Thursday, November 27, 2008

Transformational Gratitude

I'm a fan of gratitude. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, let's revisit both old and new thinking about gratitude.

My "Old" Thinking.
It is not obsolete but it is old, at least in blog years. I have written before in Thanks, there is lots of agreement on Gratitude and Building Community: Thank you, as a way of leading, that gratitude is a great foundation element on which to build community. It is easy. It is effective. Why not express gratitude for the work of your colleagues. It will expand trust and opportunity. It is old thinking but, IMHO, still valid.

My "New" Discovery
Gratitude is transformational. Russel Bishop writes this past week on the Huffington Post that gratitude is a key to personal transformation. I'd like to share two of Bishop's thoughts and encourage you to read the full post.

Bishop writes, "given the stressful times in which we live and the apparent instability, unreliability, and fear wracked nature of our social and economic systems, it seems to me that the counterintuitive notion of Gratitude is needed right here, right now, for each and every one of us."

He goes on to write beautifully about the transformational force of gratitude.
Gratitude is a kind of seed that survives even the most devastating of circumstances, one that can germinate with the slightest amount of care. And when the gratitude seed germinates, the grateful typically experience an expansion of well being - emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

The seed typically sprouts in small ways, and yet the observant amongst us will notice that the tiniest sprout slowly grows into something more substantial. Gratitude is not just a seed, but also a form of nourishment that enables us to find our way out of difficult circumstances, to find choices that others might miss, and to craft an improved life experience.

This is a powerful sentiment for a simple concept.

Thanks for reading. Happy Thanksgiving, with gratitude.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Distinquish Yourself and Make it Viral

Happy Thanksgiving.

For your holiday reading, you can download a free ebook, a generous gift of learning, courtesy of author, consultant, and entrepreneur, Raj Setty. Beyond Code: Learn to Distinguish Yourself in 9 Simple Steps! is available for FREE from Setty's web site.

It is a great book and I want to do my part to make it viral. Please download and share. Many thanks to Phil Gerbyshak at Slacker Manager for for sharing this gift to my part of the blogosphere.

Like me, Raj is an IT guy. Maybe this is why the book resonated with me from the first review of the table of contents. It is both concise and insightful.

If you are looking to distinguish yourself, just reading the table of contents provides a motivating list of suggestions and reminders.
  • Learn
  • Laugh
  • Look
  • Leave a Lasting Impression
  • Love
  • Leverage
  • Likability
  • Listen
  • Lead
As Raj explores each "l" item, he offers suggestions, insights, quotes, and an accountability assessment. Even if you feel that you have mastered the idea, Raj's reminders and assessment can bring new insight. The Amazon reviews on his printed book validate my sentiments; it is a five star book.

This is a wonderful gift. Let's make this viral and spread these lessons for a better world based on learning, love, laughter, listening, and "quiet" leadership.

One wonderful quote that Raj used in the book:
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin Toffler
Thanks Raj.

Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Balance of L3 Leadership

Readers of this blog might recognize my interest in balance. I am a strong believer that effective leadership requires balance between ideas, actions, opinions, decisions, and more.

This week I want to give a tip of the hat to the "balanced" leadership model of Marc Michaelson and John Anderson as proposed in their L3 Leadership manifesto that you can read on the ChangeThis site.

In The L3 Leadership “State of Being”: A Holistic Approach, Michaelson and Anderson hooked me on the first page of their manifesto with a very "lead quietly" invitation. They write,
L3 Leadership is more about who you are than what position you hold, what training you have had, or what personality traits you bring to work and other life situations. L3 is based on the fact that personal leadership is a “state of being.” It is who you are, what you believe, and how you behave.

Their balanced "L3" leadership model is based on a three pronged model where effective leadership is based on three attributes:
  • L1—Leading Self: Total Life Leadership. Achieving personal mastery and work/life integration.

  • L2—Leading With Others: Creating and sustaining Collaborative Advantage.

  • L3—Cultivating The Best Place To Work: A culture of high engagement, retention, performance and productivity.

When you link these three elements together with integrity, authenticity, and balance you end up with a holistic model that is not dependent on title, position, heroism or charisma, the traditional attributes often associated with leadership. It is very balanced.

I recommend the manifesto for it's leadership insight and the thought-provoking assessment questions that will get you thinking about your approach and abilities.

Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly and stay balanced.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Team of Rivals and Leadership Style

The book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln and author Doris Kearns Goodwin are receiving significant attention as a guide that Barrack Obama may be using to shape his administration. In interviews Obama has referenced the book as an essential book for the Oval office.

The book certainly is getting attention. A Google news search returns nearly 900 listings. And people are now buying the book. It is now an Amazon best seller, kind of amazing for a book that has been on the shelf for three years.

I have to agree. I cited the book in my nomination of Abraham Lincoln in my Quiet Leader Hall of Fame in June 2007. Here are my words from that post:
My impression of Lincoln as a quiet leader is cemented in the book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln where historian Doris Kearns Goodwin adds a quiet leader dimension to the Lincoln biography when writing about his ability to bring his political rivals into his cabinet and sooth their egos, turn these rivals into allies, and gain their respect and loyalty through his political skill and insight into human behavior.
Kearns Goodwin book is a good read. This quiet leadership style is catching on. This would be a style that will seem pretty refreshing, especially when compared to alternative leadership styles exhibited by the "Culprits of the Collapse," the list of leaders compiled by CNN.

Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Leadership for the "We" Generation

An article this week in Business Week proposes that recent events will usher in a "new era of leadership that will affect every aspect of American institutions and that sounds a death knell for the top-down, power-oriented leadership prevalent in the 20th century."

The author is Bill George Harvard Business School professor, author of two best-selling books, True North and Authentic Leadership and the former chairman of Medtronic. I appreciate Bill George's leadership perspective and have cited his work previously on Lead Quietly (see Be Yourself)

For this article, George was describing the impact of the election of Barrack Obama. He suggests that a "new style of "bottom-up, empowering" leadership focusing on collaboration will sweep the country."

We have seen to many failures associated with top-down leadership in the financial world, government and education. Given where we are today, a new collaborative style of leadership sounds pretty refreshing. It kind of sounds like quiet leadership.

Please read the Business Week article.

Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly.