Interesting how so many folks seem more intent on working on their “Myths and Legends” (for that is what they are) rather than on their substance, their character. Think…”Politician...”
If our true Character is a measure of what we are becoming, and is measured by our ability to be “true to what we know to be true”, then surely that should be our focus rather than the object described in our (as-we-all-know, inflated) press releases–whether written or implied.
It amazes me how folks seem more focused and expend so much more effort, and enage in the “work” of their PR, their “status”, what others think, their “myths and legends” than they actually do working on what ultimately generates that and what is their ultimate outcome–THEM, their charctaer.
The other measures are short term, illusory, and fleeting. Work on the substance of yourself, not on the “show”–the good impressions, the adoration (if that’s what you’re after), the solid reputation really only comes as a reflection of what you really are. They come as a consequence, not as a directly-worked-on outcome.
If you focus on the outside, it’s time-consuming, laborious and fleeting. If you focus on the inside, it’s permenent, solid, and flows though naturally and significantly to the outside.
So how do you build your (internal) charcter? Here’s three steps to focus on:
1. Keep your promises–both express and implied. How do you do that? Only make promises you know you can keep. Have the (more)”work” be done at the “promise-making” stage, not on the rush, rush, panic of struggling to keep them. Obviously, there’s work all over, but a little more at the front end–saves a whole bunch (and some (potential) pain) at the back end.
2. Focus on the long term.
3. Focus on who you are becoming, making an ongoing investment in yourself, rather than how others perceive you. “Come what may” on the perception side, and it’ll be good, if not GREAT, if you’re working (consistently and substantially) on the “inside”…
“Work without Vision is drudgery. Vision without Work is dreaming. Work coupled with Vision is DESTINY.”
Thomas S. Monson.
Love it! True. It’s got all the key elements…. Vision, Work (DOING), Synergy of multiple items working togther. AND the fact that these (and other items) work together for maximal benefit–after-all who doesn’t want to reach their DESTINY?
I love this question… No I don’t. Just to be sure. I DO NOT. Seems innocuous enough right? Seems “keen?” But it’s not. It’s a delay tactic, it’s a built-in excuse, it doesn’t GET STUFF DONE… NOW!
The more correct question is: “What Shall I do NOW!” I am good with the fact that both statements contain the DO word, that’s very good, as it’s all about what you DO that makes the difference. But I do not like the implied delay or “necessary”, upcoming precdeeding event. It seems to say “When I’m done doing this, then what shall I do…?” Or “I’ll get around to doing this or that, … later.. (after something (maybe completely irrelevant) is complete)” Neither of which actually gets stuff done.
So, the better question, and one that we should built into our lexicon, is “WHAT SHALL I DO NOW?” And then, of course, DO IT.
This came up as I was listening to a series of conference calls. Good materials, well delivered and all of it was to answer the first question: “What to do next?” The problem is, as I analyzed the results over time, it was clear that notwithstanding the quality of material, nothing came of it–either immediately or over time. I believe because the rhetorical question asked of “what next?” also gave an easily available “out” … “Next” Not “Now” That one word change, and all that it implies,” I believe, would have made/does make the world of difference.
As I ponder the process of vision and goal-setting it’s become even more germane to life than even I (an admitted aficionado of such) believed previously. But elements of it also have become more pressing on me–”good Pee-Pee” (as my 2-year old would say) and M&Ms. Let me explain:
When we set goals, we also need to conduct a brutally honest assessment of where we are right now–our starting-point. If we have VERY clear picture of where you are going (one that we can literally “taste”), AND a brutally honest assessment of where we stand right now; then going from one to the other, from A to B, becomes a largely formulaic exercise.
However, the challenge sometimes in being “brutally honest” (with ourselves) as relates to the current reality assessment is that you (may) get depressed… “I’m not perfect, and I thought I was…. ” type of thing. What you need to realize is that it doesn’t mater that you’re not perfect… only that you “Pointed” and Prioritized.” That’s the key, being Pointed and Prioritized as to where you’re heading and what’s important. That’s good P-P!
Also, you’ll need some candy along the way. M&Ms are the official candy of people “going somewhere”–preferably the peanut ones! What are M&Ms? Well, they’re candy (obviously), but also “Meaningful Milestones.” You could go further and call them “3M”–Measurable, Meaningful Milestones (but that’d infringe on yet another Trademark). So I’ll just stick with M&Ms. You need to break down that “elephant” into one bite at a time. Break down the “BHAG” into “stuff” to do this quarter, month, week, day, hour etc. Turn the big goal into a series of smaller ones and right down to a Pointed, Prioritized daily To Do list–preferably specific and Measurable.
Then you just chug along doing what is right, best and in sequence and you get there-formulaic simple, clean and guaranteed!
So always have some M&Ms and always have good Pee-Pee.
I have been pondering A LOT lately some of the Hallmarks of Profound Leaders or Leadership (the ACT of leading). Here’s my work-in-progress summary. More to come …(to add to the list and to augment each already on it):
1. They “mow their own lawns”
2. They do not “believe their own press releases”
3. They are adroit communicators
4. They understand, and practice, the fact that “Little Things DO Matter”
5. They have BIG goals but yet don’t lose sight of the detail(s)
6. They know how to “let go”
7. They “KNOW”
8. They “Love All, Serve All”
9. They “What Ere Thou Art, …Act Well Their Part…” They “DO”
10. They appreciate and practice “Unexpected Recognition”
11. They have a “report to” person or Mentor
12. They are well read
13. They understand the difference between “busy” and “effective”
14. They “…Haste towards their Goliaths…”
We are more than are neck deep in information. That’s the grim truth of twenty-first century life.
As consumers, we often know far more about a product we are considering than the people on the other side of the counter. We’ve researched, compared and consulted, and I believe what we are hoping for now is an experience. And more often that not, we don’t get it, so we just “move along”–too bad for them!
Some fun, some intrigue, maybe a little romance is needed.
If this thought strikes a chord with you, crack open Cristina Nehring’s book A Vindication of Love: Reclaiming Romance for the Twenty-First Century .
What I like about this book is her tough view of romance. This is not some sickly package of sweet-nothings. Romance, as far as this author is concerned, is full of passion, high on emotion, sometimes stormy, and not always successful.
In short, romance is a vital part of life itself that doesn’t bother to respect the rules we try to lay on it.
I’ve often said that if we are not stalked by failure we’re living a life of templates and formulas, and no one wins with them. Nehring puts the same idea beautifully, “Somewhere in our collective unconscious we know – even now – that to have failed is to have lived.”
This is important because the transforming power, the true power of change and REAL progress is dramatically slowed when people try to turn it into a set process with rules for what works and what doesn’t. Life isn’t a series of A, B, Cs or 1,2,3 s! It can be if you want it to–but HOW BORING and uninspiring.
Sure, have a Framework to work within to aid and ensure consistency, to save error, to learn from the wisdom of others–but please don’t turn yourself (or try to turn others into) an Oompa-Loompa!
Vive le difference!
For example, I am convinced that this sort of emotion is part of the success of Google.
Just think about its ever-changing front page. Google carefully uses this amazingly valuable commercial property to respond to the stories and celebrations and personalities that are important to its users.
The First Day of Spring. Happy St Patrick’s Day. Charles Darwin’s birthday. Etc etc. This is a great commercial decision to not be commercial.
What I like about A Vindication of Love is Nehring’s belief – one I share – that passion is the secret to a life well lived. That in our idea of Love, and in general, we have become too pragmatic and pedestrian, too limited in our goals, too small in our expectations of each other.
So go forward. DO so with passion. LOVE what you do, WHO you do it with and WHERE you are going. LOVE the fact that you can choose to do it, (or not). Use that word more. Use other VERY emotive words more in your speaking and writing. Be more than a process or system. BE YOU, with all your passion, skills, energy (and yes, even warts)!
Do it! PLEASE do it! And do so consistently. I recently had an experience (or series of) where-in the individual(s) I was delaing with (again) showed their amazing inconsistency. And what a frustration! It was back in the starting blocks every day! No carry-over of value from day to day–no compounding of effort–no CONSISTENCY!
Have you ever had to deal with someone–a boss, a co-worker and you never really knew how they’d act that day? Never really had clear expectations of what to expect at any given time or on any given issue? You go in with fear and trepidation on an issue and “it’s no big deal.” On another issue that you feel is “no big deal” you get blown out of the water about it. Talk about frustrating! The end result being is you minimize your contacts there or you just look for new envrionment to operate in. Certainly there’s a lack of productivity.
That’s what rules and policies are for–they create consistency. They create met expectation(s), they allow for productivity. On the Todd Smith Blog (www.littlethingsmatter.com) today he talks about “The Compound Effect“–a great article and book by the way. That’s what I’m talking about! The ongoing CONSISTENT process of doing what you do, better and better and BETTER and as Goathe would the say, you can leave the rest to mending, mellowing, and compounding effect of time.
Do it! Be consistent. do what you know you should ALL THE TIME. Follow your own rules. Meet and exceed expectations. Be an effective “Big Cog.” (More on that later…)
Everything feels more complicated in 2010–doesn’t it?
No one really knows what will happen tomorrow, let alone next month, or heaven help us, next year.
When it gets this complex, I always reach for one of the oldest and surest ways to focus: the list.
Nothing inspires action faster than a sharp list. I often end my presentations with “5 Things to do Tomorrow (or even better, NOW)”.
After all the ideas and visuals and discussion, summing up with “5 Things” sends people out the door with a mission. Breaking what needs to be done into its component parts is the foundation of great execution.
Eating an elephant seems impossible, until you see the list: Trunk, ears, back fillets (just kidding)–one bite at a time.
If you ever need practical proof of the power of lists, consider Jeffrey Skiles. He was the co-pilot on US Airways Flight 1549 that made a dramatic emergency landing on the Hudson River. The Captain, Sullenberger, gets all the credit, but who was the “guy behind the guy?”–this guy! Let’s tip our hats to Skiles. He turned a moment of terror into a calm set of decisions by carefully working through his emergency water-landing checklist.
Instead of seeing disaster, he saw a clear plan of what to do and the step-by-step order to do it in.
At WISE-Builderswe use, amongst other things, 100 Day Plans to keep us focused on the three or four big things we need to do.
A list pares away the minutia so you can concentrate on what really matters.
It’s not about argument or debate or alternatives, it’s about action. Now.
There’s busy work out there stretching into the distance as far as the eye can see. Most start by feeling responsible for all of it – until they give up and don’t feel responsible for any of it.
This is not only a failure of management and leadership, it’s a failure of imagination. The imagination to know what will make a real difference.
So in the spirit of list-making, here’s 5 Things to do Tomorrow:
* Refer to your 100 Day Plan. (make one NOW, if you don’t have one). Remember it should be within the context of your “Inspiration Statement.”
* List what needs to be done next.
* Start each item with a verb. You want a list of real, physical actions you will take.
* Cross off at least half the items on your list. Decide what’s to go and what’s to stay based on importance, not urgency.
Recently I was re-reading some of my back issues of the Harvard Business Review It is not the first place you’d go to for advice on telling stories (a great “art”by the way), but that is exactly where I found a great article by Peter Guber. As as you know, I am an advocate of story-telling–ideally well done ands truthful, but more on that later…
Guber is a long-time movie producer whose credits range from Flashdance to Rainman, Batman Returns to Tango & Cash, so he’s not exactly your usual HBR management geek. As an executive producer, he’s someone who’s had to make the call on whether a story works or doesn’t, so his article struck a chord with me.
His ideas aren’t based on abstract theory, but on whether real live people are going to shell out cash for your story. Are they going to “buy it?
Here’s his ideas:
* Truth to the teller. Yes, authenticity,… again. Show and share who you are with an open heart. * Truth to the audience. It’s Value for Time. They give you their time on the understanding that you will give them emotional value and personal insight. * Truth to the moment. Be prepared and then – improvise. The preparation will ensure you don’t lose focus. The improvisation will make sure you don’t lose your audience! * Truth to the mission. Don’t even try to inspire people to do something you don’t believe in yourself. They won’t believe in it either.
I agree with Rolf Jensen of the Dream Company that “The highest-paid person in the first half of the next century will be the ‘storyteller’.” That’s a prediction to make people pay attention!
Here are 12 (more) ideas about what makes a great story: 1. Great stories touch us. They connect with our own desires and experiences and what we care about. 2. Great stories are contagious. The itch to pass on a great story is almost unbearable. Stories have to be shared. 3. Great stories are cloaked in credibility. They make practical sense, intuitive sense, emotional sense. They are “true” 4. Great stories connect with the emotions. Genuine, compelling emotion drives every story. 5. Great stories surprise and delight. They are infinitely capable of the unexpected. It’s not just about novelty and revelations but also creativity and emotional truth. 6. Great stories have context. Whether it’s a fairy tale or a business lesson, stories weave facts and events together so we understand their larger meanings. 7. Great stories are fast workers. They get in ahead of our rationalizations and logic with their own compelling truth. 8. Great stories are crafted. We all like stories to be recounted with skill and effort. 9. Great stories make us laugh. Humor disarms us and opens us up to new ideas. 10. Great stories teach us to be smart. Through great stories we learn to spot disinformation in an instant. Shoddy stories reinforce prejudice and hide the truth. 11. Great stories introduce us to great characters; people we want to spend time with. 12. Great stories open us up to other worlds. Welcome to the world of the imagination, to new geographies, to new realities. They inspire us!
Look for, create, tell GREAT stories–what an art what an ROI
Aaron has a long and impressive career in the direct-selling industry. He began in this industry at the age of 14. He has owned, started, bought, sold and merged companies within the industry. He has served on the DSA Board of Directors, the WFDSA CEO Council and Board of Directors and has Chaired the International Council for the same. After joining Unicity in 1997, Aaron rose rapidly through the ranks to become the part-owner and CEO of Unicity International in July 2003. After three years, he decided it was time to "walk the talk" and left that post in order to become a Distributor for Unicity.
He now operates the largest AND fastest growing organization in the company and one of the same in the industry. Aaron's goal is to "lead the transformation of the industry." Aaron is an Internationally acclaimed speaker, author and trainer. Aaron graduated from the BYU Marriott School of Management with a Bachelor's degree in Finance and Economics and also holds his Master's degree from the University of Chicago Booth School of business. He and his wife wonderful Karrie are the parents of six children.