Tag Archive: Leadership

Nov 26

17 – The Law of Priorities

Leaders Understand that Activity is not Necessarily Accomplishment

In John C. Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (2007), John shares the law of priorities.

We all have 24 hours in our day. Yet, some people seem to accomplish so much more than others. For some, their accomplishment is at the expense of their families. Others recognize the importance of life-balance and accomplish much while ensuring that they do not forget the other important areas in their life. So how do those leaders complete this feat, while other people seem to wonder aimlessly through life?

Most leaders establish clear priorities for the next phase in their life. Creating a one-year plan is a good first step. Others with a clear vision of the future, may even create a five-year plan. Envisioning your future, creating your plan, and executing that plan is crucial for establishing the focus needed to create your success, regardless of your definition of success.

John suggests considering the following three questions during your planning phase.

Priority Planning Questions

  1. What is required?
  2. What gives the greatest return?
  3. What brings the greatest reward?

The first question addresses the areas of your life that are needed to fulfill your commitments and responsibilities. Maintaining one’s most important relationships comes to mind immediately. Far too many people push this area to the back burner as they pursue their definition of success, only to discover later that failing to maintain those important relationships results in relationships that are damaged beyond repair. I have met people that achieved their definition of success then looked around only to discover their spouse and children are no where to be found. They quickly learned that achieving success was much more costly than ever imagined. All of the perceived benefits of success were minimized because of failing to consider the necessary balance required for a fulfilling life.

The second question focuses on identifying those priority areas with the greatest return. Leaders recognize that Law of Prioritiesactivity is not a one-to-one correlation with results. People that prioritize their efforts to align with high-value returns often recognize greater levels of success than those that get lured into low-value activity. The 80/20 rule comes into play when setting priorities. The 80/20 rule implies that completing the top 20% of the activity returns 80% of the value. Consciously evaluating priorities and applying effort to the high-value items leads to higher levels of success.

The third question focuses on areas that return a high-level of personal satisfaction. Keep in mind that maintaining balance is necessary during the planning of priorities. Items that return a high-level of personal satisfaction energize you to tackle tasks leading to other accomplishments. Everyone needs a time to recharge. This area of planning ensures that your plans incorporate time to recharge. This might include something like golf or attending a seminar. Include whatever you find recharges you to face new challenges.

An important step is to write down the outcomes of your priority planning session because the urgent things in our daily lives tend to overwhelm what is truly important in life. I like to use mind maps to capture the outcomes of my personal planning sessions. Mind maps provide a good visual reminder for me and are easily shared across my electronic devices for referencing and review. The mind map also allows as much detail as necessary for your planning. One of my major goals this year is authoring a book about my family’s caregiving experience for a family member that battled brain cancer for nearly four years. My planning mind map contains an entry for that goal. A more detailed mind map contains the information and steps for completing that goal.

Creating a regular routine for reviewing your priorities and setting goals that align with your priorities is a critical step to maximizing the 24 hours you have in your day.

I would love to hear how you prioritize your goals to accomplish your definition of success.

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Oct 04

16 – The Law of the Big Mo

Momentum is a Leaders Best Friend

In John C. Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (2007), John shares the law of buy-in.

So what happens when you have developed a compelling vision that you are passionate about and gathered the right people but you can not get the team moving in the right direction? You need to leverage the law of momentum. I used this law to my advantage before ever reading about the law in a formalized way like that by John Maxwell.

In 2003, I worked on a team that supported an enterprise-wide project management suite. Business teams often beat our team to the punch, delivering applications needed by the business. The business teams were unencumbered by information technology processes and focused only the needs of a specific business. Unfortunately, the business specific applications failed to satisfy the needs of other corporate businesses so duplication was the norm. We were faced with a challenge to deliver the ability to report on a specific business metric with charting capability using data stored in the project management system. I made a bold statement to my supervisor and department manager, “give me one business expert and one software developer and we will deliver the needed functionality in 30 days.”

Despite some doubt and apprehension, the management agreed to test my boast. The business expert interfaced with the businesses to understand their needs and the developer and I built the software components to deliver on those needs. We met frequently throughout each day to design just enough to begin software coding and to integrate developed code. Every Friday, we demonstrated our progress to business representatives to ensure we were meeting their reporting needs and used the feedback to make course corrections the following week. After a grueling month, the team delivered functional software that provided the most important features desired by the business representatives. The success and momentum of the first month proved the team could deliver as promised and garnered additional funding for three additional months to address emerging customer needs. A few months later we learned about a process called scrum that felt very similar to our process used in this project. I completed scrum master training and implemented the process within our extended team. Scrum is integral to our team’s development process even today.

When on a roll, everything seems to go just right, but when in a slump even the most simple tasks seem impossible. Leaders try to control momentum because momentum has such a great impact on success. Momentum changes the way people look at leaders. People tend to overlook small leadership issues, when overall the leader is on a roll. People desire to associate themselves with leaders that win. Leaders that build momentum in an organization discover that people find motivation and inspiration that drive them to higher levels of performance and achievement.

Gaining momentum is more difficult than maintaining momentum. Every leadership situation is different, but the leader must find ways to gain wins early, even if those wins are small. I have witnessed far too many projects waste opportunities in the early phases of the project to make the small wins that build momentum. Creating momentum takes a leader with vision and the ability to motivate other people. The leader’s passion, enthusiasm, and energy is motivational and leads to the small wins that build momentum.

I wish you well on your personal growth journey. I appreciate your additional insight, so feel free to comment to share your thoughts and experiences.

Links
Links to other posts in this discussion on the laws of leadership.
Mind map of the 21 laws of leadership.
Introduction to the leadership laws | 1 – The Law of the Lid | 2 – The Law of Influence | 3 – The Law of Process | 4 – The Law of Navigation | 5 – The Law of Addition | 6 – The Law of Solid Ground | 7 – The Law of Respect | 8 – The Law of Intuition | 9 – The Law of Magnetism | 10 – The Law of Connection | 11 – The Law of the Inner Circle | 12 – The Law of Empowerment | 13 – The Law of The Picture | 14 – The Law of Buy-in | 15 – The Law of Victory

Reference
Maxwell, John. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will follow you. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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Jul 27

7 Traits Great Leaders Share that Enable Empowering Others

Leaders that excel at the law of empowerment recognize seven important factors and comply with those seven factors to build strong capabilities in those they lead.
Team Empowerment


7 Factors Needed to Empower Those You Lead

1. Value people. Leaders that truly value people and appreciate the benefits received through teams that demonstrate thought and skill diversity are more prone to empower others.
2. Share Vision – people flourish in environments where they feel they are part of something bigger than themselves. Leaders that share their vision focus their teams to pursue a common direction and empower them to work towards a common goal and purpose.
3. Communicate. Leaders that communicate the direction and provide clear objectives build a mental model or picture that guides their team toward success.
4. Trust people. Leaders that trust people to make the right choices find following the empowerment law much easier than those leaders reluctant to trust. I find that most people want to do the right thing. Leaders that model good leadership behaviors discover that others will also learn and model those behaviors.
5. Enable effective decision-making. Leaders that empower effectively provide the information necessary for team members to make decisions. Poor leaders shy away from the effort to create the environment for others to make decisions opting instead to withhold the decision-making authority for themselves. This simply creates bottlenecks, limits capacity, and prevents growing other strong leaders.
6. Delegate. Leaders must learn to delegate in order to empower people. Many leaders consider delegation a lose of their own power. But leaders that delegate effectively find that building other strong leaders earns them even more power and influence. Effective delegation requires delegation of authority and establishing accountability. See article Improve your Capacity with Effective Delegation for additional information.
7. Recognize and reward positive empowered behaviors. Behaviors that get rewarded get repeated. Great leaders recognize the power of genuine and well-timed praise and rewards.

I wish you well on your personal growth journey. I appreciate your additional insight, so feel free to comment to share your thoughts and experiences.

Links
12 – The Law of Empowerment
Improve your Capacity with Effective Delegation

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Jul 10

11 – The Law of the Inner Circle

“A Leader’s Potential Is Determined by Those Closest to Him”

In John C. Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (2007), John shares the law of the inner circle.
InnerCircle

A leader does not achieve success alone – on his own merits. A leader depends on his core team to achieve great things together. Without a good team, the opportunity to perform at high-levels and produce consistently does not exist. The law of the inner circle dictates that a leader’s potential comes from those that are closest to him – the team.

Excelling in all 21 laws of leadership is nearly impossible. In the modern business world, the possibility of mastering all of the disciplines required for success is also nearly impossible. As a result, the importance of teamwork is more important today than ever before. Leaders find success in teams and assumes the responsibility to help every team member find success in that team. Effective leaders expend the effort to find suitable team members then nurture them to maturity. The effective leader mentors the team to enable accomplishing great things together.

John provides the following items for consideration to build a strong inner circle.

1. Do members of the inner circle possess the ability to influence other people?
The ability to influence people is a key trait of successful leadership. When your inner circle consists of people that influence others, your own influence multiplies exponentially.

2. Do members of the inner circle possess complementary talents and skills?
We tend to attract people like ourselves, see the law of magnetism. Attracting people that complement your personal weaknesses takes awareness and intention. The successful leader recognizes his own weaknesses and is not threatened by those that display strength in those weak areas.

3. Do members of the inner circle possess a strategic mindset?

I differ with John’s statement “Do they hold a strategic position in the organization?” While the leverage received from a position is beneficial, not all leaders possess an inner circle with people in position. I prefer a strategic mindset. Those that possess a strategic mindset look beyond today and consider today’s actions on the future state.

4. Do members of the inner circle add value to you, other team members, and the organization?
People either add or multiply value or divide or subtract value. People with negative attitudes detract from your ability to lead. I do not imply that people with differing thought and opinion fall into the negative attitude category. That is the trait of a weak and ineffective leader. However, negative people reduce the value of the team and organization just as a liability devalues the balance sheet.

5. Do members of the inner circle contribute positively?
Attaining synergy requires that every team member interact with others in a positive way and contribute to team success. As I eluded to in item #4, valuable team members often have disagreements but handle those disagreements in positive ways. Some people mistakenly believe that withholding knowledge somehow provides job security. Such is rarely the case. Sharing knowledge and expertise builds teams and provides the ability to pursue new challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, I have witnessed those that clung so tightly to existing knowledge and skills only to find themselves with knowledge and skills no longer valuable in a changed environment.

Members of the inner circle need to exhibit excellence, maturity, and good character in all aspects of their lives. Leaders often focus much of their effort working to improve the lowest performing people. Under-performers tend to display poor attitudes and unwillingness to pursue new challenges or or an unwillingness embrace change. A leader that focuses on changing these traits expends an inordinate amount of time often producing little in the way of  positive results. Investing in your best performers returns a much higher return on your investment.

Building the inner circle takes time and effort. Many fail to make the investment and pay the price of mediocrity. Your leadership potential relies on your inner circle, so developing your team deserves your attention and effort.

Improving your capacity to accomplish more and increasing your leadership potential requires that you continually focus on your personal development, see the the law of process, then focus on building your inner circle.

I wish you well on your personal growth journey. I appreciate your additional insight, so feel free to comment to share your thoughts and experiences.

Links
Links to other posts in this discussion on the laws of leadership.
Mind map of the 21 laws of leadership.
Introduction to the leadership laws | 1 – The Law of the Lid | 2 – The Law of Influence | 3 – The Law of Process | 4 – The Law of Navigation | 5 – The Law of Addition | 6 – The Law of Solid Ground | 7 – The Law of Respect | 8 – The Law of Intuition | 9 – The Law of Magnetism | 10 – The Law of Connection

Reference
Maxwell, John. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will follow you. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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Permanent link to this article: http://darrylpendergrass.com/Blog/11-the-law-of-the-inner-circle/

Jul 01

10 – The Law of Connection

“Leaders Touch a Heart Before They Ask for a Hand”

In John C. Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (2007), John shares the importance of connection and leadership.
Connection
The stronger the relationship, the more effectively the leader can persuade people to help. Connect with people at an individual level. When speaking to groups or working with groups, always remember that the group is a collection of individuals. Each of those individuals have their own needs, wants, and desires. When you understand what individuals need and you strive to fulfill those needs, you improve the ability to reach your goals and the stronger your leadership becomes.

John provides the following tips to improve your ability to connect with people.

1. Connect with yourself – Understand yourself and develop confidence in your skills, knowledge, and ability to share those with other people. Don’t underestimate this tip. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to encourage people to overcome their public speaking fears and lack of self-confidence to speak before groups and to share their insight in a variety of topics. Some of those people unearthed their ability to share their knowledge in groups quite effectively and persuasively.
2. Communicate openly and sincerely – People sense quickly the level of your sincerity. Good leaders connect with others through openness, honesty, and sincerity.
3. Know your audience – You connect with people when you know their names, history, dreams, goals, want, needs, and desires. As a leader, you need to balance your needs with the needs of others.
4. Live your message – You build credibility when your actions match your words, refer to the law of solid ground.
5. Remove communication barriers – Communication barriers come in many forms. Physical barriers are the most obvious communication inhibitor, but you can improve your connection by adjusting your language (verbal and non-verbal) to the culture, background, and education of your audience. Adapt to others, do not expect them to adapt to you.
6. Focus on your audience not on yourself – John claims this is a major issue with inexperienced or ineffective leaders. When you focus on your audience rather than yourself your connections develop much faster. One of my managers summarized this tip simply, “It’s not about you, it’s about your people.”
7. Believe in your audience – Communicate with the understanding that your audience is valuable not with the motive that what you say is valuable.
8. Offer your audience direction and hope – People expect leaders to provide the guidance necessary to reach objectives. Good leaders provide that guidance but also provide a sense of hope for the future.

Positional leaders often struggle with the law of connection. Due to their position, they often mistakenly believe that their employees should initiate the connection. Successful leaders initiate the connection and expend the effort needed to build solid relationships. Remember that the greater the challenge, the greater the need for strong relationships.

A book worth exploring is Life Is a Series of Presentations: 8 Ways to Punch Up Your People Skills at Work, at Home, Anytime, Anywhere. Tony Jeary provides many insights into improving your presentation skills. The word presentation is used broadly to apply to all interactions that you have with people, not just formal presentations. I recommend reading the book to gain a deeper understanding of your presentations with everyone your interact with and improve the connection with other people.

I wish you well on your personal growth journey. I appreciate your additional insight, so feel free to comment to share your thoughts and experiences.

Links
Links to other posts in this discussion on the laws of leadership.
Mind map of the 21 laws of leadership.
Introduction to the leadership laws | 1 – The Law of the Lid | 2 – The Law of Influence | 3 – The Law of Process | 4 – The Law of Navigation | 5 – The Law of Addition | 6 – The Law of Solid Ground | 7 – The Law of Respect | 8 – The Law of Intuition | 9 – The Law of Magnetism

Reference
Maxwell, John. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will follow you. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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Permanent link to this article: http://darrylpendergrass.com/Blog/10-the-law-of-connection/

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