Vision: 4,543 Words of Great Leadership

Guest post by Ryan Underwood @teamtri_CEO

Politics and a presidential election is such an interesting time for those in leadership development. It's one of the few times so many of us stop and pay attention to just the idea of leadership, what it is, what it isn't and the impact of it.

If this election season has you interested in leadership, pause for a moment and read one of the greatest leadership reads around. It’s just four pages. It’s co-authored by 55 of the most talented minds America has ever known. It’s EPIC. It’s 4,543 of gripping awesomeness we call the Constitution.

I love that our Founding Father's made us stop every four years and assess who is running our nation. It's good to stop and evaluate. You can decide if you’re on the right path or need to make a course correction. I wonder if that's why high school is four years or a bachelors degree takes four years…so at the end of that time you can stop and assess? While you’re assessing for the next few weeks who should lead our nation, stop and assess how the president of YOU is doing and if you need to stay on track or change directions.

I love that our Founding Fathers started the Constitution with "We the People."  Our future has always been more about what "we" do rather than what "they" do. We worry about who lives in the People's House when the Founders knew that America's success was more about the leaders and people living in your house.

I love that our Constitution outlines our principles as a nation…justice, tranquility, defense, general welfare, secure the blessings of liberty. Have you established your principles?  What do you stand for? Have you defined them or have you allowed others to define them for you?

I love that our Constitution wasn't perfect.  55 talented minds wrote it, but only 39 actually agreed with the final product enough to sign it. And, even then we've amended it 27 times. You are not perfect. Leaders are not perfect. There’s nothing wrong with expecting things to be perfect—it makes us strive harder to be our best. But, in reality, the key is to fail forward; to fall ahead; to strive for perfection and fall short with just awesome. Where do you stand? Do you line up with the 16 negatrons that didn't get perfect and took their ball and went home? Or do you line up with the 39 people who pushed ahead and said, “it’s not perfect, but, it’s still pretty awesome” and changed the world? Will you just sit there and complain about how your life is going, or will you stop, realize you can amend you at any time, and lead a better life?

I love that our Constitution has three basic qualifications to become President: be at least 35; be born in the U.S.; and, while it’s not specifically noted, you have to decide to do it. Hundreds of millions of people could be President:
  • A “C” student (President Bush)
  • A guy whose federal experience was serving 4 out of 6 years in the Senate (President Obama)
  • A guy who was the Governor of a state half the size of San Bernardino County in CA (Candidate Romney)

Like this election, the world comes down to a few types of people: decided, undecided, and those who will just sit it out. If you are in the last two categories chances are your life is being led by those who have decided and you complain a lot. But, it doesn't have to stay that way. You can decide any day to lead your life…and…you don’t have to be 35 and where you were born makes no difference either!

In the end, you are the President of YOU. Will you stop and assess your leadership? Are you more concerned about what happens in someone else’s house or your own? Do you have your principles? Do you realize that you are not perfect, but are perfect enough? Will you decide?

If you've still got questions, take a moment and read 4,543 words…it’s just four pages. It built the greatest nation in the history of the world. Perhaps there is an answer in there that can inspire you. 


Fostering Relationships: A Quick Study in Teamwork

The following five questions/answers contain the top lessons I teach audiences about effective teamwork. Cross-reference these with your life and examine how you can improve the positive contributions you make to your teams (family, friends, work, school, etc.)

Why is becoming an effective team player important?
  1. Life is a team sport.
  2. When our teams are good, life is good.
  3. People need great people-people around them to give their best.
What is the definition of effective teamwork?
Effective teamwork occurs when each individual clearly understands how their core strength plays a valuable role in the team accomplishing its shared goals.
What are the common traits of great teams?
  1. A trusted leader.
  2. An agreed upon goal.
  3. An agreed upon decision-making system.
  4. The creation and revisiting of big memories.
  5. Each individual engaging a core strength.
What are the common traits of great team members?
  1. Intensely focused on their work, trusts others, are trustworthy and therefore creates an environment where there is low drama and high trust.
  2. Optimistic and create the impossible by focusing on solutions and the positive.
  3. Identify, put into action and develop habits that create an environment of encouragement, excellence and high expectatIons.
  4. Skilled at maximizing change and solving problems by seeing things differently and getting to the true core of challenges.
How can you help team mates give their best?
  • L.E.A.D. - Look for, Encourage, Appreciate and Draw out the best of others. How most people treat you is based on who you are to them, the environment your interactions are in & how you treat them. Make them good.
  • Be a lover of what other people are doing. Be Interested. Make someone else feel more important than they think they are and you instantly become more important to them.
  • Build up others when they aren't around. Stephen Covey said, "A great way to build trust with those in the room is to talk up those not in the room."