Our whole role in life is to give you something you didn’t know you wanted and then, once you get it, you can’t imagine your life without it.
Last November, I launched my most recent Reader Survey. This is the fourth year I have gone through this exercise. I have benefited enormously each time. Ultimately, I think it also benefits you, because it helps me improve the content I create, whether on this blog, my podcast, or elsewhere.
More than twenty-eight hundred people participated in the survey—almost double the number that took my last one. This was particularly surprising given the fact that I asked almost twice the number of questions (fifty-three as compared to thirty).
Over the last few months, I have had three young leaders come to me for advice on hiring and firing. In each case, they had made a big mistake in recruiting the wrong person. They were trying to remedy the situation and avoid it happening again.
I have made my share of hiring mistakes, too. I know how painful they can be. They were always very expensive and emotionally draining. Instead of focusing on the work at hand, they distracted me and kept my business from moving forward.
In a Commencement Address at Stanford University, Steve Jobs said,
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Ric Elias was a passenger on flight 1579, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York in January 2009. What went through his mind as the doomed plane went down? In this short five-minute speech, he shares how facing his own death gave him a new perspective on life. It’s well worth watching. (Thanks to Darrell Vesterfelt at the Storyline Blog for sharing this.)
Great conversations are a balance of give and take like a ping pong match. You wait for the ball to come over the net, then you hit it back to the person on the other side. Then you do it all over again—and on it goes.
This is an essential leadership skill and one that can be learned with a little practice.
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Several years ago, when I was the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, I was presiding over our monthly business review meeting. One by one, each of our divisional managers would appear before the executive team and review their operating results for the previous month.
At the first break, one of my business consultants who was attending pulled me aside.
“Are you angry at someone?”
“No,” I said, somewhat surprised.
“Stop looking for your next big opportunity. Give everything you got to the one you have right now.”
January 29, 2014
The key to keeping your team aligned in the midst of change or chaos is communication. Unfortunately, most leaders are not intentional about this. They either don’t communicate or don’t have a plan for rolling their message out. The result is that people are left to create their own narrative about what is happening.
If you are going to be an effective leader, you must be deliberate in keeping your team informed. If you don’t, you will create a tremendous amount of “sideways energy” as people speculate and come to the wrong conclusion.