Leadership Lessons | What is the Cornerstone of your Strategy?

At this time of year, we all get excited about personal renewal, our plans for the coming year and how we can enhance our personal and professional lives in 2011.

Even though most of us have traveled the road of broken resolutions, hope springs eternal as we prepare to refresh our commitment and recharge our batteries … and make plans to overcome our shortcomings and rise to new levels of success.

There are many fashionable approaches to this process, many of them with valuable insights.

Jonathan Fields chose 10 words to focus his energy. His approach is an expanded derivation from a three-word approach used by Chris Brogan, who, like me, uses his carefully chosen words “the way a lighthouse helps a ship in a storm.”

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Ernest Hemingway used only six words to write what he called his greatest novel … and the more you think on it, the more intriguing it becomes.

It’s one more approach you can use to bring the essence of your 2011 plan into sharp focus.

Although we’re more interested in clarity than mystery in our annual pilgrimage to the altar of realistic expectations, this approach, like those of Jonathan and Chris, also celebrates the power of simplicity.

Find the Cornerstone of your strategy

[pullquote]“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” – Alvin Toffler[/pullquote]

Maybe you’ve used variations on these K.I.S.S. principles to craft all sorts of goals and objectives … memorialized in lists, notebooks and diagrams.

Yet, when we step back into the maelstrom of real life, distractions intrude, new input floods our inboxes, and without seeing it, we start to slowly drift off course. We madly implement course correction procedures, but instead of returning us to our original direction, they cause us to lurch about, each adjustment resulting in a slightly different course even further from our original objective.

So, how many words does that leave us? (more…)

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Can you put a lifetime on a 3×5 card?

Do you think you could distill a lifetime of experiences into a handful of sentences … so that when your grown children read them, they would hold them as dearly as they once held their teddy bears?

I’ve recently published several lists of “life lessons”, for lack of a better term, that keep coming my way from a variety of sources. These lists, scratched on the back of an envelope found in a plane crash, or tucked in a wallet for 50 years, are treasures because they’re personal … and each person believed he or she had captured the unique nature of their humanity.

[pullquote]Can you capture your life lessons on a 3×5 card?[/pullquote]

So, now come the Guideposts of business philosophy taken from the book, Marriott The J. Willard Marriott Story by Robert O’Brien. It’s longer than most … not a note card but still a single sheet of paper … maybe Willard did more than most? Some may seem old-fashioned, others a little harsh for the more indulgent company cultures of the 21st century … but most of them are rooted in sound business practices. Work your way past some of the pedestrian entries to uncover a few nuggets and valid reminders that you can add to your own list.

  1. Keep physically fit, mentally and spiritually strong.
  2. Guard your habits – bad ones will destroy you.
  3. Pray about every problem.
  4. Study and follow professional management principles. Apply them logically and practically to your organization. (more…)

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Leadership & Management are Inseparable

Are you making the mistaking of treating leadership and management as synonyms? We talk a lot about leadership in Sword Tips because Exkalibur is all about helping you “pull the sword from the stone through understanding rather than strength” by focusing on the leadership principles and practices that distinguish high performance companies.

[pullquote]Leadership involves plumbing as well as poetry.[/pullquote]

But it’s easy to forget that the adage about leaders “doing the right things” … and managers “doing the things right” … is not meant to set those roles apart, rather to emphasize that they are two sides of the same coin, essential roles that must be performed by a successful leader. How many times have we seen leaders who are completely surprised by the disappointing outcomes they’re not managing? (more…)

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3 Simple Keys to Productive Meetings

A recent NY Times interview with Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg, a firm that rents textbooks online and by mail, brought some valuable but simple tips about meeting discipline to mind.


1. Leave technology on the other side of the door.

Be present, engage in hearty conversation.

Phones, texting, communicating outside of the room is not invited or allowed. (Yeah, I know … you’re thinking … I don’t do this, do I?)



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