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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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    Your Inner Circle: Building Your Leadership Team

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    Imagine that you want to move a 4,000 pound hulking mass of metal, plastic, rubber and fiber from your home to your office. In other words, you want to drive your car to work. The primary device of movement you will need is a set of wheels. Since its invention more than 6,000 years ago this basic tool has facilitated the transportation of objects across the world. The original design of the wheel was a solid frame, until the discovery that spokes made it lighter and faster, thus easier to use. While its design and aesthetics have evolved, the simplicity of its use has remained the same. It provides mobility and progress. Continue reading

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    The Catalyst of Conviction

    Convictions are firm beliefs in a position or theory of how things should or do operate. They’re developed as a result of our learning experiences, values, dreams and hopes, and our knowledge of facts. Each of us holds a unique set of convictions, but only some of us hold convictions that are game changing. If acted upon, these convictions may change our environment, and the way we live and operate. Such breakthroughs have shaped our world over centuries, like Thomas Edison’s light bulb; Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity; and George Washington Carver’s inventions from peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes; to name just a few.

    Today, convictions and their resulting innovations and inventions occur at a much greater speed, fueled by technology and the wealth and capability of those who hold them. Together they form a catalyst for those convictions to change our environment. Meet two men who demonstrate just that.

     

    Elon Musk

    Elon Musk has had a great year.  He was named Fortune Magazine’s 2013 Business Person of the Year based on the success of Tesla Motors’ new electric vehicle. Revenue at the company skyrocketed during the first three quarters of 2013, and as of late December the stock has increased by five times it’s January 2013 start price. In spite of several recent battery fires in the Model S vehicle, NTHSA has reaffirmed their five star safety rating for 2014. Musk used his proceeds from selling PayPal to Ebay in 2002, to fund this business along with his two other companies, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), and SolarCity.   


    SpaceX’s mission is to design, manufacture and launch advanced rockets and space craft, thereby revolutionizing space travel in a way that enables interplanetary life. They are developing reusable rockets that can make multiple trips between the earth and outer space, drastically reducing the cost of travel. This makes space travel similar to commercial airlines, where one airplane is capable of tens of thousands of trips. Solar City provides clean energy to customers at a lower cost than coal, oil and natural gas.

    Musk has the capability to reconceptualize the way things work.  He doesn’t just push on the boundaries of the possibilities, he reconstructs them. With SpaceX, he didn’t simply pick up where the U.S. space program left off; he reframed the concept of space travel. Chris Anderson, curator of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) describes Musk in a recent Fortune article as possessing the ability to make decisions that are “technically possible…economically intelligent, and…experientially satisfying.”  This is supported by a deeply held conviction of how the world should be, and the ability to convince others of his perspective. He is heavily involved in detailed decisions at his companies, while at the same time looking broadly at the overall system of how things work.

    Patrick Soon-Shiong

    Patrick Soon-Shiong is a Chinese physician who immigrated to the U.S. 30 years ago from South Africa. His U.S. medical career started when he was recruited to UCLA, where he was a well published researcher, a groundbreaking transplant surgeon, and most importantly, inventor of Abraxane, a cancer fighting drug.  Forbes reported his net worth at around $9 billion, making him #45 on their September 2013 400 Richest Americans list.

    According to the story by David Whitford in Fortune’s December 9, 2013 issue, Soon-Shiong’s business endeavors began in 1998 when he pieced together enough money to purchase a generic drugmaker. He turned the company around and used the profits to fund the development of Abraxane.  A decade later he sold the company and used his profits to purchase a share of the Los Angeles Lakers, and with his wife joined Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffet’s giving pledge as major philanthropists in the medical arena.

    Most importantly though, Soon-Shiong is using his wealth to support his conviction in the power of transformative medicine. He’s used $700 million of his own money (and partnered with others), to buy small companies with the intent of leveraging the latest technologies to help physicians and researchers develop new therapies to diagnose and treat life threatening diseases like cancer.

    This conviction is a life passion and a mission for him. He sees the world in a systems integrated approach, and his vision is reportedly sometimes greater than his capability to express it. This is his plan to change the practice of medicine and thereby change the world.

    Conviction

    Musk and Soon-Shiong each have a rather unique philosophy about how to apply technology to world problems, and to essentially change the way we live. Their capability as demonstrated by past business successes, has built a level of confidence (and cash) that enabled them to further develop and pursue these beliefs, and resulted in a strongly held conviction about what the future should be like. Both have the ability to view a large system along with its component pieces, and use that view to drive change.  They’re persuasive, possess a drive to persevere, and believe in what some might call audacious change, a trait held by other serial disrupters like Steve Jobs. Instead of adjusting to the world’s way of thinking, they’re trying to make the world adjust to their way of thinking.

    So what is your strongly held conviction about your environment; your surroundings; the people, tools and systems you interact with? What do you strongly believe that will benefit others and change the way we work and operate? Scale it to your area of influence and capability, and identify the catalyst to move you forward in this area. It could be a theory on life, a process, a service, or a product…something that excites you. Review all your experiences, because they have served a purpose to bring you to the point you’re at now. As you begin a new year, resolve to take action on your convictions.  Let them be the catalyst to your success. 

     

    Read the Fortune Magazine story on Elon Musk here.

    Read the Fortune Magazine story on Patrick Soon-Shiong here.

    Photo from iStockphoto

    2013 Copyright Priscilla Archangel 

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    A Relationship of Trust

     

    How do you determine who to trust? How much trust can you place in those around you, and how much can you trust them with?

    A recent story chronicling the “re-education” of Mark Zuckerberg in the April 29th edition of Fortune provides a good example. With the fast paced growth of social media, apps and smart phones, Facebook needed an effective wireless strategy. This was the next big shift in technology, and if they missed it, the young company’s phenomenal successes could be short lived. Zuck, as he is commonly called by those in the business, turned to Mike Schroepfer his Chief Technology Officer, and Cory Ondrejka who was in charge of mobile engineering. Cory had co-founded Linden Lab which created the virtual world Second Life, and later started a tech company that Facebook recently purchased.  It was Cory who proposed not only restarting their current mobile efforts again from scratch, which would take precious time, but doing so in the midst of the much publicized IPO when investor scrutiny on their technology problems would be especially intense.

    After much discussion Zuck approved that approach, even though as he said, it was against his instincts. According to the article, his decision paid off as Facebook launched a new iPhone app in August 2012that has received top ratings in the App Store. While it may be too early to determine the long term success of that decision, there’s great learning in the “process” of making it.

    Man helping a woman up on a rockSo why would Zuck decide to trust the recommendation of these two men, even when it ran contrary to his normal approach and instincts?  Because he trusted them.  At that moment he made a conscious decision to place greater faith in their experience, analysis and resulting recommendation, than in his own. If they were wrong, he had more to lose than anyone else. The potential impact to his reputation and respect, his company, and his wealth could suffer a significant and possibly irretrievable blow.  But he knew that the current strategy wasn’t working, and he had to try something different, so he bought into it and exercised trust.

     


    Active Trust

    This type of trust in others is earned. Its an active verb, and it’s a choice. It comes as a result of several foundational elements.

    Confidence – belief in their abilities and their motives, that they’re reliable and dependable.

    Capability – they have expertise, past proven successes, and experience in a specific critical area.

    Consistency – exhibiting the same behavior and communicating the same values repeatedly such that it’s easy to predict their responses.

    Collaboration – willingness to work with others, exchange ideas and leverage the strengths of others in coming up with solutions to problems.

    Confidentiality – using good judgment in communications with others, and ensuring that information is shared only as necessary with appropriate persons.

    Now think of situations where you’ve placed a great deal of trust in someone else.

    ·        You trust your physician with your health.

    ·        You trust your business partner with your work.

    ·        You trust your financial planner with your investments.

    ·        You trust your spouse with your heart.

    ·        You trust your friends with your happiness.

    ·        You trust your work team with your ideas and strategies.

    ·        You trust your boss with your career.

    And yet you retain a measure of control over these “trusting” relationships, balancing the right amount of confidence, capability, consistency, collaboration and confidentiality that you place in them, with what they provide in return. It’s a reciprocal relationship, reinforced or weakened by every action or counter-action. You can “remove” the trust at any time, almost immediately, whether for cause or for instinct.

    Rock Climbing Trust

    So how do you grow to trust someone? And how much are you willing to trust them? For any productivity to occur we must trust others, because we’re incapable of finding fulfillment, achieving our goals, or attaining significance in life without having trusting relationships. And at the same time, we must display these same characteristics so that others will place their trust in us. But your ability to trust others is based in part on your ability to trust yourself. It is based on your ability to demonstrate the 5Cs in the same manner that you want others to demonstrate it. So because Zuck is able to experience and exhibit confidence, capability, consistency, collaboration and confidentiality, he recognizes it and shares it with others.

    I recognize that I’ll never be able to trust someone else in a certain area, unless I overcome my personal fears in that area.  For instance, I have no desire togo skydiving.  As someone eloquently said, why would I jump out of a perfectly good airplane? My fear of having only a parachute on me at ten thousand feet above ground has nothing to do with my trust in the instructor or the pilot. It has everything to do with ME.  And unless I deal with that fear, I’ll never learn to trust them.  Similarly, while I might step on a narrow boulder a few feet off the ground, I cannot imagine ever (did I say ever) rock climbing and stepping up on a boulder thousands of feet off the ground (see the picture).  I’m afraid of that height and don’t trust my ability to master such a feat. Before I perform either act, I’d first have to learn to trust myself and gain more confidence, capability and collaboration before I could trust others to help me do it.  The same is true in marriage relationships and business relationships.

    So instead of examining others to determine if they’re worthy of our trust, we must first decide if we’re worthy of theirs. Do we display confidence, capability, consistency, collaboration and confidentiality? Do we behave in a manner that would make others want to trust us? Do we use those trusting behaviors to support others in their goals in a manner that creates a reciprocal relationship? I encourage you to practice these characteristics to build your relationships of trust.

     

    Read the Fortune article by Jesse Hemphill here.

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    What Defines Your Leadership?

    In the April 9, 2012 issue of Fortune magazine, an article on The 12 Greatest Entrepreneurs of Our Time – and What You Can Learn From Them by John A. Byrne provides a brief but insightful look at what makes these successful men tick (three women received honorable mention but didn’t make it to the top 12).I’d like to provoke your thoughts by sharing the critical success factors about the top four.

    Steve Jobs – Apple– Didn’t rely on consumer research, but instead “connected the dots” about relationships between technology and life experiences.  He believed that it wasn’t consumers’ responsibility to know what they wanted, especially if they haven’t seen anything like it before.  In essence consumers are often limited by their own experiences and imagination.

    Bill Gates – Microsoft– Picked smart people and put them to work on important things. Both his business partner (Paul Allen) and his successor as CEO (Steve Ballmer) fall into that category.  These are people who he bounced ideas off, and who in turn would come up with even better ideas.  Gates believes that brilliant people should work on the best and most important projects.

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    Fred Smith – Fedex– Learned about logistics from his experience serving in Vietnam where he saw the importance of integrating ground and air operations to move material and equipment, and to support the troops.He also learned the importance of investing in the right first line managers to make good decisions, and to praise them publicly for their work.

    Jeff Bezos – Amazon– Takes a mini-retreat every quarter. This is time for him to reflect on the past, and plan for the future.His time alone with no phones is spent web-surfing for new trends and ideas that he then writes in a memo to himself and other members of his executive team for follow-up and action. These ideas typically take on a life of their own as others add to them until something develops. Continue reading

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