Month: August 2011

Leadership Thought #206 – Be A Non-Conformist When It Comes To Leading A Meaningful Life

When it comes to your life I highly encourage you to be a non-conformist. Carve out your own path. Worry less about what other people think and more about living a meaningful life – whatever that means to you. Too many people simply plug into a system. They do what they think they are supposed to do without regard for how it makes them feel. They are also constantly bombarded with messages praising consumerism and the belief that acquisition of material goods will be their just reward and make them happier. Unfortunately, life doesn’t really work out this way.

Leadership Thought #205 – The Importance of New Beginnings

I’ve always like the idea of new beginnings. My mom used to say that every person has 4 seasons to their lives and each one is an opportunity to reinvent yourself and use the wisdom gained up until that point to make better decisions. As I age, I understand more of what she meant. I also believe that within these seasons there are natural changes such as completing your schooling, getting married (maybe more than once), having kids, becoming a homeowner, embarking on a career, being at the peak of your career and having responsibility for other people, caring for aging parents, having your own kids move out and start their own lives, becoming a grandparent, retirement from work and navigating our “golden years” that just seem to happen and lead to new beginnings. I do respect the fact that not everyone opts for all these changes but for the most part they are common experiences shared by most of us.

Leadership Thought #203 – The Grass Isn’t Always Greener…

Is the current situation salvageable and if so what would it take? How much would you grow and learn personally and how much stronger would your bonds be in life if you were able to persevere and work it out? There are few worse emotions in life than remorse and regret. Chasing rainbows is a fool’s errand, but successfully navigating the emotional roller coaster of life is a real and self affirming activity.

Leadership Thought #201 – Leaders Are Still Being Cultivated Every Day

When you teach leadership at a graduate level (which I do part time) it’s easy to be an optimist. You get to see the vibrancy and drive in people. These are individuals who are proactively investing their money and time to better themselves and create a more hopeful future. Some students automatically rise to the top while others shine in different ways depending upon the assignments/discussions. If you are paying close enough attention, it does support the management philosophy that every individual has a strength to share and will step up if they are properly motivated and given the opportunity to do so. No one at this level wants to fail. It’s important to remember this reality as the instructor.

Leadership Thought #200 – Pay Attention To What’s Hindering Your Sleep

I’ve always believed that an inability to sleep well is your body trying to tell you something. It is clearly a warning sign. If you go on to long without listening there will be consequences. Pay attention to what’s keeping you up at night and then do something about it. Don’t assume the role of victim and become hapless in the face of adversity. Take control of your life and your need for rest. Sleep isn’t a luxury; it’s a requirement if you are going to live a happy, healthy and productive life.

Leadership Thought #199 – Encourage Constructive Feedback

Many leaders often have a hard time getting real honest feedback about their performance. There are many reasons for this, but fear is usually the primary obstacle. Most people have a hard time commenting critically to others who have the ability to directly influence their work situation.

Leadership Thought #198 – Are You Doing Business With The The Right Clients?

Targeting the right prospects requires thought and effort. Every business needs to know when to say no. It’s easy to say yes (or at least we think it is). Bad or mediocre clients lead to bad or medicore outcomes – it is that simple. The math doesn’t get better on its own. You need to have the expectation of a reasonable return on investment and manage to certain margin thresholds. There should also be some sense of operational synergy and a belief that you can deliver what’s expected within the expected time frame.

Leadership Thought #197 – You Have To Know Your People

Leadership can be a delicate balancing act. You want to push your people to achieve high performance and exceed what they thought was possible, while also appreciating that you hire employees and people show up with all of their human needs for understanding and support. If you push too hard they resent you and find you harsh and uncaring. If you don’t push hard enough then you enable mediocrity and stunt their growth. It’s not always easy to know where the line exists.

Daily Leadership Thought #195 – Take Responsibility For Your Own Success

Unless you win the lottery or are born into it, wealth doesn’t just land in your lap. Passively pursuing success never works. Far too many people are waiting for their ship to come in and they haven’t even chartered a boat yet. You have to create the conditions for success for it to happen. And, it all starts with YOU and your willingness to believe in and bet on yourself.

Daily Leadership Thought #194 – Children Are a Source of Growth and Inspiration

I’ve always believed that children are a gift from God or whatever higher power you choose to believe in. They are here to teach us as much as we are here to guide them. Sometimes it’s like looking in a mirror and seeing yourself being reflected back through their actions, attitudes, etc. In other cases, you gain entry into the wondrous world of their own individuality. My hope has always been that they will take the best from their mother and me and leave our flaws behind for us to grapple with on our own.

Daily Leadership Thought #193 – Emotional Control Is Not Optional

There is nothing more distasteful to employees than a boss who has no control over his/her emotions. People look to their leader to lead with confidence and resoluteness not to “suffer the slings and arrows” of their emotional ups and downs. Of course there will be adversity and disappointment – that’s part of the job (and life in general). However, what separates great leaders from everyone else is that they actually get cooler under pressure and have an unflappable nature about them when things go wrong.

Daily Leadership Thought #192 – You Should Enjoy Your Work

Far too many people don’t like their work. I’ve heard estimates as high as 90%. Anecdotally, I’ve certainly had more conversations over the years that are negative rather than positive about what my friends, colleagues and acquaintances do for a living. I always find this sad. We spend so much time at work and how we feel about it can make a big difference on how we view ourselves and life in general.

Daily Leadership Thought #191 – Knowledge Without Action Is Just The Passage Of Time

I’ve sat through a large number of seminars with many leaders and one thing always sticks out. The most successful business people I know don’t just listen to and absorb information, they act on it. This doesn’t mean they act on everything they hear, but when something does resonate with them, they tend to move quickly to make changes.

Daily Leadership Thought #189 – Family Connections Matter

I’m just back from a family reunion and had a great time. It was nice to reconnect with people I haven’t seen in awhile especially members of my extended family who I don’t see all that often. It’s much more enjoyable to see people during times of fellowship and celebration than only when something sad has happened or to wait for a wedding. Unfortunately as we get older it seems to get harder to stay connected: people move away, careers get more demanding, kids keep us busy, and there is only so much free time.

Daily Leadership Thought #188 – Count Your Blessings

Some people seem to handle just about anything life throws at them while others get beaten down by the smallest challenge. Why is this? Each and every day we get to make a choice. We get to decide what we focus on and our attitude about it. You can choose to focus on what is right with your life and use this as a launching pad to handle any ensuing difficulty OR you can obsess over what is not working and see a struggle around every corner.

Daily Leadership Thought #187 – Decisions Have Consequences

There seems to be a dearth of good strong corporate values these days (and basic common sense). While the objective of any business should be to make a good profit, it should also be to build long term sustaining economic value that accurately reflects the risks inherent in their internal and external environments. The best way to navigate these risks is to have a strong sense of who you are and what you will and will not do.