Leadership Archives - Page 2 of 2 - Dr. Ivan Misner®

Making a Difference in Someone’s Life

There are little ways and big ways of making a difference in someone’s life.  More likely than not, there’s someone you can immediately call to mind who has impacted you and really made a difference in your life, whether it happened recently or even back during your formative years.

There are definitely certain individuals in my life who have made a big difference for me and in this five minute video, I tell the story of how one of these people in specific really made a positive impact on my life back in high school and helped shape me into who I am today simply by believing in me and giving me a chance when it seemed that no one else would.

After watching the video, please share a story of your own in the comment forum below about a person you are grateful to for the way they positively influenced your life and made a difference for you.

On Friday, April 5th I will review all the comments and I’ll pick the top three standout stories.  If your story is one of the top three, I’ll send you an autographed copy of Masters of Success and, additionally, if you have a current mailing address for the person who made a difference in your life, I’ll send an autographed copy of the book along with a personal note of recognition to them as well.  A little bit of recognition can mean a lot and, who knows . . . simply bringing to light that you are grateful to them may even find you making a difference in their life.

Lead from “Among” Not from “Above”

Stewart Emery (Success Built to Last) was over my house a few months ago.  At breakfast one morning he told me about an interview he did with a well-known billionaire in the computer industry.  The billionaire shared an intriguing story with Stewart about an experience he’d had when the senior executives of a company interested in purchasing his company visited his office to discuss the possible purchase.

Stewart Emery

 

At lunch, the billionaire told the senior executives of the company he was negotiating with that he was going to take them to the Executive Dining Room.  They followed him to the dining room which was very nice but not extravagant.  But that wasn’t the big surprise.  The surprise was that the dining room had a buffet line.  Moreover, the billionaire walked up to the buffet line, picked up a tray, and stood in line behind everyone else.  The executives looked around the room as it filled up and they realized that this room was not an “executive dining room” but was the company dining room.  The boss stood there in line with all the employees.  He spoke to everyone.   No one was afraid to talk to him.  In my opinion, he didn’t lead by being above them; he led by being among them.  Stewart told me that the billionaire said the management team was surprised by the fact that he and all the executives ate with all the employees.  One of them commented that this would have to change.  For the boss, it was a test.  This was not the kind of company that he wanted to sell his business to.  The negotiation ended that day.

Companies have a choice.  They can move toward exclusivity in their organizational culture or they can strive, commit, honor, and embrace inclusivity in their organizational culture.

Sometimes when people meet me, they say that they are surprised that I am approachable.   I find that interesting.  I think they feel this way because sometimes we, as leaders, act in a way that people perceive as unapproachable.  We act “better than” to other people.  I believe people should be surprised when a leader is unapproachable, not when they are approachable.  The problem is that we live in a world where success sometimes creates a sense of separation (with both the organizational leaders and others).  One of the key things to embrace in a successful company is the sense that the boss, the owner, the senior executive(s) are, in fact, approachable.

What are your thoughts on this matter?  Please feel free to share any relevant stories and experiences you may have.

Can’t Do or Won’t Do?

People often ask me how they can get someone in their networking group to take action and participate at a higher level in the group.  I love this question and I have the perfect answer for this . . .

Have someone in a leadership position within the networking group go to the person and ask them: “How can we help you do XYZ more effectively?” Then – listen to their answer.  Their answer will almost always be either a “can’t do” answer or a “won’t do” answer.  The person will either explain why they are having difficulty with the situation because they “don’t know how to” address it effectively, or they will give an answer that illustrates that they “don’t really want to” do this for some reason or another.

The “can’t do” people – you should help. We have all  been a “can’t do” at one time or another.  I didn’t know how to network before I started in this field.  I had to learn how to network.  It’s our job in a networking organization to teach people who want to learn but don’t know how.

It’s the “won’t do” people that are the real problem. They understand that they are not performing – they just have excuses about why they aren’t willing to do what needs to be done.  Frankly, these are the people that need to be removed from a networking group.

Have you seen “can’t do” and/or “won’t do” people in networking groups before?  How did you handle them?  Leave a comment and note that protecting yourself by changing the names of the guilty is always a good idea. 😉

A Life in Leadership

Last week I had an opportunity to go out to dinner with Dr. Warren Bennis after his presentation at the University of La Verne.   It was a true pleasure to spend time with him in a small group.  Dr. Bennis sat on my doctoral committee at the University of Southern California and I had a chance to study under him for a brief period while I was there.

For those few people who may not know who Warren Bennis is, let me suggest that you pick up almost any major book on the subject of “leadership” and I can almost guarantee that Bennis either wrote it or will be quoted in it.

His latest book is called: Still Surprised, A Memoir of a Life in Leadership. I highly recommend this book to you. Bennis is a master story teller who teaches by telling interesting and relevant stories interwoven with tangible and applicable advice.

His presentation last week took me back to my graduate school days.  I sat in the audience at the foot of an icon in the field of leadership and I took copious notes as he spoke to the group.   Here are some of the things he shared in his presentation and at dinner later that evening which impressed me:

He started his presentation by stating that “an organization is not about the buildings, it’s about the values that are passed on.”  He shared four key values relating to leadership:

  1. Showing respect is very important.  In fact, it is critical for great leadership.  We forget how sensitive people can be.  Simple things like saying hello or thank you.  Making other people feel important.  These are small gestures that can yield great results.
  2. Admitting mistakes. If you make a mistake, say “’boy’ I screwed up, but I’ll make this right.”  Telling the truth about mistakes makes us stronger.
  3. Adaptive capacity (This was my biggest takeaway of the night!) He said that it is important for us to develop the contextual intelligence to deal with challenges.  NO, we can never conceive of all the potential problems in any given situation.  This means that one’s ability to adapt is truly an important key to being a great leader.
  4. You have to want it! Being in the role of leader is something you must truly want.  If it’s not something you are passionate about – you’re in the wrong place.  Also, it is important to abdicate your ego to the needs of the organization.

During the evening, he quoted a couple of characters from Shakespeare, the first being Glendower who said, “I can call the spirits from the vast deep.” To which the second character, Hotspur, replies, “Why so can I, so can any man.  But, will they come when you call for them?”

Bennis concluded by saying that a defining characteristic of great leaders is that they have inspired followers–people who are inspired to come when called upon by a leader.

Dr. Bennis, it was an honor to spend some time with you last week.  I sincerely hope our paths cross again.

For my readers – which idea above resonates most with you?  Oh…. and pick up this book.  It’s really that good!

Being Right But Doing It All Wrong!

The business I’m in involves a lot of coaching and guiding of franchisees to teach them how to coach and guide entrepreneurs, salespeople, and professionals to generate referrals for themselves and others.  Sometimes this feels a little like ‘herding cats’; entrepreneurs hate being told what to do and it takes a real skill set to move them in a direction that involves a lot of hard work but will help them achieve the results they want.

One of the biggest challenges I have in this process is not with the actual entrepreneur or salesperson but with the individual I’m coaching to be able to guide the entrepreneur or salesperson. These people have gone through many hours of training, tend to have a fair amount of field experience, and have support manuals that exceed a thousand pages of documentation to assist in the process.   They are true expertsI’ve discovered, however, that sometimes expertise can actually be a problem. Just because your expertise may arm you with the knowledge to recognize the solution to a problem or challenge, it doesn’t mean other people are going to automatically ‘believe’ you know the solution and/or want you to actually tell them the solution.  I know that sounds counter intuitive; however, if you’ve ever raised a child, you know that this is often times absolutely true!

So, let’s say you’re an expert.  You know you’re an expert.  You know that you can help someone else.  You also know that this “someone else” is a grownup who runs their own business or is an independent sales rep who chose their particular career for good reason . . . they like the freedom of being independent.  How do you move these people in the right direction?

I had a person who worked for my company who once went into one of my locations and was appalled by how badly things were being run by the members of the group.  She let them know in no uncertain terms what they were doing wrong and how they needed to turn it around. Her assessment of the situation and the solutions she proposed were spot on but her presentation of them was all wrong. She was so blunt with the group’s members that she received a very negative reaction from them and ended up leaving the place an even bigger mess than it was when she first walked in.  When I met with her to talk about how she might have done things differently, she grew furious with me for not supporting her since she was right and the members of the group were wrong.  I wasn’t arguing that she was right–she was.  The problem I had was how she handled the situation–in that area, she was completely wrong. I tried to explain this to her by sharing one of my favorite sayings relating to the dilemma:  “Don’t burn down the barn to roast the pig.” In other words, don’t make things worse than you found them when you were trying to fix them in the first place.

She could never really wrap her head around the concept that people may not welcome her advice with enthusiasm and agree with her stance on an issue when she was clearly right.  She didn’t work for me for much longer (make of that what you will) and, eventually, we got an expert to work with that group who ‘listened’ to their issues,  Built relationships with the group members, and then coached them into achieving the greatness they had within them.  It’s important to note that this process took time and patience.

There are two things I try to teach people in this situation.

First, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” If you want people to listen to you when you are coaching them or re-directing them, they have to know that you care about them and want them to succeed.  If they don’t know this down to their core – they will not listen to your advice.  Ever.

Second, is a saying given to me by mother on a paper weight when I was about 16 years old and I was running an uphill battle for a student council race.  My mother gave me this paper weight (which is still on my desk in my home to this date).  The paper weight says: Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.” When she gave me that, she explained that I had to learn how to work “with” people – not “through” people.  She said that even if I did know the answer to a problem – it did no good if no one else believed me.  That advice helped me win the election and it has helped me many times throughout my life.  I have to admit that I don’t always use it as well as I can – however, when I do use it, things almost always go more smoothly.

The bottom line is this: being right doesn’t help much if no one is willing to follow you.

What are your thoughts on this issue?  Maybe you can share a story . . . but, remember to keep it positive.  Let’s focus on positive outcomes more than just horror stories.

Being a True Leader

One of the subjects I get asked about often in interviews is leadership.  I’ve learned quite a bit about leadership through my role as founder and chairman of BNI, the world’s largest business referral organization. But I’ve also been extremely privileged to be able to build relationships with and gain insight into the subject from some of the world’s top leaders in several fields and industries.

One of the first people who comes to mind when I think about what it means to be a true leader is my friend and colleague, Brian Tracy. Brian is the epitome of a leader–he is dedicated to succeeding by helping others succeed, and he uses his depth of experience to teach others how to become leaders themselves.

Brian has classified the key qualities of leadership as integrity, discipline, responsibility, courage and long-time perspective, and he lives his life according to those qualities.  Brian was recently diagnosed with throat cancer and, true to the form of a leader who genuinely walks the walk, his positive attitude, courage and hopeful outlook for the future continue to remain rock solid.

Brian says, “When you think about it, having cancer can be a metaphor for any big problem or unexpected setback in life . . . I choose to see this as a ‘learning experience.’  Maybe I’ll develop a speech or seminar to share what I’ve learned, and the parallels with the ups and downs of normal life.”

Leadership is about using your experience and wisdom to move others in a positive direction; it’s about empowering others by serving as an example. Brian doesn’t just give presentations about leadership and advise others on how to be good leaders–he exemplifies everything a true leader should be, especially during times when it’s not easy to be in such a position.

Click here to see how Brian is continuing to inspire and motivate others through his experiences.  We can all learn more than a thing or two about being a true leader from Brian Tracy.

If Brian has inspired you to accomplish your goals and lead yourself and others to success, tell us about it by leaving a comment below.  You can also copy and paste your comment for Brian to read on his blog.

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