Monthly Archives: February 2012

#113 – Leap When Necessary

Tomorrow, February 29, 2012, is Leap Year, or more literally, “Calendar Adjustment Day.” I enjoyed reflecting on the word leap and the wonderful images it conjures ~ athletes jumping, dancers soaring, children playing ~ leaving terra firma temporarily to travel to a new point some distance away. Translating this into a metaphor for leadership is an apt and easy step. As a leader, there are times when you must take a calculated risk and take action that moves you dramatically forward. David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England from 1916 to 1922, said, “Don’t be afraid to take a big leap if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two jumps.”

Food for Thought ~

These words of wisdom brilliantly illustrate the point that leaders must sometimes make a leap. It may be a proverbial “leap of faith” in something or someone. It may be a leap in understanding and insight. It may be a bold action that’s required when conservative approaches would not suffice. The pivotal phrase in Lloyd George’s statement is “if one is indicated.” This is the critical third part of the equation. You must have not only the skill and the courage, but the judgement to know when and where to leap.

Question of the day ~

How often do you take leaps? What is your experience with the ones you’ve taken? Do you have a current situation that may call for a leap?

Part of a leader’s legacy is certainly shaped by the leaps he or she may have made, or didn’t make. Look before you leap, but don’t be afraid to leap when necessary.

#112 – Undercover Boss

Curiosity compelled me recently to watch a couple of episodes of the TV show Undercover Boss. Some of the best parts, in my opinion, were the creative responses to problems that were discovered. Problem employees were not summarily disciplined or fired, but instead were offered training and development opportunities. I appreciated seeing leaders with genuine compassion, in contrast to most portrayals in the popular media. It’s good to see the challenges of leading a business presented in a quasi-realistic manner, and hopefully the show is educational to those who may have little understanding of the formidable demands of managing a complex organization.

Food for Thought ~

The larger issue the show tries to address is a very real dilemma for leaders – how do you glean accurate information about your company when you are largely insulated by an organizational hierarchy? How do you overcome people’s fears of making mistakes or a tendency to cover up problems? One of the ways is to begin, of course, with yourself, admitting any mistakes you make and studying problems you discover. You purposefully create a culture where mistakes and problems are in a “safety zone” and valued for their learning potential. Little problems now are gold mines for preventative strategies that minimize the likelihood of bigger problems later. (LPN are better than BPL.)

Question of the day ~

What is the prevailing culture in your organization regarding problems and mistakes? Does your company culture inhibit or encourage surfacing issues for examination?

For those of you who haven’t yet had a chance to read my current article in the North Bay Business Journal on leaving a legacy, click here. It details four key points for developing your legacy as a leader.

#111 – Believe in Yourself

At this time of year, I often write about the subject of love in the workplace, from loving your work to loving your co-workers. Today I’m going to bring the message even closer to home – loving yourself. At some point, most of us discover the essential truth that we must love ourselves before we can fully access our inner resources and maximize our potential. I recently learned that February 13th is International Self Love Day, created to educate and inspire people about the importance of loving yourself.

Food for Thought ~

There are certainly satisfactions, large and small, in being a leader, but the challenges of leadership are many and ever-changing. To safeguard ourselves from self-limiting or self-sabotaging behaviors and overworking, we must love ourselves. A corollary to self love is believing in ourselves, in our basic abilities and the values we uphold.

“Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” e.e.cummings, American poet

Question of the day ~

Where are you on the continuum of self love and believing in yourself?

#110 – How to Develop Your Legacy Plan

In helping leaders create their legacy plans, I have developed a set of questions that serve as a foundation for discussion and planning. They are listed here for your consideration and reflection. These four questions are further detailed in my new column “What will you leave for your organization?” in the current issue of the North Bay Business Journal. Click here to read the article.

Food for Thought ~

1. What does your organization need in order to thrive beyond your tenure?
2. How can you influence, shape, and develop your organization to reflect these qualities?
3. What are your unique talents, gifts, and abilities that you can use to create your legacy?
4. What leadership succession plan do you have in place that will increase the likelihood of your organizational development efforts paying off?

Question of the day ~

A legacy is a result of all the decisions, actions and values you choose as a leader. It is not just something you say is your legacy. It is the outcome, the cumulative effect of all that you are and all that you do.