Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Leadership Point of View

Eastham-20110522-00051By sharing my leadership point of view, you'll have a better understanding of who I am as a leader and artist and what I stand for. You'll get insight on where I'm coming from and how I think.

There are four philosophies you should know about me right up front.

1. I love the study of leadership.
2. I have high expectations and high hopes for people.
3. I'm more interested in strengths than I am in weaknesses.
4. Poor leadership decisions don't just tick me off; they motivate me to find better ones and to foster the leader within others.

When I was a child I was ambidextrous. Because I had equal comfort I often switched between my left and right hands mid-sentence or in the middle of drawing a circle. This befuddled my teachers so they told me I had to choose a hand because they felt it was interfering with my school work. I picked my left and that seems congruent with my lifelong habit of choosing the more difficult path.

A few years later my parents got a divorce, although I don't think it had anything to do with my hand choice. My school work suffered anyway and my teachers felt it better for me to be placed in a "slower" class. I don't know if you remember those Resource Centers, beautifully named but socially ostracized places. I was put in a room with other "slow" kids. When we were released to join the rest of the students in easier subjects like art and gym you couldn't help but feel like a second class citizen. That went on for about six years and my mild dyslexia didn't help me to feel any better about myself.

I wanted to enter high school without the "help" of the resource center. I recall the first grade I received. It was for social studies and I got a "C" on my assignment. The teacher asked to meet with me after class and he explained that he graded me a "C" originally but later received a note from the Resource Center people; I guess I was on some sort of watch list. He said he could up it to a "B" based on their scale if I wanted him to. I didn't give it a second of thought before I told him I'd take the "C" because how else was I going to improve if I wasn't held to the same standard as everyone else? He seemed impressed with that and I was never bothered from the Resource Center people again.

Since then I've be attracted to the leaders and artists who focus on people's strengths. I learned to intertwine the values of strength and creativity from my parents. I don't dwell on life's hurdles. Instead, I focus on the talents and gifts we have to clear those hurdles.

I have a thirst for making a difference. Using insightfulness and creativity, I'm happiest when I can lead and inspire others to maximize their strengths and continuously improve themselves, their organization or our society, by bringing the powers of vision, passion and action. I believe this helps positively energize our nation and contributes to greater peace, prosperity, fun, understanding, responsibility and liberty in the world. I do this by regularly focusing on the four pillars of my mission.

  1. Make a Positive Difference in the lives of others.

  2. Strive to Lead and Inspire through my words and deeds.

  3. Maximize the Strengths of others by using my own.

  4. Continually Improve and Contribute to a "more perfect union".

I enjoy being an inspiration to people who in turn inspire themselves. I like to help others find their strengths and see what they have to offer our joint endeavor.

I want to help you find your vision or purpose. If you've already found it, that's great.  I want to help you clear the obstacles off your path so you can reach your goals.

I do this partly for selfish reasons. I like how it infuses me with energy. It forces me to take my focus off myself, and put it on others, the way a servant leader should. It also gives me the opportunity to combat the damaging effects of poor leaders, influencers, and others who abuse their enormous power either through intent or ignorance.

What does helping bring out the best in people and having a clear goal look like? Think of President John Kennedy and his crazy idea of landing on the moon. He said;

"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills; Because that challenge is one that we're willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone and one we intend to win."

Humankind had been staring up toward the sky for thousands of years wondering about the moon. One day not that long ago, one of us said, let's do it, let's go there within ten years -- and we did it! A fascinating feat that illustrates that just about anything is possible with vision, passion, action and a deadline.

I like to measure things, less to see shortfalls but instead to see what we're capable of doing and to build our credibility. I love to see the charts and graphs of goals and measurements of success; to see the results of common things in uncommon ways. I'm an observer, deliberative and analytical. I used to read American Demographics magazine for pleasure, so that should gives you some clues.

I am in a constant state of learning and application when it comes to leadership. Sometimes this can come across as tinkering, although I prefer the word refinement. Either way, it's with the best of intentions. I focus on strengths instead of weaknesses. Yes, sometimes weaknesses need to be addressed, but to overcome them I discover what can be done, versus what can't. I lead toward the future not from the past.  I measure and monitor with success metrics; managing by fact, not by whimsy.

Here are a few things you can expect from me
in our interactions:

  • Two questions asked equally often, "Why?" or "Why not?"

  • A quest for continuous improvement, to make good things great things.

  • Measures for success, setting you up to win.

  • The testing of assumptions, tasks, and decisions against the Vision or Objective.

  • A greater interest in strengths, not irrelevant weaknesses.

  • An abundance mentality that will push you to explore possibilities.

  • An irritation with poor leadership decisions, be they my own or others.

And here's what I expect from you if you want to build a beneficial relationship:

  • Be open to new or alternative approaches.

  • Ask me, "So what?" or "Who cares?" to keep me focused.

  • Give seemingly "crazy ideas" a chance to breathe.

  • Support vetted processes that we prove work.

  • Give and receive education easily.

  • Call BS, BS.

  • Have a sense of humor about yourself, the world and me.

I believe everyone has the capacity to become a leader, and it's the responsibility of each of us to identify that special talent we possess and to pursue it relentlessly.

While you make your mark and decide what you want to be positively remembered for during your time here, know, feel and act like you make a difference, because you do.  That's why I'm committed to helping talented leaders and artists find the a-ha within.

So, how can I help you today?

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