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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Positive Leadership: Playing to Win

There was a time in most of our lives when we had no fear-that feeling when we jumped from the jungle gym and slammed our little bodies to the ground. Perhaps it was when we went on our first fairground ride, or when we were in school or university and felt that there was nothing we couldn't do. No goal was unattainable. We were an unstoppable force that would think of something and then make it happen. 

Then, as time goes by, the world tells us more frequently that we can't do what we want. The doubters laugh at our goals and try to persuade us from going after our dreams. They say, "You're crazy. It's too hard. Why don't you do this instead? You should play it safe." They act as if dreams were meant for others but not people like us. They surround us with negative energy and try to instill their own fears and insecurities in us. We not only begin to know the word "fear," we start to understand what it's like to be fearful. With so many people telling us we can't do something and so few telling us we can, it's hard not to let fear into our lives. Unfortunately this is how many of us go through life.

Whether you are 20 or 50, many of us become so scared of losing what we have that we don't go after what we truly want. We play it safe and hold on so tight to the status quo that we never experience what could be. We believe the doubters and don't take chances that will move us one step towards our dreams. We call this "playing to lose." We see this in sports all the time when a team has the lead. They start to think about how not to lose instead of how to win. They hold on so tight to their lead that they start playing safe and scared. You can see it in their energy and body language. As a result the other team takes chances, plays with no fear and eventually gains the momentum and wins.

To live a life filled with positive energy we must learn to repel the energy of fear. Whether it comes from within or from another person, we must overcome fear and adopt a "Play to Win" mindset. Playing to win requires a commitment to yourself that even if you fail, you will never give up and never let your goals and dreams die. Those who play to win know that success is not given to us. It is pursued with all the energy and sweat we can muster. Obstacles and struggles are part of life and only serve to make us appreciate our success. If everything came easy we wouldn't know what it felt like to truly succeed. Obstacles are meant to be overcome. Fear is meant to be conquered. Success is meant to be achieved. 

They are all part of the game of life and the people who succeed play to win and never give up until the game is over.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Positive Leadership: Leaders with Values

Management thought leaders share their ideas on values in business.

Arturo Condo, professor, INCAE Business School
David Rock, founder, NeuroLeadership Institute
Buie Seawell, professor, Daniels College of Business, University of Denver
Erin Lehman, senior researcher, Center for Public Leadership, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Christopher Adkins, director, undergraduate program, Mason School of Business, The College of William & Mary
Maj. Gen. Frederick B. Hodges, US Army
Susan Clancy, associate professor, INCAE Business School
Jonathan Gosling, professor, University of Exeter Business School

Monday, November 28, 2011

Positive Leadership: Global Entrepreneurship and Successful Growth Strategies of Early-Stage Companies

According to the Global Entrepreneurship and Successful Growth Strategies of Early-Stage Companies report, released by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Stanford University and Endeavor Global, the top 1% of companies from among 380,000 companies reviewed across 10 countries contribute 44% of total revenue and 40% of total jobs while the top 5% contribute 72% of total revenue and 67% of total jobs.

Global Entrepreneurship and Successful Growth Strategies of Early-Stage Companies

Friday, November 25, 2011

Positive Leadership: How to be a Good Boss


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Positive Leadership: The Power of Thank You

In the spirit of Thanksgiving we would like to share with you the benefits and power of two simple words. THANK YOU.

They are two words that have the power to transform our health, happiness, athletic performance and success. Research shows that grateful people are happier and more likely to maintain good friendships. 

A state of gratitude, according to research by the Institute of HeartMath, also improves the heart's rhythmic functioning, which helps us to reduce stress, think more clearly under pressure and heal physically. It's actually physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time. When you are grateful you flood your body and brain with emotions and endorphins that uplift and energise you rather than the stress hormones that drain you.

Gratitude and appreciation are also essential for a healthy work environment. In fact, the number one reason why people leave their jobs is because they don't feel appreciated. A simple thank you and a show of appreciation can make all the difference.

Gratitude is like muscle. The more we do with it the stronger it gets. In this spirit here are 4 ways to practice Thanksgiving every day of the year.

1. Take a Daily Thank You Walk - Take a simple 10-minute walk each day and say out loud what you are thankful for. This will set you up for a positive day.

2. Meal Time Thank You's - On Thanksgiving, or just at dinner with your friends and family, go around the table and have each person, including the children at the little table, say what they are thankful for.

3. Gratitude Visit - Martin Seligman, Ph.D., the father of positive psychology, suggests that we write a letter expressing our gratitude to someone. Then we visit this person and read them the letter. His research shows that people who do this are measurably happier and less depressed a month later.

4. Say Thank You at Work – When Doug Conant was the CEO of Campbell Soup he wrote approximately 30,000 thank you notes to his employees and energised the company in the process. Energise and engage your colleagues and team by letting them know you are grateful for them and their work. And don’t forget to say thank you to your clients and customers too.

We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Positive Leadership: Winning Gracefully

In what ended up being a pretty close game, Duke beat Michigan State at Madison Square Garden recently. In the process, Coach Mike Krzyzewski set a record by winning his 903rd Division I basketball game. With the win, he passed his former coach, boss and mentor Bob Knight who was sitting court side calling the game for ESPN. It was a pretty compelling moment made more so by the way Coach K conducted himself in the minutes after the game. As you can see in this interview with ESPN’s Andy Katz, the coach showed grace, gratitude and perspective after setting the record.

  If you’re fortunate as a leader, there will be times when you can see a big win coming up before it happens. In Coach K’s case, it was certain that he was going to break the record this season, it was just a question of when. By thinking in advance how he wanted to handle himself if he won at MSG in front of his old coach, he created an opportunity to show leaders how to win gracefully.

 Here are three lessons from the coach that stood out:

Show grace - When the buzzer sounded, Coach K hugged his staff, walked down the sideline and hugged his long-time friend and rival, Spartans coach Tom Izzo. He then proceeded to shake the hand of every MSU player just like he does at the end of every game. He then walked over to the broadcast table for a long embrace with Bob Knight. Coach K recognized that all the eyes and cameras were on him and conducted himself with grace and dignity.

Show gratitude – When the time came for the post-game interview at centre court, the first question was about what he said to Knight during their hug. Coach K said, “I told him I love him and that I wouldn’t be in this position without him.” He then expressed his appreciation for his circumstance and shared the credit by saying, “When you have really good players and a great school, you’re going to win a lot of games.” On a night when it could have been all about him, he didn’t make it all about him.

Show perspective – One of the last questions for the Coach was after setting this record, winning championships and Olympic gold medals, what are you going to do next? His simple, quiet and immediate response was, “Developing this team. We have some great kids and we want to have a really good season.”

Coach K is clearly a winner and a leader. He’s not perfect. None of us are. That said, he set a good example on Tuesday for leaders who experience a big win.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Positive Leadership: The Environment and Happiness

To some extent, each of us is affected by the environment around us. But when your happiness depends on what goes on around you, you are in trouble.

Have you ever thought about what happens when we let what goes on in our environment determine how we feel on the inside?  When things are going well, we feel good, cheerful, positive, and full of enthusiasm.  But when the least little thing goes wrong, we start to come un-glued.

If this happens, we can start feeling like a victim, and when we feel this way we give up control of our lives.  

If you are not having problems, you are missing an opportunity for growth; an opportunity to take charge of how you respond and what you do, regardless of what is happening in your environment.

You know, there is only one thing in life over which we have complete control, and that is what goes on inside our minds. When you choose to take charge of your thoughts, of the things you tell yourself, you become very powerful. Certainly, you may feel disappointment when things go wrong, but you can choose to see all the setbacks as temporary. You can choose to use them as opportunities to grow, and you'll develop the ability to quickly bounce back when you hit an obstacle, as well as the incredible strength that comes from standing up to adversity.

The choice really is yours to make - it has been, and will continue to be.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Positive Leadership: Great by Choice

‘When the moment comes – when we’re afraid, exhausted, or tempted – what choice do we make? Do we abandon our values? Do we give in? Do we accept average performance because that’s what most everyone else accepts? Do we capitulate to the pressure of the moment? Do we give up on our dreams when we’ve been slammed by brutal facts?

What is clear about great leaders is that they care as much about values as victory, as much about purpose as profit, as much about being useful as being successful. Their drive and standards are ultimately internal, rising from somewhere deep inside.

We are not imprisoned by our circumstances. We are not imprisoned by the luck we get or the inherent unfairness of life. We are not imprisoned by crushing setbacks, self-inflicted mistakes or our past success. We are not imprisoned by the times in which we live, by the number of hours in a day or even the number of hours we’ve granted in our very short lives. In the end, we can only control a tiny sliver of what happens to us. But even so, we are free to choose, free to become great by choice.’ 

Jim Collins & Morten Hansen


Friday, November 18, 2011

Positive Leadership: Clutch!

When asked, are you clutch? Author of Clutch, Paul Sullivan answers: “Yes and no. (…) I’ve been clutch in my personal and professional life, and these have been the areas that have mattered most. But not in golf. What I learned, alas, was that since being clutch isn’t a mystical ability that can be bestowed on somebody, it takes work. But at least for me I know what to do now.”

These are the five traits of people who are 'clutch':
  • Focus
  • Discipline
  • Adaptability
  • Being present
  • Plus the push and pull of fear and desire.
In this video, Paul Sullivan explains what it means to be Clutch, and how you too can thrive in high pressure situations.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Positive Leadership: How Organisations can Demotivate their Employees

Jim Collins — the author of the legendary Good to Great and co-author of the new and equally compelling Great by Choice – has an insightful 3-minute video describing three ways organisations demotivate their employees.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Positive Leadership: Achieving True Greatness

When most of us learn a new skill, we work to get just "good enough" and then we go on autopilot. We hit what journalist and bestselling author of Moonwalking with Einstein, Joshua Foer calls the "OK Plateau," where we have gained sufficient skills for our needs and we stop pushing ourselves.

 But experts do it differently.

Looking at the research on everyone from incredible athletes to memory champions, Foer has extracted four principles that describe how to push through the OK Plateau to achieve true greatness.

Watch this fantastic talk to learn strategies for developing expertise in any field.


Positive Leadership: Happiness

Everyone wants to be happy, but not everyone knows how.  Today, we will share with you two ways to be happy.   

How do you define "happiness"? Some people think happiness is getting all or most of the things they want. They always have lists of new things they want or are about to get: cars, holidays, fancy clothes, new furniture, or the latest electronic toy.

But often these people are deeply discontented, for no matter how much they acquire, they never seem to have enough. A new acquisition brings them pleasure, but only for a little while. Happiness is always in the future, always appearing, and then disappearing.

Someone once said that there are two ways to be happy: the first is to have all the things you want; the second is to have the wisdom to enjoy the things you have. We even heard someone, recently, say that happiness was wanting what you have. So many ways to define "happiness."

When you practice the "wisdom" way, you are able to appreciate the beauty that exists in the simplest elements of life. Even in hardship, you'll find many reasons to feel joy on a daily basis. Of course, you'll feel good when you acquire something new, but your real and lasting happiness will be found in relationships, in simple pleasures, in nature, and in actions that show love.

If you remember that the time to be happy is now, and the place to be happy is where you are, you'll find a joy that no amount of money can buy. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Positive Leadership: What is Leadership?

Here, the former chairwoman of Xerox and the winners of the 2011 Service to America award attempt to answer the question: What is Leadership?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Positive Leadership: The Source of Pressure

‘Pressure is a heavy feeling that weighs upon your shoulders and it’s brought upon yourself. A lot of other people think it’s brought upon you. Pressure is something you bring on yourself because of your insecurities, your own lack of form, and your concern about the opposition. It can be very different for different people. One person won’t feel it under in any given circumstance and another will feel it greatly. It’s hard to define but when we are feeling it we all know it’s there.’  Andrew Strauss, England Cricket Captain

Events do not create pressure it is only our internal thoughts that do that.  We are responsible for our mind and how it behaves. Therefore the more we train our mind, the better we are able to deal with pressure.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Positive Leadership: Beating the Odds

Beating the odds in a fight against a deadly cancer for most people would mean staying alive. For Mark Herzlich, who was diagnosed with bone cancer while he was a football star at Boston College, living meant playing football in the NFL.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Positive Leadership: Advice on Everyday Leadership

In May 2011, Betsy Myers was appointed Founding Director of the Centre for Women & Business at Bentley University.  The centre is a repository of best practices for corporate America to recruit and retain women leaders. Betsy served as a senior adviser to Barack Obama’s Presidential Campaign.  Here she gives her advice on everyday leadership from her new book, Take the Lead - 

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Positive Leadership: Values

What does getting what you want in life have to do with values?  Let's look at how the two are connected.

You can't get what you want in life until you know what it is you want. And, you'll have a hard time knowing what you want, if you are not clear about what your values are.  You see, if we were to ask you what you really want, what we are actually asking is, "What do you value?"   

Values are guides for daily living that influence your thoughts, feelings, words and deeds.  They shape your personality and give direction to what would otherwise be an aimless, purposeless life.  Your values are reflected in your goals, hopes, dreams, attitudes, interests, opinions, convictions, and behaviour as well as in your problems and worries.   

Values are choices you make from the available alternatives.  Therefore, well-chosen values require an open mind, because you can't choose freely if you don't know what your options and consequences are.  Values are cherished and we fight to keep them because they mean so much to us.  

Finally, to be truly significant, values must move from fantasy into reality and be acted upon.  They cause us to do something, so that we can get and keep what we prize so highly.

What do you value in life? Have you spent much time thinking about it? If not, we strongly suggest that you take time to do so. Start today. Sit down and make a list of all your values.  Then make a list of all your life goals. Do they coincide? If not, maybe you should re-define your goals to match your values, because it is more likely that you will get what you want in life if you do.



Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Positive Leadership: Left Brain v Right Brain

In this new RSAnimate, renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist explains how our 'divided brain' has profoundly altered human behaviour, culture and society. Taken from a lecture given by Iain McGilchrist as part of the RSA's free public events programme. To hear the full lecture, go to www.youtube.com/user/theRSAorg#p/u/2/SbUHxC4wiWk


Monday, November 07, 2011

Positive Leadership: The Value of Trust


Friday, November 04, 2011

Positive Leadership: The Role of Chaos in Leader Development

In our view, the best way to develop leaders for the challenges of today is to deliberately introduce chaos into the development process. 

In leader development today, chaos is an imperative. 

Think about that—the idea that you would deliberately introduce chaos into leadership experiences and see how different leaders react to it. 

While we may have enough chaos in our lives, the only way to really test leaders is to see their response when confronted with turmoil.  A wise idea in a tumultuous world?


Thursday, November 03, 2011

Positive Leadership: The Importance of Character Education


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Positive Leadership: A Celebration of Steve's Life

Apple's Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, and a key figure behind the Apple 'revolution, is Englishman, Jony Ive CBE.

Here, he speaks about Steve Jobs at the recent Apple celebration of Jobs' life.

For more, see - http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/10oiuhfvojb23/event/index.html#


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Positive Leadership: On Excellence

For 10 years, Tom Peters wrote a syndicated column—"On Excellence"—for the Tribune Media Services. It was carried by over a hundred papers—the flagship carrier was the Chicago Tribune. After Steve Jobs' death, one of his old columns surfaced—on Jobs. It appeared on 8 November 1993, when Steve was still "in the wilderness"—before his subsequently triumphant return to Apple.

Herewith, in full ...

On Excellence

Marathoners call it "hitting the wall." You get to a point where you can't go on. But you do. And, miraculously, you come out the other side and finish the race.

Truth is, damn little of merit, in a profession or a hobby, is accomplished without running through a wall or two.

I got to thinking about that while reading Fortune's recent cover story, "America's Toughest Bosses." Some turn "beet red." Others "scream." Some engage in "sadistic" behavior and use tactics that amount to "psychological oppression." While I hardly countenance "Jack Attacks," the tirades by Jack Connors, head of the ad agency Hill Holliday, I also don't believe the best bosses are sweethearts.

The best leaders take their firms and followers to places they've never been before-and, more important, places they never imagined they would reach. The chief's voice may be subdued or, more likely, strident at times. The reason, Fortune acknowledges, is the incredible demands these honchos place, first and foremost, on themselves.

Take Steve Jobs, one of Fortune's seven nasties. I've seen him, in his days at Apple, lose his cool on occasion. Not a particularly pretty sight.

Yet I was thoroughly taken aback by one of Jobs' "excesses," as chronicled by Fortune. A subordinate at Next Computer was showing Jobs shades of green for the company's logo. More precisely, she produced some 37 shades of green before coming upon one that pleased the master. "Oh, come on," the minion recalled thinking, "green is green."

Oh, no, it isn't!

Almost every step Jobs took at Apple (and Next) broke the mold; moreover, it defied industry tradition as set by the all-powerful, undisputed master of the universe (IBM). To say Jobs was fighting an uphill battle is to suggest that Charles Lindbergh's historic flight across the Atlantic was "challenging." Jobs was reviled and ridiculed. Yet he reinvented the computer world, in a way that makes Bill Gates' more recent contributions at Microsoft seem meager by comparison.

How did Jobs do it? By worrying about which shade of green was "right." He triumphed with the Apple II. Then the Macintosh. It was precisely his stratospheric standards ("insanely great" was a common Jobsism in days past) that allowed him and his enormously spirited teams to push past the existing frontier time and time again.

No, sir. Green is not green. Not if you're reinventing the planet. Which is not to applaud his tirades. But it is to suggest that for every disaffected Apple or Next employee burned by Jobs, there are probably 10 who by age 28 achieved Neil Armstrong-like lifetime highs at his side. Perhaps the bitterness of some stems from the subliminal realization they'll never soar so high again. It's a nightmare for a 28-year-old software designer, just as it is for 30-year-old Michael Jordan.

My two best bosses were my two toughest bosses. Neither was a screamer, although one came reasonably close. Both practiced psychological terrorism-though neither knew he was doing so. Both set mercilessly high standards for themselves. And neither believed in barriers to achievement, including acts of God (which were seen simply as opportunities to demonstrate one's mettle as never before). Both sent me home screaming. I recall literally a year of just about non-stop headaches in one case.

It doesn't jibe with the perfectly balanced life. But I'll tell you, I learned more, faster, from these two than ever before or since.

The perfect boss is, of course, aware of individual differences and knows exactly how far to push each individual to "attain maximum performance," or some such ideal.

Except I very much doubt bosses like that exist. Those with shockingly high standards undoubtedly cause casualties among their followers. Yet without these outrageous pioneers, we wouldn't get anywhere.

Am I callous? Yes and no. To countenance, under any circumstances, the infliction of pain is callous. But to fail to understand that no epic bridge or dam has ever been built, or fighter aircraft tested, without casualties is to fail to comprehend the real world of high-performance anything.

Fortune quotes experts who say these executive thugs suffer from low self-awareness. I'm sure that's true, and perhaps the toughies would benefit from counseling by a trusted peer (unlikely) or elder (slightly more likely) who would clue them in on the havoc they've left in their wake.

But, let's face it. If these chiefs were thoroughly self-aware they would probably not realize how insane (literally) their towering quests are. And the world would be a poorer place for it.’