Archives for category: Wisdom

We learn and grow by doing, being and taking chances.  To sit idly on the sidelines without adventure is to squander the gift of existence.

In both life and leadership, we make decisions on a daily basis that impact our lives, as well as the lives of others.  We are hopeful that the knowledge we have gained in the past, coupled with using our best judgment today will yield an optimal result.

However, in reality, things don’t always play out the way we had hoped or planned!  It is from those experiences that we gain additional wisdom, and perhaps do better with the next decision-making opportunity.

Cherish the mistakes that you (and others) have made, seize those as learning moments, exercise forgiveness (to yourself and to others), and press forward to make a difference in this world…you are being judged!

will-rogers

During an interview with Scott Pelley, former President Bill Clinton was reflecting on challenges during his time in office, and noted that his friend Nelson Mandela stayed by his side, always remaining supportive, and stating that “our morality does not allow us to desert our friends”.

As I reflect on my decades in business, I can recall numerous occasions where a superior, peer or subordinate has erred or fallen from grace. How quickly they are shunned, criticized, released or forgotten about…as if they had suddenly lost their worth and value, no longer an important and meaningful part of the world’s equation.

In the spirit of humanity, and love, so eloquently advocated by Mr. Mandela, let this serve as a reminder that everyone matters, regardless of events that have occurred.

It is not only a reflection of genuine leadership but also of personal respect that we strive to conduct ourselves in a manner that preserves the dignity of others, especially when they have fallen.

Another leadership and life lesson, to be the caring person the world needs you to be, courtesy of “Madiba”.

Mandela fall

Given everything that I’ve read or heard about the man demonstrates that the World lost a truly great leader with the passing of Mr. Nelson Mandela.

Mr. Mandela displayed exceptional compassion in choosing love over hate and living a life of forgiveness. Upon his release from Robben Island prison following 18 years of isolation, his position was that if you hate or have anger, the only way to have freedom is to just let it go, demonstrating no ill-will towards those that put or held him there.

My experience reveals that it is rare to find leaders that genuinely care about mankind, as well as all those supposedly served…employees, customers, business partners, shareholders AND community.  Studying the way Mandela behaved provides teachings for those in any leadership capacity, as well as how to live life in general.

mandela quote

In the movie Gandhi, Ben Kingsley (Gandhi) is speaking to youthful leaders and this quote stood out: “Our best young minds assume an air of Eastern dignity while greedily assimilating every Western weakness as quickly as they can acquire it”.

That insightful, candid observation by Gandhi emphasized the concepts of honesty and integrity, while displaying one of the admirable traits I’ve noticed to be consistent amongst great leaders…candor.

Powerful leaders not only lead by example, but are able to instill an element of trust and cohesiveness throughout their teams and organizations.

Employees passionately follow dynamic leaders who can be counted on to “do what they say they are going to do”, and in turn hold their forces accountable with the same expectation.

The key element of candor is evident when everyone knows what the expectations are, where they stand, what is and isn’t working, and what collective actions must be taken to ensure continued success. Does your leadership style scream Candid Candor?

Ghandi

Let’s start with an assumption that most business “leaders”, in route to achieving their current status or position, have demonstrated a proven ability to set clear expectations, give direction, monitor progress, coach, and lead their respective teams towards a desired end result.

Well, you know what they say about assumptions!

An astonishing observation is how frequently people “hit the ground running”, hustling through the day, week, month…consistently in reactive mode, and then try to figure out where their time went?

Their personal and professional life activities are controlling them, versus it being the other way around.  Especially in this technology intensified age, it is imperative that YOU choose to control the what, when, where, and why of how you spend YOUR time.

“Champions of accomplishment” MAKE the time every day, week, month and quarter for Proper Planning in order to Produce Performance results, based on a Proactive strategy…that’s being a disciplined Professional.

planning

Despite the plethora of business instruction that was cast at me during five plus years of college, one professor’s simple statement made the most profound impact:

“Once you say something, you can never take it back!”

In both personal and professional environments, these conversational traits commonly appear:

  1. initiating a response before the other person finishes their statement
  2. focusing on “me, myself and I” instead of what others are trying to communicate
  3. disregarding the importance of eye contact and truly “seeing” the speaker
  4. forgetting the “two ears and one mouth” principle…i.e. LISTEN

When providing responses or clear direction, the best leaders tend to: think it through before replying, provide fact-based decisions, and give commands in a constructive, productive manner, utilizing the proper amount of authority as well as empathy.