Saturday, June 6, 2015

Staying Power

What you know today is what matters most. The past is a great predictor of your future success and the future is unknown, so all anyone really has is the moment they presently live in. Leadership today could be gone tomorrow. To remain a leader in your field - even if it is a field you created and have dominated for years- you must be careful not to rest (too long) on your laurels. Past accomplishments are worthy of appreciation, however, noteworthy accomplishments are made every day. It is increasingly common to get lost in the barrage of 140- character messages that constantly stream or pop into our social hemisphere, bringing people all across the globe together. Also take into account that the world is full of innovators and YouTube geniuses committed to making existing inventions, products and services better; yours and mine are included. 

For example, Atari was the great personal gaming invention of the 70s and 80s. Besides Donkey Kong and Pac Man, one of the most popular Atari games, Pong, was set against a black background that allowed the player to hit a tiny white ball back and forth as if playing ping pong but on a computer screen. It was amazing for its time! But what if computer games had stopped there. Thank God they didn't because now we have games that teach us to dance, play instruments, and crush candy all within the palm of our hands.

Again, leaders must resist the status quo because people’s minds are never static. Something new is always being created. To remain relevant and not become a relic far before time, today’s leaders must invest in R &D. Keep up with trends. Become the trendsetter and discover ways to stay on top.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Brand You 

In marketing circles, we talk a lot about “buy in.” It is that acceptance or support of an idea or decision we garner from others. If you are the team leader of a marketing campaign, at one point you will have to meet before your team and your potential client’s team to get their “buy in” and hopefully, the account.  We use it in other fashions as well: business development, sales, and even religion. But are we using it enough in our personal and leadership development? 

If you were to think of yourself as something being marketed, and you want to be marketable, then you have to take a good long look at what you, in fact, are marketing. People are always watching you and they are making judgments about you as soon as you leave the room. Their judgments may affect your promotion, a bonus, or something even bigger. So what are they thinking? What’s still in the room even after you have left?

What is your brand? What are you selling or marketing to those around you? If you don’t like what you discover when the spotlight shines on you, then ask, “what would I like my brand to be and how do I become that?” Here’s a hint. Your brand should be the promise of what is to be delivered.  Are you just like Apple, innovative, relatable, and popular with all types of people?  Are you like Starbucks, warm, inviting, and on the minds of the masses (especially in the morning)? You get my drift…you’re buying into the new concept of you as a brand. A walking billboard of whatever it is you want the world to perceive about you. Think about it, and then build it.  

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pass the Ball!

There is something you can do to offset the negative energy of those who are not happy about your success. If you have been so overly focused on your career or financial goals it could be that your peers are jealous because they have not seen your brilliance benefiting anyone but you! People need to see you take an interest in them and others. I mean as magnificent as the leading scorer is to watch, he becomes boring and causes internal conflict when he doesn't pass the ball. As a result, his team-mate might become uninterested in him and the game. Kobe Bryant had to learn this. It happens off the court as well. Though, high producers bring many benefits to their organization, they do have the ability to focus so heavily on themselves that they destroy the relationships around them.  

By building up others you in turn are built up. It’s a strange concept, not natural to mankind, for the forces in this global economy encourage us to seek our own success and wealth, first, and then and only then, should we give “back” to others. There is a sense of superiority in that natural world-view that could be misconstrued; therefore, I challenge you to help others now, regardless of your current status. You always have something to give to someone less fortunate than you. Instead of reaching back, take someone with you. Become a mentor to those who are not as connected or assertive or talented as you are. Imagine not only getting the promotion but being able to take your entire team with you, and duplicating your production in a brand new environment and moreover, teaching your team to do what you did for them. Pass the ball. The results here can be life long.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tall Poppy Syndrome 

It is hard for me to fathom how any high achiever, super-duper producer, would not have the support of those around him or her.  Well it does exist and it is called the “tall poppy syndrome.”  The expression is more common in Europe than in the states, and denotes that there are often two groups of people in the world: those who are a riding high on success, the “tall poppies,” and those who wish to bring them down to size and pop the tall poppy’s over-achieving bubble. Taylor Swift might call the last group, “haters,” and remind you that “haters gonna hate, hate, hate” and you must simply “shake it off.” 

In my analytical mind, that is cute, however, I like to go deeper in order to understand why this type of begrudgery exists at all. While not scientific, I would reason that this treatment is somehow warranted in the mind of inferior thinkers. It reminds me of the “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” commercial in the 90s. Hate is a strong word, yet it could be a valid feeling for someone who already feels ugly inside. At that moment, they might not want to run into Miss America, dressed in all her perfection and positivity. Or the quiet guy might resent working on a team with “the golden boy.” There could be a tall poppy situation about to happen. Do you recall, Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding? 

In closing, if you cannot get excited by someone else’s blessings in life, and destructive actions or thoughts become the modus operandi for dealing with internal pain or competition, please get professional help.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Teams of People

People relationships are the underpinnings of leadership. They are the fastenings, often unseen, that multiply your efforts and create exponential results, far exceeding what you could ever produce alone. These very key relationships create a sophisticated network, interconnecting you to a variety of resources.

So who is in your network?  Your mentor(s), the people you work and do business with, obviously. What about the people who influence them? Hmm...think beyond your circle of friends and influence. Get out of your shell. Join your local chamber. Commit to opportunities to serve in your community. Bottom line: Get to know more people and thereby, build a viable network, your very own bridge to success. Don’t allow your previous success to inhibit you from asking for help.  People want to work on high leverage activities with high producers.

This leads me of a powerful message:  No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you are playing a solo game, you will always lose out to a team.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Goals Lead to Results

Performance is the game changer. People will follow you based on your performance, and most times they will pay you quite well. To achieve this level of leadership, you have to be goal-driven. People need to know your results and what you have accomplished: Did profits rise? Was attrition low? What part did you play in saving or expanding the company? Did you have more wins than losses? 

Evidence of performance and leadership can be found in Coach Billy Donovan. Donovan took a nearly nonexistent Gator basketball team and made them a formidable foe on the courts, winning 2 NCAA national championships and other impressive awards. As a result, the former head coach of the University of Florida's men's basketball team recently accepted a $30 million contract for the same role with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he is taking his assistant coach, Rashan Burno with him. Coach Burno a proven producer as well, with only three years at Florida, helped lead the Gators to back-to-back SEC Championships and a showing at the 2014 Final Four. 

After 19 years at Florida, it appears that Donovan is planning to lead his new team to a victory, and to produce a new following in the NBA.  Again, people want results.  Be goals-oriented and results driven.