Monthly Archives: April 2013

Success requires us to start; it also demands that we persevere to the end and finish strong

persevereWhen I coach people who are beginning a new endeavor, new job, or new project I start with this quote from Lao Tzu on starting strong, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” I add to that thought a thought that we must persevere and finish strong.

“You’ll never get there if you don’t start; you’ll also never get there if you don’t finish.”– Denis McLaughlin

Starting something new is difficult and we may need encouragement to step out.  Equally important though is the determination to persevere to a successful end. Zig Ziglar put it this way, “Where you start is not as important as where you finish.”

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We lead for a season and a reason – teach the next generation to lead

lead through mentoringWhen we think of the word season it reminds us that throughout a year we cycle through spring, summer, fall and winter – seasons come and go.  They are with us for brief periods then the next season appears.  In the same way we only lead for brief cycles in our life.

In each season of leadership we are there for a reason.  We are there to lead through a business need and in all cases we must teach the next generation to lead as we follow our seasons.

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How to lead through the storm

storm - sunshineAll storms pass and there is calm again.  In the middle of the storm, lead by focusing on learning and growing – and support your team with examples of past success.

We all face storms in our personal and professional lives.   There is no getting around it.  The storms will come and the storms will go.  The only control you have in these storms is how you will act; you get to choose what you will do with your time in the storm.

One more thing; it’s not just about you – your team is looking for you to lead them through the storm.

The best time to decide what your actions will be is when you are on the outside of the storm. I decided a long time ago that I would use every storm to learn and grow.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say I welcome the storms.  But since I can’t control when they appear, I do my best to treat them not as obstacles but as opportunities.

John F. Kennedy once said, “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One  represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”

With the weather we can be sure that after the rain comes the rainbow.  When my children were young, we would all look up into the sky to see that beautiful colorful sight that we had seen so many times before.  I admit that even today it gives us all a thrill.

During my personal storms, I do the same thing.  I look for the successes that I have seen so many times before that I know will come again.  I remember and remind my team that we not only survived past storms, but thrived and came out on the other side more prepared for the next one.

When you are in the middle of a storm remember, it isn’t a matter of if you will make it through – you will; you’ve done it before – it’s about what you will learn and how you will grow.



The wisest leader acknowledges there is much to learn

wisdom wonderThe leader who seeks wisdom believes their vision is more than just a path to success; it is a calling, a moral imperative, and they must obtain the wisdom needed to insure its success.

For a vision to be successful it must be the single focus of the leader.  As the leader goes, so goes the team.  Any divided loyalty will divide the team.  Now there can and should be discussion on how to achieve the vision, that is how the best decisions are found.   But the vision itself must be non-negotiable.

How should the leader seek the wisdom needed for their vision?

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The leader is but one part of the team

The real power of a leader comes in conductorthe joining of individual strengths of a team into a common purpose.

The leader is the organizer, the arranger, the conductor. Like a world class symphony orchestra, it takes a group of individuals playing their part of the same song with their particular instrument to create beautiful music. The musicians have the violins, oboes, trumpets, and tympani – the conductor has the baton.

Leadership is achieving succsss through the actions of others. The musicians face the audience while the conductor faces the musicians.

A conductor without an orchestra is simply waving his hands in the air, and a leader without followers is just taking a walk.

The great leaders are like the best conductors – they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players.” – Blaine Lee

The leader is but one part of the team.


The leader Who Strives to Serve, Will Thrive for Sure


The leader who strives to serve will thrive for sureA true leader is the one who strives for the success of others and not themselves.

Those who don’t serve aren’t successful in the long run:
Regardless of their position
Regardless of their authority
Regardless of their responsibility

Those that do serve are successful in the long run:
Because of their words
Because of their actions
Because of their results

Your job as a leader is to do all you can to help others achieve their full capabilities. Those on the receiving end of your service must work hard to use the opportunities provided to develop their strengths.

Will this always work? Will you always serve? Will everyone succeed? Of course not.

We all fall short of our best desires at one time to another. But if you continue to strive for the success of others they will thrive.

In the end, the one who strives for the success of others will receive more in return than those who focus on their own success.

Are you a die-hard leader or a fair-weather leader? Part 2

Earlier in the week we discussed bob feller quotethe four things that die-hard baseball fans value more than winning: Pure Entertainment, Authenticity, Fan Bonding, and History and Tradition.

What can we learn about being a die-hard leader from loyal baseball fans?

Pure Entertainment – The die-hard leader is excited about the process it takes to win, not just winning.

Authenticity – The die-hard leader is committed to what is best for the team.

Fan Bonding – The die-hard leader has earned the respect and admiration of their team through demonstrations of character.

History and Tradition – The die-hard leader always makes decisions based on a foundation of core values.

Hall of fame pitcher Bob Feller said, “Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day…”

“The team with a die-hard leader will not only know how to be successful, but to stay successful.” – Denis McLaughlin


Are you a die-hard leader or a fair-weather leader?

Aint over till its overForbes Magazine just published its list of the Most Loyal Fans in Baseball.  You may find it surprising that four things ranked higher than the win/loss record in keeping loyal fans.

Pure Entertainment – How exciting is it to watch the team play?

Authenticity – How well does the team play as a team?

Fan Bonding – Are players respected and admired?

History and Tradition – Is the team part of the fans’ institutions and beliefs?

These four items are important for the die-hard fan as well as the fair-weather fan.  The difference is that when their team is losing, the die-hard fan stays to cheer them back to success, while the fair-weather fan looks for another team that is winning.

Any leader can be engaged and excited and passionate to lead in the good times. What happens to that same leader when success turns to failure, when the environment changes, when investors leave, when the economy slows, when your products don’t sell – What happens when your team stops winning? 

Are you a die-hard leader or a fair-weather leader?

“The real leader, the die-hard leader, is still there when build turns to re-build.” – Denis McLaughlin

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