why

Leadership Starts With Why

One of the greatest resources in helping me think outside the box in leadership is TED: Ideas worth spreading. There are some amazing talks by incredible people there, and it is all free. I recently came across a talk by Simon Sinek from 2010 that looks at why some people are able to defy the odds and do well when others who seem to have everything together end in failure.

He sums it all up in one simple statement.

People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.
@SimonSinek

Leading teams is difficult, especially if your team does not understand or buy into why you are doing what you do. If all your team knows is what their tasks are and how to do them, they are likely to burn out or stop at satisfactory. If your team knows why they are working, they will put in that extra effort to achieve excellence in what they do. If they buy into the why, they will follow your lead and bring others along with them….

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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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Top 10 Qualities For A Great Leader

What Personal Qualities Do Great Leaders Have? (Part 2)

There are many bases for leadership: positional, relational, knowledge/information, performance, etc. But real, lasting leadership tends to be based upon influential relationships. Previously, 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?

I started answering that question last week in What Personal Qualities Do Great Leaders Have? (Part 1). Here now are the final 4 of my “Top 10” personal qualities for a leader:…

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