Monday, December 15, 2014

Great Leaders and Big Rocks

Great leaders stay true to themselves. That means they understand their
limitations and they employ others with stronger skills than them to work in
areas where they are the weakest or where they have the least amount of
enjoyment. In the same way that Stephen Covey’s big rock theory, is applied to
productivity, a great leader focuses on his strengths first. When leaders
concentrate on their areas of strength and enjoyment they subsequently spend
little time and energy on the small rocks or the distractions and less enjoyable
tasks. They focus on strengths and therefore they build companies,
departments, and teams that are like them – strong. In return leaders with these
sincere characteristics avoid distractions, aggravating tasks, ego, and

In order to hone in on the leadership characteristics aforementioned, it is
important to understand that being a leader does not require perfection in every
area. Furthermore, a true leader is not meant to be all things to all people in
every situation and task. The leader may not even be the smartest person on the
team. However, they are always knowledgeable regarding the areas in which
they excel. Practically applied, it is imperative that leaders do a self-assessment:
First, identify what you enjoy about your work, then, dig deep to determine why
that activity or task is enjoyable. Adversely, identify which tasks you least enjoy,
and why this aversion exists. Lastly, seek to understand the reasons behind your
responses, for greater clarity, i.e., if you decide that you hate making speeches,
well that doesn't necessarily mean that you don't like to talk to your team, you
may simply prefer to communicate face-to-face. So be detailed when going
through this exercise. It will serve you greatly as you become a powerhouse

Our next Moment with Manal will delve further into how to operate with sincerity
as you focus on being true to yourself.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mentoring revealed

Leaders should have at least two mentors. The obvious mentor is a
person or a group of people you want to emulate. They come in a variety
of forms: a teacher, the Chairman of the Board, a think-tank, or brain trust,
however, they all have the same mission, “to advise or train or encourage”
based on their experiences. This is usually a person you admire.

Most successful people have mentors. For instance, Warren Buffett is a
mentor to musical phenom Jay Z and other business leaders world-wide.
Motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins’ mentor is a fellow motivational
speaker and author, Jim Rohn. Michael Jordan and Oprah have both
confessed to mentoring Tiger Woods. Ben Carson, MD, and author, gives
credit to his mother for mentoring him, and according to The Hall of
Mentors, Pope Benedict XVI considers Pope John Paul his mentor.

The other type of mentor is equally as important, yet you may not choose
to sit down and talk to them. Instead, this mentor is strictly someone you
pay very close attention to, because they will teach you exactly what NOT
to do. This is the person you want to avoid becoming.

Ineffective mentors may have been masterful guides at teaching others
the pitfalls to avoid, connecting them to other leaders and resources,
helping them to chart their course to higher heights and so on, but those
days are gone. They may even have an undeniable prowess in an area of
interest to you, as well as significant financial means. However, they are
jaded and lack enthusiasm for the success of others. Their good points
are overshadowed by these less attractive characteristics. Poor examples
of mentor-ship are: self-centeredness, greed, superiority, and petulance.
No one wants to follow this type of person, or at least they shouldn't. But
don’t disregard them totally; there is much to learn from them - just at a

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Examine Your Motives

Motives matter. I have heard this story several times about a woman who writes this endearing love letter to a former beau. The words are flowery and seem to be heartfelt as the woman confesses her guilt for breaking off their relationship. On the surface the letter denotes a sincere woman who desires to rekindle a relationship with the man of her dreams. However hidden deeply in the recesses of the writer’s opportunistic heart is the true story, the backstory. The former beau has recently won millions in the lottery. Hmmm... Not so honest is she?

The motivation behind our leadership matters as well. Why do we want that particular role? Why do we yearn for success? Are our motives good or selfish? Ask the tough questions because it does matter whether we lead like Batman, and we want to make the world a better place or whether we lead like the Joker, motivated only by greed, power, and revenge. Why? Because, followers duplicate our good or bad efforts, and because wrongly motivated leadership will eventually lead to horrible outcomes, or worst, jail time. As the stories go, and it is always true, good always wins in the end.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Once a Leader

A common misconception in leadership is that if you have lead others before then you will always be viewed as a leader. This is not necessarily the truth. To use a cliché, “the proof is in the pudding.” Take this young lady I know. She was from a small town and had done well, been active in the community, serving in several leadership roles and operating her own small business. One day she decided to explore other options, which lead her out of state, amongst people she did not know, placing her in a competitive corporate culture with highly intelligent co-workers. She had a business background but had never worked for anyone much, and especially not on this level. It was truly like starting over. However she was quickly identified as someone with the initiative to solve problems and before long she was promoted and working full-time with C-suite executives. 

The fast pace of her career was exciting and lucrative yet after some time, she longed for home. When she returned to her small town roots, she noticed all the new faces of people who did not know her and about her accomplishments. This became clearly apparent when she returned to volunteer with an organization close to her heart. All of the seasoned members welcomed her back. She was immediately chosen to chair a standing committee of people she had never worked with before, people watching to see if all they had heard about her rang true. To their surprise, this young lady knew what true leadership meant. She did not rest on her laurels and past reputation, instead she stared the scrutinizers in the face, worked alongside them, and earned the right to be a leader in that organization, once again. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Home Team

Certainly, we have all heard the sad stories contrasting the overwhelming success of a leader/entrepreneur and the demise of that same person’s marriage and personal affairs. For years, professional women have felt this struggle to have it all while “balancing” motherhood, marriage, and career. Slowly men are dealing with the same issue, especially men of faith, as they focus on what really matters in life.  Usually the solution given is to find balance. But how do you balance your family against your career?  Perhaps today my loved one/child/spouse is my top priority but the rest of the week my work/team/committee takes precedent. Well that may work if you value your job as much as you do your family but most of us do not. We enjoy our work but we LOVE our families. There is a difference, an unequal distribution of value.

Hear me clearly, I do not confess to have all the answers on how to make this work, and I am quite aware that every family situation is complex. Given that, I do believe that just as we lead those we work with to higher heights, we must be intentional about the value we add to our family. Are we affirming their natural talents, are we effective listeners, do we help them learn how to find their own solutions to problems? These are “value-added” leadership skills we can carry from work to home and they give us the opportunity to invest in the growth and development of the team that matters most - the home team.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Stay in Your Lane!

A common theme or saying in today’s society is “stay in your lane.” The phrase means, “Mind your own business or keep moving straight ahead and don’t veer over into what others do best because in all honesty, it is not your forte.” My interpretation sounds humorous, right? Yet, it is true, for many reasons, including for the purpose of building stronger leadership skills. 

As I have been sharing, great leaders know their strengths. They are focused, meaning they pay attention to the path that brings out their personal best. They concentrate on areas where they can make the greatest contributions (most leaders can successfully excel in no more than three areas) and they spend the bulk of their time in that or “those lanes.” Picture this, you need to get to Orlando from Ocala and the local news has already reported that there is a major accident on I-75, it would make sense that you would avoid that particular highway, bound to be filled with distracted rubberneckers going way below the stated speed limit. You would most definitely take an alternative route like State Road 441. 

Rather than get into some else’s lane where they will not add the greatest value or where they might feel deflated, the best leaders delegate responsibilities to leaders-in-training and more importantly, they eliminate as many distractions from their day as possible.  This is the true example of efficiency, a skill all leaders must possess. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Are you Thinking Like a Leader?

Think like a leader. You might say, I have never been a leader, I'm learning now, so how would I know? Well, it's quite simple. If you have ever worked for someone else then you have some concept of how a leader thinks. Simply put yourself in their position and ask yourself what would you do. For starters, leaders think in terms of multiplication and so should you. Imagine if you owned a company and needed something done, would you want one, very talented person with only 24 hours per day to get the job done or would you prefer ten talented people working together to get it done. I hope you would choose the latter. That's thinking as a leader and in multiplication.  

Leaders also think about solutions to problems in positive ways. They do not see lack as a limitation but a challenge that needs to be overcome. Thomas Edison, one of the world’s greatest inventors knew a thing or two about multiplication and failures. He engaged in ten thousand experiments before inventing the incandescent light bulb. When asked about his failures, he once stated, "I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward." Leaders stay positive under pressure and so should you. Jettison the thoughts common to laborers and mentally become the leader you feel destined to be.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What are you Missing?

Motivation creates the opportunity to lead. Over the years, I have noticed people who have worked for the same corporation for years and years, yet remained in the same position. They are very knowledgeable and they produce consistently but there is little to no growth in their status. If you are one of those people and you want to advance, pay close attention and examine your motives. Ask yourself the question, "Why am I stagnant?"  I don’t know your answer, however, I can almost guarantee you that you have the wrong motive. 

Workers, as characterized above, are bound in their ability to move mountains, solve problems, and meet deadlines. They are good on the team but seldom leaders. They tend to have this, “if it's going to be done right then I have to do it” mindset and they don’t trust “it” to anyone else. This sounds good, however something even more important than results is missing. People.

People should be your motivation. Certainly, people can be lazy and shifty; they may even talk all the time and never get anything done. Still these same people eventually leave the job or leave you behind. My advice. Get out of your own way.  If you already have the know-how, teach someone else to do what you do. Take your eyes off of self and turn this into an opportunity for improvement. This shows initiative and the ability to lead others to success. Inevitably, someone in authority over you will notice that you are more than a one-trick-pony, who gets their work done and to heck with the rest, and in the end you will be rewarded.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Adding Value

Adding value is a term commonly used in business. A company may set itself apart from its competitors by boasting that they have intentionally added value to their product or service that cannot be gotten elsewhere. BMW is a value added car manufacturer.  Sure you could drive a non-luxury car and still get to grandmother’s house on time, however, BMW boasts that it is “the ultimate driving machine.” They have in essence, added value to the quality of the ride to grandmother’s home when they equipped their vehicles with smooth suspension, high-grade leather, and features not normally found in the basic car.

More importantly, adding value has much less to do with earning profits or increasing sales and much more to do with providing benefits that are intrinsically in sync with the values.  The result, however, of adding value, often times does lead to an increase in profits. So what do you value? Is it an essential part of the product or service you provide?

If you believe in customer service, does that value consistently show up in how you and your employees treat patrons? If you like believe that work should be fun, is that reflected in your company culture? If you value family first, does your company have a policy that encourages employees to take annual vacations with their family? These are only examples.  Whatever the case, lead with your values in mind and those with similar values will follow.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Citizen Diplomacy

Long ago, I came across a mission statement, and I have never forgotten it.
It has stuck in my mind and I have shared it with many. Once in a while you come across a powerful statement and you feel like you own it. What do you think it’s about? Here it is:

In a democracy, the ultimate responsibility for a nation’s actions rests with its citizens. The top rung of government – the entity with the ultimate power of governance – is the asserted will of the people. Therefore, in any democracy, it is essential that its citizens be fully and accurately informed.

In the United States, currently the most powerful nation on earth, it is even more essential that its citizens receive complete and undistorted information on topics of importance, so that they may wield their extraordinary power with wisdom and intelligence.
Unfortunately, such information is not always forthcoming.
The mission of If Americans Knew is to inform and educate the American public on issues of major significance that are unreported, underreported, or misreported in the American media.

It is our belief that when Americans know the facts on a subject, they will, in the nal analysis, act in accordance with morality, justice, and the best interests of their nation, and of the world. With insufcient information, or distorted information, they may do the precise opposite.

Several years ago I was fortunate to be introduced to two Jewish attorneys from Gainesville that had a broad history with Sister City International and the twinning process. They had paired 100 U.S. and Russian cities together. I have heard one of them say, “we are not going to take credit for ending the Cold War, but soon after it ended, President Reagan came on national TV and said we need to have more sister city relationships.”
Incidentally, they also have a trilateral city relationship between Gainesville
- Qalqilya, Palestine and - Kfar Saba, Israel. This leads me to Sister Cities
What is Sister Cities International?
Sister Cities International was created at President Eisenhower’s 1956
White House conference on citizen diplomacy, where he envisioned an organization that could be a champion for peace and prosperity by fostering bonds between people from different communities around the world. By forming these relationships, President Eisenhower reasoned that people of different cultures could celebrate and appreciate their differences and build partnerships that would lessen the chance of new conicts. Since its inception Sister Cities International has played a key role in renewing and strengthening important global relationships.

I have shared all of this with you, to share a recent visit our city had from a delegate from Ramallah, Palestine. Ramallah is a small city (population, approximately 57,000) in the Palestinian Territories, located within the West Bank region, approximately 10 miles north of Jerusalem. Ramallah is known for its relaxed atmosphere with many cafes along its main streets.

Ramallah is considered the cultural capital of the West Bank, with a highly educated and fashionable population. This young gentleman, Wajdy Hussain, was a wonderful ambassador and won the hearts of all who met him. When asked what he thought about Ocala, he replied with “America is a wonderful place and there are many, many nice people that are going to like you if you share with them a real smile".  

“I went into north central Florida, in a region known as "horse country,"
Ocala, what a beautiful city!  Everything attracted me, from the oak trees and dangling trellises of Spanish moss, to the rolling hills. And I had the opportunity to explore miles of unblemished nature.”

“I visited the beautiful Rainbow Springs, but missed the opportunity to canoe on that day.”

“And last but not least, the people in Ocala. I mean all the people I met in my visit, they are so kind and great people. All what you need there just a smile and you will nd yourself between many people respecting you.”

I believe his expression captured it well. Ocala, a city well-known for its warm-hospitality, philanthropy and natural beauty. May we all embrace citizen diplomacy and make this a better universe.

See you next time on a Moment with Manal.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Power of Influence!

Influence is power, directly or indirectly used to create a desired effect. Leaders most
definitely have “influence.” Some have it naturally, for instance, world and religious
leaders have a certain type of charisma that engages others and makes constituents and
congregations want to follow them. Others have learned how to develop the skill. In fact,
many books have been written on the subject. The most successful, “How to Win Friends
and Influence People,” was first published in 1936 and is still relevant today. !

At the foundation of influence, whether nature or nurture is “credibility.” In general,
those who appear to believe and practice their own message excite the masses. Leaders
with influence are deemed as trustworthy. They seem to walk the walk, and not just talk
the talk. Again, they epitomize credibility. They are consistent and have proven
themselves to accomplish their goals and to keep their word. If they say they are going to
do something, they usually do, and because of their actions and consistency over time,
they have earned the respect of others.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Innovation via Reinvention

A popular term these days as that of reinventing yourself. If you were to pose the question, “Would you like to reinvent yourself?” You may get a 90% affirmative response. Many of the greatest companies continue to do this. Some good examples of companies that had the intention to do one thing, but found the greater opportunity in going a different direction include some of the most well known companies.
Did you know Flicker started out as an on-line game start up? One of the engineers started a picture saving feature that moved it into it’s current state and scraped the game idea. How about Twitter? Twitter was started as a small group internal SMS company and communication tool. When it went public, it’s success far exceeded it’s expectations and it became it’s own company. 
Another great example of a company that continues to reinvent itself is the powerhouse, Nike! It went from shoe distribution to a lifestyle company. More recently it became more community focused through it’s Nike plus, where you can track your training, connect with others, and share your progress. What Nike did, was continue to evolve, stay current and significant by incorporating athletic activity, mobile technology, and social networking. When the economy was down, Nike continued to show growth and now owns as much as 50% of the athletic shoe market.

The message today is to inspire you to continue to reinvent your company or to dedicate time to your personal reinvention. Personal development and investment in oneself ranks so high in my world, that it helped me reinvent myself as a success coach, thus launching Fakhoury Leadership International. A company dedicated to personal development and growth through training, coaching and consulting. The
simple idea of tiding a small percentage of 5 or 10% to help others and to help yourself will be the fuel for your continued success. In the business arena, a well-known term is ROI (Return on Investment); industry leaders in the area of personal development will tell you that for every dollar you invest in developing yourself, you will receive a return X30. That is what you will add to your bottom line. Invest in the best knowledge, the best mentoring and the best programs.

Reinventing oneself begins with identifying your unique strengths. We all have them! Ask yourself, what do you do better than anyone else? What excites and exhilarates you? What are you willing to fight for? You may find your passion in the fight. If you are not familiar with the mirror principle, it’s a good principle to adopt. Examine yourself first. The first person I must know is myself. Human nature is that it’s easier to
see someone else’s problems or weaknesses. It is much better to know yourself. The lid on people’s relationships is with their own self image. Self honesty is powerful and is the key to moving forward. Your life will continue to unfold, if you want bigger outcomes and bigger results, I recommend you continue to invest in yourself and it may mean reinvent yourself.

All change begins with you, not with circumstances. Again, all change begins with you!

See you next time on a Moment with Manal.