This video is about how to become someone who is inspiring to those around you.

There are 4 key ingredients of the people that get the best out of the teams around them. I shared this talk with over 800 school heads, teaching leaders and educational leaders at the Global Forum on Girls Education in Washington on June 19 this year.

The book mentioned in the video is “The Leadership Challenge” by Kouzes and Posner.

Summary of The Leadership Challenge

Here’s a customer review by Daniel King on Amazon that gives a great summary of the book:

The Leadership Challenge is considered a classic on leadership principles. Kouzes and Posner have spent more than three decades studying the best practices of top leaders. In their book, they explain five practices that all great leaders engage in. Under these five practices, they also discuss ten commitments of exemplary leadership. Below are some of the ideas and quotes that stood out to me.

Practice 1 – Model the Way

1. The first step to being a great leader is to clarify your values.
  • “You must be able to “clearly articulate deeply held belief” (44).
  • “To find your voice, you have to explore your inner self. You have to discover what you care about most, what defines you, and what makes you who you are” (46).
  • Question: What values guide your current decisions, priorities, and actions? (69).
2. The second step is to set an example by aligning actions with shared values.
  • “Credibility is the foundation of leadership” (37). You have to practice what you preach. Do what you say you will do. (39).
  • “Titles are granted, but it’s your behavior that earns you respect” (16).
  • “Leader’s deeds are far more important than their words” (17).
  • “Leading by example is more effective than leading by command” (17).
  • “What you do speaks more loudly than what you say” (76).
  • Use stories to “pass on lessons about shared values” (91).
  • “How you spend your time is the single best indicator of what’s important to you” (96).
  • Question: How are you spending your time?

Practice 2 – Inspire a Shared Vision

3. The third step is to envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities.
  • Vision begins with “one person’s imagination” (103).
  • “Leaders are dreamers. Leaders are idealists. Leaders are possibility thinkers” (105).
  • “Leaders need to spend considerable time reading, thinking, and talking about the long-term view, not only for their specific organization but also for the environment in which they operate” (110).
  • “Imagination is more important than intelligence” – Albert Einstein (112).
  • It is easier to drive fast when there is no fog on the road. This “analogy illustrates the importance of clarity of vision…You’re better able to go fast when your vision is clear” (123).
  • Question: What do you care about? What drives you? Where do your passions lie? What do you want to accomplish and why? (126). What ideas and visions do you hold in your mind of what can be? (100).
4. The fourth step is to enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
  • “You can’t command commitment; you have to inspire it. You have to enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations” (18).
  • “No matter how grand the dream of an individual visionary, if others don’t see in it the possibility of realizing their own hopes and desires, they won’t follow voluntarily or wholeheartedly” (117).
  • “The best leaders are great listeners (118).
  • “People commit to causes, not to plans” (121).
  • “People aren’t going to follow someone who’s only mildly enthusiastic about something. Leaders have to be wildly enthusiastic for constituents to give it their all” (129).
  • “Visions are about ideals. They’re about hopes, dreams, and aspirations. They’re about the strong desire to achieve something great. They’re ambitious. They’re expressions of optimism. Can you imagine a leader enlisting other in a cause by saying, “I’d like you to join me in doing the ordinary?” (130).
  • “Feeling special fosters a sense of pride” (134).
  • “Show people how their dreams will be realized” (138).
  • “Visions are images in the mind…They become real as leaders express those images in concrete terms to their constituents” (143).
  • Question: What common ideas are you appealing to? (152).

Practice 3 – Challenge the Process

5. The fifth step is to search for opportunities by seizing the initiative and looking outward for innovative ways to improve.
  • “Maintaining the status quo simply breeds mediocrity” (156).
  • 100% of the shots you do not take will miss going into the basket (166).
  • “Find ways for people to stretch themselves. Set the bar incrementally higher, but at a level at which people feel they can succeed” (169).
  • “Be on the lookout for new ideas, wherever you are” (181).
  • Question: What are you doing new today in order to become better than yesterday?
6. The sixth step is to experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience.
  • “Nothing new and nothing great is achieved by doing things the way you’ve always done them. You have to test unproven strategies…break out of the norms that box you in…venture beyond the limitations you normally place on yourself” (188).
  • “Big things are done by doing lots of little things” (196).
  • “It is hard to argue with success” (197).
  • “Small wins produce results because they make people feel like winners and make it easier for leaders to get others to want to go along with their requests” (199).
  • “Learning is the master skill” (202).
  • Question: How are you changing, improving, growing, and innovating?

Practice 4 – Enable others to Act

7. The seventh step is to foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships.
  • “The team is larger than any individual on the team” (21).
  • “‘We’ can’t happen without trust” (219).
  • “When you create a climate of trust, you create an environment that allows people to freely contribute and innovate” (222).
  • “Placing trust in others is the safer bet with most people most of the time” (223).
  • “People have to believe that you know what you’re talking about and that you know what you’re doing” (226).
  • “Once you help others succeed, acknowledge their accomplishments, and help them shine, they’ll never forget it” (234).
  • “Demonstrate that you trust them before you ask them to trust you” (239).
  • Question: Who are you willing to trust?
8. The eighth step is to strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence.
  • “The paradox of power: you become more powerful when you give your own power away” (244).
  • “Feeling powerful…comes from a deep sense of being in control of your own life” (246).
  • “Individual accountability is a critical element of every collaborative effort” (252).
  • “The more freedom of choice people have, the more personal responsibility they must accept” (253).
  • “If your constituents aren’t growing and learning in their jobs, they’re highly likely to leave and find better ones” (261).
  • Question: Do the people around you feel powerful?

Practice 5 – Encourage the Heart

9. The ninth step is to recognise contributions by showing appreciation.
  • “The climb to the top is arduous and steep. People become exhausted, frustrated, and disenchanted, and are often tempted to give up. Genuine acts of caring draw people forward. “recognition is the most powerful currency you have and it costs you nothing.” (23).
  • “Say Thank You” (294).
  • “Spontaneous, unexpected rewards are often more meaningful than expected, formal ones” (292).
  • Question: Do you say “thank you” enough?
10. The tenth step is to celebrate values and victories by creating a spirit of community.
  • “Leaders never get extraordinary things accomplished all by themselves” (30).
  • “Celebrate accomplishments in public” (307).
  • “Get personally involved…leadership is a relationship” (315).
  • “Make celebrations part of organizational life” (323).
  • Question: Who are you celebrating?

What is a Leader?

Simple answer: Someone with Followers.  You have to have Followers in order to be a Leader.

How do you get Followers?

2 things Make you a Leader with Followers:

  1. See a Change that is Required in the World
  2. Bring together Resources to Achieve this Change

“If every one of you changed the life of just 10 people… in 6 generations we will have changed the world” Admiral McRaven

Admiral McRaven offered advice for changing the world from his 36 years of experience as a Navy SEAL:

  1. Ask for help when you need it,
  2. respect everyone,
  3. persevere through failures and,
  4. make your bed every day.

So, go back to your bedroom… and make your bed.

 

When I run seminars on leadership, I often share the lessons learnt from the work Kouzes and Posner did to create their book “The Leadership Challenge”.  They identified the 4 most important characteristics of a leader that gets the greatest discretionary effort out of the people around them.

Number 2 on this list is “Competence”.  (You can find the full list on a past blog post here)

Identifying Competence

How do you know if someone is competent?  The simple answer: they have books on their desk.

The proxy for Competence is whether you have books on your desk.  If you care about being competent, you will be competent.  If you don’t take care of your learning, if you don’t have a plan for your own development needs – you might accidentally be competent now, but with the changes in the environment you will rapidly lose that competence.

Here’s a recent interview at UCD Smurfit Executive Development where I talk about the need for leaders to take charge of their personal and professional development.

What are the next development steps you will be taking for your own competence?

What is the good life?

We can survive for 75 years… but what is a good use of those years? The good life is choosing to go beyond mere survival.  The good life is a daily intentional choice to flourish.  We can develop the best of our strengths and bring the worst of our weaknesses under disciplined control.

The ABC’s of a Fulfilling Life

The ABCs of living the Good Life:

  • Action towards your strongest values (Productivity) make progress towards important things; Eisenhower’s matrix
  • Belief. Give your life away… chosen sacrifice-Sense of purpose (contribution, give your life away… can’t “save” your hours, must invest). The test of value: you get paid. Paid doesn’t guarantee value, but free is idealistic… and idealists will kill us all.
  • Curiosity – Life long learning (always curious, painful feedback) be better today than yesterday, be better tomorrow than today
  • Discipline over your poorer habits
  • Energy. Health (Imagine you had 1 car all your life… how would you take care of it? that is your body…)
  • Friends (top 20… when was last you spoke?) inner circle… better a shack with someone who loves you than a mansion with those that use you

I’ve been reading a few books recommended by my readers and youtube watchers since my recent video review of The Surrender Experiment 4 weeks ago.  A wonderful author that I was recommended is Dr David Hawkins.  He was a psychotherapist who worked over 50 years with patients in all stages of conscious functioning.

In this post, I share some of the powerful words that I have taken from David, and then I share his scale from 1-1000 of Consciousness.  Have a look and see where you believe you are on this scale.

Over to Dr David…

If you’re not happy here and now, you will not be happy there and then.

“Like the sun, the inner Self is always shining, but because of negative clouds, we do not experience it. It is not necessary to program oneself with the truth; it is only necessary to remove that which is false. The removal of the clouds from the sky to illuminate the negative allows one to experience the energy fields of that which is positive. It is only the removal of the negative that is necessary-the willingness to let go of the habits of negative thinking. The removal of the obstacles to the experiencing of this will result in an increasing sense of aliveness and a joy of one’s own existence.”

There is a Buddhist story that man starts clean, but as he starts to walk, the dirt from the road sticks to him.  The further he walks the more he is covered by layer upon layer of dirt.  After a short time we can no longer see the man underneath the dirt.  In fact the man himself has forgotten that this surface of dirt is not actually him.  We don’t need to find something new outside us to move up the levels of consciousness…

U2 has a song “Get out of your Own Way”.  What many of us need is to get out of our own way, to stop sabotaging ourselves.

How to Be that Person that People want to Know

“The way to become that exciting person whom people want to know is very easy. We simply picture the kind of person we want to be and surrender all the negative feelings and blocks that prevent us from being that.”

“Write down all your faults. Write down all the faults others think you have, even if you think they’re liars. You take responsibility for it all. If you own it all, nobody has any way to attack you. If others attack you, it’s because you’re not owning something. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with being stupid and ugly. (Laughter). So we admit our faults, and we stop labeling them faults. We have to get over narcissistic sensitivity. All negative reactions are not caused from outside; it’s how we choose. The way to become bulletproof is to own anything that seems a fault. The way to overcome the ego’s reaction to that is to say, “I’m stupid and ugly. It doesn’t matter; God loves me.”

What you resist, persists.

“The willingness to forgive others is reflected in our own capacity for self-forgiveness and acceptance.”

“Surrender is a constant process of not resisting or clinging to the moment but instead, continuously turning it over to God. The attention is thus focused on the process of letting go and not on the content of the ‘what’ that is being surrendered.”

Humility is the greatest virtue.

“With humility one can see that the mind is limited and incapable of seeing all the circumstances surrounding any event. Out of this arises the willingness to let go of condemnation and judgment.”

Personal Growth: The 15 Levels

The Levels of Consciousness (From Apathy to Love)

These levels determine the reason why people behave the way they do.
You can listen to Dr David Hawkins being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, or watch the video below where he speaks specifically about the Scale of Consciousness:

 

Below Courage – Conscious States that Suck Energy from the World

  • Guilt 30 – I condemn others. I blame outside forces for my situation. The emotion that accompanies these levels is self-hatred, and the process going on in consciousness is one of self-destruction.
  • Apathy 50 – Abdication of my own capacity to act. I am hopeless.  I cannot change the situation and I don’t believe that anyone else is able to help me.
  • Grief 75 – I am despondent and feel that life is tragic. There is an energy in grief that can turn towards anger and begin action.
  • Fear 100 – A state of anxiety and worry.  A state of withdrawal from the world.  I take actions to protect myself and to resist losing the things that I value.
  • Desire 125 – I crave after things that I believe are missing in my life.  I am quite active in pursuit of my goals.
  • Anger 150 – Anger in the form of resentment may lead to hatred.  But the process going on in consciousness is one of expansion; for example, when an animal is angry, it swells up. When the cat gets angry, its tail swells up to almost twice its normal size, and the cat tries to look imposing. The biological purpose of expansion is to intimidate one’s apparent enemy. The energy of anger can be positive if used to pursue something better, allowing us to move up to the next level.
  • Pride 175 – This level of consciousness leads to a constant defense of my being ‘right’, so others must be wrong.  Highly demanding of myself and of all others around me.  High risk of scorn of others.  The pride relates to an underlying denied set of  fears. 

Above Courage – Conscious States that Contribute Positively

  • Courage 200 – I take ownership of my situation and begin to take tentative steps to make my situation better.
  • Neutrality 250 – The emotion of Neutral is self-trust. For example, it is ‘okay’ if you get the job and ‘okay’ if you don’t.
  • Willingness 310 – saying yes to life, to join, to agree, to commit, and to align with because there is now the introduction of intention.
  • Acceptance 350 – Realising and owning my own limitations. I don’t have to please everybody, I don’t have to be competent at all tasks.
  • Reason 400 – At its purest level, reason and the intellect represent increased reality testing and non-emotional respect for truth.
  • Love 500 – reason is of the mind (the brain), whereas Love is of the being (the heart).
    At its emergence, love is selective and conditional, but as it evolves, it progressively becomes a lifestyle and a way of relating to all life.
  • Joy 540 –  A state of bliss. Life is Perfect. These people make us feel more alive because they are constantly giving out energy to the world.
  • Peace 600 – I need to find someone who could explain this in words!

Thank you to all those watchers and readers who have recommended books, videos and audios after my post on The Surrender Experiment 😉

Ken Blanchard’s book “The One Minute Manager” is short, simple, quick to read… and excellent for any new manager or leader.

In this video I share 4 Conversations that Ken Blanchard says we need to learn to be able to have with our team members if we wish to be effective Servant Leaders.

4 Conversations we need to be able to have with our team.

  1. Goal Setting,
  2. Praise,
  3. Re-Direct and
  4. Wrap up.

 

This video is from Bilbao in front of the Guggenheim Museum. I was in Bilbao for the launch of Vistage in the region.

In my courses I often have participants who hate following standard processes. Sometimes this is a good thing. When you decide to break the rules, you better do your homework and preparation so that what you deliver is excellent. Too often, “creative” people break the rules of structure… but don’t do the necessary work to be excellent in delivery.

If you liked this video, you might also like Performance Excellence: Deliberate Practice and the 3 Models of Mastery and Self Discipline will make you a Better Leader.

This is a wonderful 10 minute speech by Brian Brault, Chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation, during a United Nations Global meeting on how Entrepreneurship can make a difference to the UN Developmental Goals.

Creating a Shared Future for Entrepreneurs and Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

I have met Brian several times over the last 13 years that I have been a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation. He is an inspiration and I am glad that he had this opportunity to share such an important message to the world’s ambassadors and governments.

I am proud to say that Brian attended my classes (during EO’s Global Leadership Academy) on how to give a persuasive speech 😉

Thanks, Brian, for your time and dedication as a leader of EO.

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with Spring” George Santayana

I spent most of this week in Ireland teaching at UCD Smurfit Business School and then running a corporate event at Croke Park.  This week’s video is from Croke park – you can see in the background they are getting set up for the Rolling Stones concert.

If you are only happy in spring, you’ve limited your state of wellbeing to less than 25% of life.  Life comes with seasons.  It is best to learn to take the best from each of these seasons.

My dad often said “A leader should never waste a good crisis”.  The winter is when you can get people to change their habits.  When a company is growing and all is going well, you won’t get change easily.  When the company is struggling, competition is fierce, the winds are howling… people are hungry for changes.

Often the roots of new success are planted during the winter moments of our lives.