The Flow of Leadership

The practice of leadership is much like a flowing river: ever changing and always in motion.

Nothing is absolute. Lead with an open mind and fresh eyes. Enjoy every moment, for each one is a new experience to soak in and learn from. Stagnant leadership is not leadership.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” -Heraclitus

Podcast: A New Future

In a recent podcast, I was able to discuss school district leadership, facing adversity and seeing success. It was a great opportunity to share a story of hope, resilience and goals.

Click here to listen to the podcast from Santiam Local.

One Word

In a world of increasing clutter and of fast-paced stimuli, we mustn’t forget the power of simplicity, of even a single word.

Our thoughts are complex and language can be equally complex, yet it can be a single word that holds so much power and drives the entire message. 

Simple. 

Bold. 

Precise. 

Why clutter up the message when you can say it clearly with one. The right word can say all you need to say. 

Patiently Driven

Now is the best time to make needed changes and improvements. The drive to improve can be powerful, yet it can also lead us down the wrong path for change. It is correct to say that now is the time to start making changes and improvements. The part that we fail to recognize is that our best results will occur if we can give the process adequate time. If we are to address the root of the problem, change a culture, rework a process or reinvent the solution, it will take time to turn the ship completely. Large-scale change comes from constant small steps and consistency over time.

Methodical and systematic change leads to sustainable change, while sharp changes in direction often lead to unforeseen consequences. Changes made too fast or without adequate vision can result in consequences that create more changes, which can then lead to instability.

Start small, build momentum, and enjoy the sustainable change. If you want result now, plow your way through and demand it immediately. You may also want to cross your fingers and hope for the best. But if you want lasting results, you may need to take it slowly and methodically.

Be patient. You can get to ‘good’ quickly, or you can get to ‘great’ if you give it time.

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Deschutes River ripple effect 

Listen to the Service of Leadership

I will listen to a leader, when that leader has listened to the needs of others.

If leadership is influence, I want a leader who has been influenced by ethics and excellence.

I want a leader who is worth being led by, as I aspire to be a leader who inspires others to lead.

Leadership is a two-way street. Listen to leaders, listen to the service of leadership.

‘LEADERSHIP’ from a New Perspective

Inspiration and insight can come from anyone, if we are willing to listen for it. Generally, we look to the old, the wise, the wealthy and the famous for words of wisdom, yet our perspective grows when we listen to everyone. Now, not everyone’s ideas are worth acting upon, but they are all worthy of being heard.

I could read more about leadership from the long list of esteemed leaders, or I could learn more about it from an unlikely source. I have heard about leadership from John Maxwell, Abraham Lincoln, Seth Godin, Earnest Shackleton and other greats, but I had never asked my nine year old daughter, until recently.  I had no idea what kind of response I would get, or even if she would respond at all, but what she said was spot on. Her definition of ‘leadership’ was,

“I don’t think of it as telling people what to do, I think of it as helping people and solving problems.”

This response was complete, simple and easy to understand. It not only defined the essential qualities of leadership, but it also corrected the common misunderstanding of leadership versus management. This off-the-cuff definition from a nine year old worked for me and became worthy of sharing.

By allowing my ears to hear a new perspective, I am better off. I can now add her name to my list of influential leaders and thinkers. Inspiration and insight can come from anyone, if we are willing to listen for it.

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Leaders must be learners

From Error to Opportunity

Mistakes happen. Errors happen. Miscalculations happen.

When a mistake is made, there are four questions you need to ask:

  1. Has there been enough training to prevent this?
  2. Was it intentionally done wrong or malicious?
  3. Did it happen from carelessness or laziness?
  4. Has a lesson been learned and corrected?

It is easy to place blame, point fingers or drop your head when a mistake made. Those responses are sure to turn one mistake into two mistakes. If you want to right the mistake or error, find the cause and correct it.

We aren’t perfect, but we should always be looking to improve and learn. Effective leadership can take a mistake and turn it into an opportunity for growth and improvement.

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If we knew mistakes would never be made, we wouldn’t need life boats or rings. 

 

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Lost in the Moment

With eyes locked ahead on the destination, the goal, the future, it’s important to remember where your feet are planted at the moment.

Growth, anticipation and desire keep us focused on our goals and dreams, yet what allows us to enjoy the moment?

The moment is our place in the world. It is who we are. It is the sum of our previous moments and memories. It fills our heart with love, our ears with wisdom, and our body with the nourishment to make it to the destination. To enjoy the journey, one must keep hope that the destination is worth the effort, yet also seek appreciation and learn from what is around you at the moment.

Beware of tunnel vision. Keep shifting your vision from your current placement to your destination. Enjoy the moment and keep progressing in the direction of your dreams. Lock your eyes and mind on what’s important: the goal and the moment.

Deschutes Camp

Photo from our campsite along the Deschutes River on a rafting journey. The journey and the moment were both amazing. 

 

My Team, My Responsibility

The synergy of a team can be the difference in good versus great… or terrible. There are two types of teams that we can be part of, and although they are different, our actions as a member of that team are the same.

The first type of team is the one that you put together yourself. This is your opportunity to pick who is on the team and determine the roles of the members. This structure is empowering. It is your team, your responsibility.

The second type of team is the one that you are placed on. You are handed this team and maybe handed your role. Although this is not your hand-picked team, it is your team. You are still responsible for its success. Your actions as a team member remain the same. You have the choice to look around and feel hopeless at the lack of control and selection of the team OR you could be a leader and make this team the best they can be. It is still your team, your responsibility.

When you can build a team, select the best. When you are given a team, make them their best.

Dog Sled ride

Dog sled team

“Teamwork requires some sacrifice up front; people who work as a team have to put the collective needs of the group ahead of their individual interests.” -Patrick Lencioni

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Rafting team shooting through Deschutes River rapids