Monthly Archives: March 2013

Purpose, plan, people, and priorities – there can be no leadership without them

DenispostWhether you are leading a team of thousands, hundreds, tens, or just yourself, these four P’s of leadership are essential for success. Without them you and your team are like a boat without a rudder, drifting on the sea in an unknown direction. Leadership is about choosing the destination and navigating the ship on the right course.

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The best leaders are only one step ahead

I love this story. I can’t reLeading_From_Behindmember where I first heard it, but it really stuck with me. I think its lesson is so applicable for leadership.

All hikers know that you can’t out run a bear. But these two guys were hiking in the deep woods one day. They got a bit off track and wandered into the part of the woods where bears have been known to live. ROAR! The frightening sound of a bear was heard. ROAR!! The sound grew closer. One of the guys bent down and started tightening his shoes. “What are you doing?” the other one asked. “Lacing up my shoes so I don’t trip when I run,” the first one answered. “Everyone knows you can’t out run a bear,” the second one said. To that the first guy replied, “I don’t have to out run the bear, I just have to out run you,” and he sped away.

Why do I love this story? Because so many people think they can’t be a leader until they know everything there is to know about leadership.

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Imitate or Innovate, that is the question.

fork-in-the-road2Leaders have a choice to make. Should they imitate what has already been successfully done, or innovate away from the past and chart their own course?

Can a career be summed up in three words: Imitate or Innovate?

In my career I have found that the answer to the question on whether to imitate or innovate is – it depends.

Imitation is preferred when you are following success. Innovation is preferred when you are defining success.

Sometimes your job is to do it the right way; sometimes it’s to invent the right way.

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The five signs of a “Stage Leader”

pointy-hairedboss_dilbertBeing a successful leader is a lot like being a parent – It’s not about you. The focus is on developing your team just like a parent ensures the development of their children.

We have all heard the famous stories of the Stage Parent.  This is the parent who pushes their child to excel in acting, singing, tennis, baseball or any other activity where the parent is living out their dreams vicariously through their child. The rewards for the Stage Parent are all about the Stage Parent.  We have also heard the all too often unfortunate end to these relationships.  The child may be an individual success for a time, but as an adult they resent the loss of their childhood and often drop out of the limelight and distance themselves from their parent.

Have you ever heard of Stage Leader?  Rarely is this type of leader successful in the long run. Like the children of Stage Parents, in time the team members resent the lack of focus on their development and distance themselves from the leader – often leaving the company.

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The reflection of great leadership.

When you look at your leadership reflection in the mirror each morning, whmirror_catat do you see?  Do you like what you see? I don’t mean are you perfect, and I don’t mean have you always made the right decisions.  What I do mean is mean do you see someone who has overcome many obstacles to become who you are today and someone who is capable of accomplishing greatness?

That is an accurate reflection of all leaders and a positive leadership self-image. Heading out the door each day with that thought to guide you will lead you to greatness.

Why is an accurate yet positive leadership self-image so important?  Brian Tracey says, “The person we believe ourselves to be will always act in a manner consistent with our self-image.”

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Exit row seating – are you ready, willing, and able to assist in the event of an emergency?

safety_emergency_exit_boratEarlier this week we talked about being prepared in times of crisis.  Like the oxygen mask in an airline, a well-designed plan can assist you in taking what could be a catastrophe and keep it from rising above a minor inconvenience.  I heard back from several readers who are frequent flyers and have experienced the loss of cabin pressure. Their summary of the situation was in a few words – no big deal.

Like I said on my previous post, I fly a lot.  I am not bothered in the least by any sudden unexpected changes.  However, I have witnessed panic in first time flyers when there is turbulence.  Utter terror sets in if the oxygen masks drop down due to a loss of pressure.

This is where today’s post picks up.  When you are a leader, it’s not about you and your comfort.  It doesn’t matter if the current crisis is no big deal for you; it’s about your team and what you can do to help them through their response to the emergencies.

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What would you do if the airline cabin suddenly lost pressure?

airplane air maskI frequently travel on a commercial airline for work and vacation.  Sometimes a month or two goes by and I realize that I have barely listened to the airline attendants as they recite their prepared safety speech before take-off. You know the speech I mean, the one that tells you what to do in the unlikely event that something bad happens.

Each airline has basically the same message: how to operate the seat belt so you remain safely in your seat in the event of turbulence; how to inflate the life jacket so you don’t sink in the event of a crash landing in the water; how to find the exits in the event that the cabin fills with smoke; and of course how to use the oxygen mask so you can breathe in the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure.

According to the FAA, from 2002 – 2007 there were only .01 fatal airline accidents per 100,000 flight hours or .018 fatal accidents per 100,000 departures. So, why do they repeat this same message on every flight if the rate of fatal accidents is so low?

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