This video is about 4 mindsets that we strive for in a Vistage Group Chair, and can also serve to bring out the best in the people around any leader.
The 4 Leadership Mindsets for Growing the people around you are:
A bit more on the word “carefrontation”. It is a fundamental operating agreement in Vistage groups. The word comes from the combination of “Caring” and “Challenge/Confrontation”. These are two of the 4 pillars of Vistage groups.
What does it mean? It means having the patience and non-judgmental approach to first understanding another’s problem from their own perspective; and then the courage to challenge them where there are incoherent aspects to their story.
Examples of Care-frontation:
The assumption is that there is a relationship of trust between you and the other person when you ask these questions… Where there is no relationship of trust, these questions are just rude.
How is your mobile phone usage affecting your relationships with your kids?
What impact is this constant rush having on your health?
What impact does your difficulty in taking this decision have on meeting this years growth goals?
This summer I read “The Penguin History of the World”. “The entire story of human endeavour laid out in all its grandeur and folly, drama and pain in a single authoritative book”.
Conor’s World History in 1 Paragraph
World history 9000BC to Today:
The life of the poor was shit under every civilisation. It was short, dangerous, local, painful and dependant. Greek peasant life was bad under Sparta, Athens, Macedon. Roman peasant life was bad. Indian peasant life was bad under Indian rulers, under Mongol rulers, under British rulers. Chinese peasant life was bad under every empire. Russian peasant life was bad under Mongols, Muscovy Princes, Tsars. There were very few wealthy people. Most of the world has always been very poor. Tax systems extracted everything leaving only enough for peasants to not die. Tax was extracted to pay for palaces, rarely improvements in infrastructure.
8 Lessons from World History
The earliest written records are cave paintings from 65,000 years ago. The earliest written culture is 9000 years ago (7000 BC Sumer & Mesopotamia). (History can only begin when we have written records, otherwise it is just guesswork.)
Civilisation rises and civilisation falls: there have been major losses of technology over the last 17,000 years. (This was something of a surprise to me as I realised that I had an untested assumption that innovations don’t disappear from civilisation).
Geography matters a lot. The physical location and terrain of a nation shapes the people. Ireland, Britain, Japan – island nations.
Agriculture allowed wealth creation. Agriculture allowed population growth and the first wealthy individuals (kings, emperors). A king without wealth will soon not be king.
Fragile: Until 1500AD most empires, kingdoms, cities were only 1 or 2 poor harvests away from collapse.
We need a common enemy An Empire without a common enemy will collapse from internal divisions (Rome, Mongols). A common enemy can create an empire or a nation (Greeks vs Persians, France vs England)
Absolute power is the norm The separation of church and state, and limitations on political power are not common. Absolute monarchy that unites political, military and religious power is extremely common.
Guttenberg changed everything. The availability of the printed word changed how we live more than any other change in history. How will the internet & AI change the next 1000 years?
I like my life: I would prefer to be me than any Pharaoh, King, Emperor, Pope, Tsar of the last 17,000 years. The Sword of Damocles is real. (I would prefer to be king than peasant, but that is a different comparison).
The Penguin History of the World
The entire story of human endeavour laid out in all its grandeur and folly, drama and pain in a single authoritative book.
The founder of Strategic Coach, and one of my favourite podcasters, Dan Sullivan plans to live to 156 years old. It will allow him to see 3 different centuries (19,20,21).
What will it take for him to live that long? He’ll need to eat well. He’ll need to stay physically and mentally fit. He’ll need medicine to come up with some new techniques to extend life…. but more than all of this, he will need a powerful motivation to remain alive.
What gives a powerful motivation to remain alive? In an interview with Peter Diamandis, Dan and Pete shared the perspective that if you have friends, money and purpose: you’ll have a pretty damn good reason to keep on living.
“Second order thinking” is a big part of Paul’s approach. Second order thinking is looking for non-obvious rules that improve decision making, efficiency and quality of life. Check out the Python Paradox for an example 😉
Paul’s Essays that have most Impacted My Approach to Life
I have this blog. It has been going for over 10 years. Above all other benefits, writing blog posts helps me clarify what I think.
I published my first post on 25th January 2009. It was a paragraph from a book I was reading that I thought was valuable advice. I have written ideas on something 1-2 times every week since January 2009. There are 1,025 posts (not including this one).
I also have a youtube channel that today has a much wider audience than my blog, but it is the blog that has helped me get clarity and sharpen my ideas. Writing is the power tool in clarifying your ideas.
In 2009, I decided to take writing seriously. Stephen King says “A writer is a producer of words.” If you produce words, you’re a writer. If you don’t produce words, you are not a writer.
Every day my coach would ask me “how many words did you produce today?” It was brutal. There is no denial. There were days when the answer was 20… or less. I started to become highly aware of self sabotage.
Self Sabotage is the Most Dangerous Obstacle
The world will put countless obstacles in your path but none will be as big as your own self-sabotage.
The 4 Destructive Self-Sabotage Mindsets:
Distraction – How to overcome? Focus. The Pomodoro technique.
Emotional Impulsiveness – How to overcome? Acceptance.
Arrogance and sense of Entitlement – How to overcome? Faith, Hope and Love.
Fixed Mindset – How to overcome? Focus on process, not outcomes. Appreciate effort and learning, not outcomes. Love problems, for they truly help you grow as a person.
I’ve done a lot of sales over the last 16 years. I was bad at the beginning, but step by step have learnt how to sell.
There are always 3 big questions in the mind of any buyer that you must be able to address if you are to move forward with a contract.
The 3 Big Questions in the mind of the Buyer:
Why buy Anything?
Why buy from you?
Why buy now?
Often I see salespeople and entrepreneurs have wonderful, powerful, clear answers and evidence for questions 1 and 2… but the buyer says “I agree the product is good, I agree you are a solid company… call me back in 2-3 months when we have got through this busy period…”
This response is worse than a simple No. A simple No, you close the opportunity and you move on.
In Vistage, we say “Great leaders ask great questions.” The most important question: What’s my purpose?
The 2 Ingredients of Purpose
Your purpose is about solving problems that are meaningful to yourself. Two phrases are key in this sentence:
solving problems – whilst you can get momentary happiness from experiences, only improving quality of life for other beings gives rise to lasting fulfilment
meaningful to yourself – if you don’t enjoy the journey, you are going to give up quickly. If you give up, you will not solve problems. You must be selfish in this respect. You must use your own unique combination of talents and desires in a way that is satisfying to you personally
The path of the purposeless one is beset on all sides by distraction and other people’s priorities. Modern western society gives us the greatest freedom of action of any civilisation in history. This freedom is dangerous without defining how you will use it.
The greater the freedom, the more important to clarify your own purpose.
“Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose – and commit myself to – what is best for me… “
“Freedom from” – the removal of obligations: I save enough money to not have to work in a job that is not meaningful
“Freedom to” – the creation of a purpose: I actively exercise my power of will to choose to pursue a meaningful purpose
Being highly efficient in pursuit of what is fundamentally unimportant is a terrible life path. I know several people who are brilliant at tactics, but lack any coherent life strategy. They are lost.
Nobody climbs Everest by accident. It was a dream and a plan and part of the meaningful activity of life for a decade before the summit.
How do you begin to answer: What is my Purpose?
Write something down. Anything.
What do you want to do during your life? Bucket list, problems you want to fix, experiences you want to have, how you differ from others, how you relate to others, teachers that made a difference…
Write them all down.
That’s step 1.
My friend David Tomas and I went to a 3 day workshop with Dr John DeMartini about 10 years ago called “Master Planning for Life“. For 3 straight days we sat in silence in a room in London and we wrote a plan for our life. Mine is 150 pages of word document. It is exactly what I described – a big list of every place I ever wanted to go, every thing I ever wanted to learn, every person that matters, every teacher that impacted me, every dream I have… and a set of financial plans that would allow me to make it happen.
I haven’t done everything that is in the document. I get demotivated and forget to review it often. I have days where I ask myself “what is it all about?”
I have this document as a map and a compass that can get me back on track.
You have to write it down.
…and then you iterate it many, many, many times. You come back to it regularly and add things that are even better and delete things that don’t resonate any more.
After 100 iterations you have something that can re-motivate you about why you are here.
After 1,000 iterations you should start to have something that really reminds you what is important and how to use your time.
Is there a shortcut?
…of course not. This is too important an aspect of your life to cut corners. Imagine if you just copied someone else’s purpose document? You’d end up living a great life, for them.
…and iterations are vital – because often what you think is important or meaningful when you are young turns out to not quite be the experience you expected.
Put it where you will see it often
It is not the writing down that matters. It is the iterating and repeatedly reminding yourself of what you think is important.
The problem is not that you don’t know what matters to you and what activities are most important – it is that you forget or get distracted so often.