Monday, April 14, 2014

Loyalty: The Key to Consistent Victory

By The John Maxwell Company

March Madness got its name because the NCAA basketball tournament provides stunning upsets each season. Unpredictability is big part of the tournament’s appeal. At any point in the competition, an unknown squad can suddenly catch fire, hitting shot after shot, to knock off a heavily favored opponent.

However, if you were filling out an NCAA tournament bracket from 1967 to 1973, then you should have chosen the same champion every single year. Coach John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins won seven consecutive titles! No other men’s collegiate team has won more than two NCAA tournaments in a row.

Why did John Wooden’s teams win so often? Obviously, they had talented players, but what set UCLA apart from the competition was their commitment to loyalty. UCLA’s players were intensely loyal to their leader, Coach John Wooden, as well as to their fellow teammates.

How to Earn Loyalty:

1) Make your values visible.
Leaders attract who they are. If you want a cohesive team, one that’s loyal to a common cause and to one another, then be clear and candid about your values. John Wooden arranged his values into a visual aid that he called the “Pyramid of Success.” The pyramid consisted of fifteen building blocks Wooden believed were essential to success in life, and he taught these values to his players. He placed loyalty as the building block at the center of the pyramid’s foundation.

2) Be loyal to yourself.
Coach Wooden liked to quote a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “To thine own self, be true.” His coaching philosophy wasn’t just a strategy to win games; it flowed directly out of his deepest beliefs about life. John Wooden not only believed in the principles of success he instilled in his players, he also exemplified them. He inspired loyalty because his players knew that he was the real deal—he authentically practiced the values he professed.

3) Give loyalty to your people.
Leaders cannot demand loyalty; they have to earn it. However, leaders should give 100% loyalty to their people from day one. People need to feel your trust, care, and commitment to them. As Wooden wrote, “People do not arrive at your doorstep with loyalty. It comes when those you lead see and experience that your concern for their interests and welfare goes beyond simply calculating what they can do for you—how you can use them to your advantage.” Once you give loyalty, you open up the channel to receive it in return.

Thought to Consider
In an economy where individuals bounce from job to job, quickly moving in and out of relationships, how can a leader be expected to build loyalty? Coach Wooden is proof that loyalty doesn’t take a decade to develop. He led in a climate of constant turnover, where players stayed only a few years, at most, before graduating and moving on. To inspire loyalty, a leader simply must dare to go against the grain of contemporary business culture. Look to invest in people rather than to wring productivity out of them.  Instead of asking, “what have you done for me lately?” inquire: “what can I do to add value to you?”

Read the full article and others from John Maxwell online.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Top 10 Qualities That Make A Great Leader

by Contributor, Forbes

Having a great idea, and assembling a team to bring that concept to life is the first step in creating a successful business venture. While finding a new and unique idea is rare enough; the ability to successfully execute this idea is what separates the dreamers from the entrepreneurs. However you see yourself, whatever your age may be, as soon as you make that exciting first hire, you have taken the first steps in becoming a powerful leader. When money is tight, stress levels are high, and the visions of instant success don’t happen like you thought, it’s easy to let those emotions get to you, and thereby your team. Take a breath, calm yourself down, and remind yourself of the leader you are and would like to become. Here are some key qualities that every good leader should possess, and learn to emphasize.

Honesty

Whatever ethical plane you hold yourself to, when you are responsible for a team of people, its important to raise the bar even higher. Your business and its employees are a reflection of yourself, and if you make honest and ethical behavior a key value, your team will follow suit.

As we do at RockThePost, the crowdfunding platform for entrepreneurs and small businesses I co-founded, try to make a list of values and core beliefs that both you and your brand represent, and post this in your office. Promote a healthy interoffice lifestyle, and encourage your team to live up to these standards. By emphasizing these standards, and displaying them yourself, you will hopefully influence the office environment into a friendly and helpful workspace.

Ability to Delegate

Finessing your brand vision is essential to creating an organized and efficient business, but if you don’t learn to trust your team with that vision, you might never progress to the next stage. Its important to remember that trusting your team with your idea is a sign of strength, not weakness. Delegating tasks to the appropriate departments is one of the most important skills you can develop as your business grows. The emails and tasks will begin to pile up, and the more you stretch yourself thin, the lower the quality of your work will become, and the less you will produce.

The key to delegation is identifying the strengths of your team, and capitalizing on them. Find out what each team member enjoys doing most. Chances are if they find that task more enjoyable, they will likely put more thought and effort behind it. This will not only prove to your team that you trust and believe in them, but will also free up your time to focus on the higher level tasks, that should not be delegated. It’s a fine balance, but one that will have a huge impact on the productivity of your business.

Read the full article online. 


Monday, March 31, 2014

20 Little Tips For A Big Career And Life-- from Forbes

Contributor

I structure my career and life around a simple sentence:
Be generous and expert, trustworthy and clear, open-minded and adaptable, persistent and present.
To keep this sentence in the front of my mind, I look for specific tips that support these qualities. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Day after day, be a little bit kinder and a tad wiser than you were the day before.

2. Both for your company and your family, be better at saving money than you are at spending it.

3. Contrary to how some misinterpret what Jim Collins says, it is a better strategy to be consistently good than occasionally great.

4. Read more. Nothing else will so quickly make you wiser.

5. The more interconnected our world becomes, the more important your reputation will be.

Always do the right thing, even when you think no one is watching.

6. Never forget that most people will do what you pay them to do, not what you tell them to do.

7. It is okay to be more generous than other people, just as it is okay to feel better about yourself than you used to feel.

8. Most of the answers you need already exist in someone else’s head; find those people.

9. The greatest challenge each day is to regulate your ego; too little of it, and you waste your potential, but too much of it and you waste everyone else’s potential.

10. Sometimes technology is going to hurt you, and other times it is going to help you. Be sure you are fully aware which is most likely at the present moment.

Read the full article online...