Archive for July, 2013

What’s going on in your life today?

What three things are you resisting or allowing yourself to be complacent about?

Take out your journal and spend some time examining your behavior in these areas, and the reasons behind them.

Area 1:

Reason for resistance or complacency:

Consequences of your behavior:

Area 2:

Reason for resistance or complacency:

Consequences of your behavior:

Area 3:

Reason for resistance or complacency:

Consequences of your behavior:

What have you learned about yourself from this exercise?

What one thing can you work on today that will make a difference in your life? As you clarify this, and take action, share this thought process and your accomplishment with someone with whom you are close.

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When was the last time you really took a step back and reflected on where you are in your life and what’s going on around you? How much change is taking place? I encourage you to spend some time with your journal today, responding to these questions?

Over the past year, what has changed in your personal life?

For me, change has been significant over the past year, but mostly internally. My work seems to flow in waves, with peaks and valleys, and I adapt as necessary. Internally, however, change has been significant. I’ve been on an intensely-focused journey of self-discovery and clarification of my passion, purpose, vision, values, and beliefs. It’s been enlightening, refreshing, and liberating. I highly recommend it!

Over the past year, what changes have taken place within your industry?

Over the past year, what changes have you witnessed within your organization?

Within any one, or more, of these areas, has there been a change you resisted or challenged?

Why did you resist?

What was the outcome?

What was the cost to you of resisting?

Was there a change you welcomed and embraced?

Why did you embrace this change?

What benefits have you received as a result?

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In his book, the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell tells the story of Henry Ford and his leadership style. Truth be told, he wasn’t an effective leader, because he needed to be in control, thrived on keeping his staff uncomfortable and on-edge, and actively worked to undermine them and cause disruptions between members of his leadership team. Be that as it may, he did develop an automotive company that was, at one time, the dominant automaker in the US.

Well, Mr. Ford pioneered the assembly line, thus streamlining automotive manufacturing, significantly cutting the amount of time it took to build a car, which also lowered costs. He made the automobile an affordable transportation option for the masses, rather than a luxury item only a few could afford. However, as his competitors began to copy his assembly line and mass produced their own cars, Ford made a mis-step. You probably all remember one of the famous quotes attributed to him about one of his cars, something to the effect of: You can have it in any color you like, as long as it’s black! This was in response to the growing demand of his customers who wanted cars in different colors.

His thinking was sound in one respect: black paint dried the fastest and could be used more efficiently than other colors. He missed the boat in understanding and acknowledging what his customers wanted: variety! Other manufacturers were more than willing to paint their cars other colors, and consumers bought those instead of a Ford.

This is a clear example of having tunnel vision; Ford was so focused on moving towards efficiency, changing the way cars would be built even today, but he couldn’t move back to a less efficient process, a different direction if you will, even when doing so would have been very profitable for his business. This is the danger of becoming complacent.

Sometimes, when we have outpaced, out performed our competitors and tasted some level of success, it’s tempting to think that it’s “good enough” and we don’t have to continue striving to get better; this is an extremely dangerous mind-set and will surely lead to one’s downfall.

As they say, if we don’t learn from our mistakes we are doomed to repeat them. We should all be so wise as to study Ford’s leap to success and later to the back of the pack. It’s a lesson we shouldn’t repeat.

As a leader, it’s critical that we are in tune with what’s going on the marketplace, what’s changing in the minds of our customers and potential customers, to changes in technology, and especially to changes in thinking. If not, we will soon find ourselves at the back of the pack, and sometimes…it’s just not possible to recover from that position.

Take some time to think about a time when you ignored a necessary change and missed an opportunity. What was the situation? What signs did you ignore? What did you miss? How has that affected where you are today?

There is an assessment called the Kirton Adaptive-Innovative measure; it is designed to identify whether you are an innovator and maintainer (prefer the status quo, thank you very much!) or somewhere in between. It’s a revealing exercise to be sure. In the absence of having the opportunity to do this assessment right now, how would you honestly rank yourself in terms of your tendency to embrace change?

We’ll spend a lot more time with these thoughts this month.

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Change: The process of becoming different.

In this, our eighth month of this Intentional Leadership* journey,  we will closely examine the process of change; which is, oddly enough, the only thing that seems to be consistent in today’s world! If you can count on any one thing, it’s that change is either on its way or already here! And how we adapt to and manage change will make an enormous difference in our path to success and satisfaction.

Change is happening at a dizzying pace that appears to be moving faster all the time. This is true in all aspects of life, including business, and if you aren’t able to anticipate, recognize, and adapt to change, as a leader, you will certainly fall behind. Not only is change a requirement for growth, it is actually necessary for survival.

Think back over the course of your lifetime and remember some of the things that have come and gone. I grew up in Southern California, and I remember buying actual ticket booklets at Disneyland. The “E” ticket was the most desirable, as they were for the best, most exciting rides in the park. If I remember correctly, there were a lot more tickets in the book for the “A-D” rides, and if you wanted to go on more than one “E” ride, you had to buy more “E” tickets! I remember rotary dial phones; cell phones as big as a shoe, and heavy as a boot! I remember when you could actually buy “penny candy” and a bag of M&Ms was 10 cents! This list could go on and on…and I’m sure you have one of your own, possibly similar to mine, or very different if you are from a different generation.

The point is, change is inevitable and we must be able to work our way through it, and remain committed to it, even when it appears as if nothing is happening. This requires leaders to be steadfast, holding tight to their convictions, willing to sacrifice for what they believe to be the right thing. Eventually, the transformation will happen and we will all easily see the benefits of having stayed committed.

To be truly successful in these ever-changing times, we must not only adapt to change, but we must welcome and embrace it. Our most valuable skills in these times are flexibility, resourcefulness, and resilience. To take it one step further, leaders who are able to anticipate change, and prepare for it before the need becomes obvious, are much better prepared for what’s to come.

As we get started with this new month, new focus, take some time today to ask yourself these questions:

How can I be more flexible to the changes happening around me?

In what areas do I have opportunities for growth in terms of changing the direction of my leadership, that will allow me to work through change more effectively?

What changes have you made in your life, to-date, and what growth do you attribute to them?

How has your self-confidence changed as a result of successfully navigating change?

Much more to come on this topic. “See” you tomorrow! In the meantime, have an intentional day!


*From the Intentional Leadership booklet by Giant Impact. 

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Well, we’ve spent the last four weeks focused on Legacy…what you leave behind, how people think and talk about you, when you are gone. Now, this may simply be because you’ve taken on a new role, left the organization for a new position with another company, or have passed away.

We’ve learned, by example, that you have the power and ability to design your legacy; you can influence what you want it to be.

What if you had the opportunity to know what it would be…would you be likely to make changes in your direction or behavior?

Let’s look into the story of a man who unexpectedly had just such an experience!

In 1888, an infamous Swedish industrialist received news that his brother, Ludvig, had died in France. You can imagine his dismay when he read the obituary and discovered the editor of the paper had mistaken his brother’s identity for his own!

The headline read, “Merchant of Death is Dead.” The obit went on to explain how the man had built his wealth through the invention, manufacture, and sales of dynamite. He was considered a heartless profiteer for having introduced the world to such a devastating innovation.

To be sure, reading one’s own obituary is a rare occurrence, indeed; but what an opportunity! Profoundly affected by this experience, Alfred Nobel determined to make a change, resolving to put his wealth to to work in hopes of reviving his legacy. In the eight years before his death, Nobel created an endowment worth more than $9 million to reward exceptional humanitarian effort. Today, the Nobel Peace Prize is one of the world’s best known and most coveted awards, bestowed annually to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to humanity. *

While it’s not likely any of us will have this same experience, but we do have the opportunity to increase our self-awareness and become aware of the legacy we are building. If we choose to do it now, we have time to make changes if what we learn is not in tune with what we desire.

What do you know about how you are perceived, about what people think and say about you when you are not there?

Is it in line with how you wish to be remembered and talked about?

If not, it’s not too late to make a difference.

*From the Intentional Leadership booklet, by Giant Impact. 

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Here we are at Friday, again! It was another fast, but busy and productive, week for me!

I am ready for the weekend, and mine will be all about relationships. My husband and son have been in Washington State since mid-June, helping a family member. After a week-long drive across country, they arrived home last night. So, I will spend the day with them, and get ready to fly to Colorado on Saturday to spend some time with my mom and two of my sisters. It will be great to catch up with all of them; it’s been a while.

I will also spend some time writing and preparing for my Empowerment Mentoring lesson on Tuesday evening. The next lesson is Harmony, and it’s a really good one! Ok, so they are all really powerful lessons, and each week as I teach the next lesson, I’m amazed all over again at how relevant the content is to my life and to those of the EM Program participants.

As usual, I have some writing to do, and some other people to connect with.

What are you doing with your weekend?

As we are just ending four weeks of focus on Legacy, what are you doing now to design yours?

Whatever it is, I hope you are intentional about it and setting yourself up for success in the coming days and weeks.

“See” you soon!

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As we near the end of this month’s focus on Legacy, let’s just get crystal clear for a few minutes.

Every one of us will leave a legacy. It may be last a lifetime or only a moment. You get to decide.

Because you are the person I believe you to be — someone who wants to grow and be an effective leader (you wouldn’t be reading this blog if you weren’t on this kind of journey) — I encourage you to reaffirm your commitment to leaving a lasting, positive legacy in the lives of others.

Write it out…

My Commitment to Leaving a Lasting Legacy…

Now print it out and put it somewhere you will see it daily; it will help you stay focused.

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You know what’s coming next, don’t you? Now that you have three people identified who share your values and may be capable of carrying on your legacy, it’s time to take action.

Today, meet with one of the people you’d like to invest in and begin to develop an action plan for intentionally developing him/her…think about relationship building, what training and mentoring they might need, what kinds of experiences do they need to have, and how you can instill your vision in them. What steps do you need to take to help them understand your vision and help prepare them to carry on your legacy?

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John Maxwell reinforces the need to ensure you have a values match when you join an organization. This is worth serious consideration, because is you don’t heed his advice and join an organization with which you don’t share values, you will soon find yourself in an uncomfortable position, having to decide whether to stay true to who you are and what you value or take actions that are contrary to your convictions in order to be considered a “team player” and move forward with a direction you don’t necessarily believe in our support.

This is also true when you are choosing people to carry on your legacy. When you have a values match, it’s easier to commit and what you’ve built has a much better chance of lasting.

So what do you value?

Take some time to write down your tip five values. Keep in mind, these are the things you would not trade or compromise for anything…including the last seat on the last lifeboat off the Titanic!






Now, who do you know who shares your values and in whom you can invest to carry on your legacy? Keep in mind, they don’t have to do it all exactly as you would, and ideally will think different thoughts than you (this is why diversity in healthy teams is so critical…otherwise, you end up with tunnel vision and miss all kinds of opportunities and don’t see obstacles before you hit them!). List at least three people you need to start investing in on a regular basis to give your legacy a longer life.




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As this is our fourth, and last week focused on Legacy, it’s time to get serious about what we can be doing to ensure we are developing a sustainable legacy.

Yes, I’m talking about not just developing a positive, long-lasting legacy in terms of what people remember and say about you when you are gone. I’m talking about developing successors who will carry on the work and culture you put in place while you were the leader.

John Maxwell talks about this in the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, when he talks about leaders developing leaders rather than developing followers. It’s about helping others grow, along with your business.

You can see this in real life when you study businesses or other organizations after a particularly effective leader moves on. One example you might read up on is Southwest Airlines. Beyond building a successful airline, Herb Kelleher left a legacy of developing leaders within his organization. He had a unique style and developed a unique culture within the organization, and he didn’t want it to just be a cult. He wanted it to survive him and continue to thrive.

To make that happen, he brought in strong, talented people and helped develop their skills and leadership abilities. You see, it wasn’t all about Herb; he wasn’t doing what he did just so he could stand in the spotlight alone; he enjoyed training others so they could shine, too. It was intentional on his part.

The technical training is important, but it’s not what will allow people to step confidently into their potential. It takes much, much more than that.

To build the foundation for a lasting legacy, one must embed mission and culture in the lives of their successors.

Your action for today: What can you do to convey the mission and culture of your organization to its future leaders?

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