A wonderful article by LIFE Leadership Founder Orrin Woodward. Where are you going? Where the puck is or where the puck is going in your world?
Wayne Gretzky’s quote drives home the importance of vision. Since vision is tomorrow’s reality expressed as an idea today, doesn’t it make sense to move in towards the future rather than the present? LIFE Leadership is a company skating to where the leadership puck is going rather than where it is. In the past, a leader would accomplish something noteworthy in one company, then exit that position to market himself as a leadership expert for hire. However, this business model flies in the face of practically every leadership principle worth teaching within companies. For just as no man is an island unto himself, no leader should be an island unto himself either. Indeed, great movements in any field are driven by leaders who partner with other leaders to build something bigger than any of them. This is LIFE Leadership’s business model.
LIFE Leadership models the importance of building highly-effective teams of leaders first and then messaging how other companies can do the same. When Peter Senge wrote, “The only sustainable competitive advantage is an organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition,” he captured why leadership teams are essential for corporate success. For only when individuals unite to leverage one another’s strengths in leadership teams can they consistently learn faster than the competition. NY Times bestselling author Chris Brady is my good friend and leadership business partner for over twenty years. In late 2011, we launched LIFE Leadership as a platform for leaders to learn why and how to build leadership teams. Here is Brady’s three keys of effective personal management that are crucial in the building of effective teams:
John Wooden, record-setting coach of the UCLA basketball team and one of the most successful coaches in any sport, wrote, “Activity – to produce real results – must be organized and executed meticulously. Otherwise, it’s no different from children running around the playground at recess. Time, used correctly, is among your most potent assets. For many leaders, however, it seems otherwise. The months, weeks, and minutes are ill defined and almost intangible in their minds, evaporating without leaving a trace of achievement behind. In the mind of those leaders whose organizations get things done, time is tangible, a commodity as touchable as gold. The success of my leadership was directly linked to using time wisely. Respect time, and it will respect you.”
This is personal management of the highest magnitude. Note that any consideration of personal management necessarily involves a focus on what you are doing with your time. But it also involves other aspects, such as how you think, the management of your attitude, and your overall hunger to accomplish your purpose.
There are a few practical things to seek out in order to maintain the highest level of personal management, and thereby keep yourself fully locked into productive life habits:
- Informational Reinforcement – to stay sharp and continue learning and growing, one needs to be plugged into a source of information pertaining to the craft at hand. Read all you can about your pursuit. Listen to audio recordings as well. Peruse trade magazines and familiarize yourself with any and all websites of authority pertaining to your field. Find out if there are events or symposiums, concerts or competitions that you can attend and use as educational experiences. Gathering and digesting all the information you can get your hands on for your particular area of chosen mastery will keep you fresh and be a shortcut forward in your development.
- Relational Reinforcement – There is an old joke that goes like this: “Two idiots and one genius go into a room together. After a period of time, out come three idiots.” Beyond being funny, it clearly demonstrates the power of association with others. Choose your associations wisely (as the wrong ones can be incredibly wrong). Make sure you are hanging around with people who are experts in the endeavor you are pursuing. Find yourself a Mr. Miyagi and wash the heck out of his car, sand his floors until they shine, and paint his fence like Tom Sawyer’s friends. The reinforcement you get from mentors and experts in your field will quiet the voices of dissent around you who don’t understand what you’re doing or why.
- Self-Talk – in one of the odder techniques available, many of the top masters in their fields long ago had to learn to stop listening to themselves and instead begin talking to themselves. This is because our minds are quickly capable of “going negative” on us, and, believe it or not, our own words to ourselves are very powerful. For this reason, practice the art of positive self-talk. This can be done through affirmation statements and memorized phrases of encouragement (Bible verses are also good for this) to keep yourself focused and provide a quick re-centering when your wheels begin to wobble.