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Strength Archives, Page 1 of 1
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Oct 1
5 Questions Successful Leaders Ask to Stem the Snipers!


There are 5 two-footed questions that reflective leaders … who are interested in building goodwill … tend to ask when others are sniping at them…. These questions will also help to guide a business out of the path of sharpshooters and into the vaults of profit. The reason there is still mind-bending profit waiting there is because so few leaders have followed responses to these questions to get there…. blocktree question.jpg

1. What have we done in past to anger these people and how can we amend it and build goodwill among even those who disagree?

2. Why did dialogue break down in the first place … and
what peaceful tactics would restore mutual communication now?

3. What lessons can we learn from the best practices of this opponent and how will it help to restore mutual respect?

4. What would allies of that sniper say about our tone and collaborative leadership in this situation?

5. How are we being perceived as caring leaders who build with others … by our own people … how do we rate with other world leaders in this situation … and what areas do we show
reflection and growth that others might recognize as inspirational?

Can you see how 2-footed questions could change leadership from … arrogance … greed … exclusion … narrow-mindedness … and stubbornness … to positions of mutual trust and respect… ? Only then can a nation move forward with much that any of us want from it! 
Questions grow new brain cell connectors for further success that this nation lost in the past decade….

If you could get genuine answers to these 2-footed questions… where would you send them…?

Aug18
Trust and Teamwork in Leadership

I found myself at the back of a pack of cyclists the other day. I had not ridden in several months and joined a friend and his group of riders in an effort to get from behind the din of a computer monitor to enjoy the sunshine and beach scenes that are so nearby. I certainly got what I asked for and also received a healthy dose of burning legs, oxygen depletion and a sore butt.

The group headed from Irvine, CA to Laguna Beach on Laguna Beach Canyon Rd. I was the least fit and subsequently rode at the back, glad for the draft from the other riders. To take full advantage of the aerodynamic benefit of following the group, I followed within a few inches of my friend’s back wheel.

At points on this road, the shoulder where we could ride became narrow. We snaked between the vehicle traffic that was backing up and the gravel and dirt of the shoulder (not our ride in photo).

This part of the ride required concentration. It was necessary to be aware of the groups speed and direction every instant. This situation caused me tocycling.jpg consider the importance of trust in any group. I thought about the trust that every rider in this group had for the rider in front of them. I had not ridden with this group enough to know their individual styles, habits and capabilities as cyclists. But we set out together with a unified goal and clearly defined course. Each rider’s expectation was that we would all follow this objective and that the group would move ahead as one. This commitment required each of is to not only ride for oneself but for the guy behind.

It was a nice reminder of some important principles of leadership:

  • Communicate a clearly stated goal or objective
  • Draw commitment to that goal or objective
  • Exercise trust in teammates
  • Create unity in purpose and commitment to teammateslaguna.jpg

I doubt any of the other riders were thinking about these principles as they applied to leadership. They were all experienced riders and these traits and characteristics came natural to them after hundreds of group rides. That is the point we would all like to reach in our organizations. Namely, that all or most of the team has learned these principles and naturally follows them. It only will happen through routine practice and if it is part of the culture. You can establish this culture as the leader.

Photo credit Laguna - Matthew Morton and Cycling - Joe Cashin.

Jul 9
Newly Revealed Letters Show Tensions Einstein Faced at Home and Work


Tensions came from home and stress came from work to Einstein... Einstein's second wife and cousin, Elsa.jpgespecially during his most vulnerable times. At
Time.com today, Walter Isaacson’s The Intimate Life of A. Einstein, stated, “
In 1915, Albert Einstein was struggling to wrest from nature what would turn out to be his crowning achievement, perhaps the most beautiful theory in all of science. Ten years earlier, he had come up with the special theory of relativity, which said that time and space were each relative for observers moving at different constant velocities. Now he was trying to generalize the theory by conceiving of gravity as a curving of the fabric of something he called space-time.”

At the same time Einstein’s marriage to Mileva Maric, a complex physicist from , broke down completely. When she left so did his  sons Hans, 11, and Eduard, 5. Unwell, Einstein was cared for by his cousin, Elsa Einstein, whom he later married.

Isaacson pointed out that...  “His letters, including some made public this week, show how his personal and scientific struggles intertwined in 1915, culminating in his great triumph that fall.” Letters written in early April by his son Hans, “begged his father to visit him and his brother in Zurich for spring vacation.”  

Because of the war which prevented any visits, Einstein promised his oldest son that he’d visit in July to hike with him in the Swiss Alps. "In the summer I will take a trip with just you alone," he wrote. "This will happen every year, and Tete may also come along when he is old enough for it." He expressed delight that his son had taken a liking to geometry. It had been his "favorite pastime" when he was about the same age, he said, "but I had no one to demonstrate anything to me, so I had to learn it from books."

Einstein especially longed to be with his older son and to teach him math, but it was not to be. he even tried to communicate math by mail... "If you write me each time what you already know, I'll give you a nice little problem to solve." He sent a toy for each of his sons, along with an admonition to brush their teeth well. "I do the same and am very happy now to have kept enough healthy teeth."

Eventually as tension grew harsher between the two parents, Einstein’s son wrote what he surmised had been dictated by her, that he would not be able to see his father. Personal tensions grew across the same space and time Einstein sought to solve for others ... as father and sons longed to be together and found themselves apart. Have you found that the tensions of work can break ties at home and tensions at home can break concentration at work?
May18
Leadership Traits Honed at High Altitude

I am always fascinated by opportunities to experience leadership and learn from the simple occurrences of daily life.

So I found this course offered by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Undergraduate Leadership Program of particular interest. 

The course is a week of learning and living the challenges of mountaineering and from that experience -- drawing lessons in leadership. The course takes place in northwestern Wyoming in Grand Teton National Park.  

The Tetons rise forgrand teton.jpg more than a mile in a single sweep to a peak of 13,770 ft. The leadership training occurs as its participants spend a week in “group experiences, readings, evening discussions, guest speakers, a team-based service project, and personal reflection” and of course an assualt on the summit.

Activities focus on developing leadership skills in a spectacular and challenging environment. The venture focuses on the development of key team leadership skills including

“working effectively as a member of a small group, demonstrating individual and mutual accountability, developing a vision, articulating it and inspiring others to achieve it, communicating complex information clearly, learning new and unfamiliar skills in a challenging environment, setting a significant team goal, making rapid decisions, giving and receiving feedback, and managing individual and team outcomes.”

It sounds like a great experience. Just on more reason to wish I was an undergraduate.

Have you learned leadership through these types of experiences? Let me know about your adventures that taught you important leadership traits.

Jan 4
Worst Examples of Leadership in 2005
I opined in an earlier post regarding Time magazine's choice for Persons of the Year. Clearly the Gates’s and Bono demonstrated leadership throughout the year in their respective fields of expertise (software and music) but won the award for their humanitarian effort and their ability to engage so many in their causes.

There are of course a few cases in 2005 where so-called leaders, failed and I hope something to learn from each. Local, State and Federal governments’ response to Hurricane Katrina was an example of failed leadership and really where this blog got its start.

Leaders find their way to positions of power in many ways. How they use that power often defines them. While many leaders have power, power is not leadership. Power often accompanies the position and is an external symbol. Strength, on the other hand, relates to the character of a leader, rather than his position. Strength is internal. Leaders typically use power to motivate people through fear, while strength leads people through inspiration.
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