chess not checkers

I don’t even know how to play chess, but I loved this book! chess not checkers

In typical Mark Miller style, he writes the book as a story, weaving humor, wisdom, care, and pragmatism in a quick, easy-to-read format. The main character, Blake Brown, takes a new CEO job in a struggling organization. Work is frustrating and drudgery, teamwork is non-existent, morale is weak, and customers are going elsewhere. The game has changed, old strategies aren’t working, and losing is miserable for everyone.

Blake begins to meet with a chess master mentor who teaches him four simple – yet essential – principles for playing a new game in today’s complex world:

1. BET ON LEADERSHIP – Identify and invest in emerging leaders. Mark gives excellent tips about developing yourself, your team, and the organization.

“…proactively develop your leadership.
The earlier in their career you invest in them, the better.”

“Leadership growth always
precedes organizational growth.”

2. ACT AS ONE – We know this as alignment, and it requires excellent communication. Mark describes it with a helpful illustration:

“Think of your organization as a car
driving at high speeds down a bumpy, dirt road.
The car will constantly be knocked out of alignment.
Part of your never-ending role is to keep the organization
aligned on what matters most.”

3. WIN THE HEART – Greater engagement happens when you allow people to contribute their unique gifts and work using their personal strengths.

“This is the way you need to look at your people.
When you deploy them thoughtfully,
you create greater value.”

4. EXCEL AT EXECUTION – This involves the important areas of resource allocation, measurements, and systems versus personality design.

“To help your team improve execution,
measure what matters most.”

There is much more in the book. I highly recommend that you pick up a copy today!

Any leader who implements these timeless principles will grow personally and improve the game plan for their team and their organization.

Which of these principles is most urgent for your situation? How can you apply new and improved strategy in your context?

Check out the great book trailer video HERE!

You can also find Mark Miller blogging on his website, Great Leaders Serve.

I also wrote a summary and review of some of Mark’s other books: The Secret and The Heart of Leadership. 

“The Secret” to great leadership

The SecretHappy 10th Anniversary to “The Secret“!

The book, The Secretis celebrating its 10th anniversary, and I gladly reviewed the anniversary edition. Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller wrote The Secret. It is a quick and easy read filled with powerful principles to apply to any leadership role. Here is just a taste of the excellent content:

“No matter how long the runway,
that pig ain’t gonna fly!”
¹

This is a great way to remember that the purpose of training and development is not to “fix” people. People can learn and improve, but they will always be more powerful in their areas of strength… and never eliminate their areas of weakness. A key responsibility for a leader is to “fit” people into a role that is good for them, a role that matches their strengths.

In order to “fit” people into their best role, a leader must know the vision and the roles necessary for accomplishing the vision. The leader must also know their people well.

The BE, DO, HAVE, and HELP Framework²

Blanchard and Miller mention this framework taught by Bobb Biehl. The tool is helpful for getting to know your people and building a deeper relationship with them. The idea is to ask someone to share the top five things they would put in each category: five things they want to be (ex. a better mom), five things they would like to do (ex. attend a special event), five things they want to have (ex. more family time), and five people/areas where they would like to help (ex. favorite charities). Then, as the leader, look for opportunities to resource these areas – provide a ticket, a mentor, a network contact, a training, a workload/hour adjustment, etc.

The SERVE principles 

SERVEEach letter stands for one of the five key principles of leadership success. The book’s entertaining and effective story format explains each of these principles.

There is also a helpful self-assessment on these principles included in the book.

If you want to improve your leadership, I highly recommend this book. If you read it ten years ago, maybe you would like to read it again!

What do you think is part of the secret of leadership?

_______________________

¹ Blanchard, K. and Miller, M. (2014). The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. (p. 70)
² Ibid (p. 94)
Celebrate 10 years by reading a #freesample of #TheSecret by @kenblanchard & @LeadersServe here:  http://bit.ly/TheSecret10

el corazón del liderazgo

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Palabras de impacto. Excelente historia. Libro de fácil lectura. ¿Qué podría ser mejor?

Acepté la oportunidad de formar parte del equipo de lanzamiento del nuevo libro de Mark Miller, The Heart of Leadership (El CORAZÓN del LIderazgo). Lo leí en unas pocas horas(!), pero estaré refiriéndome de nuevo a él durante mucho tiempo.

Sin carácter de liderazgo,
a nadie le importan tus habilidades.

El libro de Mark cuenta la historia de Blake Brown y su búsqueda por aquello que hace a un líder diferente después de haber perdido una ascenso de liderazgo. Blake busca la ayuda de su mentora, Debbie Brewster, quien lo manda a entrevistarse con cinco personas especiales. Cada una de las cinco comparte con Blake un elemento del carácter de liderazgo. Blake hace tanto un cambio en su corazón en el proceso, como en su liderazgo en casa y en el trabajo. 

Este libro es de lectura fácil, sencilla y rápida… pero de gran profundidad en su contenido. Aquí hay un pequeño resumen de los puntos claves de The HEART of Leadership (El CORAZÓN del Liderazgo), pero ¡te recomiendo mucho que compres el libro!

H

AMBRE POR SABIDURÍA   La sabiduría afecta todas nuestras decisiones. Mark menciona cuatro maneras para cultivar un hambre por sabiduría: 1) enfocarse en la búsqueda y no en el resultado; 2) estar abierto a las aportaciones, nuevas ideas, opiniones diferentes; 3) crecer constantemente y 4) establecer una red de mentores para   pedir consejo. 

E 2SPERAR LO MEJOR   Los líderes ven el potencial, lo que podría ser. Generalmente son optimistas y creen lo mejor de los demás y de ellos mismos. No ignoran la realidad o los hechos, pero por lo general ven el vaso 100% lleno – ¡mitad líquido… y mitad aire!

A 2CEPTAR RESPONSABILIDAD   Mark dice que los líderes “se apropian” de sus acciones y de las acciones de los demás. Aceptan la responsabilidad cuando el equipo fracasa. Los líderes no culpan a otros; evitan el orgullo y el complacer a las personas y… ¡dan el honor a otros!   

RESPONDER CON VALENTÍA   Los líderes no dudan cuando se topan con situaciones difíciles o desafiantes; toman la iniciativa para mediar relaciones rotas, desafiar a la gente a crecer o tomar decisiones difíciles o poco populares. Puede que se equivoquen alguna vez, pero deciden actuar.  

T(THINK) PENSAR PRIMERO EN OTROS   Este es el punto más importante de todos. El líder siervo trabaja para asegurarse que los demás tengan éxito y que se sientan honrados y valorados… pero debe actuar con una actitud de corazón sincera; no puede fingir o manipular.

Al leer el libro de Mark, sentí numerosos tirones en mi corazón en cada capítulo. Al igual que el imaginario Blake, descubrí evidentes áreas débiles y muchas otras en las que puedo mejorar. Mark usa un iceberg para ilustrar que tan sólo el 10% del liderazgo son las habilidades que se muestran sobre el agua y el 90% del liderazgo es el carácter de liderazgo debajo de la superficie.

Nuestros hogares y trabajo y el mundo necesitan líderes con gran carácter… con gran CORAZÓN. Estoy lista para trabajar en mi CORAZÓN. ¿Quieres cambiar el mundo conmigo?

______________________

MarkMiller_About_179x240_050813

Mark Miller, reconocido líder de negocios, autor de best-sellers y comunicador, está emocionado por compartir The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow (El Corazón del Liderazgo: Convirtiéndose en un Líder que la Gente Quiere Seguir) con aquellos que están listos para dar los próximos pasos.

Puedes descargar un capítulo muestra GRATUITO o comprar el libro completo en Amazon o cualquier librería.

También puedes seguir a Mark Miller en Twitter @LeadersServe y a través de su excelente blog Great Leaders Serve.

the HEART of leadership

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Powerful words. Great story. Quick-read book. 
What could be better?

I accepted the opportunity to be part of the launch team for Mark Miller’s new book, The HEART of Leadership. I read it in just a few hours(!)… but I will be referring back to it for a long time.

Without leadership character,
no one cares about your skills.

Mark’s book tells the story of Blake Brown and his search for what makes leaders different after he misses a leadership promotion. Blake seeks out help from his mentor, Debbie Brewster, who sends him to meet with five special people. Each of the five share with Blake one element of leadership character. Blake changes his heart in the process, as well as his leadership at home and at work. 

This book is a simple, quick, easy read… but there is great depth in its content. Here is a quick review of key points from The HEART of Leadership, but I highly recommend you buy the book for yourself!

H

UNGER FOR WISDOM  Wisdom informs all of our decisions. Mark mentions four ways to cultivate a hunger for wisdom:1) focus on the pursuit, not the outcome; 2) be open to input, new ideas, different opinions; 3) grow constantly, and 4) establish a network of counselors/mentors for advice.

E 2XPECT THE BEST  Leaders see potential, what could be. They are generally optimistic and believe the best about others and themselves. They don’t ignore reality or facts, but they generally see the glass as 100% full – half liquid… and half air!

A 2CCEPT RESPONSIBILITY   Mark says that leaders “own” their actions and the actions of others. They accept responsibility when the team fails. Leaders don’t blame others; they guard against pride and people pleasing and… they give the praise to others!

RESPOND WITH COURAGE  Leaders don’t hesitate when faced with difficult or challenging situations; they initiate to mend broken relationships, challenge people to grow, or make hard or unpopular decisions. They may get it wrong sometimes, but they choose to act.

THINK OTHERS FIRST  This is the most important point of all. The servant leader works to ensure that others do well and that they feel honored and valued… but they must act with a sincere heart attitude; they can’t fake it or manipulate.

As I read Mark’s book, I felt numerous tugs at my heart in every chapter. Like the imaginary Blake, I saw obvious weak areas and lots I can improve. Mark uses an iceberg to illustrate that only 10% of leadership is the skills that show above the water. 90% of leadership is the leadership character below the surface.

Our work and homes and world need leaders with great character… with great HEART. I’m ready to work on my HEART. Want to change the world with me?

______________________

MarkMiller_About_179x240_050813Mark Miller, well known business leader, best-selling author, and communicator, is excited about sharing The Heart of Leadership: Becoming A Leader People Want To Follow with those who are ready to take the next step.

You can download a FREE sample chapter or buy the complete book at Amazon or bookstores everywhere!

And you can follow Mark Miller on Twitter @LeadersServe and through his Great Leaders Serve blog.

destroying double standards

home freedigitalphotos smarnad
Last week I re-posted in honor of my anniversary,”Tips for a long-lasting marriage or friendship“. The first tip I listed was partnership.

Then this morning I was reading the chapter, “Making Your Partner a Real Partner” from Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg… so I have partnership on the brain today!


Sandberg writes mainly advocating for women in leadership, but this chapter
advocates very much for men.

One thing that has concerned me through the years has been the limited role of men in home and family. As a woman blessed to have a spouse who has been a “real partner” for our 28 years of marriage, I find it easy to advocate for real partnership in marriage, home, and work.

Sandberg mentions various barriers to real partnership at home that I have seen and experienced myself. She also suggests ways to overcome the barriers. I wonder if you can relate to any of these?

1. Empowerment

Just as woman struggle with lack of empowerment in the business world, men often face a lack of empowerment at home.Too many times I have heard women criticize their husbands’ for how they feed, dress, or interact with their children. In my opinion, these women not only sound disrespectful and insulting, but also prideful, and they are doing their marriage partnership a great disservice (and increasing their own work load). Sandberg correctly states, “Anyone who wants her mate to be a true partner must treat him as an equal–and equally capable–partner.“¹ it is fine to choose task assignments according to preference or skill, but assuming and communicating that a man cannot do (or learn to do) a good job at home is demeaning and de-motivating. On the other hand, empowering will help to take down the barriers between real partners.

2. Encouragement

Derogatory jokes, lack of role models, and social stereotypes all make it more difficult for men to openly and actively participate as full partners at home. I have known a few men who were the primary care-givers for their children. I have known more men who shared equally home and family responsibilities (my husband included).Others teased, questioned, and sometimes isolated these men because of their desire and commitment to actively engage as true partners, rather than praised and honored for their choices.Thankfully, these men did not have the (oft-ascribed) fragile male egos I am frequently warned about, and they refused to be discouraged or dissuaded by stereotypical expectations. Men and women both can do a better job at encouraging men when they act as true partners.

3. Employment policies

Most companies do not offer men the same paternal benefits that are available to women. According to Sandberg, “Only two states offer paid family leave that fathers can use”². Men often pay an even bigger penalty than women via social pressure, low performance ratings,and fewer advancement opportunities if they take time off to prioritize family needs. I believe we need to improve the organizational/governmental policies and laws to support true partnership.

Sandberg claims that true marriage partnership results in greater satisfaction, less divorce, and more sex³, and greater father involvement produces “higher levels of psychological well-being and better cognitive abilities”⁴ and “higher levels of educational and economic achievement and lower delinquency rates”⁴ for the children. These benefits motivate me to work to eliminate the double standards that inhibit true partnership.

Are there ways you can improve true partnership in your marriage?

If you are dating, are you establishing true partnership patterns today for future marriage? 

——-

**For more chapter summaries from Lean In, read here and here.

¹ Sandberg, Sheryl. Lean In. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013, pg. 109, para. 2. 
² Ibid, pg. 113, para. 2.
³ Ibid, pg. 118, para. 1. 
⁴ Ibid, pg. 113, para. 1.

do nice girls finish last?

Lean InI am making my way through Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, and chapter three made me stop and think a bit. The chapter is called “Success and Likeability”, and Sandberg starts out with a Harvard Business School case study based on the experience of an entrepreneur named Heidi Roizen. Sandberg writes:

The case described how Roizen became a successful venture capitalist by using her “outgoing personality… and vast personal and professional network [that] included many of the most powerful business leaders in the technology sector”. [The professors] assigned half of the students to read Heidi’s story and gave the other half the same story with just one difference – they changed the name “Heidi” to “Howard”.

[The Professors] then polled the students about their impressions of Heidi or Howard. The students rated Heidi and Howard as equally competent… their accomplishments were completely identical. Yet while students respected both Heidi and Howard, Howard came across as a more appealing colleague. Heidi, on the other hand, was seen as selfish and not “the type of person you would want to hire or work for.” The same data with a single difference – gender – created vastly different impressions.¹ (emphasis mine)

Sandberg argues that the case study further proves research that,”When a man is successful, he is liked by both men and women. When a woman is successful, people of both genders like her less.”² Sandberg explains that from early on, girls learn that intelligence and success are not the path to popularity. In addition, socially acceptable behavior allows men to claim credit for achievements and assertively negotiate for higher salary, whereas a woman is perceived as arrogant and self-serving if she does the same. Women are expected to help without reward, and care and advocate for others.

The ultimate goal is to eventually eliminate different attitudes and treatment based on stereotypes, but until then Sandberg offers a few suggestions for women. I’ve re-written them in my own words here:

1. Pay the price – Women need to accept that there will be unfair biases and criticism. Sandberg suggests that we allow ourselves to feel and work through the emotions generated by the criticism, but then move on and do our job.

2. Play to your strengths – Some of the common “nice” characteristics ascribed to women – caring, communication, community – greatly improve teamwork. As women smile and appreciate others – while focusing on the task – productivity increases.

3. Position yourself communally – Women will have more success in negotiations when they use “we” vocabulary as context for their requests. Petitions couched in common interests and concern for the common good are more readily accepted from women than those that appear self-centered or self-promoting.

4. Purpose to become comfortable with power – It will take concentrated effort to change mindsets and perspectives based on years of habit and feedback, but as women work to become more comfortable with their power, they will also lean in with greater confidence.

Have you ever struggled with the “nice” girl dilemma? What do you think of Sheryl Sandberg’s tips for overcoming that stereotype?

For my men readers… what do you think? Are women held to a different standard than men?

______________________

¹ Sandberg, Sheryl. Lean In. Chapter 3, para. 2-3. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.

² Ibid. Chapter 3, para. 4.

breaking down barriers

file0001312170283In addition to the external barriers erected by society,
women are hindered by barriers that exist within ourselves.
Sheryl Sandberg¹

I received a copy of Sandberg’s book, “Lean In“, from a dear friend. I have only started reading it, but I have found connection, empathy, authenticity, grace, and challenge in the first chapters. Sandberg proposes a hypothesis which many of us already know is truth… as women, we are often our own worst enemy.

Sandberg explains that women often deeply internalize the negative messages we receive during our life – and quickly undervalue the positive messages that we earn.

I believe that women are essential to making important world changes in society through our relationships, families, and jobs today. To do that, we need support, advocacy, and partnership with the men in our lives, but we also need to believe in ourselves to step confidently into the places that we are created and gifted to fill. 

How can we do that? I’ve started a list here from some of Sandberg’s comments and some of my own experiences:

Gain self-awareness.

Personality profiles, StrengthsFinder, Reflected Best Self Exercise, work preferences, gift tests, feedback from mentors/friends/others… all help to discover and affirm unique value and contribution. The more I learn about myself, the easier it is to choose where to invest my time and my talents with confidence.

Don’t give unnecessary power to gender stereotypes.

“Strong”, “assertive”, “outspoken”, “intelligent” – these words often negatively describe a woman leader, but compliment a man. Words like “sensitive”, “passionate”, “caring”, “transparent” can also be used to disregard a woman’s position, but be considered uncommon and valuable assets for men. The key principle to remember is – no matter what I do or what I am like, I will never please everyone. I need to be comfortable in my own skin.

Get past the fear.

Women sometimes feel afraid… afraid of not knowing enough, afraid of saying something stupid, afraid of failing, afraid of being labeled as a fraud². Fears like these could easily paralyze and cause a step back from opportunities, but so often they are irrational and never actually occur. I am learning to speak up or act with courage in spite of my fears. I am learning that I am needed and because of that, I must “keep my hand up… and sit at the table”³. 

Say a simple “Thank You” for compliments and awards.

Sandberg explains that it is often our insecurity that causes us to scoff, brush off, and negate the achievements and accolades that we receive. I sometimes fail to accept a compliment without explaining or excusing it away with a, “It was nothing”, “I had lots of help”, or “I guess I had them fooled.” I am grateful for those in my life who (first) express their sincere appreciation for my efforts and (second) confront me if I undervalue my contribution. 

How have you been your own worst enemy? What would you add to this list?

¹Sandberg, Sheryl. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2013. p. 8.
²Ibid. p. 28-29.
³Ibid. p.38

Isolated Leadership: Dangers and Solutions

To my Maturitas Cafe readers… I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share this post with you. It combines two of my all-time favorites – Henry Cloud and Dan Rockwell – experts and amazing encouragers in the areas of life and leadership. If you don’t already, you will want to check out Dan’s blog, “Leadership Freak” and follow him on Twitter. Leave a comment on his blog today for the great package offer!
You will also want to listen in on Henry’s free live call today (details in the post) or read some of his great books. I have reviewed some of them (Integrity and Necessary Endings) already in my posts. These guys are the real deal!
What can you do to prevent isolated leadership in your life?

working women of the Bible

One of the things I like best about Twitter is the new people who I have met in the tweeting process. There are some “crazies” out there as in all of life, but I have also been privileged to interact with leadership experts, soul sisters, and wise life-practitioners.

Susan DiMickele happens to be an incredible combination of all three. Susan and I have never met face-to-face, but we hope to someday. Susan tweets at: @SusanDiMickele and blogs at: www.susandimickele.com. Susan has been a trial lawyer for nearly 18 years and a mother for 12 years. She describes herself as “an author who writes about the working mom’s struggle to live out an authentic faith in a complex and fast-paced world“. Susan has written a new book that will go on sale this week! (pre-sale available now)

I had the exciting opportunity to pre-read Working Women of the Bible and provide a review of the book. This is basically what I wrote…

workingwomenofthebible book

Working Women of the Bible is a unique, refreshing, and encouraging book about women and work. Many believe in error that the Bible mandates all women to work only at home, barefoot and pregnant, with their main role being to serve the men in their life. Susan DiMickele demonstrates that God offers an incredible variety of work options for women of faith. . . and He has provided women mentors from many different situations to guide us. Bible stories, personal experiences, and individual reflection questions combine to create a motivating and challenging resource. The mentors you meet in this book will inspire and empower you… and your work!”

In the book’s introduction, Susan writes: As much as I try to juggle it all—home, work, marriage, kids—I often wish, “Could somebody just please show me how it’s supposed to be done?” and  Too often, we forget that the women of the Bible worked. And they worked hard. They made mistakes, and they didn’t give in. In many ways, their stories are our stories.

I really enjoyed Susan’s fresh perspective and practical applications. She helped me let go of the “superwoman” phantom and find hope in second chances. If this sounds good to you, visit your favorite book seller this week and pick up a copy of Working Women of the Bible for yourself and/or a friend. You won’t regret it!

Have you ever studied the working women of the Bible? Who is your mentor?

___________

susan dimickeleSusan is also the author of Chasing Superwoman: A Working Mom’s Adventures in Life and Faith (David C. Cook, 2010). She has authored articles in both secular and faith-based publications, including, ”War of the Worlds,” a recent article in Home Life Magazine (February 2011) that candidly discusses the need for common ground between stay-at home mothers and mothers who work outside the home. While Susan strives to be at the top of her profession, her greatest desire is to use her God-given gifts to be the woman He created.

what about results?

Some people claim that results are “cold” or devalue people or are too hard to measure, but I think differently. Especially in ministry, our results are people and results mean changed lives… often for all eternity. At home, I definitely work toward positive results in my marriage and my children. It can be difficult to measure those results, but it matters to me to do well.

Henry Cloud, in his book Integrityrecognizes that there are some results that we cannot control, but claims that in most cases, character affects fruitfulness. He says that many people know the “what”or “how” of the work, but still do not produce good results. He claims that the missing ingredient is in “who” they are.

What I do… is intimately connected… to who I am.

In the 9th chapter of Integrity, Cloud mentions five important character elements for achieving results:

1. understand who I am and what I do well  Successful, effective people do better because they know what they like and don’t like, what they are good at and where they are weak… and they set up healthy boundaries based on their values. They don’t chase an idealized picture of themselves, practice a false humility, or fold to pressure from others… but rather they work well in teams with others who can complement their weak areas.

Am I pretending that I am someone I’m not? Am I trying to do what I am not created for in order to please someone else? Do I work alone?

2. prepare and focus before I act – Cloud describes this as “ready, aim… and then fire”.  Being ready involves discipline, evaluative thought, and delayed gratification. It means avoiding rash decisions, “winging it” and impulsive actions. To aim is to live within reality and limits… not be “all over the place” with ideas and dreams. And fire means actually getting things done.

Do I have a plan… for my marriage, my family, my job? Do I know where I want to go? Am I doing the prep work to get me to my goals?

3. willing to make the hard calls  I already wrote about this is my “no more mr. nice guy” post, but there are a few challenging quotes from this chapter that I want to remember.

      “Past being mean and uncaring, virtually nothing erodes respect in a person                       more than his or her inability to make the hard call.”

“The patient, the company, and the family will be better in the end…” 

Do I have the courage and the ability to make the difficult decisions that some people won’t like, but are for the best?

4. find a way – To achieve results, people often have to persevere through hard times, make changes, accept failures, overcome obstacles. Cloud states that, “perseverance takes courage, stamina, emotional reserves, judgment, creativity…”

Do I quit easily or do I have what it takes to keep going? 

5. learn to lose well – Most breakthrough inventions and ideas have numerous “well, that didn’t work” projects behind them. The keys to losing well are facing the reality of failure, accepting responsibility, and learning from the experience. Sometimes losing is just giving up something good for something better.

Do I take time to grieve and evaluate the loss? Do I blame others or do I consider my contribution to the error? Am I afraid to let go of something that is not the best?

Fruitfulness depends on focusing on who I am and what I do. I don’t want to sacrifice dreams, goals, or mission purposes because of my personal immaturity. I want to grow in character. What do you think about results?