5 Must Have Leadership Books

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I have no idea how big your library is. I have a few ‘libraries’ when you think of the one in my office, the one in my house, and the one that is piled in boxes after several moves.

But of all the books that I have, there are five books that very often get cracked open for insight, wisdom, and guidance. I thought I would let you get a bit of a feel of the books that have meant the most to me as it pertains to “Leadership”.

Let’s dive in.

1 – Leadership – Rudolph Guliani. Hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read on leadership. For those who do not know who the author is, he was the mayor of New York City during 9/11. The book was already being written during the terrorist attack. It was changed to show how his leadership principles  and resolve that transformed the city prior to 9/11 came into play again after the attack. Ugh. A great book!

2 – Leadership and Self-Deception – Arbinger Institute. This is a fable about interpersonal conflict resolution and is a must have if you are responsible for a group of employees. I make all of our staff read it prior to working. We use the lingo. It helps us understand one another as well as ourselves so that we diffuse many situations before they ever amount to anything monumental. Its success within a staff is a great morale booster.

3 – The Path – Laurie Beth Jones. Rather than mention Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits book I thought I would show that I prefer Laurie Beth Jones’ take on mission statements / personal life goals better. She doesn’t start with the end in mind. Instead, she looks deeper… at why you are who you are and then builds the mission out from within. Great book. Have a number that I give away in counselling. Never had a complaint.

4 – Onward – Howard Schultz. I don’t hide that I like Starbucks. Check out my tagline on my other blog here. That said, I like how the company thinks about its mission and its connection with others more than I like the coffee. They seem to ‘get’ what is lacking and the book is great for anyone who is trying to rebuild in the midst of hardship. The CEO writes about how Starbucks flew right into the recession of ’08 and how they turned things around when everyone else thought they would fail. Very inspiring read.

5 – Tale of Three Kings – Gene Edwards. If you are in leadership and report to people and have people reporting to you then you will enjoy this book. It is a poetic look at the life of King David of Israel in relation to two other people: the previous King Saul who knew that David was to succeed him as king and David’s son Absalom who wanted to take the kingdom away from him once David became king. There are those who you need to learn how to work under while others are nipping at your heels. Great read.

I will no doubt end up doing similar posts for different areas. If you have any suggestions of a “Top 5” in another category, feel free to comment on it and I’ll see what I can do. Let me know if there are books in ‘your’ top 5 leadership category so that we can keep the conversation going.

Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep leading.

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5 Markers of a Great Huddle

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Kerry and I had a couple of friends over recently to watch our beloved New England Patriots play NFL football (yes they won but I’m not some sort of crazed fan who trashes every other team fan – our record does that 🙂  ).

Before every play I would watch Tom Brady bring his players together for a huddle and after communicating the intended play, they would go to the line, execute it with success (or not), then start the process all over again. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

I got to thinking about that as it pertains to the workplace. Kerry’s work has a daily ‘huddle’ where the team gets together. Now the good news is that I don’t really know how the meetings run so what I say has no reflection on what her work does.

I think that the ‘huddle’ can be the difference between a ‘touchdown’ or a ‘fumble’ in business. How your team views and uses the huddle is the tipping point between success and failure. Here are 5 things that will make a great huddle and launch your team towards the winning the game:

1 – Reset. Huddles are not the time to discourse overarching issues of the company, your team, why things aren’t working, etc. It’s a time to look forward. Not backwards. Lay out your plan and get your team on the same page. You will have other times with the right people to talk about making things better. Get in. Get out. Get it done.

2 – Praise publicly. Critique privately. Huddles are not for pointing anyone out for what they are doing wrong. The moment you do that, you make everyone on the team suspect of whether or not ‘they’ will be pointed out next. Do that outside of the huddle privately. I’ll write about that some other time. That said, it’s a GREAT place to say “great work”, “good job”, “way to get that new client Bob” etc… Make people want to come to the huddle.

3 – Define your immediate goal. “What’s the play?” Lay out your goal (SMART) based on how often you meet with your team. Use whatever metric you want to define success or failure in order to encourage your team if they accomplish it or else reset and redefine your next goal for the next huddle you have. Make sure it is clearly communicated and understood by all. Figure out the best way to do that based on how your team operates.

4 – Reinforce each person’s responsibility. It’s painful to watch a quarterback throw the ball to open space simply because the other player ran the wrong route. Make sure that everyone on your team understands clearly what their part of the goal is and what they need to do to ensure it’s success. Chances are if they don’t know what to do, you haven’t clearly articulated your expectations.

5 – Leave the huddle instilling confidence. If your team leaves the meeting uninspired to produce you’re probably about to watch subpar performance and a mediocre morale in the team. Find the right way to instil confidence and excitement for the immediate future. I will write about some suggestions in other posts to come.

Put these five steps together and you’re on your way to success. Remember, ‘momentum’ is simply a succession of ‘moments’ (good or bad). Focus on making the ‘moment’ count. Tie moments together over the course of your huddles in order to make a winning team.

Ready… Break!

 

 

The Struggle Of The Setback

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We all face setbacks. No life trajectory looks like a perfect javelin throw from the 80’s arcade game of Hyper Olympics. “Progress” realistically is coupled with signs of  with Regress and Digress as well. The key to actually progressing is going to be what you do with that setback and how you allow that issue to slow down your momentum to move forward.

Michael Hyatt in his blog points out that setbacks tend to derail our perspective of the failure first and thus, limit or all-out halt progress. He lays out five steps to help regain perspective in what you are trying to accomplish.

1 – Acknowledge what happened. The longer you ignore that the setback actually occurred (or is occurring) you cannot resolve to move forward. Ignorance is ‘not’ bliss here. It will only amplify the problem further on.

2 – Empathize with those who suffered. All setbacks come with a feeling of sadness or grief. Embrace it. Admit it. When you acknowledge the pain, you start the process of moving forward as well as away from the setback.

3 – Put the setback in context. Oh… how vital this step is! Often times when we do not put the scenario in perspective we can give it way too much significance, or even worse, not enough. Take the time to evaluate how the setback changes things so that you can properly give it the attention it needs (or doesn’t).

4 – Point out the positive. Look for the silver lining. There’s always something to get out the setback – wisdom, insight, self-actualization, etc. Look for it and harness it for future endeavours.

5 – Keep moving forward. The difference between “Failing” and “Falling” is “i”. Remember that you are the difference between whether the setback will stop the ‘progress’ and stop the ‘process’. Don’t let life control you. Control life.

Setbacks are part of life. Make sure that they only set you back… and not stop you all together.

Onward we go.

(Let me know what you think by leaving a comment and be a part of the conversation.)

The New Year’s Resolution Fatal Flaw

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This year I am going to lose weight, read more books, finish the Bible, and love on my family more.

No joking. Those are my goals… but NOT my New Year’s Resolutions. I won’t make any New Year’s Resolutions… because they are fixed to fail from the beginning; at least that’s how I see them.

For years I used to take some time and write down all of the things that I planned on doing the next year effective January 1. Make more money. Travel. Solve world hunger. Bend time and space. But all of my ideas and aspirations hinged on coming out of the gate like a rocket after that ball dropped on New Year’s Eve. Come January 1, things were going to CHANGE!!!!

And they did. Sometimes even for the rest of that day!

If you look here at statisticbrain.com they looked at people’s resolutions from last year and how well people did.

Top three… Lose weight. Get organized. Spend less / save more.

45% of Americans make NY’s resolutions. Percentage that make it… 8%.

So your odds of actually accomplishing your resolution is 1:12. Not bad odds if you were buying a lottery ticket. I think you’d be inclined to try it out if a million dollars was on the line; but it still constiutes a 92% chance of failure.

But what if we are doing it all wrong?!?!?! What if the problem isn’t that we WANT to change, but rather we don’t know WHAT IT TAKES to change?

Let me explain…

Google “fastest man on the earth” and what will you find? Usain Bolt… clocking in at an incredible 9.58 seconds. Florence Griffin-Joyner holds the record at 10.49 seconds. That’s amazing!! Here’s the problem… Google ASSUMES ‘we’ are judging speed on only 100 metres.

Who made that decision?!? Why 100 metres? Why isn’t it Dennis Kimetto from Kenya clocking in at an incredible 2:02:57… for 26.2 MILES (42.2km). Or Yiannis Kouros who ran 188.59 miles (303.506km) within 24 hours!!!!!! No one knows Yiannis’ name (he doesn’t make a lightning bolt move at the end of his race as far as I know)… yet no one has beat Yiannis or Dennis in their respective races.

So… I think NY Resolutions fail because too many people run the 100m dash instead of the marathon. New Year’s Resolutions are more about what you are going to DO come January 1 rather than where do you want to BE come December 31.

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So I have goals that I want to accomplish in 2016. And I hope that I do better than an 8% chance of success. But I won’t succeed by putting all the pressure on the start… but rather by focusing on crossing the line, thinner, more knowledgeable, more grounded in God’s Word, and hopefully a husband and father that my family can be proud of.

At least that’s how I see it,

 

C