Skill Assessment: Buckingham's Myths


Marcus Buckingham released a DVD set recently titled "Trombone Player Wanted." It is about strengths, which is what Buckingham is all about. He highlights three myths that need to be replaced with three truths. As you read these, think about how you have developed in your life and what the traditional thinking is about growth through strengths/weakness analysis...

Myth #1 - As you grow, you change.

Truth #1 - As you grow, you become more and more of who you are.

Our basic make-up will be the same at 4 years old, 34 years old and 84 years old.

Myth #2 - You will grow in your weakest areas.

Truth #2 - You will take fantastic leaps of growth in your strongest areas.

77% of parents say they would spend more time with their child helping them in a class where they have an F than in a class where they have an A.

Myth #3 - What the team needs is for everyone to put the team first and the individual second.

Truth #3 - The best teams are full of individuals who bring their strengths to the team and those strengths compliment each other.

There is an "I" in win.

Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:

1. What are some strategies to help you bring out the real you?

2. Why is it more productive to spend your time in your strongest area?

3. What are your core strengths and how can you maximize those in a team situation?


Emotional Maturity: The Real Story of Miss South Carolina Teen

Chances are good you are one of the thousands of people who were watching the Miss USA Teen competition a few nights ago or one of the 4 million plus who have watched the YouTube clip of Miss South Carolina Teen's seemingly disasterous on-stage answer or at least have heard of her now infamous :30 seconds of fame. The real story is not her train-wreck answer to the question about 1/5 of Americans not being able to find the United States on a map. It is not about how many millions of people have checked out the video clip. It is not even that more than 1/5 of Americans now know who came in third at the competition (Miss South Carolina Teen), but probably less than 1/5 of the people in the room with you right now knows who came in first.

The real story here is she had the guts and the emotional maturity to go on the Today Show two days later to discuss what happened, to describe blow-by-blow how she managed to talk on stage for :30 seconds and not give one complete sentence, and to laugh at herself a little.

Even as a full-time communicator and pageant contestant coach, I will admit we've shared a few crinches and chuckles at the office over this deal. But yesterday I was talking with one of my sales-coaching clients and he told me about a high performing rep in his office who absolutely refuses to stand in front of her 12 office peers and give a 10-minute presentation!

The real story here is not about Miss South Carolina Teen's :30 seconds of failure. It is about how she took a risk, fell flat on her face, got back up, learned something and moved on. When was the last time you risked boldly in front of your peers, allowed yourself to be challenged, failed and then had the emotional maturity to admit it and talk about it - especially in the transparent and unforgiving realm of public speaking?


Fostering Relationships: Making Meetings More Effective

This is the first of a series of posts in direct response to questions student leaders have asked us over the past few weeks.  Thank you to those student leaders who took the time to voice your questions.

Q:  How do I make my meetings more effective?  It is especially difficult for me to keep my peers from not listening, being disruptive, rude, etc.

A.  Managing attention during a meeting can be difficult, but is not impossible.  Try these strategies...

1.  Focus on the cause, not the conditions.  A condition-focus would be, "Julie is constantly chatting during the meeting."  A cause-focus would be, "Julie does not see value in the meeting and/or hasn't been 'enrolled' in the meeting."  A condition-focus will lead you to a brick wall every time and is simply your interpretation of the current situation.  A cause-focus demands you to seek out more information.  You have to ask questions and look for the why, not just the what.

2.  Enroll your attendees in the meeting.  People will naturally give their attention to something that is interesting, unique, unexpected, mentally/physically/emotionally engaging and/or valuable to them personally.  Leverage this by doing something at the very first of the meeting to "enroll" them in the meeting agenda.  Give everyone a question to personally answer and share with the group.  Do a quick team-building exercise.  Your primary goal here is to break their attention from whatever was happening before the meeting and get them focused on now.

3.  Remove distractions.  Throw cell phones in the middle of the table.  Close windows.  Remove energy gaps (extra space between people.)  Set in a circle.  Get away from tables (if possible.)

4.  Set (and adhere to) a set agenda.  People are more willing to give their attention to something if they know how long that attention will have to last.  Set out a game plan, set a time-limit and stick to both.  If something comes up off the game plan and/or will take you over time, have someone write it down and save it for a later meeting.

5.  Have a recognized discussion/agenda leader.  This is probably you.  However, assign the task to someone else today.  Chat with them beforehand about the agenda goals, time limits and have them guide the ship.

6.  Make certain you need the meeting.  Many meetings go awry simply because they are unnecessary.  It is easy to get distracted from something you don't see any value in.  Here is a short list of meetings you should have:

(From Seth Godin's Blog...)

DIFFERENT TYPES OF MEETINGS. It's a huge mistake to just show up in a conference room and have a meeting. If the expectation is 'yet another meeting', then the odds are, you'll have yet another meeting.  Here are a few very distinct types of meetings:


  • Just so everyone knows: This is a meeting in which one person or small group tells other people what's already been decided and is about to happen. These meetings should always have a written piece to go with them, and in many cases, it should be distributed a day before the meeting. The meeting should be very short, take place in an auditorium type setting, not a circle, and have focused Q&A at the end. Even a quiz. It's the football huddle, and the running back isn't supposed to challenge the very premises the quarterback is using to call the play.
  • What are you up to: This is a meeting in which every participant needs to present the state of their situation. It probably happens on a regular basis and each person should have a strict time limit. Like two minutes (with an egg timer). After presenting the situation, each attendee can send their summary in an email to one person, who can sum it up and send it out to everyone.
  • What does everyone think? In third place, a meeting where anyone can speak up. People who don't speak up on a regular basis should not be invited back. It's obvious they are good at some other function in the office, so you're wasting their time if they sit there.
  • We need a decision right now. These are ad hoc meetings that have a specific agenda and should end with a decision. A final decision that doesn't get reviewed.
  • Hanging out meetings. These are meetings with no real agenda, lots of side conversations, bored people, people instant messaging and just sort of hanging out. Sometimes these are fun, but I wouldn't know, because I haven't been to one in three years.
  • To hear myself talk meetings. You get the idea.

7.  Privately Ask, Engage, Remove.  If you do all of these things and you still have a disruptive team member, privately ask them if they are aware of how their negative behavior is hurting the meeting.  Ask them to help the team out by adjusting their behavior.  If that doesn't work, engage them in some way during the meeting.  Have them lead a discussion.  Ask them to offer an opinion.  If those strategies don't work, take a break and ask them to leave.


Vision: The Two Time Zones


Expert leaders constantly live in two time zones.

TZ Now. What is happening in front of me right now and how can I create the most value for this situation?

TZ Later. Where will I most be needed in a month from now and what is one thing I can do today to move closer to creating value for that situation?

Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:

1. Why is it important for leaders to live in both the TZ Now and TZ Later?


Emotional Maturity: Drama Trauma

If you are like most people, you know someone who always has to have drama in their life. It is almost like their world isn't complete unless someone is after them, someone doesn't like them, or something is wrong. They constantly live with a bad case of drama trauma and it is contagious.

Expert leaders understand that drama trauma negatively impacts their ability to create value and growth and they work hard to maturely deal with their emotions.

What creates drama trauma?

Drama Trauma can overtake any person who is self-focused. This "ME-ism" creates an emotional vacuum where the person becomes overly sensitive to everything. Their self-focus makes them over-analyze every word said and every move made by others, while assuming all of those words and actions have something to do with them.

Poor decision-making creates just as much drama trauma as Me-ism. Once someone breaks trust with others, it is very difficult for them to trust anyone (including themselves - adding to the drama.)

How do you get rid of drama trauma?

Volunteer. Do random acts of kindness. Take up a hobby that is team-related. Get involved in a meaningful and healthy relationship. Do anything you can to spend a good majority of your time thinking of something other than yourself and your problems.

Learn how to make better choices by watching and learning others who have learned to do so. Say I'm sorry and recover trust when you do make a bad decision. No one is perfect, but plenty of people are too selfish to say I'm sorry.

Expert leaders know how to gingerly diffuse the impact of drama trauma.

How do you effectively deal with other's drama trauma?

This is determined by your relationship with the person. If you are a person of formal influence over them (coach, manager, parent, sibling, etc.), you need to engage in the difficult conversation of helping them recognize how their drama is hurting the people and situations around them. Make it about their behavior though and not about them personally. Also, before you have that conversation, make certain you have some identified ways in which you are prepared to help them deal with and overcome their trauma. However, wait for them to ask for help. Timing is everything in difficult conversations.

If you are not in a formal influence position (horizontal peer, acquaintance, etc.), your task is to simply not be influenced by their drama trauma. Don't play their games and try not to feed their drama by engaging in gossip, assumptive discussions, etc. Also, don't be afraid to help them see the "real situation" (if you are in the know.) People with drama trauma are constantly creating situations, arguments and disagreements out of thin air.

Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:

1. When was a time that you noticed an example of Drama Trauma?

2. Who is someone that is very good at eliminating drama trauma?


Vision: How Rhythm Produces Authentic Vision


(1) Turn on your radio or iPod. Find some good music. Now listen as you read.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the most popular American Poet in the 19th century, wrote, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”

Music performs a number of remarkable feats on the human body. It boosts the immune system, regulates stress-related hormones, stimulates digestion and affects respiration. Rhythm is at the heart of music. However, the power of rhythm is not only found in song. 


Your vision of the future creates your life’s rhythm.


Your vision defines your connection between you and the people, places, and things around you. Do they have purpose? Are they taking you closer or further away from your vision?

(2) Back to the song. Listen intently to it. Is it familiar or new? If it is familiar, where does it take you in your life? What memories are being recalled? Does the song make you want to dance, reflect, go to sleep or just listen?

(3) Now, change the channel. With a new song comes a totally different set of experiences. You are now in a different place with a different song and a new mood.

(4) Again, change the channel.  Only this time, keep looking until you find one you really like. This song, above all the others before, is exactly what you need right now. Your feet are tapping and it makes you feel good. The song has changed your entire energy level. You have found your rhythm. The song has connected with you. It is this type of energizing connection an authentic vision should be creating in your life today. If its not, change the channel. Develop a vision that energizes you, makes you hopeful and creates a positive, purpose-filled rhythm in your life.


“Rhythm is a movement marked by the regular recurrence or natural flow of related elements.”


This definition of rhythm highlights the primary dynamic of an authentic vision. The key word is movement.  It denotes a lack of sameness, an absence of apathy and a physical action producing a change. An authentic vision creates the magic of inertia in your life. It drives you to purposeful action. And you have to act upon your vision for it to have any relevance or impact on your life.  Effort is the bridge between potential and achievement.


An authentic vision leads to authentic action.


With authentic vision, your life becomes unique and your purpose is easily recognizable by you and others - just like a great song where the rhythm is a reflection of what the artist, songwriter and listener are all about.  Work hard to find your authentic vision and it will continually move you and your actions to reach a genuine rhythm of meaning and greatness.


General: Remarkable Leadership Book!


Kevin Eikenberry has crafted an extraordinary new leadership development book, Remarkable Leadership.  When you purchase it today on Amazon.com you will receive over 50 additional bonus leadership development items from Kevin and partnering vendors.

Kevin sent me an advance copy of Remarkable Leadership last week and it is chock-full of tangible and relevant leadership tools and strategies. 

"Kevin accurately reminds us that whatever our job title or position, we are all leaders—and all have the potential to become truly remarkable. His belief in us and our ultimate success is real and can be read on every page. This belief is inspiring and empowering—as you read these pages his belief in you will build your own belief, an important ingredient in any successful learning journey."


- From the Foreword by Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles

I interviewed Kevin last week to provide you some insight on his leadership philosophies before you invest in the book today...

1. Was Remarkable Leadership written more to reinforce and deepen people's current beliefs about leadership or to persuade them to adopt a different and new viewpoint of leadership?

The only belief I wanted to reinforce is I want people to see it is possible to be who they are and be a remarkable leader! If that requires some persuasion for some readers, I hope I succeed.

2. If you could, please describe the basic difference between Jill and Tara and what caused their different paths?

Jill and Tara are two characters I introduce in the second chapter when I was talking about how leadership development really happens in most organizations. Actually I don’t think there is much difference between them – as I wrote about them in the story both are smart, talented and ambitious. The differences in their development had more to do with the organizations they were in and how each treated leadership development. My hope is that with this book, anyone can be more successful in their own leadership development, perhaps even in spite of what their organization offers.

3. Do you feel this is just as much a personal development book as it is a leadership development book?

I really do Rhett. I personally have some trouble separating personal development from professional development – not because I’m a work-a-holic or place all of my focus on my professional pursuits but because any development in any area of our life has the chance to improve our results, satisfaction and enjoyment in other parts of our life as well.

4. If you could sum up in two to three sentences the core difference between a normal leader and a remarkable leader, what would it be?

First, a remarkable leader as someone who is continually working to become a more effective - continually learning and improving. Second, they recognize that remarkable leadership is not about the technical skills of forecasting, budgeting and technical knowledge of the work, but really about how they engender trust, build relationships, develop others, communicate more effectively—all of those other skills that we really think of when we think of great leaders that we've worked with in the past. That’s a remarkable leader.

5. What are some tips and strategies for being able to recognize the differences between the four communication styles you mention on page 66?  i.e. - what are the simple signs to recognize each one?

There are many different communication and personality style models and I’m sure most everyone reading this is familiar one or has a favorite. What I tried to do in the book is outline some basic styles. Giving signs to recognize each one would make this a very long interview! Let me sidestep just a bit and say that the key to effectively communicating with others is to mirror their communication style – so that you are meeting their needs and communicating in ways that best match their needs.

6. Why do so many people today not "get" the likeability factor you discuss on page 82?

I think many people wish it didn’t matter. I’ve heard people say something like this many times, “In a perfect world it wouldn’t matter if people liked me- I could be valued for my skills.” Guess what? It isn’t a perfect world. To be as successful as possible, as a leader or otherwise, we must be likable. Thinking anything else is denial.

Get introduced to Kevin and Remarkable Leadership and then invest in the book today.  It is worth it.


Skill Assessment: Very Weird Bathroom Routine


I have got serious issues for two specific reasons... 

1.  I have a very weird bathroom routine that provides a key insight to why my personality is tailor-made for my work.

2.  I am sharing this routine on my blog.

Basically, I always have to have something to read in there (the water closet, the head, the john, etc.), but I am never in there long enough to read it.

You might be thinking this just makes me a guy with good plumbing.  But, as a professional communicator and advice giver, I am called to look for the glacier and not just be satisfied with the iceberg.

This very weird bathroom routine illustrates that I am a constant learner (I always have a book, a magazine, the Wall Street Journal or my Blackberry notes function in front of me in situations when most people are just doing nothing) and I streamline my time as much as possible because, like you I'm sure, I always have more to do than I have time to do it. 

Both of these traits play perfectly into running my own business and in being a professional communicator.  How about you?  Is your personality a strength or a weakness in relation to the important tasks you are called to do with your projects?  If you haven't put language to your personality traits yet, go visit the bathroom and think on it for awhile. 


Integrity: Why we Aren't Always Honest


With expert level leadership skills comes expert level responsibilities and expert level pressures.  Everyone knows it is important to be honest.  Not everyone knows how to remain honest in your dealings with others while having to deal with high level pressure.  Below are a few reasons why we aren't always honest:

1.  Self-preservation. 

2.  Relationship-preservation.

3.  The truth will lead to a difficult conversation.

4.  We can't remember what the truth is (I.e. we are continuing to string lies together.)

5.  We will lose something important to us.

The real challenge here is not identifying the items on this list (which is actually much longer), the real challenge is two-fold:  1)  recognizing the reason for the dishonesty in the moment and 2)  figuring out how to stop trading our trust with others for these reasons.  Obviously the reasons we are dishonest cut to the core.  We deeply want to protect ourselves and our relationships.  We want to avoid conflict with others at all costs.  This only adds to the difficulty of mastering the honesty equation.  There are too many compelling reasons to not be truthful. 

Expert leaders fight this fight every day.  Expert Leaders are very self-aware of their core beliefs and values and they behave accordingly.  The solution to the honesty equation is complicated and varied.  However, I suggest you consider attaching a strong positive anchor to telling the truth.  Dishonesty produces a tremendous amount of unnecessary stress in our lives.  Continually remind yourself the short-term stress of honesty is tiny when compared to the overwhelming weight of lies stacked on lies.


Integrity: The Value of Leadership Conferences


John Maxwell once said that any individual who wishes to improve their leadership expertise needs to have at least three things in their life:  the right people, the right media (books, videos, music, etc.), and the right personal and professional development experiences.

I firmly believe this to be true - especially that last one.  As a full-time speaker and trainer for over 15 years, I have attended literally thousands of conferences.  The change that happens in people who experience leadership conferences is overwhelming and comes in many different forms.

At a recent conference for college level student leaders, an attendee summed it up like this, "I am normally disappointed by the choices I make in life.  This weekend I have surprised myself and those around me by the positive actions I have done, the things I have learned and the people I have met."

The coolest part of watching her say that is she did it while standing in front of all her peers.  That one act is probably one of the most courageous things she has ever done.  A defining moment.


Vision: Believing is Seeing


Entry level leaders operate from a "seeing is believing" standpoint when dealing with others. They have to have things proved to them first and always. Expert Leaders operate from a "believing is seeing" standpoint. They have a genuine faith in the goodness of others. They believe in a person's potential to perform and that belief spurs on and actually encourages the performance to happen.

When it comes to building trust with others, owning an intelligent optimism for other's future is an incredibly important concept and reaps huge rewards for you and them.


Masterful Communication: Our Way is the Better Way

We hear all the time there are two sides to every conflict - your way and their way.

Expert Leaders understand the power of seeing all three sides to every opportunity to create solutions:  your way, their way and Our way.  When we think, speak and act with Our way in mind, it drastically improves our ability to reach better solutions and reach them in a better way.   Our way also places more importance on the relationship than on the results.  Expert Leaders see leadership as a team sport and relationships are always their most important trump card.

Start with Our way today in your conversations.  Here's how...

1.  Actively listen first.  (Learn more here)

2.  Seek to understand their position first in concrete terms.  Gain a solid understanding of where they are coming from and why.  You know your way intimately.  However, if Our way is going to come to fruition, you need to deeply understand their way.

3.  When you give your opinion and viewpoint, make certain you give it in terms of you, not other people.  Own your way.

4.  Truncate the time you focus on the problem and expand the time you work on solutions.  Problems are the past.  Solutions are the future.  My way and your way are about the past.  Our way is about the future.

5.  Give more credit to the other person for Our way than they deserve.  This type of resolution system is just as much about fostering the relationship as it is about developing a creative solution.


Masterful Communication: A Better Brainstorm

You may be called from time to time to either lead and/or be involved in a group decision making process. These meetings can be effective or ineffective based on the process used. I was called to lead a group of 200 educators and staff members through the process of creating a new vision statement for the school district. We followed this technique and, had we at least 30 more minutes, we could have finished with a final product.

FYI: I didn't tell the group this before we started so as to not hinder creativity, but the best vision statements are short, simple, concrete and visual. They don't include everything we want to do in the future. They only include the most critical element(s) of a new future.

1. Break the big group of 200 into mixed (different roles, responsibilities, etc.) smaller groups of 8-10.

2. Have each group pick one of these four discussion areas: What is our greatest strength? What is our greatest challenges? What words should be included in the statement? Where could the vision statement be used? (Your questions may be different based on the type and nature of your final product.)

3. Give each group an easel pad sheet, a marker and 40-50 stickers. The poster paper and marker are used to capture ideas. Each group picks a discussion leader/scribe. This person numbers the ideas, labels the sheet (which discussion area), and signs their name on the bottom. The scribe should write very legibly.

4. Each group has exactly five minutes to discuss ideas. Do not judge ideas. This first round is about quantity. KEY POINT: the discussion leader/scribe cannot make judgements or throw out ideas - they only write. This is because they could have too much influence and power over the group discussion. They can encourage, ask for clarity and ask questions to get ideas flowing (not judgmental questions though.)

5. After five minutes each group gets a different group's discussion sheet. The new sheet has to be on one of the other three discussion areas. Their task is to add a few new ideas to the list, but mainly to go back through the previous ideas and make them more C.V.S. - Concrete, Visual and Simple. Round two is about quality.

6. After the five minutes is up, each group hangs up their poster of ideas. Each person then grabs three to five stickers and everyone walks around the room and puts a sticker next to an idea that THEY THINK SHOULD BE IN THE VISION STATEMENT. This is a critical step. Only vote on ideas that you think should make the cut.

7. After this step, we ran out of time. However, the next step would have been to take the most popular ideas, have each team get a new easel pad sheet and write down just those (preferably less than 10) and discuss pros and cons. The main output goal here is for each team to whittle the ideas down to their version of a great vision statement.

8. At this point, each team gets one last poster paper and writes their final first draft of their vision statement. These are hung up. Everyone gets ONE STICKER and votes on their favorite one.

9. You can do two things here. Take the winning vote as is or take the best parts of the top two or three and collectively make a final one. This really all depends on how the final ideas are structured.

10. This is a very thorough and quick process for taking a number of ideas, filtering them down and creating a collaborative piece.

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Integrity: The Three Leader Transformations

There are three transformations individuals must go through before they become highly effective leaders...

Entry Leader to Emerging Leader
This occurs when an individual decides to use their influence for positive.  

Learning lessons:

1) Everyone is an Entry Leader because everyone has influence.
2) We teach that positive behavior is a prerequisite for effective leadership.

Emerging Leader to Engaged Leader
This occurs when a positive individual gains followers.

Learning lessons:

1) Being positive is important.  Being others-focused and specific with your "others" is also important.
2) "Nice guys finish last" is a popular theory when it comes to movement up the leadership ladder.  However, in the long run, the positive individual gains more respect, more responsibility and more satisfaction.  This positivity infiltrates their language, their emotions, their thinking, their focus, their managing and their leading.

Engaged Leader to Expert Leader
This occurs when a positive individual creates significant value for their followers.

Learning lessons:

1) Effective leaders are primarily focused on and concerned with creating value.
2) To become a highly effective leader, you must have all three - positive behavior, followers that trust you and value creation.

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Unmade Leader: Leaders are born, not made!

It has come time to engage this reading audience in a polarizing of opinions. Time and time again I read that leaders are made, not born. This is true only to a certain extent. Here's why...

1. Everyone was born with the capacity for leadership.

2. It is true that a number of characteristics and skill sets of leaders fit in the category of "learned" or "made."

3. However, the most important traits of individuals that demonstrate effective leadership (what we call Expert Leaders) are those they were naturally born with.

4. The PRIMARY REASON why I believe and why I teach to my thousands of audience members, every day and every month and every year, that leaders are born and not made is because I believe that every single individual, no matter position, education, disability, ability or talent came into this world with the ingredients necessary to effectively and persuasively have a positive influence on the situations and people around them (my CORE definition of leadership).

5. Because I believe number four to be true, I believe the BIG characteristics that result in Expert Leadership, those elements that literally turn a leader's ability to positively influence others on or off, are the characteristics we all possess naturally.

6. Therefore, any human being who wishes to become an Expert Leader need firstly not to seek training or learning or development to get there. They simply must recognize, tap into, harness and use the natural abilities with which they were born.

7. Then from there, they must learn the smaller, yet sometimes very important, skills, behaviors and systems that are required of them for their particular leadership role or roles.

8. Why do I believe this to be true? That Expert Leaders are born and not made? Because time and time again I have watched, coached or been led by leaders who have professionalism, they know how to coach a situation, they have critical thinking skills, they possess charisma, they can hold a conversation with strangers, or they can command the attention of an audience of 5 or 5,000. But they STILL ARE NOT FULLY realizing the potential of their Expert Leadership because they have forgotten to develop or diminished the importance of those traits with which they have had from birth.

The Natural Born Leader Traits (We call them LeaderSwitches)


9. So, I am not saying that individuals either were born with the ability to lead others or they weren't (which is what most people think of when they think of the concept of "leaders are born and not made.)

10. What I am asking you to comment back on (and to forward this post to at least 3 friends/peers/family members/etc. and ask them to comment back on) is that the reason why we teach that leaders are born and not made is because we want to reinforce in others that if you want to grow your influence and/or have a more positive influence on those around you, it is not PRIMARILY a matter of learning new skills or taking new classes. It is PRIMARILY a matter of simply acting upon and having your behavior directed by talents and knowledge and basic human instincts that have been a part of you since you were you. Those are the doors that will get you into the rooms you wish to walk around in. Once you are in the room, you can learn what you must to capitalize on that experience.

PLEASE COMMENT BACK WITH YOUR FEEDBACK, COMMENTS, QUESTIONS. We are 60% of the way through our book called "The Unmade Leader" and your feedback will prove to be very insightful and helpful during this research phase of the authorship! Thanks in advance!

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Fostering Relationships: Leading Up Close


My wife and I were sitting in church this past Sunday and she noted that the lady singing looked like a mutual friend. We were sitting close to the back (Baptist Church) and I responded that from this distance she looked like a number of people.

Think of your leadership roles in this way. From a distance, your leadership can not be distinctive. It looks like the leadership of so many others. Depending on people's perception of leadership, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. If they hold a negative viewpoint of leaders in general, they will see you in a negative light and vice-versa. Ultimately, if you keep a distance between you and those you are charged with leading, you do not control the effectiveness of your influence.

It is also tremendously difficult to let your personal leadership style reach its full potential when you keep a tall wall between you and your followers.  Being an authentic leader may not be your primary goal, but it is a must if you are to accomplish any significant leadership goal.

To be distinctive and authentic with your leadership, you need to go closer. Ask questions. Listen. It is messier at times, but leadership is messy. If you don't like the mess, get out of the bunkhouse. Approach others with a willingness and wanting to connect, learn and serve. For it is only when we shorten the distance between our leaders and their followers that true human leadership happens.


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Masterful Communication: Putting the Power Back Into PowerPoint

Click over to my speaking blog to access 10 quick strategies for improving your PowerPoint presentations.

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Vision: Are you a CLEAR Leader?


C - Commitment... Are you fully committed to your leadership positions? Do you believe in "Emersion Leadership" or part-time leadership?

L - Learn... What do you need to be learning to be a better leader? What did learn today and how will you apply it tomorrow? Study Remarkable Leadership to learn about how and why learning is a leader's most important task.

E - Expectations... Are you clear with your expectations of others? Are you clear on what others expect of you?

A - Act Daily with Integrity... What is the condition of your character? Are your actions in alignment with your beliefs? Study True North to learn more.

R - Revolutionize... What are you making significantly better today? You can improve something "small" today and it will have a huge impact tomorrow.

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Masterful Communication: 3947202734 or Bob

You enter a room labeled The Numbers Room. You see fifty people walking around with name tags on and they look like this...


You then leave and enter a different room labeled The Names Room. You see fifty different people walking around with name tags. Only this time the name tags look like this...


Question: In which room would you expect to remember more people's names? The answer, of course, is The Names Room. Remember this the next time you need to deliver a message that you want to stick. The people in The Numbers Room might very well be thoroughly and accurately labeled, but the chances their names would be remembered is slim to none.

To deliver a "rememorable" message, leverage the hidden secrets of the Names Room...

1. Short. Less information is more.

2. Easily Recognizable. Short names and unique faces work for humans. Give your message a short name and only show its "unique face" and you have a winner.

3. Easily Recallable. Look away and spell Bob in your mind. Now look away and "spell" 3947202734 in your mind... big difference. Use simple words and phrases to "stickify" your message.

4. Easily Transferable. How many Bobs have you ever heard of?

5. Overcomes the Knowledge Gap. You probably have never seen 3947202734 before. So, your mind has to work harder to try to remember brand new information. However, you have heard, seen and dealt with the name Bob all your life. Find a way to take pre-existing words, concepts, or labels and give new meaning to them (instead of creating words from scratch.)

Go to my speaking blog at http://speak.terapad.com/ to access even more high level presentation tips.

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