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There Is Value In Being An Underdog

underdogUnderdog – a participant in a fight, conflict, contest, or game who is not expected to win

The Oklahoma Sooners were a 17 point underdog last night against arguably one of the greatest college football teams and football coaches of all time – Alabama and Nick Saban. 17 points is the largest underdog that Bob Stoops has been since becoming the head coach at OU. Well we know how the story played out, the underdog OU beat Alabama 45-31 in one of the biggest upsets of the BCS Era. Not to mention, OU pulled off the upset with an underdog Freshman QB at the helm.

There are so many underdog stories of success and they should be motivation for everyone to keep an underdog mindset. There Is Value In Being An Underdog. With the right influences, leadership and coaching – underdogs seem to work harder, try harder and compete with “We don’t have anything to lose and everything to win mentality.” One of the major contributors to the success of an underdog is having little wins along the way and beginning to believe.

“If there’s one cultural quality we have, it’s that we always see ourselves as an underdog.” ~Bill Gates

The truth of the matter is that we all have some underdog in us from one situation or another. The key is to view your life and your situation as that of an underdog. Is life beating you down? Fight harder. Are you expected to fail? Prove them wrong. Does your boss think you don’t have what it takes? Keep working. Do you find yourself in a slump? Keep swinging. Are you having success? Prepare more and work harder because you can always get better. So you stay at the top of the mountain? Keep climbing.

Take on the mantra of the old cartoon Underdog.  “There’s no need to fear–Underdog is here!”

No Fear!

14 Ways To Increase Your Leadership Capacity In 2014

2014 1

Don’t you just love the lists of how to do this and how to do that. As 2014 is upon us, our love for the “Top 10 Lists” will only increase. The reason we love these lists is due to the fact that in this day and age we have developed the mindset that says,”Lay out the path, show me the tools and give me a step by step list.”

The inner driving force behind our interest in these types of lists is a deep inner desire to improve. We want to do things different, we want to think different and we want to be different, as long as the end result means growth. Especially in the early months of a new year. Consistent growth is that critical component that propels us down the road of success.

You want another list? Well here it goes:

Below is a straight to the point list of how leaders can increase their leadership capacity in 2014.

14 To Increase Your Leadership Capacity In 2014

  • 1. Truly Embrace The Team Concept: There is no “I” in team and teamwork makes the dream work.
  • 2. Don’t Play It Safe: Be willing to take some risks.  Your risks can be calculated or not, either way you need to get off the shores of playing it safe.
  • 3. Give Credit & Take Blame:  Give credit where credit is due and be willing to look in the mirror and say, “My Bad” or “It’s My Fault!”
  • 4. Don’t Be A Yes Man or Yes Woman:  Be willing to step up and challenge things when they need to be challenged.  This can be the process of leading-up or leading-down.
  • 5. Don’t Lose Your Cool:  Remember the 3C’s in all situations – Cool, Calm & Collected.
  • 6. Empower Your Team:  Release your team to do their job. Don’t be a micromanager.
  • 7. Minimize Meetings:  Reduce the number of meetings, the length of meetings, the necessity of meetings and the list of who needs to attend the meetings.
  • 8. Get To Know Your Team Members On A Personal Level:  Know what’s going on in the lives of your team members outside of work.  Know their interests, their children’s interests… To know is to care.
  • 9. Take Time To Develop Your Team Members: Leadership development isn’t a system but rather an on-going act of moving people from where they are to where they need to be. If you want your overall leadership capacity to increase, you must increase the capacity of those around you.  Leadership development isn’t optional, it’s a necessity.
  • 10. Surround Yourself With The Best: Be willing to hire people that may be smarter, sharper, more opinionated and maybe even all around better leaders than you are. Empower and release those people to strengthen your team and compliment your leadership.
  • 11. Shh Listen For A Change:  Don’t be the person who is always talking – Shh, Be Quiet and Listen for a change.
  • 12. Ask The Difficult Questions:  This is where candid evaluation/assessment of everything will make the leader and the team better.  Ask questions like:  Are the individuals that I have on my team making me better?  Am I a my way or the highway leader?  Are we going in the right direction?  Who on my team got us here, but won’t get us there?  Am I making those around me better personally and professionally?  Am I open to receive candid feedback?  If my position, role, title or formal authority was removed would those around me still be willing to follow?  The list of questions goes on and on.  Ask the tough questions and embrace the tough answers.
  • 13. Rest: Rest, Replenish and Re-charge. All batteries need to be re-charged. Your body needs rest, your brain needs rest and you need rest. “He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” ~Benjamin Franklin
  • 14. Brand: Recognize and understand that you are a brand, you have a personal brand and your personal brand affects your organizational brand. Embrace your brand, position your brand and have the self-awareness to know how your brand is viewed. Remember, you are not the only one defining your brand, your brand is also being defined by others. How do the people that work for you and the people that you work for view you? How do people inside and outside your organization view your organization? How does your competition view you? These questions are all real and all important in the branding conversation. Like it or not, brand is important… period. Organizations and leaders will never maximize their potential for success without having a strong brand.

2014 is your year… Ring in the New Year expecting to be successful, expecting to win and expecting to make a difference. #Expectant

How Micromanagers, Control Freaks and Insecure Leaders Kill Their Organizations

ceativity killer 2Creativity is a key ingredient to a successful, thriving and growing organization. Unfortunately some Micromanagers, Control Freaks and Insecure Leaders Kill Their Organizations and the creative spirit without even realizing it.

Micromanagers take the dynamics of creativity off the table. Their negative and counterproductive process goes a little something like this: Team member tries something new, micromanager watches over their shoulder, questions them and doesn’t give the team members ideas any credibility. Team member gets frustrated and stops thinking outside the box, trying new things and stops leading in general – thus killing creativity.

“The most common mistake I see leaders make is to attempt to lead through control. As counterintuitive as it might seem, in order to gain influence you must surrender control.” ~Mike Myatt

It’s really a sad case when a leader wants a thriving, vibrant, creative organization and they don’t have the self-awareness to know that their insecure control freak nature is the bottleneck. The best position a leader can find themselves in is, “out in front and out of the way.” The only way a leader can remain out in front is to continuously get out of the way and let their team members lead.

In order to foster organizational success and a spirit of creativity, leaders must allow their team members to try new things, chart new courses and sail new waters. If a leader truly wants this to work, they must be willing to get out of the way and be okay with some failures and fumbles. Successes and failures should never be overlooked; however its important to applaud the thought and process of trying. Freedom, flexibility, solutions, ideas, risks, opinions, opportunity, experiment, failure… are all words that help foster creativity and effectually lead to success.

In order for creativity and a culture of winning to permeate through an organization, the insecurity of the micromanager must bid farewell.

A Banana Tree Full Of Jumping Monkeys

monkey

I read this little passage from Thomas Aquinas and it made me go hmm… I hope it does the same for you.

I decided to give it a title: A Banana Tree Full Of Jumping Monkeys 

“Without prayer we become deaf to the voice of divine love and become confused by the many competing voices asking for our attention. When we try to become very still, we often find ourselves so overwhelmed by our noisy inner voices that we can hardly wait to get busy and distracted again. Our inner life often looks like a banana tree full of jumping monkeys! But when we decide not to run away and stay focused, the monkeys may gradually go away because of lack of attention, and the soft gentle voice calling us may gradually make itself heard.”

~Thomas Aquinas

The Fear Of Greatness

fear greatness

The Fear Of Greatness

People fear being great, so they simply don’t bother to try

They’ve been told that only others will be great, so they believe the lie

Their supervisors stifle their potential for greatness due to all types of fear, when instead they should be promoting them with all types of cheer

Greatness isn’t achieved by settling for less, nor is it merely a competition at being the best

Greatness is a state of mind that says, “I will give it my all and leave nothing behind”

The Fear Of Greatness is the same the Fear Of Success

It’s a disease that gnaws your at your insides like a savage, it lowers your bar of achievement to no more than average

Until you annihilate your The Fear Of Greatness, you will never be Great.

~Scott

If I Were The Devil

“If I were the devil” ~ A prophetic essay written and recorded by radio commentator Paul Harvey in 1965.

Be The Example!

example

Many people talk about what to do and how to do, but they simply don’t do it themselves.

It’s been said that people are much more willing to follow the sermons that you live than they are the ones that you preach.

It’s plain and simple, make sure that your walk matches your talk.

Be The Example!

Learning To Expect Great Things

expect great thingsSuccess and great things come to those who expect it and those who step out and make it happen. The key to success is living from the spirit of expectancy. Do you expect great things to happen? Do you expect to succeed? Do you expect to win? Starting from a position of “Absolutely I do!” is critical to success.

Michael Jordan expected to win, make big shots and win multiple championships. LeBron James expected himself to be a superstar fresh out of high school. Steve Jobs expected Apple to be an iconic brand that would change the face of technology. The founders of Twitter expected the information machine known as Twitter to one day be a big deal and a publicly traded juggernaut. Billy Graham expected to take his crusades and the Gospel message around the world. Rick Warren expected Purpose Driven Life to give people a life of purpose. Despite the ups and downs, Tim Tebow expects great things and expects to be a great example.

Each and every success story has a tipping point where the person, organization or team expected great things to happen. That doesn’t mean they didn’t have to work hard, nor does it mean they expected the ultimate degree of success; however they simply learned to expect great things.

If we don’t expect great things to happen, there is a good chance they won’t, as we will always find ways to step into the world of the negative self-fulfilling prophecy. Conversely, if we learn to expect great things, we will find great things around the corner and will remain on the road of success. Remember success is a journey, not a destination.

Think It – See It – Believe It – Expect It…

The older I get the more I’m learning what a spirit of expectancy is all about. I’m understanding the importance of expecting great things from a Great God, I’m also understanding the importance of doing great things for a Great God.

Learn To Expect Great Things!

Organizations Need To Let Leaders Run Their Race

secretariat 2I am consistently having conversations with friends, colleagues and clients where the topic of discussion will often times be around “the inability to lead.” The inability isn’t always due to a lack of leadership, but more often than not it’s the lack of freedom to lead. I just recently had a conversation with a Senior Leader of a very large organization about this very problem. This guy is a strong, gifted, visionary leader who is being hamstrung by his leadership oversight team. Not only is the this crippling him, it’s setting their organization back years.

Just like the famous triple crown horse Secretariat needed to be freed up to run, not only run, but run the race that only he could run. That’s the same situation for leaders being held back in organizations around the country. Leaders want to be free, they want to run and they want to lead.

Organizations and organizational leaders have an opportunity and responsibility to free up their race horses to run and to lead. These races must be within the boundaries of the established organization; however it should be encouraged that they push those boundaries to the limit.

The potential for greatness exists at all levels throughout most organizations and a major hindrance is control and an unwillingness to let the horses run their race. Leaders are looking for a License To Lead.

The famous quote from the movie Secretariat that speaks to this subject is this, “Let him run his race.”

If you want your organization to thrive, get rid of the donkeys and let your horses and stallions run their race.

Explore, Dream, Discover

travelAt this moment I’m cruising at an altitude of about 36,000 feet on my way to Tampa, Florida. For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you know that I find myself at 36,000 feet quite often. Traveling is a process, a process in exploring, dreaming, thinking, going, seeing, discovering, arriving and making things happen.

As I travel today, I was reminded of a quote from Mark Twain about travel… May this be motivation for your day. Remember, life is a journey.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain

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