of where you are trying to go, the conditions under which you are operating, and your plan to achieve the vision – you’re sure to have positive discussions.

“A good rule for discussion is to use hard facts and a soft voice.” – Dorothy Sarnoff

Debate. If you want to make real progress you sometimes have to be willing and able to debate and stand up for your positions when you don’t yet have support. The best debater knows the facts and how to use them to support the position.

“For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.”– Margaret Heffernan

Decision. In the end, the true measure of how well you know your facts is the decision. If you know your facts, then a decision will be made. If you don’t know your facts well enough, then discussion and debate may continue beyond their productive use. It is not that the decision has to be the one you first proposed, but it must be the one that the facts support.

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”– Tony Robbins

Are You Prepared to Succeed?

A guest post by Mark Miller on the launch of his new book Leaders Made Here Originally published on GreatLeadersServe.com

I’ve been thinking more seriously about the issue of being prepared. I have several observations and ideas to share.

Here’s my first observation:

The best leaders seem to consistently show up better prepared than others.

That idea alone makes me want to be better prepared. However, there are other reasons preparation matters…

When you are prepared, you get better outcomes. I don’t know about your organization, but in mine, I’ve watched this play out for decades. Those who are better prepared are allocated more resources – both people and dollars. For me, that’s enough incentive to get my act together the best I can. There are no guarantees, but I’ve observed a striking correlation between preparedness and positive outcomes.

When you are prepared, people take you and the work more seriously. This may be obvious, but I still see leaders miss this one. If you don’t care enough about your work to prepare, whether a budget presentation or a keynote, why should others care? I want my level of preparedness to speak volumes about the importance of whatever it is I’m presenting.

When you are prepared, you set a good example for your team members. I’ve said this for years: People (your people) always watch the leader (you.) One of the things they are looking for are clues regarding what’s important. They’re also looking to see if you are trustworthy. If you talk about preparedness and don’t model it, you’re done. Your people won’t trust you nor will they do what you ask them to do – at least in this arena. You’ll have no moral authority.

When you are prepared, you strengthen your personal brand. If I asked those who work with you to describe your brand, what would they say? Would their description be what you want it to be? Would preparedness be part of their commentary?

What are you doing to show up prepared?

Mark Miller is the best-selling author of 6 books, an in-demand speaker and the Vice President of High-Performance Leadership at Chick-fil-A. His latest book, Leaders Made Here, describes how to nurture leaders throughout the organization, from the front lines to the executive ranks and outlines a clear and replicable approach to creating the leadership bench every organization needs.

 

Paving the way for success, one step at a time.

Your best is always in front of you. You should look to succeed more today than yesterday, and more tomorrow than today. Everything you do in the moment should be paving the way for your next step.

Adopt a paving the way mentality. Paving the way for success is a long-term job, you are not paving a dead-end road. Recognize that you may stop and rest, but you cannot just stop. Comedian and actress Lilly Tomlin observed that, “The road to success is always under construction.”

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth…To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again.”– Henry David Thoreau

Access the paths you can. It’s ok to walk on paved roads if they exist. Use past victories to pave the way for future success. These past victories may be yours or those of others. But sometimes you may find there is no path. In the case that you can’t find a way, create one – use your imagination, your dreams, your goals and reach success.

“The imagination is the golden pathway to everywhere.”– Terence McLenna

Adjust your plans – often. Never lose sight of your success, but expect that your path will not be clear and straight. After all, if a goal was that easy than many others would already be there.

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”– Frank A. Clark

Time to Think

I have a method for learning I call the think principle: think about what you are being taught and understand how to do it right, think and then do it right, do it right without thinking. I use these three steps as a guide for my learning process.

There are a variety of learning styles – visual (images), auditory (listening and speaking), read & write (reading and note taking), and kinesthetic (hands on) but they all follow this simple pattern of thinking. The difference is in how any one person receives the information they are learning and makes it part of their thinking pattern. I myself am a reading and note taking learner.

Ancient Roman Emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius placed great importance on thinking and said, “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”

 

Here are the three steps to learning unpacked and explained:

You start out not knowing. If you aren’t confused at first, then you don’t understand how complex learning is. You must remain open to the fact that every time you learn something new, you will need to take time to think about what you are learning. If you aren’t willing to have this level of discomfort than you won’t learn new things.

In 1913 Niels Bohr built the first model of electron orbitals on the hydrogen atom based on quantum theory. Bohr is quoted saying, If you aren’t confused by quantum mechanics, you haven’t really understood it.”

Then you start to know. Think about how you are going to accomplish the challenge, not why you can’t. Once you understand how something should be done, you must think through the process while you repeat what you learned again and again until it becomes second nature. Failing at this point is just one step away from success.

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”– Zig Ziglar

Now that you know, you should go. Don’t overthink that which is simple, and don’t underthink that which is complex. The level of thinking involved in learning anything new is dependent upon the complexity of the task. At some point you have to trust that you can do it, and then just do it.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee

 

 

 

What’s your message?

So many choices for communicating your message today: in-person presentation, email, text, tweet, blog, Instagram, snapchat and others. It doesn’t matter what the medium is; the message is what matters.

“Regardless of the changes in technology, the market for well-crafted messages will always have an audience.”Steve Burnett, The Burnett Group

Depending on the medium you will structure your message differently; It could be 125 characters or less, or a picture with a quote, or a 300-word article, or even a 30 minute story with audience participation. The forum doesn’t matter, what matters is the message you want to deliver.

Here’s three key points you need to cover in every successful message:

What do you want them to receive? Focus. What are the key points? How does it all fit together? Every message should be a well crafted story that has a beginning, middle and end.

“The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others.” – Gilbert Amelio

What do you want them to give back? Questions, ideas, even challenges. How do you get the audience engaged in discovering the solution? This is a mix of visualization – word pictures, anticipation – looking for the punchline, and competition – positive reinforcement of participation.

“Leaders who make it a practice to draw out the thoughts and ideas of others and who are receptive to even bad news will be properly informed.” – L.B. Belker

What do you want them to take away? Excitement, direction, action. Every message must include a call to action – the next step the audience should take based on what they just received.

“Good communication is just as stimulating as coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.”– Anne Morrow Lindbergh

 

 

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