Thursday, 30 October 2014

Were You BORN TO LEAD ???

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How Philosophy Makes You a Better Leader

The benefits of introspection and reflection on one’s own character and beliefs receive less attention in a typical coaching session than the benefits of behavior change. Perhaps this is not surprising in our fast-paced and technology-driven business world, where there is little time to stop and think, and where people want (and are paying for) immediate outcomes.  Despite growing recognition of the benefits of “mindfulness” activities (such as yoga and meditation) and an introverted style, self-reflection on philosophical issues—such as values, character virtues, and wisdom—is relatively neglected.  Executive coaching and leadership development programs rarely include much, if anything, about the power of clarifying one’s philosophical world-view. But there is mounting evidence that they should.
Neuroscience research on self-reflection supports this notion. A recent study reported in BMC Neuroscience revealed that a critical brain region—the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) —was activated during self-reflection tasks. The ACC is essential because, as the researchers noted, it can “detect discrepancies between the actual and the desired state,” “mediate integration and evaluation of emotional, motivational, and cognitive information,” and “modulate attention.” Activating the ACC via self-reflection, in other words, can promote business success by helping leaders to identify their values and strategic goals, synthesize information to attain those goals, and implement strong action plans.
Clearly, most self-reflection doesn’t occur in laboratory settings—it must be adapted to the C-suite and other work situations. An exciting way to do this in a focused and intensive manner is via “philosophical counseling.” A growing international movement, philosophical counseling has been called “therapy for the sane” because it helps rational, mentally healthy individuals to clarify their world-views and goals in the face of challenges and transitions. Philosophical counselors and their clients engage in structured conversations that incorporate self-reflection on values and goals. Drawing on ancient philosophers of Eastern and Western traditions (from Socrates to Confucius), as well as contemporary philosophers, it supports people’s development of their own personal philosophies and empowers them to reach their highest human aspirations and ideals.
Consider a CEO who demeans his colleagues by rolling his eyes at them, interrupting them, and otherwise devaluing their roles. He now faces a thorny ethical challenge for the company, one that could damage its financial position and reputation. The CEO has nowhere to turn to discuss the dilemma, because he has alienated his executive team. Philosophical counseling could help him to curtail his obnoxious behaviors and improve his “positivity ratio” by facilitating self-reflection on his character and values. A CEO client in this situation found that contemplating the teachings of an ancient philosopher (Socrates) and a 20th century philosopher (Habermas) empowered him to implement an enhanced process of dialogue, consensus building, and “communicative rationality”with his leadership team. Philosophical reasoning, coupled with positive behavior changes, positioned him to lead the firm through a treacherous time.
Philosophical self-reflection is essential at inflection points in one’s career, when a leader faces a serious challenge, dilemma, or crisis. How can leaders benefit from this kind of self-reflection without necessarily entering into a formal engagement with a philosophical counselor? They first need to pause and contemplate their core values. The works of a range of philosophers, (female and male, from many cultural traditions) can help. As an example, I often suggest my “SANE” mnemonic, drawing on key questions posed by preeminent Western philosophers: Socrates, Aristotle, Nietzsche, and the Existentialists.
Socrates: What is the most challenging question someone could ask me about my current approach?
Aristotle: What character virtues are most important to me and how will I express them?
Nietzsche: How will I direct my “will to power,” manage my self-interest, and act in accordance with my chosen values?
Existentialists (e.g., Sartre): How will I take full responsibility for my choices and the outcomes to which they lead?
This is no academic exercise, but should have “cash value” in the real world. By reflecting seriously on these questions, the CEO discovered a structured format to handle the financial and ethical dilemma facing the firm. He realized that he viewed “respect for others” and “modesty” as among his core values and desired virtues, prompting him to curtail his demeaning behaviors and hold productive discussions with his team about next steps. This ultimately yielded a consensus and reasoned decision-making. By taking responsibility for reflecting on his values and choices for how to collaborate, the CEO completely transformed the situation and solidified his leadership role.
Like “mindfulness” activities, self-reflection requires time and effort. But it doesn’t call for an intentional shutting down of thought. Instead, it requires the leader to think rigorously about profound philosophical issues like value and purpose. The reward of self-reflection is what Aristotle calledphronÄ“sis (“practical wisdom”). Contemplating timeless philosophical values can fuel timely behavior changes in the service of growth and lasting success.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Virgin's Richard Branson offers staff unlimited holiday

The boss of Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson, is offering his personal staff as much holiday as they want.

On his website, he said that his staff of 170 could "take off whenever they want for as long as they want".

He added that there was no need to ask for approval, nor say when they planned to return, the assumption being that the absence would not damage the firm.

Mr Branson said he was inspired by his daughter, who read about a similar plan at the online TV firm Netflix.

"It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off," wrote the billionaire.

"The assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel 100% comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business - or, for that matter, their careers!"

He added that he had introduced the policy in the UK and the US "where vacation policies can be particularly draconian". If it goes well there, Mr Branson said he would encourage subsidiaries to follow suit.

"We should focus on what people get done, not on how many hours or days worked. Just as we don't have a nine-to-five policy, we don't need a vacation policy," he wrote.

The blog is an excerpt from a forthcoming book.

Virgin Group employs more than 50,000 people around the world and operates in more than 50 countries.

Mr Branson started the company in 1970 and it has gone from a mail order record company to having businesses in telecoms, travel and financial services.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Difference Between Great Leaders And Posers

This may sound harsh, but the truth often is… I’ve witnessed far too many people in positions of leadership that wouldn’t recognize an opportunity if it hit them squarely in the face. If you cannot recognize, attract, and acquire opportunity you should not be in a leadership position. 
Just this week I’ve observed people in leadership roles who failed to recognize opportunities, or perhaps even worse, took too long to make a decision and let an opportunity pass them by.  We have created legions of risk managers posing as leaders, when what we need are more leaders who understand how opportunity adds value, shapes culture, attracts talent, and brings about transformative change.  In today’s column I’ll take a look at opportunity as key success metric…

What better time to discuss opportunity than as we rapidly run up on Q4? The message I want to deliver is this; opportunity, timing and leadership are inexorably linked. So much so, that if you don’t think timing is everything - think again. Even a cursory review of current events shows it doesn’t really matter whether you’re a politician, investment banker, CEO, or just an average citizen, when it comes to making a simple decision, managing a crisis, or attempting to capture an opportunity, timing is everything – timing is leadership.

I’ve often heard people quip they would rather be lucky than smart. While intelligence and good fortune are certainly both valuable traits to possess, neither of these traits holds a candle to having a great sense of timing, or having a sixth sense for seeing opportunity where others do not. Luck is a hit or miss proposition, and we’ve all known many a brilliant underachiever. However it has been my observation you’ll rarely come across someone who possesses a great sense of timing, or a nose for opportunity who is anything other than successful.

As the verse from the old Kenny Rogers song goes “you have to know when to hold em and know when to fold em.” There are a few times in the life of every professional where staggering opportunities will present themselves. The question is not whether these opportunities exist, but will you recognize them as such when they cross your path? I believe one of the key differences between leadership mediocrity and excellence is the ability to not only recognize opportunities, but to also possess an understanding and willingness to seize said opportunities. Exploiting opportunities requires you not only possess vision, but also a corresponding bias to action (and a bit of courage as well).

Let me be clear, I’m not advocating for leaders to be opportunists (we have way too many of those), but to be opportunistic in how they view market, talent, culture, change, strategy, etc. An opportunist evaluates everything from a perspective of what’s in it for me? They are rarely concerned for others, and doing the right thing often takes a back seat to anything that advances their cause – rationalization and justification abound in the world of an opportunist. By contrast, opportunistic leaders seek to use timing and opportunity to advance others over themselves. They look at things through the lens of what will best serve those they lead, what will best advance the mission, what constitutes doing the right thing, what’s in alignment with the values and vision, and what advances the greater good.

I would urge you to keep this in mind – rarely will you come across a static opportunity in the sense that it will stand idle and wait for you to act. Significant opportunities are not only scarce, but they typically operate on the principal of diminishing returns. Put simply, opportunities are time sensitive. The longer you wait to seize the opportunity, the smaller the return typically is. In fact, the more likely case is the opportunity will completely evaporate if you wait too long to engage. Keep this thought in mind; when opportunity knocks – answer the door.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I watched people miss great opportunities due to a poor sense of timing. Not too surprisingly, people who possess a poor sense of timing usually don’t even understand timing is an issue. How many times have you witnessed someone holding-out for better talent,  a higher valuation, evolving markets, technology advances, or any number of other circumstances that either never transpire, or by the time they do, the opportunistic advantage had disappeared? I’ve observed the risk adverse take due diligence one step too far, the greedy negotiate too long, the impulsive jump the gun, and the plodders move to slow. As the saying goes “timing is everything.” The following list contains 5 suggestions for how to spot and evaluate opportunity:
  1. Alignment: The opportunity should be in alignment with the overall values, vision and mission of the enterprise. Any new opportunity being evaluated should preferably add value to the core, but if not, it should show a significant enough return on investment to justify the dilutive effect of not keeping the main thing the main thing. The core should be used to align, but not necessarily to exclude.
  2. Advantage: No advantage equals no opportunity. If the opportunity doesn’t provide a unique competitive advantage it should at least fill a void bringing you closer to an even playing field. Be careful however not to fall into the trap of “me too” innovation – don’t copy; create. Instead of leveling the field, think about tilting the field to your advantage, and where possible, the creation of a new field altogether.
  3. Assessment: Is the opportunity affordable, feasible, adoptable, and most importantly, is it actionable? An opportunity which cannot be implemented isn’t really an opportunity – it will likely be just another very costly distraction. Conduct your diligence before you pull the trigger, not afterwards. A ready – fire – aim approach to opportunity management usually fails to hit the target. That said, don’t be guilty of moving to slowly. Be decisive; cautious yes – hesitant no.
  4. Accountability:  Keep in mind great ideas are not always the same thing as great opportunities. Ideas don’t always have a corresponding vision, nor do they always contain a framework of accountability which helps to ensure a certainty of execution. For opportunities to become reality they must be viewed through the lenses of organizational awareness and personal responsibility. Any new opportunity being considered should contain accountability provisions. Every task should be assigned and managed according to a plan and in the light of day. Any opportunity being adopted must be measurable. Deliverables, benchmarks, deadlines, and success metrics must be incorporated into the plan. The opportunity must be detailed and deliverable on a schedule – it needs to have a beginning, middle and end. Any opportunity not subjected to sound principles of leadership will likely fail.
  5. Achievement: Opportunities are great, but achievements are better. If any of the four items above are missing the outcome will be unrealized opportunity, or opportunity squandered and lost. The smart game is not played for what could have been, or should have been, but for what was achieved.
The proverbial window closes on every opportunity at some point in time. As you approach each day I would challenge you to consistently evaluate the landscape and seize the opportunities that come your way. Better to be the one who catches the fish than the one who tells the story of the big one who got away…

Read more;

Monday, 27 October 2014

Motivation doesn't work...

Motivation doesn’t work.

Of course I don’t think motivation doesn’t work. It does work.

Motivation doesn’t work, however, when close-minded, insincere leadership is present. It just doesn’t.
People can only be motivated to perform better, think differently, do x rather than y when they feel their leaders (or their peers) care about them. Having said this, here’s an equation I’m throwing out there:
An open mind + good leadership = motivation 
Consider something I read recently:
“Motivation only works when we consider letting go of leadership practices that undermine people’s psychological needs and adopt best practices that encourage them.” – Susan Fowler, author of Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work…and What Does.
Ah – encourage.
That’s a word I want to see more of in common leadership vernacular.
People respond when they feel they are being considered. Listened to. Encouraged to try something different.
This, my friends, is motivation at its finest.
What doesn’t work is:
- Being told “you shouldn’t feel/act/think that way”
- Being judged or made to feel as though constant approval is needed to do anything
- Having to tolerate sabotaging actions or unacceptable forms of leadership (i.e. inconsistent coaching, weak feedback)
- Insincere awards, appraisals or gifts ($50 added to a paycheque, another coffee mug, logo engraved highlighter or post-it pad)
Rather, motivating employees, colleagues, people in general, is best achieved when:
- People’s feelings and emotions are acknowledged and validated
- Descriptive and consistent feedback is provided
- Proof that a leader is willing to help
- When options are presented and open-minded questions are asked in order to promote mindfulness
The idea behind successful motivation is that people need to feel like they own transformational change.
Do I think motivation is a one-way street that can only be achieved by leaders? Of course not.
My math equation listed above included “an open mind.” What I was referring to was the person in question who stands to be inspired to do something better.
Motivation is a two-way street. People need to be primed, however.
And it is the sole responsibility of a good leader to make time for thought provoking communication.
You see? It is simple.
Motivating employees, colleagues, people, is just about connecting. Make it powerful.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

10 Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Lessons

Theodore Roosevelt stands as one of the greatest leaders in American history.
Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership distills his leadership lessons, so they can be transferred seamlessly into the 21st century.
TR’s timeless example can be put to work in business, finance, the not-for-profit sector, a government agency or the military.
The 10 leadership lessons that follow are a sampler from Roosevelt’s project of self-creation and service.

 10 Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Lessons

1Leaders Are Created, Not Born.  TR’s life and work is an enduring answer to the eternal question: are leaders born—or are leaders made?
Roosevelt believed that leadership is an ongoing project of self-creation. He offered his life as a template for anyone who would seek to re-create themselves into an effective leader.
If I have anything at all resembling genius, it is in the gift for leadership…. To tell the truth, I like to believe that, by what I have accomplished without great gifts, I may be a source of encouragement to Americans.
2. Courage is the Foundational Virtue.  Theodore Roosevelt was a warrior. His virtues and shortcomings are best evaluated with an eye toward the world in which he lived. Death was a constant companion. The consequences of the barbarism of the Civil War was very much in evidence in every part of American life.
In this world, courage was paramount. Physical courage was prized. Moral courage, perhaps even more rare, was necessary for enduring service.
Roosevelt overcame a weak physical endowment and corresponding temperament. He aimed for his example to stir others—indeed the nation as a whole–to undertake the same transformation.
There were all kinds of things of which I was afraid at first, ranging from grizzly bears to “mean” horses and gun fighters; but by acting as if I was not afraid I gradually ceased to be afraid.
3. Action, Action, and Still More Action.  Theodore Roosevelt had a consistent bias for action. He believed in the initiative. He was never comfortable or effective on defense, responding to a state of affairs set by others.
Whether it was the construction of the Panama Canal, taking on J.P. Morgan, or any number of other memorable challenges, TR took the risks of action, over the greater (if sometimes less evident) risks of inaction or delay.
Whatever I think is right for me to do, I do. I do the things that I believe ought to be done. And when I make up my mind to do a thing, I act.
4. Put Your Team Ahead of Yourself.  One of Roosevelt’s formative real-time leadership experiences was leading his regiment in the Spanish-American War.
TR led from the front. He placed himself into undeniable danger, remaining on horseback while facing a rain of steel.
He placed those he was serving before himself. As a result, many of the Rough Riders remained committed to him for the remainder of their lives.
No man has a right to ask or accept any service unless under changed conditions he would feel that he could keep his entire self-respect while rendering.
5. Leaders are Learners.  From youth, Roosevelt was a voracious reader: “Reading is a disease with me.”
TR’s curiosity, his ceaseless learning, never abated. The book, the classroom, formal education, these were far from the only venues for learning. They produced many of those he called the “educated ineffectives.”
Roosevelt’s example, combining the life of ideas and the life of action, was central to his project of self-creation as a leader.
As soon as any man has ceased to be able to learn, his usefulness as a teacher is at an end. When he himself can’t learn, he has reached the stage where other people can’t learn from him.
6Bring History to Life, Create the Future.  TR was first among equals, a practicing politician who was also an accomplished historian. He, along with intimates such as Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, would frequently turn to historical exemplars as they dealt with contemporary problems.
There is nothing cheaper than to sneer at and belittle the great men and great deeds and great thoughts of a bygone time—unless it is to magnify them and ascribe preposterous and impossible virtues to the period.
7. Maintain Open Channels With Adversaries. Many people think in all-or-nothing terms: either you’re for me, or you’re against me. That can be appropriate in some circumstances, but, at least as often, it’s not.
Roosevelt’s focus on results, on outputs, rendered him flexible as to means. He would, he said, “work with the tools at hand.”
TR, as governor of New York, met regularly with his frequent adversary and uneasy ally, the “Easy Boss,” Senator Thomas Collier Platt. This prompted some criticism from critics who feared that such meetings would necessarily compromise Roosevelt or his positions on vital matters.
Roosevelt nonetheless maintained regular meetings and communications with Platt and other nettlesome personages:
If my virtue ever becomes so frail that it will not stand meeting men of whom I thoroughly disapprove, but who are active in official life and whom I must encounter, why I shall go out of politics and become an anchorite. Whether I see these men or do not see them, if I do for them anything improper then I am legitimately subject to criticism; but only a fool will criticize me because I see them.
8. Keep Commitments.  Today, commitments are violated willy-nilly as they become inconvenient or undesirable. This has always been even more the case among politicians.
TR was notable in striving to meet commitments. He would meet commitments to his children to play, even if it meant that meetings of state would have to end.
Memorably, he declined numerous entreaties to walk back his commitment, made impulsively on election night in 1904, not to seek re-election in 1908.
In TR’s reckoning, holding to his word was vital to earning and maintaining the trust of those he served:
It is a peculiar gratification tome to have owed my election…above all to Abraham Lincoln’s “plain people’; to the folk who worked hard on the farm, in shop, or on the railroads, or who owned little stores, little businesses which they managed themselves. I would literally, not figuratively, rather cut off my right hand than forfeit by any improper act of mine the trust and regard of these people…. I shall endeavor not to merit their disapproval by any act inconsistent with the ideal they have formed of me.
9. Family First.  Roosevelt was a dedicated family man. To a notable extent for a public figure holding great responsibility, he was an attentive father and husband.
There are many kinds of success worth having. It is exceedingly interesting and attractive to be a successful business man, or railroad man, or farmer, or a successful lawyer or doctor; or a writer, or a President, or a ranchman, or the colonel of a fight regiment, or to kill grizzly bears and lions. But for unflagging interest and enjoyment, a household of children, if things go reasonably well, certainly makes all other forms of success and achievement lose their importance by comparison.
10. Be Authentic: Live Your Values.  Roosevelt was authentic in the true sense: he was the author of his character. He strove to live his demanding values, the better to serve a nation that could advance by the same values.
Most of all, I believe whatever value my service may have, comes even more from what I am than from what I may do.

Read more;®+%7C+James+Strock%29 

Friday, 24 October 2014

Leadership is Built One Brick at a Time

Building with bricks is not something we do lightly.
The strength and integrity of a brick wall depends on working well, not necessarily quickly. Each brick relies on the other bricks around it, especially those that went before it. Each brick must be placed exactly where it belongs and joined to the others around it. While each one is important, but no single brick can be a complete wall on its own.
Choosing bricks, mixing mortar, and fitting each one into place are each important to building a good wall.
A strong wall is built one brick at a time.
When we look at our wall, we can see where we have done well and where we could have done better work.
Parts of my wall look traditional, with straight lines and right angles. Parts of my wall look like I was learning.
My wall includes some very creative twists and turns. There are places where it appears I did not have much of a plan. Some of those places are the most beautiful parts of my wall, some are not.
There are places where my wall  appears to fade away or just disappear. It looks like there were times when I got tired or discouraged or overwhelmed and stopped building. I have been able to go back and convert some of those places into ornate, beautiful gates.
It is encouraging to remember that we are building brick by brick, one brick at a time. I may expect myself to know every answer or have a plan that anticipates every challenge. The essential step is to build one brick at a time, finding the place where each brick fits.
Take your time and build the wall you have the potential to build.
What kind of leadership wall are you building?
Where will you place your next brick today?
Read more;

Thursday, 23 October 2014


This is it - Make the most of your abilities!

Are you missing something?

Are you making the most of your Leadership potential?

Have you more to give?

At The Leadership Academy we are committed to helping you make the most of the Leadership potential you KNOW you have - but need a push in the right direction.

This course is based on the classic writings of Harry Collins Spillman, who was described in 1920 as ‘One of the most fluent, forceful and thoughtful speakers in America’.  Today he would be considered a ‘Motivational Coach’, or perhaps a ‘Self Improvement Guru’.

This fortnightly course is based on a classic book of Harry’s, and is re-issued in the original style. 

Each module consists of an introductory text, a chapter from the original writings, followed by a brief questionnaire, designed to challenge and stretch your own thinking and your own understanding.  We advise reading, thinking through the concepts raised, and then honestly, and in your own time, thinking through, and meditation on what this means to you chapter of text, an intis a  , with a short questionnaire

What will I learn?

The course is delivered in nineteen modules, fortnightly directly to your inbox, and the topics covered are;
  • Module 1: SELF SURVEY AND CONTROL;  It rests with every man to fix his own price;  $50,000, $100,000, or even a MILLION dollars!  What are you worth? 
  • Module 2: THINKING I CAN;  There is only one person whose respect is absolutely indispensable to your success and that person is you!
  • Module 3: EYES THAT SEE;  Every sunrise ushers in a new world of beauties and opportunities!  What will you discover today?
  • Module 4: “MY SHIPS”;  Our capacity for achievement is measured by our ability to imagine..
  • Module 5: THE STANDARD BEARER;  In everyone there is a unique idea;  It MUST come forth!
  • Module 6: TIDES OF LIFE;  Travellers along the highway of success have not always voyaged an unbroken course…
  • Module 7: UNLISTED ASSETS;  It seems strange that so many of us allow our self-interests to rest upon money…
  • Module 8: PERSONALITY POWER;  A winning personality may be achieved by a careful study of two things - dress and address.
  • Module 9: IDEALISING THE REAL;  We are judged by our capacities rather than our infirmities.  
  • Module 10: THE OLD HOME TOWN;  Set down roots.  Happiness is not ‘over there’ but here.  Not then but now..
  • Module 11: WINNING WITH WORDS;  Poverty of words is the most embarrassing weakness one can have..
  • Module 12: THE CONQUEST OF HAPPINESS;  The world longs for spiritual sunshine; Are you in love with the day?
  • Module 13: ASSEMBLING THE FRAGMENTS;  The balance between earning and spending.  Between excess and debt.
  • Module 14: DOING UNTO OTHERS;  A man cannot travel far down the pathway of success alone.  He must go in company…
  • Module 15: THE HABIT OF HARMONY;  The world’s grandest harmony does not come from the keys of a piano or the strings of a violin… but where?
  • Module 16: MAKING FRIENDS WITH THE CLOCK; Who steals your purse steals trash, but whoever steals your time is depriving you of your life..
  • Module 17: DEFYING THE YEARS;  No-one viewing life as an unending adventure can wisely wish to be younger..
  • Module 18: THAT WHICH IS CAESAR’S;  Second only to someone’s devotion to God and country should be their loyalty to those who pay them..
  • Module 19: COUNTING YOUR FRIENDS;  If we lost all we possessed, we would be rich indeed if we still have our friends around us.. 

Only £97 for the entire course.



We are so confident that you will benefit from this superb course, which is based on traditional values - not the latest ‘whizz kid’ thinking.  This information has stood the test of time - but if it's not for you, let us know before the second module, and we'll refund the fee - no quibble.

Leadership: 5 Reasons Stories Are Powerful Communication Tools

We all grow up with stories. Stories of our family, stories from our friends and stories we read. There are stories we hear at school, at work, on television and in the movies. Stories are everywhere!
And while you`ve been around stories your whole life, you also likely realize that stories have been around forever. Stories have been used by cultures since before written language to pass down oral history and teach valuable lessons.
Given all of this you may recognize the power of stories, but have you thought about how to harness or how to use that power purposefully in your communications as a leader?
Here are five reasons why stories are such a powerful communication tool with the critical linkage for you as a leader – how to think about using stories more effectively to reach your communication goals.
But first here`s an important side note:
If you are thinking “This isn`t for me, I`m not a storyteller,” forget it!
There absolutely are techniques to you become a more effective storyteller (that`s another article), but everyone tells stories (regardless of your job title) and choosing to tell more stories more often will help further your communication goals. How can I be so sure?
Because we have all told stories our whole lives
Because stories are so naturally powerful that when they are selected appropriately they will always help. (The proof comes in the rest of the article, so keep reading).

Why Stories are a Powerful Communication Tool
Stories make a point.
This is quite possibly the simplest and most direct reason why stories are so powerful. Properly selected and told stories can make a point in ways other forms of communication cannot. Stories allow the listener to learn vicariously and discover lessons seemingly on their own. As a leader select your stories carefully and match them to your intended message. Don`t tell stories just “because they are powerful” but because they help you make an important point.
Stories make it memorable.
Well all remember stories, right? In fact, I guarantee you have stories in your mind that have been their most all of your life. While the mechanics of how stories are memorable is beyond the scope of this article, all that really matters right now is that stories can – and do – help people remember things very effectively. As a leader one of your goals with any communication should be to make it memorable. Using well selected, well timed and oft repeated (even though they are memorable) stories will help people remember your message.
Stories make it meaningful.
When we hear a story we have a greater context and understanding of a situation. Stories can personalize a message and make us feel a part of the situation. Use stories to create meaning for people. However, remember, not everyone will have exactly the same meaning. That`s OK, as long as you are telling your stories purposefully and making your main message clear. The meaning each person creates helps them remember and personalize the story.
Stories create and reveal emotions.
Have you ever cried or laughed at a movie, the TV or when reading a book? There is no doubt that stories can create or reveal your emotions. Stories tap into part of what makes us all human. As a leader remember tapping into people`s emotions will help to influence or persuade them.
Stories build connections.
Think about a social situation where you met some new people. It is quite likely the people you feel the greatest bond or attraction to (not necessarily physical, though perhaps) are those who shared a story with you. All stories can create a bond between the teller and the receiver; however, the strongest connections will be forged by personal, first person stories. As a leader, remember your most powerful stories will be things you share about your life experience – especially a time when you failed or made a mistake. Not only can those stories make your intended point, but they also can build a stronger connection or relationship between you and those you are telling the story to.
This brief article only scratches the surface of the power of stories and how you can use them as a leader. However, it does make some important points that – when employed – will help you improve your communication success.
Once upon a time, there was a leader who learned how to use stories more effectively…
By Marissa Oldman

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

7 Signs of World Class Leaders!

Every day I have a conversation with someone different.  These are people who are all on different levels of leadership.  I’ve spoken to CEO’s, managers, authors, school teachers, stay at home moms, etc… you get the idea.
Although I love connecting with my readers, and hopefully you and I will connect like this one day, I can’t help but sometimes feel a bit sad.
There is a surprising number of people who don’t feel that they are worthy of their position or leadership.
“Oh Marty, I just don’t feel like I’m making a difference.”
“I don’t think I’m a world class leader.”

Comments like these drive me nuts!  Sure there are some people that I talk to that could use a nudge or two in the right direction, but it boggles my mind at how often I hear these sort of self-degrading remarks from wonderfully remarkable people.
Trust me:  I know what it feels like to be down on yourself, but if you could just see yourself the way I see you…  You’d be unstoppable!
So here I’ve gathered 7 signs that you’re a World Class Leader.  If you ever been down on yourself and don’t think you’re at a world class level of leadership, then this is for you!

Leadership: The Present, Future, Exponential Growth, & Authenticity

World Class Leaders are always in the moment.  This means that you’re open and observant.  You’re a flexible person and you don’t freak out when circumstances change.
Lost that big client?  Got yourself a troublesome customer?  Have an employee with a nasty attitude?
The initial reaction for many people may be to flip out and lose it.  It might happen in front of their team or in private.  But this won’t happen to you.  You’re a World Class Leader and Warrior.  You handle things differently.  As a leader, you know that your team will ultimately mirror you, so take in the changing circumstances in the best possible way.
I’ve briefly touched on being present and in the moment here this blog post, How To Take The Headache Out of Leadership: 5 Simple Rules.  Check it out for some easy pointers on how to center yourself in the now.
World Class Leaders are future oriented.  Even though you’re ever present in the moment, you don’t forget to look to the future.  You’re smart; you plan ahead and prepare yourself and your team.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you had grand visions and great ambitions for your future and were excited to move forward in life.
World Class Warriors know where they’re headed and move with excitement and purpose.
World Class Leaders seek challenges in life to grow at an exponential rate.  You know you can rise to the demands of life and welcome obstacles with open arms, for you know they are only stepping stones that will lead you to greatness.
You’re gold waiting to be refined into its purest form.  This can only happen if the heat is turned up to rid the unnecessary materials.  Such is the same with life and business.
Look adversity in the face and laugh!  When you feel the world is crumbling down, just look up and smile.  It means you will only become a stronger leader when it is all through.
World Class Leaders are truly and authentically interested in other people; especially those they are leading to victory.  I’m not saying that you have to be a social butterfly.  This only means that you do not have a single shallow relationship.
Connecting with people is incredibly important to you and is seen as an opportunity to learn, grow, and share a piece of your life.  You know that every single person in your life has something to teach you, and that you can add value to their life as well.

Creativity, Meaning, and Values

World Class Leaders do not stray from their values. Even though you enjoy the accompaniment on your journey, you know there will be a few people along the way that compromise your values.  World Class Leaders do not divert from their core values just to make someone else happy.
Some people may be looking in, from the outside, and view this stance as selfish, stubborn, narcissistic, whatever.  The reality is this: You have the courage to stay true to your core values, and move forward with confidence.
World Class Leaders are driven by creativity.  You are a storyteller, a thought leader, a life designer, and an artist.  You create and tune into your own perspective without completely abandoning the ability to see things from the perspective of others.  You actively engage in your creativity and boldly take pride in it and that’s part of what makes you a world class leader.
Having problems with getting your creative juices (doesn’t that sound kind of gross?) flowing?  Then go outside!  Go for a short walk.  Listen to your favorite music.  Meditate!
There’s no reason you can’t be in a creative state of mind at any given moment.  There’s always something you can do to change it.
World Class Leaders are meaning makers.  You just don’t let yourself get bogged down in the mundane details that would normally bring up other people’s short comings.  You know you have the power to give positive and great meaning to everything you do and to everything that happens.
You’ve got the uncanny ability to make others see the big picture and the wonderful meaning you’ve given it.  And because of this they get excited over it and are motivated on your behalf, creating a perpetual wheel of success.
This is the kind of environment you create.  A meaningful one.