Winston Churchill

Communication is the Oxygen of Leadership (Part 3 of 3)

Continued from last week, here is the conclusion of our review of the 12 great principles of communication…

Winston Churchill was a great leader and a great communicator. He was a man fit for his time. Some called him “the voice of England” because he could communicate in such a way that it captured the hearts and minds of the people and their dreams. The following quotes illustrate this:

We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…

Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival….

Never, never, never give up!

Winston Churchill was amazing at knowing the needs of his audience, living his own message, and painting a vision that moved people forward with hope and anticipation….

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Invisible Ponies

Invisible Ponies

As people and as an organization it is easy to get stuck when you look into the future. How you look forward can determine how much headway you make into your dreams and goals. Sometimes it even determines whether or not you have dreams or goals.

It doesn’t take a lot of research to discover that there are at least two ways to look at the world around us. We use various examples: glasses that are half-filled, sports analogies, and many other topics.

I was recently reminded of a story that Ronald Reagan made famous that goes like this:

The parents of two brothers, one an incurable pessimist and the other an incurable optimist, took their sons to see a doctor in the hopes of curing the boys of their respective conditions. The physician started with the young pessimist. He took the boy into a room brimming with a mountain of new toys. “These are all yours,” the doctor said. Immediately, the young pessimist burst into tears. “What’s wrong?” His parents asked. “If I play with the toys,” the boy sobbed, “surely they will all break and be ruined.”

Next, the doctor tried his hand with the young optimist. Instead of toys, the doctor took his patient into a room filled with a mountain of horse dung. “This is for you.” The doctor told him. With that, the boy smiled so wide he could have eaten a banana sideways. Excited, he raced to the top of the mountain of manure, where, with his bare hands, he began digging into the pungent heap. Baffled, the doctor and the parents looked at one another quizzically, “Son,” the father asked. “What in heaven’s name do you think you’re doing?”

“Well,” the boy replied, “with all this horse dung, I figure there’s got to be a pony in there somewhere!”

There’s really no need to spend the next couple of paragraphs reiterating the point of the story. It’s pretty self-explanatory. However, I would like you to think about how you focus the point of the story in your life….

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Random Knowledge vs. Focused Learning

Leaders Must Be Focused Learners

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.
Proverbs 1:5 NIV

If we are to lead others effectively, we need to be committed to be lifelong learners. When you limit your learning, you limit your growth in every area of life. But with so many avenues available for learning, leaders do not have the time to learn just for the sake of learning. Collecting random knowledge may allow you to beat the average person on Jeopardy, but it will not translate into seeing your unique God-given gifts emerge. Instead, the best leaders focus their learning on the things that set them apart.

I have had the opportunity to serve as an executive coach to a number of senior leaders in a number of different organizations. My goal was never to identify their weakest areas and turn them into strengths. If a visionary leader has a messy office, it is a waste of his or her time to focus their learning on how to excel at planning and organizing.

When weaknesses are so distracting that they threaten to derail a leader, they must be mitigated. However, it is a futile exercise to try to turn weaknesses into strengths. Instead, executive coaching is best focused on how a leader can take the strengths that have propelled them to success and develop, leverage and maximize those strengths….

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Top 10 Qualities For A Great Leader

What Personal Qualities Do Great Leaders Have? (Part 1)

This is a complex question. I have been a student of leadership for many years and there is a plethora of theories and models concerning what good leadership looks like. As I have blogged before, Leadership is Influence. There are many bases for leadership: positional, relational, knowledge/information, performance, etc. But real, lasting leadership tends to be based upon influential relationships.

In my last blog post, I listed 5 Common Misunderstandings About Leadership. If those misunderstandings are examples of what leadership is not, then what personal qualities do make a great leader? Here are the first 6 of my “Top 10” personal qualities for a great leader:…

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