Surviving Leadership Chaos
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Surviving Leadership Chaos
" We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. " - Winston Churchill
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Facing the 3 Pressing Challenges of Leadership

Facing the 3 Pressing Challenges of Leadership | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
The first pressing challenge of leadership is focusing on the thing that matters most. People matter most. In one sense, you are the person that matters most.

 

The first pressing challenge of leadership is focusing on the thing that matters most.

 

People matter most.


In one sense, you are the person that matters most.


Nurture and develop you as much as you nurture and develop others.


In another sense, others matter most. You make others matter when you:

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What Have You Learned Lately?

What Have You Learned Lately? | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
We spend too little time capturing our learning experiences. We spend even less making the changes we need to make, even when we know what we’re doing isn’t working.

 

Some of us have the same year over and over again. We have a lot of experiences, and we have a lot of learning opportunities along the way, but we spend too little time capturing those learning experiences. We spend even less making the changes we need to make, even when we know what we’re doing isn’t working.

 

Here are four things I have learned over the last quarter and what I think it means for me (as taken from my daily journal).

 

As We Age, We Value Certainty

 

As we age, we are more and more uncomfortable with uncertainty. We want to be certain that everything is going to be okay, that we are going to have enough, that our kids are going be alright, and that nothing disrupts life as we have known it.

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24 Things You Can Do With an Extra Hour

24 Things You Can Do With an Extra Hour | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Daylight Savings ended and now you have an extra hour every day. Here are 24 things you can do to get the most from that extra hour.

 

How odd that so much of life is dependent upon time. Lives are measured in years. We count down the minutes and seconds in a game and measure our productivity by months and quarters. The clock speeds when you're enjoying a project and drags when someone is droning on and on in a meeting. Your ability to control time is nonexistent, which can be frustrating when you really need it. And who doesn't want just a bit more time, an extra hour each day? Well here's your chance.

 

When daylight savings time ends this weekend you can actually gain the benefit of an extra hour. We'll set the clocks back one hour on Sunday and yet our body clocks will still be on Saturday's rhythm. Instead of waking up at 7 a.m. it will magically be 6 a.m.  As long as you maintain the same wake up pattern you now get to start your day with an extra hour. Its like manna from heaven. For the next 126 days you have been granted an additional 60 glorious minutes for whatever you want. So that you don't waste this precious time, I have put together a list of 24 ideas on how to make the most of this gift. If these ideas aren't sufficiently inspiring, by all means share your own hourly activities in the comments.

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8 Leadership Lessons from a Symphony Conductor

8 Leadership Lessons from a Symphony Conductor | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
A while back, Gail and I went to the Nashville Symphony. Toward the end of the evening, it occurred to me that conducting an orchestra and leading a team have much in common.

 

A while back, Gail and I went to the Nashville Symphonywith our daughter, Mary, and her husband, Chris. Mary had bought tickets for Gail’s birthday. It was a magnificent evening.


The orchestra was conducted by the renowned Hugh Wolff. He and the orchestra performed Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 in G major for Piano and Orchestra.Horacio Guitiérrez played the piano. After the intermission, the orchestra performed Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, Op. 45.

 

We had seats on the second row. I was less than twenty feet from Hugh Wolff. I was fascinated just watching him lead the orchestra. Toward the end of the evening, it occurred to me that conducting an orchestra and leading a team have much in common:


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How to Take Constructive Criticism Like a Champ

How to Take Constructive Criticism Like a Champ | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
So how do you learn to back off the defensive?

 

I've always envied people who can graciously accept constructive criticism. It seems I was not born with that trait, and throughout my career I've struggled with receiving feedback, even when it was entirely accurate. At the moment I hear the words of critique, my heartbeat quickens and my mind begins to race—first in search of an explanation for this assault on my person and then for a retort to rationalize whatever actions are in question.


And I'm not alone. Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment, many of us react with defensiveness and anger or—even worse—attack the person giving us feedback. But the truth is, we need to get over it. We know there's value in constructive criticism—how else would we identify weaknesses and areas of improvement? Being able to handle it calmly and professionally will only help us maintain relationships and be more successful in everything we do.

 

So how do you learn to back off the defensive? The next time you receive constructive criticism from your manager or a peer, use this six-step process to handle the encounter with tact and grace.


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Developing Mindful Leaders

Developing Mindful Leaders | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

"If you want to transform an organization it's not about changing systems and processes so much as it's about changing the hearts and minds of people," says Weiss.

 

"Mindfulness is one of the all-time most brilliant technologies for helping to alleviate human suffering and for bringing out our extraordinary potential as human beings."

 

Image credit @tomshulte


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John Michel's curator insight, January 22, 2013 11:29 PM

Organizations invest billions annually on a success curriculum known as "leadership development," which ends up leaving so much on the table. Training and development programs almost universally focus factory-like on inputs and outputs — absorb curriculum, check a box; learn a skill, advance a rung; submit to assessment, fix a problem. Likewise, they leave too many people behind with an elite selection process that fast-tracks "hi-pos" and essentially discards the rest. And they leave most people cold with flavor of the month remedies, off sites, immersions, and excursions — which produce little more than a grim legacy of fat binders gathering dust on shelves.

What if, instead of stuffing people with curricula, models, and competencies, we focused on deepening their sense of purpose, expanding their capability to navigate difficulty and complexity, and enriching their emotional resilience? What if, instead of trying to fix people, we assumed that they were already full of potential and created an environment that promoted their long-term well-being? In other words, what if cultivating a successful inner life was front and center on the leadership agenda?

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John Michel, experienced leader, humanitarian, visioneer, and renown status quo buster, is the author of the ground breaking book, Mediocre Me: How Saying No to the Status Quo will Propel you from Ordinary to Extraordinary. Check out his blog at www.MediocreMe.com or drop him a note at johnmichel@MediocreMe.com
Efficienarta's curator insight, March 6, 2014 3:59 AM

I thought that the points on "deepening their sense of purpose" and "expanding their capability to navigate difficulty" were particularly interesting.

Graeme Reid's curator insight, March 9, 2014 7:23 PM

Leadership development programmes often fall far short of expectations and rarely lead to long term change. Developing people is a process not an event.  Also check out - www.corporatecoachingnetwork.com.au

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3 steps to eliminate (leadership) stress

3 steps to eliminate (leadership) stress | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
One of the biggest challenges you may face as a leader at any level is the stress that comes from one or more sources:

 

Eliminating, reducing, or even leveraging stress is a critical and fundamental key to achieving your career goals and ensuring your effectiveness as a leader at any level. And, when you do, you will likely live a longer, happier, more satisfied life at home and at work.

 

Over the last few years of teaching advanced productivity, communication, and interpersonal strategies to busy professionals, managers and executives, I’ve consistently seen results coming from using the three-step ACE Approach to Change.

 

The three-step ACE Approach invites you to take a slightly different perspective and become a nonjudgmental “observer” of your own process (i.e. the autopilot reactionary pattern you follow when things happens):

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Is it OK for Leaders to Be Scared?

Is it OK for Leaders to Be Scared? | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
As a leader we can be scared and feel fear, but cannot stop, and be frozen in our tracks doing nothing. Here are some steps you can take to lead, even when you are scared.

 

At this time of the year being scared or scary is kinda cool – after all it is Halloween! But this is a short season and leaders lead all year long, so the question asked by the title of this piece is a good one – “is it ok for leaders to be scared?”

 

Most leaders would say No! After all they rationalize that leaders must be tough. Leaders must be out front, leaders should be resilient and heroic. Think Mel Gibson in Braveheart, Harrison Ford as the President in Air Force One, Sally Field in Norma Rae, or John Wayne in just about any movie… that is often consciously or not, the picture we have of leaders. And if that is the picture, fear is not in that picture.

 

My answer isn’t quite so fast or quite so definite. Is it ok for leaders to be scared?


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Give Leadership The Eagle ‘Eye’

Give Leadership The Eagle ‘Eye’ | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
“The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.”  -John Scully Former CEO of Pepsi and Apple Computers The very act of leading and leadership requires a pioneer minds...

 

The very act of leading and leadership requires a pioneer mindset.   One that allows you to exist, maneuver, and motivate in separate planes at simultaneous times.  Leaders must apply consideration and thought to the parallels of the present and of the future…acknowledging the present as you cast vision for the future.   It requires a ‘foveae’ of focus for leadership…the same ‘foveae’ or center of focus that allows an eagle to see both forward and to the side synchronously.

 

In much the same way that the ‘eye’ of the eagle has the ability to see forward and to the side simultaneously, a leader must be out front providing the path and direction for those they lead…while serving and supporting side by side at the same time.  The push and pull of leading.  Ahead and alongside.  Much like the eagle that matches itself so closely in size and shape to the human eye, yet has the sharpness and strength of vision four times that of our very own.

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Health

Health...

 

John C. Maxwell on the subject of leadership and health.

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Why failure can be the best thing to happen

Why failure can be the best thing to happen | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Some of the world’s greatest disasters could have been avoided if those behind them had experienced more failure, according to new research.

 

Some of the world’s greatest disasters could have been avoided if those behind them had experienced more failure, according to new research.

 

The sinking of the Titanic, the loss of the space shuttles Columbia and Challenger, two BP oil refinery explosions with huge loss of life, and the international recall of more than eight million cars by Toyota all have in common an inflated degree of confidence.

 

Avoiding over-confidence is among a list of ten ‘tools’ based on the outcome of case studies of high profile disasters designed to help organisations and managers understand reasons for disasters.

 

The study, by Professor Ashraf Labib and Dr Martin Read, of the University of Portsmouth Business School, is published in the journal of Safety Science.

 

The report’s authors argue that organisations learn more effectively from failures than from successes, but organisations vary at learning from them. They also say that organisations often learn vicariously from the failures and near-failures of other organisations.

 

Professor Labib said: “A lack of failure can lead to over-confidence and ‘blindness’ to the possibility of problems.

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25 Stretch Goals for Management

25 Stretch Goals for Management | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
In May 2008, a group of renowned scholars and business leaders gathered in Half Moon Bay, California, with a simple goal: to lay out an agenda for reinventing management in the 21st century.

 

In taking on this task, the participants drew inspiration from the work of the National Academy of Engineering, which recently proposed a list of "grand engineering challenges" for the 21st century. Among the stretch goals: reverse engineering the human brain, advancing health informatics, and developing methods for carbon sequestration. (For the full list of challenges, see: www.engineeringchallenges.org.)

 

Why, we wondered, shouldn't those of us in the management profession commit ourselves to a set of similarly ambitious innovation targets?

 

What drew the participants together was a set of broadly shared beliefs about the importance of management, and a sense of urgency about reinventing management for a new age.


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Fit City: Exercise helps the body cope with stress

Fit City: Exercise helps the body cope with stress | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
If University of Texas engineering professor Jack Lee misses swim practice for a few days, his wife nudges him out the door.

 

If University of Texas engineering professor Jack Lee misses swim practice for a few days, his wife nudges him out the door.

 

“Go swimming,” she tells him. “You’re getting cranky.”

 

As anyone who exercises regularly can tell you, some hearty sweating can calm frazzled nerves and ease a case of the grumps.

 

Turns out there are physiological reasons for that, beyond the runner’s high caused by a rush of endorphins.

 

Studies published by the American Psychological Association show that exercise improves the body’s ability to cope with stress. People who exercise also have lower rates of anxiety and depression.

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Leaders, Time to Get Your Shift Together

Leaders, Time to Get Your Shift Together | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

In a time of scarcity, the greatest abundance is the plentiful of being more of who we already are.

 

Today’s leaders own a lot.

 

We are responsible for a continuum that has the bottom line on one end, and on the other, cultivating conditions for the organization to thrive during times of uncertainty. We must empower our people to reach beyond the boundaries of imagination to enhance the customer service experience and develop innovative products and services.

 

21st century leaders are tasked with engineering an ecosystem of hope in the workplace and beyond. This is challenge of the new engagement paradigm.

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What If Today…You Listened First?

What If Today…You Listened First? | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
“An essential part of true listening is the…temporary giving up or setting aside of one’s own prejudices…so as to experience…the speaker’s world from inside his ...

 

“An essential part of true listening is the…temporary giving up or setting aside of one’s own prejudices…so as to experience…the speaker’s world from inside his shoes. True listening…involves a total acceptance of the other. Sensing this acceptance, the speaker will feel less and less vulnerable and more and more inclined to open up the inner recesses of  his or her mind to the listener. As this happens, speaker and listener begin to appreciate each other more and more, and the duet dance of love is begun again.” ~ Scott M.Peck, MD

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Best Ideas? They Can Come From Anyone – IF You’re Willing to Listen

Best Ideas? They Can Come From Anyone – IF You’re Willing to Listen | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
“Don’t credit me with that success. That idea came from a janitor at the NFL Films production facility.

 

That statement was from Steve Sabol, the late co-founder (with his father, Ed) of NFL Films. NFL Films was started by accident by his father from his love for home movies. Steve recently passed away from cancer, but his thoughts were captured in a documentary on how they built their organization

 

Have you ever seen the segment where all the fumbles and hits are compiled into a popular show of its own?

 

As a matter of fact, it has become a brand itself within the company franchise.

 

And, that idea came from possibly the lowest person on the org chart.


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Is That Task Important or Merely Urgent?

Is That Task Important or Merely Urgent? | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
In this brief, two-minute video clip, Behance founder and CEO Scott Belsky discusses how today often trumps tomorrow and what happens when it does. He then discusses how to distinguish between the urgent and the important.

 

I wrestle with this question everyday, if not several times a day. Most of the things pinging our brain for attention our merely urgent but often trivial.


In this brief, two-minute video clip, Behance founder and CEO Scott Belsky discusses how today often trumps tomorrow and what happens when it does. He then discusses how to distinguish between the urgent and the important.

 

Another great resource is Stephen Covey’s book, First Things First. In Chapter 3, “The Urgency Addiction,” he provides a framework for deciding whether or not a task is urgent, important or some combination thereof. Think of it as a 2 x 2 matrix:...


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How Memory Works: 10 Things Most People Get Wrong

How Memory Works: 10 Things Most People Get Wrong | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
“If we remembered everything we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing.”...

 

It's often said that a person is the sum of their memories. Your experience is what makes you who you are.

 

Memory, then, shapes the very core of human experience. Despite this, memory is generally poorly understood, which is why many people say they have 'bad memories'. That's partly because the analogies we have to hand—like that of computer memory—are not helpful. Human memory is vastly more complicated and quirky than the memory residing in our laptops, tablets or phones.

 

Here is my 10-point guide to the psychology of memory (it is based on an excellent review chapter by the distinguished UCLA memory expert, Professor Robert A. Bjork)


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Seven Better Questions You Can Ask in the Midst of Adversity

Seven Better Questions You Can Ask in the Midst of Adversity | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Years ago, I learned a valuable lesson: the answers we get are determined by the questions we ask. Here are seven better questions you can ask in the midst of adversity.

 

I have several friends who are going through enormous uncertainty right now. Some are out of work. A few others are on the precipice of divorce. Still others have been diagnosed with cancer—one who is pregnant. In these situations, most of us ask, “Why is this happening to me?”


Years ago, two months after I became the publisher of one of our book divisions, we lost a major author to a competing company. This had a significant negative impact on our bottom line. At first, I was angry. Then I became discouraged. Finally, I realized I was asking the wrong question.


Instead of asking “Why did this happen?” I started asking, “How can this make us better?” Immediately, I sensed a shift in my spirit. It began energizing me. In retrospect, losing the author was one of the best things that could have happened to my division. We grew from the experience in ways that would have never happened otherwise.

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David Logan: Tribal leadership | Video on TED.com

TED Talks David Logan talks about the five kinds of tribes that humans naturally form -- in schools, workplaces, even the driver's license bureau.

 

[Richard Andrews]  I can recommend Dave's book 'Tribal Leadership'  provides food for thought and ideas for promoting fundamental culture change.


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Lsantiargarin's curator insight, December 12, 2012 4:43 AM

 

You should see this !!

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Stop Micromanaging and Learn to Delegate

Stop Micromanaging and Learn to Delegate | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Chronic problems with delegation can cripple your team's productivity and create a major impediment to your own career success..

 

You've gotten feedback from your manager as well as word of rumblings within your team: You're seen as a micromanager who tends to get into the weeds — and stay there. You produce great results but senior management sees you as an operational manager and questions your ability to let go and operate at a strategic level. Wait a minute, you think. Who are they trying to kid?

 

Delegation sounds great on paper, but you're responsible for some major projects, and management expects flawless execution. How can they have it both ways?

 

Managers prone to micromanagement fall prey to several misconceptions about delegating to staff. The first is the assumption that delegation has an on and off switch. That is, that they either delegate totally to all direct reports in all situations or not at all. They fail to assess each subordinate's ability to operate independently and don't put in place the "eyehooks" of implementation — the check-ins, milestones, and metrics — that promote predictable execution.

 

And they forget that there are times when they need to get directly involved to get a major initiative back on course.


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The Top 5 Mistakes of Unsuccessful Leaders

The Top 5 Mistakes of Unsuccessful Leaders | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
The best mistakes are learning experience that aren’t repeated.

 

Mistakes that don’t hurt don’t matter. The worst mistakes are the ones that hurt others. The trouble with leadership is your mistakes always hurt others.

 

The top 5 mistakes of unsuccessful leaders:

 

Not being open to criticism.

 

Trying to hide mistakes.

 

Not making decisions.

 

Failing to explain objectives.

 

Telling people how to do things rather than telling them what needs to be done and letting them figure out how to do it.

 

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Why Speaking Well of Your Spouse Is So Important

Why Speaking Well of Your Spouse Is So Important | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Being effective at work or in ministry begins by being effective at home.

 

As a leader, the health of your marriage directly affects the impact of your leadership. (Click here to tweet that.) I have witnessed this time and time again. Being effective at work or in ministry begins by being effective at home.

 

Early in our marriage, Gail and I attended a church led by a dynamic, thirty-something pastor. He was an extraordinary communicator. He was a wise and empathetic counselor. As a result, the church grew rapidly.

 

But as we got better acquainted with him and his wife, we started noticing a disturbing trend in the way they related to one another. They would often make disparaging remarks about the other in public.

 

At first, it seemed cute. Their comments seemed playful and humorous. Everyone laughed. But over time, they became more and more pointed, thinly masking their frustration with one another.

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Structure Your Presentation Like a Story

Structure Your Presentation Like a Story | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

The most effective presenters use the same techniques as great storytellers: By reminding people of the status quo and then revealing the path to a better way, they set up a conflict that needs to be resolved. 

 

After studying hundreds of speeches, I've found that the most effective presenters use the same techniques as great storytellers: By reminding people of the status quo and then revealing the path to a better way, they set up a conflict that needs to be resolved.

 

That tension helps them persuade the audience to adopt a new mindset or behave differently — to move from what is to what could be. And by following Aristotle's three-part story structure (beginning, middle, end), they create a message that's easy to digest, remember, and retell.

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The Cost of Speaking the Truth

The Cost of Speaking the Truth | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

Speak the truth and the truth will set you free. That's exactly what happened to Stephen after he dared to speak out at work. The IT consultant was working for a media company when cracks in the project began to surface. After he chose to highlight the problems he was shown the door.

 

“The project was in a shambles and everyone was turning a blind eye to the elephant in the room. The managers and executive officers were lying about impossible deadlines and deliverables. Other department heads knew that something was wrong, but kept quiet. It was like some mafia situation between the certain levels of management and the steering committee."


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