A Leadership Course for the Rising Star

Cutlery Set

 

The Case of the Missing Cutlery

As a new manager, Kevin volunteers for the most unusual challenge.  Kevin is the manager of an airline catering company.  The airline is furious when it discovers that silverware is disappearing at an accelerating rate.  Given an aggressive deadline, Kevin needs to find out why the cutlery is disappearing and solve the problem.

As he is solving the case, Kevin learns about team building and motivation.

 

The Case of the Missing Cutlery is your personal story of learning leadership.  You found yourself managing a team with a major problem, with limited time to fix it, and with limited resources.  Why is this story resonating with readers?  Have you shared it with some of your colleagues working on “the case”?

The Case of the Missing CutleryThere’s so much great literature on leadership, but when I was coming up, it was hard to see how the high-flying exploits of C-level titans applied to me as a newly-minted shift supervisor.  People can easily relate to stories on the shop floor as well as colorful characters that we all have shared at one time or another.  I have received nothing but warm reactions from my peers including Angela Ahrendts, Burberry’s former Chief Executive (and now with Apple), who endorsed the book.

 

What is buoyancy?  Why and how is it created?

Contrasted with the command and control of yesterday’s hierarchical organizations, buoyancy is the concept that you “float” by connecting with the hearts of your people, galvanizing them on a journey toward an amazing goal.  They “float” you because they believe you are worthy and reward your belief in them with their belief in you.

 

The Importance of Story

Why is storytelling an important skill for a leader?

Storytelling is man’s oldest form of communication.  Throughout the ages, we have used this resonant means to impart vitally important values, beliefs and principles. It is powerful because it is human and emotive.

 

What is the “six o’clock conversation” and how is it important to leadership?

Well it’s funny you should ask: I remember vividly when I got my first leadership role at venerable ad agency McCann Erickson.  Mike, my mad-man boss, slapped me on the back and said, “Well, kid, congratulations.  You are now dinner conversation.  Everything you say, and more importantly how you say it, will be shared at dining tables all across your organization.”

Putting thought into the positivity and the emotive quality of what you say can move mountains, or as poet Maya Angelou would say, “ You may be forgotten for what you said, or forgotten for what you did, but never forgotten for how you make people feel.”

 

Kevin Allen is best known for his work at the top of advertising behemoths McCann-WorldGroup, the Interpublic Group and Lowe and Partners Worldwide where he worked with brands including Microsoft, Nestle, and Lufthansa.  He pitched the famous “Priceless” campaign for MasterCard.  He is the Founder & Chairman of employee engagement company Planet Jockey, which specializes in gamified learning and business transformation company re: kap.

 

Define real ambition and why it’s important.

5 Surprising Hacks That Will Boost Creativity In Minutes

Business person having an bright idea light bulb concept
This is a guest post by Greg Fisher; he is the Founder of Berkeley Sourcing Group. He started BSG eight years ago after realizing the need for coordination between manufacturing firms located in the U.S. and factories in China.

Creativity is a fantastic trait to develop that can help us to perform better in a huge range of situations – not least in business, where it can help us to come up with new products, new marketing angles, new business models and unique solutions to enduring problems.

 

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” –Henry David Thoreau

 

But creativity is also an elusive abstraction that is difficult to define and even more difficult to acquire if you aren’t naturally gifted in that way.  With that in mind, how does one go about helping themselves to be more creative and to think outside the box?  Especially in a world that more and more often seems to encourage conformity and output?

With these powerful hacks, that’s how!  Follow these tips and in minutes you’ll be having better ideas and using your brain in ways you didn’t know you could.

 

“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.” –Julia Cameron

 

Hack #1: Lie Down

 

Lying down or at least leaning back into a more supine position has been shown by many studies to boost creativity.  Why’s that?  Because it encourages us to feel relaxed and at ease. When you’re stressed or busy working, your body produces chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline which gives you a kind of ‘tunnel vision’ and focus.  That’s useful for completing a dull task, or for outrunning a lion, but it’s not useful when you need to ‘see the bigger picture’ and try to connect abstract concepts.

 

Hack #2: Look at a Plant

 

Thus anything that helps you to relax to a degree will help you to access more of your natural creativity.  Another example is simply looking at plants and greenery, which help us relax thanks to our evolutionary imperative of finding fertile land and luscious green nutritious plants.

 

Hack #3: Use a Green Wallpaper on Your Desktop

When Sorry Isn’t Enough

Pen writing I am sorry

One of life’s essential leadership skills is the art of the apology.  Part of being human is that we all make mistakes, say the wrong thing, and misread others.  We hurt people sometimes knowingly and sometimes not.

Some people have a difficult time saying, “I am sorry” while others are able to say it freely.

But is sorry enough?

 

  • Ever hear the words “I am sorry” but it didn’t do it for you?
  • Have you ever apologized to someone only to find that it almost fell flat?
  • What if there was a specific language of apology that changed everything?

 

Gary Chapman is the author of the 5 Love Languages® series and director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants.  Jennifer Thomas is an author, speaker, and psychologist.  Their new book When Sorry Isn’t Enough taught me why “I am sorry” is often not good enough.  I recently had the opportunity to connect with Dr. Thomas and talk about the art of the apology, relationships, forgiveness and trust.

 

“Forgiveness holds the power to give renewed life to the relationship.” –Chapman / Thomas

 

Sorry Isn’t Always Enough

 

Why did you decide to research and study the apology?

Several years ago, I made a mistake that led to an argument with my husband. Ironically, this incident happened the evening before we were to teach about communication and forgiveness to a pre-marital class at our church.  As he and I worked through our own argument, I offered an apology to him that failed to hit the mark.  I was thinking to myself, “This is not good. We are barely speaking and yet we are supposed to teach together tomorrow.”9780802407047

Normally, I might have been miffed by his response, but this time my curiosity took over and so I asked him what he would like to hear in my apology.  While I had been saying, “I’m sorry,” he needed to hear me say, “I was wrong.”  I had made a mistake, and I knew I was in the wrong, so I went ahead and said it to my husband.  I was amazed by how quickly this apology worked. My husband felt better, and the emotional tension between the two of us slipped away.

I made a mental note to include my husband’s favorite words in future apologies I would give to him.  I wondered if our experience might help other people who are in the “doghouse” and don’t know how to get out of there.

 

The Language of Apology

 

How did you connect your ideas with Dr. Chapman’s love languages?

I had met Gary Chapman locally through my work as a psychologist in private practice in North Carolina.  I was curious about his thoughts on apologies.  I thought to myself, “Just as you should show love in a language that really speaks to others, you should also speak apologies that contain the words they are waiting to hear.”  Six months later, I made an appointment to talk over these ideas with him.  Dr. Chapman was very encouraging, and we ended up writing a book together.

Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas

 

 

“Genuine apology opens the door to the possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation.” –Chapman / Thomas

 

If you are close to someone, it’s inevitable that you’ll need to apologize to them. How can you be prepared to speak their apology language?

Here are a couple of conversation starters that will help you be prepared when the need to apologize arises. Ask the people who are closest to you:

  1. When you hear a great apology, what is included?
  2. When you hear a lame apology, what is missing?

You can also click on my website’s “free resources” tab to take the apology language and love language assessments for free.

 

“Trust is that gut-level confidence that you will do what you say you will do.” –Chapman / Thomas

 

Why I Am Sorry is Hard to Say

Jon Gordon Shares The Greatest Success Strategies of All

Carpenter Taking Measurement

 

When I pick up one of Jon Gordon’s books, I have high expectations.  I expect to be entertained, moved, and motivated to think differently and take action.  That’s not an easy accomplishment for any book.

 

“Your optimism today will determine your level of success tomorrow.” –Jon Gordon


His latest book, The Carpenter: A Story About the Greatest Success Strategies of All, exceeded my already high expectations.  Jon once again narrates a story in such a way that it:

  • Reminds me of timeless principles
  • Zeroes in on something I need to work on
  • Inspires me to become a better leader

I recently had the opportunity to ask Jon a few questions about his work.

 

“Negative thoughts are the nails that build a prison of failure.” –Jon Gordon

 

The 3 Greatest Success Strategies

 

Jon,The Carpenter’s subtitle is A Story About the Greatest Success Strategies of All.  Let’s talk about a few of these strategies.

The 3 greatest of them all are:The Carpenter by Jon Gordon

1. Love

2. Serve

3. Care

I go into more detail in the book of why they are so powerful, but after studying the most successful people and organizations, I found they truly loved the work they did, and they did everything with love instead of fear.  The love they had for their product, people and passion was greater than their fear of failing.  They loved their work so much that they overcome their challenges to build something great.  They loved their people, so they invested in them and helped them achieve great results.  They also cared about everyone and everything.  They put in a little more time with a little more energy with a little more effort with a little more focus, and this produced big results.  They also served and sacrificed.

Only through service and sacrifice can you become great. When you serve others, you become great in their eyes.  We know when someone is out for themselves and when they are here to serve others. You can’t be a great leader if all you are serving is yourself.

 

“Only through service and sacrifice can you become great.” –Jon Gordon

 

The Importance of Rest

You talk about the importance of rest.  Most of us are so busy achieving, setting goals, and driving that we have learned to smile and nod in response to hearing “get some more rest.”  My subconscious often responds with, “I will rest when I’m dead.”  Why is rest so important?  What made you decide to start with it as a success strategy? 

I’ve noticed that the enemies of great leadership, teamwork, relationships and customer service are busyness and stress.  Our lives have become so crazy that we are continually activating the reptilian part of our brain and the fight-flight response.  So without knowing it, we are living and working from a place of fear where we are just trying to survive instead of thrive.

When we rest and recharge, we can think more clearly and live and work more powerfully.  For example, instead of running people over because you are so busy, you can take time to build relationships with your team and customers and create more success in the long term.  Instead of just trying to get through the day, you can live and work more intentionally thinking about who needs your time and energy to develop and grow.  Instead of rushing through conversations with customers, you can take more time to listen and solve their problems.  Every great athlete must rest and recharge and so must we to perform at our highest level.

Bestselling Author Jon Gordon

 

“Anyone who attempts to build great things will face challenges.” –Jon Gordon

 

How Gratitude and Love Make The Difference