Greetings friends! As we embark on this journey through the back half of the year, let’s take a moment to reflect on the profound impact that words can have on our lives. As Yehuda Berg beautifully stated, “Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.” This sentiment echoes throughout history, as Abraham Joshua Herschel adds, “Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts as a sound, ends in a deed.”
Let’s delve into the incredible influence that a single word can wield in shaping our thoughts, decisions, and actions. Just as a rudder steers a ship through uncharted waters, our chosen word can act as our guiding star, providing us with direction and purpose.
The Magic of One Word
Incorporating a single word into our lives is a practice that extends beyond personal resolutions. Many organizations have adopted this approach as part of their annual business planning. Words such as “growth,” “act now,” and “drive” become more than just mere terms – they become rallying points, unifying teams around a shared vision.
Through aligning language, these organizations discover that the challenge of fostering cohesion and clarity is greatly diminished. With a single word to spearhead initiatives, track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and shape strategies, a renewed sense of focus takes root. Furthermore, the added perk of creating memorable swag helps spread the message even further!
“My idea of Christmas whether old fashioned or modern is very simple: loving others ”. Bob Hope
“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” Mark Twain
Ah, one holiday down one to go. Or two if you’re already looking ahead to New Years. I hope that you had a wonderful holiday and that you’re not beating yourself up over the extra calories consumed while making those wonderful memories. Speaking of those extra calories, I believe we added two new traditions at our household. One is Panettone French toast. Oh, so decadent and delicious. Using Panettone bread for your base takes traditional French toast to a whole new level. And the second is pumpkin gnocchi. We found a recipe online by who else than the great Emeril Lagasse and it is a keeper. Emeril would say “if you think big then it’s going to be big”. His pumpkin gnocchi are a big deal at our house. Moving on to Christmas, we must remember to add the merry to our Merry Christmas.
Holiday blues are natural
Holiday is a time of cheer, but if you are like many of us this holiday left us exhausted and maybe with a tinge of the blues. That is natural. The commercialized view of the holidays makes them seem flawless and filled with endless energy and cheer. The reality for most of us returning to work after the holiday today is that we don’t feel refreshed and energized from the long weekend like we feel we should. Rather we feel like we need a holiday from the holiday. Realizing that the season has just begun has perhaps terrified you as much as the scale in your bathroom.
Here is the thing, and therefore why this is being discussed on a leadership podcast. I have said many times before leadership is inspiring others’ actions through our own actions. Speed of the leader; speed of the team. Those that look to us for how they should feel every other time of the year are depending on us now during the holidays. Does that mean you need an S on your chest and superhero powers? Certainly not. But if you find a way to manage your stress and anxiety during this busy time you will help others manage theirs.
Add the Merry to Your Merry Christmas
“Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react and reinvent”. Bill Gates
“If you want to be fast and agile, keep things simple. Speed isn’t the result of simplicity, but simplicity enables speed”. Jim Highsmith
Did you catch the clue in today’s quotes about our subject matter? Yes, it’s agility and leading with speed. I was talking about leadership with one of my new colleagues and mentioned the characteristics hungry, humble, and smart. Gino Wickman in his book Traction would say Get it, Want it, and Capacity where capacity includes the emotional capacity or emotional intelligence to do the job well. I may be stretching that capacity includes humility, but I think you must be capable of bigger things without letting them get to your head. My colleague was quick to add agile and he couldn’t be more right. It’s not enough to be smart enough to get the job done or driven enough to see the project to completion and having the capacity to get it done is important, but all three of these things aren’t good enough if you can’t learn, adapt, and change quickly. Success loves speed. Today’s leader needs agility.
“As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them”. John F. Kennedy
“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them”. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Happy Memorial Day and a big thank you to all of our past and present service men and women out there.
When I think of a holiday like today I think of the key element which is service. To serve, which makes me think of how service relates to leadership. We have all heard the term servant leader or servant leadership. When you hear those words what kinds of images come to mind or what actions do you think are represented by a servant leader? What I have witnessed is that the term is very misrepresented. Many confuse a leader doing someone else’s work for them with being a servant leader. We would all love a boss that does our job for us right? They may win a popularity contest, “most liked leader”, but someone else doing your job for you is not going to build your skillset, challenge you to do more, or inspire you.
What Most Think Servant Leadership Is
Many leaders roll their sleeves up and get in the trenches. Sometimes it is necessary for the needs of the business, or to provide the example for others to follow. (more…)
As 2020 comes to a close are you like many asking ourselves who do we want to be in the new year? Reflection is a powerful self improvement tool many of the greatest leaders use. Reflection involves the leadership questions you ask yourself before establishing priorities and goals for the new year.
“Learning without reflecting is a waste. Reflecting without learning is dangerous”. Confucius
“Follow effective actions with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective actions.” Peter Drucker
Fun fact on the author of our last quote – Peter Drucker, in addition to being one of the most influential thinkers in management of all time he had over 20 honorary degrees from colleges and universities all around the world. 20! So here’s a man whose work was so influential that these institutions of higher learning wanted his name associated with them. That’s technically all an honorary degree is. A way for a school to connect someone’s credentials, their accomplishments, their brand to the school.
That’s influence. Creating an image so great that a university will give you FOR FREE something that has value in the US of let’s say 10’s of thousands of dollars. So I ask you who wants your name associated with them? What are you doing to build your brand? How are you manifesting your influence so that others want to be connected to you? Maybe not colleges giving you degrees FOR FREE, but how about someone being proud to say “hey, I’m on so and so’s team. This is the team you want to be on.”
I have an acquaintance who’s a speaker and author who would say it this way “do people salivate when they hear your name.” Extreme right? Creating that culture where being on your team evokes more action and better results because people on your team want to be able to continue to connect themselves with your brand and to do that they know they need to perform.
Whew! That’s influence! That’s leadership!
Leaders let’s take just a couple of minutes here and discuss reflection and the leadership questions you ask yourself.
First, what is it? Reflection is about questioning, in a positive way, what you do, what you say and why you do or say it and then deciding if there is perhaps a better way. Why it’s important? Self-reflection is essential for personal growth. Taking the time to create self-awareness will allow you to challenge your thoughts and to uncover breakthroughs. Without it, we have the potential to be reactive to people and situations. Reactive is not a position of power or influence. It’s a defense.
Here’s another reason why. We all know that growth requires change. Change requires two things. A starting point, where you are currently. And, a destination, what you are going to change. Without creating self-awareness through reflection, it is going to be very difficult to assess the gap between the two and the proper actions needed to close the gap.
Here are 3 times when reflection can come into play.
Has your leadership status plateaued? Here’s one way to fuel your leadership status to unstoppable.
“You can’t build any kind of organization if you’re not going to surround yourself with people who have experience and skill base beyond your own.” Howard Schultz
“When you’re the best, you only want to surround yourself with the best.” Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Leaders need to remember that we are in the service of humans business. As Albert Einstein said, “Only a life lived in the service of others is worth living.”
The talent you surround yourself is what gets you promoted, not your own talent.
Reflecting on my own past and observing many amazing leaders I will tell you this. I never received a promotion based solely on my contributions. Perhaps, getting into that entry level leadership position will be based on your performance, but after that you will be recognized on the performance of the people you surround yourself with.
You’ve heard the term control the controllables. People is a controllable that many leaders do not see as one because they don’t take true ownership of their team. (more…)