To: The Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

From my beautiful friend Michael Reuter:

“Most men live lives of quiet desperation.” These words from Henry Thoreau’s book Walden are used as the introduction to Philip Humbert’s article, Can’t Life Be Better Than This?
He cautions: “Don’t let that happen to you!”
Every single day, we are faced with the choice of how we will live. We can worry about the news, or we can build the life we want. We can expend enormous energy on big, exciting problems “out there” (about which we can do little) or we can address the challenges of living the life we choose. It’s up to each of us how we use our time and talents, every day.
Day by day, we can build memories with our children, or we can focus on tragedy. We can read the best books ever written, or we can watch more television. We can build our businesses and develop our skills, or we can fret about the economy. We can move and dance and make our own music, or we download more iTunes.
Throughout history, most people have been hard pressed to do more than survive, but that is not us! We have the best education and richest resources in history! We can enjoy fine wine for a few dollars a glass. We can enjoy great music, or great conversation, or listen to the smartest people on earth, often in person, and anytime via recordings. The world is our oyster!
Humbert tells great leaders: “This week, determine that you will live your own life, in your own way, to the very best of your ability. Be as eccentric and unique and joyful as you truly are! Do one new thing, or do at least one thing differently. Spend one hour exploring the highest and best that is in you.” Open your eyes to see new possibilities, new dreams that will fulfill you. The joy and purpose of your life is in your hands to mold, shape and live. Yours will not be a life of quiet desperation, but one of meaning, value, giving and being more than you ever dreamed you could be. And have fun doing it! Remember:

A Tribute to Warren Bennis, “The Father of Leadership”

Thanks to my friend a constant source of inspiration, Michael M. Reuter

Bill George, professor of management practice at Harvard Business School and author, wrote of the passing of Warren Bennis, American scholar, organizational consultant and author:

“… a giant oak has fallen with an impact felt throughout the world…. Just as Peter Drucker was “the father of management,” Warren Bennis will be remembered as “the father of leadership.” It was Warren who first said leadership is not a set of genetic characteristics, but rather the result of the lifelong process of self-discovery. As he once wrote: ‘The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born – that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.’

Warren Bennis found his joy and love of life not in positional power, but personal power. He wrote: “I realized my personal truth. I was never going to be able to be happy with positional power. What I really wanted was personal power: having influence based on my voice. My real gift is what I can do in the classroom or as a mentor.” The following are quotes of the rich legacy of teaching he left us.

“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it is also that difficult.”
“Leaders must encourage their organizations to dance to forms of music yet to be heard.”
“Leaders know the importance of having someone in their lives who will unfailingly and fearlessly tell them the truth.”
“The manager has his eye on the bottom line; the leader has his eye on the horizon.”
“Leaders should always expect the very best of those around them. They know that people can change and grow.”
“Great things are accomplished by talented people who believe they will accomplish them.”

And so it is with great leaders – to influence with their voice, sharing their gifts of leadership that others may develop. To Warren Bennis, we all say: ‘Thank you, our dearest teacher and friend for helping us grow… to be more than we ever dreamed we could be… and more… so much more.

Let your voice be heard. There is only one beautiful and special you whose voice is unique in eternity.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Mike

Contact Information:
Michael M. Reuter
Director, The Gerald P Buccino Center for Leadership Development
Stillman School of Business
Seton Hall University
Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528; (Mobile) 908.419.6060
Email: Michael.Reuter@shu.edu

How to Lead When You are Not in Charge

I received this from my good friend and mentor:

In their Harvard Business Review Blog, How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge, Gary Hamel and Polly LaBarre share their thoughts on “the attributes of individuals who can inspire others and multiply their impact.”

They are seers — individuals who are living in the future, who possess a compelling vision of “what could be.” As human beings, we’re constantly looking forward, and we love to sign on with individuals who are already working on “the next big thing.”

They are contrarians — free of the shackles of conventional wisdom and eager to help others stage a jailbreak. It’s exciting to be around these free-spirited thinkers who liberate us from the status quo and open our minds to new possibilities.

They are architects — adept at building systems that elicit contribution and facilitate collaboration. They leverage social technologies in ways that amplify dissident voices, coalesce communities of passion and unleash the forces of change.

They are mentors — rather than hoarding power, they give it away. Like Mary Parker Follett, the early 20th-century management pioneer, they believe the primary job of a leader is to create more leaders. To this end, they coach, tutor, challenge and encourage.

They are connectors — with a gift for spotting the “combinational chemistry” between ideas and individuals. They help others achieve their dreams by connecting them with sponsors, like-minded peers, and complementary resources.

They are bushwhackers — they clear the trail for new ideas and initiatives by chopping away at the undergrowth of bureaucracy. They’re more committed to doing the right thing than to doing things right.

They are guardians — vigilant defenders of core values and enemies of expediency. Their unflinching commitment to a higher purpose inspires others and encourages them to stand tall for their beliefs.

They are citizens — true activists, their courage to challenge the status quo comes from their abiding commitment to doing as much good as possible for as many as possible. They are other-centered, not self-centered.

In beautiful simplicity they summarize these attributes saying: “All these roles are rooted in the most potent and admirable human qualities — passion, curiosity, compassion, daring, generosity, accountability and grit. These are the qualities that attract allies and amplify accomplishments. These are the DNA strands of 21st-century leadership.”

These attributes are the roles that great leaders assume on their journey. It is in their being – these magnificent human qualities they possess – that their great doing is manifested. Be, at every precious moment of your life, more than you ever dreamed you could be. And have fun doing it. Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Mike

Contact Information:
Michael M. Reuter
Director, Center for Leadership Development
Stillman School of Business
Seton Hall University
Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528; (Mobile) 908.419.6060
Email: Michael.Reuter@shu.edu

Connections

A dear friend, mentor, and wise teacher, sent this to me:

A very dear friend recently shared with me composer and conductor Eric Whitacre’s TED video, a virtual choir 2000 voices strong. It is Whitacre’s beautiful and incredible story of creating a choir of voices from across the world – collecting the blended voices of 2,051 videos from 58 different countries, then magically combining them into the beautiful work Sleep, the Virtual Choir. I implore you gently to invest a precious 14 minutes and 34 seconds of your life to experience, learn and enjoy the magnificent beauty of what could be – in our business, personal life and community – when we sing with one voice.

Whitacre was struck by two learnings from his experience: “The first is that human beings will go to any lengths necessary to find and connect with each other…. And the second is that people seem to be experiencing an actual connection. It wasn’t a virtual choir. There are people now online that are friends; they’ve never met. I feel a closeness to this choir — almost like a family.” His words give pause for reflection to great leaders. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, poet, wrote: “In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.” It is the great leaders’ challenge and joy of bringing people together with a common, shared purpose. Jim Collin’s captures this in his words “the right people on the bus.” When this occurs, there is magic and the world hears the true sound of music. Be it a trio, quartet, quintet or choir, each voice brings its beautiful richness and individuality and adds to the song’s magnificence and meaning. May your music fill the hearts, minds and souls of those whom you touch. May yours be a song without end.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Mike

Contact Information:
Michael M. Reuter
Director, Center for Leadership Development
Stillman School of Business
Seton Hall University
Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528; (Mobile) 908.419.6060

The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time

The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time
by Tony Schwartz | 8:53 AM March 14, 2012
Comments (794)

Why is it that between 25% and 50% of people report feeling overwhelmed or burned out at work?

It’s not just the number of hours we’re working, but also the fact that we spend too many continuous hours juggling too many things at the same time.

What we’ve lost, above all, are stopping points, finish lines and boundaries. Technology has blurred them beyond recognition. Wherever we go, our work follows us, on our digital devices, ever insistent and intrusive. It’s like an itch we can’t resist scratching, even though scratching invariably makes it worse.

Tell the truth: Do you answer email during conference calls (and sometimes even during calls with one other person)? Do you bring your laptop to meetings and then pretend you’re taking notes while you surf the net? Do you eat lunch at your desk? Do you make calls while you’re driving, and even send the occasional text, even though you know you shouldn’t?

The biggest cost — assuming you don’t crash — is to your productivity. In part, that’s a simple consequence of splitting your attention, so that you’re partially engaged in multiple activities but rarely fully engaged in any one. In part, it’s because when you switch away from a primary task to do something else, you’re increasing the time it takes to finish that task by an average of 25 per cent.

But most insidiously, it’s because if you’re always doing something, you’re relentlessly burning down your available reservoir of energy over the course of every day, so you have less available with every passing hour.

I know this from my own experience. I get two to three times as much writing accomplished when I focus without interruption for a designated period of time and then take a real break, away from my desk. The best way for an organization to fuel higher productivity and more innovative thinking is to strongly encourage finite periods of absorbed focus, as well as shorter periods of real renewal.

If you’re a manager, here are three policies worth promoting:

1. Maintain meeting discipline. Schedule meetings for 45 minutes, rather than an hour or longer, so participants can stay focused, take time afterward to reflect on what’s been discussed, and recover before the next obligation. Start all meetings at a precise time, end at a precise time, and insist that all digital devices be turned off throughout the meeting.

2. Stop demanding or expecting instant responsiveness at every moment of the day. It forces your people into reactive mode, fractures their attention, and makes it difficult for them to sustain attention on their priorities. Let them turn off their email at certain times. If it’s urgent, you can call them — but that won’t happen very often.

3. Encourage renewal. Create at least one time during the day when you encourage your people to stop working and take a break. Offer a midafternoon class in yoga, or meditation, organize a group walk or workout, or consider creating a renewal room where people can relax, or take a nap.

It’s also up to individuals to set their own boundaries. Consider these three behaviors for yourself:

1. Do the most important thing first in the morning, preferably without interruption, for 60 to 90 minutes, with a clear start and stop time. If possible, work in a private space during this period, or with sound-reducing earphones. Finally, resist every impulse to distraction, knowing that you have a designated stopping point. The more absorbed you can get, the more productive you’ll be. When you’re done, take at least a few minutes to renew.

2. Establish regular, scheduled times to think more long term, creatively, or strategically. If you don’t, you’ll constantly succumb to the tyranny of the urgent. Also, find a different environment in which to do this activity — preferably one that’s relaxed and conducive to open-ended thinking.

3. Take real and regular vacations. Real means that when you’re off, you’re truly disconnecting from work. Regular means several times a year if possible, even if some are only two or three days added to a weekend. The research strongly suggests that you’ll be far healthier if you take all of your vacation time, and more productive overall.

A single principle lies at the heart of all these suggestions. When you’re engaged at work, fully engage, for defined periods of time. When you’re renewing, truly renew. Make waves. Stop living your life in the gray zone.

More blog posts by Tony Schwartz
More on: Managing yourself, Personal effectiveness, Productivity

TONY SCHWARTZ
Tony Schwartz is the president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of Be Excellent at Anything. Become a fan of The Energy Project on Facebook and connect with Tony at Twitter.com/TonySchwartz and Twitter.com/Energy_Project.

Jim Collins Top 10 List

Jim Collins’ Top 10 List — Jim led a highly insightful 3 hour opening session at last week’s Fortune Leadership Summit in Atlanta (and beamed to 9 locations around the globe). He capped it off with a top 10 list for growth firms:

Change “what” questions to “who” questions
Double your question to statement ratio
Embrace the “Stockdale Paradox” – keep getting up when knocked down
Discover your personal “hedgehog” – what are you both passionate about and best at
Be clear your Core Values, Purpose, and BHAG
Establish a 20 Mile March
Create a “Stop Doing” list
Turn-off electronic gadgets one day every two weeks
Focus on getting a huge return on your next “luck event.”
Strive to be useful (would the world miss you if you/your company was gone?)

How do you know if you never try

Everybody has limitations. Some are physical, others are psychological; some are emotional, others are financial. No human being is perfect, no one is without difficulties. There is nothing easier than to say, “I have this problem, so I can’t possibly do this, that, or the other thing.” But, suppose the universe says, I’m not interested in “can’t.” I want to see what you can do, because you can do more than you think.
It’s true, you may fail. You may not be successful in what you set out to accomplish — but that’s no reason not to try. Perhaps other people will see you struggling and come to help. Perhaps your initial efforts will allow you to see another approach to your task. Or perhaps you will be the recipient of a miracle.
“I can’t, don’t ask me” isn’t an option — for how do you know if you never try?