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Monday, January 30, 2012

The Right to Lead

An excerpt from
The Right to Lead
by John Maxwell
What Gives a Man or Woman the Right to Lead?

It certainly isn't gained by election or appointment. Having position, title, rank or degrees doesn't qualify anyone to lead other people. And the ability doesn't come automatically from age or experience, either.

No, it would be accurate to say that no one can be given the right to lead. The right to lead can only be earned. And that takes time.

The Kind of Leader Others Want to Follow

The key to becoming an effective leader is not to focus on making other people follow, but on making yourself the kind of person they want to follow. You must become someone others can trust to take them where they want to go.

As you prepare yourself to become a better leader, use the following guidelines to help you grow:

1. Let go of your ego.

The truly great leaders are not in leadership for personal gain. They lead in order to serve other people. Perhaps that is why Lawrence D. Bell remarked, "Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things, and I'll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things."

2. Become a good follower first.

Rare is the effective leader who didn't learn to become a good follower first. That is why a leadership institution such as the United States Military Academy teaches its officers to become effective followers first—and why West Point has produced more leaders than the Harvard Business School.

3. Build positive relationships.

Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. That means it is by nature relational. Today's generation of leaders seem particularly aware of this because title and position mean so little to them. They know intuitively that people go along with people they get along with.

4. Work with excellence.

No one respects and follows mediocrity. Leaders who earn the right to lead give their all to what they do. They bring into play not only their skills and talents, but also great passion and hard work. They perform on the highest level of which they are capable.

5. Rely on discipline, not emotion.

Leadership is often easy during the good times. It's when everything seems to be against you—when you're out of energy, and you don't want to lead—that you earn your place as a leader. During every season of life, leaders face crucial moments when they must choose between gearing up or giving up. To make it through those times, rely on the rock of discipline, not the shifting sand of emotion.

6. Make added value your goal.

When you look at the leaders whose names are revered long after they have finished leading, you find that they were men and women who helped people to live better lives and reach their potential. That is the highest calling of leadership—and its highest value.

7. Give your power away.

One of the ironies of leadership is that you become a better leader by sharing whatever power you have, not by saving it all for yourself. You're meant to be a river, not a reservoir. If you use your power to empower others, your leadership will extend far beyond your grasp.
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In The Right to Lead, you will hear from and read about people who have done these same things and earned the right to lead others. Because of the courage they found and the character they displayed, other people recognized their admirable qualities and felt compelled to follow them.

The followers who looked to these leaders learned from them, and so can we. As you explore their worlds and words, remember that it takes time to become worthy of followers. Leadership isn't learned or earned in a moment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Road To Happiness

An excerpt from
The Road To Happiness
by Mac Anderson and BJ Gallagher 

A thankful spirit is a healthy spirit. As the twists and turns of life lead to feelings of being out of control, sometimes our attitude is all that we have control over...the following reflection may help you develop a thankful attitude. Sometimes life is all about how we look at it!

I am thankful for...

• the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

• the taxes I pay because it means that I am employed.

• a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.

• my shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.

• the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.

• all of the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.

• my huge heating bill because it means I am warm.

• the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear.

• the alarm that goes off early in the morning hours because it means that I am alive.

• the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.

• weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The 100/0 Principle

An excerpt from
The 100/0 Principle
by Al Ritter 

What is the most effective way to create and sustain great relationships with others? It's The 100/0 Principle: You take full responsibility (the 100) for the relationship, expecting nothing (the 0) in return.

Implementing The 100/0 Principle is not natural for most of us. It takes real commitment to the relationship and a good dose of self-discipline to think, act and give 100 percent.

The 100/0 Principle applies to those people in your life where the relationships are too important to react automatically or judgmentally. Each of us must determine the relationships to which this principle should apply. For most of us, it applies to work associates, customers, suppliers, family and friends.

STEP 1 - Determine what you can do to make the relationship work...then do it. Demonstrate respect and kindness to the other person, whether he/she deserves it or not.

STEP 2 - Do not expect anything in return. Zero, zip, nada.

STEP 3 - Do not allow anything the other person says or does (no matter how annoying!) to affect you. In other words, don't take the bait.

STEP 4 - Be persistent with your graciousness and kindness. Often we give up too soon, especially when others don't respond in kind. Remember to expect nothing in return.

At times (usually few), the relationship can remain challenging, even toxic, despite your 100 percent commitment and self-discipline. When this occurs, you need to avoid being the "Knower" and shift to being the "Learner." Avoid Knower statements/ thoughts like "that won't work," "I'm right, you are wrong," "I know it and you don't," "I'll teach you," "that's just the way it is," "I need to tell you what I know," etc.

Instead use Learner statements/thoughts like "Let me find out what is going on and try to understand the situation," "I could be wrong," "I wonder if there is anything of value here," "I wonder if..." etc. In other words, as a Learner, be curious!

Principle Paradox

This may strike you as strange, but here's the paradox: When you take authentic responsibility for a relationship, more often than not the other person quickly chooses to take responsibility as well. Consequently, the 100/0 relationship quickly transforms into something approaching 100/100. When that occurs, true breakthroughs happen for the individuals involved, their teams, their organizations and their families.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Stress is a choice

An excerpt from
Stress is a Choice
by David Zerfoss

Several years ago while listening to my pastor give a Sunday sermon, he spoke about how life is made up of a series of choices. It made me realize that my hectic professional and personal life was of my choosing. Therefore, a life of stress had become my choice.

Many of us hurry through life going from one place to the next, focused on conquering the next mountain, making the next deal, running the next errand, and believing we will never have enough time to do all the things we need to get done. Yet, there is all the time in the world if we just realize that we are the creators of this life we choose to live. That's right. Life is a series of choices and being free from stress is one of those choices.

Whether your business life is overly complicated or your personal life (or both), you have chosen this current system of chaos. The world is a tantalizing swirl of getting the next "fix," tempting us to fit more and more things, people and processes into our lives, personally and professionally. And because we are so busy being busy, it's easy to be lured into the fray, with our lengthy to-do lists. Yet, the greatest achievements have often come from the simplest of ideas and in the simplest forms.

To experience a simplified life, we first have to learn to slow down long enough to see through all the clutter. We need to realize that we are powerful magnets that attracted this life to ourselves—no matter what—good or bad.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Finding Joy

An excerpt from
Finding Joy
by Mac Anderson 

Life can be complicated, but happiness...is simple. Of course, we try our best to make it complicated, but if we look closely, it's really very simple. And that's what this little book is all about...Simple Secrets to a Happy Life!

My goal is to have you sit down in a quiet place, and to slowly soak up every single page. Don't hurry, just take a deep breath, read each thought, and reflect on how it might apply to your life. Think about what is...and what could be, if your mind and heart is open to change.

But here is the real key to making this book all it can be...keep it close, and read it often. Because in a perfect world we read something once, record it in our brain, and never need to read it again.

Well, I don't know about you, but my world is far from perfect. I have doubts, fears and disappointments in my life, and I need doses of inspiration to bring me back to where I should be...to re-direct me to what's really important in life.

And this little book, if you'll let it, can be that source of inspiration! In just a few minutes it can put a smile on your face and in your heart when you need it most.