Saturday, November 19, 2011

Secure Leadership

Insecure Leaders Need Not Apply

I recall once delivering a leadership workshop on self esteem to a group of about 12-15 youth. They were all fairly early in the professional working careers so I was a bit surprised at their reaction when the topic of workplace challenges was raised.

Judging by their responses, I would have thought they were grizzled vets that had been in the workforce for 30+ years and couldn't wait to retire.

I listened to them talk about how de-motivating and challenging it is to work for a micro manager, the dis-empowered feeling they were left with because of not being able to make their own decisions and how unimportant they often times felt when their opinions were constantly second guessed.

It turned out to be a very spirited discussion and the general theme that continued to surface was that trust goes a long way in helping people feel good about the work envirnoment.

Without a Secure Leader at the helm, the work experience is less then enjoyable.

While some leaders have seemingly mastered the art of being that untrusting boss, there are others who are less intentional about their actions and are simply driven by their own personal insecurities.

These insecurities are generally based upon perceived situations or circumstances that often times materialize in the form of suspicions, doubts, uncertainties or fears.

What often follows is a series of unexplainable decisions or actions devoid of any kind of logic or reasonable rationale and leaves onlookers scratching their heads as they try to make sense of things.

The biggest problem with this approach is that it does nothing to inspire, motivate or encourage the people they're leading. These insecure leaders become so self absorbed and reactionary that they start to move further and further away from the things a leader ought to be doing.

Perhaps you've had the misfortune of being led by an insecure leader who lacked confident and therefore scrutinized your every decision?

Maybe transparency was the issue and there always seemed to be "closed" door meetings taking place with a select few?

Or perhaps you weren't assigned tasks because doubts existed whether or not you could "handle" the assignment?

Whatever your situation, the bottom line is that insecurity and leadership don't mix because it does very little to inspire confidence, instill trust and deliver results.

So, what kinds if things can a leader do to demonstrate they're operating from a place of "secureness" and make others feel like they are the top priority and can be trusted?

Here's a list of 11 things I came up with:

  1. Secure leaders choose to openly and freely divulge and share information. Insecure leaders operates solely on a need to know basis.
  2. Secure leaders nurture employees to help them grow and develop. Insecure leaders don't offer opportunities for growth for fear of losing their job.
  3. Secure leaders encourage calculated risk taking amongst the people following them. Insecure leaders want to make all the decisions.
  4. Secure leaders give guidance and expect results.Insecure leaders give instructions and expect them to be followed.
  5. Secure leaders earn respect. Insecure leaders demand respect.
  6. Secure leaders spotlight great performance and don’t worry about getting credit. Insecure leaders may acknowledge great performance but ensure they also get credit.
  7. Secure leaders hire and promote others who think differently than they do. Insecure leaders hire and promote others who think like they do.
  8. Secure leaders accept responsibility for failure. Insecure leaders look for others to blame.
  9. Secure leaders promote those they don’t have to control. Insecure leaders promote those they can control.
  10. Secure leaders grow great leaders. Insecure leaders grow good doers.
  11. Secure leaders acknowledge effort. Insecure leaders spotlight failure.
The Main Po!nt

Great leaders are first, great individuals who use confidence as a way to to inspire results and win their people over instead of letting insecurities impact their ability to lead others confidently.

See you on the court!

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Anywhere Leader with Mike Thompson

Mike Thompson is the author of "The Anywhere Leader" and he stops by HCL Radio to talk about some of the key traits today's leaders need to have to be successful in the this rapidly changing business enviorment.

The Anywhere Leader offers a blueprint for developing today's leaders who can handle surprising challenges and who thrive in turbulent times by being open to concepts, passionate about progress and resourceful with tools available.

As Mike shares, Anywhere Leaders have 3 key traits. They are Driven By Progress,
Sensationally Curious and Vastly Resourceful.

Click here to follow Mike on Twitter!

See you on the court!

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Slam Dunk Illiteracy Campaign!

I recently had the pleasure of participating in a powerful series of literacy and self-development seminars featuring former NBAer and Toronto Raptor, John Wallace that were designed to make a difference to Toronto/GTA youth!

The campaign ran from October 3-5, 2011 and reached more than 1,000 youth in that time period.

Wallace was drafted 18th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. He went on to play eight seasons in the NBA and and two in Europe. In 1998 he was the runner up of the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award while with the Toronto Raptors. John was also voted Community Service Man of the Year for his dedication to youth in the city of Toronto.

I've known John for quite some time and he's always had a deep appreciation for the city of Toronto from his playing days and has always wanted to give back to the city in some capacity.

Wallace is the co-founder of a youth mentoring company called, Winning Because I Tried and is joined by his partner, Modie Cox to deliver inspiring talks to young audiences.

Important messages that are taught include:

  • The power of hard work and perseverance
  • The value of education and literacy
  • Learning to develop confidence in your abilities despite obstacles

John and Modie have a true passion to help today's youth reach their full potential. They bot
h came from challenging backgrounds and are committed to sharing their experiences in order to guide audiences on the right path.

The SLAM DUNK ILLITERACY campaign has been receiving rave reviews from Toronto schools and youth organizations:

“Thanks a lot for today. The event was amazing. What you guys were able to do was amazing.”

Lennox Cadore, Arts Program Manager - Urban Arts Toronto

The campaign also featured a book that I co-authored called, "Basketball Talk, The Way It Should Be!" It's an entertaining baller and celebrity quote book that makes reading fun and some of the proceeds are being donated to some of their charities, Epilepsy Halton Peel Hamilton and the ErinoakKids Foundation.

Overall, with poor literacy rates, bullying and lack of motivation rampant among today's youth, John and Modie's presentation aims to connect with young people most as risk and make them accountable and inspired to break through their challenges.

If you're interested in having The SLAM DUNK ILLITERACY campaign come to your school or organization, please feel free to contact:

See you on the court!

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

7 Worthwhile Things I Learned From My Mentor

I'm a big fan of mentorship and I've spoken about it on numerous occasions. I've also had the privilege of interviewing real topic experts like Steve Farber and Don Yaeger.

I was most recently reminded about the importance of mentorship to my personal development when I had a long overdue telephone conversation with someone who had mentored to me.

Terry and I hadn't spoken in close to ten years from my days when I was employed with Service Canada, a department in the Canadian federal government. When we re-connected, it didn't take me very long to remember how much of an impact she had on my growth.

We chatted for over an hour and ended the conversation with a commitment of doing a better job of staying in touch with one another in the future. I immediately began reflecting on our relationship from the moment the phone beeped to signal the call was over.

It was through this thought process I discovered seven key things that made our relationship so worthwhile:

1) Not one sided

A typical mentoring arrangement involves a more experienced or knowledgeable person imparting insights and guidance to someone with less experience.

When Terry and I first met, I was fairly new to government and didn't know very much about bureaucracies or how to navigate through policies and procedures to get the work done.

She had several years of work experience under her belt and had pretty much seen it all before. I, on the other hand was quite comfortable when it came to technology and was always trying to develop systems to help us be more efficient.

This was an area that Terry wasn't as strong in and a way was immediately opened a way for us to learn from one another. I felt as if I was also making a positive contribution to the relationship and not just taking. It was mutually beneficial.

2) Anyone can be your mentor

A mentor doesn't have to be someone in a position of leadership or authority. They definitely have the potential of offering a good learning opportunity but that doesn't necessarily mean that it'll be the best.

While a boss, supervisor or manager can offer a meaningful experience we can gain knowledge or insights from virtually anyone we come in contact with as long as we're open to learning the lesson. This is why I absolutely love the expression,

"Always learn, learn all ways!"

3) Genuine Caring Leads to Authentic Kindness

I don't think its possible to have an effective mentoring relationship if there isn't some level of caring that exists. In my case, I knew right from the onset that Terry was genuinely interested in my well being and wanted the best for me. This was important to know because it allowed me to have complete trust and faith in whatever direction or guidance that came from her.

4) Recognize Greatness

At one point during our conversation, Terry said, "I saw so much potential in you and all I've ever wanted was for you to be a role model to others."

Because mentors have an objective view of things, it's far easier for them to see our individual greatness then for us to recognize it ourselves. Terry not only recognized what I was good at but she also put me in situations where I could maximize skills and build my confidence at the same time.

5) It's a relationship

Being in a mentor/mentee relationship is no different then any other relationship we have in our lives. In the beginning, you've got to commit the time to learn about the other person and understand their likes, dislikes, interests and desires before you can think about trying to help them.

When both sides have a better understanding of each another, the opportunities for growth and development increase. She took the time to understand me and knew how to best help me to succeed.

6) No Structure Needed
There's lots of companies that have structured mentorship programs that come complete with a detailed matching process, a prescribed meeting template and a roles and responsibilities agreement that both sides must adhere to.

While these programs can provide some amazing opportunities for learning and growth, they don't all have to be structured in that fashion. The most lasting mentoring relationships are the ones that have organically developed in the absence of a formalized structured program.

7) Pass it on
Terry eventually moved on to a new position and we stopped working together thus ending our "formal" relationship however we still remained in touch for a bit. I eventually went on to manage a program that gave me an opportunity to mentor more then two dozen young students that were brand new to government over a course of a three year period.

They were all really eager, keen and anxious and I saw a lot of myself in many of them. This compelled me to work hard on creating a positive work experience that supported their learning and development, empowered them to make decisions and offered different viewpoints to help increase their perspective and understanding.

I essentially gave to them what was given to me.

I'm still in contact with many of my past employees today and proud of their professional accomplishments and the type of individuals they've grown to become. I was truly honored this past summer when one of my past "mentees" asked me to MC her wedding.

Knowledge and insight are great things to have but even better when you give it to others. To grow as a leader, you must be prepared to take all of your learnings, lessons and experiences and pass them along to someone else.

In Closing...
Our actions or how we choose to live our lives can serve as mentors to others. In fact, I truly believe that the greatest lessons we learn in life comes from the people around us, thus making the role of the mentor that much more important.

If an opportunity presents itself and you have a chance to be that difference maker to someone else, I would encourage you to step up and embrace the role. Helping someone become better then what they were is a true leadership skill that can have lasting effects.

Thanks Terry!!

See you on the court!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jason Kidd on Impact & Influence

Seventeen years after being drafted into the NBA, veteran point guard Jason Kidd earned the right to be called NBA champ after capturing his first title with the Dallas Mavericks when they defeated the Miami Heat in the Finals.

This future hall of famer was an integral part of the team and as Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle said, "He's just been a thrill and a privilege to spend time with."

Kidd is among the NBA leaders in a number of statistical categories including 3 point shots made, steals and assists. He's a coach on and off the floor and can always be relied upon to support the team with his leadership, stability and poise.

As is the case with most great players who's playing careers are winding down, Kidd is often asked how much longer he'll keep going before he hangs up the sneakers.

The almost 39 year old has gotten accustomed to addressing this question and recently said, "I feel great, and being around younger guys and working on my game, and them believing in me, helped me compete every day."

Hold up! What did he say??

Did one of the best point guards to ever step foot on an NBA court just say that the belief of younger players helped him?

With more then half of the 18 players on the roster having less then 10 years of experience many of his team mates grew up watching him while they dreamed of one day playing in the NBA.

How is this possible?

It's totally possible you see, Kidd's response clearly speaks to the type of impact and influence our actions can have on one another. If young players with no where near half the experience of the future hall of fame point guard can significantly impact his career to the point where he wants to keep going then there's nothing that stops us from doing the same with each other.

Regardless how long we've been in the game, what position we play or who we are, our actions can build confidence and inspire greatness simply by being an encourager and supporter.

See you on the court!

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

If You Will Lead with Doug Moran

If You Will Lead is the title of Doug Moran's latest book and it uses the power of storytelling to teach leadership lessons. It combines bigger-than-life examples with everyday stories to help leaders apply these lessons to their own leadership challenges.

It's a practical guide that offers numerous resources and tools to help readers hone their skills and achieve their full potential and was listed on Inc. Magazine's list of top selling business books.

Doug visited HCL Radio for second time and we had a great chat about the importance of leaders having an awareness of themselves and his new book, "If You Will Lead"

As a starting point, Doug also provided four critical questions that every leader needs to consider:

1) Who am I , and what do I believe?

2) What do I want?
3) How will I attract and motivate others?
4) How will I earn and retain the privilege to lead?

Listen to my conversation with Doug by clicking below..

See you on the court!

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Andy Hill on Coach Wooden

Andy Hill is a motivational speaker and author who experienced a great deal of success as president of two media companies, CBS Productions and Channel One Network. While there, he was responsible for producing shows such as Touched By Angel, Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman and Walker Texas Ranger.

These shows were based on lessons he learned from Coach John Wooden as a member of three NCAA basketball teams.

An interesting note - Andy was one of the 13 players in NCAA history to do this.

It was fitting to have Andy back on the program as we continued to pay tribute to the life of Coach Wooden and his philosophies that made him special to so many people.

Their relationship was a unique one because Andy didn't develop an appreciation for his coach's teachings while he played for him. This was primarily because he didn't receive very much playing time and as a result, Andy became bitter and resentful and didn't speak with Coach Wooden for over 25 years after he left UCLA.

They later re-connected and Andy dedicated his professional speaking career to sharing Coach Wooden's philosophy and the power and wisdom of The Pyramid of Success.

Click below to listen to my conversation with Andy as he reflects on his personal memories between he and the coach.

See you on the court!

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Coach John Wooden Tribute with Steve Jamison

As we continue to pay tribute to John Wooden, we hear from a gentleman who's had the distinction of being his business partner, co-author and friend for over 15 years.

Steve Jamison is a best-selling author and America’s preeminent authority on the leadership philosophy of Coach John Wooden and joins me on the program to help reflect on Coach.

Steve has collaborated with Coach Wooden on projects including several best-selling books, an award-winning PBS television special, WOODEN: Values, Victory, and Peace of Mind,and numerous personal appearances.

Steve reflects on Coach Wooden's life and discusses the impact he's had on others, the significance of the Pyramid of Success and Steve will describe their final meeting.

Click below to listen to the interview.

See you on the court!

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Coach John Wooden Tribute with Orlando Magic's Pat Williams

What's going on y'all!

It's been one year since the passing of legendary UCLA Coach John Wooden, so we take a moment to reflect by speaking with a gentleman who had the privilege of not only knowing him personally but wrote about him as well.

That's right!

Senior VP of the Orlando Magic, Pat Williams takes time out of his very busy the schedule and returns to the program to not only chat about the man named greatest coach of all time but also to fill us in on a book written in dedication of John Wooden.

It's called Coach Wooden: The 7 Principles That Shaped His Life and Will Change Yours.

When Coach Wooden graduated from the eighth grade his father gave him a hand written card and said, "Son, try and live up to this." On the card, his father had written seven simple yet profound life principles:

  • Be True To Yourself
  • Help Others
  • Make Friendship a Fine Art
  • Drink Deeply From Good Books, especially the Bible
  • Make Each Day Your Masterpiece
  • Build A Shelter Against A Rainy Day By The Life You Live
  • Give Thanks For Your Blessings and Pray For Guidance Everyday

These principles were the key to Coach Wooden's greatness and his goodness. Through powerful stories and advice, this book shares the wisdom that made Coach Wooden happy and successful, not just in his career but in life.

Pat and I had a great chat and it was a wonderful opportunity to gain a better understanding of Coach Wooden and the principles he used to impact so many people.

Click here to listen to the interview.

"Coach Wooden didn't just teach basketball ---he taught life"


See you on the court!

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Shane Battier - The Ultimate Teammate

The regular season has ended and the 2011 NBA playoffs are in full swing! After an 82 game marathon, the top 16 teams head into the post season for an opportunity to compete for an NBA title and a chance to solidify their names as among the greats.

It's an exciting time for basketball fanatics like myself because the level of play and intensity immediately gets raised a few notches. With the increased stakes, everything that happens in the game matters even more. Every basket that's scored has significance, every play is dissected and each decision a player makes on the court is made with the intention of helping the team win.

My good friend, Don Yaeger recently highlighted one such "Ultimate Teammate" in his recent Moments of Greatness newsletter.

On April 17, 2011 Shane Battier hit a game winning shot to give his Memphis Grizzlies their first ever playoff win in franchise history (16 years). That win propelled the Grizz to become the second team in NBA history to upset the top-seed in a seven game first round playoff series.

When you take a step back and look at the entire picture, it's makes sense that Battier is the one who made the shot. And the thing is that it's got nothing to do with the fact that he's a superstar because by today's definition, he isn't.

This former Duke product has never lead any team that he's played on in scoring, never selected to play in an All Star and plays a very effective game with little to no flash.

The reason it makes sense that he hit that shot is because throughout his entire NBA career, Shane has had a history of making the teams he plays on better.

Case in point:

  • After his rookie season, the Memphis franchise finished with back to back 40+ win seasons for the first time before he was traded to the Houston Rockets prior to the start of the 06/07 season.
  • The Rockets went on to have three consecutive 50+ win seasons before he was traded back to Memphis just before the trade deadline this season.

The 6ft 8in small forward has a reputation throughout the league of being a hustle guy that's willing to do the little things like diving for loose balls or drawing offensive charges against his opponents.

These little things or Game Changers (Hard Court Lesson #6) can be the difference between winning and losing.

If you're on a team or part of a group, you have an opportunity to be that "Ultimate Teammate". Regardless how big or small, your actions can contribute to the team's bottomline.

In sports, they're called, "glue guys" because of their ability to pull everyone together through selfless team oriented play and willingness to sacrifice their own stats for the good of everyone else.

Shane is one of those guys, how about you?

PS - Click here to subscribe to Don's newsletter.

See you on the court!

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Being a Better Leader in the Digital Age

With the ongoing changes taking place in this digital age, leadership styles must also adapt to not only these rapid advancements but also the multi-generational issues that exist between Baby Boomers and the Gen Y group.

We're being bombarded with new technology all the time and today's leaders must be fluid and adaptable to these changes if they hope to survive. The challenge becomes even greater when you add into the mix the ongoing generational differences out there.

Brad Szollose, author of 'Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia, Multi-generational Management Ideas That are Changing the Way We Run Things' joins HCL Radio to discuss these issues.

Brad outlines 7 credos in Liquid Leadership to help leaders adapt to these changes:

1. Place people first
2. Create a safe place to tell the truth
3. Nuture a creative enviorment
4. Support re-invention
5. Lead by example
6. Take responsibility
7. Leave a lasting legacy

He'll also discuss how the introduction of video games in the home 1977 coupled with the internet heavily influenced those that would go on to lead the boom.

About Brad Szollose:

During the Dot Com Era of the early 90′s, Brad co-founded K2 Design, Inc. which later raised over $7 million through private placement and an IPO... [The company] saw 425% growth for 5 straight years, expanded from 2 business partners to 4 partners and 60+ employees with offices worldwide and valuated at over $26 million.

As as an added bonus, Brad will also share a free special report:

Cracking the Gen-Y Code: How They Think, How They Work & How They Buy!

All you have to do is email him to request a copy:

Click below to listen to Brad.

See you on the court!

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Making Dreams Come True

Being charitable and lending a hand to those around us is something we're all familiar with but helping so that others can meet their dreams takes the Good Samaritan philosophy to a whole new level.

The story of high school basketball coach, Jim Johnson and his equipment manager, Jason McElwain, (AKA J-Mac) is a great illustration of what this concept is all about.

On Feb. 15, 2006, Coach Johnson gave J-Mac an opportunity to play in the final game of the regular season by inserting him for the last four minutes.

And that's when a MIRACLE happened:

Jim Johnson joined me on HCL Radio to talk about the story that inspired the book, "A Coach and a Miracle".

As you'll hear from the coach, it's a story that provided hope and inspiration not to only those involved but to others as well.

Helping dreams come true does three things:

  • It demonstrates kindness
  • Reinforces the importance of our individual actions and the impact it can have on others
  • Motivates people to help others.
It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little - do what you can. ~Sydney Smith

See you on the court!