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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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    Fortune

    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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    The World’s Most Admired Company Is…

    According to Fortune’s 2016 report of The World’s Most Admired Companies, which surveyed over 4,000 executives, directors, analysts and business insiders; Apple again commands the top spot on their list, for the 9th consecutive year! It’s followed closely by Alphabet (Google), and Amazon. With a track record like that, we’ve got to understand the ingredients to their success.

    First, it’s important to know that the attributes used to determine this ranking include quality of products, quality of management, innovation, long term investment value, talent attraction, financial soundness, corporate asset use, social responsibility, and global business. A well rounded set of criteria that considers all facets of the business.

    Photo from Fortune

    Photo from Fortune

    Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed by Adam Lashinsky to get his take on their phenomenal achievement, as well as how they’re handling criticism of recent fiscal first quarter performance, which was strong, but missed investors’ revenue expectations. His response provides several tips as a good reminder for leaders in any organization.

    1. Block out the noise.  

    Analysts, media, shareholders, and others will always have some comment or critique about your products or services, but be selective about who you’re listening to. You can’t react to every question or criticism. You can’t be all things to all people. A prime example is their recent issue with the U.S. government on providing access to encrypted information on an iPhone. Whether you agree with Apple’s position in this situation or not, overall, you must evaluate every option and potential product or service based on the next point.

    1. Focus on your mission and vision.

    Cook talked about staying focused on “making the best products that really help people enrich their lives in some way.” So do your mission and vision inspire and excite employees and customers? Does your product or service continue to align with your purpose and the areas where you’ve been successful? Or does your company get distracted by what I like to call shiny objects alongside the road. You know, getting caught up in the latest trend, trying to do what other companies are doing, or letting financial goals be the primary driver to all decisions. Which leads to point three.

    1. Identify balanced metrics

    Cook says he’s driven by the data that shows his customers are happy.  And while recent sales didn’t meet analysts’ expectations, they still sold 74 million iPhones at a profit of $18 billion. The temptation to chase profits is HUGE, but most businesses need to take the long view and invest in their future, build a strong internal and external brand, and be known for the quality of their products and services; along with maximizing performance in the immediate term.  What metrics best reflect your organization’s goals, market positioning, customer and employee needs?

    1. Explore the possibilities

    Apple has a primary focus on innovation and is widely rumored to be working on a car project. While Cook would neither confirm nor deny that, he did admit that the DNA of the company includes curiosity around a variety of product options that align with their mission, and deliberately selecting a few to pursue. Their cash position makes this easy of course. But they approach it from a perspective of exploring technologies and different ways to use them to align with the focus on making great products that help people.

    How Can You Become Most Admired?

    So your company or team may not be quite as big as the 1,500 that were considered for this top 50 list. But you can still be greatly admired by colleagues in your industry, geography, or organization. Consider the following questions.

    • What are you doing to ensure you are a great place to work, and have the best talent for an organization of your size, geography and industry?
    • Do you have the right management team to lead you to the next level, or are you prioritizing loyalty, mediocrity, or family members above talent?
    • How are you ensuring high quality products and services?
    • How does your organization leverage its head, hands, and heart to support social causes?
    • What is the global impact of your products and services?
    • How are you innovating? What are you exploring that will make a substantial difference in your business or its operations?
    • Are you making decisions that will ensure the financial stability of your organization?
    • How are you managing and maximizing your corporate assets?
    • What are you doing that would make others want to invest in you and your organization?

    Addressing the items on this list may be a challenge for some organizations, but doing so is a reflection of implementing a level of organizational discipline necessary for success. And success is what is most admired.

    ***

    Korn Ferry was Fortune’s survey partner for this project.

    To read the interview of Tim Cook, go to http://fortune.com/tim-cook-apple-q-and-a/

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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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    Starbucks Gets It

    Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks was featured in the December issue of Fortune as the 2011 Businessperson of the Year. Schultz joined what was then called Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spices in 1982 as its marketing leader when there were only four stores in the Seattle area. He developed a vision to model the stores after the many small espresso bars he saw across Italy, essentially selling not just coffee but the experience and environment. While skeptics laughed at him, he was easily able to sell coffee at a price greater than his competition, and create a new coffee (and tea) culture in the U.S.

    IStock Photo

    But to me, more significant than the success of his business are his business values.  Starbucks provides health care and equity grants to all employees who work more than 20 hours each week, and rebuffs investors who try to persuade him to reduce such coverage. To him, it’s just doing the “right thing for it’s own sake”.  He’s concerned about his entire supply chain, and through Starbucks Foundation he has given to people in third world countries to better their standard of living. He believes “there needs to be a balance between commerce and social responsibility…The companies that are authentic about it will wind up as the companies that make more money.” Continue reading

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    Leadership in the Midst of Tragedy

    One decade ago at the age of 44, Jimmy Dunne reports that he was the “happiest guy in the world”. Sandler O’Neill, the boutique investment firm he ran with two partners, one his mentor and the other his best friend, was very profitable. Their office in the World Trade Center employed 171 people. An avid and skilled golfer, he was on the golf course and contemplating his exit from the business when an airplane hit their building. SandlerO’Neill’s Journey From Ground Zero in the September 5th issue of Fortune Magazine describes how Jimmy, as the only surviving senior leader of the company, moved through this difficult period and exhibited profound leadership in the midst of tragedy. He focused the remaining 60% of the members of his team on rebuilding a stronger company. Though he lost many of his key staffers along with their institutional knowledge and all of the firm’s data, he was able to convince experts from other firms to join or support him in regaining their professional footing. Sandler O’Neill’s annual revenues and profits have now multiplied and staffing has doubled since that time.

    IStockPhoto

    Tragedy That Transforms

    How you respond in the midst of a tragedy, particularly one of epic proportions can mean the difference between life and death for individuals and organizations. Survivors of 9/11, those who narrowly missed being in their normal place at the wrong time, and family members of those who were killed, have told stories of how the experience changed their values, their work, and their family relationships.  Some married the love of their lives, others discovered their true calling and changed careers, and still others started businesses based on discovering the things that they loved to do.  Many found ways to give of themselves to others. They found ways to do good by doing well. These are the people who were able to constructively move forward, learning from the experience, reflecting on their past to build a more relevant present and future. Others sadly were frozen by the experience, as it shattered their core and covered them with guilt for escaping when others did not.

    Individuals who were able to survive a tragedy like this, to regain their footing and re-build on their life altering experiences took specific actions.

    • Focus – They identified a goal and worked toward it.  They threw their energy into repairing what was broken, restoring what was lost, and recreating a new future for those around them.
    • Future – They acknowledged the past but didn’t live in it. They permitted themselves to move beyond grief to growth.
    • Family and Friends – They reexamined values and drew closer to family and friends, building stronger relationships, and caring for others more.
    • Faith – They renewed their faith in others and in God.

    In short, they led themselves and others forward with bravery and boldness. If someone had told one of the survivors that they could achieve more by pushing through tragedy, no one would not have signed up for it. No one would have ever wished for such tragedy in their lives. But realistically we all will have tragedy of some sort in our lives. The question is what we do as a result of it, and how it shapes us.

    God’s Love in the Midst of Tragedy

    Romans 5:3-4 reminds us, that tribulation in our lives “produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”  Withstanding tribulation, tragedy, persecution or burdens will result in patience, endurance, and fortitude. This strength in turn builds a measure of character that can only come from experience. That experience builds confidence and a pleasurable expectation of hope for your future.  And that hope is founded in the certain knowledge of God’s love for us.

    Faith Centered Leaders bring others with them on the journey of learning from tragedy and building a stronger future. The more life changing the tragedy, the greater opportunity for growth. None of us are promised smooth sailing throughout our lives. We are however promised that the love of God will carry us through any tragedy that may occur. Romans 5:5 tells us that we won’t be disappointed as we experience the love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, our Comforter.

    Whatever tragedy you may experience in your life, step up and lead yourself and others through it, to experience God’s amazing love.

    Copyright 2011 Priscilla Archangel

    Scriptures are New King James Version

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