Category Archives: ABC’s of Leadership

Leadership is: Zeal pt. 2

“In motivating people, you’ve got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example – and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved.” – Rupert Murdoch

In Leadership is: Zeal pt. 1 we discussed helping others achieve their goals so that they would be excited and motivated to help us achieve ours. By the way, this is not meant to be a form of manipulation, this is just a good leadership practice!

In this post we will discuss how to maximize on other’s excitement for our goals.

5 ideas for maximizing other’s excitement for our goals:

1. Cast a Clear, Motivating Vision – Create a clear, compelling picture, one that inspires people beyond themselves, and beyond the organization. This requires us to look beyond how we are benefited, and to focus on how everyone benefits.

Simon Sinek explains motivation in his TEDx talk

2. Use Passions & Strengths – Capitalize on what excites people, and already exists within your organization. When people are able to operate within their areas of strengths, they feel empowered and successful. When people feel empowered and successful in their areas of passion they are excited to do what ever it is they will be doing.

3. Provide Accountability – Track progress, give feedback, and give direction when necessary. The old adage goes, people don’t do what you expect, they do what you inspect. Whenever you delegate authority it must be followed up with accountability; however this isn’t just about quality control, accountability helps others recognize winning.

Manager Tools has the best information on One-on-Ones

4. Display Internal Success – Catch people winning, then praise them for it. When people are recognized for their contributions encourages them to contribute more. Catch people winning by walking around and intentionally looking for it, once you find it, promote it!

5. Showcase External Success – Validate the vision by sharing examples of how it is being accomplished. When people are bought into the purpose of your organization, they want to see the fruition of their labors! A display of success encourages continued effort. Share testimonials, frame letters and put them on the walls, display what ever could be considered a trophy.

6. Share the Success – Don’t be greedy. It is true that everything rises and falls on leadership, but it is accomplished on the backs of the entire organization. When money or credit is given to those who helped accomplish the vision, they will be willing and ready for the next go around.

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Leadership is: Zeal pt. 1


What are the goals of those around you?

“In motivating people, you’ve got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example – and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved.” – Rupert Murdoch

It has been said that others will only be half as excited as we are, when it comes to our passions.

The benefit of our excitement is that we generally have more than enough to go around. The challenge is maximizing on that excitement, and instilling it into others.

In an earlier blog post, Leadership is: Buy-in, I write, “people must be bought into who you are before they are bought into what you are about.” In order to get people bought into who we are, we must be bought into what they are about. In other words, if we want people to help us achieve our goals, we must help them achieve theirs.

Starting points to help others achieve their goals:

1. Know their motivation – We must ask, “what motivates those around us?” Motivations vary, but once we understand what motivates the people around us, we can direct our efforts and incentives to help them win.

2. Know their passions – Henry Ford believed in separating work life from personal life. The problem with this is that the two directly affect each other. When we discover the passions of those around us we can support them emotionally, financially, and/or mentally.

3. Know their strengths – Everyone wants to know what they’re good at, and then be appreciated for what they do. When we know the strengths of those around us, we can help them accomplish more by making sure they are plugged into those ares.

– and finally –

4. Know their goals – It is difficult to help a person get to where they are going, if we don’t know where they want to go!

Once we are bought into helping others achieve their goals, they will be more motivated and excited to help us achieve ours. In part 2 of this leadership letter, we will discuss how to maximize on this motivated excitement.

How else would you help someone achieve their goal(s)?

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Leadership is: You


It starts with YOU

“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” – Lao Tzu

John Maxwell says “The first person you must lead is yourself.”

In his January ’13 leadership podcast, A New You Resolution, Andy Stanley says, “before you know where you are going you must first know who you want to be.”

So what does all this mean for you? If you are going to successfully lead others, you must first know what kind of person you want to be, lead yourself in personal growth, and then in turn lead others.

There has been much written on self-improvement and it doesn’t seem advantageous to re-hash what has been exhausted in other realms. Rather, I want to recognize some indicators that we might need some self-improvement and growth.

Ask yourself these four questions:

1. Am I the smartest person in my circles – John Maxwell says,” if you’re consistently the smartest person in the class, you’re in the wrong class!” You need to graduate yourself and allow yourself to become the listener rather than the talker.

2. Am I around other people that are growing – If your immediate circle of influence isn’t growing, it is a good indication that you aren’t either.

3.  Am I a know-it-all – It has been said, the more I learn and know, the more I realize how much I don’t know. If you have a sense of “I’m the smartest guy in this place,” chances are you don’t know half of what you think you do.

4. Am I investing in myself consistently – It is very possible to have little hubris when it comes to your abilities, but to still be found wanting in some areas. If you do not have a personal growth plan, I highly suggest you get one.

Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive, but if you can answer yes to even one of these questions, chances are you have room for growth. If you need a place to start John Maxwell’s 15 Laws of Growth is a great starter’s mark!

What other questions would you add to the list?

What is it that you do for personal growth? 

Leadership is: Xanthocyanopsia (-si″ah-nop´se-ah)

Free image courtesy of

Free image courtesy of

“Rubix cubes are easy when you’re colorblind.” – Unknown

Xanthocyanopsia: ability to discern yellow and blue tints, but not red or green. [Dug deep for this one!]

I was talking with a leader of an organization recently, and they were in need of hiring a person who could creatively take them to the next level when it came to creating sold out followers. Their processes have been effective thus far, however they could not sustain the current growth factor the way they were structured. What’s more, aspect of the organization had been the “baby” of the leader, but he knew in order for the organization to grow he had to step away from what he enjoyed doing to do what only he could do for his organization.

Most leaders struggle with this concept. They have started a business, club, church, etc. and in the early stages they were able to execute the tasks which they enjoyed. As the organization increases however, the leader becomes responsible for the overall growth and health of the organization, and has need to step away from the specific nuances of tasks that can, and should, be delegated. If a leader can not give up that “baby,” it creates a lack of focus for them because they will constantly be taking time away from “leader specific tasks” to work on a task that should be delegated to a capable individual. 

When there is a lack of focus the natural result is a lack of productivity. When we try to be good at many things we end up being good at nothing. The task we once enjoyed becomes a frustration because we can’t give it the time to make it great, or we give too much time to the task, and in the process we leave undone the imperative tasks of our organization.

In Timothy Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week he discusses the Pareto Principle where 20% of your work produces 80% of your results. Good leaders not only recognize the tasks that only they can do, they recognize the tasks the that yield the best results. They become colorblind. They focus on what is pertinent to their organization’s success, and they ignore (aka: delegate) the rest.

Which tasks are you holding onto that you need to delegate?

Which tasks are yielding your best results? (don’t delegate those)

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Leadership is: Winning

Celebrating wins is guarding against failures

“A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning” Pat Riley

It is possible to turn winning, experiencing success, into a habit; unfortunately, the same is also true for losing. In today’s world the difference between winning and losing is the same difference between having a job and finding yourself unemployed.

If we want our teams to develop a habit of winning, as leaders we must consistently do these three things:

  1. Recognize wins – Wins come in all shapes and sizes, and we must allow our idea of what a win is to change with our circumstances. We can simplistically define a win as any action or result that moves us towards our goal. When we start to define wins this way, we will be able to recognize more of them.
  2. Celebrate wins – Recognizing a win is only the first part of making winning a habit. Our next step is celebrating the wins. When someone’s actions moves us closer to our goals, celebrate it. Celebrations can be as simple as publicly praising them in front of the team, writing them a thank you card, bragging on their work and effort.*NOTE: You get more of what you praise, be sure to celebrate moving closer to the goal rather than the specific action. If you praise the specific action you will get more of that action, not necessarily actions moving you towards the goal.
  3. Create wins – Sometimes we have team members that are struggling to win, or even worse, struggling to believe they can win. When we create wins for team members we help cultivate their habit of winning. Creating wins can be done a number of ways. Here are a couple of ideas: Allow that team member to take the final step that completes a project, and then brag about their finishing touches; Set them up with an easily achievable task. This isn’t cheating, this is helping them establish the momentous habit of winning.

Few people are motivated enough to reach their goals on their own, let alone someone else’s goals for them. If our teams are going to consists of winners we must help cultivate a winning mentality.

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