When I think of a “philanthropist,” I see someone like Bono, Oprah, or Bill Gates. I imagine that they wake up in the morning thinking about opportunities to influence the world for their cause. I, on the other hand, have a mortgage. I would like to spend my day tackling huge social and economic problems, but I have holes in my calendar that must be filled to pay my bills.
“We don’t trust them!” This phrase has become synonymous with a prevalent, if not majority, response when people are asked about their leader’s ability to affect positive change. Almost continuous rounds of cost-cutting; feelings that [...]
The trials of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and disgraced self-help guru James Arthur Ray both ended in guilty verdicts. Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 of 20 counts of corruption. Ray was found guilty of three counts of negligent homicide from deaths in a sweat lodge ceremony. And though some would argue that the verdicts in both cases were never in doubt, the results could have gone either way. Here are three lessons leaders can learn from these two seemingly unrelated cases:
Let the debating begin. Congressman Anthony Weiner’s revelation that he exercised terrible judgment by Tweeting an inappropriate photo to a woman he had met on line raises scores of questions for leaders. It is certain to dominate the news cycle until one of three things happens:
Values – every company hangs them on the wall and distributes them on wallet cards. It is the same for individuals. Ask ten of your friends to list their values, and at least eighty percent will use words like respect, integrity, and honesty. So how important are your values? Will you sacrifice them for the results and outcomes you desire? Are they so important that you would lay down your life – figuratively or literally – to protect them?
The core of every noncommissioned officer’s commitment is articulated in the NCO Creed. It defines how each member of the NCO Corps views his or her responsibility as a leader. And, there is no better model for your success.
I published a piece titled “Stupid Has Its Own Momentum” in November 2010. Since then, examples of stupid having its own momentum. have continued ... and continued ... and continued. Stupid maintains its own momentum because there are incentives to do so. Here are three powerful rewards to stay stupid:
Integrity appears at or near the top of every list of desirable leadership traits. We claim it as the mantle of the leaders with whom we agree and decry its absence in those with whom we disagree. You would think a behavior and characteristic so widely accepted as important could be universally defined. So go ahead—take a stab at it. Integrity is . . . It is not as easy as you thought, is it? And that is the challenge: You can’t live or lead with integrity – or expect others to do so – if you can’t clearly define it?
The debate of divergent ideas consumes the airwaves. It streams across the Internet in a multitude of bits and bytes; and it populates the pages of the print media. Most important, it occupies the time, energy, and resources of our leaders. So how is the debate working so far? Are you seeing results? The absence of respect – for the process, the opposition, and the people being governed – is a prime culprit in our failure to act and deliver results.
Fourteen senators leave the state. 60,000 plus show up to demonstrate. And, the next thing you know there’s a national debate on the role of public employee unions in the state budget crisis occurring throughout the country. Those who support the unions see this as a not-so-veiled attempt to alter the essence of collective bargaining and limit the people’s right to protest. Union members see it as a fundamental challenge to their right to organize, and in some cases, a violation of their contract. The union leadership no doubt sees it as payback for supporting Democratic and pro-labor candidates. Those who support the various initiatives view this as a much needed step to reign in spending that is out of control. They view unions as – at worst - the enemy that have secured salary and benefits that are unavailable to them as private sector employees. “Why should government employees experience no pain when they are out of work,” they ask. There are probably even Republicans who view this as the perfect opportunity to weaken a political opponent. The problem with perceptions is that it only takes one act to prove you are right. As the saying goes, “All Indians walk in single file. I know that to be true because the one I saw was doing it that way.”
You may not think of Wisconsin as the epicenter of the labor movement. And yet, thousands of protestors converged on the Wisconsin state house in Madison. So let’s look at who’s wrong, who’s right, and what’s right as the battle over the Wisconsin budget crisis plays out.
Training & Development Magazine ran a great article in its December 2010 issue titled "2010: Six Trends That Will Change Workplace Learning Forever." The first trend identified was the problem with leadership. Specifically, the article said that “consumers had a low perception of leaders and very little trust in corporate America.” The article makes an excellent case for teaching leaders how to act with integrity ... and then it bailed out.
We choose every day. Consciously or not, we make it nonetheless. Are we a leader or a liar? Here is the challenge – we know our intentions, but simply look at our behavior and performance filtered through their lens of perception. Did we do what we said we would do? We may see ourselves as a leader, but to others we are simply lying to them or ourselves.