Teaching PLI: How to get the most out of this leadership blog

After spending a week speaking and training in Chicago, we have had a large influx of new readers to the PLI Blog. So, for those of you new to the PLI world here are four ways to get the most out of this blog...

1. Go to the March 1, 2007 post (http://pliblog.yournextspeaker.com/2007/02/general-what-pli-is-and-what-pli-is-not.html) and get a basic understanding of what the Personal Leadership Insight structure is all about.

2.  Go to http://del.icio.us/pliblog and develop your Personal Leadership Insight.  The PLI structure is based around our ten essentials of leadership: Vision, Integrity, Innovative, Wise Judgment, Service Minded, Goal Processing, Skill Assessment, Emotional Maturity, Fostering Relationships and Masterful Communication. Almost every post in this blog is based around one of these essentials. However, I also read 40 blogs everyday and I use the del.icio.us social bookmarking system to "tag" every web page I read that adds value to one of our essentials. This collection is up to almost 300 tags now! The PLI Blog Content Tags is your way of accessing these additional valuable resources and they are sorted and organized by the PLI essentials. So, if you are coming to this blog to get goal setting advice, read all my Goal Processing posts and click on the Goal Processing link under the PLI Blog Content Tags in the right-hand column to learn even more!

I hope you are getting tremendous value from reading the PLI Blog regularly. Please forward this blog to your five closest associates. Also, please visit my speaking blog for tips from a professional speaker - http://speak.terapad.com!


Emotional Maturity: Choose Your Response

We have been in Chicago for the past week speaking and training. Most of the attendees of our conference are staying at the host hotel. A good number of people had to stay at hotels on the outskirts of town. This resulted in 2-3 hour commute times. Needless to say, people were outwardly upset and the whining train was full. However, what a concrete and relevant example of a major difference between poor leaders and rich-with-positive-influence leaders.

When a person makes the choice to engage their leadership potential, they also make the choice to have more problems come across their desk, to have to manage more people, to have more stress on their shoulders and to generally be more engaged in most everything. These additional pressures and strains are a fact of life. There is no getting around them.

Leaders learn that how they respond and talk about these situations greatly influences their outcome. Poor leaders choose to respond and talk negatively and thus attract poor outcomes. Very effective, positive leaders choose to respond and talk positively about these challenges. They don't ignore them, they simply choose to concentrate their energy in working, not whining.

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Fostering Relationships: Leveraging Your Personal Power

Leadership happens in many different places and in many unexpected ways. We are in Chicago for a week teaching leadership to high school and college level student leaders and hearing stories about these students doing great work back in their world. One of the advisors told us about a student who has sparked the interest of her peers. She isn't a positional leader in the organization, but she has led them to get involved in their organization by:

1. Being genuinely enthusiastic about the organization herself (and most everything going on in her life). This pulls the students in and creates energy within the individuals and within the organization.

2. Encouraging her peers to help the organization in small ways. This creates obligation and an opportunity for her peers to have meaning in their life by serving.

3. She makes it "ok" to be a part of the group (which is a community college, business organization for the students that has not had a popular reputation). This social connectiveness meets a huge need they have in their life (that they would fill anyway somewhere else).

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Masterful Communication: Presentation Development

While working with an Executive Presentation coaching client today, I helped her gain focus on what she really needs to be spending her presentation time on by taking her through the following steps for each of the major content topics she needed to include in her program...

(This guideline is most valuable with her type of presentation - persuasive.)

1. What is the problem and why are you competent to talk about it? (life-driven)

This speaks to why should they care, as well as why should they listen to you discuss this topic?

2. What are the symptoms? (audience-driven)

This is the connection between the topic and the audience members' lives. How do they know if they are affected by this problem?

3. What are the solutions? (presenter-driven)

What are your unique, authentic and relevant answers to their questions? Are you telling them something they have heard a million times or are you telling them something new?

4. What are the simple, basic tasks to accomplish the solutions? (behavior-driven)

Make it simple and doable today.

5. What is your (the presenter) Unique Position Statement? (stickiness-driven)

This is what will anchor everything you say and do in your presentation. This statement should be short, it should have very unique language to you and your take on your topic, it should be action oriented, it should be postively-driven, not negatively-driven (i.e. - it should tell them what TO DO, not what to STOP DOING), it should be catchy and memorable and it should also be counter-intuitive to get them wanting to know more.

After we went through these steps with her four major content areas, she had more unique, specific and concrete language for what she had been teaching for a long time. This will allow her message and strategies to resonant longer with her audiences!

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Masterful Communication: Passively Strong

In a session today with one of our Executive Coaching clients, we discussed his strategy for how he communicates in meetings with his high level executive peers. He felt like he wasn't being strong enough by not speaking up in meetings everytime he felt he should. However, he also said that he DID speak up when he knew he had an expert opinion or when he felt very strongly about the discussion's issue.

I told him as long as he followed these points of advice when he did speak up, his strategy would continue to serve him well....

1. Use strong language (I believe this, I strongly feel this, etc.)

2. Use inclusive language (This board's strategy is to, Our place is to do, I know we want to, etc.)

3. Be brief and comprehensive (This demands a strong pre-filtering capability of getting right to the heart of the matter)

4. Talk in lists (This will help keep it brief and give others a tracking mechanism)

5. Recognize and point out situations where he is speaking straight from the gut (not much identified supporting data) or vice-versa (not a strong personal belief one way or the other, but a good amount of supporting data).

6. Make certain you do speak up when you feel strongly about something or if you are the resident expert. You can't move up the chain of command just by doing good work. You have to let the right people know about it, also.

After discussing these strategies and validating his current approach, he is now starting to see that his current passive approach to speaking up in high-level meetings actually isn't a weakness. And it won't turn into one if he follows the points above.

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Skill Assessment: What were you built to do?

Makes you think about how many of us are and aren't doing what we're built to do.

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Skill Assessment: Understanding Motivation

I speak over 100 times per year in the student leadership training market and have been every year for the last 15 years. A fellow trainer/speaker who has been making a huge difference for years is Mike Smith. This is a video on his web site about understanding motivation. Great content and very engaging delivery! Enjoy.

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General: Grant Me Leadership...

God grant me...

Vision to see opportunity.

Integrity to be what I say.

Innovativeness to create value.

Wise Judgment to choose right.

Service mindedness to be significant.

Processed Goals to live purposefully.

Emotional Maturity to act with control and grace.

Skill Assessment to engage my strength.

Fostered Relationships to experience the richness of life.

Masterful Communication to bring clarity into an unclear world.

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Innovative: Student Creativity

We just spent a great three days in Utah with the Utah Career and Technical Student Organizations. Part of our training schedule for them included sharpening their presentation skills. We accomplished this by giving each of the seven teams a piece of our content, 15 minutes and the microphone. These students rocked our world. The creativity they brought to bear was impressive. Why?

1. They wanted to perform well for the simple purpose of performing well. Not for a promotion, not to impress someone, and not to be better than another person or team or division. This purity allowed their creativity to flow.

2. They allowed their 15 minutes to be fun. When you get to do fun work or when you seek to purposefully make your work fun, creativity is watered.

3. They weren't afraid to try something new. They risked boldly. Risk always comes before value, but especially when it comes to creating something new or changing/improving something old.

Thanks for a great week Utah HOSA, TSA, FFA, FBLA, SkillsUSA, DECA and FCCLA!

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Fostering Relationships: Difference Between Groups and Teams

Most "teams" are not actually a team. They are just a random group of people thrown together. Here are the 5 big differences between a group and a team.

1. Teams have an identified, trusted leader.

2. Teams have an identified, specific goal that everyone is working towards.

3. Teams have an identified and agreed upon system for decision making.

4. Teams make and revisit big, unique memories.

5. Teams are comprised of individuals who are able to engage their core strength.

Teamwork is a bogus idea for most organizations/companies/schools because they are actually dealing with disorganized groups and not organized teams. Following these steps first will turn their groups into teams. From that point, effective teamwork dynamics can be applied.

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The Unmade Leader: The Mentos Moment

The Mentos Moment

The Unmade Leader is the title of a new book we are working on. The BIG IDEA is that leaders are born and then unmade. Expert leaders are effective at positively influencing others because they have taken steps to keep the most important leadership traits they were born with switched on - creativity, energy, connection to others, curiosity, etc. In the book we discuss seven moments that unmake these leadership "Switches." They include the Jinga Moment, the Knowledge Jar Moment, the Misfire Moment, etc.

At an event this past week we uncovered a new one - The Mentos Moment.

The Switch (the big leadership trait that we are born with) - Renewal. Like many other things in nature, we were born with the ability to renew our mind, our body, and our spirit. The tools we were given to do this include sleep, the ability to learn, silence, a huge world to explore and adventure in, etc.

The Mentos Moment - At some moment we lose this "freshness." We lose the desire to seek out new adventures, to wake up to a new day and face it with a renewed enthusiasm, to forgive people, to see our "same-ole'-life" as bigger than it is and filled with elbow room.

So, now what? - Preventing the Mentos Moment simply requires us to appreciate what is in front us and act upon the understanding that a successful life is comprised of a long chain of small opportunities that are lived to the fullest.
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General: Big "Switches" From FCCLA Conference

Big "Switches" from our most recent youth leadership conference...
(Switches are leadership traits that literally turned a leader's ability to
influence others on or off.)
  • Ultimately, learning how to be a good leader is the same as learning how to lead a good life.
  • If something is important, you will find the time and energy. (Leadership is important)
  • Your focus determines your attitude. This is why you should focus on the positive - think about it.
  • Once you stop thinking about yourself, you free up your thoughts to focus on others.
  • You can reach the Expert level of leadership (Entry - Emerging - Engaged - Expert) when you choose to recognize you have influence, choose to use that influence for positive, focus on your followers and risk big to create value.


Integrity: Students Making a Difference!

We were speaking to a phenomenal group of young people tonight with the Oklahoma FCCLA and they blew us away with their leadership. First of all they broke out of every comfort zone they had to do leadership in multiple ways - they socialized with strangers, they created teams where none existed before, they acted silly and they were on total high receive all night long. And after we (and probably they) thought they couldn't give anymore, we asked them to stretch a little further and write a letter to someone in their life they appreciate, admire and call their hero. Some of the students took literally 30 minutes drafting this letter. They spent a tremendous amount of emotional energy after a long day of spending social, physical and intellectual energy just to say thank you to their mentor. They addressed the letters, sealed them, and they will go out in the mail tomorrow. Very cool stuff. Sometimes I wish the adult leaders I mix and mingle with had half the energy and integrity that youth groups like this one have.

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Emotional Maturity: Your Focus Determines Your Attitude

Two days ago I was supposed to be flying to Atlanta to coach some student leaders on giving better presentations. American Airlines had different plans for me. They cancelled my flights and Marka at the AA counter tried desperately to get me rebooked. After 90 minutes of playing musical flights, it became obvious I was either taking a cabbie or not going. I was frustrated to say the least. The client in Georgia is a good friend of mine and we jumped through some hoops just to get the program scheduled. However, right before we finally decided there was no way I could make it (and my frustration was off the charts) I noticed an elderly lady in a wheelchair in the line next to me who was in the same situation. Her flight was cancelled. She couldn't get out until the next day. And she didn't live in Oklahoma City. My focus immediately switched from my cancelled flight to hers. My attitude went from frustration to compassion. I helped her find a hotel and a ride to it. My entire demeanor changed and it was like the Georgia trip didn't exist in the first place.

When you are on your way or at the height of a battle with a negative attitude, switch your focus and your attitude will switch right along with it!

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Innovative: Risk Before Value

While conducting a recent leadership training, my speaking associate Kelly Barnes summed up the missing link in people who aren't creating the level of value they have the potential of creating... RISK. Risk always come before value. If you are looking for a surefire way to create a more positive influence on those around you and create something valuable that didn't exist before, then dig down deep and identify what you are holding back on. Then take a leap, make a move, take a risk...

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