Monday, November 29, 2010

Quote for the week

“Determine the specific goal you want to achieve. Then dedicate yourself to its attainment with unswerving singleness of purpose, the trenchant zeal of a crusader.” - Paul J. Meyer

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Your Goals Must be Specific and Known

Any serious student of success is certainly familiar with the concept of goal setting. Goals provide a target to focus on and to measure your movement against. In order to accomplish both of these two objectives your goals must be specific, written down and shared.

The act of writing your goals down forces you to get focused. As you write, and re-write, you begin the process of selection. What are you seeking, what will light the fire of determination within you? If you do not put your goals on paper they remain merely passing thoughts and dreams. For years I thought about running a marathon but never got focused. I finally put the goal on paper, let others know what I am doing and am now training six days a week for a run in the spring.

Letting other s know what your goal or goals are is another powerful motivator. It’s sort of a “put your money where your mouth is” thing. By sharing your goal with others you are forcing yourself into action – lest you let yourself look foolish. Consider the ancient general Tariq ibn Ziyad who on April 30, 711, after he and his army landed at Gibraltar, ordered his ships to be burned so that his troops had no choice but to defeat their enemy or die a coward’s death (his armies swept through Spain killing the King later that summer).

I am sure your goals and aspirations do not include the invasion of Spain, but just as General Ziyad left no room for retreat if you are serious about success you should be thinking the same. How can you define your goals in such a way that you have move forward? Who can you share your goals with that can offer assistance or simply pressure you to stay the course?

Take the time to write very specific goals down as well as some time to think about the two questions noted above. The more focused you can be in both goal setting and who to share them with will help you attain all the success you are looking for.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quote for the week

"The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand." - Vincent T. Lombardi

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quote for the week

"No problem is insurmountable. With a little courage teamwork & determination a person can overcome anything." - B. Dodge

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Top Three Qualities of a Leader

The question “What are the three top qualities a leader must have?” was posted on a discussion within the Linked2Leadership group on LinkedIn. Leadership qualities and leadership development are both subjects that have been and will continue to be studied, discussed and debated. Deciding on the top three is an almost impossible task. As situations develop and change within an organization of any kind the needed qualities and abilities for the leader change. That said let me offer three leadership qualities that I believe necessary regardless of situation.

1. A Strong Sense of Self. A good leader thoroughly understands his strengths and his weaknesses. He is comfortable in his skin. This knowledge of self allows him to build a diverse team that shores up his weaknesses and compliments his strengths.

2. Visibility. You cannot lead if you are not seen or heard. A good leader knows that she has to get out amongst her team and work hand in hand with them. An office, cubical or desk-based leader rapidly loses touch with what is happening day to day with members of her team. When you lose touch on a day to day basis you miss seeing small and easily fixed issues before they become a larger crisis. If you are consistently dealing with large problems I would suggest you need to dial up the visibility and find out what is actually taking place with your organization.

3. Excellent Communicator. By communication I mean both speaking and listening. A good leader listens more than he/she speaks. You need to ask questions and get the full picture before acting. A good leader gets input but accepts the final responsibility for whatever action is decided upon. You also need to constantly remind your people about the larger purpose of the organization in general and their job in particular. People become truly motivated when they understand the greater purpose they are involved in.

Obviously these three qualities and this blog entry just begin to scratch the surface of leadership. There are many (1000’s) of books and articles that discuss leadership. Two of my favorites are:

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell

The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

In order to develop your fullest potential you need to develop your leadership skills. There is just no getting around the fact that good leaders are always in demand and that your leadership skills will propel you farther and faster on your success journey than any other skill set you may acquire.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Quote for the Week

"It's not about what happens. It's about perspective. I may not be able to change what takes place, but I can always choose to change my thinking." - Michelle Sedas

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Four Stages of Behavioral Change

Everyone's success journey will involve adding or changing behavior. As you learn and as you grow your behavior will change. Oprah Winfrey was not born the person she is today. As she experinced life her experiences help mold her into the successful business mogul she is today. This holds true for any other successful person in the world past or present. This holds true for you as well. To make your journey a little easier you need to be aware of the following four stages of behavioral change.

Stage 1: Aware
Becoming aware of a new process or procedure is the first stage in learning something new. This information was not part of your consciousness before. Once you become aware you move immediately to stage two.

Stage 2: Clumsy
Any time you are changing behavior it will be uncomfortable and you will no doubt be clumsy in your attempts to put the information into successful action. Think about customer service training. Most companies have specific greetings for their employees to use. At first these greetings come across very scripted and unnatural. As the employees practice and use these greetings with customers they become less clumsy and the employees move into stage three.

Stage 3: Comfortable
As you practice a new behavior or process you become comfortable with it. It starts to feel natural. Staying with the greeting example from above - the lines change from being unnatural and scripted to a more natural sounding speech pattern. The employees understand and are comfortable with the greeting. They have incorporated it into their natural speech pattern and it flows naturally. In addition, through repetition they no longer have to concentrate on the words themselves but understand the greeting at an unconscious level. This leads them right into stage four.

Stage 4: Automatic
Over time, and through repeated practice the behavior becomes automatic. When this happens you can say that the learning is complete. The information has been absorbed into the mind and the behavior has been modified to match the need and expectation.

Conventional wisdom notes that it takes 30 days in order to change behavior. It is in stage two, the clumsy stage that most people fail. Since the new behavior feels odd most people will stop trying and revert back to previous more comfortable behavior. You have to power on and get through to the comfortable stage in order to truly change behavior. The 30 day period provides enough time to push thru all four stages and truly establish a new behavioral pattern.