If you are a CEO, the time to lead is now! It is a fact of life that the only constant in the world is change. You cannot resist the future you must only embrace it. In addition, as we’ve seen lately, the present can change course quickly. This is why adaptability is such an […]
Anyone can manipulate words and stretch the facts to suit their short term objective. However, it is difficult long-term to fake behavior and eventually your words will catch up with you.
In my experience there are two types of leaders: those who build alliances across the span of their career and those who leave casualties in their wake. It’s always a pleasure to work with people who operate in the former category. Leaders require followers and the more people who see themselves in your camp the better. At the end of your career, you will hopefully be able to look back and see many lives that you have changed for the better and a large number of mutually beneficial relationships. Approaching life from a win-win perspective just makes plain common sense.
John Mellencamp has a great line in one of his songs that goes, “you’ve got to stand for something, or your gonna fall for anything…” In my experience working with leaders in both the for profit and no profit sectors, this couldn’t be more true. There is nothing more frustrating than working with someone who is not sure what he/she believes in and/or the difference they want to make in the world. By the way, making more money should be an outcome of doing something else well not the sole objective. I can sometimes quibble with what people come up with but it is very helpful and informative if I know what someone values and where they stand. A ship without a rudder will drift anywhere.
There are many things in life beyond our realm of control, but you get to decide how you behave. You can take the high road or low road. You follow the belief that two wrongs don’t make a right or you can escalate the pattern of bad behavior. You can allow people to continually stretch your moral/ethical boundaries or you can stick to them. You can play the victim or move on. You get to decide who is in your social circle and who isn’t. I listened to a speaker utter the phrase many years ago that, “we are what we tolerate” and it resonated with me right away. We are also what we continually do and who we do it with.
One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn in my line of work is that you can’t save everyone. Despite your good intentions and best efforts, sometimes the formula will not work. In some cases, you might have to accept the fact that you are not the right fit for a given engagement or client relationship. In other instances, there is always a reason why someone is struggling and until they fully come to grips with this fact and take ownership of their behavior, there is only so much you can do.
We all get in our way sometimes and leaders are no different. Just because we know we shouldn’t do something doesn’t always mean we won’t do it. However, not all mistakes are created equal. There are fifteen things a leader should strive never to do:
I would have to say that I tend to be an impatient person (although I’m working on it). I’m sure everyone who knows me wouldn’t argue with this point. I prefer taking action to waiting. Once I make up my mind about something, I just want to move forward and make progress. In addition, I get frustrated with others who don’t operate with the same sense of urgency that I do. It literally boggles my mind how slow and uninspired many people seem on a daily basis. However, with time and some maturity, I’ve begun to realize that the problem isn’t always them and maybe sometimes it’s me.
When you lead others it’s about them not you. Many leaders struggle with this idea especially those with big egos. The truth is that without followers there isn’t a need for a leader. People need to see their own interests aligned with yours. In addition, there needs to be something that holds them together besides the strength of your personality, size of your brain, and/or level of your self-confidence.
Talk is cheap. As a sports fan it’s amazing to watch how many individuals talk a big game and then don’t deliver. In life, business or sports it’s better to let your actions do your talking. I’m always surprised by players or coaches who draw unnecessary attention to themselves or their teams and literally motivate the opposition through what they say. Winning games at a professional level is hard enough without putting a bull’s-eye on your back. When you put yourself on a pedestal all you do is encourage other people to want to knock you off it.
In business and life it is important to understand what motivates you. There are good motivators and bad ones. Striving to make a positive difference in the world and/or building a great company is a much healthier objective than simply accumulating personal wealth or power. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reap the rewards of your efforts. There are few things more valuable than a person working hard and doing well at something they consider to be meaningful and important. However, be wary of seeking money just for the sake of it. Wealth should be the outcome not the objective.
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.
It is always better to be proactive rather than reactive in life. Change is inevitable. If you try and fight it you will only end up resentful and suffer the consequences. Sometimes the signals are obvious that you need to make changes other times they are not. However, waiting for a crisis to force change is rarely a wise strategy.
The secret to happiness has always been through giving not getting. There are few things more important than being there for other people in your life when they need you. Life can be a hard at times. At some point, everyone will need a shoulder to lean on, someone they can confide in and maybe even a helping hand.
There are few things more important than having priorities for what’s important in your life and how you choose to spend your time. We are all the architects of our own existence, at times struggling with the design challenges, however ultimately the adult life we build is our own. Happiness is a choice not just an outcome. It should also be an expectation.
Sometimes in the smallest ways we impact other people. Less frequently but more powerfully are those actions that over time have a significant impact on others.
In the course of a given day the average person has interactions with dozens of people (if not more). Many times these are only brief encounters with very little substance involved in the dialogue. It’s easy to not pay attention to how you’re coming across and/or make the extra efforts of being polite and courteous. However, life is built on these small conversations. You are either gaining allies/ friends or not. And, you never know when you’ll need a helping hand or advocate.
Most people I know want to create better outcomes in their life. They spend many hours dreaming, thinking, and talking about what a better situation could look like. They are usually confident in their own abilities and feel they measure up favorably against their peers. It’s not unusual to hear them surprised or even offer rationalizations when others they deem less talented or knowledgeable achieve more comparative success. The bottom line is that health, happiness and success are all the result of daily habits and behaviors that over time lead to a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Of course some people are blessed with extraordinary or unusual talent; however they are the exception not the rule.
Time is finite for all of us. We can estimate how long we have but estimates often bump into harsh reality. Tomorrow is another day until it is not. Some people get advance warning and have a chance to say goodbye and make peace with their life. Others seem to leave us in an instant with very little or no preparation.
I continue to be fascinated and a bit troubled by people who claim an unwillingness to grow or change. They seem to live by the Popeye motto, “I am what I am” and assume everyone else will simply accept this point of view whether they like it or not. Our actions and behaviors will always have consequences both good and bad. The goal should be to maximize the good and limit the bad.
Understand that as long as there is someone else in the office, you have an audience