Leaders should and must look in the mirror from time to time. Matthew 6: 1-34

Friday 21 March 2014

It would seem that we live in unique times. The news abounds on any given day about what our Leaders are doing or fail to be doing. Of course, it is usually the political leaders that we pay the most attention to but Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. They come from many different avenues of our society…business, political, education, military, law enforcement, religious just to name a few.

Regardless of from what venue leaders derive, one thing that must be attended to by all leaders is a “Motive Check”. Leaders Must Do the Right Thing for the Right Reason! Perhaps you were curious as to why I stated in my title that Leaders need to look in the mirror once in awhile. Well the main reason is to check themselves out. Yes, that is correct. Leaders can so easily get caught up in doing things for image sake. In case we forget, leaders are being watched by so many people and when you least expect it.
One of the lessons that I teach from John Maxwell’s Book “Everyone Communicates. Few Connect” is to ask leaders when does “first impression” mode cease. After some thought and discussion, the answer clearly comes forth that first impression mode never ends. I can remember being taught that you have 8-10 seconds to make a first impression and that may be true with those that you are speaking with up close but clearly we always have to remember that as Leaders we are being observed by people we don’t even know are observing us.
Sometimes as Leaders, we forget and get caught up in facades and hypocrisy. You remember the scripture (loosely translated) that those who fast should not show that they are fasting and that those who have title should not walk around flaunting it. We are compelled as Leaders to ensure that we do good, give to charity, prioritize what we do and ensure that our values are in order. Of course, as this is a Leadership and the Bible posting, we should also realize that prayer is of immense importance. For those who may not have prayed in a while, it couldn’t hurt to try it again for the first time.
But the most important part of this posting is to remind Leaders of the need to establish, define and action the Core Values.
1. Do the right thing for the right reasons
2. Pray God’s Agenda and not your own
3. Relationships will make or break you (Sounds like an Inner Circle statement)
4. Prioritize Eternal things
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff (and it’s all small stuff)
6. God’s Kingdom is paramount. Seek it
7. Judge yourself before you judge others
8. If you need something…ask. If you have something…Give
9. Stay true to YOUR Convictions. Stay the path
10. Obedience to God is the only sure foundation for life.
In closing, how many of the Leadership Laws can you deduce from this above list? If you are a leader or looking to become a leader, there is no time like NOW to do what you need to do to become that leader. Remember the law that people first buy into the leader and then they buy into the vision.
What are your thoughts? Send me your comments. Peace. BB

Are You standing on the Pillars of Hercules or lying in Sampson’s rubble?

Friday 7 March 2014

It is necessary to start out this essay with a quick synopsis of the Title. The Pillars of Hercules from ancient Greek Mythology are now what are the 2 strong cliffs that form the entrance to the Straights of Gibraltar and in mythology served as portals between the known and unknown world. Samson on the other hand as is noted in Judges 16 of the Bible having lost his sight and powers at the hands of Delilah was able to reclaim his honor by bringing down the Pillars onto the Philistines. It is not mythology or biblical verse that I write about today but rather garnering the strength of the 5 Pillars as opposed to allowing yourself to be torn down into ruins.
Further, the Pillars that I will describe in this writing come from a book about to be released called “Leadership by Invitation” by fellow John Maxwell Team member Barry Smith. I have read the pre-published manuscript and I would clearly recommend you getting a copy of what will prove to be an asset to you and your journey forward.
     The five pillars that I will reference are awareness, environment, growth, communication, and influence. It is important to note the importance of placing greater value on who you are than what you do. And it is ironic that just as iron sharpens iron, the pillars will sharpen the pillars. As Dr. Wayne Dyer stated, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. All to often we find ourselves with too much weight on our shoulders so strong in fact, that we trip and fall and wonder if we can get back up. This being caught up in the overwhelm causes us to actually shut down our awareness and lose sight of our identity. You cannot maintain this status quo and not expect to fall into mediocrity and complacency. Your ability to move forward is severely hampered to the point of trying to handle “today” with no chance of considering “tomorrow”. You need to and must gain perspective by learning that it is ok to think outside the box. The very same box that has been you. And to do so with a great rekindling of passion for happiness is the true key to driving success. Summing up, Awareness is knowledge and knowledge is power.
     The 2nd Pillar, Environment, includes your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors etc. And let me also include a new level of environment that has many positives but also many potential negatives. This is “Cyberspace”. We truly are a product or the product of our environment. The impact of our environment on ourselves is huge. Will it be a positive experience or negative? We have choice and cannot ignore the pathways of choice that are put before us. Do we choose to keep following the rut lined road or do we instead take the path less traveled by? Do you collaborate on a daily basis with like-minded individuals who share similar goals and values? When was the last time that you truly chose the right Inner Circle? Will you allow your old way of thinking keep you in the same environment as time moves on? Don’t become a product of your environment. Let your environment become a product of you!
     The 3rd Pillar, Growth, is based on a journey. Your Journey. Your growth will be based on 3 key must haves. They are Awareness, Intentionality and Accountability. Because of the way we have programmed by our environment we all too often put our attentions to those things that we think are important but are they really important? Are you taking care of the things that matter or are you taking care of the things? What one needs to learn is that Family and Health matter. We can all too often get side tracked into thinking that other things matter more and we lose our focus. This loss of focus is where our growth stagnates. Is being the first into the job and the last to leave a sign of growth? How high will you set the bar? If you set it too low you cannot fail but you will not grow. Failure will never ruin you it will instead reveal you. Growth must occur. As John Maxwell stated in the title of his latest book “Sometimes You Win. Sometimes You Learn”.
     The 4th Pillar is communication. If we cannot properly communicate with others we will not be able to Build What Matters. To realize that only 7% of communication is realized thru the spoken word we must ensure that we learn how to properly communicate the other 93%. All too often we live in an illusion that communication has indeed taken place. How often, do you find yourself having to restate or repeat instructions. John Maxwell’s Book, “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect” is so valuable a tool to help us bring about the change that we need to personally apply for better communications amongst the people we deal with. Are you able to set the tone of a room when you walk into it by exhibiting a positive demeanor? Please take a few moments to note that those 7% of the words you use if not used well can totally destroy the relationship you are trying to build. Be authentic. Be accountable but by all means ensure that you strive to encourage those around you. Communicate with compassion and empathy but most importantly, be a person of affirmation.
     The 5th and Final Pillar is that of Influence. “Leadership is Influence, Nothing More, Nothing Less”. When the invitation to lead crosses your path, you cannot and should not take it lightly. Leadership is Influence. You cannot be a leader by being a “yes” man. You cannot be a leader by trying to please everyone. But by all means, to be a good leader and exact influence, you must learn to be a servant leader. Your success, is based on how many people you help to be successful. This creates a win-win situation. It is about being able to create clarity. But do not allow yourself to fall into the trap that because you are the leader that you do not need mentoring. All too often, our leaders become complacent once they gain a position of leadership. Find a coach. Find a mentor. Be courageous. Get over your fears and chart your course for you and for your team. Remember that anyone can steer the ship but it takes a Leader to chart the course. This is where you through influence comes in. This is where you and cooperation from your Inner Circle come in. As mother Teresa said so well “You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things.”
     So your call to action is…will you choose to stand on the Pillars of Hercules or be found lying in the rubble that Sampson caused? Remember that Tomorrow Starts Now and that the Future Started Yesterday and we’re already late!
Peace. BB