Saturday, February 24, 2007

Do you have Faith?

To be able to lead in any endeavor one must posses a number of qualities. You can gather with any school of thought you desire when it comes to leadership and you will most assuredly have many debates about the qualities of leaders. There will be valid points made on more topics than I can fill this page with. Indeed, there have been numerous books written on this topic. I dare say that you could fill libraries with books written on the topic of leadership. All of them make valid points. I very much enjoy studying the topic. In doing my studies I have come to a conclusion. One of the most vital elements of leadership is faith. I am not sure anyone can lead well without faith. So then, the question is, what is faith?

Merriam-Webster defines faith as follow: 1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : Loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions 2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust 3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

That is a great definition, but not what I was intending. I like the definition found at Hebrews 11:1 There it states "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. " Other versions read "The assured Expectation of things hoped for though not yet seen" That is the quality that I think leaders have to posses. They must have the assured expectation of things hoped for. All of the other qualities seem to be in support of this one quality. Or better yet, they are supported by this quality.

In my attempts with leadership I have never come up short on mission, vision, commitment, or any of the other important qualities. It has always been the faith or the assured expectation of reaching those goals. Especially when times seem the roughest. It is not the mission or vision that fails, it is the waning of faith. At least, that is how it is for me. I have to strengthen my faith by reminding myself that my faith has to support my sense of mission, my vision, my commitment. Faith has to be exercised with works or it becomes very weak. In fact, James 2:17 says that faith without works is dead. So, how far can leadership go without faith? How long will your faith hold up without supporting it with works? And when it is not going well, check to see where your faith is grounded.

How are we remembered.

This quote arrived to my desktop today via my Google home page "No matter how rich you become, how famous or powerful, when you die the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather." - Michael Pritchard.

At first I got a little chuckle from the quote and then it made think that we often give to much importance to our status and what we have. We tend to spend a great deal of time and effort pursuing "The Dream" The Dream is usually filled with accomplishments, money, material possessions, and some measure of fame. Many of us fall into the trap of believing that the more we have the more successful we are and the more successful we are the more important we are. We often push, rush, and hurry to get on top. We tend to forget the other things in life that are important. I know, I have done all these things. I am trying to concentrate on what really matters at this point in my life.

I do think it is important to have things. I think it is important to be successful. However, it is not important to have these things at all cost. I think the most important thing is to pay attention to how we treat other people. I find that truly being successful is helping others to become successful. The more you help others the more you seem to prosper. The other things will come in time.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Leadership and Communication

"Certainly a leader needs a clear vision of the organization and where it is going, but a vision is of little value unless it is shared in a way so as to generate enthusiasm and commitment. Leadership and communication are inseparable." ~ Claude Taylor

Thursday, February 15, 2007

How do you measure success?

How do you view failure? Do you have to reach your ultimate goal to be considered a success? I think that is the general way of viewing accomplishment. When you reach your ultimate goal then you are successful. I read a really good book that changed my view of success and failure. The books title is "Shackletons Way" The book is about the leadership practices of Sir Ernest Shackleton who was an Antarctic explorer. Oddly enough Shackleton never realized his goal of being the first to navigate to Antarctica. He failed on two attempts. So,as fate would have it, Shackleton is forever regarded as a failure, right? Nothing could be further from the truth.

Although he is unknown to many people, in some circles he is regarding as one of the great leaders in history. Shackleton lead 27 men into the Antarctic. Well into his journey his ship "The Endurance" became ice bound. Unable to fee the Endurance from the ice they had to eventually abandon the ship and watch it get crushed in the ice and sink in the frigid ocean water. With no way of communicating with the civilized world and floating on ice flows, Shackleton and his men set out on one of the most amazing and perilous adventures in history. With little provisions and minimal means of shelter Shackleton and his men survived nearly 2 years in the most incredible conditions imaginable. Shackleton and a couple of men eventually made a perilous adventure to navigate icy waters in trecherous conditions to seek help and rescue his men.

Shackleton was able to accomplish all this and he did not lose one single man. All 27 in his crew survived! What an amazing story. One well worth reading. If you get a chance pick up a copy and give a good study. You will learn some great leadership skills while being amazed at the courage of the human spirit.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Crisis As Opportunity

A high purpose lives against every species of opposition."
-Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell
I really like that quote. There really is a lot in those words. When I think of the most successful people I know they are not the people with the most education or the most credentials. They are usually the people with the most tenacity. I have often wondered where that tenacity comes from. It is not the people that were the most popular in school. It is not always the ones that made the best grades or were the most athletic. It seems to be the ones that have a special ability to take a licking and keep on ticking.
Where does this tenacity come from? From what I can figure out it comes from having a higher sense of purpose. A purpose that endures all kinds of hardships and simply will not quit. People with this sense of purpose seem willing to go through whatever it takes to achieve their goal. When they have setbacks they do not give up.They may get discouraged, but they will not quit. They do not see problems as bad. They do not see failure as permanent. They do not see times of crisis as a time to quit. They see crisis as opportunity. A chance to learn and grow, an opportunity to get better. Failure is not bad, they see it as experience. Problems and failure do not define who they are. It creates the opportunity to define who they will become. It is not always the strongest, smartest, most credentialed person, or the lucky who come out on top. It is the ones that have a purpose strong enough to allow them to endure. It is those that can adjust to change and those who refuse to let problems define who they are.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

What Motivates People to Work?

In an article taken from
Surprise results may change the way you think!
An American magazine Psychology Today published some startling statistics, taken from a survey they conducted.
The question was; "What makes you want to work?"
The top 5 answers were astonishing to many people in management.
1. Doing work that makes me feel good about myself.
2. Accomplishing something worthwhile.
3. Learning new things.
4. Developing my skills and abilities.
5. Having a certain amount of freedom on the job.
Pay came in at number 12 - and Fringe benefits were a lowly 16.
Makes you wonder doesn't it? My thought on this matter is that people work more for an idea than any thing else. Viktor Frankl in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” Stated that if you have a big enough why, you can overcome any how. Making money is important. We all have to eat and pay bills. However, it is the hunger of the soul that needs nourishing as much as the physical body. People want to give back. The old parable really rings true “there is more in giving than in receiving” There is so much talk about the power of “Intention” and “Abundance”. This survey really brings attention to this in a profound way. Success really does come from our ability to do things for others. That does not mean we have to take a vow of poverty or anything like that. I believe it simply means that we get more in return than we give. The laws of nature operate by this principle. When we plant seeds, we do not get a 1to 1 return. We often get much in return for the one seed. I think it is like that in our work. You have to give to get. I think that is a pretty good trade, “Give a little, and Get a lot”. Try to give back in some way today. It makes no difference if it is in a big way or in some small matter, choose to make a difference in somebody’s life. I think you will be richly rewarded for your efforts.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

How do you define your personal mission?

What is your personal mission. That is a great question and one well worth exploring. First of all we have to figure out what a mission is. To me a mission is what defines your life. It is your purpose in life. Many people claim lofty missions in life. They give verbal commitment to some pretty important causes. However, many times peoples actions are not in line with their claims. Have you ever met people that claim to be very devout religiously, but, are rarely seen in church. More importantly, their actions are not compatible with their claims. Many people claim to put family first, but spend the majority of their time trying to earn more money or get a pay raise. In my way of thinking your mission is defined by your actions. Simply put, your everyday actions prove the purpose of your life.
Take a little time to think about this. How do you really want people to think of you. What do you want people to say about you. Now and in the future. Try to take small steps today and everyday here after to live your life in pursuit of that purpose. Small steps eventually lead to great distances. Before you know it, your life will begin to take on a whole new meaning. You will have defined your mission in life. Your actions will be in line with your claims and your desires. You will be living a life of greater purpose.


I have studied leadership for the past several years. I have a real fascination for it. I marvel at the people that do it well. There seems to be as much a talent for it as it is academic. I think that certain elements of leadership can be taught and others are natural abilities. I do think that leadership can be taught and that just about anyone can become an effective leader, but that is a debate for another time.
I have discovered something in my attempts at learning leadership that I did not bargain for. I have learned the power of friendship. As I study and search for information I am continually coming in contact with some very interesting people. In fact, I have developed some very close friendships. My studies have led me to meet many fascinating people across the country and around the world. I now have friends in England, Spain, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, Hawaii, and in many states throughout the country. My desire to learn has grown into something much more valuable. My new found network has led to great discussions on leadership, culture, and a great variety of topics. Most importantly, it has taught me the value of good friends and the beauty of people across the globe. For this, I feel truly blessed.

When times are tough

The following quote arrived at my inbox thanks to todays TQ.
“My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate… at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in a maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, let up, or slow up.”~ Robert Moorehead
I thought this was a wonderful quote to help each of us revisit our since of commitment. When we face difficult times, we have to think about why we do certain things. If we are struggling in a relationship, this quote may help us to think about why we are in this relationship. Is the relationship more important than the problems? If it is our vocation that is testing us, we may think about why we have chosen a certain field to work in. Is it for convenience, or is it for passion?
The big thing is to think about the purpose of our involvements. If you have a strong and compelling purpose behind your actions, then you will have a strong commitment. If your purpose is weak, your commitment will be weak. Take some time out of your day to think about the things you are commited to. Think about why you have chosen to commit to these. As Victor Frankl states in his book Mans search for meaning “If you have a big enough why, you can overcome any how” Our ability to persevere is directly linked to why we get involved.
I just thought this was a great quote and I wanted to share it. You can find many quotes like this at Check it out. I think you will like what they have to offer. If nothing else you can capitalize on the many free things they offer.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Lessons in the real world

I think if I have learned anything over the past 4 months it is that leadership is hard. I think that is the reason that there is so much discussion on the topic. I work in a very dynamic program. There is so much going on all the time. I am so busy that most days it is 3:00 pm before I even recognize it. I have to force myself to take a break. There are so many things that come at me and that I have to make a decision about that it is incredible. That is where the value of what I have learned through my interaction in the blogging community has served me well. It can be so easy to lose your sense of direction. All the discussions about passion and integrity have helped immensely. The concepts of Simplicity and not settling for good, but making it great, have come to mind many times. I guess the biggest lesson that has been reinforced with me is that I am in no way an expert. I have found that there are so many things that I don’t know and even more that I am not good at. I have also learned that leadership is being able to recognize these things and be OK with it. The best lesson I have learned thus far is that leadership is not being so good at things that you are not replaceable. Leadership is knowing your limitations and becoming the most replaceable person in the organization. I have had to learn how to trust my employees and allow them to do their jobs. If they can do their jobs then they will cover for my weaknesses. If I try to make it so that I cannot be replaced, that is ultimately what will happen.
This whole thing of leadership is much harder than it sounds. Thank goodness I have my global support group to learn from and to gain strength through their vast experience and knowledge. It is good to be able to test leadership principles in the real world. I feel like I am more of a student now than ever before. I am loving it and ready to learn more. Lets blog on.

Priority#1: Integrity

In my professional careerI have taken on many challenges. In doing so, I have some successful experiences and I have experiences that were not successful. There can be many factors that come into play that can make the difference. No doubt, most everyone has a story and many similar experiences. For me, the difference between success and failure often seems to come down to the idea of Integrity.

It is interesting to me to find out the different ways people view the idea of integrity. To me, Integrity is doing the right things all the time. This means whether someone is watching or not. That sounds very simple, but it is not easy. Some people feel that integrity is summed up in the amount of teamwork and comraderie that is exhibited in a working environment. Teamwork is important, but can prove to be a fatal characteristic of a working environment. How so? If the team lacks integrity, the comraderie can lead to covering up minor mistakes of the team. The mistakes are not usually the fatal blow. The cover up is. Most professionals and most businesses can survive mistakes even if the mistakes are serious. Few can survive cover ups.

Other people may think that integrity is defined in the amount of production the company has. The bottom line or ROI is vital. The question is how long can it endure? If integrity, or doing things the right way is lacking, I say it cannot endure for long. The business world has been plaqued by scandals in recent years and this trend seems to be getting worse with each passing year. It all seems due to the fact that people are losing site of the importance of integrity. We live in a fast paced world that demands instant gratification. I think it is important to remember that there are no over night successes. Success can only be built over time and by doing things the right way, With Integrity.

Check outthis great link on integrity: