I’m a pretty good coach, but I would make a terrible counselor. Whenever I am put in that situation, I get agitated. Why? Because the solution to the person’s problem seems obvious. It’s all I can do to retrain myself from blurting it out.
Recently, my friend and former coach Ilene Muething shared with me this really funny Mad TV skit with Bob Newhart. In it, he plays the role of Dr. Switzer, a psychologist with a simple theory of human behavior. The clip is only six minutes long but worth every second. It’s hilarious.
If you have followed my blog for more than a few months, you know that I am a huge fan of Don Miller and, especially, his most recent book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story. In fact, last year I had the men in my Mentoring Group read through the book and discuss it. It was life-changing.
That’s why I am so excited to share with you about Don’s Storyline Conference. Gail and I attended last year in Portland and loved it. It is a two-day event, held in three locations: Portland (April 30–May 1), Nashville (May 6–7), and Santa Barbara (June 8–9).
Problems always come in pairs. There’s the immediate problem that must be fixed. Then there’s the problem behind the problem—the breakdown in the process, the policy, or the people that led to the problem.
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If you don’t take time to fix both, you’ll end up with the same problem happening again and again.
What do penguins have to do with leadership and changing your toxic team culture? More than you realize.
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The power of a few can influence the behavior of many. Leadership, as John Maxwell suggests, is really nothing more than influence.
Gail and I have attended a Women of Faith Conference every year for the last ten years. That may sound strange since I am a man but stay with me!
Women of Faith is owned by Thomas Nelson. Most of the speakers at the conference are Thomas Nelson authors. So as the former CEO of Thomas Nelson, I had a business reason to attend. (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.)
When I started out in my career, the key to success was having the right answers. If the boss had a question, he expected me to have the answer—or know where to get it. Those who advanced in their careers the quickest were seemingly the ones who had the most answers.
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But as I began to ascend the corporate ladder, I discovered that the key to success began to shift. It became less and less about having the right answers and more and more about having the right questions.
If I asked you your “magic number,” chances are you would look at me and wonder what I really meant. Magic number? Is that like a lucky number?
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If, however, I asked for your hoped-for retirement age, I bet a number would quickly pop into your mind. Was it fifty-five, sixty, or sixty-five?
Everyone wants to be a leader. However, few are prepared to accept the accountability that goes with it. But you can’t have one without the other. They are two sides of the same coin.
President Harry Truman, “The Buck Stops Here”
But what does accountability look like?
Several months ago, my wife, Gail, and I attended an industry mixer at a conference we were attending. Almost immediately, I was cornered by an author who proceeded to complain about all the incompetent people in his life.
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He grumbled about his literary agent, his booking agent, and his publisher. No one, it seems, measured up to his standards. I tried to change the subject, but he persisted.
Have you ever heard—or asked—questions like these at work? “Who dropped the ball?” “Why can’t that department do its job right?” “When will we find good people?”
These questions lead us into the dangerous traps of blame, victim thinking, and procrastination—ones that leaders work hard to avoid while on the job.
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But what if the person asking these questions was also a parent and later returned to their family, asking: “Who made the mess in here?” “Why won’t he ever listen to me?” “When will my spouse help out more?”
When you’re in charge, it’s easy to get accustomed to having the people follow your wisdom simply because you’re the leader.
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But when was the last time you took a real risk, putting yourself out there with the possibility of failure? Have we become so used to leading that we’ve forgotten what it took to get us there?