Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ship... Shipmate... Self... Get Your Priorities Straight!

Ship... Shipmate... Self... A Navy Chief friend of mine offered these three words pertaining to priorities. WOW!!! Very profound and it speaks volumes about the priorities of an organization and how they should be. In this example, it's obviously a Naval vessel that is the subject, though this same methodology can be applied to other organizations and parts of our lives. Here are a few examples:

God, Country, Corps... (Sound familiar my fellow Jarheads?)
God, Family, Work
Mission, Team, Self

I'm sure you could think of a few more. The bottom line here is that in most cases, the preservation of the organization and the welfare of others needs to be a higher priority than self-satisfaction. It's not just about you and your agenda. To truly be effective, all leaders must know this and live by it!

Enjoy the Ride...

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Foundation of Leadership... Lead Yourself First!

Leadership of others begins with leadership of self. In other words; You must first make sure that you are a squared away, living, breathing, walking, talking example of what others strive to be. This is a philosophy that I learned as a young Marine and have seen the importance and practicality of it play out time and time again. You can't be a walking contradiction and expect others to follow and respect you. The old saying, "do as I say not as I do" doesn't bode well for leaders.

Now, here's the part that might ruffle a few feathers. Relationships are hugely important in leadership and in life for that matter. If you are on your second, third, or fourth marriage, you might suck at the relationship thing and if that is the case, your leadership abilities are hindered as a result. Yes, I said it! Seriously, how can you argue that? Ok, so maybe it's not the relationship thing. Maybe you suck at judging people, well that too is a problem that is negatively impacting your ability to lead. No wait, I get it... It's not your fault, it's the "other" person in the relationship that is the problem. Hmmm.... Accountability for your actions? Sound familiar? Another huge part of being a successful leader is being accountable to yourself and to others. When you screw up, own it and then fix it!

Here are 5 areas to focus on in order to make improvements in the "Lead Yourself" category:

1) Know what fuels your machine and share it with others...

You have to know what makes you tick, what drives you, what you are passionate about. It's also important to know this about your people but first you must know it about yourself.

2) Have a personal vision and a plan for achieving it...

You have to know where you are headed, what you want to achieve and how you plan to do so. We ask people in their "work lives" to do this all the time however, we don't often use these very effective tools to achieve or our dreams... Start today!!!

3) Update your operating system...

Computers have operating systems that need updating on a regular basis. They often get viruses that begin to negatively impact their performance. Our brain, which is our operating system and the programming that it has received which is our belief system is much like that of a computer's operating system. The human operating system needs to be updated and the viruses that show up as self-limiting beliefs must be removed an replaced with new, possibility focused beliefs.
4) Focus on building strong relationships...

Life, business, leadership, it's all about people. Focus on connecting with those around you. People need to be connected, we are herd animals and feel comfort around others like us. 

5) Have your S*#T together...

Make sure that you are setting the right example for your people. Trust me when I say THEY ARE PAYING ATTENTION!!! You can't expect them to do or be something you are not. Hold yourself to a high standard and expect the same of your people. Be accountable to them and hold yourself and them accountable.

And last but not least... ENJOY THE RIDE!!!