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….


Saints Coach

Every Team Needs A Coach

The Super Bowl has been played, a winner decided, and the NFL season has come to an end. When I look back on the season, one story stands out in my mind. Amid the story-lines of concussions, injuries, and rising rookie quarterbacks, this season was unique in that one team was forced to begin and end its season without the influence of its head coach. The Saints struggled all season because of the consequences that were doled out by Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner.

If you have ever wondered about the necessity of a coach, go back and take a good look at this particular story. There were superstar level players on the Saints’ team this year. Most of them were there during the last couple of years when they were the defending Super Bowl champs (2010) and making another playoff run (2011). What changed to make such a good team move from Super Bowl contenders to a season where losses outnumbered wins? The talent level didn’t change much. I would argue the playbook didn’t even change much. Purists will say that more changed than just the head coach, but the reality is that the most influential change was Sean Payton’s vacancy as head coach.

What lessons can we learn from this?…