Emotional Maturity: Never Give In...

"This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." Winston Churchill


Teaching PLI: Take a Deeper Bite of PLI Via Del.icio.us

If you are a regular reader of the Personal Leadership Insight blog, you are already aware of our Del.icio.us tags. If not, please peruse the PLI Del.icio.us Tags in the right hand column.

Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking system where I share other PLI-relevant web pages. I read 40+ blogs per day and as I come across a post that is related to one of the PLI essentials or just leadership in general, I "tag" it. These tags are tracked under the PLI Del.icio.us Tags section. Here are our current numbers:

Total PLI Del.icio.us Tags (as of Sunday morning, October 28, 2007): 369

By PLI Essential:

Vision: 12
Integrity: 25
Innovative: 59
Wise Judgment: 24
Service Minded: 16
Goal Processing: 35
Skill Assessment: 29
Emotional Maturity: 29
Fostering Relationships: 37
Masterful Communication: 98

Finally, if you are a teacher, trainer or speaker and use the Personal Leadership Insight system to teach leadership, I highly recommend you leveraging the depth of the Del.icio.us tags to add additional power and learning to your PLI teachings.


Integrity: When Attending Conferences Is a Bad Thing

During the busiest month for conferences and conventions (October), it is relevant for us to take a quick look at the biggest downside of attending conferences - particularly leadership or other training conferences.

Attending conferences can be a bad thing when you don't keep the promises you make to yourself once you get back home.

One of the upsides of attending conferences is you get to learn new ideas, new methods, and challenge yourself to do better, perform better, and be better. However, if you fail to follow through on some or all of these commitments, you might as well have stayed home in the first place. Our most detrimental broken promises are the ones we break with ourselves.

So, set big goals, bring out the best in yourself and keep it out even after you get back home.
Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:
1. Why do we not always follow through on what we learned at conferences?

2. How can we work to make sure that we get the most out of the conferences and help ensure our follow through?


Fostering Relationships: Tips From an Expert Networker

Business networking tips from Luke Martin, former Personal Assistant to the Governor of Oklahoma and current new business development officer for an architecture firm in Oklahoma City...

1) Never forget a person's name. This includes remembering the correct pronunciation.

2) Never go straight to business no matter how pressed they are for time. If they like you, you get as long as you need or as long as you keep them engaged. I always try to have at least two if not three things to discuss other than my true reason for the appointment. Things I try to work in the opening conversation are family (wife, kids etc., depending on the person this is the most important thing in their life - you need to know their names and ask about them every time you see them) and hobbies (fishing, cattle, golf, football etc., you need to know what you are talking about to truly be sincere - if you don't know, ask them about it to learn more, people love to talk about their passions.)

3) Some say never get into politics or religion. I completely disagree, but I came from there so I guess it depends on the person. I have always felt if you are sincere it doesn't matter what the topic because you can find more things in common than not.

4) If meeting with someone I have never met and intend to build a relationship with I try to meet on their turf, take a quick survey of the office and always find at least two things that are important to them to discuss (awards, college attended, hobbies, etc.) In my office is a picture of my wife, signed Eddie Sutton photo and a golf ball. These are more than enough for you to ask me about. And if you do ask me, I will like you for noticing and taking an interest in my passions.

5) Call me old fashion, but I am a strong believer in handwritten thank you notes. I think there is a time and place for emails, but not until you get to know someone very well. They should be sent the same or the following day. I send approximately 5-10 notes out a day. Nobody does it anymore so it sets you apart.

6) I read local newspapers and magazines. Anytime I see someone in the paper, I cut out the article or picture and send it to them with a note. This is one more opportunity to get your name in front of someone and you are not asking for a thing. As stated above, people love hearing their name, but love seeing it in the news even more. The more times a prospective client or future client can hear and see your name and that you care about them, the better off you are.

In my job now, I pursue business about 25% of the time and the other 75% of the time is spent networking. So, when people think they want to design or build a building they think, "Luke Martin, let's call him and see if he is interested." So, network, network, network and the business will come to you. A good networker today is so far ahead of everyone else it is almost not fair, but being good at networking takes practice and many failed attempts and rejections.

To sum everything up...

  • Become their friend, it is true people like to do business with their friends, so if you become someone's friend you can always get what you want.

  • You need to be sincere or they (client, contact etc.) will see right through you. Genuine people that like you are your biggest asset, they will introduce you to everyone they know if you ask and a lot of times without asking.

  • I try to do things when I can to help my key contacts, but I never keep score. I just help when I can. I have a list of my top 10 contacts that have helped get me where I am today. I look at the list weekly (or try to) and spend 10 minutes thinking is there anything I have heard of or read that I can tell them to help their business.

Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:

1. Who is on your list of top ten contacts that have helped you? What opportunities can you look for to help repay them?

2. What are some things you can start today in order to increase your network?


Vision: Just Lucky I Guess

People who think success is just a matter of luck are less likely to enjoy job and life satisfaction. The reason is because the control has been taken out of their hands. If success and failure are just based on pure happenstance, then there is no real reason to work harder or more efficiently or more productively. There is no reason to set goals and work to achieve them. And when you extract purpose and direction and motivation from any equation (let alone work), what you have left is very less than satisfying. When the risk and mystery is gone (either success is or is not in the cards for me), then the game is boring and completely disengaging.

At the same time, any successful person will tell you a part of their success is based on lucky situations or turn of events. I believe this to be true to the extent they had to do something either intentionally or unintentionally to be in the right place at the right time to reap the benefits of those "lucky turn of events."

To extract more satisfaction from our work life (whether that be professional work, school work, hobby work or personal relationships work), we need to...

1. Believe fortune smiles on the diligent in labor.
2. Be thankful when it does.
3. Keep an optimistic vision set on a future full of risk and uncertainty
4. Do whatever we can today to create our own "luck" tomorrow
Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:
1.What can we do to help ensure that we are in a position to make the most of “lucky” situations?

2. What are some past successes that you have had?

3. What did you do in order to have that success? (I got lucky, is not a good answer. What caused that luck?)


Integrity: Leadership is Improvement

Stan Clark, President of Stan Clark Companies and co-founder of the famous Eskimo Joe's in Stillwater, Oklahoma, passed on to me some simplifying leadership wisdom he recently received...

"Leadership is improvement."

Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:

1. What are you doing to improve yourself?

2. What are you doing to improve others?

3. What in your school, organization or work can be improved?


Goal Processing: One More Benefit of Conferences

Setting personal and professional goals in a conference environment is different than in a home environment. The reason is because we stretch ourselves, our dreams, and our hopes a little further when surrounded by positive talk, positive people and positive thoughts. We set bigger goals. We set more challenging goals.

Its not that we are being wildly unrealistic while at remote locations or strange conference centers. We are simply tapping into the best of our abilities and setting goals based on how hard we can work at something as opposed to limiting our view based on how we are normally (which is average.) When at an out-of-the-ordinary experience, like leadership conferences, we tend to focus on the best of ourselves and our hopes.

The real secret here is to...

1. Make a point to attend conferences annually.
2. Set stretch goals that push our mental, physical, emotional and social limits.
3. Stay committed to these goals even when we get back to our normal, daily routine of life back at home and work.

Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:

1. What can we do to help set these higher goals even when we are not at a leadership conference?


Masterful Communication: Experts Aren't Always the Best Choice

When you need to communicate the details of something (a product's benefit, a new project concept, etc.), asking an expert can be the wrong move. The reason is experts don't remember what it is like not being an expert. This leads to information overload and leaving out simple details.

It is similar to me trying to explain something on the computer to my grandfather. It can't happen. I know too much about computers and grandpa knows too little. I have to tell my dad, who knows enough about computers to understand me and to provide good explanations to grandpa. When I try to talk to grandpa about computers, I leave out too many basics that I just take for granted.

A good example of this dynamic is product cross-selling. Don't have the product expert try to explain the features and benefits to novices (unless they are great at making things simple and visual.) Utilize an intermediary as a go-between.
Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:
1. Have you ever faced a situation like this?

2. What are some strategies we can use to be sure that we do not fall victim to the curse of knowledge?


Unmade Leader: Some Switches On... Some Switches Off

The big idea behind our upcoming book The Unmade Leader is "leaders are born and then unmade." For more reading about what this means, just click here.

I have spent the week traveling Colorado and speaking to over 1,600 high school students. It is amazing to see the wide range of leadership abilities. We have seen students on both ends of all seven Leadership Switches we discuss in The Unmade Leader.

We have seen students who were...

Very trustworthy... and students who broke our trust.

Very energetic... and students who were totally lethargic.

Curious about leadership, business, and improvement... and students who could care less.

Walking around with eyes wide open... and students who spent the conference not even looking for meaning.

Attracting others with smiles and encouragement... and students doing everything they could to keep people away.

Making great decisions... and students making poor decisions.

Comfortable with who they are... and students who were desperately trying to be somebody else.

The only downside of the type of training I do most of the time is I never really get to find out why students have their Leadership Switches turned on or off. No matter the reason, those of us who understand the power of the Switches need to just...

1. Work hard to keep our Switches on.
2. Remember the passive power of leading by example.
3. Encourage others that have their Switches already on to keep them that way.

Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:

1. Are any of your switches turned off?

2. What makes leaders turn off their switches?

3. What are some strategies that you can use to help ensure you keep your switches on?


Innovative: Dr. Burt Smith's Blog

My fellow NSA-Oklahoma peer, Dr. Burt Smith, is a marketing guru and a brand new owner of a blog! Check out his recent post on how it doesn't take much to be innovative...


Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:

1. Why is it important to be innovative?

2. When have you been innovative in the past?

3. What is something you use or do on a regular basis? How can you make it better?