H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle. by Brad Lomenick

H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle.According to Brad Lomenick, in H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle., there comes a time in a leader’s life where he or she has to transform, renew and rediscover himself or herself.

Intentionally or not, leaders develop habits throughout their lives, that dictate their approach to work and to the tasks that they accomplish daily, that take their ideas and turn them into concrete results. Habits also shape leaders core values and personalities, behaviors and daily actions. This is why leaders must look at their old leadership habits, invest the time to break bad ones, sustain the good ones, create new ones, and seek to reboot themselves.

It is therefore necessary for leaders to take a decision to implement change within them and within their organization, and for them to be committed to the task.

According to Brad Lomenick, it is foundational for leaders to revisit the motto Humble, Hungry and Hustle. This mantra categorizes 20 core leadership habits and conveys the right philosophy in order to become a catalyst leader and contemporaneous influencer. By being humble, leaders are able to discover who they really are. By staying hungry, leaders are able to figure out their destination. By hustling, leaders search for the best way to reach their destination and goals.

BE HUMBLE: “Who am I?”

Leaders, at the beginning of their transformation, have to develop habits of self-discovery, of openness, meekness, conviction, faith and assignment.

  1. A Habit of Self-Discovery: Know who you are. Creating a habit of self discovery signifies that the leader has to purposefully and continually observe, listen, understand and define who he or she is. Self discovery is a never-ending process. Most leaders identify deeply with their organization and tend to lose their sense of self. However, they must learn to connect with the organization without merging with it or without changing themself into something else, without creating an illusion of self that will crumble at the first obstacle. They must know their strengths, weaknesses and values in order to succeed. Their scale of influence will reflect their level of self assessment. Furthermore, it takes courage to present the true self to the world and bravery to resist the factors that shape us and impose themselves on us.
  2. A Habit of Openness: Share the real you with others. Leaders must learn to be open and vulnerable with their followers and with those closest to them even though the higher they are on the “ladder of influence and power, the more difficult it is to be open”. Leaders must keep it real and be authentic: they show who they really are with they followers, they don’t hide their weaknesses nor their emotions, and they know what to do with what they have discovered about themselves. Leaders evaluate their value of connectedness, create deep relationships, are skilled communicators, answer dreaded and difficult questions if they can trust their interlocutor, know how to apologize to those that they have wronged or hurt, have a confidant outside of work that they can rely on and lean on for tough decision. Leaders are also transparent and can admit when they make a mistake. Of course not everything should be disclosed and not with everyone and less should be discussed the more the circle of influence increases.
  3. A Habit of Meekness: Remember it’s not about you. Developing a habit of meekness leads to quiet confidence, avoid leaders from becoming arrogant and from turning inward while on the path of self discovery. Indeed, the company culture should not revolve around the leaders, should not seek the leaders approval and should not suffer from their absence.
  4. A Habit of Conviction: Know your principles, stick to them and live out your convictions. Leaders must have conviction, integrity, strong values, strong moral compass, protect their reputation, and stand up for what they believe in, for what us right and against what is wrong.
  5. A Habit of Faith: Prioritize your day so God is first. Taking the habit of putting God first allows to visualize the bigger picture, to stop worrying about the future, to ignore what people are saying, to fulfill a higher purpose, to remain grateful towards God. Leaders are able to gain spiritual discipline and grow spirituality by speaking and mostly listening to God on a daily basis.
  6. A Habit of Assignment. Pursue your purpose. Leaders must learn to their innate proclivities to accomplish their assignments and live out a higher calling.

STAY HUNGRY: “Where do I want to go?”

  1. A Habit of Ambition: Develop an appetite for what’s next. Ambition is mist often seen in a negative light and is always associated to a negative adjective. However, ambition is what pushes leaders forward and gives them the will to do better. Leaders have to be careful of how they feed their ambition appetite in order to cultivate healthy work relationships and to fuel other healthy habits.
  2. A Habit of Curiosity: Keep learning. Leaders have to listen more than they speak and ask probing questions.
  3. A Habit of Passion: Love what you do. Passions bond people together, create memories, sustain long-term enthusiasm and zeal. It is up to the leader to fuel his or her engaged and feed his or her enthusiasm to the organization.
  4. A Habit of Innovation: Stay current, creative, and engaged. Leadership requires innovation, pushes for change and doesn’t need a title nor an official position to initiate change. Rather it necessitates courage, steadfastness through failures, stamina and an environment for change. Leaders must challenge the status quo, refuse to coast and build habits of exploring new ideas.
  5. A Habit of Inspiration: Nurture a vision for a better tomorrow. Leaders look to the future and hope for a better tomorrow, have a vision for the future that makes work life more enjoyable, motivational, learn to communicate their vision and persuade the crowd.
  6. A Habit of Bravery: Take calculated risks. Leaders confront their fears and push through them, get out their comfort zone and are never comfortable in one position.

HUSTLE: “How will I get there?”

  1. A Habit of Excellence: Set standards that scare you. Leaders must thrive to be the best at what they do and to produce the best effort in order to succeed.
  2. A Habit of Stick-with-it-ness: Take the long view. Success in life requires preparation. Leaders have to resist current movements of instant and uncommon success stories, the pressure to innovate and continually create better and innovative products. Instead, they have to discipline themselves, learn to be faithful, learn to be grateful and to discern what is important in order to build their legacy.
  3. A Habit of Execution: Commit to completion. Leaders translate their ideas into action, enjoy bringing their actions to fruition, make an effort to deliver the best product without slacking off or slowing down.
  4. A Habit of Team Building: Create an environment that attracts and retains the best and brightest. Leaders must invest in their employees, motivate and stimulate them, show appreciation and help them create good relationships with one another. In addition, because culture building cannot be delegated, leaders must take it upon themselves to create a pleasant work environment for their team, generate positive memories and experiences with their team.
  5. A Habit of Partnership: Collaborate with colleagues and competitors to generate a higher revenue or to pursue a higher purpose. Partners bring new perspectives, new improvements to your organization, a new set of skills and competencies. Forging alliances requires strategy, intention, thoughtfulness, time and energy. However, forming relationships with other leaders and partnerships with other organizations is essential, especially when climbing up the ladder.
  6. A Habit of Margin: Nurture healthier rhythms. Leaders must learn to manage their time effectively, to unwind and reset their batteries in order to be more effective.
  7. A Habit of Generosity: Leave the world a better place. Leaders are generous with their time and energy and not only their money. They help others become successful and give without expecting anything in return.
  8. A Habit of Succession: Find power in passing the baton. Leaders have to learn his to let go and continue their legacy by finding their succession.

Review

H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle., by Brad Lomenick, is a compelling and insightful self-development book where Brad Lomenick recaps his professional experiences at Catalyst, draws conclusions from his leadership style and allies spirituality with leadership.

Throughout his entire book, Lomenick shares numerous tips on how to become a better leader. He also references several of his peers such as John Maxwell, Stephen Coven and Laura Vanderkam, and divulges alternate leadership tips.

In my opinion, there are two major take-aways from this book:

  • firstly, in order to lead others you have to figure out who you are first. Indeed, people tend to follow you, your personality, your values instead of following your job. Furthermore, you cannot tell others how to behave in certain situations and which route to take if you don’t know which one you would take yourself. Some would say to lead others, first lead yourself.
  • Secondly, in the morning, before checking your emails or drinking coffee, develop a habit of seeking God first.

Favorite quote(s)

But leadership is more than hard work; its habitual work.

In my experience too few leaders recognize the importance of habits in life. One researcher at Duke University, for example, found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.1 When you rise in the morning, nearly half of your day will be determined by the patterns you’ve either intentionally created or passively allowed.

Your sense of identity will help determine your scale of influence. Ignore it at your own peril.

Know your own strengths, limitations, and values. Have relational transparency and genuineness. This involves being honest and straightforward, and not playing games or having a hidden agenda. Be fair-minded and do the right thing. Effective leaders solicit opposing viewpoints and consider all options before choosing a course of action. They’re open to the fact that they “may be wrong” and someone else may have the best idea. A true leader has an ethical core and knows the right thing to do.

Leaders must make honesty and trust the standard for their organizational culture.

Never satisfied, but always content is the posture of a properly ambitious leader.

The best leaders are people of integrity and principle who know the difference between principles and preferences. They are willing to stand up for the right things and stand against the wrong things. These leaders value their reputations, their consciences, and their values.

Ratings 4/5

Author

Brad Lomenick

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The Key To Success by Russell H. Conwell

The key to successThe Key To Success, by Russell H. Conwell is an essay to encourage people to seek their own success by observing the events around them. Russell H. Conwell seeks to find the intelligent and the “leading men and women” of tomorrow.

An  intelligent person recognizes their abilities and limits, understand that they have to hire someone with more insights, knowledge and competencies to do what she or he is not able to do so.

Furthermore, in life, having a leading man or woman is necessary. It is evident that very few are fit to lead or to know what to do under difficult or important circumstances: only wise and good men are fit to be leaders.

The story of the Silver Crown

In Ackba, there was a beautiful palace and in the palace, next to the throne, there was a pedestal with a Silver Crown, which the emperor wore when he passed a law and without which the emperor was a regular citizen. After many years of ruling, the emperor died and left the throne without an heir or anyone to claim the Silver Crown.

After twelve years of searching for a successor, when the country started to sink, the astrologers, who worshipped the stars, asked the stars where to find a successor. The stars answered:

Look up and look down your country, and when you find a man whom the animals follow, the sun serves, the waters obey, and mankind love, you need not to ask who his ancestors were. This man will be one of the royal line entitle to the throne of gold and the Crown of Silver.

The astrologers searched the country, asked the people but were met with ridicule. Until one night, an old astrologer got lost in the Himalaya Mountains and took refuge in a cottage to find an intelligent leader, worthy of the throne.

Through the story of the Silver Crown, Russell H. Conwell illustrates four characteristics that he deems are necessary to subsist in modern civilization.

How to find the intelligent leaders of tomorrow?

Russell H. Conwell uses the four characteristics of the Silver Crown story to determine the leaders of tomorrow: a man or woman whom the animals follow, a man or woman whom the sun serves, a man or woman whom the waters obey, and a man or woman who possesses mankind love.

Characteristic 1: Animals will follow the leader

Conwell considers that, alike universities, animals ought to instruct and encourage us. He takes a scientifical approach to demonstrate the knowledge and power embodied in animals.

Studying the animals and taking notice of their instinctive knowledge on a daily basis will allow us to comprehend life better. For example:

  • The horse is much more useful than a human being. The horse “has within its body so much galvanic and electric force continually generated by the activities of life, that if that electricity could be concentrated and held to a certain point, a horse could stand still and run a forty-horse power electric engine.” Whereas, a human being, standing still, can run a ten-power horse engine.
  • A hen and her egg are filled with mystery and more knowledge than an intelligent professor with degrees from prestigious schools are willing to admit or to spend time studying. Conwell believes, contrary to science, that hens or chickens possess their own language, the “egg is the greatest scientific problem with which the world has ever grappled — the beginning of life and the God-given design”.

Characteristics 2 & 3: the sun will serve the leader and the waters will obey the leader

Through the story of the locomotive and the milkman, Conwell shows how a leader is being served by both sun and water, the importance of getting educated on a daily basis and noticing the events around us and noticing the unnoticed.

The locomotive, using steam to move and driven by Man, is used to illustrate these 2 characteristics. A milkman took a locomotive every day to distribute his milk. On the train, he consistently asked questions about the functioning of the train to the engineers. One day, while the fireman and the engineer were absent, the train rolled down the mountain. Fortunately, the milkman was on the train, knew how to drive it and saved everyone, including a stakeholder in the railroad company. The milkman happened to get rich of his knowledge and his curiosity.

Characteristic 4: mankind will love the leader

A leader gains the love of mankind by being great benefactors: while they are going after their own success, they bless humanity, they hear the call of humanity and respond to it.

The university from which they have graduated from does not matter in real life. University can make you unlearn the real values and useful knowledge, needed in real life. An uneducated person will know more instinctively than anyone who has been to school by using their everyday observations, even though they have a degree from a university or not.

Review

key to successThe Key To Success by Russell H. Conwell is a great book that takes approximately one hour to read. It is filled with picturesque stories and fictional dialogues to illustrate and to get us to remember his point. It is dedicated to those who wish to become leaders and strengthens their core values, for those who are eager for success. It emphasizes the idea that every man is his own university, that every man should take notice of his surroundings and learn from everything.

In The Key To Success, Russell H. Conwell is very controversial, progressist, scientifically curious and forward for his time. He is continually questioning the limits of science and of human knowledge, is answering the questions that science cannot answer with the knowledge of God.

After reading this book, all I could think is “I like this guy” for his opinion. Conwell does not hesitate to denounce academics, with diplomas from prestigious schools, who have no time to study “lesser” things in life, who belive that their studied education trumps their natural and instinctive education. Hence, for him, science does not explain everything but we should seek explanation from God.

Favorite quote(s)

There is danger that a man will get so much education that he won’t know anything of real value because his useless education has driven the useful out of his mind.

The great scientific men—and we need more—often are not given the full credit that is due them because they have not “graduated” from somewhere. It seems to me there is a feeling in these later days for creating an aristocracy among the men who have graduated from some rich university. But that does not determine a man’s life. It may be a foolish tyranny for a little while, but nevertheless every man and woman must finally take the place where he and she are best fitted to be, and do the things that he and she can do best, and the things about which he and she really know. Where they graduated, or when, will not long count in the race of practical life.

Do you know that the humblest man, whatever his occupation, really knows instinctively certain things better for not having been to school much? It is so easy to bias the mind.

No man ever gives himself for others’ good in the right spirit without receiving “a hundredfold more in this present time.”

Many of us spend our lives searching for success when it is usually so close that we can reach out and touch it

Ratings 3,5/5

Author

Russell Herman Conwell

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How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton

How Full is Your BucketIn How Full is Your Bucket?, Donald O. Clifton and Tom Rath have partnered up in the hopes of helping people focus on the positive and not the negative. In his previous research and in his life experiences, Donald O. Clifton noticed that every interaction in life made a difference and profoundly shaped his perceptions.

The theory of the dipper and the bucket

To Donald O. Clifton and to Tom Rath, everyone possesses an invisible bucket and an invisible dipper. Filling your bucket would be synonymous to “boosting your well-being” and feeling engaged in your work.

An invisible bucket that can be emptied or filled depending on our interactions with others. When the bucket is full, we feel great, optimistic, energetic, renewed and strong.

An invisible dipper that can empty of fill someone else’s bucket. When the dipper is used to fill someone else’s bucket, we simultaneous fill our own bucket. When we use our dipper to empty someone else’s bucket, we empty our own bucket.

The power of Negativity

The Power of NegativityNegativity has the power to kill an individual. For most of us, negativity is common and harmless, but erodes our well-being and productivity. Negativity is also contagious and pushes us to start dipping in someone else’s bucket in the hopes of fulling ours.

In the workplace, daily multiple micro aggressions or the accumulation of negative interactions can cause people invisible and individual bucket to be emptied. An empty bucket has consequences on your well-being, on the well-being of your friends and family members, on your work performance, on your team’s productivity.

The disengagement and the negativity of employees are conveyed by “glazed looks”, counter productivity, a tendency to “stirring up trouble with whining, complaining, and even paranoia.

Fortunately, positivity is much more impactful than negativity.

As a leader or manager, how to make sure that employees individual bucket is full? How to get them to stay engaged?

Employees often lack recognition for their good work and “praise is rare in most organization”.

It takes a little initiative to create inexpensive and meaningful bucket filling experiences. For example, a short, motivating, positive conversation from leaders to increase employees productivity, alignment and engagement would suffice.

Leaders and managers have to:

  • switch the focus on their employees strengths only,
  • daily and positively interact with their team members.

Where is Negativity Rooted?

Our predisposition for either positivity or negativity is similar to our metabolism and our or disposition for weight gain. No matter how much someone eats, they will always remain thin.

Filling someone bucket should be unique, specific to the individual, appropriate to the work environment. Generic one size fits all approaches often backfire.

The american culture is to blame for the development and inclination toward negativity. In the American culture, we focus on what we do wrong instead of what we do right, on fixing weaknesses and dismissing strengths. “This focus is particularly evident in our school experiences” or at work where our natural talents and our skills don’t fit our roles. Also, we expect our employees to change their personality to fit the role.

According to John Gottman’s research on marriage, there is a magic ratio to respect in order to maintain positivity and to fill your bucket. The magic ratio is 5:1 which means that there must be 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction.

This magic ratio is critical for the workplace. For instance, teams with having more than 3 positive interactions for every negative interaction (3:1 ratio) gain in productivity and engagement. However, teams having more than a 13:1 ratio lose in productivity.

That is why, Rath and Clifton recommend grounding positivity in reality, but also acknowledging negativity and weaknesses and correcting mistakes.

The Benefits of Positivity

Positive or negative encounters are highly memorable and can change your life forever. Positivity creates a mindset that:

  • becomes a buffer against adversity, depression, health issues,
  • enables recovery from traumatic, painful experiences,
  • improves mental physical well-being,
  • stands as a coping and defense mechanisms,
  • transforms and breaks down social barriers,
  • generates optimal functioning in organizations and in individuals,
  • Induced by leader, improves productivity and group performance in the workplace.

How to Increase Positive Emotions?

To increase positive emotions and positive encounters, apply the following five strategies:

  1. Prevent any type of bucking dipping

    • Stop poking fun at someone, focusing in their insecurities, chronically criticizing others.
    • Encourage this change among people around you.
    • Start pressing pause consciously eliminating unwarranted negativity.
    • Keep track of your progress by scoring your interactions.
  1. Focus on what is right instead of what is wrong

To know if your focus us centered around what is right or if you have some impact on your environment, take the Positive Impact Test from Gallup. The Positive Impact Test provides 15 statements to measure your impact and your progress. Don’t hesitate to print them, read them and encourage your friends to take the test.

  1. Develop several good relationships

    • These relationships have to be best friends quality with coworkers in order to increase your job satisfaction and productively and subsequently increase theirs.
    • Actively listen to your coworkers.
    • Acknowledge when someone is doing a great job.
  2. Give unexpectedly

  3. Reverse the Golden Rule

    • The Golden Rule signifies “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Clifton and Rath introduced the reverted golden rule: “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them”.
    • Personalize your interactions and the way you praise and recognize others.

Review

How Full is Your Bucket? by Donald O. Clifton and Tom Rath is a brief, easy to read, encouraging and compelling book that gives tools to spread positivity in life or at work, to become a better leader, to develop values and character.

Furthermore, I found interesting that both authors share their personal adversities and explain how they have ingrained positivity in their lives and thoughts to overcome their health obstacles.

On a personal level, I wanted to read a positive book, that can stimulate everyone’s mind, inspire leaders to work on themselves and their leadership skills, to provide some tools to dilute the toxicity and the negativity in the workplace, to break the cycle of negativity in your life.

I believe that most of us can handle positive situations and encounters, but not everyone can handle difficult situations, that preparation is key and it is better to be safe then sorry, that it is better to be warned about toxicity than to be blindsided by it, and finally that knowledge is power.

In addition, Donald O. Clifton and Tom Rath are right when they claim that negativity stems from your culture and has become the norm. They are also right when they state that emptying someone else’s bucket will not make you feel better but only make you feel less then. So, you have to wonder: are you a bucket filler or a bucket dipper?

Favorite quote(s)

Most of us want more positive emotions in our lives. We want to feel like Tammy did in her brief meeting with Karen more often – and like she did after her performance review less often. Unfortunately, wanting a more positive environment isn’t enough. Most of us have grown up in a culture in which it’s much easier to tell people what they did wrong instead of praising them when they succeed. Although this negativity-based approach might have evolved unintentionally, it nevertheless permeates our society at all levels.

Recognition is most appreciated and effective when it is individualized, specific, and deserved.

Ratings 3/5

Author

Donald O. Clifton

Tom Rath

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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

the seven habits of highly effective people - book coverIn The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey distinguishes two major social paradigms that have embodied the search for success and the “fundamental principles of human effectiveness” since 1776: the Character Ethic and the Personality Ethic.

According to Stephen R. Covey, in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, in the United States, from 1776 to WWI, leadership culture was based around building character. It was said that Character Ethic was the foundation of long-term success: leaders were thought values and habits to develop their basic character.

However, from World War I to Today, leadership and success teachings have been promoting Personality Ethic. Personality Ethic provides quick fixes to help an individual deceive their way to the top, to success and to leadership positions. Personality Ethic teachings work short-term, don’t fix issues but just disguise them.

Moreover, Covey claims that we possess several paradigms or maps of how we see things and a map of how things should be which comes from our values. These maps are the basis of our attitudes and behaviors. Paradigms, which are our frame of reference or assumptions, are affected by our conditioning through life, by the influences of our friends and family, of our institutions, our culture, of our historical backgrounds, systems of beliefs, life experiences.

As a result, our attitudes and behaviours are congruent of our paradigms. So therefore, attempting to change only our attitudes and behaviors, as instilled by the Personality Ethic movement, is completely useless and is short-termed. In order to implement change in our character or a “paradigm shift“, it is then necessary to directly assess our paradigms, to examine them, to test them against reality, to listen to others and to be open to their perception.

The term “paradigm shift” is coined from the Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. It means breaking with tradition, old beliefs, old assumptions, old paradigms. Paradigms shift can be toward a positive or negative direction, “instantaneous or developmental” and “create a powerful change”.

Throughout The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey suggests that we shift our paradigms back to the Character Ethic, that we start shifting our thinking from the inside and introduces seven habits to enhance personal and interpersonal effectiveness.

The Character Ethic is a general and fundamental truth, universally applicable, unchangeable and unarguable laws and “principles that govern human effectiveness”, that are “bigger than people or circumstances”, that innately exist in all human beings, are common to all civilization and that triumph time and time again.

Acquiring Character Ethic is the basis of high level of trust in companies, is a long process that should be natural ad cannot be a shortcut. First step to the process is admitting your ignorance or lack of knowledge.

What is a habit?

Character is the composite of embedded habit, and it is necessary to solve the problems we face from the inside out because private victories exceed public victories.

A habit is the intersection of knowledge, skills and desire and is a natural force like gravity. Breaking a habit can be a painful process, demands effort and technique, should be motivated by a higher purpose, a willingness to sacrifice our current desire for a future and unseen desire.

What are the seven habits?

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People moves us on the maturity continuum. It brings us from a state of dependence where we need others to accomplish something for us, to a state of independence where we are self-reliant, self-motivated, derive our self-worth from within and are freed from external dependence, to a state of interdependence where we are self-reliant and competent in our own right but able to work with others, and believe that together we accomplish more.

In addition, the seven habits are habits of effectiveness, a balance between the production of a desired result and the investment in the ability to produce or in the physical, financial and human, asset that produces. Covey believes that to achieve effectiveness , we must strike the P/PC balance, where P stands for Production and PC for Production Capability.

The 3 following habits are the habits of Private Victory. These habits are used to become more confident, to know yourself deeper and to acknowledge your contribution capacity, to define yourself from within instead of using society’s point of view to define yourself. Stephen R. Covey encourages us to develop the habits of being proactive, keeping our future goals in mind and of creating our vision.

HABIT #1: Be proactive

In management literature, being proactive means taking initiative. Here, it also means being responsible for our lives and our decisions, being able to choose a response when faced with a stimulus.

Proactive people, unlike reactive people:

  • Are unaffected by their physical environment and are value driven. Their performance and attitudes remain constant whether it rains or shines.
  • Are unaffected by their social environment. they don’t build their emotional lives around people weaknesses and don’t allow those weaknesses to control their lives and decisions.  Instead they surrender their emotions to their values and don’t allow reactive language to affect them.
  • Take the initiative. Act before being acted upon, provide solution to a problem and enable growth and opportunity.
  • Look to focus their time and energy on areas that they can control or influence. Indeed, they don’t focus on others weaknesses and problems and uncontrollable events.
  • Constantly work on their habits, change from the inside-out.
  • Take full responsibility for their short-comings.
  • Are free to choose their actions but understand that they cannot control the consequences of these actions.
  • Govern their behaviors with principles, acknowledge their mistakes, learn from them and correct them immediately.
  • Have integrity: they make and keep their commitments and promises.
  • Monitor their language and the language of the people around them.
  • Identify past and potential experiences to which they have behaved reactively and play out scenarios towards a solution.

HABIT #2: Begin with the end in mind

For Stephen R. Covey, beginning with the end in mind means using the “end of your life as your frame of reference or criterion by which everything else is examined”, starting with “a clear understanding of your destination” to “know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right destination”. To begin with the end in mind:

  • Use habit #1 to be proactive to change preexisting thought, shift your paradigm, examine your deepest values.
  • Be aware and conscious of your limitless potential, of your uniqueness.
  • Be imaginative enough to visualize the unseen.
  • Be responsible and response-able.
  • Do not violate the criteria that you have set for yourself.
  • Lead yourself daily in order to execute what really matters.
  • Develop a “personal mission statement or philosophy or creed” describing your aspiring character, achievements, contributions, values and principles. The personal mission statement becomes your guide and standard, provides you with a sense of mission, helps define your short-termed and long-termed goals and allows change because your core has now become changeless. Basically, developing a personal mission statement makes you much more effective because your energy, time and strengths are dedicated to areas that matter to you. Personal mission statements are not to be written overnight but might take several weeks because they require deep introspection. Also, they have to be written alone and reviewed many times before producing a final form.

HABIT #3: Put first things first

Stephen R. Covey believes that all things are created twice, by design or by default. The first creation starts in the mind where you envision the future and you plan for a destination. The second creation is physical: you bring what you visualize into reality and you take the best route towards your planned destination.

For Covey, leadership is the first creation and management is the second. Indeed, leadership creates the way, opens the pathway, provides direction and a destination. On the other hand, management clears the pathway by “writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle development programs, bringing in improved technologies and setting up working schedules and contributions programs”.

To be able to physically create and implement your vision into reality, you have to:

  • be proactive, understand that you are in control and are able to change your paradigm,
  • envision your potential and your destination and be self-ware,
  • have discipline to effectively carry out your plans, to stick to your values and to manage your time and life,
  • prioritize, schedule, select goals and leave space for unanticipated events,
  • delegate responsibility to skilled and trained individuals to focus their energy on high-leverage activities.

“Private Victory precedes Public Victory. Self-mastery and self-discipline are the foundation of good relationships with others”.

On one hand, Habits #1, #2 and #3 are habits of Private Victory and are about developing your inner self, your character and your core values.

on the other hand, Habits #4, #5, #6 are habits of Public Victory, help in improving your relationship with others and working successfully with others.

Using the Personality Ethic, we might have a superficial and duplicitous relationship with others. Difficulty in relationships translates into tolerable chronic emotional pain  that can turn into psychosomatic diseases. The symptoms of these emotional pains cannot be treated with quick fixes and techniques from the Personality Ethic.

Nevertheless, the Character Ethic provides a foundation for effective interdependence. The interdependence paradigm teaches us to:

  • seek to understand others and stimulate their deep interest or needs,
  • attend to kindness and courtesies,
  • keep commitments and promises to people in order to build trust,
  • clarify expectations from the start to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts,
  • manifest integrity by being honest, loyal to those who are not present, by treating everyone with the same set of principles,
  • help others “feel secure and safe and validated and affirmed in their essential worth, identity and integrity”,
  • handle problems and see them as opportunities.

HABIT #4: Think Win/Win

Stephen R. Covey identifies 6 paradigms of human interaction:

  1. The Win/Win paradigm. People with this paradigm seek mutual benefits in all human interactions, believe that life is a cooperation and not a competition, that a “person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others”.
  2. The Win/Lose paradigm. People with this paradigm don’t create synergy or cooperation, use the authoritarian or commanding leadership style and are accustomed to low trust and competitive environments.
  3. The Lose/Win paradigm. People with this paradigm have no standard, no demands, no expectation, no vision, search for popularity and acceptance, are quick to please and appease, repress their emotions and feelings, and are easily intimidated by ego strengths of others.
  4. The Lose/Lose paradigm. People with this paradigm live by the “philosophy of the highly dependent person without inner direction”, who is miserable and thinks everyone else should be too.
  5. The Win paradigm. People with this mentality seek to win not necessarily wanting the other party to lose or win.
  6. The Win/Win or No Deal paradigm. If no synergistic solution is brought to the table that could satisfy both parties, then there is no deal. This paradigm provides emotional freedom.

Stephen R. Covey promotes the Win/Win paradigm and establishes that a Win/Win person possesses specific character traits: they have integrity, they have maturity which means that they are able to express their views with consideration to others, and they have the abundance mentality which means that they believe that there is enough for everyone.

Of course, not all decisions are Win/Win, but to know when to apply the Win/Win paradigm, you must understand the problem from another perspective, identify the other person’s issues and concerns, other acceptable results, and new possible outcomes for the situation.

HABIT #5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood

To be able to influence and to develop effective interpersonal communication skills, it is better to diagnose a situation before prescribing or proving advice.

To understand another person’s emotional and intellectual paradigm, Covey instructs us to listen empathetically, without making assumptions, and warns us to not listen to reply, manipulate, control or sympathize.

Empathic listening takes time initially but saves time afterwards, is risky because you become vulnerable to influence. That is why we must develop a changeless core of principles, erected in Habits #1, #2, #3.

Furthermore, seeking to be understood requires maturity, an ability to present your ideas clearly, specifically, visually and contextually and an ability to consider all the facts and perceptions. To take preventive measures, schedules one-on-one before issues arise.

HABIT #6: Synergize

Synergy means that “the whole is greater than the sums of its parts”, and is used to create cooperation in our social interaction. To create synergy on a daily basis:

  • value and respect social, mental and emotional differences to nurture people self-esteem and self-worth. Effective people acknowledge the limits if their perceptions, appreciate diverse interactions because they had to this person’s knowledge and understanding of reality, increase their awareness,
  • build on strengths and compensate weaknesses,
  • be open to new possibilities, alternatives and options,
  • be open to learning and to other’s influence.

HABIT #7: Sharpen the Saw

Finally, Habit #7 sums up the entire book. Habit #7 is about investing, preserving and enhancing your preexisting assets and means exercising sound motivation and organisation in four different dimensions:

  • The physical dimension is about caring for the health of our body by eating right and exercising.
  • The “spiritual dimension provides leadership in your life”, is your core and your commitment to your value system.
  • The mental dimension come from formal eduction, expansion of the mind.
  • The social/emotional dimension that is centered on developing interpersonal leadership, empathic communication and creative cooperation.

Review

the seven habits of highly effective people - book coverThe Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a self-development book that has been on my shelf for longest while. It was written in 1989 but is still contemporaneous and can very much serve as guide to life, for personal and professional growth.

I avidly took notes in the perspective of actively applying every single tip and read it twice in order to capture the very essence of the book.

I recommend it to all leaders that are trying to integrate core values and to ingrain “good” habits into their character in order to experience success, to increase their effectiveness at work and to become the best leader that they can be.

I like that each paragraph are interconnected and that the author is personally implicated, is genuine with his approach and his drive to see us succeed and become more effective.

Covey calls out the books since World War I, promoting Personality Ethic, that provide quick fixes and band aids to deep-rooted problems. These books suggest techniques and principles to encourage leaders to put up a front and act like a leader would and not actually be a leader. Covey is also being very transparent about the dysfunction of the society these days, willing to manipulate and deceive their way to the top.

Finally, he reminds us that it is not all that shines that is glitter: the deception does not last very long and the leadership tower crashes because it has no basis and because the leadership house was built on sand.

Favorite Quote(s)

If I try to use human influence strategies and tactics of how to get other people to do what I want, to work better, to be more motivated, to like me and each other — while my character is fundamentally flawed, marked by duplicity and insincerity — then, in the long run, I cannot be successful. My duplicity will breed distrust, and everything I do — even using so-called good human relations techniques — will be perceived as manipulative. It simply makes no difference how good the rhetoric is or even how good the intentions are; if there is little or no trust, there is no foundation for permanent success. Only basic goodness gives life to technique.

You always reap what you sow; there is no shortcut.

Self-mastery and self-discipline are the foundation of good relationships with others.

Ratings 3,75/5

Author

Stephen R. Covey

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The Success Formula: How Smart Leaders Deliver Outstanding Value by Andrew Kakabadse

The Success Formula: How Outstanding Leaders Create ValueIn The Success Formula: How Smart Leaders Deliver Outstanding Value, Andrew Kakabadse acknowledges the complexities of leadership and researches the factors for leadership success, in the fast-paced and complex global marketplace. The skills needed to succeed in the past are today insufficient.

Andrew Kakabadse suggests that creating value is the origin of success, the definition of success depending on the type of value the organization wants to create and on the way they want to create value.

What is value?

Creating value should be the “primary purpose of leadership”.

The notion of value stretches itself from going public to the number of stakeholders, from not losing money to making profit, from creating quality products to retaining customers, from contributing to society to connecting stakeholders, customers, suppliers, others individuals to the activity of the organization.

What is success?

“[…] success is the creation of value — economic and social benefits and outcomes that serve a purpose for the people they are intended to help, in accordance with a set of values that the organization subscribes to”.

What is considered failure?

Failure is the destruction of value or the unsuccessful delivery of value due to bad management.

Organizations propose value by holding on to their client and audience, and by explaining how they do well uniquely. Several scenarios can be played out regarding the value proposition:

  • If there isn’t any value proposition clearly defined, leaders are easily derailed and pursue purposeless strategies.
  • If the value proposition isn’t readjusted to fit the context, leaders are blindsided by the event and lack flexibility.
  • If the value proposition is known to be used and a strategy has been implemented around it, but the value proposition has never been tested, then the value proposition of the organization is doomed to fail.
  • Only if the value proposition of the company is continually being tested, interrogated and evidence pursued, that the organization can be successful.

How to create value? How to create sustainable value?

Leaders approach value creation differently by:

Approach #1: Replicating a previous strategy. This approach is the most commonly applied in organizations. However, this approach is flawed if the leader constantly employs the same strategy to different situations, without being allowed to evolve and adapt to new situations.

Approach #2: Intuitively formulating an unproven strategy. This approach is flawed if the leader doesn’t challenge the facts and doesn’t test his strategy. 

Approach #3: Interrogating and proving a hypothetical strategy with evidence. This third approach is the most accurate because leaders need to gather evidence, data, engage with people within their context to be able to make decisions accordingly. This approach requires a combination of “diversity of thinking”, strategy, engagement and alignment to create value.

Subsequently, two leadership models derive from the three approaches for value creation:

Model #1: The creation of “perceived value”

This is an old leadership model, driven by the belief of the leader. Leaders who create perceived value tend to visualize the bigger picture and to put strategy first.

perceived value
Model #1: The creation of “perceived value”

Model #2: The creation of “delivered value”

This is a new and current leadership model, driven by evidence. In this model, leaders maintain close relationships with the society of the organization (stakeholders, customers, …), gather evidence from them about the advancement of value creation and about the implementation of the strategy.

delivered value
Model #2: The creation of “delivered value”

 

What is the success formula?

To make sense of value creation in organization that are either evidence-led or strategy-led, Andrew Kakabadse came up with three formulas:

Formula #1

STRATEGY x (ENGAGEMENT + ALIGNMENT) = VALUE PROPOSITION

Formula #1 makes sense of value creation in organizations driven by strategy and disengaged with their contextual reality.

Formula #2

(STRATEGY x ALIGNMENT) + ENGAGEMENT = VALUE PROPOSITION

The formula above represents a situation in which leaders implement a strategy, with which everyone is on board, at a human and cultural cost.

Formula #3 — The Success Formula

STRATEGY + (ENGAGEMENT x ALIGNMENT) = VALUE DELIVERY

The success formula represents an organizations where consensus is first achieved before formulating a strategy that will continually be tested.

What are the other factors for success?

Value delivery is the starting point of success. It is also necessary to seek out different point of views, different perspectives to build a composite understanding of the organization and to sustain success. “Diversity of thinking and engagement are the two sides of the same coin”. Diversity of thinking does not include gender, age, nationality but means “diverse in mind”.

Leaders who want to promote diversity of thinking within their organization must:

  • have a “passion for diversity of thinking”. Leaders should be curious, enjoy learning about themselves and the world, should be “open to new experiences and perspectives”.
  • have international exposure. Leaders are compelled to welcome and search for international exposures for organizational and personal growth.
  • advocate for open communication to instill trust and to encourage positive attitude towards challenges. Open communication comes from exposure to different cultures, which teaches the leaders how to adapt to different environments and to work with different cultures.
  • engage with the organization. Leaders can start promoting the culture of diversity of thinking within the corporation, be active listeners and respond to people accordingly.
  • build their team. Leaders are obliged to select the right people to make the right decisions and to avoid group-thinking.

Diversity of thinking is at the center of the success formula. Leaders must encourage “diversity of thinking” by listening and showing respect.

How to create a culture of diversity of thinking?

In The Success Formula: How Smart Leaders Deliver Outstanding Value, Andrew Kakabadse put together seven “disciplines” to help create a culture of diversity of thinking, and therefore to fulfill the success formula.

Discipline #1: Evidence Collection

Evidence creates alignment and engagement and allow leaders to reach a balance of opinions. Gathering evidence is part of a transparent process, gives a realistic overview of the market and the position of the company or the market, and allows leaders to gain knowledge in their respective fields.

Evidence-oriented leader:

  • deeply believe that the evidence gathering process can move towards success.
  • start gathering evidence from day one.
  • assemble hard evidence as well as soft evidence, and are comfortable with constructive criticism.
  • emphasize on the quality of the evidence.
  • actively listen and engage with divergent thinking.
  • use evidence to back up their strategies and to debate.
  • make time for debates even if evidence is a slow process and delays decision.
  • seek evidence in a structured manner.

Discipline #2: Mission Delimitation

Defining a mission for the organization means defining a clear purpose for the organization in order to promulgate their core values.

Needless to say that the nature of these core values is critical: successful organizations promote “inclusiveness and an environment suitable for innovation, the building of trust, and the spotting of new opportunities”.

Discipline #3: Alignment Enhancement

Alignment, “the logic and structure to execute strategy”, is a vital element in fulfillment of the success formula. There are 3 types of alignment:

  • “Alignment of thinking between the key players” in order to execute strategy. This type of alignment starts with the hiring process.
  • Alignment of structure to gain in efficiency.
  • Alignment of operational system, protocols, processes to facilitate the execution of strategy.

Discipline #4: Engagement Enhancement

Engagement, “the desire, willingness, motivation (or demotivation) to make the structures and the processes work”, is difficult to achieve because it is impossible to control people.

Corporations with the highest level of engagement are not led by charismatic nor visionary leaders but are led by humble leaders, with listening skills that treat people fairly, that are open-minded and that reward people for their effort.

Discipline #5: Leadership Style Improvement

In addition to being driven by evidence, to leading with purpose, leaders display 3 main qualities:

  • a high level of IQ to respond to the challenges that the organization faces and build “pathways through demanding circumstances”.
  • “a profound moral consciousness” which requires integrity and an accurate and sensitive understanding of the context.
  • a “persuasive advocacy” which is an ability to “walk the talk and talk the walk”.

Discipline #6: Governance Balance

Governance has two vital dimensions: monitoring and mentoring that are linked to the performance of the organization.

“Monitoring is all about the controls, protocols, and procedures that provide early warning signals and enable the board to take action to prevent wrongdoing or bad decisions”. “It is mentoring that makes the governance difference. This stewardship requires time, commitment, and consideration of how and with whom to engage”.

Discipline #7: Wisdom Development

Wisdom allows the increase of alignment and engagement. Wisdom is “earned through years of experience”, “comes from reflection and a willingness to keep on learning”.

Wise leaders learn to conveniently engage with people, patiently work through issues and dilemmas, accurately solve problems instead of rushing through them.

Review

The Success Formula: How Smart Leaders Deliver Outstanding Value is a robust academic research publication, with simple theories. These theories are illustrated with several real life, relatable, contemporaneous case studies from which leaders can grab inspiration.

Through one simple formula, Kakabadse was able to represent the complexities of todays organizations and highlight the difficulties of putting this formula into practise.

Furthermore, I believe this book is ideal for leaders:

  • starting a business or company and are wondering how to create value and a competitive advantage within their company,
  • looking to ensure a healthy workplace,
  • looking to evaluate their organizations and detect potential issues,
  • who have been derailed by a strategy-led organization,
  • who are in organizations that are restructuring and want to promote an evidence-led culture in their organization.

Finally, I enjoyed the fact that Andrew Kakabadse stressed that evidence-led leadership does not happen overnight, that the leader’s job is not easy and every decisions have to be thought through, analyze and tested beforehand, and that the organization’s success is not only due to the leader but also to the contribution of the team, and that leaders have to showcase strong core values.

Favorite quote(s)

“[…] success is the creation of value — economic and social benefits and outcomes that serve a purpose for the people they are intended to help, in accordance with a set of values that the organization subscribes to”.

Ratings 3/5

Author

Andrew Kakabadse

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Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter by Robert Bruce Shaw

leadership blindspotsAccording to Robert Bruce Shaw, in Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter, great leadership emanates from an ability to make great decisions which comes from making bad decisions and learning from them. The sooner in your career that those bad decisions are made, the better.

Of course, you make fewer mistakes as you progress in your career and as you experience the outcomes of the mistakes, but you never stop making them. In addition, mistakes are more costly as you move up the ladder in a company and can potentially derail your career.

In light of this issue, in Leadership Blindspots, Robert Bruce Shaw investigates the existence of leadership blindspot, an “unrecognized weakness or threat that has the potential to undermine a leader’s success” and that becomes evident in the way your team, organizations and markets are perceived.

How to characterize leadership blindspots?

First of all, leadership blindspots  are often associated to leadership strengths. They appear whenever the leader is utilizing his or her strengths at work. Second of all, blindspots don’t disappear, even if you are fully aware of them. Thirdly, blindspots are situational, adaptive and can be helpful. And finally, blindspots are able to impact other people and followers.

Advice for understanding and dealing with leadership blindspots?

Furthermore, blindspots come with a price and has to be recognized by the leader in order for him or her to find a balance. To do so, leaders have to weigh two conflicting needs:

  1. their need for acting with confidence, believing strongly in their vision, and having faith in themselves, their abilities.
  2. their need for assessing their limitations in order to avoid overconfidence or excessive optimism.

The complex balance between self-confidence and self-doubt is unnatural, contradictory but necessary, depends on each individual and each situation.

If there are too many blindspots, the leader can be overly confident and arrogant. If there are too few blindspots, the leader is somewhat realistic about the obstacles to face, is aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses.

Are there different levels of blindness?

There are three levels of blindness that a leader could experience:

  1. Lack of awareness level. This is the “most extreme form of a blindspot”. At this level, leaders are constantly surprised or blindsided by events.
  2. Faulty assessment level. At this level, leaders are in denial: they refuse to acknowledge risks, to analyze known weaknesses, and to understand the causes and consequences of their blindspots.
  3. Failure to act level. At this level, leaders know the risks, threats and weaknesses that lay ahead but fail to act on them for lack of skills and resolve. Those leaders are adept to the rule “when in doubt, do nothing” or rather remain in their comfort zones.

How to identify your leadership blindspots? 

In order to identify your blindspots:

  1. review your past and present mistakes. Mistakes are indicative of blindspots, areas of lack of self-awareness, and areas of faulty patterns of thinking and behavior. It is advised  to identify the most significant mistakes, their causes, patterns of behavior and thinking associated to these mistakes and the actions to be taken on the behalf of the leader to prevent those mistakes from reoccurring.
  2. Consider honest and useful feedback from your trusted advisors.
  3. Gain additional insight by taking the blindspot assessment survey.

Then, question the relative importance of your blindspots in your career and its impacts on yourself, the organization to  distinguish which blindspot requires your immediate attention.

What are the different types of leadership blindspots?

Robert Bruce Shaw has classified leadership blindspots in 20 categories:

  1. “Overestimating your strategic capabilities”
  2. “Valuing being right over being effective”
  3. “Failing to balance the what with the how”
  4. “Not seeing your impact on others”
  5. “Believing the rules don’t apply to you”
  6. “Thinking the present is the past”
  7. “Failing to focus on the vital few”
  8. “Taking for granted your team model”
  9. “Overrating the talent on your team”
  10. “Avoiding the tough conversations”
  11. “Trusting the wrong individuals”
  12. “Not developing real successors”
  13. “Failing to capture hearts and minds”
  14. “Losing touch with your shop floor”
  15. “Treating information and opinion as fact”
  16. “Misreading the political landscape”
  17. “Putting personal ambition before the company”
  18. “Clinging to the status quo”
  19. “Underestimating your competitors”
  20. “Being overly optimistic”

Which factors trigger blindspots?

Blindspots often go hand in hand with the leader’s strengths and reappear unexpectedly when the leader does what he or she does best. There are few factors that lead to blindspots areas:

  1. Experience gaps“. The blindspot stems from a lack of experience or from a habit of using past experiences to extrapolate a present situation.
  2. Information overload” describes an inability to pay attention to everything that is happening when engaged in a complex and challenging task.
  3. Emotional bias” corresponds to an emotional involvement in a particular situation or outcome that clouds judgement.
  4. Cognitive dissonance” is a psychology term associated to a state in which leaders hold two conflicting views of their self-image. The “conflict is resolved through rationalizing one’s belief or actions in a manner that sustains one’s positive self-image” which reinforces the blindspot.
  5. “Misaligned incentives” are compensation systems that are “designed to focus attention and effort within an organization, with the result being that people focus more on some areas than on others”.
  6. Hierarchical distortion”. The information transmitted to hierarchy becomes distorted, false, incomplete because:
    • high-ranking leaders are sometimes detached from the lower levels of the organization.
    • subordinates tend to sugarcoat information by deference or by fear of retaliation.
    • high-ranking leaders pay less attention to less powerful people.
  7. Overconfidence“. Leaders overestimates their own capabilities, skills and knowledge.

How to overcome blindspots?

According to Robert Bruce Shaw, it is not possible to completely suppress blindspots but it is important to recognize them and find ways to work with them?

To handle blindspot:

  1. Make an assessment of the problem on your own, stay on contact with frontliners, customers, markets and high potential individuals.
  2. Invest in metrics, processes and data that challenge the leader’s beliefs and basic assumptions.
  3. Develop an ability to recognize, prioritize blindspot warning signs.
  4. Consider feedback from trusted advisors.
  5. “Leaders need to test their ideas and discuss emerging threats with a diverse team of individuals who respect each other’s experience and abilities but are also willing to push each other to reach the best outcomes on the truly critical issues”.

In conclusion, leaders are flawed individuals with strengths, weaknesses and blindspots that are to be acknowledged. Blindspots often show up when the leader is using his or her strengths or reverts to their comfort zone, and cannot be completely resolved.

It is up to the leader to stay on the lookout for blindspots, to strike up a balance between self-confidence and self-doubt.
indexIn Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter, Robert Bruce Shaw analyses leadership behaviors when it comes to blindspots and weaknesses. He illustrates every single one of his thoughts on blindspots with great and renown leadership examples and concludes each example with an analysis and lessons to take away. Furthermore, not only this book contains realistic and applicable examples, each paragraph of this book can be read on standalone.

In addition, Robert Bruce Shaw provides us with a tool —the blindspot assessment survey— for us to identify whether or not we possess blindspots and to what degree we have incubated them. I recommend this book to employees who are failing to lead and to boost their careers.

It has come to my knowledge that because of my belief system, I am an adept of the rule “when in doubt, stand still” which has not bothered my career but has increased my serenity. After taking the blindspot assessment test, I have received a low probability of blindspots as I am self-aware of my strengths and of my weaknesses.

Finally, Leadership Blindspots was intriguing to me because there are so many books about leadership strengths and developing them. I appreciated the fact that he mentioned the need for transparency (better visibility of mistakes thanks to the media) which put leaders are under a lot of pressure, all while trying to overcome their blindspots.

Favorite quote(s)

People who are smart and self-assured are often very skillful at justifying their thinking and behavior—to the point of being in denial about their weaknesses and the threats they face. Their intelligence can work against them when they convince themselves, and often others, that they are right even when they are wrong.

Successful individuals who sometimes stumble often do so because they have no one who can protect them from themselves.

The best leaders develop a range of compensating mechanisms that fit their personalities and the company cultures in which they work. In many cases these leaders don’t fundamentally change the way they think, but instead develop warning systems that surface important weaknesses and threats.

Ratings 3/5

Author

Robert Bruce Shaw

Purchase

Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell

Developing the Leader Within You by John C. MaxwellIn Developing the Leader Within You, John C. Maxwell gives advice on improving your leadership skills and a step-by-step guide of the leadership process.

It is a fact that leaders are not born but are made. It takes exposure to another person’s leadership model, training and self-disciplined.

What is Leadership?

Above all, “Leadership is influence”, according to John C. Maxwell in Developing the Leader Within You. Leadership is not defined by an ability to acquire position, rank and status.

Furthermore, leadership distinguishes itself from management. “Management is the process of assuring that the program and objectives of the organization are implemented. Leadership, on the other hand, has to do with casting vision and motivating people.”

Who is a leader?

The leader of any group is discovered when an important issue is to be decided, when everyone follows and listens to his or her opinion.

Everyone can be a leader, is currently leading, has led, is led or is being led. Contrary to popular belief, even an introvert can be a leader.

Everybody has influence to some extent and influence can be developed. To discover your level and your type of influence, John C. Maxwell has separated the leadership process into 5 “levels”.

Developing the Leader Within You by John C. MaxwellWhat are the 5 levels of the leadership process?

The higher you go in the leadership process or the closer you reach to the final and fifth level of the leadership process, the longer it takes to pass a level, the higher the sacrifice and the level of commitment,the more people will want to follow you, the easier it is to lead, and the easier  it is to implement change and encourage growth.

Each level is interdependent and is the basis for the higher one. First find out the level of influence that you have with your coworkers and then, solidify the basis of this level before moving on to the next one.

  1. Position Leadership

At this level, authority and influence are conferred by the job title, which is the “basic entry-level of leadership”. This level is the common understanding of what leadership is.

Aspects and conditions of Position Leadership:

  • The job title has to be appointed to you by someone higher in authority, thanks to your technical training, and your ability to maintain procedures and protocol.
  • The position provides security but does not automatically create followers. People will execute your orders but will not go beyond your stated authority.
  • Millennials don’t respect figures of authority because they are no longer impressed.
  • Position leaders can only control people through monetary leverage.
  • White collars resent position leaders who abuse authority and attempt to intimidate.

Requirements:

  • Start by respecting procedures and protocols, by performing well, by providing results and by being consistent with it.
  • Make sure you fit the corporate culture and share your company values.
  • Come up with innovative ideas.
  1. Permission

This leadership level is based on interrelationship skills. People will work for you, not because they have to but because they want to.

Aspect and conditions of Permission Leadership:

  • Building solid relationships with people allows you to build sustainable leadership.

Requirements:

  • Develop your interrelationship skills.
  • Invest in people and in “win-win” situations.
  • Include people in your group.
  1. Production

This is a period of positive growth in leadership. Your productivity is therefore enhanced, even though you are not yet qualified for the job.

Requirements:

  • Develop a “statement for purpose”, a “responsibility for growth”, an “accountability for results”, an understanding for timing and an appreciation for change.
  1. People Development

Level of leadership where you are able to empower others and instill loyalty into them.

Requirements:

  • “be a model to follow”.
  • Invest time and mentorship in the top 20% of your followers. Identify other influencers that are your subordinates to unify the team around you and to build “collective influence”.
  • Make an effort to stay in touch with everyone even the new comers to the company.
  1. Personhood

Fifth and final level where you entirely benefit from your leadership position.

Aspect and conditions of Personhood Leadership:

  • An emphasis is placed on growing others and watching them grow.
  • You are surrounded by loyal and sacrificial followers.

So what are the keys to leadership success at each level?

Leadership success is obtained by understanding the 20/80 percent principle or Pareto principle to projects, to your job, to the people around you, by prioritizing and by working toward a stated goal.

To do so, on one hand, identify the high importance and the high urgency projects in order to tackle them first. On the other hand, determine your respective responsibilities from what can be delegated to someone else, what tasks give you the greatest returns and which activities give you the most satisfaction on your job.

Finally, analyze the significance of goals before starting projects.

The character to leadership success

In Developing the Leader Within You, John C. Maxwell considers 8 components of character that contribute to leadership success.

  1. Integrity

Integrity is the most important component of leadership. Why? Because it instills trust, helps you gain credibility, grow your influence, build a solid reputation, increase your accountability and your sense of responsibility, resolve internal conflicts and foster a spirit of contentment within you. You do what you say you are consistently and are able to lead by example.

Keep in mind that “integrity is not a given factor in everyone’s life. It is a result of self-discipline, inner trust, and a decision to being relentlessly honest in all situations in our lives”.

  1. Innovation

In order to keep leading, keep changing yourself and your organization, keep renovating and innovating, encouraging growth. The leader has to become comfortable with change and has to acquire the right attitude and understand the demands for such change.

  1. Problem solving

On the job, people all have problems and will tend to underperform. Unfortunately, you cannot eliminate problems and responsibilities from your life but you can overcome and work through them by changing your attitude and reactions towards them.

Leaders do not hold on to problems nor make excuses for their failures but instead transform their “stumbling blocks into stepping-stones”. In fact, they live by the following motto:

“If I can’t do something about a problem, it’s not my problem, it’s a fact of life”.

Also, a leader is able to recognize a problem ahead, is constantly looking for indications of problems before they occur, and is able to best solve them by teaching people how to solve their own problems, by listing all the causes and solutions of the problem, by directly attacking the symptoms of the problem and not the cause,

  1. The right attitude

The right attitude must be developed for leadership to give the right model to your followers.

  1. A love for people

Invest in people by:

  • developing people skills on your own,
  • teaching people around you how to be a leader,
  • motivating and encouraging others,
  • making the right assumptions about people,
  • becoming familiar with the right questions to ask people,
  • being comfortable enough to confront or clarify an issue with someone,
  • becoming an active listener,
  • giving the right assistance to people,
  • allowing team member to utilize their greatest strengths instead of their talents.
  1. An ability to have and share a vision

Leaders must have a vision, “a clear picture of what the leader sees his or her group being or doing” in order to find strength from inner convictions, to provide stamina and to continue their journey when setbacks occur.

The vision needs to be supported by the leader and has to be fed by the leader’s credibility, energy, by the commitment and ownership of the leader and followers, and by the timing of its presentation.

  1. An inclination for personal growth and self-discipline

A leader without self-discipline is his or her worst enemy and appears to be out of control. “This leads to uncertainty and insecurity among followers”.

You can start self-discipline by getting organized, by being responsible for yourself, your actions and your followers, accountable to your followers, by cultivating emotional intelligence,  by developing sacrifice and by paying the price of sacrifice.

  1. An enthusiasm for developing people

One of the role of leadership consists in growing people and developing the leader in them. To do so, create an environment for success, boost your team’s self-esteem, care for your team, understand their human needs and their motivations.

Review

Developing the Leader Within You, by John C. Maxwell, is a self-help book to assess your leadership skills, to solidify and improve your level of influence in your organization. Developing the Leader Within You is filled with small tests, examples and anecdotes to help you relate to the useful message.

It is dedicated to those who are unafraid of change, are willing to continually improve themselves and are ambitious enough to keep moving up the corporate ladder.

Developing the Leader Within You is also ideal for beginners who are at an entry-level position. When you freshly graduate, you believe that leadership rhymes with title, rank, position and responsibilities, and that everyone had to do what you say. Regrettably, I discovered that this wasn’t the case and that I had to work hard building a relationship with my coworkers.

This book has first been published in 1993 but the content is very much contemporaneous and should be prompted to anyone who conceives false notions about leadership.

Leadership is not accessible to everyone even though everybody is trying to do it nowadays, starting with millennials: it takes self-discipline and sacrifice which not everyone is willing to do.

Lastly, I enjoyed that John C. Maxwell made it clear that leadership is a long process that cannot be rushed and that there are steps that cannot be skipped.

Favorite quote(s)

Leadership is influence.

Sociologists tell us that even the most introverted individual will influence ten thousand other people during his or her lifetime!

integrity is not  given factor in everyone’s life. It is a result of self-discipline, inner trust, and a decision to be relentlessly honest in all situations in our lives.

If I can’t do something about a problem, it’s not my problem, it’s a fact of life.

A vision should be greater that the person who has it.

The growth and the development of people is the highest calling of leadership.

Ratings 4/5

Author

John C. Maxwell

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Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell

StandOut 2.0: assess your strengths, find your edge, win at work by Marcus Buckingham

In StandOut 2.0: assess your strengths, find your edge, win at work, Marcus Buckingham stresses the fact that everybody has a “genius” — a particular combination of strengths — that is innate but that is difficult to find out, to control and to employ. Our genius comes so naturally to us that it becomes the norm, the standard of behavior for everyone.

Furthermore, it is difficult to acknowledge our abilities and how unique we are. Society will not tell you your strengths but will deter you from being confident or different and will encourage you to fit the mould.

In that event, Gallup Inc’s StrengthsFinder has defined 34 “themes of talents” to help an individual evaluate their strengths and styles. Though there is an infinite amount of strengths and personality traits, Marcus Buckingham noticed recurring patterns within Gallup Inc’s 34 themes of talents. He then combined those 34 themes of talents and hundreds of other measurable themes into 9 powerful “Strength Roles” that will help you distinguish your strengths and take advantage of your edge. Each Strength Role can be assimilated to a “certain “personality,” a way of engaging with the world.”.

Below, are the 9 StandOut Strength Roles identified by Marcus Buckingham:

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Advisor. You are a practical, concrete thinker who is at your most powerful when reacting to and solving other people’s problems.


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Connector. You are a catalyst. Your power lies in your craving to bring two people together to make something bigger and better than it is now.


StandOutCreator

Creator. You make sense of the world, pulling it apart, seeing a better configuration, and creating it.


StandOut2.0 Equalizer

Equalizer. You are a level-headed person whose power comes from keeping the world in balance, ethically and practically.


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Influencer. You engage people directly and convince them to act. Your power is your persuasion.


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Pioneer. You see the world as a friendly place where, around every corner, good things will happen. Your power comes from your optimism in the face of uncertainty.


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Provider. You sense other people’s feelings, and you feel compelled to recognize these feelings, give them a voice, and act on them.


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Stimulator. You are the host of other people’s emotions. You feel responsible for them, for turning them around, for elevating them.


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Teacher. You are thrilled by the potential you see in each person. Your power comes from learning how to unleash it.


The StandOut assessment test, taken online and associated to this book, is designed to measure your propensity to a Strength Role, by posing a series of questions and analyzing your impulsive or instinctive responses. The test poses thirty-four questions that are mostly built around hypothetical stressful situations in the workplace, that are clocked and that require top of the mind responses among a set of possible good and defendable responses. Additionally, the questions are embedded with trigger words that will unknowingly stimulate you, captivate you and incite you towards a specific answer.

The analysis of your responses, ranking your 9 strengths roles in order of importance, is delivered in a report. Through the StandOut assessment test, you can discover and study which two top Strength Roles that you are naturally leaning towards.

Knowing your strengths, how to use them, where to use them, how to describe yourself, the impacts of your strengths on your career, your team and your leadership styles, how to look out for your pitfalls, will definitely give you an edge over everyone else in the workplace.

After identifying and understanding your strengths, it is necessary to improve them, to best translate them in order to properly employ them. It is necessary to build them. Marcus Buckingham lays down three lessons to do so:

  1. “Your genius is precise”. Stay in your strength zone and take advantage of it.
  2. “Remember who you are”. Remember your Strength Roles, apply them daily and hold on tight to them when people tell you otherwise or things don’t go your way.
  3. “Always sharpen your edge”. Better yourself within your strength zone.

Review

StandOut 2.0: assess your strengths, find your edge, win at work is a very instructive book. I vehemently suggest it to people who are looking to identify or fortify their strengths, to people who feel like they have taken the wrong career path and to people who are not yet blossoming in the career path they appreciate.

While reading StandOut 2.0, on account of me possessing a career advice blog, I believed that I related the most to the Strength Roles of Advisor and Creator. However, according to the Standout assessment test, I fit the two top Strength Roles of Pioneer and Equalizer. In disbelief, I committed myself to read the entire report, including the piece about the ideal career advice that I should follow.

Below are my strengths roles by order of importance:

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It turns out that:

  • the StandOut assessment test is surprisingly accurate. The test report perfectly described my major personality traits. Throughout my education, training and career, I’ve been the one to jump on novelty and innovative projects.
  • the StandOut assessment test has provided me with a positive twist on what I thought where personality flaws.
  • the StandOut assessment test suggested career paths that I have already taken and am currently positioned at. It has equally confirmed to me that I am in the right career path but I stayed in the wrong workplace for the longest, which I figured out a few months before taking this test.

In conclusion, the StandOut assessment test will surprise you not only by challenging the ideas you have of your strengths but also by the accuracy of the results.

Favorite quote(s)

the StandOut assessment calculates your two leading strength roles, pinpoints what you can do to channel them, and describes your particular power when these top-two roles combine.

We each have specific areas where we consistently stand out, where we can do things, see things, understand things, and learn things better and faster than ten thousand other people can. When we find ourselves in these areas—our strengths “zone,” if you will—we are magnificent. Self-assured and flushed with success, we imagine we can do just about anything that we turn our minds to.

When you take a job that you never should have taken, when your boss doesn’t understand you, when your company downsizes you, or when you start to question whether you have anything of value to offer, the memory of your strengths will hold you in place, reorient you, and show you the way forward.

Ratings 3,5/5

Author

Marcus Buckingham

StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath

StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath aims to help people, in a various number of roles and of environments, identify their talent to build their strength, improve their confidence, their sense of purpose, their health and their relationships.

Furthermore, Tom Rath claims, according to scientific research, that personality traits, skill sets, passions and interests inherited  at a young age are still present in adulthood and need to be jump started and regularly exercised and be improved with knowledge and skills. Without exercise your natural talents, the muscle stays under developed.

In the workplace, for example, when strengths are not identified and not used, workers tend to lose their engagement and the devotion to their work, to suffer from anxiety or depression.

This is why, in StrengthsFinder 2.0, Tom Rath has identified 34 “themes of talents” to categorize the different set of skills discovered in the workforce. Knowing your strengths allows you to distinguish blind spots, to be more conscious of them and to understand the impacts of such strength, to “be aware of your potential and your limitations”.

What about weaknesses?

StrenghtsFinder 2.0 helps identify weaknesses or “areas of lesser talents” in certain occupations. Surely, knowing your weaknesses will enable you to work around them or totally avoid them, to know who yo work with that can complement your skills set.

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is associated to an online tests from Gallup Inc. Using its database of interviewees, the test assesses and analyzes the top 5 themes of talent among the 34 themes of talents.

34 themes of talent?

Below, a brief summary of each theme of talent and in which job to apply the given talent.

  1. Achiever

Constant need for achieving something tangible every day in order to define success.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for jobs that allow you to work as hard as you want and gives you autonomy to measure your productivity.
  • Set challenging goals, create deadlines, measure progress.
  • Acknowledge success, personal and professional achievements before moving on to the next challenge.
  • Pursue your education by obtaining certificates, attending classes, conferences, etc…
  • Do not compromise on the quality of your work.
  1. Activator

An impatience to take action and a decisiveness over the steps taken. Ability to learn from every stages crossed, every steps taken and every results obtained.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that allows you to make and implement your own decisions.
  • Ask not to be judged on your process but on the outcomes of the process.
  • Help others transform innovative ideas and concepts into concrete action.
  • Create plans of actions to move blocked situations forward.
  • Expose yourself to challenging situations.
  • Earn your bosses, managers and team members trust first and give the reasons for your desire to take action.
  • Energize plans and people. Motivate them to take action as well.
  1. Adaptability

A high responsiveness and reactivity to current situations as well as a flexibility in challenging situations.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where situations are constantly moving, unpredictable and unstructured.
  • Because you enjoy unpredictability, rolling with the punches, you remain calm, reassuring and collected in stressful circumstances.
  • Foster a reputation of being calm and reassuring during upsetting events.
  • Adjust your responsiveness to unanticipated events. However, on the job, because you are flexible to events, don’t compromise too much and don’t let people take advantage of you.
  1. Analytical

A need to test other people’s theory and to make sure that it is flawless, an enjoyment for analysing data, connecting data and searching for patterns in them.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that lets you theorize, analyze data and find patterns.
  • Rely on trustworthy sources of information
  • Find the proper settings to beneficially communicate your thoughts.
  • Explore ways to apply and implement your theory.
  1. Arranger

A search for the most productive configuration possible and for the best way to do things. An impersonation of effective flexibility, an ease in dynamic situations and an excitement for complex multi-faceted projects.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where assignments are complex and events are concurrent.
  • Use your Arranger talents in team building and group organizing.
  • On your job, track your deadlines to reassure your boss or clients.
  • Avoid routines and static organizations.
  1. Belief

A possession of core values that can be family oriented, altruistic or spiritual, ethics and a value for responsibility in yourself and others.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that aligns with your values and that has both meaning and purpose.
  • Balance work demands and personal life.
  • Motivate others by sharing your values with them and learn to understand different systems of belief.
  1. Command

A willingness to take charge, a comfort in imposing your view to others, in confrontation and directing.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you can take the lead, persuade others, face intense and challenging situations and find a cause to defend in the face of resistance.
  • “Practise the words, the tone, and the techniques that will turn your ability to confront into real persuasiveness”.
  • Be candid to your colleagues on sensitive subjects.
  • As you are intimidating, ask for your colleagues’ opinion once in a while.
  1. Communication

An incitement “to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public, and to write”.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you have to capture people attention, speak publicly and present a subject.
  • Practise your speeches, study your audience, refine the words you use and improve the message you convey.
  1. Competition

A perpetual desire for competing and for winning.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you can “measure your achievements”.
  • Select high achieving people in your organization to compete with.
  • Transform elementary tasks into competitive games.
  • Learn the reasons of your wins as much as the reasons of your loss.
  1. Connectedness

A belief that you belong to something larger and an understanding that everyone is connected.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you can “listen and counsel” and benefit from multicultural and multinational experiences.
  • Explain to your colleagues, their respective strengths and contribution to the team.
  1. Consistency

A need for balance and impartially. A belief that everyone should be treated the same and should be held to the same rules, policies, procedures.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you can uniformly be fair to all your colleagues, implement conscientious meritocracy and “enforce compliance to a set of standards”.
  • Define and apply the rules that you abide by.
  • Defend your beliefs even in the face of resistance.
  1. Context

A need to look at the past to understand the present and the future, to make better decisions.

Tips for improvement

  • Apply for a job where you have to remember and remind people of what has happened before, where you can study cases from the past and map the future with them.
  • Help your coworkers to study and learn from past projects.
  • As you learn from the past, avoid living in it but seek out mentors to relate their history to you.
  1. Deliberative

A need to assess risks and to weigh all implications before vigilantly going into the world that is a minefield.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you can “advise and counsel” and take time to process a decision.
  • Observe your coworkers, help them consider the pros and the cons of their choices and temper their impulsive behavior.
  • Take heed of people pushing you to reveal too much of yourself. Conceal confidential information about yourself and detain your opinion until you get all the facts straight.
  1. Developer

A need to jump-start a growth and learning process in promising individuals in order for them to experience success. An inner drive for mentorship.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that allows you to further one’s advancement and to push one to success.
  • Avoid loosing causes and extreme cases where the individual “is consistently struggling in his or her role”.
  • Remind yourself of your own development. “Find a mentor or coach who can invest in you”.
  1. Discipline

An urge for order, exactitude, perfectionism and predictability. A need for plans, timelines and deadlines.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that demands structure and routine, with situations that need to be perfected, more effective and more time-saving.
  • “Accept that mistakes might depress you” and that “others may not be as disciplined as you are”.
  • Create well-organized spaces and deadlines in order to conveniently accomplish your task at hand.
  1. Empathy

An ability to understand people’s emotions and acknowledge their point of view and perspectives.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you serve others.
  • Help your colleagues understand their emotions, their reactions towards themselves and others, and help them prevent misconduct.
  • Recognize and support great achievements in the workplace.

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  1. Focus

A need for setting goals, priorities daily and an ability to filter out unwanted and unfitted information that doesn’t efficiently lead you toward your destination.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you are autonomous, able to select projects that align with your mission.
  • Measure your progress toward your goal, set deadlines and follow through on schedule.
  • Help your team members set and recall goals.
  1. Futuristic

A fascination for the future. A detailed, hopeful and inspiring vision of the future.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you can share your futuristic ideas, your vision for an organization, for your career or someone else’s.
  • Spend time thinking about the future, find ways to concretely implement your ideas, to articulate them to a specific audience and to support them.
  • “Gain knowledge that will fuel your imagination”.
  1. Harmony

A will to minimize conflicts, confrontations. A continual search for consensus, common ground. An ability to keep your peace in conflict, your opinion to yourself and to adjust your goals to a situation.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that requires networking skills, dealing with different perspectives and coming up with an agreement in a non competitive and non confrontational workplace.
  1. Ideation

A fascination for ideas and a constant search for the connections between them.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that accredits your ideas.
  • Stimulate yourself constantly to avoid boredom by making small changes in the routine.
  • “Finish your thoughts and ideas before communicating them”. In addition, “learn to edit your own ideas”.
  • Identify the places, the people, the context that produce the most ideas.
  1. Includer

A resolve to include, accept, involve everyone in a group, and make them feel included and equally important.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job “in which you can take responsibility for representing voices that are not usually heard”, in which you can interact with people and “bring together people of divers cultures and backgrounds”.
  • Excluders and elitists are distasteful and irking to you but learn to include them as well.
  1. Individualization

An acute ability to observe, consider and appreciate the unique qualities, styles, motivation, thinking pattern of an individual.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job that requires noticing people unique qualities, understand and working with diversity, and that helps people realize and capitalize on their strengths.
  1. Input

A desire to collect and store interesting information and objects in the hopes that some day they will serve a purpose.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job “in which you are charged with acquiring new information each day” and are able to become an expert.
  • Implement a database to efficiently store the acquired information.
  • Identify occasions to share you knowledge. Find ways to articulate and output the acquired information.
  1. Intellection

An enthusiasm for introspection, for the thinking process, mostly done in solitude.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job in which you can pursue studies, engage in intellectual debates, challenge and evaluate people’s thinking, in which “you get involved in the front end of projects and initiatives, rather than jumping in at the execution stage”.
  • Take time to think and “follow an intellectual trail”.
  1. Learner

An enticement for the learning process without seeking to become an expert or acquiring academic schedules.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job as a consultant, that requires “some form of technical competence” in a “field with constantly changing technologies or regulations”.
  • Understand and improve your learning process, and celebrate every milestone.
  • Regularly schedule and subscribe to learning programs at work or in your community.
  1. Maximizer

A thrill for cultivating an existing strength into excellence.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job to help people succeed by focusing on their strengths.
  • Identify your own talents, cultivate them and find out how theory can lead to success by rubbing shoulders with successful people.
  • Come up with ways to measure your performances and those of other people.
  • Find ways to make your weaknesses irrelevant.
  1. Positivity

An ability to see the best in every situation and inject drama in every situation. A contagious enthusiasm, optimism, energy and an excitement for life.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job where you are able to “highlight the positive” and encourage people.
  • Steer clear from cynics, negative people. “Spend time in highly positive environment that will invigorate and feed your optimism”.
  • Acknowledge challenges and use your positivity to get through them.
  1. Relator

A comfort in intimacy, in building relationships. A willingness to trust and share feelings, goals, dreams, fears in order to deepen an existing relationship.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job in an informal organization.
  • Schedule social events with your colleagues to forge genuine bonds with them.
  1. Responsibility

A duty to take “psychological ownership” for performing or completing a task, to be accountable for the success or failure of projects.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job in which determination and autonomy are needed, where .
  • Volunteer for more responsibility at work, asess your talents before handling a particular project and review your performance at the end of the project.
  • Learn to refuse opportunities before committing to them, by selecting the areas of opportunities that come your way.
  1. Restorative

An enticement for solving complex problems, finding solutions, analyzing challenges and restoring a situation back to normal.

Tips for improvement:

  • Apply for a job in which you “solve problems or in which your success depends on your ability to restore and resolve” and your ability to turn failing situations around.
  • Communicate to your team members that you enjoy solving problems but learn how to let them solve their own problems.
  • Learn how to “anticipate and prevent problems before they occur”, how to identify and prevent existing patterns and reoccurring causes of a problem.

Continue reading “StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath”

Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor by Bennis, Goleman, O’Toole and Biederman (part 3)

Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor is a collection of three essays written by BennisGolemanO’Toole and Biederman.

The new transparency by Warren Bennis

The new transparency, by Warren Bennis, is the third and last essay of Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor. This essay defines digital transparency, focuses on the effects of the “digital revolution” and how it has made transparency quasi inevitable in modern day organizations.

What is the upside of the new transparency?

Transparency notoriously drives success, effectiveness and trust between members of an organization.

The emergence of internet has been able to fill the cultural need for transparency, to break down old rules and traditions, to erase borders and social status barriers.

In particular, the rise of blogs:

  • has transformed the mainstream media. Blogs shape the public opinion. Moreover, mainstream media now rely upon them to exchange and to create loyalty amongst their viewers.
  • has transformed politics (for the better?). Indeed, blogs have increased transparency over the years: in many countries, the government and politicians can no longer hold secrets, maintain exclusive power and absolute control over citizens. Blogs have become a political and diplomatic tool to fight corruption and power abuse.
  • has exposed insiders “secrets to outsiders” in corporations: most bloggers whistleblow freely, safely and anonymously.
  • has changed the societal game. Protests happen in the streets as well in the cyberspace.
  • has evenly distributed information and knowledge. Seeing that knowledge is power, blogs have created a new power that have made leaders “lose their monopoly on leadership”. Blogs have given a digital platform for people from  different nationalities, social categories and spheres of influence to express their opinions.

What is the downside of the new transparency?

First of all, the digital transparency incites a lack of privacy. Most individuals’ confidential information (credit card number, personal records,…) transits openly on internet, which makes them vulnerable to hacking and allows misuse of information and illegal tracking of their information.

Also, the “digital realm is wild and minimally policed”. Some users take advantage of the anonymity of internet to dishonestly compete, to openly attack an institution, organization or another individual under false pretenses.

Digital transparency has devalued, through the mainstream media, “authentic expertise by treating ordinary viewers and readers as the equals of those with genuine insight and experience” to enhance their viewers’ loyalty. Unfortunately, it also impedes their viewers from comprehending or appropriately analysing complex facts and events.

Warren Bennis denotes that blogs, acquiring greater influence and outreach than news paper, will substitute the latter if the content “commit to high standards of accuracy, fairness, and conduct”.

On the internet, where there are no secrets, where information persists for several lifetimes and where truth is relative, users are able to decide the perimeters of transparency,  to fabricate the truth and to create the persona they want. However, users are unable to vet and verify the actual truth.

To read the review on the first essay Creating a culture of candor by Warren BennisDaniel Goleman, and Patricia Ward Biedermanclick here.

To read the review on the second essay Speaking truth to power by James O’Tooleclick here.

Review

SearchTransparency.jpg.jpegThe new transparency by Warren Bennis is a proper conclusion to the book Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor that delivers impartial views on the internet and the blogosphere.

While reading his book, several contemporaneous examples came to mind such as the Black Lives Matter Movement that started in summer 2013, in the United States and has since then spread itself to different countries, to different nationalities and cultures. Social Media and blogs have definitely given the Movement the tools that it needed to speak up about police brutality on African-Americans, to show proof of police misconduct, to syndicate and organize itself and finally, to resist oppression.

One example of the misuse of the internet platform is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is the bullying of an individual over the internet, through blogs or social media. Many victims of cyberbullying have spoken publicly over this issue but due to the anonymity and the lack of regulation of the internet, the government has not yet found a way to penalize the abusers.

Favorite quote(s)

Transparency would not be a problem in a world in which everyone is decent and fair-minded.

Ratings 3/5

Author

Warren Bennis

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