So many times I’ve heard (often in my own mind!) the analogy of a fantastic leader as a symphony conductor. I thought of this last week while I was at the ballet, where there were two groups of performers: the orchestra and the dancers. It seemed to me that the job of anyone leading or directing a group endeavor would create the greatest synergistic achievement by coaching and inspiring the greatest performance from each participant.
Then I read a passage in the book Success Built to Last, by Stewart Emery & Jerry Porras, that tells a story about this very thing. Porras, Emery, and their co-author Mark Thompson interviewed Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Bostom Philharmonic. Zander saw a study done at Harvard that showed that orchestra player came in just below prison guard in job satisfaction. Turns out, most orchestra conductors are “the worst examples of dictatorship”…sounds like a lousy leadership example to me.
Zander had an epiphany…”the conductor is the only musician who doesn’t make a sound…the meaning of ‘symphonia’ is ‘voices sounding together’. So the job of the conductor is to make sure that every voice is heard. Not only heard but beautifully expressed. Music is about getting people to be fully expressed–passionately engaged, giving their all–and still enabling everybody else to be heard, too.”
Now THAT sounds like a nice definition of effective leadership.
I thought that some of you might want to know more about my life.
First, I love to have fun. I can find humor in just about anything. I love to laugh (and have a pretty hearty laugh to prove it!) Favorite activities are things that stimulate my mind, my heart, or my spirit….and if it’s an experience that can achieve all that at once, then it’s Nirvana! I love to be active. Living in a downtown San Jose neighborhood is perfect for me, for there are lots of restaurants, concerts, plays, musicals, movies, museums, and other activities that I can enjoy…and I can walk to most of them! Now that the holidays are coming, Christmas in the Park is setting up in downtown, and the ice skating rink around the palm trees outside the museum of art is open, so there’s a change in the downtown landscape that’s wonderful and stimulating. I plan to go ice skating downtown this year (and cross-country skiing later in the season…pray for snow!)
I share my home with one of the “best buds” ever, my miniature poodle, Patou. He’s a terrific, fun, well-mannered and intelligent guy. Everyone in my neighborhood knows him by name, but can’t quite remember who I am. However, we’re a team. There’s picture of Patou in his new “ski vest” on a boating/camping trip last summer. Being a poodle, he’s a water maniac. Can’t keep him out of it. Luckily, one of my neighbors has a pool that is open to Patou at all times.
I love dogs and parakeets. I’ve had one or the other most of my life. Both are social animals… like me, I guess.
The Governor’s Conference will gather California’s most inspired and innovative entrepreneurs and small business leaders to create a forum for ideas, inspiration, and practical solutions that will drive the state’s entrepreneurial economy forward into its next era of prosperity. This unprecedented assembly of California’s brightest and most visionary leaders from industry segments, generations, and geographic areas will create a new dynamic, sustainable network of business owners and entrepreneurs. This network will accelerate information sharing, incubate new ideas, and contribute new policy proposals for boosting the state’s economic success.
The Governor’s Conference will feature world-renowned speakers and experts from the fields of economic development, technology, venture capital, and entrepreneurship. The conference also will showcase many of California’s up-and-coming 20-something entrepreneurs.
On site, diverse groups will caucus to finalize policy recommendations for the state’s policy leaders on topics including AB32 and Energy, Access to Capital, Entrepreneurial Encouragement, Healthcare, Innovation & Technology, Procurement, Regulatory Reform, Taxation, Transportation, and Workforce Development and Education. Other topics also may be considered for presentation to the Governor if the Conference attendees choose to add them to the agenda.
You can watch the free live Webcast of the Tuesday event by clicking below on Nov. 18, 2008, between 10:45 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. CT. (Tuesday and Wednesday sessions will be available for on-demand viewing following the event.)
So, on Tuesday , Nov. 18th go to here: http://www.kauffman.org/Details.aspx?id=5692 and view this event.
On October 4th I had the pleasure of speaking with David Byrd, President of Leadership Management, Inc. The topic? The “Tripping Point in Leadership”. Not only is this the title of David’s new book, but it also defines a serious symptom of ineffective leadership–organizational apathy. According to David, there are 5 points which define effective leadership:
- Measurable results
- Creative work environment
- Ethical integrity
I asked him how much of all this has to to with attitude. His answer: “Everything!”
Okay, then how much of all this has to do with spirituality? Again, the answer: “Everything. We must be authentic as a person. We can’t sit in church during the week, then act against those values in our work relationships and behavior. The inauthenticity will doom us and our organization to backslide.
There’s no formal leadership without FIRST personal leadership. It’s a foundational issue.
A-HA! This is what all the coaches/consultants/leaders of leaders are saying, and what I having been trying to teach for the past few years! We have to BE before we can have or do.
(Well, dang! You mean I gotta work on me, my integrity, my inner standards, my honoring of self, my authenticity, my self-love first?? Yup, Sunshine, that’s what I’m saying)
So, according to David Byrd, what’s the single most important qualification/behavior of a leader??…belief in people. Then, being fueled by that belief, integrate leadership development at all levels. Help others grow, excel, lead, and you’ll have engaged, productive, loyal people…and you can all light the way!
Listen to this program by going to www.modavox.com/voiceamericabusiness and clicking on Tuesday, noon, and scrolling through my shows. Enjoy–and stop tripping over yourself!
On October 21st, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Horan, CEO of the One Page Business Plan Co., author of the One Page Planning softwares and books, and a sometime mentor of mine. I like Jim. I like his products, his insights, and his heart. Jim understands that planning is a huge part of leading ourselves (then, leading others) to achieve what we want most in life.
Our conversation on the 21st took place on my Abundance Leadership radio show (natch), and I was struck by the depth of how the One Page Plans can affect businesses and lives.
Jim describes these tools as ways to access your wisdom, and create the story of where you want your life and business to be in the next 3-5 years. And it starts with a vision…a very detailed and exciting vision…a vision that makes you sit back, get all tingly, and say a soft “Wow.”
And that’s what happens…I’ve witnessed it myself with my own clients.
Then working back from the vision, create the steps, programs, and strategies to get there.
The problem is that too many people won’t take the time to work through this process. They say they’ll create the plan when they have more money, or have more time, or have less things to deal with. Silly, silly thinking. This is like saying you’ll get a map after you’re en route.
This is backward thinking! Howzabout “first things first”?
When I asked Jim what was the biggest mistake that business people make, he responded, “They don’t take time to think”. Hmmm…that certainly explains why so many people are struggling and sloughing through daily muck and getting nowhere!
Is that you?
The words for today, then, are : TAKE TIME TO THINK!
To listen to this interview, go to www.modavox.com/voiceamericabusiness Then go to Tuesday at noon, and scroll to the October 21st show. You’ll be happy you did.
This is one of my favorite questions and one of my favorite topics to teach, so I was in 7th Heaven interviewing my October 14th guest, Stewart Emery, co-author of the marvelous book, “Success Built to Last“, and author of the new book, “Do You Matter?” Stewart is one of the most honored “fathers” of the human potential movement, a renowned speaker, teacher, consultant, and author who has examined why people are successful and what makes them “keep ticking”. A key finding: for many, ultimately, it’s not about the money. And many of the people we would describe as leaders and successful people are not wealthy. The truth is, we modern-day folk have been sold a bill of goods that define success as “Wealth, fame, status, power, etc.” But, that just ain’t so. Success is more personal, meaningful, authentic and true than that. In order to get the full story, you’ll need to listen to October 14th’s show and/or read the book “Success Built to Last“. I already teach a class called “The Why Behind the What”, defining the meaning of success for YOU. But after talking to Stewart and reading his book, I will be expanding and enriching my course, so students will be so satisfied and full they won’t ever be asking “where’s the meat?”
So, my question for you is: “When will you know when you’re successful?”
To listen to the archive on this go to Tuesday’s calendar at noon at this site: www.modavox.com/voiceamericabusiness
On October 7th I interviewed the fabulous Marci Shimoff, featured teacher in “The Secret”, and one of the best-selling female non-fiction authors of all time. We discussed her latest book, “Happy for No Reason”, and the impact that happiness makes to success of the person and the organization. The thing is, everyone wants to be happy. Things don’t feed our hunger for happiness…neither does position or power. And since happy people make more money over their lifetime (around $1 million more, actually), doesn’t it make sense to be happy FIRST?
We can become happy by making a decision to be so, then adopting new habits to change our “happiness set point”. One of the most important habits is associating with happy people. We become the average of the 5 people we associate with the most (in psychology this is known as the “law of exposure”–we become what we’re exposed to. That’s why we need to be careful of what we watch, read, listen to, and talk about).
For a leader, bringing a positive atmosphere into the organization opens up a space for people to be more creative, collaborative, and productive. Happiness can have huge repercussions. Listen to my interview with Marci at www.modavox.com/voiceamericabusiness and go to Tuesday at noon to find the October 7th program…and be prepared to be inspired and energized!
Terry Pearce was my guest on September 30th, and I must admit that I was a little nervous about interviewing him. Not that he’s not a nice man, he is…and very easy to talk to. It’s just that he has such a huge reputation, such vast experience, respect and knowledge that I felt a little humbled and daunted by it all. However, we got into such a deep and fascinating discussion that I soon forgot my nervousness (besides, he’s also a musician and a lover of all kinds of music, so we had that connection!).
Here’s a list of some of the points…but you must listen to the conversation to get it all—there was just SO MUCH great stuff that came out of it!–
For leaders and organizations today, integrity is a must. The Internet really “holds our feet to the fire” in all we say and do. When we display integrity and the other elements that demonstrate Abundance Leadership, others will follow you and follow your dream.
Being this quality of leader requires 2 things: “a good education and a great mom” (yes, I was surprised by the second part of that , too!) A great mom instills great values, which then helps a person define what value they can bring to others (which is reflected in the leadership communication qualities of empathy, communication, caring, confidence, trust, and inspiration), which can then impact the valuation of the service they offer the public.
But, take heart. There are ways to develop empathy, communication, trust, caring, confidence and inspiration. Terry cited some wonderful neurological studies and work done on what is termed “mirror neurons”. We can also become more tuned into others and change our reactions to others by watching our own minds, by building an “inner observer”.
It’s the responsibility of the leader to build a culture that accepts progress AND freedom to act–in all corporate documents and procedures. The leader needs to build “an awareness culture”. The leader must be able to inspire on an emotional level, AND have the data and competence to follow through.
In commenting on how to communicate in such a multi-generational, multi-cultural society, Terry said that “it’s not that hard, really.” There are ways to be confident that we understand each other. There are 3 things that we ALL have in common, and have had for thousands of years: mythology, music, and math. Mythology is the stories that are common throughout history and societies: the hero’s journey, good guys/bad guys, they’ll destroy our life, let’s engage them where they are, etc. .
Music is common to all people as well There’s a basic human need for it.
Math goes beyond mathematics to communications, to what Terry calls “show the math” to get “partial credit”. In other words, if people don’t agree with your decision, but you can demonstrate how you came up with it, they will usually go along with what you want, or at least will keep communications open. This concept extends across cultures and age groups.
Finally, when asked what it takes for a leader to achieve the high level of embodying authenticity and “personal self” in his/her leadership, Terry responded, ” A good coach”. (That was my personal favorite comment ;o)
Again, listen to the show to see how this all flows together…and be prepared to be fascinated and inspired. www.modavox.com/voiceamericabusiness
I love Tim Sanders…not in the romantic sense, of course, but I love his thinking, his insights, wisdom, and energy. Tim is the author of Love is the Killer App, The Likability Factor, and, most recently, Saving the World at Work, how “you can make a difference while making a dollar”. He recently sent out an excerpt from his blog, and I want to share it with you here. It’s another example of how we can all be leaders by influencing others and making a difference:
“Do your co-workers have that “Deer In The Headlines” look today?
Today, and likely this week, you have a choice: Obsess on the Wall Street crisis or focus on a project that will make a difference over the long haul. I doubt that there’s little in between.
Me personally, I’m going to focus my efforts on my new website: www.SavingTheWorld. net
While Rome burns, I’ll build something. Likely, my efforts this week won’t be erased by the results of current events. In fact, so many others will choose the Obsess option, I’ll likely move ahead as a result of my focus during a time of distraction.
This will work for you too. Turn it all off, and devote your attention to a single project of value. Work on the product or the marketing plan. Get inside the process, and don’t come out until it is fixed. Get in your car and go see a customer (or call them). Do something, anything. You’ll be thinking against the grain.”
You rock, Tim!
On September 23rd I had the distinct pleasure to spend an hour speaking with Dr. John Hull, CEO of two of John C. Maxwell’s global organizations, one of which is training 2 million leaders worldwide.
(BTW: John Maxwell’s books are required reading in the University of Tehran and the University of Beijing. Now THAT gives me hope for the future of the world!)
I share with you salient points from our conversation:
Great Leaders today need to be 3 things:
- Service Oriented: meaning a focus on others, with service to others; without a focus on status or power.
- People Oriented: valuing “people over project”.
- “Others Related”: with an constant outward focus on others.
In other words, “good leaders make other people’s lives better”.
His example? Truitt Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A restaurants, who for 30 years has taught Sunday school classes for junior high boys (talk about a leader with courage!) and was once caught ironing an employee’s shirt, because Truitt wanted him to look nice.
This story reminded me of the one told by Marshall Goldsmith about Frances Hasselbein, whom he called the best leader he’s ever known. Frances was the CEO of the Girl Scouts of America…she also made sure that Marshall’s laundry was done when she asked him to stay an additional day in town to work with her organization. She then personally brought his clean laundry to him in the lobby of the Girl Scouts headquarters.
John Hull said that “abundance leadership” has a consistent connection between the core values of the organization and the mind set of the leader. This includes truth in all things…even if it means showing your vulnerability…and constant demonstration of trust/trustfulness.
What I loved were the questions that he believes leaders must ask themselves: Why do I want to be a leader?” “Who am I?” “How am I gifted?” Where am I NOT gifted?” “Am I secure enough to surround myself with people who are secure where I am not?”
And I ask: “Can you release what you have to let it flourish in others’ hands?”
And finally, this quote from Napolean Bonaparte” “Leaders are dealers in hope.”