Leadership Truths



As we close down 2015 and move into 2016, I sat back and reflected on some of my journey and the privilege I have to help others become stronger leaders. I’ve shared below a compilation of some of my favorite Leadership Truths. Take a look and choose your top 5 where you believe that by living that truth you can raise your own bar in the new year.  Commit to a little self-reflection and resolve to make 2016 a year to focus on cultivating your own personal leadership legacy and ensuring the influence you have on your team is always positive.

1.      Maturity is a choice not an age. 2.      As a leader, be contagious, not infectious.
3.      Leading a team is a different skill set than    accomplishing great individual feats. 4.      Create an organization that makes more leaders than it breaks.
5.      Lead where you’re strong. Team where you’re weak. 6.      Business and life are marathons. We have to strategically pace ourselves in order to finish.
7.      Great leaders are concerned about their positive influence, their legacy. 8.      Strategic placement of team members produces the best results.
9.      Self-awareness helps in building the right team for you. 10.   It’s your team.  You cannot complain about what you permit.
11.   When you need a little more pull from your team, try letting them chase a team just a little faster or better than themselves. 12.   Amateurs practice until they get it right.  Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.
13.   Great leaders take time to get to know their team, really know them. 14.   Consider the strengths of the team as a component of strategy.
15.   Communicate in their language, not yours. 16.   Unleash the power of the team.
17.   You don’t have to flood your team with words to get them to action.  Be clear.  Be concise.  Be direct. 18.   Start ugly.  If you’re not willing to start ugly, you’re never going to start.  Learn.  Grow.  Make it pretty next time.
19.   Mentors know to put us in charge of teams that match our abilities. 20.   I can’t lead the team I want.  I have to lead the team I have.
21.   Frustration is a function of expectation. 22.   Lead people; manage things.
23.   If you’re a leader and not learning every day, you’re likely not a leader for long. 24.   Don’t ask for more sweat equity than you give.
25.   People join companies; people quit people. Be someone people want to stay with. 26.   Sometimes you have to drop or reassign a team member if it’s hurting the rest of the team.
27.   Experience it; don’t just witness it. 28.   Trust is the currency of leadership.
29.   Leading a team to victory is often the result of conquering or leading one’s self first. 30.   The mirror is rarely pleasant, but it’s almost always honest.
31.   Problems rarely work themselves out. 32.   As a leader, what you allow you endorse.
33.   The trail we carve as leaders profoundly affects the next generation. 34.   Nobody wants to be managed; people want to be inspired.
35.   Every leader gets the team they deserve, eventually. The team you inherited is not your fault. The team you have a year from now is. 36.   How you treat those on the inside is an indicator of how they will treat those who come from the outside.
37.   Don’t transfer emotional baggage to your team.  If you need to unload, talk to another leader 38.   For that extra motivation, learn your team individually and incentivize accordingly.
39.   Hire for values; train for skills. 40.   Find awesome, and copy it.


Leaders Produce Culture… Culture Produces Results!

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Great culture is ultimately the result of intention, design, action, and accountability.  As a leader, it is your responsibility to LEAD where you need to go.  Below are 3 tips that will help clarify the reality of your culture, define what all stakeholders want, and best of all, you will learn how to process and transform your company culture into something clear, enjoyable and highly effective! 


  1. Assess Your Present


Assessing gives you specific insight into where your organization’s imbalance lies. As a leader, it is important to be extremely attentive to the internal and external dialogue of your employees, clients, and key stakeholders.  To get a solid diagnostic look into your organization’s culture, you can approach the process two ways: informally (through candid conversations and honest observations) or formally (through a guided, thorough survey).


Practical questions to be answered in your assessment:

     1) What does it look and feel like to be our employee?

     2) Does our internal culture ripple out to our external customers?

     3) Is our internal culture delivering results that return appropriate value to our investors?

Once you know what kind of culture you’re starting from, where you need to go will be much clearer.


  1. Architect Your Future


From wherever you start, this second phase is when you determine what your new culture must look and feel like.. 


If we set our standards to the highest desired point of a great place to work, hitting on all cylinders of operational excellence and exceeding client or customer expectations – what would that look like?


A critical aspect of Architecture is drawing it all up and lining it all out. It is imperative to establish your new norms – PRACTICAL daily habits, clear expectations, breaking the ultimate into easy to implement actionable behaviors.


The most effective way to discuss and establish the new norms you must follow is by a DITLO (“Day in the Life Of”) framework. Architecting an improved culture essentially involves creating a clear blueprint for what the new culture will look and feel like. It’s about clear roles and responsibilities, clear behavioral expectations.


  1. Activate from A to B


Even though your organization’s needs are highly individual, there are a few guiding principles that will help you navigate any situation to your cultural end goal.


As a leader, your first task in the Activation phase is to lead by example. In the Activation phase, you are expanding your new results-oriented norms from strategies to standardized practices every single day (DITLO).


The most important tool for providing security for the people of companies needing to improve results is a scoreboard. A good scoreboard displays:

     • desired results,

     • the key indicators on the path to those results,

     • the daily activities that will create those desired results, and

     • individual and group progress toward the results.


  1. Wrap Up 


Simply put, your company can never become healthier, unless you and your key people do too.

     1) Have patience: culture change is an ongoing process

     2) Expect failure: every time you endure, you grow.

     3) Be courageous: courage is acknowledging fear, and then taking action anyway