Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fwd: Leadership Lessons

My Uncle write a blog. He keeps up with it more frequently than I could ever dream of... I think he said he averages six posts a week. Wowzers... that's only taking one day off. I'm not interesting enough to do that. ha ha.

Anyway... he published a post on Monday that has resonated with me. I have shared the words with many coworkers and have decided that I want to share the words here also.

The post is regarding leadership and he titled the post LEADERSHIP LESSONS, hence my post title also. This info is great if you're a boss of someone... but even more importantly, we are all a leader in some shape or form. We all lead at some point in our lives and these lessons are good for all of us to learn as well as to be reminded of.

I think it's awesome that the "Lessons" are concluded with a verse from PROVERS... ha, kinda of interesting considering I'm reading a Proverbs a day this month and posting them each day. Hope you enjoy.

10. Take the time to write well.
Write early and often. Write for emphasis. Write to say “thank you”. Write to confirm. Write to clarify. Write to praise. Write so people can refer to it again and again. But WRITE WELL. Remember…the BEST speech you ever give will be forgotten by most of your audience within seconds of your finishing. But your WORST writing will live forever. Your good name will be tarnished by bad writing, so write well.

9. It’s not who you know, it’s what you accomplish.
I don’t believe in networking. I never have. I don’t call people on my Rolodex “to check in and keep my name in front of them,” nor do I appreciate people who do. My outside friends don’t work for Sprint. I was hired at age 27 as a Band 77 (mid-level) manager in Newton, Iowa. The guy who hired me promptly retired. No sponsor. I made division president at age 37. You can do it, too. I got each successive job because somebody in another department saw me accomplish something in my previous job. If you want to get ahead, put your head down, do a great job & accomplish great things. People will notice.

8. Executive leadership is about two things: Direction and Development. Corollary: What made you successful up to now will get in your way in your executive role. You’re not a DO’er anymore. Chiefly, an executive’s role lies in direction & development. Direction - People need to know where they’re going and why they’re going there. More on this in a minute. Development - Find the right people. Invest in your people. Listen to them. Teach them. Trust them with important stuff. It pays dividends over and over. 7. Create a compelling picture of the desired future state and describe it to anyone who will listen. A lot. Once you’ve figured out the direction, get a “stump speech” and give it every time you see a stump with some of your people standing around it. Your stump speech must: • point a clear picture of where you’re going, • a plausible path to getting there, and most important - • it must be a place that people want to go to, despite the comfort of where they are now. 6. Assume you’re in charge and the decision is yours to make unless you’ve explicitly been told “no.” There is a “world” of difference between this philosophy and it’s opposite: assuming you can’t, unless somebody says you can. Assuming “yes” opens a world of possibilities. Don’t leave a fumbled football lying on the ground. Assume that it was left there for you… pick it up and run with it. Old saying: Better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission, is true. So break the rules. You have my permission. 5. Encourage the hearts of the people you lead - their minds and deeds will quickly follow. If you’re going after your people’s intellect first, you’re missing the mark by about 18 inches every time. Visibly recognize people’s contributions, a thank you note or public praise. Have fun. Everybody likes fun. Celebrate success. Even little ones. Wear a lampshade on your head or don a chicken suit. Love: Your customers, the people who do the work, the accomplishments of the organization. They’ll love you back. It fills your tank to press on. Love ‘em and lead 'em. 4. Strategy without execution is a pipe dream.
The devil is in the details, but so are the rewards. I have never been rewarded for having dreamed up a great plan, even though that’s the part I really like to do. Rather, I’ve been rewarded for executing a great plan. Delivering the results promised. Make a decision and do something. If nobody seems to be in charge, assume you are. Collaborative decision making is best, but if it’s taking too long to get there and you feel you have at least 80% of the information you need, go with your gut and decide. Remember, one of your primary roles is direction. Adopt a long-timer’s mentality. See your plan through to completion where it is producing superior results long after you’re off doing something else. Finish well. Attend to the details. Leave a legacy of success for the next guy. 3. Be positive and optimistic. No whining is allowed for the leader, especially in public. Optimism multiplies organizational energy. Pessimism, or cynicism (often legitimized as “realism”) drains organizational energy. If you haven’t tried this, you should. People want to follow a leader who believes in what he or she is doing. Don’t you? Give me the unrealistic aspirations of the optimist over the grim litany of the realist any day. Your people feel that way, too. 2. Work is temporary. Family is forever.
Ah, the work/family balance issue. Probably just the regrettable words of an old guy who didn’t spend enough time with his kids, and now they’re gone. Not really. I figured this one out pretty early. Sure I worked a lot of hours, just like you. But I made time for important family stuff. You can too. Put the important family stuff on your business calendar first and build around it. Sometimes you’ll miss an occasional school play or big game, but if you make this a priority you’ll make 80% of them. For my kids, that equated to “Dad was always there.” There’s always a crisis going on at work. It’s always “crunch time.” There’s always a “big meeting that can’t be missed.” Miss it. We’ll get along without you for a couple of hours or a day. Be there for your family. 1. Integrity matters.
Trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. Once it’s lost, it’s almost impossible to get back. If it feels wrong, it probably is, so don’t do it. Do the right thing every time. Avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Be someone other people respect and know they can count on. Proverbs 10:9 - He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be discovered.

Thank you for posting UFrank!

1 comment:

Frank Bryant said...

Yeah, it resonated with me also. That is why I have kept it around for several years, and pull it out occasionally to read it again. I am glad you liked it. I am sure that Bob Thompson, the original author, would be happy it is being spread around. It was his gift to his staff when he quit to become a missionary.