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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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    vision

    Developing Leadership Perspective: Fact vs. Reality

    Business People Analyzing Statistics Financial ConceptThere’s an old fable about three blind men who touched an elephant to find out what it was like. One man touched the leg and declared that the elephant was like a tree trunk. Another touched the elephant’s tail and declared that it was like a snake. The third man touched its side and declared that it was like a wall. A disagreement ensued as they each defended their perspective on the animal. After all, they knew what they felt.

    Were each of them right? Yes, and no. They each experienced a part of the elephant, but none experienced the whole. They each described the elephant from their perspective, but due to limitations in their vision and space, none of them could see it in its entirety. Only when they began to compare notes, and to walk around the elephant feeling different parts of it, could they begin to piece together a view of the entire animal. They had to experience it from different angles. Later, a sighted man came along and immediately saw the entire elephant. He quickly walked around the animal, sized it up and fully described it to the men. Their facts were not the same as reality.

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    The Most Admired Global Leadership Trait Is…

    What is the leadership trait that is most admired by others, most desired by leaders themselves, and most required by senior executives for their teams? Its importance applies not only for current, but for future success. It transcends geographies, cultures, and generations. Its meaning has global significance, but may vary in its local application.

    This most admired global leadership trait is Inspiration.

    Google Images

    Google Images

    In 2014-15, over 2700 business professionals from 122 countries were asked about the traits that they most admire in leaders both today, and the ones that are necessary to be successful in the future. In all cases, no matter how the data was analyzed, Inspiration ranked first.(1)

    In 2013, IBM released the results of a survey of 1700 global executives in 64 countries who were asked what top executives want from their leaders. The ability to Inspire was among the top 3 responses.(2)

    Why does Inspiration rate so highly as a desirable trait?

    Each of us should be able to think of a leader with whom we’ve worked who we would define as Inspirational. In many cases, being around such a person made us perform better, stretched our creative abilities, and encouraged us to do something we would not have otherwise attempted. These leaders attracted others to them, and sparked thought provoking conversations. Their styles probably varied, but their authentic approach to leadership made a meaningful difference.

    Too often, leaders are focused primarily on themselves or their tasks. They become caught up in their power, their position, or business problems to be solved. They expect employees to independently be self-motivated, results focused, and to understand the purpose of their work.

    Instead, Inspiring leaders focus on others. They cast a vision of the future, connect people with it, and coach them to high performance. Inspiring leaders elicit a positive emotional response from those they interact with, that draws others to them. People want to join their team, and become a part of their successes. They truly believe that people development is the key to organizational success.

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    10 Key Questions for Leaders – Part 1

    Leaders are faced with a myriad of issues each day, but one of their most critical responsibilities is to step back from the urgent and focus on the important. They must achieve a balance between the reactionary crisis mode and the proactive planning mode. This means pausing and reflecting on how they’re influencing behaviors to ensure the right outcomes. To accomplish that, there are 10 key important questions that, properly addressed, will strengthen both their leadership and their organizational effectiveness.

     

    1. google imageDisruption. What is the disruptive threat to your business model? Leaders should be constantly aware of ongoing threats to their business model and its products or services, and take action to address it. Jim Kennedy, Chairman and former CEO of Cox Enterprises provided a great example when he diversified his business away from classified ads to leverage the growing role of the internet, by successfully launching Autotrader.com. So make a list of all the products and services provided by your organization, your team, and even you, based on your skillsets. Now for each one, think about two or three ways that your product, service or skillset can be provided faster, cheaper or differently. What technological advances might make your current products or services obsolete? How might consumer preferences shift away from your current model? Believe in the possibility and probability of those ideas, then focus on how you’ll anticipate the future and address that threat. Shift your business model to where the customers are going, instead of where they are now.
    2. Purpose. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Many organizations and teams shift into automatic mode as their activities become routinized. They assume that demand will continue for their products and services, and evolve into placing more focus on what they’re doing, or how they’re doing it, instead of WHY they’re doing it. But asking the question WHY, connects you to the purpose of your activities. It’s the motivator and driving force that inspires the team to the appropriate behaviors that will support it. Once they understand your WHY, an emotional link can form as they pinpoint their contribution to accomplishing it. The underlying WHY or purpose of an individual, team or organization typically does not change, because it’s a fundamental belief and value. According to Simon Sinek, the how and what changes as necessary to continue to support the WHY. When you know your purpose or your WHY and communicate it effectively, this clarity attracts others to you who recognize a benefit from it.
    3. Failure. Where have you failed, and what insights have you learned from it? If you’ve never failed, you’ve never attempted something of impact and significance, relative to your abilities. Failure can add value when we learn something from it, and build upon it. Thomas Edison failed many times in trying to develop a light bulb. The Wright brothers failed initially before leveraging their underdog status to become the first in flight. J. C. Penney was sick and bankrupt before he built his namesake store into a retailing giant. But they learned from their failures, kept trying and eventually succeeded. The only bad failure is if you fall into shame and shut down afterwards. Instead, find a stepping stone to move forward. Failure is a requirement for growth. It’s accompanied by exploration, curiosity, pursuit, action, and flexibility. And most importantly, reflecting on and learning lessons that can be constructively shared with others.
    4. Curiosity. What are you curious about? Curiosity is a precursor to learning. Though it’s easy to be consumed with the daily challenges of leadership roles, it’s important to take time to explore insights in related areas to stimulate thought processes, and spur new ideas. Research shows that successful CEOs are curious, and this curiosity leads to growth. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook started his Year of Books online reading club to encourage discovery about different beliefs, cultures and technologies. And Richard Kinder, Chairman and CEO of Kinder Morgan reads about 50 books a year. He learns from how other leaders have confronted challenges, particularly overwhelming ones for which they had few ready answers. His curiosity in reading is linked to his interests, and fuels his passion for learning. So dig into those areas that you’re curious about, and your learning will form the basis for future growth.
    5. Service. What does my team need from me in order for them to be successful? As a leader, your responsibility is to serve your employees, enabling them in turn to provide value to customers, investors, and the community. You serve your team by creating a compelling vision, and providing the processes, tools and structure to support innovation, recognition, teamwork, and success. Service requires a continual focus on others to understand their needs, motivations, and aspirations, and to provide them with opportunities for growth. This includes a measure of humility to steer the focus from your own, to the teams’ accomplishments, and to ensure that your decisions serve them and not yourself. Service also provides a greater connection to the team as you partner together in the organization’s success. Leaders who focus on service take responsibility when things go wrong. Leaders who focus on service empower their team. Leaders who focus on service attract, retain and develop talented people.

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    Olympic Gold

    Now that the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London have drawn to a close, I am still in awe at the skill and accomplishments of many of the athletes. They make difficult routines look easy as they flip and twist their bodies through the air, sail around the track or through the water. I’ve not only watched them compete, but I’ve grown closer to them through the stories and vignettes in the media about their personal lives, and often their struggles. For most, their practice and preparation consumes many hours each day. Their muscular build comes at the expense of disciplining their bodies in the gym, and their palates in the kitchen. Some come from families that are financially depleted, having put all their resources toward a son or daughter’s quest for the gold.  They train their minds to think like the champions that they strive to be; knowing that the mental competition is just as important as the physical one.

    Standouts

    There are several athletes that stand out for their achievements…..

    Gabby Douglass, USA gold medal gymnast who two years ago at the age of 14 begged her mother to be able to move from Virginia to Iowa to train with an Olympic coach. Her mother and other siblings struggled financially to support Gabby’s passion.

    Michael Phelps, USA gold medal swimmer who with 22 gold medals has now won more than many countries.


    Usain Bolt, Jamaican gold medal sprinter dubbed the fastest man on earth.

    Claressa Shields, USA gold medal boxer at age 17, who survived the roughest neighborhoods of economically depressed Flint, MI, a father in jail for 7 years of her young life, and was bounced from home to home.

    Missy Franklin, USA gold medal swimmer who continues to refuse prize money and endorsement so that she can maintain her amateur status when she starts college in the fall of 2013.

    Danell Leyva, USA bronze medal gymnast whose mother and step-father defected from Cuba, where they were members of the Cuban gymnastics, team to Miami.

    Felix Sanchez, Dominican gold medal runner who claimed his medal in honor of his grandmother who died just before he raced in the 2008 Olympics.

    Oscar Pistorius, a South African also known as the blade runner because he is the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics running on carbon-fiber blades.

     At the same time, all the athletes who even qualified to go to the Olympics are exemplary in their endeavors. They represent the best in their sport, and I can only imagine the immense feeling of accomplishment for even qualifying to participate.

    Your Olympic Sport

    But they aren’t the only individuals competing to excel in their chosen sport.  Each of us has the opportunity to train for our own Olympic competition. We each have a challenge before us that is perfectly suited to our basic capability, yet is bigger than we can imagine, and if conquered would have an impact on many others. We’ll know our Olympic sport by the dream or desire that is deeply embedded in us. We must quiet all the chattering voices, the temporal and materialistic pulls, the temptation to do what everyone else is doing, just because everyone else is doing it.

    Like the contenders in the London Olympic games, we need several key competencies…..

    A Vision of what it looks like when you attain your goal.

    A Plan of what you need to do to get there.

    Focus to overcome the daily distractions that would try to steal our dream

    Willingness to Sacrifice what you want to do, and what others are doing, for what you know that you need to do.

    Perseverance to push past feeling comfortable, and become accustomed to feeling uncomfortable with what lies ahead.

    Fearlessness to dare to believe that you have the capability to succeed.

    None of this is easy. But as Booker T. Washington said, “Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.” So now that I’ve been inspired by Olympians from around the world, I’m going to go back to my daily routine, step by step, and work toward my gold medal.

    What about you?

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    What You See May Not Be What You Get

    What if we all had x-ray vision to see beyond the visible into the invisible?  What if we could see beyond a company’s balance sheet to understand their culture and strategies?  What if we could see beyond the words people use, to understand the intent behind them? We’d likely make more informed choices, better investment decisions, and smarter selections in our relationships, career, and life in general.

     Fortune Magazine’s recent article on How HP Lost Its Way (by James Bandler with Doris Burke, Fortune, May 21, 2012) provides an inside look at what they call “a dysfunctional company struggling for direction after a decade of missteps and scandals.”  After the departure of CEO Mark Hurd following allegations of inappropriate behavior with a HP contractor, it became evident that his “external success had concealed internal deterioration.” The search firm consultant who recommended the new CEO supposedly told HP’s board of directors that Leo Apotheker would be “one of the best CEO picks ever”, but he only lasted eleven months.  When the current CEO, Meg Whitman was initially asked to join the board of directors by Chairman Ray Lane, she reportedly thought that it sounded interesting and fun, and that it was likely a well run company. “What could go wrong?” she said.  Once she accepted the CEO role after Apotheker’s departure, she gained a clearer picture of the needs and opportunities at this company. Eye looking through a hole in a piece of paper. Continue reading

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