Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Focus Of A Lightning Storm

It's funny.

I was setting in bed last night trying to go to sleep when one of the largest storms that I have even been a part of swept through my neighborhood.

The rain was pouring and the lightning was flickering across the sky.

And, where there's lightning… there's thunder… and boy was there thunder. I'm talking shake your house off of it's foundation thunder. The kind that actually feels like a bomb is going off 100 feet away.

I have to confess, one of these "bombs" was so loud and so powerful, I had to walk outside to make sure the neighborhood hadn't just blown up…

Focused energy is a scary thing… and not just in nature.

Sure, tornados, hurricanes, and tsunamis seem to be some of the most fearsome things known to man… but there is nothing more intimidating than a person that's completely focused on a task.

If you don't think so… think about kamikaze pilots or even many of the terrorists of this day.

Complete focus on the task at hand…

Now, this obviously isn't an article about current events but on the same token, if your results are waning, take a look at your focus levels.

Are you completely focused at the task at hand?

Or, are you spread between too many things?

A wise man once said that "if you chase two rabbits, you'll catch neither"...

So how many "rabbits" are you currently chasing? More importantly, how many of these "rabbits" are actually important enough for you to BE chasing.

Think about it. Prioritize... and focus on your top "rabbit"

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Leadership - How To Maximize Your Potential As A Leader

Being a leader is never easy but if you are constantly learning and improving your skills as an individual and a leader you will have great success. Some say that great leaders are born. I'm not sure if that is true or not. What I do know is that great leaders do what is necessary to maximize their potential. Here are a few ways to help you maximize your potential as a leader as well.

1. Learn from everyone.

I have seen people that have achieved great levels of success as a leader but somewhere in their journey they stopped allowing themselves to learn from anyone. If you want to maximize your leadership skills never become so important that you can't learn something from the weakest person. Remember, just because you want to be a great leader doesn't mean that you are better than anyone, it just means you have more responsibility in serving others.

2. Learn from mentors.

This is one of the most important things that you can do. If you don't have a mentor you need to go find one as soon as possible. Mentors can help you achieve things in your life much faster. They can also give you the wisdom and foresight on things that you don't have a clue how to handle. All great leaders have had mentors in their life.

3. Empower others.

Great leaders know how to find untapped potential in people and then empower them to do things that will draw that potential out of them. Don't be intimidated if you find that someone on your team has more talent then you. Your goal as a leader is to empower the people to do their best for the betterment of the cause.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Leadership #7 - Promote Cooperation and Trust in Your Team

Leaders have a problem - is the team really following you? Just because everyone seems to be moving in the same direction does not mean that everyone is on the same team! The Chinese has a very nice saying for this "Same bed, different dreams"

Of course, that saying originally pointed at broken marriages, but think of it in the context of your team. While not as tightly knit as a marriage, a team is nonetheless comprised of many individuals with their objectives and efforts intertwined.

As a leader, you need to build a high level of cooperation. The team must learn to work together. Most people are aware of this. Traditionally, when you work together, you do your work, and I do mine. You do your work well, and I do mine to perfection. Job well done. You, as a leader, do you think that everyone is working together in this scenario?

I would like to introduce another aspect to "working together" which is often ignored. When you are working together, you need to not only perform your tasks and execute your plans, but you should also keep an eye out for your team mates. See and call out if they make mistakes, extend a helping hand if they seem to have too full a plate; really, work TOGETHER. There is no better illustration of this than a team of climbers scaling a 100 feet rock wall. Sure, there is a leader. Of course each climber needs to be skilled and competent. Yet, at the core of it all, they make it up as a team. Can you do it solo? Most certainly, but then, you would not be much of a leader if no one can follow!

Cooperation, no matter how difficult it might appear to be, with varied personalities and conflicting objectives, is still easier to achieve than trust. The leader, to be a good leader, must understand this. One of the surest sign of good leadership is when team members trust you. But the sign of excellent leadership is when team members trust you AND each other. When you build a network of trust within the team, the entire team is all the stronger because of that.

As more support and cooperation comes into play, as more trust is built, a once mediocre team can soar to heights of excellence that would baffle more competent competitors. It is not how good you are, but how good the team is. Team performance rests a lot on good leadership. If nothing else, promote cooperation and trust in your team; it is more than half the way towards becoming a good leader.

In our next installment, we will be looking at how leaders can Share Power.

To catch up, here are my previous posts:

- Leadership #1: Articulate Your Personal Vision As a Leader

- Leadership #2: Putting Action To Your Words

- Leadership #3: Have a Vision

- Leadership #4: Share the Vision

- Leadership #5: Learn and Grow

- Leadership #6: Take Risks

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Self Improvement ... Why do We Repeat Things We May Not Even Enjoy

Sometimes we do things and we don't know why we repeat them
over and over again given that they seem to drain us. For
instance, night after night you may stay up too late and then be
dragging at work the next day. You tell yourself that you won't
do that again but the next night comes and it's another 2 AM
night. The alarm goes off at 6:30 and the cycle continues of
exhaustion, promises to change the habit and late night tv.

How can we overcome this type of behavior that we know saps our
energy? Sometimes we need to step back and look at what is going
on. Are we compensating for something missing during the day or
in our lives by watching tv so late on week nights? If so, is
there a way to make work more enjoyable or challenging ? If you
dislike your job have you thought about looking at the paper for
possible job opportunities that may match your interests and
abilities better?

Is something missing socially in your life? Can something
special be set up on the weekend with family or friends that
will be a true highlight of the week? If you are single, can you
think about ways you will begin to meet other people and
connect? When we enrich our lives with something meaningful we
often cut back on activities that are just "fillers" or
"distractions". It is similar to cooking a gourmet meal for
dinner. If you are hungry an hour before that you wouldn't just
munch on junk food but instead eat a fruit or stay a little bit
hungry because you don't want to kill the quality of your meal.

Certain habit can disappear when we enhance our lives with
meaningful work, relationships and quality activities. By
re-evaluating our situations, we can get new ideas on what will
add value to our lives. This will help us clear out those
activities that we fall into which we don't truly find
fulfillment in but do just out of habit.

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