A Leaders One Word of Advice… and a Request for Your Advice

In his recent blog post, My One Word of Advice – V3.1, Dan Rockwell shares the responses he received from leaders to the question: “What advice would you give if you could only give one word of advice?” Their responses were:

“View the success of those you lead by the value they provide to the organization, not the amount of time they ‘put in’ each day.”
“When you want to be critical of others, critique yourself first.”
“Practice humility, because it can open doors, soften resistance and create solutions that would not otherwise be possible.” 
“Operate with integrity and sincerity.  It may not always feel like it in the moment but staying on the high road will eventually take you where you need to be.”
“Show up, lift up and never give up. Speak greatness into people and situations. Give trust.”
“Manage your energy and that of your team.”
“My mentor told me, ‘No one is going to pin a rose on you just for doing your job.’  His point was work smarter, not harder – focus effort on where I can get the biggest return or gain for the business.  Stop trying to do it all.  Be careful about letting others pile their priorities on you.”

Their advice can be summarized in the following: the need for the leaders’ self-knowledge, living their ethical principles and values, a selfless serving of others, practicing humility, never giving up and knowing their purpose and priorities. Life provides great and beautiful experiential learning that can serve others as they progress successfully on their journey.

A humble request to our Three Minute Leadership Family: “What advice would you give if you could only give one word of advice?” I would love to hear your thoughts and share them in one of our weekly notes. If you choose to, please let me know if you would like your name with your advice or leave it anonymous. I look forward to your advice that others may grow… to be more than they ever dreamed they could be… and more… so much more.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Because of You…

In his blog post, The Daily Dose, Devin Hughes reminds great leaders to reflect on the impact their words, actions, gestures, attitudes and behaviors on those whom they touch and serve in the course of their magnificent journey.

You might think that you don’t matter in the world, but because of you,

Someone has a favorite mug to drink their tea out of that you bought for them.
Someone hears a song on the radio, and it reminds them of you.
Someone has read a book you recommended to them and gotten lost in its pages.
Someone remembers a joke you told them and smiled to themselves on the bus.

Never think you didn’t have an impact.

Your fingerprints can’t be wiped away from the little marks of kindness you’ve left behind.

Stephen Covey writes: “What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” The lives of great leaders are lives of influence. They create joy, inspiration, reflection, belief, insight and change. Who they are, what they do and how they are perceived become the droplets of water that create the ripples of extraordinary change in the lives of those whom they touch and serve. Each day, may you reflect on the impact you bring to the world and see its magnificent wonder… because of you. May you hear the words from Tony Bennett’s song Because of You: “Because of you, the sun will shine.” May you light up the world with your beautiful sunshine.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Beyond the Bridge

A friend, a university professor, recently shared a story with me about how a mis-spoken sentence turned into a great learning and insight. Toward the end of his class, he was reviewing the course syllabus about what was ahead in the coming weeks.  When he got to talking about the final exam, he said: ” “We’ll get there when we cross that bridge.” With the class laughing, he realized that he had messed up this quote. He apologized and corrected himself saying, “I apologize. I meant to say, ‘we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.’

The next evening, he was laughing to himself thinking about his mix-up in words. At that moment, he had an enlightening thought that “we’ll get there when we cross that bridge” actually has a stronger meaning… we will only get there when we accomplish the challenges that lay ahead and that we will only get there if we are prepared and we finish what we set out to accomplish.

So simple is the message: the bridge isn’t the objective, it is stepping stone to what is beyond it that is the goal. Arthur Clarke wrote: “The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible.” So it is in the life of great leaders – to challenge and stretch beyond their known limits and dream dreams undreamed and realize them… to get to the other side of “what is” to “what can be.” Yet, may we remember always the words of David Russell: “The hardest thing in life is knowing which bridges to burn and which bridges to cross.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Last to Speak

“You will be told your whole life that you need to learn to listen. I would say that you need to learn to be the last to speak.” This is Simon Sinek’s advice to great leaders in his video, How to Be a Leader. Here is his simple counsel.

“The skill to hold your opinions to yourself until everyone has spoken does two things. One, it gives everybody else the feeling that they have been heard. It gives everyone else the ability to feel that they have contributed. And two, you get the benefit of hearing what everybody else has to think before you render your opinion. The skill is really to keep your opinions to yourself. If you agree with somebody, don’t not ‘yes’. If you disagree with somebody, don’t nod ‘no.’ Simply sit there. Take it all in. And the only thing you’re allowed to do is ask questions so that you can understand what they mean and why they have the opinion that they have. You must understand from where they are speaking, why they have the opinion they have, not just what they are saying… and at the end you will have your turn.”

Sinek’s words are captured in one of Stephen Covey’s Habit #5: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”  As Sinek says, one of the greatest impacts on the listener is the feeling that their idea or perspective is being listened to, that they are respected. It tells them that you are open and vulnerable to new ideas. You have taken the time to stand in their shoes and see the world as they see it. This simple act of emotional intelligence enables the conversation and builds the relationship… all because you chose to be the last to speak. May this practice be part of your beautiful life’s journey – always seek first to understand.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Joy and Power of Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman writes: “IQ and technical skills are important, but Emotional Intelligence is the sine qua non of Leadership.” Leadership starts from within. It is a bedrock skill. All ideas, results, visions, strategies and goals, big and small, are operationalized through human interaction – communications, relationships, feelings and emotions. This skill becomes the transformative magic of moving from dream to reality. For great leaders, it is a transformative mindset that inspires and motivates the receiver to look beyond the narrow boundaries of one-time magnificent results to a world of selfless understanding and caring for each other.

Goleman tells great leaders: “Emotional intelligence emerges as a much stronger predictor of who will be most successful, because it is how we handle ourselves in our relationships that determines how well we do once we are in a given job.” May you remember the wise counsel of an unknown author: “IQ gets you hired. EQ gets you promoted.” May your joy, passion and love of life shape and give vivid expression to words, actions and behaviors that those whom you touch not only know but, more importantly, feel their meaning. As Maya Angelou tells us: “They may not remember what you said. They may not remember what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.” Touch the hearts, souls and minds of those whom you serve that they will always remember how you made them feel.

Have a beautiful day and a  magnificent week!!!

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A Life Built on Challenge

It is inevitable that the lives of great leaders are filled with great challenges. Albert Camus speaks to great leaders of those moments: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” These are the moments of growth and learning that build strength and character. The great leaders’ passion and enthusiasm give new perspective to these opportunities. They are new paths with new opportunities to achieve their life’s purpose. Martin Luther King Jr. tells great leaders: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy..

In moments of adversity, may we remember the counsel of Michele Leonard: “Life is a great obstacle course, with bends and turns, wins and losses. When you get to the high jump, always remember to throw your heart over the bar – and the rest will follow.” May your heart, passion and love of life be the beacons that light your way, the inspiration to meet a challenge and the aspirations that drive you to achieve your life’s purpose and goals.  Remember always to throw your heart over the bar first… and the rest will follow. You will be all in to another moment of greatness on your magnificent life’s journey.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Power of Consistency and Desire

“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” Words said by Estée Lauder that resonate in the minds and hearts of great leaders. It is not living a life on the sidelines, nor settling for mediocrity. It is about living with persistence and drive to achieve one’s meaning and purpose. They realize that hard work is the entrance criterion for achieving dreams, success, love, almost everything in life. Colin Powell writes: “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat determination and hard work.

Yet, there is a complementary fuel that is a powerful enabler of hard work’s success. It is the discipline of consistency. An unknown author wrote: “If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it.” May the words of the legendary baseball hero, Babe Ruth, echo in your ears on your magnificent life’s journey: “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” May you be ceaseless in your pursuit of your dreams and life’s purpose. As John Quincy Adams wrote: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Be more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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One Moment in Time

In her song, One Moment of Time, Whitney Houston’s words capture key characteristics of great leaders, the drive to achieve their greatest potential, the desire to realize the best version of themselves, their pursuit to fulfill their life’s purpose and meaning.

She sings: “Each day I live, I want to be, A day to give, The best of me.” And through all that she faces on life’s journey – pain, rises and falls – there remains that relentless search to find that one moment in time “when I’m more than I thought I could be, when all of my dreams are a heartbeat away, and the answers are all up to me.” And when she does, “I will feel eternity, I’ve lived to be the very best…. You’re a winner for a lifetime if you seize that one moment in time.”

The words of this beautiful song give pause for a moment of quiet reflection… the great leaders’ continuing and ceaseless joy of creating those “one moment of time” each hour, day, week, month and year of their journey in their own life and in the lives of those whom they serve. May you, too, feel eternity, that you’ve lived your very best every beautiful and wondrous day of your magnificent life’s journey. And make those moments shine!

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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The Beauty and Joy of Trust

In his book, Leaders, Warren Bennis wrote: “An organization’s only unforgivable sin is the betrayal of trust. Trust is the emotional glue that bonds followers and leaders together. Whether it is a professional or personal matter, there is something that happens that never comes back together. Leadership only functions on the basis of trust.” Trust is the foundation and cornerstone of relationships. It is the beautiful mutual support system that enables risk-taking and empowers the other party to stretch and challenge themselves. It is the beautiful gift of knowing that the other person is reliable and committed to their word and to you. It is the thread that holds everything in place. We hold sacred the words of Stephen Covey: “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

Whether leaders choose to give trust unconditionally or that it must first be earned, it is their choosing. Ernest Hemingway said: “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” Seth Godin writes: “Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.” Whether given or earned, once established, that treasured trust is expected to be irrevocable. For once broken, it takes forever to repair. As great leaders know, words like: “I thought you would understand…,” “I didn’t think I needed to ask you….” or “It was something I needed to do….” don’t provide an excuse for a broken trust. John Maxwell calls the betrayal of trust one of the fatal flaws of leadership. On your magnificent leadership and life journey, may you continue to propagate the beautiful glue of trust with all whom you touch and serve. As William Paul Young writes: “Trust is the fruit of a relationship in which you know you are loved.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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John Wooden’s Reflections on Leadership

John Wooden, legendary basketball coach, is well known and remembered for his short inspirational messages. Despite their brevity, his words were rich and deep in their wisdom.  They enter the eye or ear and then set fire to the mind, heart and soul. May you pause briefly in reading these ten messages, and reflect on how their doing can bring greater joy, effectiveness and caring to your already magnificent being.

“A strong leader accepts blame and gives the credit. A weak leader gives blame and accepts the credit.”
“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your personal example.”
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, you need a team.”
“Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”
“You really have to love your people to get the most out of them.”
“Leadership is the ability to get individuals to work together for the common good and the best possible results while at the same time letting them know they did it themselves.”
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.”
“Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
“Make each day your masterpiece.”

Wooden defines success: “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming.” As you make each day your beautiful masterpiece, may you frame it in your every effort “to become the best you are capable of becoming.” This is the joy of life… of being more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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