People

On The Inner Game of Tennis

I recently finished reading The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found insightful:

It is the thesis of this book that neither mastery nor satisfaction can be found in the playing of any game nor without giving some attrition to the relatively new relatively neglected skills of the inner game. This is the game that takes place in the mind of the player, and it is played against such obstacles as lapses in concentration, nervousness, self-doubt and self-condemnation. In short, it is played to overcome all habits of mind which inhibit excellence in performance.

Getting it together mentally in tennis involves the learning of several internal skills: 1) learning to program your computer Self 2 with images rather than instructing yourself with words; 2) learning to trust thyself  (Self 2) to do what you (Self 1) ask of it This means letting Self 2 hit the ball and 3) learning to see ”nonjudgmentally”—that is, to see what is happening rather than merely noticing how well or how badly it is happening. This overcomes “trying too hard.” All these skills are subsidiary to the master skill, without which nothing of value is ever achieved: the art of concentration.

The first inner skill to be developed in the Inner Game is that of nonjudgmental awareness. When we “Unlearn” judgment we discover, usually with some surprise, that we don’t need the motivation rf a reformer to change our “bad” habits.There is a more natural process of learning and performing waiting to be discovered. It is waiting to show what it can do when allowed to operate without interference from the conscious strivings of the  judgmental ego-mind. The discovery of and reliance upon this process is the subject of the next chapter.

The main job of Self 1, the conscious ego-mind, is to set goals, that is, to communicate to Self 2 what he wants from it and then to let Self 2 do it.

The time for change comes when we realize that the same function could be served in a better way.

Step 1 – Observe, Nonjudgmentally, Existing Behavior…Step 2 Ask Yourself to Change, Programming with Image and Feel…Step3 Let It Happen! Step 4: Nonjudgmental, Calm Observation of the Results Leading to Continuing Observation of Process until Behavior Is in Automatic…Step 4 Observation.

By increasing the effective power of awareness, concentration allows us to throw more light on whatever we value knowing, and to that extent enables us to know and enjoy it more.

Children who have been taught to measure themselves in this way often be come adults driven by a compulsion to succeed which overshadows all else. The tragedy of this belief is not that they will fail to find the success they seek, but that they will not discover the love or even tithe self-respect they were led to believe will come with it. Furthermore, in their single-minded pursuit of measurable success, the development of many other human potentialities is sadly neglected.

On a closing note:

Winning is overcoming obstacles to reach a goal, but the value in winning is only as great as the value of the goal reached. Reaching the goal itself may not be as valuable as the experience that can come in making a supreme effort to overcome the obstacles involved. The process can be more rewarding than the victory itself.

A highly recommended read in the area of personal development.

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Letter from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son

I recently finished reading Letter from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son by John Graham – written by George Horace Lorimer. This book was recommended by Shane Parrish of Farnam Street.

Below are key excerpts from this insightful book:

The first thing that any education ought to give a man is character, and the second thing is education.

There are two parts of a college education—the part that you get in the schoolroom from the professors, and the part that you get outside of it from the boys. That’s the really important part. For the first can only make you a scholar, while the second can make you a man.

College doesn’t make fools; it develops them. It doesn’t make bright men; it develops them. A fool will turn out a fool, whether he goes to college or not, though he’ll probably turn out a different sort of a fool. And a good, strong boy will turn out a bright, strong man whether he’s worn smooth in the grab-what-you-want-and-eat-standing-with-one-eye-skinned-for-the-dog school of the streets and stores, or polished up and slicked down in the give-your-order-to-the-waiter-and-get-a-sixteen-course-dinner school of the professors. But while the lack of a college education can’t keep No. 1 down, having it boosts No. 2 up.

It isn’t so much knowing a whole lot, as knowing a little and how to use it that counts.

Some men learn all they know from books; others from life; both kinds are narrow. The first are all theory; the second are all practice. It’s the fellow who knows enough about practice to test his theories for blow-holes that gives the world a shove ahead, and finds a fair margin of profit in shoving it.

The better trained they are the faster they find reasons for getting their salaries raised. The fellow who hasn’t had the training may be just as smart, but he’s apt to paw the air when he’s reaching for ideas.

It’s not what a man does during working-hours, but after them, that breaks down his health. A fellow and his business should be bosom friends in the office and sworn enemies out of it. A clear mind is one that is swept clean of business at six o’clock every night and isn’t opened up for it again until after the shutters are taken down next morning.

Putting off an easy thing makes it hard, and putting off a hard one makes it impossible. Procrastination is the longest word in the language, but there’s only one letter between its ends when they occupy their proper places in the alphabet.

A business man’s conversation should be regulated by fewer and simpler rules than any other function of the human animal. They are: Have something to say. Say it. Stop talking.

Remember that when you’re in the right you can afford to keep your temper, and that when you’re in the wrong you can’t afford to lose it.

A real salesman is one-part talk and nine-parts judgment; and he uses the nine-parts of judgment to tell when to use the one-part of talk.

Tact is the knack of keeping quiet at the right time; of being so agreeable yourself that no one can be disagreeable to you; of making inferiority feel like equality. A tactful man can pull the stinger from a bee without getting stung.

Some salesmen think that selling is like eating—to satisfy an existing appetite; but a good salesman is like a good cook—he can create an appetite when the buyer isn’t hungry.

A masterpiece that is filled with practical wisdom. A must read!

On The Future Of Work

I recently finished reading The Future of Work – Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization – by Jacob Morgan. As the author summarizes in his opening: “Many organizations around the world today are in trouble. The world of work is changing around them while they remain stagnant. The larger the gap grows the greater the chance becomes that these organizations will not survive. However, organizations shouldn’t just want to survive they must want to thrive and be competitive in a new rapidly changing world. To do this requires pioneering change, not waiting for tragedy or for a crisis to force change. The future workforce is bringing new attitudes and ways of work to which managers must adapt. This means that organizations must adapt to both employees and managers and, as of now, this is happening at a snail’s pace, if at all. This is a book about adapting to that change.”

On the five trends shaping the future of work:

1. New behaviors 2. Technology 3. Millennials 4. Mobility 5. Globalization

On the seven principles of the future employee:

• Have a flexible work environment where they can work anytime and anywhere. • Be able to shape and define their own career paths instead of having them predefined for them. • Share information internally in an open and transparent way in real-time. • Have the opportunity to become leaders without having to be managers. • Collaborate and communicate in new ways. • Shift from being knowledge workers to learning workers. • Learn and teach at-will.

From knowledge worker to learner worker:

The world is changing so quickly that by the time new college students graduate, much of what they have learned is far less relevant and in many cases just obsolete. This means knowledge and experience are no longer the primary commodity. Instead, what is far more valuable is to have the ability to learn and to apply those learnings into new and unique scenarios. It’s no longer about what you know, it’s about how you can learn and adapt.

On vital qualities for future employees:

Self-Direction and Autonomy, Filter and Focus, Embrace Change, Amazing Communication Skills, Learning to Learn

On the Ten Principles of the future manager:

Must be a leader. Follow from the front. Understand technology. Lead by example. Embrace vulnerability. Believe in sharing and collective intelligence. Challenge convention and be a fire starter. Practice real-time recognition and feedback. Be conscious of personal boundaries. Adapt to the future employee.

On many people still want structure:

An article published by Susan H. Greenberg on the Stanford Graduate School of Businessblog on August 1, 2012 called, “Building Organizations That Work”2 summarized the findings of the report: Hierarchies are easier for people to grasp than egalitarian relationships because their asymmetries create “end points’ that facilitate memorization; they are predictable; and they are familiar, beginning with our very first social interaction—the parent-child relationship.

On fourteen principles of the future organization:

• Have employees work in globally distributed yet smaller teams. • Become intrapreneurial. • Create a connected workforce. • Operate like a smaller company. • Focus on creating a place of “want” instead of a place of “need.’ • Adapt to change faster. • Innovate anywhere, all the time. • Build ecosystems. • Run in the cloud. • See more women in senior management roles. • Be “flatter.’ • Tell stories. • Democratize learning. • Shift from profit to prosperity. • Adapt to the future employee and the future manager. • Become globally distributed with smaller teams.

On competitor-driven innovation:

The extent of knowledge and innovation used to depend on the organization itself, or more specifically, a few people within the organization. This is no longer enough to maintain a competitive advantage. The future organization must build knowledge ecosystems in the five groups mentioned earlier in order to thrive. Each group can bring a unique perspective and value proposition.

On the 12 habits of highly collaborative organizations:

1. Focus on individual value before corporate value. 2. Strategy always comes before technology. 3. Learn to get out of the way. 4. Lead by example. 5. Listen to the voice of the employee. 6. Integrate into the flow of work. 7. Create a supportive environment. 8. Measure what matters. 9. Be persistent. 10. Adapt and evolve. 11. Understand that employee collaboration also benefits the customer. 12. Accept that collaboration makes the world a better place.

On the six-step process for adapting to the future of work:

1. Challenge assumptions. 2. Create a team to help lead the effort. 3. Define your “future of work.’ 4. Communicate your “future of work. 5. Experiment and empower employees to take action. 6. Implement broad-based change.

A recommended read in the area of organizational management.

The 48 Laws Of Power

I recently finished reading The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.

Greene on Power, and the importance of developing Emotional Intelligence:

Power is a social game. To learn and master it, you must develop the ability to study and understand people…To be a master player you must also be a master psychologist. You must recognize motivations and see through the cloud of dust with which people surround their actions. An understanding of people’s hidden motives is the single greatest piece of knowledge you can have in acquiring power… People are of infinite complexity and you can spend a lifetime watching them without ever fully understanding them. So it is all the more important, then, to begin your education now. In doing so you must also keep one principle in mind: Never discriminate as to whom you study am whom you trust. Never trust anyone completely and study everyone, including friends and loved ones. Finally, you must learn always to take the indirect route to power. Disguise your cunning. Like a billiard ball that caroms several times before it hits its target, your moves must be planned and developed in the least obvious way. By training yourself to be indirect, you can thrive in the modem court, appearing the paragon of decency while being the consummate manipulator.

The book’s main premise:

Consider The 48 Laws of Power a kind of handbook on the arts of indirection. The laws are based on the writings of men and women who have studied and mastered the game of power. These writings span a period of more than three thousand years and were created in civilizations as disparate as ancient China and Renaissance Italy; yet they share common threads and themes, together hinting at an essence of power that has yet to be fully articulated. The 48 laws of power are the distillation of this accumulated wisdom, gathered from the writings of the most illustrious strategists (Sun-tzu, Clausewitz), statesmen (Bismarck, Talleyrand), courtiers (Castighone, Gracian), seducers (Ninon de Lenclos, Casanova), and con artists (“Yellow Kid” Weil) in history. The laws have a simple premise: Certain actions almost always increase one’s power (the observance of the law), while others decrease it and even ruin us (the transgression of the law). These transgressions and observances are illustrated by historical examples. The laws are timeless and definitive.

The 48 Laws of Power:

Law 1: Never Outshine the Master

Always make those above you feel comfortably superior.  In your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite – inspire fear and insecurity.  Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.

Law 2: Never put too Much Trust in Friends, Learn how to use Enemies

Be wary of friends-they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy.  They also become spoiled and tyrannical. But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove.  In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies.  If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.

Law 3: Conceal your Intentions

Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions.  If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense.  Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelope them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.

Law 4: Always Say Less than Necessary

When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control.  Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike.  Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less.  The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.

 Law 5: So Much Depends on Reputation – Guard it with your Life

Reputation is the cornerstone of power.  Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once you slip, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides.  Make your reputation unassailable.  Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen.  Meanwhile, learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations.  Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them.

 Law 6: Court Attention at all Cost

Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing.  Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion.  Stand out.  Be conspicuous, at all cost.  Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious, than the bland and timid masses.

  Law 7: Get others to do the Work for you, but Always Take the Credit

Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause.  Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you a godlike aura of efficiency and speed.  In the end your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered.  Never do yourself what others can do for you.

 Law 8: Make other People come to you – use Bait if Necessary

When you force the other person to act, you are the one in control.  It is always better to make your opponent come to you, abandoning his own plans in the process.  Lure him with fabulous gains – then attack.  You hold the cards.

 Law 9: Win through your Actions, Never through Argument

Any momentary triumph you think gained through argument is really a Pyrrhic victory:  The resentment and ill will you stir up is stronger and lasts longer than any momentary change of opinion.  It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word.  Demonstrate, do not explicate.

Law 10: Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky

You can die from someone else’s misery – emotional states are as infectious as disease.  You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster.  The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you.  Associate with the happy and fortunate instead.

Law 11: Learn to Keep People Dependent on You

To maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted.  The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have.  Make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity and you have nothing to fear.  Never teach them enough so that they can do without you.

 Law 12: Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim

One sincere and honest move will cover over dozens of dishonest ones.  Open-hearted gestures of honesty and generosity bring down the guard of even the most suspicious people.  Once your selective honesty opens a hole in their armor, you can deceive and manipulate them at will.  A timely gift – a Trojan horse – will serve the same purpose.

 Law 13: When Asking for Help, Appeal to People’s Self-Interest, Never to their Mercy or Gratitude

If you need to turn to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him of your past assistance and good deeds.  He will find a way to ignore you.  Instead, uncover something in your request, or in your alliance with him, that will benefit him, and emphasize it out of all proportion.  He will respond enthusiastically when he sees something to be gained for himself.

 Law 14: Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy

Knowing about your rival is critical.  Use spies to gather valuable information that will keep you a step ahead.  Better still: Play the spy yourself.  In polite social encounters, learn to probe.  Ask indirect questions to get people to reveal their weaknesses and intentions.  There is no occasion that is not an opportunity for artful spying.

 Law 15: Crush your Enemy Totally

All great leaders since Moses have known that a feared enemy must be crushed completely.  (Sometimes they have learned this the hard way.)  If one ember is left alight, no matter how dimly it smolders, a fire will eventually break out.  More is lost through stopping halfway than through total annihilation:  The enemy will recover, and will seek revenge.  Crush him, not only in body but in spirit.

 Law 16: Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor

Too much circulation makes the price go down:  The more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear.  If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired.  You must learn when to leave.  Create value through scarcity.

 Law 17: Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability

Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions.  Your predictability gives them a sense of control.  Turn the tables: Be deliberately unpredictable.  Behavior that seems to have no consistency or purpose will keep them off-balance, and they will wear themselves out trying to explain your moves.  Taken to an extreme, this strategy can intimidate and terrorize.

Law 18: Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself – Isolation is Dangerous

The world is dangerous and enemies are everywhere – everyone has to protect themselves.  A fortress seems the safest. But isolation exposes you to more dangers than it protects you from – it cuts you off from valuable information, it makes you conspicuous and an easy target.  Better to circulate among people find allies, mingle.  You are shielded from your enemies by the crowd.

Law 19: Know Who You’re Dealing with – Do Not Offend the Wrong Person

There are many different kinds of people in the world, and you can never assume that everyone will react to your strategies in the same way.  Deceive or outmaneuver some people and they will spend the rest of their lives seeking revenge.  They are wolves in lambs’ clothing.  Choose your victims and opponents carefully, then – never offend or deceive the wrong person.

Law 20: Do Not Commit to Anyone

It is the fool who always rushes to take sides.  Do not commit to any side or cause but yourself.  By maintaining your independence, you become the master of others – playing people against one another, making them pursue you.

Law 21: Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker – Seem Dumber than your Mark

No one likes feeling stupider than the next persons.  The trick, is to make your victims feel smart – and not just smart, but smarter than you are.  Once convinced of this, they will never suspect that you may have ulterior motives.

Law 22: Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power

When you are weaker, never fight for honor’s sake; choose surrender instead.  Surrender gives you time to recover, time to torment and irritate your conqueror, time to wait for his power to wane.  Do not give him the satisfaction of fighting and defeating you – surrender first.  By turning the other check you infuriate and unsettle him.  Make surrender a tool of power.

Law 23: Concentrate Your Forces

Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point.  You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another – intensity defeats extensity every time.  When looking for sources of power to elevate you, find the one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time to come.

Law 24: Play the Perfect Courtier

The perfect courtier thrives in a world where everything revolves around power and political dexterity.  He has mastered the art of indirection; he flatters, yields to superiors, and asserts power over others in the mot oblique and graceful manner.  Learn and apply the laws of courtiership and there will be no limit to how far you can rise in the court.

Law 25: Re-Create Yourself

Do not accept the roles that society foists on you.  Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience.  Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define if for you.  Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions – your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.

Law 26: Keep Your Hands Clean

You must seem a paragon of civility and efficiency: Your hands are never soiled by mistakes and nasty deeds.  Maintain such a spotless appearance by using others as scapegoats and cat’s-paws to disguise your involvement.

Law 27: Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following

People have an overwhelming desire to believe in something.  Become the focal point of such desire by offering them a cause, a new faith to follow.  Keep your words vague but full of promise; emphasize enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking.  Give your new disciples rituals to perform, ask them to make sacrifices on your behalf.  In the absence of organized religion and grand causes, your new belief system will bring you untold power.

Law 28: Enter Action with Boldness

If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it.  Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution.  Timidity is dangerous:  Better to enter with boldness.  Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity. Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid.

Law 29: Plan All the Way to the End

The ending is everything.  Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others.  By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop.  Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead.

Law 30: Make your Accomplishments Seem Effortless

Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease.  All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed.  When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more.  Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work – it only raises questions.  Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.

Law 31: Control the Options: Get Others to Play with the Cards you Deal

The best deceptions are the ones that seem to give the other person a choice:  Your victims feel they are in control, but are actually your puppets.  Give people options that come out in your favor whichever one they choose.  Force them to make choices between the lesser of two evils, both of which serve your purpose.  Put them on the horns of a dilemma:  They are gored wherever they turn.

Law 32: Play to People’s Fantasies

The truth is often avoided because it is ugly and unpleasant.  Never appeal to truth and reality unless you are prepared for the anger that comes for disenchantment.  Life is so harsh and distressing that people who can manufacture romance or conjure up fantasy are like oases in the desert:  Everyone flocks to them. There is great power in tapping into the fantasies of the masses.

Law 33: Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew

Everyone has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall.  That weakness is usual y an insecurity, an uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small secret pleasure.  Either way, once found, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to your advantage.

Law 34: Be Royal in your Own Fashion:  Act like a King to be treated like one

The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated; In the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you.  For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others.  By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown.

Law 35: Master the Art of Timing

Never seem to be in a hurry – hurrying betrays a lack of control over yourself, and over time.  Always seem patient, as if you know that everything will come to you eventually.  Become a detective of the right moment; sniff out the spirit of the times, the trends that will carry you to power.  Learn to stand back when the time is not yet ripe, and to strike fiercely when it has reached fruition.

Law 36: Disdain Things you cannot have:  Ignoring them is the best Revenge

By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility.  The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him; and a small mistake is often made worse and more visible when you try to fix it.  It is sometimes best to leave things alone.  If there is something you want but cannot have, show contempt for it.  The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem.

Law 37: Create Compelling Spectacles

Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power – everyone responds to them.  Stage spectacles for those around you, then full of arresting visuals and radiant symbols that heighten your presence.  Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.

Law 38: Think as you like but Behave like others

If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them.  They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior.  It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.

Law 39: Stir up Waters to Catch Fish

Anger and emotion are strategically counterproductive.  You must always stay calm and objective.  But if you can make your enemies angry while staying calm yourself, you gain a decided advantage.  Put your enemies off-balance: Find the chink in their vanity through which you can rattle them and you hold the strings.

Law 40: Despise the Free Lunch

What is offered for free is dangerous – it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation.  What has worth is worth paying for.  By paying your own way you stay clear of gratitude, guilt, and deceit.  It is also often wise to pay the full price – there is no cutting corners with excellence.  Be lavish with your money and keep it circulating, for generosity is a sign and a magnet for power.

Law 41: Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes

What happens first always appears better and more original than what comes after.  If you succeed a great man or have a famous parent, you will have to accomplish double their achievements to outshine them.  Do not get lost in their shadow, or stuck in a past not of your own making:  Establish your own name and identity by changing course.  Slay the overbearing father, disparage his legacy, and gain power by shining in your own way.

Law 42: Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will Scatter

Trouble can often be traced to a single strong individual – the stirrer, the arrogant underling, the poisoned of goodwill.  If you allow such people room to operate, others will succumb to their influence.  Do not wait for the troubles they cause to multiply, do not try to negotiate with them – they are irredeemable.  Neutralize their influence by isolating or banishing them.  Strike at the source of the trouble and the sheep will scatter.

Law 43: Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others

Coercion creates a reaction that will eventually work against you.  You must seduce others into wanting to move in your direction.  A person you have seduced becomes your loyal pawn.  And the way to seduce others is to operate on their individual psychologies and weaknesses.  Soften up the resistant by working on their emotions, playing on what they hold dear and what they fear.  Ignore the hearts and minds of others and they will grow to hate you.

Law 44: Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect

The mirror reflects reality, but it is also the perfect tool for deception: When you mirror your enemies, doing exactly as they do, they cannot figure out your strategy.  The Mirror Effect mocks and humiliates them, making them overreact.  By holding up a mirror to their psyches, you seduce them with the illusion that you share their values; by holding up a mirror to their actions, you teach them a lesson.  Few can resist the power of Mirror Effect.

Law 45: Preach the Need for Change, but Never Reform too much at Once

Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level people are creatures of habit.  Too much innovation is traumatic, and will lead to revolt.  If you are new to a position of power, or an outsider trying to build a power base, make a show of respecting the old way of doing things.  If change is necessary, make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past.

Law 46: Never appear too Perfect

Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses.  Envy creates silent enemies.  It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable.  Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity.

Law 47: Do not go Past the Mark you Aimed for; In Victory, Learn when to Stop

The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril.  In the heat of victory, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you had aimed for, and by going too far, you make more enemies than you defeat.  Do not allow success to go to your head.  There is no substitute for strategy and careful planning.  Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop.

Law 48: Assume Formlessness

By taking a shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack.  Instead of taking a form for your enemy to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move.  Accept the fact that nothing is certain and no law is fixed.  The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid and formless as water; never bet on stability or lasting order.  Everything changes.

 

On a concluding note from Niccolo Machiavelli in The Prince:

Any man who tries to he good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires.

A highly recommended read in the areas of social philosophy, and political strategy. Additional recommendations for this genre would be The Art of War – Sun Tzu and The Prince by Machiavelli.

 

 

 

When Pride Still Mattered

I recently finished reading When Pride Still Mattered – A Life of Vince Lombardi by Winner of the Pulitzer Prize author, David Maraniss. I chose to read this book for several reasons: it was recommended to me by one of my mentors, being a football fan I was always intrigued to learn about the man after which the most prized trophy is named, and last but not least this book is very highly rated in the categories of leadership, sports and biography.

It all started out with the fatherly figure of Enrico “Harry” Lombardi:

The ornamentation of his flesh is what truly announced Harry’s presence. He was covered with tattoos. They rose up from his forearms, a swirling blue and red mural of devotion to family and country, each splotch symbolizing another of his simple beliefs. He even had messages tattooed onto his hands, one letter per finger in a row above the knuckles. The letters appeared upside down and backward from his perspective, looking down, but in legible order to someone reading them from the front. On the index finger of the left hand was a W, followed by an O on the middle finger, R on the ring finger and K on the pinky. His right hand lettering began with P on the pinky, then r and A. ending with Y on the index finger. WORK and PLAY, competing for attention on the beefy digits of an immigrant meat-cutter in New York. There could be no more fitting passwords at the creation of an American myth.

Early on is his life, Vince established his life’s priorities – religion, family and sports:

The Trinity of Vince Lombardi’s early years was religion, family and sports. They seemed intertwined, as inseparable to him as Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The church was not some distant institution to be visited once a week, but part of the rhythm of daily life. When his mother baked bread, it was one for the Lombardis, one for the priests, with Vince shuttling down the block between his house and the St. Mark’s Rectory delivering food and tendering invitations.

More precisely within sports, he was fascinated by football:

“From the first contact on, football fascinated me,” he said years later. Contact, controlled violence, a game where the mission was to hit someone harder, punish him, knees up, elbows out, challenge your body, mind and spirit, exhaust yourself and seek redemption through fatigue, such were the rewards an altar boy found in his favorite game.

Being a player helped anchor his passion for the sport:

Led by the golden arm of its crackerjack quarterback, Sid Luckman, Erasmus shut out St. Francis, 13-0. Vet Lombardi, who smacked Luckman with a few good licks on defense, felt like anything but a loser when it was over. He experienced what he later described as a locker room epiphany. As he sat slumped on the bench in his grass-stained red and blue uniform, he was overcome by joy, a rare feeling for him. Nothing on the sandlots felt quite like this. He understood that he was not a great player, but he had fought hard, given his best and discovered that no one on the field intimidated him, no matter how big or fast. He was confident, convinced that he could compete, puzzled why other players did not put out as much as he had. He felt fatigue, soreness, competitive yearning, accomplishment—and all of this, he said later, left him surprisingly elated. WORK and PLAY. It was an intoxicating sensation, one that he would want to experience again and again for the rest of his life.

Through his early experience as a player he learned valuable lessons that he carried with him throughout his career both as a professional player and later coach:

From his playing days at Fordham, Lombardi learned lessons that he carried with him into a life of football. His inner steel, he said later, was forged in those bloody college games, especially the scoreless ties with Pitt. “I can’t put my finger on just what I learned playing… in those scoreless games, but it was something. A certain toughness.” While he discarded the sarcasm of Sleepy Jim Crowley and the dourness of Frank Leahy, he came to understand from those coaches the importance of precision blocking, fierce tackling and the larger “truths of the game: conditioning, spartanism, defense and violence as distinct from brutality.” He also discovered what he called football’s fourth dimension. “The first three dimensions are material, coaching and schedule. The fourth is selfless teamwork and collective pride which accumulate until they have made positive thinking and victory habitual.” But the importance of Fordham in Lombardi’s life was far greater than learning what it took to play a game. From the Jesuits he acquired a larger perspective: duty, obedience, responsibility and the exercise of free will were the basis of a philosophy that shaped the way he looked at himself and his world.

His first substantial coaching assignment came with the Saints and it was there that he built his foundational system:

Lombardi ended up staying at Saints for eight years. It was there, in the insular world of North Jersey schoolboy competition, that he developed many of the pedagogical skills that later allowed him to stand apart from the coaching multitudes. Year by year, as his reputation grew beyond Englewood, it became clearer to him that coaching was his life’s calling. Football coach was not what Harry and Matty had expected of their son, nor what his old classmates had predicted. In some ways it was a job below his own self-image. All of which worked in his favor. During his years in Englewood, Lombardi was driven by a contradiction, consumed by a sport and somewhat embarrassed that it was considered merely a game. This had two consequences: it intensified his will to win, made it overpowering in him, while simultaneously pushing him to infuse football with something more serious, to find deeper meaning in the WORK and PLAY juxtaposition tattooed above his father’s knuckles. In that mission he had much the same visionary motivation that philosopher Miguel de Unamuno, in a luminous phrase, ascribed to Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, and other Catholic mystics—the perception of “an intolerable disparity between the hugeness of their desire and the smallness of reality.”

Ethical values were a basis of his system:

At Saints, ethical values were largely passed on not by the priests and nuns but by Vince Lombardi, who found his pulpit everywhere, on the playing field, in the classroom and at school-wide auditorium meetings.

Vince then moved to West Point which in many ways aligned very well with his beliefs and offered him a natural progression:

In many ways the philosophy at West Point was similar to a way of life that Lombardi had learned earlier at Fordham from the Jesuits. There was a direct line from one to the next, from religion to the military to football, from the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius to the football regimen of Colonel Blaik. Both emphasized discipline, order, organization, planning, attention to detail, repetition, the ability to adjust to different situations and remain flexible in pursuit of a goal while sustaining an obsession with one big idea. Lombardi was a daily communicant at both altars, absorbing what he learned from the Jesuits and Blaik to become the leading apostle of the mystical discipline of football. As integral as religion was to his sense of self, it was not until he reached West Point and combined his spiritual discipline with Blaik’s military discipline that his coaching persona began to take its mature form. Everything he knew about organizing a team and preparing it to play its best, Lombardi said later, he learned at West Point. “It all came from Red Blaik.”

After a number of years there, Vince was growing frustrated with remaining at the assistant coach position:

Lombardi was anxious and frustrated when the 1953 season arrived. This was his fifth year at West Point, and he had the quality of a postgraduate lingering on campus after his classmates had moved on. It was indisputable that he was Blaik’s top aide and wielded more power than any previous second-in-command—the “prime minister to Blaik’s king,” as one player described the relationship—yet no matter how much influence he had, he was still an assistant coach.

After spending a few seasons with the Giants as an assistant, it was finally time for Vince to be the Head Coach of an NFL team – where he would become a legend – Green Bay:

The newspaper strike ended the next morning, and in the first days of the final year of the fifties more of the old gave way to the new. Colonel Blaik retired at West Point after a final unbeaten season. Tim Mara, the old man of the Giants, died. Toots Shor sold his old three-story sports saloon on Manhattan’s West Side and began looking for a newer spot. And Vince Lombardi left the Giants, heading west to a place that he had once called god-forsaken, where at long last he could bust out of the category in which Sports Illustrated bad placed him with its one-paragraph notice of his change of jobs. This might never have happened, a thousand flits of fate could have taken him somewhere else, yet his entire football life seemed to have readied him for this moment, when he could carry the mythology of the Four Horsemen and the Seven Blocks of Granite, the blood of the Izzos, the pragmatic discipline of the Jesuits, the faith of Saints, the order and clarity of Red Blaik, the nosubstitute-for-victory philosophy of MacArthur, the professional cool of the Giants, the cult of the modern, with his leather satchel full of diagrams, his temper and fire and fearsome grin, his mauve and white Chevy and his Struggling little family—take it all with him out to Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he had his one best chance to become more than just a face in the crowd.

He was intolerant towards racism:

During his first year in Green Bay, Lombardi called his team together on the practice field and delivered a rare lecture on racism. “If I ever hear nigger or dago or kike or anything like that around here, regardless of who you are, you’re through with me. You can’t play for me if you have any kind of prejudice.” His actions that year were more often quiet and behind the scenes, like paying Tunnell’s hotel bill when it was hard to find suitable housing, or making sure the black players had enough money to go to Milwaukee or Chicago on off-days. But as his status and power increased in his second season, his sensitivity to racial inequities intensified as well, and his responses became more overt. Before the season began, Lombardi spread the word among Green Bay’s tavern and restaurant owners that any establishment that did not welcome his black players would be declared off limits to the entire team. At Tunnell’s suggestion, he allowed the black players to leave the St. Norbert training camp twice during the preseason for quick trips down to Milwaukee, the closest city where they could find barbers who knew how to cut their hair.

Success at Green Bay wasn’t without its share of challenges:

Life was circling back on Lombardi again. The Packers had reached the top through talent and diligence. They had become the definition of first-class professionalism—and now this. The cadets of West Point were in the same position twelve years earlier, the very best, the model of collegiate prowess and class, and then it all collapsed in a cribbing scandal. A bewildered father asks his son, How could you.? It was the question Colonel Blaik had asked his son Bob when the mess- broke at West Point and the football team was about to be expelled, and now Lombardi was asking it of his boy Paul. How could he? Why did some of the Fordham Rams play illegally in semipro contests that autumn of 1936 and come back lame for the crucial NYU game and thus ruin the team’s chances of going to the Rose Bowl? Why did the cadets pass the poop and destroy one of the finest squads Red Blaik had ever built? Why did Paul Hornung place bets on the Packers and endanger Lombardi’s awesome team.? The answers are as complex and varying as human nature itself Hubris. A sense of invincibility. Reckless youth. Thrill of winning. Peer pressure. Boredom. Temptation.

What made Vince so successful?

To others, Lombardi’s brilliance was his simplicity and dependability. Straight ahead all the way. Tell everyone what you are doing and do it better. That undeniably was an important aspect of his coaching character, yet it might also be the most misleading explanation of all, according to Lombardi’s son, Vincent. “People say the only constant in life is change. I say the only constant in life is paradox. My father’s life was a paradox. Everything about him.” A paradox is something that seems self-contradictory but in reality is possibly true, and by that definition Vincent was right. It is only by looking at Lombardi as a paradox that one can fully appreciate him as a leader and coach. Was it love or hate, confidence or fear, that drove Lombardi and his players.? All—at the same time. Lombardi confessed in Look that he considered football “a game for madmen” and that he once pounded on a huge lineman with his fists to get him to “hate me enough to take it out on the opposition.” He struck the player, the coach said, because he believed that to play football well you had to have “that fire in you,” and there was “nothing that stokes that fire” like hate. Hit or be hit, that was the reality of football, Lombardi believed. He had coached much the same way since his days at Saints, when he had ordered his adolescent charges to hit him until they felt a surge of emotion that approached hate.

In his own words, what makes a great leader?

What makes a great leader.? This was Lombardi’s next theme, block six of his speech. Here again, one could hear the echoes of the Jesuits and West Point. “Leaders are made, not born,” he said. “They are made by hard effort, which is the price all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” In those two sentences he combined the free will of Ignatius of Loyola and the price-paying of Colonel Blaik…Lombardi’s final theme, the seventh block of granite in his speech, concerned two inseparable qualities that he believed distinguish great leaders: character and will. All the men who took Father Cox’s ethics class in the mid-thirties had the intertwining definitions pounded into them day after day. Character is an integration of habits of conduct superimposed on temperament It IS the mil exercised on disposition, thought, emotion and action. Will is the character in action. Character in action, Lombardi asserted at the end of his speech, was the great hope of society. “The character, rather than education, is man’s greatest need and man’s greatest safeguard, because character is higher than intellect. While it is true the difference between men is in energy, in the strong will, in the settled purpose and in the invincible determination, the new leadership is in sacrifice, it is in self-denial, it is in love and loyalty, it is in fearlessness, it is in humility, and it is in the perfectly disciplined will This, gentlemen, is the distinction between great and little men.”

In memory:

Not the Green Bay Packers, perhaps, and certainly not the Old Man himself There are no roadside markers pointing to his childhood home in Sheepshead Bay, nor to his gravesite at Mount Olivet in New Jersey. He is buried next to Marie and Matty and Harry in a modest plot on the back edge of the cemetery, his gray tombstone softened by shrubs on a gentle slope a few steps from a gravel road. Men from the Knights of Columbus attend to the grave, clearing away ice in winter and weeds in summer, and there are often a few weather-worn tokens of worship left behind: seashells with shiny pennies in them, miniature statues of the saints, a green and gold plastic helmet, a felt Packers flag. The remnants of Lombardi’s world are fading, yet his legend only grows in memory: the rugged and noble face, commanding voice, flashing teeth, primordial passion, unmatched commitment. In the end it is perhaps Vincent—who had been there—who gave him the highest honor. After years of working through the contradictory feelings that he had for his father, the son found his calling. He became a motivational speaker, using for his inspirational material the life and words of Vince Lombardi.

A highly recommended read, on leadership, coaching and for any sports fan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Now, Discover Your Strengths

I just finished reading the book Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and the late Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.

The main premise of this book:

We wrote this book to start a revolution, the strengths revolution. At the heart of this revolution is a simple decree: The great organization must not only accommodate the fact that each employee is different, it must capitalize on these differences. It must watch for clues to each employee’s natural talents and then position and develops each employee so that his or her talents are transformed into bona fide strengths. By changing the way it selects, measures, develops, and channels the careers of its people, this revolutionary organization must build its entire enterprise around the strengths of each person. And as it does, this revolutionary organization will be positioned to dramatically outperform its peers…To break out of this weakness spiral and to launch the strengths revolution in your own organization, you must change your assumptions about people. Start with the right assumptions, and everything else that follows from them—how you select, measure, train, and develop your people—will be right. These are the two assumptions that guide the world’s best managers: 1. Each person’s talents are enduring and unique. 2. Each person’s greatest room for growth is in the areas of his or her greatest strength.

The foundational assumptions that this book, and strength-based management is based on:

These two assumptions are the foundation for everything they do with and for their people. These two assumptions explain why great managers are careful to look for talent in every role, why they focus people’s performances on outcomes rather than forcing them into a stylistic mold, why they disobey the Golden Rule and treat each employee differently, and why they spend the most time with their best people. In short, these two assumptions explain why the world’s best managers break all the rules of conventional management wisdom. Now, following the great managers’ lead, it is time to change the rules. These two revolutionary assumptions must serve as the central tenets for a new way of working. They are the tenets for a new organization, a stronger organization, an organization designed to reveal and stretch the strengths of each employee.

On Strengths:

For the sake of clarity let’s be more precise about what we mean by a “strength.” The definition of a strength that we will use throughout this book is quite specific: consistent near perfect performance in an activity. By this definition Pam’s accurate decision-making and ability to rally people around her organization’s common purpose are strengths. Sherie’s love of diagnosing and treating skin diseases is a strength. Paula’s ability to generate and then refine article ideas that fit her magazine’s identity is a strength.

On Skills:

Skills bring structure to experiential knowledge. What does this mean? It means that, whatever the activity, at some point a smart person will sit back and formalize all the accumulated knowledge into a sequence of steps that, if followed, will lead to performance—not necessarily great performance but acceptable performance nonetheless…The bottom fine on skills is this: A skill is designed to make the secrets of the best easily transferable. If you learn a skill, it will help you get a little better, but it will not cover for a lack of talent. Instead, as you build your strengths, skills will actually prove most valuable when they are combined with genuine talent.

On Talent:

What is talent? Talent is often described as “a special natural ability or aptitude,” but for the purposes of strength building we suggest a more precise and comprehensive definition, which is derived from our studies of great managers. Talent is any recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied. Thus, if you are instinctively inquisitive, this is a talent. If you are competitive, this is a talent. If you are charming, this is a talent. If you are persistent, this is a talent. If you are responsible, this is a talent. Any recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior is a talent if this pattern can be productively applied…Spontaneous reactions, yearnings, rapid learning, and satisfactions will all help you detect the traces of your talents. As you rush through your busy life, try to step back, quiet the wind whipping past your ears, and listen for these clues. They will help you zero in on your talents.

To recap:

Talents are your naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior. Your various themes of talent are what the StrengthsFinder Profile actually measures. Knowledge consists of the facts and lessons learned. Skills are the steps of an activity.

On obstacles to building strengths:

 

However, despite the range, this general conclusion holds true: The majority of the world’s population doesn’t think that the secret to improvement lies in a deep understanding of their strengths. (Interestingly, in every culture the group least fixated on their weaknesses was the oldest group, those fifty-five years old and above. A little older, a little wiser, this group has probably acquired a measure of self-acceptance and realized the futility of trying to paper over the persistent cracks in their personality.)

On whether you can develop new themes if you don’t like the ones revealed?

You may not be able to rewire your brain, but by acquiring new knowledge and skills you can redirect your life. You can’t develop new themes, but you can develop new strengths.

On what to do about weaknesses?

To begin with, you need to know what a weakness is. Our definition of a weakness is anything that gets in the way of excellent performance. To some this may seem to be an obvious definition, but before skipping past it, bear in mind that it is not the definition of weakness that most of us would use. Most of us would probably side with Webster’s and the Oxford English Dictionary and define a weakness as “an area where we lack proficiency.” As you strive to build your life around your strengths, we advise you to steer clear of this definition for one very practical reason: Like all of us, you have countless areas where you lack proficiency, but most of them are simply not worth bothering about. Why? Because they don’t get in the way of excellent performance. They are irrelevant. They don’t need to be managed at all, just ignored…So once you know you have a genuine weakness on your hands, a deficiency that actually gets in the way of excellent performance, how can you best deal with it? The first thing you have to do is identify whether the weakness is a skills weakness, a knowledge weakness, or a talent weakness.

On whether the themes revealed will indicate whether you are in the right career?

Our research into human strengths does not support the extreme, and extremely misleading, assertion that “you can play any role you set your mind to,” but it does lead us to this truth: Whatever you set your mind to, you will he most successful when you craft your role to play to your signature talents most of the time. We hope that by highlighting your signature themes we can help you craft such a role.

Practical implications of strengths-based management:

Since each person’s talents are enduring, you should spend a great deal of time and money selecting people properly in the first place…Since each person’s talents are unique, you should focus performance by legislating outcomes rather than forcing each person into a stylistic mold…Since the greatest room for each person’s growth is in the areas of his greatest strength, you should focus your training time and money on educating him about his strengths and figuring out ways to build on these strengths rather than on remedially trying to plug his “skill gaps.”…Lastly, since the greatest room for each person’s growth lies in his areas of greatest strength, you should devise ways to help each person grow his career without necessarily promoting him up the corporate ladder and out of his areas of strength.

Managers will continue to play a key role in the development of employees within a strengths-based organization:

Needless to say the individual manager will always be a critical catalyst in transforming each employee’s talents into bona fide strengths; consequently, much of the responsibility will lie with the manager to develop each employee’s career.

A reminder on how to keep high potential employees engaged:

If you want to keep a talented employee, show him not just that you care about him, not just that you will help him grow, but, more important, that you know him, that in the truest sense of the word you recognize him (or, at the very least, that you are trying to). In today’s increasingly anonymous and transient working world, your organization’s inquisitiveness about the strengths of its employees will set your organization apart.

On a concluding note:

With the knowledge economy gathering pace, global competition increasing, new technologies quickly commoditized, and the workforce aging, the right employees are becoming more precious with each passing year. Those of us who lead great organizations must become more sophisticated and more efficient when it comes to capitalizing on our people. We must find the best fit possible of people’s strengths and the roles we are asking them to play at work. Only then will we be as strong as we should be. Only then will we win.

This book includes access for you to take the online StrengthsFinder assessment and discover your top five themes. The material in the book will help you further develop your talents and strengths as well as how to best enable others on your team based on their strengths.

A recommended read, development and engagement tool both from a personal and management perspective.

 

On Daring Greatly Through Vulnerability

In 1910, former President Theodore Roosevelt delivered a speech titled “Citizenship in a Republic” in France, with the following notable passage, known as the “The Man in the Arena”:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust ally in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again. because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly….

It is from this speech that Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly, titled her book – on How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love and Lead.

So what exactly is vulnerability, and why should we care about it?

Everything I’ve learned from over a decade of research on vulnerability has taught me this exact lesson. Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in. Vulnerability is not weakness since the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection. When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that: only we can make.

To further understand vulnerability, Brené turned to the flip side of the equation:

The people that are the most resistant to shame, and who have an intrinsic sense of self-worth, actively engage in the activities on the left, and let go of the ones on the right:

1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think

2. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism

3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness

4.Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark

5.Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty

6.Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison

7.Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth

8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle

9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”

10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control”

Brené expands further, that this group of people – promoters of wholehearted living – embrace the antidote of the never enough culture:

Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking. Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.

While we may have started as vulnerable, as we grow up we find ways to defend and protect ourselves from vulnerability and its associated potential disappointments, we put on armor and Brené identifies the three most common types:

The three forms of shielding that I am about to introduce are what I refer to as the “common vulnerability arsenal” because I have found that we all incorporate them into our personal armor in some way. These include foreboding joy, or the paradoxical dread that clamps down on momentary joyfulness; perfectionism, or believing that doing everything perfectly means you’ll never feel shame; and numbing, the embrace of whatever deadens the pain of discomfort and pain.

She then goes on to provide some practical strategies that we can use to disarm ourselves:

Practicing Gratitude: 1. Joy comes to us in moments—ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary. 2. Be grateful for what you have. 3. Don’t squander joy.

Appreciate the beauty of cracks: Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth. Perfectionism is a defensive move…Perfection is not self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn approval…Perfectionism is not the key to success. In fact, research shows that perfectionism hampers achievement. Perfectionism is correlated with depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis or missed opportunities…

Setting Boundaries Finding True Comfort and Cultivating Spirit: Learning how to actually feel their feelings.  Staying mindful about numbing behaviors (they struggled too). Learning how to lean into the discomfort of hard emotions.

Vulnerability is key to two of the most important elements of our lives, trust and love:

Trust is a product of vulnerability that grows over time and requires work, attention, and full engagement. Trust isn’t a grand gesture—it’s a growing marble collection.

We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow. A connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them—we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal. and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged. healed, and rare.

Brené acknowledges that being vulnerable is not easy, but it is never a sign of weakness:

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness. Yes, we are totally exposed when we are vulnerable. Yes, we are in the torture chamber that we call uncertainty. And, yes, we’re taking a huge emotional risk when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. But there’s no equation where taking risks, braving uncertainty, and opening ourselves up to emotional exposure equals weakness.

How do we develop shame resilience? Brené suggests four steps, and while they may not be executed sequentially they will yield the desired effect of healing and empathy:

1. Recognizing Shame and Understanding Its Triggers. Shame is biology and biography. Can you physically recognize when you’re in the grips of shame, feel your way through it, and figure out what messages and expectations triggered it?

2. Practicing Critical Awareness. Can you reality-check the messages and expectations hat are driving your shame? Are they realistic? Attainable? Are they what you want to be or what you think others need/want from you;

3. Reaching Out. Are you owning and sharing your story? We can’t experience empathy if we’re not connecting.

4. Speaking Shame. Are you talking about how you feel and asking for what you need when you feel shame?

As we embark on our Daring Greatly journey, we will be faced with difficulties:

Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands. The people who love me and will be there regardless of the outcome are within arm’s reach. This realization changed everything. That’s the wife and mother and friend that I now strive to be. I want our home to be a place where we can be our bravest selves and our most fearful selves. Where we practice difficult conversations and share our shaming moments from school and work. I want to look at Steve and my kids and say, “I’m with you. In the arena. And when we fail, we’ll fail together, while daring greatly.” We simply can’t learn to be more vulnerable and courageous on our own. Sometimes our first and greatest dare is asking for support.

And criticism…

When we stop caring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our willingness to be vulnerable. If we dismiss all the criticism, we lose out on important feedback, but if we subject ourselves to the hatefulness, our spirits get crushed. It’s a tightrope, shame resilience is the balance bar, and the safety net below is the one or two people in our lives who can help us reality-check the criticism and cynicism.

There are numerous lessons, in Daring Greatly, that apply directly to the corporate environment:

First, on employee engagement:

My corporate talks almost always focus on inspired leadership or creativity and innovation. The most significant problems that everyone from C-level executives to the front-line folks talk to me about stem from disengagement, the lack of feedback, the fear of staying relevant amid rapid change. and the need for clarity of purpose. If we want to reignite innovation and passion, we have to rehumanize work. When shame becomes a management style, engagement dies. When failure is not an option we can forget about learning, creativity, and innovation…Shame can only rise so far in any system before people disengage to protect themselves. When we’re disengaged, we don’t show up, we don’t contribute, and we stop caring.

Second, on corporate culture:

One way to think about the three components of scarcity and how they influence culture is to reflect upon the following questions. As you’re reading the questions, it’s helpful to keep in mind any culture or social system that you’re a part of, whether your classroom, your family, your community, or maybe your work team:

1. Shame: Is fear of ridicule and belittling used to manage people and/or to keep people in line? Is self-worth tied to achievement, productivity, or compliance? Are blaming and finger-pointing norms? Are put-downs and name-calling rampant? What about favoritism? Is perfectionism an issue?

2. Comparison: Healthy competition can be beneficial, but is there constant overt or covert comparing and ranking? Has creativity been suffocated? Are people held to one narrow standard rather than acknowledged for their unique gifts and contributions? Is there an ideal way of being or one form of talent that is used as measurement of everyone else’s worth?

3. Disengagement: Are people afraid to take risks or try new things? Is it easier to stay quiet than to share stories, experiences, and ideas? Does it feel as if no one is really paying attention or listening? Is everyone struggling to be seen and heard?

Third, on effective feedback:

Vulnerability is at the heart of the feedback process. This is true whether we give, receive, or solicit feedback. And the vulnerability doesn’t go away even if we’re trained and experienced in offering and give us the advantage of knowing that we can survive the exposure and uncertainty, and that it’s worth the risk.

Fourth, on leadership – walking the talk:

The space between our practiced values (what we’re actually doing, thinking, and feeling) and our aspirational values (what we want to do, think, and feel) is the value gap, or what I call “the disengagement divide.” It’s where we lose our employees, our clients, our students, our teachers, our congregations, and even our own children. We can take big steps—we can even make a running jump to cross the widening value fissures that we face at home, work, and school—but at some point, when that divide broadens to a certain critical degree we’re goners. That’s why dehumanizing cultures foster the highest levels of disengagement—they create value gaps that actual humans can’t hope to successfully navigate.

As with the people we lead in a corporate setting, walking the talk at home as parents is also consequential:

Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting.

On a concluding note:

Perfect and bulletproof are seductive. but they don’t exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be—a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation—with courage and the willingness to engage. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.

I would highly recommend this bestselling book, as well as the associated TED talk, which ranks as one of the most watched of all times.

On The Slight Edge

I recently finished reading The Slight Edge – Secret to a Successful Life by Jeff Olson.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “The Slight Edge is not just more good information. It’s not another self-help success book packed with some revolutionary “new best way” of doing things. You don’t need that. Nobody needs that. All the “new and better” information is already available and has been for years. This book is designed to help you use that information. This book is what I wish will help you take whatever information you want, whatever how-to’s or strategies or goals or aspiration you want.”

2- “A positive philosophy turns into a positive attitude, which turns into positive actions, which turns into positive results, which turns into a positive lifestyle. A negative philosophy turns into a negative attitude, which turns into negative actions, which turns into negative results, which turns into a negative lifestyle.”

3- “By and large, people are looking in the wrong places. They are looking for a breakthrough, looking for that amazing “quantum leap”—the philosophy of the craps table and roulette wheel. I don’t believe they’ll ever find it. I’ve had colossal failures, and I’ve had remarkable successes, and my experience is, neither one happens in quantum leaps. They happen through the Slight Edge…That the things you do every single day,  the things that don’t look dramatic, that don’t even look like they matter, do matter. That they not only make a difference—they make all the difference.”

4- “It’s easy to have everything you ever wanted in your life. Every action you need to take to make any and all of your dreams come true is easy. So why is it, then, that the masses are unhappy, unhealthy and financially bound? Every action that any of these goals requires is easy to do. Here’s the problem: every action that is easy to do, is also easy not to do. Why are these simple yet crucial things easy not to do? Because if you don’t do them, they won’t kill you … at least, not today. You won’t suffer, or fail or blow it—today. Something is easy not to do when it won’t bankrupt you, destroy your career. ruin your relationships or wreck your health—today. What’s more, not doing it is usually more comfortable than doing it would be. But that simple, seemingly insignificant error in judgment, compounded over time, will kill you. It will destroy you and ruin your chances for success. You can count on it. It’s the Slight Edge. That’s the choice you face every day, every hour: A simple, positive action, repeated over time. A simple error in judgment, repeated over time. You can always count on the Slight Edge. And unless you make it work for you, the Slight Edge will work against you.”

5- “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. “Progressive” means success is a process, not a destination. It’s something you experience gradually, over time. And here’s how real success is built: by the time you get the feedback, the real work’s already done. When you get to the point where everyone else can see your results, tell you what good choices you’ve made, notice your good fortune, slap you on the back and tell you how lucky you are, the critical Slight Edge you actually made those choices, nobody noticed but you. And even you wouldn’t have noticed—unless you understood the Slight Edge. Invisible results.”

6- “The right choices and wrong choices you make at the moment will have little or no noticeable impact on how your day goes for you. Nor tomorrow, nor the next day. No applause, no cheers, no screams, no life-or-death results played out in Technicolor. But it is precisely those very same, undramatic. seemingly insignificant actions that, when compounded over time. will dramatically affect how your life turns out. So, where’s the drama? It comes at the end of the story, when the credits start to roll—which comes not in two hours but in two years. Or, depending on what Slight Edge and what particular story we’re talking about, perhaps twelve years, or twenty-two.”

7- “No success is immediate. Nor is any failure instantaneous. They are both products of the Slight Edge. The truth of quantum leaps is that they are not larger than life: they’re submicroscopic. The actual term “quantum leap” comes from particle physics, where it does not refer to a huge, epic jump. It refers to the fact that energy, after a period of time. epic jump. It refers to the fact that energy, after a period off time. will suddenly appear at another level, without our having been able to observe how it got there. It is an exact description of how the water hyacinth moves from day twenty-nine to day thirty. An exact description of how the frog’s certain death by drowning was suddenly transformed into salvation by butter.”

8- “No matter in what arena in life or work or play—the difference between winning and losing, the gap that separates success and failure, is so slight, so subtle, most never see it. Superman may leap tall buildings at a single bound. Here on earth, we win through the Slight Edge.”

9- “One of the quickest and most direct routes to getting yourself up and onto the success curve is to get out of the past. Review the past, but only for the purpose of making a better plan. Review it. understand and take responsibility for the errors you’ve made, and use it as a tool to do differently in the future. And don’t spend a great deal time doing even that!—the future is a far better tool than the past. m the past. Devote some serious, focused time and effort into designing a crystal-clear picture of where you’re going. In the second part of this book, we’ll take a look at specific ways to help you do exactly that. For now, I’ll just say this: when you do have a clear picture of the future and consciously put time every day into letting yourself be drawn forward by that future, it will pull you through whatever friction and static you encounter in the present—and whatever tugging and clutching you may feel from the past…You can’t change the past. You can change the future. Would you rather be influenced by something you can’t change, or something you can?”

10- “In my line of work, I talk a lot about success in financial terms. But genuine success is a far greater issue than purely financial health. A genuinely successful life means your health, your family relationships, your career, your spirituality, your sense of fulfillment, your legacy and the impact you have on the world. It’s all these things and more. And the best thing about genuine success is that it spreads! Success in any one of these areas begins to affect all the others, too. Improve your health and you improve your all the others, too. Improve your health and you improve your relationships; work on your personal development and you have an impact on your career. Everything affects everything.”

11- “Book smarts, street smarts. Learning by study, learning by doing. Read about it, apply it, see it in action, take that practical doing. Read about it, apply it, see it in action, take that practical experience back to my reading, deepen my understanding, take that deeper understanding back to my activity … it’s a never-ending cycle, each aspect of learning feeding the other. Like climbing a ladder: right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. Can you imagine trying to climb a ladder with only your right foot? The two work together. What’s more they not only work better together, each amplifying the other, but the truth is, they really cannot work separately. At least not for long. You can’t go to the top based purely on knowledge learned in study; you can’t go to the top purely through knowledge gleaned through action. The two have to work together. You study, and then you do activity. The activity changes your frame of reference. and now you are in a place where you can learn more. Then you learn more, and it gives you more insight into what you experienced in your activity, so now you re-approach activity with more insight. And back and forth, it goes. This back-and-forth rhythm is worth noting. It is the rhythm of success.”

12- “Having compassion and having direction are not mutually exclusive: they just take careful thought and discernment. You’re not judging those people; you’re simply asking yourself to be honest about whether or not those relationships are empowering you and helping to support your purpose and realize your dreams.”

13- “For a goal to come true: You must write it down, make it specific and give it a deadline; You must look at it every day; You must understand and pay the price; You must have a plan to start with.”

14- “You Start with a plan, then go through the process of continuous learning through both study and doing, adjusting all the time through the kaizen of plan, do, review and then adjust—like a rocket to the moon, off track ninety-seven percent of the time. your gyroscope feeding information to your dream computer to bring you back on track … You need a first plan so you can get to our second plan, so you can get to your third plan, so you can get to your fourth plan…Your starting plan is not the plan that will ultimately get you there … but you need it so you have a place to start.”   

15- “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do; they put the Slight Edge to work for them, rather than against hem, every day. They refuse to let themselves be swayed by their feelings, moods or attitudes; they rule their lives by their philosophies, and do what it takes to get the job done, whether they feel like it or not.”

16- “Successful people never blame circumstances or other people; instead, they take full responsibility for their lives. They use the past as a lesson but do not dwell in it, and instead, let themselves be pulled up and forward by the compelling force of the future. They know that the path that leads to the success curve and the one that leads to the failure curve are only a hair’s breadth apart. separated only by the distinction of simple, “insignificant” actions that are just as easy not to do as they are to do—and that this difference will ultimately make all the difference.”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

The Slight Edge

On Launching A Leadership Revolution

I recently finished reading Launching A Leadership Revolution – Mastering The Five Levels of Influence – by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward.

Below are key excerpts that I found particularly insightful:

1- “Leadership ability is a lot like the drilling equipment used by Yates and his partners to discover the richness of oil that already existed beneath him. Each of us; has a natural wellspring of talent and ability buried within. The drill of leadership is required to tap into the geyser of our potential. As with Yates’s drilling equipment, leadership ability will take effort to attain, but the rewards are incalculable.”

2- “We wrote this book because our work with tens of thousands of entrepreneurs across North America for more than a decade has convinced us that most people (and their organizations) have much more potential locked away inside of them than they realize. Leadership is the key that opens the lock on that potential. Time and again we have seen people come alive and achieve things they never thought possible, once they started learning to take responsibility for leadership. The results, quite frankly, have been revolutionary.”

3- “Leadership is the influence of others in a productive, vision-driven direction and is done through the example, conviction, and character of the leader.”

4- “While people may exhibit differing natural levels of leadership, everybody can cultivate and grow his or her leadership ability. Besides, ability differs from one endeavor to the next, so that a person may have weak influence in one area but be strong in another. Everybody can be a leader at something. and usually people s strengths lie in areas that interest them greatly.”

5- “The three characteristics of “raw material” for a leader are: 1. Hungry 2. Hone-able 3. Honorable. These are the foundational qualities of a leader, the Three Hs that must be possessed by the leader-to-be as a prerequisite to further advancement.”

6- “Hunger itself is one of the biggest facets of leadership. Hunger provides the energy to begin, the stamina to persist, and the will to finish an endeavor. It is this hunger or ambition that births leadership.”

7- “All of leadership starts with hunger. At any point in time when the leader is not hungry, the leader is not functioning as a leader. This may sound radical, but it is true. Remember, a leader takes people somewhere. The moment the leader is not moving, the leader is not leading. And it takes ambition to keep the leader moving…Along each side of the road are shoulders. Often the shoulders of roads are comprised of gravel…On the left shoulder is comfort. Comfort is fine in small doses and in certain areas of life, but, like gravel, it can also serve as a warning. Remember, ambition flourishes in discontent with the status quo. Discontent and comfort cannot coexist. If a leader becomes too comfortable, ambition will die, and the soft gravel of comfort can pull him or her down into the Ditch of Complacency…Also notice that being a leader means traveling close to the Shoulder of Frustration. In fact, this is the mark of any true leader, being a leader is a study in managed frustration. How can one have ambition tor a brighter tomorrow without being frustrated at the current set of realities? How can a leader be at war with the status quo and not be frustrated at the same time? The answer, of course, is that no leader can. Any real leader traveling the Road of Success toward his or her dreams will encounter frustration along the journey. Frustration can be healthy, but, just like the shoulder on the other side of the road, this gravel of frustration presents a trap. Too much frustration can be a warning to the leader that his or her attitude is dipping and could pull the leader down into the Ditch of Discouragement.”

8- “The Three Levels of Motivation There are Three Levels of Motivation where hunger is fed and nurtured. The first is not quite as powerful as the second, and the second is not quite as powerful as the third. Motivation Level 1: Material Success This first category is comprised of all the material things that excite our senses and stimulate us to want to perform. For many people, one of the attractive aspects of performing as a leader in their field is the material or financial gain that can accompany that success…Motivation Level 2: Recognition and Respect The next level of motivation is comprised of recognition and respect. This is a deeper, more powerful level than that of material success…Motivation Level 3: Purpose, Destiny, and Legacy.”

9- “And as any leader will soon discover, real, true. Lasting accomplishment comes mostly from the “deeper” levels of motivation. Indeed, a strong sense of purpose, an understanding of personal destiny, and the desire to leave a lasting, positive legacy obedient to God’s vision for us are by far the strongest types of motivation. Leaders must cultivate these sources of motivation on a regular basis to fuel performance and sustain it over the long haul. Every action one takes is either one step closer or one step farther from his or her destiny. Remember, many begin the journey. Very few finish well. It’s the hungry who make it.”

10- “Foundational Quality 2: Hone’able – The definition of hone is “to sharpen or smooth with a whetstone or to make more acute, intense, or effective.” The second foundational quality of a leader is to be hone-able, to have an attitude that allows intensifying and sharpening…For a leader there is no completion to education. We need to live like we will die tomorrow and learn like we will live forever. When a leader remains teachable, his or her potential is limitless. With this in mind, there are several roadblocks to learning that a leader must constantly avoid…Arrogance…Disinterest…Wrong Assumptions…Entrenched Habits…Not Invented Here Syndrome…Wrong Priorities…Cynicism.”

11- “Foundational Quality 3: Honorable – Integrity can be considered as the condition of “not doing what’s wrong.” Character can be defined as doing the right thing, for the mere reason that it is the right thing, even if that thing is difficult and unpopular. The two sewn together make honor.”

12- “Vision comes from the picture of a dream in the leader’s mind. One doesn’t always get what one wants, and one doesn’t always get what one deserves, but one does generally get what one pictures. Having a clear mental picture is the vision the leader carries and casts. Some call it visualization. This is where the dream-building exercise can come in handy, serving to build and maintain a clear vision in the mind of the leader. It is the iterative Cycle of Achievement loop that leaders deploy in their planned attack on the status quo. Understanding each of the parts and using it as a road map allows leaders to improve their performance on a continuing basis. The Cycle of Achievement gives leaders one way to describe that improvement process and keeps them on track as they rotate the cycle over and over again. With every rotation, the leader improves, advances, and betters himself. (vision, goal setting, game planning, working, seeking counsel).”

13- “Personal growth is internal, taking place deep within a leader. Often, when people embark upon the journey of becoming leaders, they feel frustrated at a lack of external results to show for their efforts. But the process of becoming a leader starts with a lot of effort, which results in improvements the outside world cannot yet see. The gains are internal, inside the person. Only later will all the effort at personal growth and improvement show up in the form of external result Stephen Covey says, “Internal victories precede external victories.””

14- “The Three Categories of Personal Effectiveness: I – Character  1. honesty 2. integrity 3. courage 4. proper values based on absolute truths 5. faith 6. a humble spirit 7. patience with others 8. discipline 9. self-mastery  II- Tasks 1. acceptance of responsibility 2. work ethic 3. availability 4. willingness to invest time 5. tenacity 6. perseverance 7. execution III- Relationships 1. accepting people 2. approving of people 3. appreciating people 4. seeing the good in people 5. encouraging people 6. caring for and about people 7. putting others first 8. seeking win-win arrangements 9. helping people accomplish tasks 10. living the “Golden Rule”.  ”

15- “The Five Levels of Influence Explained – This concept of Levels of Influence will be explored within the framework of the following hierarchy: 1. Learning 2. Performing 3. Leading 4. Developing Leaders 5. Developing Developers of Leaders…Note that the playing field is not level. It is more like a flight of ascending stairs. This is because as a leader progresses through the leadership-development process, his influence increases and the impact of his efforts have broader scope. Also, as the leader ascends the Levels of Influence, each of the previous levels stays with him. Just because a leader has advanced to the level of Performing doesn’t mean he stops Learning. Likewise, a leader who advances to Developing Leaders cannot stop Leading in other areas, and so on.”

16- “The First Level of Influence, Learning: Presuppositions or the “Art” of Learning – Learning Is a Top Priority, Leaders Can Learn from Anyone, Leaders Can Learn Best from Those Who Have Results | Actions or the “Science” of Learning – Leaders Learn About People Leaders Learn About Basics, Leaders Learn About Goals and Objectives, Leaders Learn About Processes, Leaders Learn About Measurements of Performance, Leaders Learn About Rewards, Leaders Learn about Histories, Leaders Learn About Environment, Leaders Learn About Obstacles and Oppositions, Leaders Learn from Books, Leaders Learn from Audio Recordings, Leaders Learn from Videos, Leaders Learn from Association with Other Successful Leaders, Leaders Learn from Coaches and Mentors, Leaders Learn from Action, Leaders Learn by Controlling the Flow.”

17- “The Second Level of Influence, Performing: Presuppositions or the “Art” of Performing – Performers To Understand that Results Come through Personal Effort, Performers Understand that Champions Don’t Start Out that Way, Performers Know There Will Be Many opportunities to Feel Second Best, Performers Don’t Expect Fair Treatment, Performers Know There Will Always Be Critics, Performers Know There Will Always Be Strong Adversaries, Performers Understand that Breaks Will Come to Those Who Prepare, Performers Know that Attitude Conquers Circumstances, Performers Understand that Desire Trumps Talent, Performers Can Never Be Satisfied, Performers Know There Is Power in Belief | Actions or the “Science” of Performing – Performers Work as Part of an Overall Team, Performers Edify the Organization’s Leadership, Performers Promote the Training System and Learning Environment, Performers Follow the Proven Methods, Performers Build on Their Basic Strengths, Performers Initiate Activity, Performers Push to Grow and Improve, Performers Become Relatable, Performers Become Believable and Demonstrate Conviction, Performers Maintain a Positive Attitude, Performers Give Their Best in Every Situation, Performers Get Results (Execute), Performers Ignore Their Press Clippings.”

18- “The Third Level of Influence, Leading: Presuppositions or the “Art” of Leading – Leaders Understand that Results Come Trough Team Effort, Leaders Understand that People Buy In to the Leader before Anything Else, Leaders Understand the Importance of Finding and Developing Good People, Leaders Understand that Dealing with Inadequate Resources Is Common, Leaders Understand that Leadership Is the Limitation, Leaders Understand the Impact of Their Actions on the Organization, Leaders Understand that Leadership Is about Sacrifice, Leaders Understand that a Leader’s Job Is Never Done | Actions or the “Science” of Leading- Leaders Model the Way, Leaders Compel Individuals to Perform, Leaders Coach Others, Leaders Become Servants, Leaders Operate as Field Commanders, Leaders Orchestrate Activity, Leaders Measure Results, Leaders Solve Problems, Leaders Communicate.”

19- “The Fourth Level of Influence, Developing Leaders: Presuppositions or the “Art” of Leadership Development – Level 4 Leaders Know Results Will Come Through the Efforts of Other Leaders, Level 4 Leaders Understand the Power of Duplication, Level 4 Leaders Know that leaders Have Strengths in Various Areas, Level 4 Leaders Know the Vision Must Be Big Enough for Many Leaders, Level 4 Leaders Know that Recognition Is the Most Valuable Motivator | Actions or the “Science” of Leadership Development – Level 4 Leaders Compel Other Leaders to Get Team Results, Level 4 Leaders Become Talent Scouts, Level 4 Leaders Empower Other Leaders, Level 4 Leaders Learn to Mentor.”

20- “…when identifying potential leaders, there are a few more attributes to consider so that the Level 4 Leader does not waste time mentoring those who will not blossom into effective leaders. These are: 4. Activity 5. Respect 6. Connected relationship 7. Attitude 8. Relatability.”

21- “Level 4 Leaders must understand that the process of mentoring is a balancing act. Just as the road to success is bordered by Ditches of Discouragement and Complacency, the process of mentoring is bordered by the Ditches of Friendship and Dictatorship.”

22- “Regarding the protege, the mentor wishes to know: 1. What makes him tick? 2. What makes him special? 3- Why did he get involved in his particular field? 4. What motivates I him? What are his dreams? 5. What is his personality or temperament? 6. What challenges has he had in his life? 7. What victories has he had? 8. What principles does he understand and embody? 9. What principles does he still need to learn? 10. What blind spots does he have about himself? 11. What is his commitment level? 12. What is the basis of his character? 13. Where is his thinking?”

23- “(On Mentoring) Sets the Example, Asks Questions, Builds the Relationship, Affirms the Protege, Builds the Protege’s Belief, Builds the Protege’s Dream, Kills the Protege’s Fear, Gives Confidence, Keeps the Protege in the Action Phase, Reframes the Protege’s Challenges, Allows Struggle to Instruct, Encourages the Protege, Spreads Contagious Enthusiasm, Teaches the Philosophy, Course-Corrects and Confronts the Issues, Gets the Protege to Take Responsibility, Challenges the Protege, Pursues a Heart Change, Develops Balance in the Protege.”

24- “The Fifth Level of Influence, Developing Leaders Who Develop Leaders: Presuppositions or the “Art” of Level 5 -Results Will Come Through the Endurance and Succession of the Vision, The Vision and the Leader Are Intertwined | Actions or the “Science” of Level 5 – Attract the Highest-Caliber Leaders to the Cause.”

25- “The concept of the Five Levels of Influence is especially helpful for many reasons. First, it helps an individual gauge his own ability and understand how and where to improve. Second, it helps a leader understand where people are in terms of ability and what to do to help them develop. Third, it assists a leader in evaluating the Leadership Level that exists in any portion of his or her organization. Understanding this information about self, people, and organizations becomes extremely helpful in diagnosing issues and providing guidance, correction, and direction.

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

Launching A Leadership Revolution

On Work The Pond

I recently finished reading Work The Pond by Darcy Rezac with Judy Thomson and Gayle Hallgren-Rezac. This book was referenced in an earlier reading I did,  The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “In a networking situation, we frogs tend to do a lot of things that lessen our effectiveness. These include: -not giving out business cards -setting our expectations too high -investing a lot of energy in a few select people we already know -not engaging in conversation -missing the really great opportunities around us every day -being unaware we are in a networking situation -and most importantly: having no joy when we network”

2- “After more than two decades in the networking field, I have discovered, while not all successful people are great networkers, all great networkers are successful people.”

3- “The real voyage of discovery consists not of finding new lands, but of seeing the territory with new eyes – Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past”

4- “It turns out that our weak contacts, even distant acquaintances, are often more powerful forces in our network than close friends.”

5- “While networking is an art, it’s impossible to overlook the groundbreaking science that proves the power of networks and the small worlds they create…Start by recognizing the following: *Good things happen to good networkers—accept it. *The small-worlds phenomenon happens all the time— expect it. *Your network is always on—tap into it.”

6- “Discovering what you can do for someone else is the seminal secret of positive networking. Thinking this way takes all the pressure off.”

7- “The third secret of positive networking is a practical one. And it must be a secret, because so few people do it. Introduce yourself by name, always carry business cards and give them out. Make it a habit. » You’ll find it’s a worthwhile habit.”

8- “« Treat everyone as equals. » It’s a whole lot easier than trying to figure out who’s who in the frog chain. Besides, it’s the right thing to do. The four Es are all about technique—establish, extend, exchange, engage. But, there is a “fifth” E. Equality. It has to do with attitude. Employ all five, and you’ll stand out from the rest of the frogs. You are on your way to being a tree frog. Establish: Establish eye contact and smile. Be focused. Extend: Be proactive. Be the first to extend your hand. Teach your kids to do the same. Develop a firm and confident handshake…Exchange: Be the catalyst, the first to give out a card. Give cards to everyone in a group. If people don’t give you a business card, ask for one. Exchange cards respectfully…Engage: If you don’t understand or hear a person’s name immediately, ask the person to repeat it. If people don’t appear to remember your name, give them a break, i Extend your hand and say your name…Have your twenty-one-second tribal introduction ready.”

9- “It’s no secret that going as a tag-team can take the pressure off and make things more enjoyable, particularly if you are a networking novice. First Century B.C. Roman writer of mimes, Publilius Syrus understood this: « An agreeable companion on a journey is as good as a carriage. » Yes, a companion is a nice idea, but teammate or no teammate, skill in working the pond makes networking more enjoyable, and that’s what you are about to learn. Jump in.”

10- “Working the pond—positively Take on a host mentality…Introduce people as soon as they enter your group. Be gracious to everyone…You’ll probably experience rejection; get over it. When in Toad country, move on. Remember Network Rule No. 7…The front of the room is the place to meet people or start a group. Avoid the back of the room—networking Siberia…Set a goal of meeting seven new people and exchanging cards, at any event. This will keep you circulating, not stuck in the mud.”

11- “The fifth secret of positive networking is:« Give everyone the password to the network: permission. » Give yourself and everyone you come in contact with permission to network. Be open to new people and let them into your network. The multiplier effect can be astonishing. While the fifth secret of networking is about attitude, the sixth secret of positive networking is about a simple technique: « Learn the power of asking questions and use it. » This is a very powerful tool in both group settings and one-on-one conversations. It often means stepping Outside your comfort zone. Be bold. Most people don’t do it; be someone who does. Socrates was famous for it.”

12- “The seventh secret of networking isn’t two secrets; it’s one: « Be there and know something. » You can’t network effectively from behind your desk; you’ve got to meet people. And there’s no point being there unless you have something to contribute beyond your presence. Read, listen, seek out knowledge and share it.”

13- “Keep it going…To be a good networker, you need to be good at follow-up..Follow-up is all about discovering what you can do for someone else, and doing it. That’s how you develop ; and form relationships..You need to learn something about people before you can discover what you can do for them. Ask Question about their company’s web site and talk with others. It’s a small world, and people are connected…Build your good “follow-up” reputation. Be reliable, trustworthy and prompt. Be a person who gets things done…Get involved—participate, invite someone to an event, in your networks strong…Remember, not all follow-up is successful. That’s okay. So if your horse is dead—dismount…Expand your contacts beyond your small circle to include different industries, organizations, cities and countries. Science shows that a few highly connected people can link a large number of not-so-well-connected people. That’s the power of networks and small worlds.”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

Work The Pond