Leadership – Learning to Fail….Forward

Hola Todos!

Mr. Mike has a topic that is near and dear to my heart…FAILURE.  In one of my favorite leadership books Geeks & Greasers, by Warren Bennis with Robert Thomas, the authors talk about leaders and their crucible.  A crucible is an intense learning experience and for almost all of the leaders profiled in this book, their crucible was a horrible failure.  Just as Conan O’Brien discussed his crucible below, leaders learn from their (horrible) experiences.  They all failed, but they failed and then moved forward with their lives to do something better, of which, they would have never reached this better place without their failure.

There are hundreds of examples to illustrate but because this is my blog, I’ll use Steve Jobs; fired/ousted from the company he founded in 1985 because his weaknesses got the best of him. Created another company (NeXT) that was basically a failure too.  This 10 to 12 year crucible served Apple well as well as the consumers who purchased Apple’s products.  The Steve Jobs we know today would not have same story we know well without his colossal failures.

Mike, the floor is yours…

 

 

 

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

 

In his June 2011 Commencement Address at Dartmouth University (click here), Conan O’Brien, TV host and writer, with an introduction filled with fun and humor, shared a lesson that he had learned the year before when he experienced “a very profound and public disappointment.”

He had failed.  He said: “I did not get what I wanted, and I left a system that had nurtured and helped define me for the better part of 17 years. I went from being in the center of the grid to not only off the grid….” He spent the next year wandering, doing things that were “silly, unconventional, spontaneous and seemingly irrational.”  His commitment to his purpose in life was being redefined and he felt liberated.  From this he realized:  “There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized.”

He spoke of Johnny Carson who wanted to be a Jack Benny, famous 1940’s and 1950’s comedian, and failed; of David Letterman who wanted to be a Johnny Carson, and failed; and of comedians of his own generation who wanted to be David Letterman, and who failed.  Of this he said: “It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention….The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.”

What magnificent rewards that disappointment offers: the clarity to see one’s purpose more clearly, the conviction to have a greater commitment to accomplish it and the gaining a greater realization and understand of our own beautify uniqueness.  Eliza Tabor, author, writes: “Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.”  May your disappointments be few, but when they come, may you treasure the beautiful gifts they give and become greater with their departure.

Have a beautiful day and a fantastic week!!!

 

Mike

 

Contact Information:

Michael M. Reuter

Director, Center for Leadership Development

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528

Email: Michael.Reuter@shu.edu

 

 

 

Nugget Dictionary Edition – BHAG

Hola Todos!

Today’s nugget – dictionary edition is perfect for theme of this week – BHAG (pronounced BEE-hag).  BHAG stands for BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL and was proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1994 book Built to Last (click here for Wikipedia entry.

A normal goal is very specific and tactical, such as “achieve 10% revenue growth in the next 3 months.” A BHAG, by contrast is visionary and more strategic and emotionally compelling.  In the article entitled Building Your Company’s Vision (1996), the authors define a BHAG as a form of vision statement “…an audacious 10-to-30-year goal to progress towards an envisioned future.”  My favoriate BHAG of all time is the “Moon Shot: “To send a man to land on the moon and bring him back safely to the Earth in the next 10 years.” At the time, no one at NASA knew how to accomplish that goal but the Moon Shot BHAG made the engineers think differently therefore creating a series of more tactical goals to eventually reach the Moon Shot BHAG.

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

 

 

 

 

Topic Talk Thursday – Conquering the “To-Do” List

Hola Todos!

This week’s theme continues with today’s topic talk “Conquering the ‘To-Do’ List.” Over break, I read an excellent article in The Wall Street Journal (click here) that was a perfect fit for a New Years Resolution Themed week.

Think about it – if we are going to put our Big Rocks first and then fit all the pebbles, sand, and water around the Big Rocks, then we need to sit down and decide was is “mission critical” and was is not.  So the first step is to segment all your tasks.  The funny thing is, as mentioned in the article, some 23% of list-makers spend more time making the lists than doing the tasks on them.  The second step is to not let the list get out of control. Most people write EVERYTHING down in some 5 or 6-page document and then cannot deal with a list that is too long and unorganized.

Here’s my suggestion: (1) your “to-do” list should be electronic so you do not have to keep re-writing it when the list needs to be updated.  I use the free app that came with my iPhone because it free and the phone is always with me.  A MS Word document would also work, as it’s very easy to edit.  (2) Perhaps most important, it should be “To-Do” lists (plural) not “To-Do” list (singular).  Yes, you still need to sit down for an hour or so and create that 5 to 6-page Master “To-Do” but the Master list should be different from the “Daily” or “Weekly” list.  In other words, you need your goals for the day or the week in front of you face at all times, however, the Master list only gets reviewed once per week or so.  It’s from the Master list is where you pull the daily/weekly goals from.  In addition, the Master list should be organized by time-horizon (e.g., Stuff to do this Month, Stuff to do in the Near-Term (3 to 6 months) and Stuff to Do in the Long-Term (over 6 months).

Something to think about today…

Best

Dr. Dan-o

 

 

Leadership Wednesday – Leaders Evolve because They Put Their Big Rocks First

Hola Todos!

Mr. Mike is back with us for the New Year and he’s right on theme for the week.  First, Mike reminds us that we as leaders cannot stand still.  We must evolve, reinvent ourselves, think differently, creatively destruct the status quo, and not just think outside the box but also BREAK the box (at times).  In the 2nd half of his post, Mike also likes the “Big Rocks” first theme and I learned that it was Stephen Covey who I should be referencing for this allegory.

Mr. Mike, the floor is yours…

 

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

As the New Year begins, we take stock of this past year’s accomplishments and learnings, and we begin planning for the great and exciting New Year to come.  In a recent note Philip Humbert, leadership guru and coach, speaks about preparing for our 2012 journey.  He tells us two truths:

“Here’s a great truth: You are evolving. You are, inevitably, becoming something and someone new all the time. You are not the same person you were a year ago! You know stuff you didn’t know back then. You have skills you didn’t have a year ago. You’ve forgotten or ignored or gotten confused about things that used to be terrifically important! Over time, we evolve.  And, here’s a second truth: It either happens by accident, or it happens on purpose, according to a plan.

His wonderfully simple advice for each of us is:  “Evolve on purpose.”  The choice of the paths that we will follow during this coming year is in our hands.  We must choose wisely and well.

A great beginning for our 2012 planning comes from Stephen Covey’s lesson of “The Big Rocks” of life from his book First Things First.  It provides fertile ground for our planning and the seeds of greatness we will sow.

“As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered over-achievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.” Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.  When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said, “Yes.” Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.

“Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?” By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?”

“No!” the class shouted. Once again he said, “Good!” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”  One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!”  “No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

As you begin this year’s journey, ask yourself:  What are the big rocks in my life? What principal goals will I accomplish?  What will be their impact on my business, my family and my community?  Focus on those critical few that will bring the greatest value to your life, your business and those whom you serve.  In January 2013, these ‘big rocks’, when accomplished through your passion and commitment, will become the new cornerstones for that new year’s growth.

May this New Year be your greatest ever for you and yours: one filled with incredible personal and professional growth… for yourself and others;, a year filled with passion, joy and love; a year again filled with magnificent accomplishments; a year in which you become more than you ever dreamed you could be.  Enjoy each precious moment of your magnificent journey this year… and have fun doing it.

Happy New Year! May it be the best ever.

Have a beautiful day and a great week!!!

Mike

Contact Information:

Michael M. Reuter

Director, Center for Leadership Development

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

Tel: (Office) 973.275.2528

Email: Michael.Reuter@shu.edu

 

 

 

 

Topic Talk Tuesday – New Years Resolution Part II

Hola Todos!

I got today’s topic talk, as I want to say on the theme of New Years Resolutions & goal setting.  I read an excellent article from cnn.com titled “Making Realistic New Year’s Resolutions” (click here for full article).

The article gets nugget worthy approximately halfway through when the journalist brings in University of Scranton psychology Professor John Norcross.  Professor Norcross offers research based tips for making and keeping your new found goals, such as: (1) make short, attainable goals; (2) develop a specific action plan; (3) establish confidence in your plan; and (4) publicly declare your resolutions to hold yourself accountable (This last one echoes yesterday’s post – click here).

So get your big rocks in motions.  Set goals and realize all that you can be.

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

 

 

 

MAKE Your New Years Resolution Stick! – Here’s How…

Hola Todos!

I am a firm believer in making New Years resolutions because I am a firm believer in setting goals for myself.  Today I have THREE key tips for you to achieve your goals.

#1 – Big Rocks First (click here for full blog post) – The only way to achieve your goals is to make them THE priority.  99% of the time, a goal does not get accomplished because something else gets in the way.  Plan your day with the big rock/big goal in mind and don’t let little things steal your time away.

#2 – 30 Days is Key (to Make it a Habit) (click here for full blog post) – Behaviorally speaking, it takes us humans 30 days of repetition for us to form a habit.  How many of you pick up your cell phone first thing in the morning to check your messages?  You have probably been doing that for years – its almost instinct at this point.  (BTW – what are your checking for?  Emergencies? If it were an emergency, someone would have called you already.)  Whatever you goal is, you need to replete it everyday for 30 days straight to make it a habit.

#3 – Share Your Goals – The probability of your goal coming to fruition is significantly smaller if you do not share your goals with others.  If your goal is to lose weight and your friends keep asking you to join them for lunch at the all-you-can-eat wing buffet, you are probably going to cave and go to lunch with your friends.  If your friends knew you needed to lose the extra 15 pounds because your cholesterol count is borderline high, then they would not ask you to a lunch of deep-fried chicken parts.

In the spirit of #3, I’m going to share 5 of my 10 goals for 2012. (5 of them pertain to my family and this is not the forum to share those).

#1 – Focus & Simplify – way too often I get caught up in the multi-tasking myth (e.g., that a human can actually juggle and be effective with more then one big rock at a time) and its got to end.  I can easily summarize this down to “Less is More” and I need to focus on a few big rocks that are more meaningful.

#2 – I need 2 academic research articles published this year – As an untenured Seton Hall professor, I need a minimum of three academic articles to be reviewed for tenure (I have 1 solid article already).  I will do myself a HUGH favor if I can get the other two tackled a year early, therefore not having to sweat it out in my final year before review.

#3 – Run the Broad Street Run – yes I need to lose weight given all that I have eaten in the last 6 to 8 weeks.  “Getting back in shape” is not a fun goal to work towards but running the 10 Mile Broad Street Run is.  A race gives you such an adrenalin rush and it’s a BIG ROCK that is not easy to achieve.  They only way to achieve that goal is to plan forward.  The other upside to this goal is I get many additional benefits such as weight loss and for some reason or another, I think well when I’m running (e.g., fantastic ideas pop out of my head when the blood is pumping).

#4 – Take a Deep Dive into Twitter – As I mentioned in previous posts, each year I take a deep dive into something.  It’s usually something to which I am a neophyte and I really need to improve my skill set.  Last year it was blogging and the current DigNuggetville.com blog.  For 2012, it is going to be Twitter.  While I’ve had my @DanoLadik Twitter account for over nine months now, I do very little with Twitter and that’s going to change.  Stay tuned…

#5 – Double my DigNuggetville Traffic – While I have been pleased with first 3.5 months of effort on the blog, I would like to double the number of unique users to the blog.  I don’t exactly have this Big Rock worked out yet but a do have a few people I plan to talk to this month to brainstorm ideas.  Again, stay tuned…

Thank you all for listening.  Please drop me a line if you have any questions.

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o