Friday, January 29, 2016

Stop The World...I Want To Get OFF!

Some days I need to sit down and listen to my own advice.  I find it curious that there are times that I fall victim to the daily stresses that impact all leaders. Those spans of time which seem to sit still while everything around us is swirling out of control, every solution seems ineffective and more and more gets thrown into the mix. STOP THE WORLD, I WANT TO GET OFF!!!!!!!

This phenomenon isn’t new to me, and I’m guessing everyone reading this Quip has experienced the same sensation now and again. I find myself most frustrated when my life runs me instead of me running my own life.

Time to listen to myself and breathe, regroup, reprioritize, and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day…Look out world, here I come…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, January 22, 2016

To Hug...Or Not To Hug...That is a Question????

Not too long ago I was in a meeting where a colleague asked when hugs were acceptable in the workplace. Much to my surprise the group consensus came quickly…NEVER!

As he kept questioning, listening, and redirecting, it became apparent that he was trying desperately to get the group past the obvious physical nature of a hug to appreciate and identify various ways to give a “hug” without violating any personal space.

While opening our arms, literally or figuratively, we open our hearts and draw people IN, becoming one in celebration, encouragement, comfort, hope, and/or support. As leaders, showing those we serve that they are valued, is an essential ingredient to the overall health of any organization. 

“Hugs” are good for the soul. A smile, asking someone how they are and actually LISTENING to the answer, giving your time when there’s no time to give are ways to hug without physically embracing. How do you know if you’re giving a “good hug?” That’s easy…rarely is a hug given that it isn’t reciprocated…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, January 15, 2016

Experience a Whole New Ride

Ever since my wife purchased a fuel-efficient car, she has taken over the lion’s share of driving while we do our “round about town errands” through the neighborhood.  Recently, as I was sitting in the passenger’s seat I drew the following parallelisms between being a passenger and leadership. Consider…

1. As a passenger, you give up control and must trust the person driving. As the “driver” of your organization, what have you done and continue to do to gain and keep the trust of those under your care?

2. Although we always have targets of where it is we’re going before we set out, there are times my wife will take different routes then I would take and even a side trip or two. I must admit it’s difficult not to be a back seat driver and tell her to go this way or that. Interestingly enough, although different paths are taken, we always arrive to where it was we were headed. I must admit, there have been times where she knew shortcuts that escaped me, and ways around traffic through various side streets that never occurred to me, as I always would stay on the same path. At times, when we hand over a project to someone else, instead of trusting their skills and embracing a new path we become a back seat driver and micromanage to the point of stripping away their ability to navigate to where it is we all wanted to go in the first place. The benefits of exploring new paths, new alternatives, outweigh the fear of going down a road less traveled.

3. I find it curious that as a passenger I’m free to really look at my surroundings that I have passed a thousand times before. Things around me take on a different perspective, I see things for the first time…things and places that have always been. As leaders, how often are we so focused on the road before us that we lose sight of everything around us? Perhaps that’s the reason I never knew of the alternate routes that my wife had seen for years or the various resources, which were within reach. (You really don’t have to go out of a 100-mile radius to find an “expert” as sometimes they’re right down the street or next door.)

4. As a passenger, I’m able to let my mind wander a bit and take time to THINK and reflect. As a leader it can be a difficult task to find the time to think and reflect if we’re always “on the go”.

So next time you’re out and about with your spouse, ask them to drive and feel the freedom of being a passenger for a while. Consider what it would feel like to hand over the wheel to someone in your organization as it frees you to experience a whole new ride…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, January 8, 2016

How Brave Are You?

I read a great deal about leadership. I find it an intriguing topic and through honest reflection continuously make the effort to hone my own leadership skills. I saw the following a few weeks back and shared it with a colleague of mine.  In turn, she reflected on each point and was brutally honest with her assessment of where she is currently sharing her thoughts with me.  In doing so, she taught me a lesson…It’s one thing to reflect and keep your thoughts to yourself, and quite another to openly expose your thoughts to someone else.

Simple Secrets by Kathy Davis

1. Believe in yourself. Always stay true to what makes you unique and trust your gut. See your differences as strengths rather than handicaps. And, instead of comparing yourself to inspired by them!
2. Work hard. Pure and simple. Ideas aren't worth anything unless you put them to work. You have to be responsible, dependable, disciplined and never stop learning or growing.
3. Take risks. It's O.K. to be afraid but you just have to plunge in anyway. This isn't easy, especially when it feels like the tide is against you, but it's just necessary to take risks in order to stay fresh and relevant. You will make mistakes but your efforts will also make a difference. Just take a deep breath and step out of that comfort zone!
4. Keep an open mind. Be willing to adapt and change when you need to. Adjust your sails to catch that wind. Be strong...yet flexible and bamboo...and bend rather than break.
5. Accept your limitations. Be willing to ask for help...and be able to say "no." There's no way you can be everything to everybody all the time! Surround yourself with good people and enlist their help when you need it most.
6. Treat others with respect and kindness. That golden rule never, ever goes out of style.
7. Never stop dreaming. Your visions can guide you to great things...but you need to be patient and don't give up on yourself or on an idea that might seem slow in coming. It just might need a little more time to germinate and become strong.

Hopefully you gave some thought to each point presented and did a brief reflection of your beliefs and areas that you see as proficient and an area or two which need improvement. So the real question is are you strong enough to make some changes, large or small, and brave enough to share your thoughts with someone you trust?  Just askin…

Friday, January 1, 2016

Time To Reflect on Days Gone By...

Inline image 1Happy NEW YEAR! As leaders, it’s always a good idea to reflect on the year gone by. Below are 20 questions to ask yourself. Be honest…there are no right or wrong answers, but if we truly believe in “life-long learning” then we need to embrace opportunities to reflect and to lear from the past or run the risk of history repeating itself…


1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
5. Pick three words to describe 2015.
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2015—don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you. (If you’re not married, have fun guessing the answers from other friends and family, or just skip this question.)
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2015—again, without asking.
8. What were the best books you read this year?
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
19. What was the most valuable thing you learned this past year?
20. What needs to change for 2016 and how will you begin?

If we do nothing, we’re destined to simply repeat history…beginning a new year gives us the opportunity to shape our future…just sayin…Happy New Year!

Be good to yourself…

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more; you are a leader. - John Quincy Adams