October 25, 2014

Friends Who Only Phone When They Want Something

This is a great blog post written by Colin Shaw.  Was sent to me via LinkedIn.

Friends Who Only Phone When They Want Something.

Great article, and I could not have said it better.

Video: Paper is Not Dead

I have been saying that paper is on its way out, but this video proves me wrong for now at least. You have to watch the whole video to get it.

Le papier ne sera jamais mort / Paper is not dead ! from INfluencia on Vimeo.

Finding Joe: A Must See Documentary For Everyone

In the early 20th century while studying world mythology, Joseph Campbell discovered a pattern hidden in every story ever told. He called it “the hero’s journey.” Finding Joe explores how the hero’s journey is relevant and essential in today’s world. It provides a narrative for how to live a fully realized life or, as Campbell would simply state, how to “follow your bliss.” The film takes us on an inspirational quest of self-discovery. As you slay dragons and uncover treasures, you just may find that the holy grail you seek is closer than you think.  (Description for movie from Amazon.com).

This video is available online through YouTube at no charge.

A Different Take On The “Trust Fall”

If any of you have not seen this video on You Tube, check it out!  In leadership and team coaching, we often use the “trust fall” exercise to demonstrate trust on a team.  Yet, this is a bit of a different take:

New Year! New Ways of Leading!

1.  Quiet!  Our world is way too noisy right now.  Every day, we have to listen to political leaders, the media and pundits run on ad on about their ideas and do their very best to be the loudest voice in the room.  In the new book Quiet, the authors explore how introverts very often make the best leaders.  Hmmm…interesting?  The book is not out now, but my hunch tells me that introverts are probably the best leaders, because they are often more quiet…listening and weighing the information.  Introverts also love to mull over information, giving thoughtful time before they speak or jump the gun.

Bea Fields
President
Bea Fields Companies, Inc.

2.  Create spaces where your creative energy can thrive.  As a Feng Shui consultant, I work with people who are all unique.  Each person needs to pay closely to their environments and the ones in which they thrive best.  At the same time, you will want to bring some sense of order to our environments.  Too much of a good thing can lead to a loss of balance and chaos.  So, when the environments become cluttered, it is time to back up and make space for creativity.  Your world is a reflection of what is going on.  If you are feeling chaotic as a leader, it is critical to pause, to listen and to observe before speaking.  Clear spaces will help build this environment that will cultivate calm.

Peg Donahue
Feng Shui Practitioner
Feng Shui Connections

3.  Clear out all of your digital media.  It is easy to lose sight of what we are storing electronically, which can cause clutter and force our lives to slow down and also be chaotic.  Be sure to create space in your both your paper and electronic files.

Peg Donahue
Feng Shui Practitioner
Feng Shui Connections

4.  Look closely at trends.  Find out what other leaders are doing and the unique things they have done.  By being a trend setter, you will be noticed as an unconventional leader, which is needed in this era.  We all need to be looking at the history of the last year and then plan for the future.  It is important to look at trends and ask “What was it that made this trend stickable” or “What was it that made this trend die on the vine”?  By answering these questions, as a leader, you can begin to see repeating patterns in the marketplace and in their industries.

Melissa Hall
Marketing Consultant
Hallway Marketing

5.  You must be willing to know who you are as a leader in order to realize your best and highest contribution.  If people really knew their skills and strengths, they would not have to force themselves into a job or a role that they really cannot take on. I always wonder how the planet would improve if we were all in the best roles and jobs we were suited for.  We tend to morph things and ourselves to do things that we just don’t want to do.  This takes a lot of time and energy and creates employee complaints.  Many people stay frustrated doing a job that needs to be outsources.  With more recognition in the workplace of the different skills available in each person, employee satisfaction, improvement and productivity would go through the roof.

Penni Wild
Real Life Magic

Top 20 Books on Leadership and Management

I want to thank Ready to Manage for passing along this list of the top 20 books on leadership and management.  I have read most of these books, and I do agree that they are worth reading.  Even if you are a solo biz owner, you can greatly benefit from this list?

Top 20 Leadership and Management Books

I also want to thank Ready to Manage for naming the Bea Fields Companies blog as one of the top 50 leadership blogs for 2012.  I am greatly honored to be joining such an esteemed group of authors.

Video: How Good Managers Listen

I want to thank Emily Stewart for passing along this video by the title of: How Good Managers Listen. The video is relevant for anyone who is either managing or leading people (including parents and teachers). To view more of their videos, visit The One Minute MBA video series for some really great information.

TED Video: Are Schools Killing Our Creativity?

In this TED video Sir Ken Robinson makes a compelling case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

I agree with him that we must start challenging and rethinking our school system if we are going to move our children and young adults into the future.  Well worth viewing (inspiring, compelling and very funny as well).

 

The 3 Main Leadership Qualities of Obama and Romney

WOW…What a summer it has been.  I have not blogged in over three months, and I have frankly felt that I really did not have anything too terribly earth shattering to write about given all that is going on with our world.

I have avoided talking about the US political election for some time, and today, I have made the decision to lay out for you what I see as the three biggest assets of the two main candidates and their one biggest challenge or downside.  This is simply my opinion from listening to each candidate speak and watching them interact in front of a crowd.  I have never met either candidate, so I am not unlike 99% of the population.  Most of us only see these candidates on the stump or on television.

Too often, during elections, we hear of promises, hopes, past records and bones in the closet  What we don’t often hear about are the true leadership skills of the candidates.  As a leadership coach, I have to say this is a shame.  We really should be looking closely at the soft skills when making our decision about who our next President will be.  So, during this post, I won’t be talking issues.  You can find that all over the internet.  I want to strictly talk about the leadership traits that I see as critical to making a decision when we all vote on November 6.  And…if you don’t think leadership skills matter in our president, I encourage you to think again.  Anyone can stand in front of you and tell you what they plan to do.  The leadership traits are what drive a leader to make a decision or not.

President Obama:

Presentation Skills: We all know that this is where President Obama really shines. He is highly effective in a variety of formal presentations for both small and very large groups. He commands attention and can manage himself quite well during hot or controversial topics. He also is able to change the topic or tactics midstream when something is not going well and has become known for pleasing the crowd by telling a great joke or singing an Al Green tune.  He just knows how to work a crowd, and people love this about President Obama.

Vision: President Obama is a visionary thinking…he thinks BIG!  Anyone can hear and feel in his presentations:  President Obama has a huge vision for the future. The challenge has been for the President to scale that big vision down into steps that can be taken today so that we can all see that he is indeed moving in the direction of that vision. It is easy for visionary leaders to get lost in the future without looking at today, and if re-elected, it will be important for President Obama to speak about what he plans to do today and how those steps, if repeated over time, will create a stronger future for our country.

Connecting With Others:  President Obama seems to be someone who is extremely comfortable in his own skin, is an inspirational speaker and seems to connect with a wide variety of people across cultural boundaries and socio-economic groups. This is what makes him so effective during a political campaign. People want to LOVE their president, and his appeal and warmth do come across over television and during presentations.

Biggest Shortcoming: Over-promising and under-delivering. While President Obama may have been trying to take action and drive for resuts the last four years, Americans have not really seen some of the most important promises Obama made four years ago come to fruition.   I do want to acknowledge that the President did come into his current position during one of the toughest economic times in American history, and to turn everything around in four years is a tough job indeed. Having said that, I would never advise a leader to fill people with promises, hopes and dreams of a record low unemployment rate, a balanced budget and a strong fiscal plan that are far beyond what was truly possible. Tough times call for straight talk and under-promising and over-delivering would be better for this incumbent President than promising the moon and not delivering it.

Govenor Mitt Romney

Servant Leadership: If you do a bit of homework, you will find that Governor Romney began serving others as an early teenager. Whether on the campaign trail with his father or mother or serving as a Mormon missionary in France at age 19, Romney has dedicated a huge portion of his life to serving others. His biggest call to service to others came when he served as bishop of his ward and later stake president in his church near Boston. In 1999, he was hired as President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics.  Romney actually left Bain Capital to take over the leadership of the games in the aftermath of a bribery scandal that ultimately exposed years of widespread corruption by members of the International Olympic Committee and their counterparts in host cities during the bidding process used to award the games.  While I know that Governor Romney had a great deal of help, you cannot ignore the strong leadership he displayed during this turn-around.

Problem Solving: Governor Romeny is one of those people who seems to say “Okay…we’ve got a problem. Let’s go fix it”and is able to enlist others to help get problems solved.  The more I study Romney, the more impressed I am by so many turn-around opportunities he forged: Establishing and executing a rescue mission for the missing 14-year-old daughter of Bain colleague, Robert Gayof , turning the scandal of the 2002 Olympics into gold or stepping into the governor’s seat as a Republican in the state of Massachusettes and balancing the budget.

Decision Making: Whether or not you like the fact that Governor Romney is one of the founders of Bain Capital is neither here nor there. The obvious  is this: While at the helm of Bain Capital, Romney was faced with a lot of tough business and investment decisions. He made some great decisions and some that were not so great, and he has admitted both his highs and lows while with Bain. As Theodore Roosevelt once said: “In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”  I have always believed that a leader only gets stronger by making decisions, even if they don’t turn out so well.  The only poor decision is indecision (in my opinion).

Biggest Shortcoming: Connecting with Others. As we all know, Governor Romney’s biggest criticism has been that he is just not connecting with the American people. He has often been described as robotic, stiff and uncomfortable when greeting and speaking with people. One thing I want to mention is that Governor Romney was born in 1947. He is a Baby Boomer and is on the cusp of being a member of the Traditionalist Generation. Both Boomers and Traditionalists were trained to move up the hierarchy, to keep their emotions in check and to leave their family or social problems or challenges at home.  They were taught to always have a strong, stiff upper lip and always forge ahead no matter how rough the waters may be. Having heard the testimonials of people whose lives have been forever changed by Governor Romney and stories from his family tell me that this is a humble man who has a great deal of compassion and much to give to the people. Having said this, many voters look for that inspirational, emotional connection in a future President, and Romney can certainly improve this area, especially if he wants to win the election.

Closing Comments: Rhetoric. I would really like to see both candidates spew less rhetoric and spell out in spades HOW they are going to: Create jobs, reduce or eliminate the deficit, get our housing market above water and a detailed plan on how they will make the USA one of the strongest, most competitive nations in the world again by addressing our fiscal responsibility, education, fair trade and  tapping into our vast natural resources to make us an energy independent nation. I know that campaigns are filled with rhetoric and blue sky thinking, but I am one voter (along with many others) who really want to hear the details of how each candidate plans to fulfill his promises.

I welcome your comments on our two main candidates for President of the United States.  The more we discuss the candidates, the more educated we will be on November 6 when we head to the polls to vote.

If you are interested in learning more about leadership coaching or training, contact me today.

Are You Being Limited By Your Assumptions?

In business and leadership, we all spend a great deal of time living with assumptions that are just no longer relevant.  Our outdated beliefs, the way we operate, the books we read and the people we spend time with help contribute to our dedication to those assumptions.  If we live with outdated assumptions, we will never get ahead and be as successful as we want to be.  We all have to be constantly challenging our assumptions to see if they are serving us or holding us back.

As I am writing about this, I cannot help but think about people who have challenged assumptions only to become some of the world’s greatest business leaders.

Steve Jobs Jobs challenged the assumption that the only way to get access to legal music was to buy it from a music store and to buy it on a CD that included at least a dozen songs.  He looked at what Napster was giving away for free (illegally of course), and he saw the ability to download 10,000 individual songs onto a small device that could fit in the palm of your hand.  Anyone can now buy just one song on iTumes for a little over $1.00, and most brick and mortar business stores have said good-bye to the consumers of music.

Fred Smith, Founder of Fed Ex: In the shipping business, there was an assumption that the fastest way to get a package to a buyer was to ship it directly.  Smith then thought of shipping the package to a central hub in Memphis, TN and then to get the packages from there to the shipper…to make things quicker and more efficient.  His idea was comical to many, and Fed Ex was born.  I don’t know about you, but I just don’t think I could make it without Fed Ex.  I love having something I need now delivered overnight.

Ted Turner The old assumption was one that said that news would be delivered for 30 minutes each evening around 6:30 or 7:00 Eastern, and that would be it for the day.  Then, Ted Turner had an idea…What if news could be delivered 24 hours a day?  We could get breaking news out immediately as it was happening.  Again…people thought Turner was crazy!  Yep…crazy like a fox, and CNN was born.

Tom Anderson,  Founder of My Space The old assumption was that talking, texting or email were the only ways people could communicate.  Then My Space came along (yes…before Facebook), and people began communicating in online communities and sharing their lives with the world.  Other social networking platforms popped up, but My Space was the first big one that broke through the ceiling.

In leadership coaching, I am always asking my clients to look at any limiting, outdated beliefs, systems, procedures or processes that may be getting in their way of success.  I encourage you to do the same.  These four people did not let their old belief systems get in their way.  They knew what the public wanted even before they knew they wanted it.   As someone who orders about 50% of my household goods, clothing and shoes online and who listens to my iPod everyday, I cannot imagine life today without the above four people challenging their assumptions and bringing new products and services into my life that do make life easier and more fun.

As I close this post, I want to ask you “What assumptions are you holding in your mind that are getting in your way of success?”  I encourage you to leave your comments below.

 

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