November 2015

Saying Grace a Lot (G.K. Chesterton)

G.K. Chesterton helps us say GRACE the proper way. Have a beautiful day of Giving Thanks, Knowing Joy, and Offering Many Words of Gratitude.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International


Ambivalent About Power

Benazir Bhutto quote, power has made me suffer

Power has made me suffer too much. In reality I'm ambivalent about it. It interests me because it makes it possible to change things. But it's left me with a bitter taste. Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was a remarkable leader in Pakistan. She was remarkable for many reasons, but high on that list is that she was a woman in a male dominated society. She was a global citizen living in a nation dominated by religious sectarianism. She was an advocate for progress when her adversaries wanted to regress to an oppressive status quo against civil rights. For an overview of Benazir, you can read this article. For a longer article read the Wikipedia entry.

Having Enemies

Winston Churchill, you have enemies good

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something in your life. 
Winston Churchill

There are a number of reasons why leaders will have enemies... and not all of them are good reasons.

1.  You may have an enemy because of poor, inept leadership and the decisons flowing from such leadership that makes things hard for others.

The Next 20 Years (What Might Be Coming Our Way)

Twenty Predictions for the Next 20 Years


Would you believe I finally got the link right THIS TIME. The only way you will know is if you click it on.

From time to time, we need to read reflections like this one and think about what is coming our way.

Futurism is never precise. 
Predictions are frequently wrong.
DO NOT take these things as spot on.

But do enjoy thinking about these as potential possibilities that could be headed our way.

Doubt Your Infallibility: Or What Leaders Tend NOT TO DO!

Benjamin Franklin, the older I grow the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, humility, self awareness

Here is the full quote, which was too long to put on to the image.

Having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. Ben Franklin

That was part of the wisdom Franklin offered to his fellow delegates at the United States constitutional convention in 1787.

Leaders Read and Leaders Read Different Books

Here are three great quotes on reading.
They speak quite loudly on their own, with no commentary needed from me.
Just action!

leaders are readers

the man who does not read, Mark Twain, illiteracy, aliteracy

The Reading List (November 2015)

Here are some books I have been reading on the themes of personal productivity, life management, life skills, etc. I am doing a lot of reading along these lines as I am editing the next volume in The Leadership Exercises - Bearing Much Fruit That Lasts: Big Ideas and Best Practices for Personal Productivity.

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, by Gretchen Rubin
I really liked the approach Rubin takes in her book. She has her own four-fold system of personality types when it comes to time and priority management. She does a nice job making the types clear, and simple enough to understand, without being simplistic. She tells her own story in an attractive way. She provides lots of internet resources to check out, and even breaks them into categories according to the personality type. 



"Grow, Grow" Whispers the Angel

every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers grow grow, Talmud

Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, "Grow, grow." The Talmud

You are meant to grow. To be alive is to grow. To grow is to flourish and thrive. It is God's will and His work for you to become all he has created you to become. You are a human becoming... a collection of possibilities, that this day, will advance toward fullness. There is More that God has for you...

May you know today that an angel is bending over you and whispering, "Grow, grow."

Live in joy, love, and vital optimism today, as you GROW.

The Three Parts of Wisdom

Wisdom consists in doing the next thing you have to do, doing it with your whole heart, and finding delight in doing it.  Meister Eckhart

Meister Eckhart was a mystic, and one who skirted (and perhaps crossed over) the boundaries into some questionnable theological and spiritual realms. Even so, there are so many gems of insight and "wisdom" in his writings. This is one of them. It is a beautiful picture of wisdom.

Leadership Lesson 04: Five Ways I Live in the Future

leadership vision, leaders spend a good deal of their time living in the future

Leadership Lesson 04:
Leaders spend a good deal of their time living in the future.

That is the reality! Leaders live in the future. Well, they are least rent an apartment there which they visit quite often! For fruitful visionary leadership, leaders must know how to stay energized and stay up-to-date and in touch with the emerging future. Leaders live with a balancing act, where they live in the future as they lead in the present. The only way to continually see a better future, is by seeing it. How do you see it? You see it by being there to look around.

Leadership Lesson 04: Facing the Future

Leadership Lesson 04: Facing the Future
Being forward looking is THE quality that most separates leaders from followers.

If there is one thing that is most often talked about, it is visionary leadership. Sometimes I think it is the MAIN thing that is said to define leaders. What I so respect about Kouzes and Posner, is they know great leadership requires many components. And in that larger vision, they give the rightful place of vision and seeing a better future.

A Collage of Images-Quotes as I Think About the Paris Horror

Edmund Burke, for evil to flourish

if you don't like what you see in the world do not blame the world

Teddy Roosevelt, it is not the critic who counts

Jesus weeping for the world, Jesus crying

No commentary added, just the encouragement to continue your own reflection, discernment and prayerfulness.


Leadership Lesson 03: Values Buy In

Leadership Lesson 03: Values Buy In
If you don't stick to your values when they're being tested, they're not values: They're hobbies.

Important Question:
So when I first read this quote, I had a new idea. Who is the one who needs the MOST BUY-IN to your values? 

Leadership Lesson 03: Values, Commitment and Culture

Leadership Lesson 03:
It's not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are.  

Roy Disney

Right now I am working with several groups of leaders who are thinking about mission, vision and values. Here is the essential idea:

Values drive commitment and define culture.

First - values drive commitment.
You (and everyone else) need to commit to something that is important. If it is not important to you, you won't be committed. Values are the things or ways that are important to you. When you identify your values, you are more likely to commit to them.

Leadership Lesson 02: The Six Benefits of Credibility

Leadership Lesson 02:

The Six Benefits of Credibility

There are many more than six benefits, but there are six benefits that Kouzes and Posner identified, that results when leaders are seen as CREDIBLE. When people have credible leaders, they are significantly more likely to:

1.  Be proud of their organization and tell others about it.
In other words, your credibility paves the way for your team to become RAVING FANS of their workplace.

2.  Feel a strong sense of team spirit.
Team spirit - by definition, means I belong to this team, I love my team, I will not let my team down. 

Leadership Lesson 02: Credibility Matters

Leadership Lesson 02:
Credibility is the Foundation of Leadership.

If people don't believe in you, they won't willingly follow you.  Kouzes and Posner

The subject of credibility is so important, that Kouzes and Posner wrote a TOME on it. The subtitle tells you why they wrote so extensively on it. How Leaders Gain and Lose, Why People Demand It. People demand it. So we better know what it is, how we get it, and how we could lose it.

Leadership Lesson 01: You Can Make a Difference at Work

Leadership Lesson 01: 
You Can Make a Difference at Work

There are so many researchers that help us understand the strategic role of a supervisor or manager in the workplace. The person who makes the greatest difference for those who work (no matter where it is) is the immediate supervisor. It has been said that people don't leave jobs. They leave bosses. And not the bosses at the top of the ladder, the ones who run the entire organization. It is the "boss" who is closest to them who makes for a positive or negative work experience.

Daniel Goleman helps us understand this with his theme of emotional intelligence and leaders creating resonant work spaces. The most important work a leader can do for those on her or his team is to create a resonant work atmosphere.

Leadership Lesson 01: You Can Make a Difference as a Role Model

Leadership Lesson 01:
You Can Make a Difference as a Role Model

Kouzes and Posner have spent years studying leadership through research, surveys, and interviews. One of the questions they asked people was about their role models. Who were the role models that influenced us for leadership? The chart above is reproduced from their book, The Truth About Leadership, page 9.

There are some striking facts in this chart.

First, notice who the people are that we turn to as role models for leadership. They are the people who are closest to us. The ones with whom we do life. The people who are positioned to impact us up close with their character, values, wisdom, stories and relationship.

Leadership Lesson 01: You Can Make a Difference

You can make a difference

Leadership Lesson 01:
You Can Make a Difference

Kouzes and Posner are some of the most well known authors in the field of leadership. Their book, The Challenge of Leadership is one of the primary texts on the work of leadership. In 2010, they wrote a little book called The Truth About Leadership. It was a short summary of the most important lessons (truths) they discerned in their decades of research on leadership. I am going to blog on their ten most essential leadership lessons in the next two weeks.