Sunday, January 25, 2009

Godin's "Tribes" - I defaced it.

I defaced my copy of Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. It's not what you think. I liked Seth Godin's latest book and its ideas.

You see, I have this habit of writing reference notes in the back pages of the books that I read. If there is an idea or insight that I feel that I want to revisit, I will write a one or two word note and a page reference. The note allows me to go back and revisit an idea. Most of the books that I read have only a handful of notes. By the time I had finished Tribes, I had nearly two pages and 16 high-level ideas that I wanted to revisit. Combined with some dog ears, my copy of Tribes is a bit of a mess. It's defaced.

Before I started reading Tribes, Godin was already a hero of mine. As an author, blogger, and marketer, his work had already impacted my thinking about marketing, the web, and entrepreneurship. I was anxious to connect with his latest book, Tribes, because of it's focus on leadership.

My admiration for the book is not unqualified. If you are looking for a leadership book with substantive leadership theory, I recommend that you consider Warren Bennis, Peter Drucker, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, Jim Collins, Tom Peters, Robert Greenleaf and others.

On the other hand, if you are looking for contemporary insight at the intersection of leadership, marketing, and social networking, Godin provides plenty of thought provoking insights and ideas. These are the thoughts that led me to deface my copy.

Here are a handful of Godin's ideas.

Leadership is a choice that you make. I have written previously about leadership choice. Godin agrees and writes, "everyone in an organization-not just the boss-is expected to lead...individuals have more leverage than every before."

Fear of failure is overrated. Fear is a significant inhibitor of innovation and progress. He says, "We choose not to be remarkable because we're worried about criticism."

Curiosity - Godin puts curiosity on a pedestal. He says, "Curious people count....curiosity... will lead us to distinguish our own greatness."

Leadership requires bravery.
"Managing doesn't, and following the rules to make a living doesn't.... Pushing the envelope.... requires bravery."

Wrong isn't fatal
. Godin reminds us that Steve Jobs at Apple has been plenty wrong. Although most recent thinking about Jobs concerns his health, the reputation of Jobs isn't based on his failures like the Apple III, NeXT, or Newton. "The secret of being wrong isn't to avoid being wrong. The secret is being willing to be wrong. The secret is realizing that wrong isn't fatal."

These are just a handful of insights that I noted in defacing my copy of Tribes. There is much more inside. I recommend that you get your own copy to deface.

Thanks for reading. Be brave and curious. Please lead quietly.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Uncommon Decency

When you depart, will they describe you with the words, "Uncommon Decency?"

In May of 2008, I recognized the leadership of Indianapolis football coach, Tony Dungy, in a post, Quiet Strength, Quiet Leader, Quiet Winner where I nominated Coach Dungy for the Lead Quietly Hall of Fame.

Yesterday, columnist Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote a column on Coach Dungy's retirement as a football coach where the headline read, "Tony Dungy: Uncommon Decency. "

The headline generated two thoughts in my "lead quietly" way of thinking:
  1. It's a highly unusual label for a sports celebrity.
  2. Will anyone describe my work or life using the phrase "Uncommon Decency?"
Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly. Be uncommonly decent.