Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When Dad is Away...

While my dad is away in Nicaragua, he has asked me to fill in for him this week. I am his oldest daughter, Taylor, a sophomore in high school in this upcoming school year.

This past week I attended Student Leadership University in Washington DC. I was able to hear from many Christian leaders that work within the political arena. But one of my favorite sessions was The Lincoln Legacy, by Brent Crowe.

Brent gave many examples of why Lincoln was such an amazing leader, and what we can learn from his life. I wanted to share with you a few of these lessons.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Are You Leading in the Cloud?

This week Apple launched the new OS X Lion operating system for its computers. One key enhancement will be the availability to function more in the "cloud." In case you're not familiar with Cloud Computing, it's basically using the web to store lots of data. During the pre-cloud era, you could run programs from the web, but data was typically stored on your computer, therefore consuming precious storage space.  Now you can throw photos, music and more out there in web-land and preserve your personal space.

What's interesting is that the whole Cloud thing really isn't new.  Some leaders have been using the "cloud" in their  leadership for a long time. Their goal is to intentionally create a cloud of dust so that those who follow them aren't real sure which way they are going.  They just trust that the leader knows where he or she is going, so it must be a good thing...right?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Are you writing the dream?

This is not another 5-Step Strategy for goal setting or achieving the dream. I just want to share something I came across recently in the book of Daniel.  At the beginning of chapter 7, we find Daniel having a dream. Not just any dream, but one that stirs him from his sleep.

"...Daniel had a dream and saw visions as he lay in his bed. He wrote down the dream,"

Did you see it? Did you catch the defining principle between the "doers" and the "don'ters".  Daniel wrote down the dream!

Have you written down your dream?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Are you ready to drop the hammer?

A businessman who is in construction recently shared this thought with me: "When I pick up a hammer, our production goes down." I have to admit, I was a bit perplexed...then he explained what he meant.

When he shows up on a site to check on a crew, undoubtedly, he will get the urge to grab a hammer and start helping.  That's what a servant-leader should do...right? The problem here is that his crew will stop working to watch what he is doing, therefore prolonging the completion of their task.  This in turn, slows down the project. When he realizes what is happening, he drops the hammer and leaves the site.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Have you had a "collision" today?

Do you ever think to yourself that there has to be more to life than what you're currently getting? I have found myself in a tidal wave of influences that are following the same is too short to "endure." We're all equipped with abilities and talents that make us unique. The challenge is to find a way to connect those things with the time we have to give...maybe during our "eight hours" of work each day and get paid for it.

I would submit that one way to make a change is to embrace the opportunities to meet new people and learn from them.  I call them collisions. When we "collide" with others, we have the opportunity to Listen, Learn and Leverage what we learn. It's a great idea.  Look for people to collide with and see what happens.  I've created something to capture these moments. Take a look:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Feedback: Is it instant or in a file?

This July 4th, my family was invited over by friends to grill out and watch the neighborhood kids shoot fireworks. As the firework festivities began, one of their neighbors came out with a digital SLR camera to take shots of the fireworks.  It was a new camera and she was learning how to use it, especially at night.  After a few clicks, I asked how the pictures were turning out and she said, "Not good...they're blurry." Having dabbled in photography, I walked over to offer a few suggestions on settings that typically work when shooting photos in low light environments and returned to my host.

A little later I asked about the photos and got, "That fixed it! They all look great!" Then she added something that hung in my mind. "That's the beauty of this camera...I get instant feedback." I began to think, "How did the 'old-school' photographers learn which settings worked the best?" They were limited to having to take the photo, wait until the roll of film was finished and processed before they were able to see the results of their selected settings. I'm sure they had a system, but it sure seems pre-historic.

The same is true with the people who help us complete our tasks. They need instant feedback. How successful would any athlete become if he or she only received feedback at the end of the season? Hopefully, that doesn't make sense to you. 

The people we influence need frequent feedback on how they are doing and how it contributes to the success of the big picture. They need to see the value they add as well as if something they are doing isn't adding any value at all. But this information cannot be put in a file only to be retrieved for the "annual review." Our feedback needs to be instant and in tune with where they going and how it adds value to the objectives of the organization.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Old School vs. New School

Have you noticed a shift in leadership models? I have started reading Jeremy Kubicek's "Leadership Is Dead." (I've actually stopped in order to allow a companion to catch up so we can exchange impressions...) Kubicek makes the case for a shift in leadership models. It has influenced my thinking on my own leadership style and has heightened my awareness to the leadership models around me.

One distinction I've noticed is that "Old Schoolers" tend to measure success in tangibles: the "bottom line", people and widgets. Not to dismiss the value of these metrics, but I sense that "New Schoolers" don't land on the same page. They tend to measure success by intangibles: Was the process effective? Were there any "hiccups"? Did the people have a good experience?

So how about you? Are you "Old School" or "New School"? Do you agree or disagree?