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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    Pivot to Purpose: Moving from a Career to a Calling

    What were you doing as a teenager that really excited you and that you continue to do today?

    Concept of a man follows the right way

    i-Stock, natthapon

    A speaker asked this question years ago while talking to a group about understanding their strengths and passions in life. Several years later, when I was at a pivot point in my career, trying to decide whether to take the “safe” route, which required less faith, or the “risky” route, which required a lot of faith, it helped me make my decision. I recognized four key things I did during my teens that I was passionate about and how I continued these themes later in life.

    Writing – When I was about 14, I decided on my own to read 1 and 2 Corinthians in the Bible and write down, chapter by chapter, what it meant to me. I was analyzing and trying to understand it and relate it to current life. Thirty years later, I continued that theme by writing a book of insights reflecting a faith- based approach to leadership. And I’ve followed that by writing a monthly commentary for individuals, teams and organizations focused on development of successful leadership skills. For me, the creativity of writing is intellectually stimulating and has become a passion and a priority in life. Continue reading

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    5 Keys to Maximizing Your Personal Brand

    Personal Branding


    Do you know what people are saying about you when you’re not in the room? Do you know what they think of your performance, your presence, your purpose and your personality? Rather than being unconcerned about what others think, it’s important to ensure that their perception of you aligns with how you want to be perceived. Because the answers to these questions are part of your personal brand.

    Glenn Llopis describes personal brand as “the total experience of someone having a relationship with who you are and what you represent as an individual; as a leader.”1 It’s your promise that you will do what you said you will do. It’s your reputation that attracts others to you, or pushes them away. Establishing and managing your brand is an ongoing process fueled by continual behavioral inputs that remind others of who you are, what you do, and how you can support them. Leaders must develop their brand so that it validates their work and provides a platform to connect with others and accomplish their goals.

    Continue reading

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    Discovering Your Leadership Purpose

    We frequently talk about purpose in the context of individuals or organizations, but there are other areas where identification and understanding of purpose is critical. One such instance is in the context of leadership, and Isadore Sharp, founder and Chairman of the iconic Four Seasons Hotel brand provides a great example.

    Sharp finished college with an architecture degree and joined his father’s construction business in the Toronto area. After building several motor hotels, he recognized that his passion lay not in constructing and owning hotel buildings, but in providing a premier guest experience and level of customer service.  He wanted to “welcome customers and treat them like guests coming into our home.” 1  So Sharp shifted from being a hotel owner-operator into managing hotel properties. His priority is a commitment to the Golden Rule, where employees and guests alike are treated with respect. Along the way he had to examine the behavior of his senior leadership team and part company with those who couldn’t lead by example. As a result, with 96 properties in 41 countries and annual revenues in excess of $4B, both customer and employee retention is high, and they’ve been on the list of 100 Best Places to Work for 18 consecutive years.

    Young determined businessman with big hammer in hands standing on ruins

    IStock Photo

    Sharp understands that his leadership purpose was to provide a premier level of hospitality and service. And over time, he recognized the importance of building the right team around him, whose perfomance aligned with that purpose. He fulfills his purpose based on leadership strengths of treating guests with respect and sincerity, and providing the right location and environment for a first class stay. He consistently embeds it into every aspect of his organization’s processes, rewards and behaviors; and believes that a true leader influences not from a position of power, but from a position of respect.2  His leadership purpose and strengths, then work together to accomplish his leadership goal of generating a reasonable profit that benefits the company, hotel owners, customers and employees.

    Leadership purpose forms the “why” of your leadership. Are you seeking a leadership role simply because of the power, position, people or profits? Or are you leading because of the purpose, mission and vision that you are pursuing, no matter the size of the role? Leadership strengths are the capabilities and critical success factors necessary to operate in your purpose. And leadership goals are the results you accomplish in your work. Continue reading

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    Lead With Your Why

    In his book Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action, Simon Sinek describes our why as “our driving purpose, cause or belief”.  This why never changes, no matter what we do. A critical role of leaders is to define and communicate the why of their organization in a way that unites the leadership team and all employees around it. A shared why among the leadership team translates into alignment and consistency in decision making regarding the company’s products and services. It drives brand marketing; financial and legal matters; and treatment of employees, customers and shareholders. A shared why will also keep the organization focused on what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. This becomes a standard or benchmark against which all strategies are measured to ensure they deliver on the brand promise.

    Start With Your Why

    When Bill and Melinda Gates we seeking a new CEO to lead their $40 billion foundation, they led with their why when they enticed Susan Desmond-Hellmann to accept the position. At the time she was passionate about her role as chancellor of the University of California at San Francisco, thus wasn’t initially interested. But after two months of conversations, she decided to accept the role because their vision, mission and plans gave her an opportunity to be a part of a team that could change the world. The interview process between the Gates and Desmond-Hellmann cinched the deal because it brought out the shared why that motivated each of them to action.  While it was possible for the Gates to find someone capable of performing the role as CEO of the world’s second largest foundation, it was even more important to find one who shared their why, who shared their passion for improving the lives of women and girls in developing countries, and eradicating disease. And sharing that why made all the difference.

    Rapper and music producer Dr. Dre (Andre Young) champions the why for the Beats by Dre brand, and Beats Electronics, which was co-founded by he and music mogul Jimmy Iovine. They produce the high-priced Beats headphones and provide a streaming music service. Dr. Dre maintains a focus on what’s “cool” by ensuring they have the best quality sound, and overseeing marketing strategies in minute detail. He’s known as a perfectionist, a workaholic, and eschews market research in favor of his gut instinct, which has paid off handsomely for him in past music endeavors. This was reinforced when Apple recently purchased Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion.

    Steve Jobs was similarly known for avoiding market research because in his opinion, the customer doesn’t know what they want until someone shows it to them (yes, I didn’t know how much I needed my iPad until I got one). Jobs was famous for his product launches where he educated customers on the capabilities of new products and how it would help them. He spoke from the passion of his why instead of using a hard sell mode.

    Know Your Why

    The leadership of the Gates, Dr. Dre and Steve Jobs to define and communicate their company’s why attracts others who share the same why, and want to help them bring it to life. The why attracts customers to products and employees to positions. We identify with companies and brands that share beliefs similar to ours, that support causes we believe are worthy, and that provide services we feel are valuable. It takes focus for leaders to be clear about their why and to continuously steer their organizations in that direction, avoiding distractions and seemingly logical arguments to veer off track.  It requires a deep-rooted understanding of what you want to accomplish, and a personal belief in your ability to do so. It requires the ability to block out the glittering lights of other leaders’ why, that may look cool, but doesn’t match your passion and motivation.

    The driving cause or belief of your organization should evoke emotion and passion. It should be motivational. Sinek says that making money is the result, not the cause, and companies should think, act and communicate starting with their why. It engages employees and customers. So though you may think is obvious to all your stakeholders, take a moment to query those around you. If you’re not hearing consistent responses there’s an opportunity to provide clarity to your team and begin to drive that through all their decisions.  

    So know your why. Show your why. Grow your why

    Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.

    Copyright Priscilla Archangel 2014

    Read about Dr. Dre and Apple here.

    Read the interview with Melinda Gates and Susan Desmond-Hellmann in Fortune here.

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    The Right Questions

    “What do you want me to do?” Gregg Popovich, head coach of the San Antonio Spurs sometimes empowers his players by stepping back, and letting them figure out their next step in the game. They’ve risen to the occasion by giving “Coach Pop” 16 consecutive winning seasons, more than any other active NBA coach.

    “How to you turn this company from aid provider to economic development? Blake Mycoskie, CEO of TOMS Shoes faced this question during a two year break from running his company, during which he reflected on his future role. The answer? He’s started TOMS Roasting, which sells beans in grocery stores, and in his branded cafes. Mycoskie found that coffee farmers provide the best economic development in the countries to which they donate. So to continue his model of “buy one give one”, for each bag sold TOMS will provide one week of clean water to a person in need, and for each beverage sold they will provide one day of clean water. Water is the number one ingredient in premium beans, yet many people in these countries lack clean water for their personal use.

    “When are you going to drop the ‘interim’ title?” Jay Stein, then Interim CEO of Stein Mart, an off-price retail store, was asked this question several years ago by a reporter. Jay is the grandson of founder Sam Stein who started the family store in the early 1900s, and now boasts $1.3 billion in sales from 266 stores, with another 25 in the works. Jay had retired after heart by-pass surgery thinking that someone else could do a better job running the company. But after three failed CEOs he stepped in again on an interim basis.  This reporter’s question caused an epiphany as he recognized the negative impact of continuously shifting and ineffective leadership. His response? “Right now.” They made a public announcement and the organization has moved smoothly forward.


    The Power of a Question

    These are examples of the right questions; powerful questions that once answered, provide direction, clarity and purpose. They’re necessary for our continual development and well-being; indispensable and essential for our growth. The right questions may ask What, Why or How. They’re designed to coach, facilitate and motivate others to think deeply into their situation and determine their next steps. My friend Christian Simpson, an internationally acclaimed expert in professional coaching, describes this as effective questions that invite the person to a greater level of discovery, clarity and action. Properly posed and authentically answered, they create buy-in to the future.

    Whether in a group meeting or one-on-one dialogue, the right questions can refocus the discussion, reenergize the conversation and restructure the approach. They can cut to the heart of the issue; cause you to stop and think about what you’re doing and why; and challenge you to make the right decision for the right reason.

    The Right Perspective

    So possibly you’re wondering how you can leverage the power of the right questions to have more productive business and personal discussions, ensure alignment of specific decisions with your vision or mission, generate increased business, or to coach others towards success.

    Asking the right questions is a matter of perspective. It requires an objective look at the situation, or the ability to step back for a moment and view the proverbial forest instead of the trees. It may require a deeper look into the future. It requires greater interest in letting the other party find the right answer, than in you telling them what to do. It’s a matter of getting them to think through their priorities, objectives, and strategies and come to their own realization of their necessary actions. It may require listening deeply to what is not specifically stated, to the underlying motivating principles and priorities. It may involve asking the question that is screamingly obvious to you that no one else dares to ask or that everyone else is blinded to; or probing deeper into the circumstances and thought processes of the people involved.

    The right questions also require the right timing for the respondent to be receptive. I had a discussion with a client several months ago regarding a colleague that he continually wanted to include in meetings. The colleague was well known in certain business circles and brought a level of credibility to his team, but the colleague’s area of specialty wasn’t well aligned with this client’s business goals. Finally, the timing was right for me to directly ask what value this colleague added. The client thought for a moment and came to the realization that there was no value, but he now owned the decision. Similarly Coach Pop’s timing in letting his team figure out the right next strategy helped them to better understand how to apply their skills to the challenges on the court.

    Blake Mycoskie and Jay Stein’s right questions helped them make major decisions in their work and their lives. They didn’t avoid the response but embraced it and experienced growth. So appreciate and value the people in your life who are insightful and who venture to ask you the right questions


    Read more about Gregg Popovich  here.

    Read more about Blake Mycoskie here

    Read more about Jay Stein here


    Copyright 2014 Priscilla Archangel

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