The Leader To Leader podcast is dedicated to helping leaders like you transform and thrive. We leverage practices and perspectives to help you, your team and your organization to deliver results no one expected. I draw from my experience in sales and marketing, leadership, international business, father, husband and friend providing you with tips, insights, and techniques that will propel you to the success you've envisioned and longed for - it's within your grasp!
LTL 144: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part Four
Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” I know few people who embody that quote more than Bear Grylls. This is the fourth and final part of my key takeaways from the 2019 Global Leadership Summit.
I hope you have enjoyed listening to these episodes as much as I have enjoyed recording them! I’ve tried to keep them simple, short, and practical. My intent is always to make valuable use of your time. If it’s crap, you should shut it off and I should shut it down. Fortunately, there was a massive amount of content from the Global Leadership Summit.
If you don’t know who Bear Grylls is, let me give you an idea. A former member of the British Special Forces, Grylls has climbed Everest, crossed the Arctic Ocean in an inflatable boat and starred in his Emmy-nominated TV show Man Vs Wild (which became one of the most-watched programs on the planet with an estimated audience of 1.2 billion).
He also hosts NBC’s hit show Running Wild with Bear Grylls as well as groundbreaking series on National Geographic, Netflix and Amazon. He is a number one best-selling author and has sold over 15 million books. These include his autobiography Mud, Sweat and Tears, and this year a powerful new book on faith called: Soul Fuel.
Not As It Appears
If you know who Bear is, then you know him for all his successes. They are astounding. Just watch a single episode of Man vs. Wild and you’ll capture a glimpse of his incredible sense of survival. But Bear is more than the sum total of his many successes.
His humility is equally astounding. In my notes, I titled his session Learnings from the Valleys, Battles, and Struggles. I don’t recall if that was his title – but I suspect it was. Often, when we see the end result, we gloss over the difficult road one must travel to their destiny.
I knew Bear was British Special Forces. What I didn’t know was that he didn’t make the six-month cut. So, as you can imagine, he was gutted. Man, you don’t have to be special forces to feel the pain that happens when you fall short. Especially when you have spent massive time and energy to achieve an outcome that is alluding you.
More Failures Than Successes
As is often the case, his pain became his progress. So please, PLEASE, listen closely to what he said. Bear said he had far more failures than successes. What’s your response to failure? Because how you answer this question very well could determine your destiny. Failure is a part of your journey.
Because of this, Bear says that there are no shortcuts to your goals that avoid failure. Think about this for a moment. You will never experience fulfillment without hard work, but hard work is no guarantee that you will succeed. Harsh, but true.
Nothing More To Give
He said that your reaction to failure is important because life doesn’t always reward the brilliant or talented – and I would add that it doesn’t always reward your hard work. Just the opposite at times and you know what I mean if you have ever been kicked in the teeth for doing the right thing.
Bear was saying that during Special Forces training you literally encounter points where you have nothing more to give.
LTL 143: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part Three
As you probably already know, this is Part Three of a series on my key takeaways from the 2019 Global Leadership Summit. I said that I would follow up with a summary of the leadership tips that I picked up during the August event and man, there was a lot to try to summarize for you! My intent was to only share the most practical and applicable points – those things you could take and then put to use immediately.
Today’s episode captures my attention (and my heart!) just like it did almost five months ago during the Global Leadership Summit. I’ll do my best to convey these points with the same conviction that I felt when they were made to me. This is probably one of the most difficult because I have so much respect for his wisdom and insight.
A Global Leadership Summit Treasure
Patrick Lencioni is the author of eleven best-selling books. I hope you’ve heard of them and I hope they are on your shelf! The Five Dysfunctions of a Team should be read by every serious leader. And if you are looking for help with disengaged team members, take a look at The Truth About Employee Engagement.
Dedicated to providing organizations with ideas, products and services that improve teamwork, clarity and employee engagement, Pat’s leadership models serve a diverse base from Fortune 500 companies to professional sports organizations to churches. Let’s get to the content and fill your head with some great thoughts that are sure to provoke growth!
Too Many People Have Influence
Pat’s session starts with a comment that on the surface is rather humorous. But like all great jokes, there is more than a smidgen of truth in it. What he said was that a lot fewer people in the world should become a leader. Then he went on to say that a lot of people in the world have influence…and probably shouldn’t!
That candor is classic Lencioni and I find that frankness refreshing. At the same time, it can be disturbing because Pat isn’t talking to others…he’s talking to me! How often do we completely miss valuable content because we’re sitting there thinking “wow, this is great for (fill in the blank) to hear!” or “(fill in the blank) should really listen to this!”
Why Are You Leading?
That’s the point: Pat is asking you to evaluate what you have to offer others. What’s at the center of why you are leading? Don’t you think that’s an appropriate question for attendees of the global leadership summit…you know, a room full of leaders? He says there are only two reasons:
* To do whatever you need to do to serve the people you need to, or* For rewards like attention, status, or power
Can you answer that question for yourself right now? Why are you leading? It’s important to answer it honestly because if you don’t, you might be disappointed with your results…and you could disappoint others as well. If you are willing to serve others, to meet their needs, then your perspective shifts from what benefits you to what benefits others.
Think about how many responsibilities you have as a leader that will never be rewarded. If you are motivated by the reward, then your performance is going to diminish. How often have you thought that leadership is a sacrifice? I’m guilty – I’ve probably even said it in so many words...
LTL 142: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part Two
Back in August, I attended the 2019 Global Leadership Summit and I said that I would follow up with a summary of the leadership tips that I picked up during the event. While there was so much great content, I’m only able to pick my key takeaways and share them with you in a handful of shorter episodes over the next several weeks. Each episode contains tips that you can put to use immediately. This is Part Two.
The takeaways from this second episode come from Danielle Strickland. If you don’t know who Danielle is, she is a pastor, author, and justice advocate. Having spent 22 years as an officer in the Salvation Army, she is an Ambassador for Stop The Traffik. Her calling is to empower people to transform the world.
Leaders Don’t Just Survive Change
I’ve heard Danielle speak several times and she always brings a powerful principle. This session of the Global Leadership Summit was no different! She led with this: leaders don’t just survive change – they thrive in change.
Think about the difference. Imagine this: you run towards what others fear. If it causes the crowd to panic, you grab control. Can you recall a time when you stepped up or into what others had abandoned? In my opinion, change is often responsible for driving away those who are more comfortable managing than leading.
Your Life Is Like A Tree
There are so many analogies that others use to give us a different perspective on life. Danielle says that our life is a lot like a tree, specifically, it’s like a fruit tree. I’ve always liked this particular analogy because it requires examination.
I want to take a quick aside here. If you are a great leader, you understand the value of not just introspection, but also extrospection. They are important because they impact the point that Danielle is making. Do you regularly take time to think about you?
Introspection is understanding my emotions, circumstances, and cumulative knowledge. Extrospection would be knowing how this will impact my reaction (potential or actual) to events. As a result, you can think of the combination of these two factors as the reflection that allows you to evaluate why you do/feel what you do/feel. Furthermore, this enables you to see the proverbial writing on the wall and alter undesired behavior before it occurs.
Inspect Your Fruit
So, Danielle says that we must confront bad tasting fruit on our tree. She goes on to say that our actions produce the fruit. Fair enough. But where do the actions come from? Our values. Because our values are connected to our behavior, she says that we have to look at our roots to understand our values.
Where are the roots? Most of the time, they are hidden from view and underground. We have a tree in our front yard that is a little more than a year old. When they planted that tree, they put a post for support. But you don’t leave that post in the ground indefinitely, do you?! No! Why? Because if you do, the roots won’t go deep and allow the tree to not only grow, but to stand in adverse conditions.
Danielle describes our roots as deeply held beliefs that feed our tree. Now if you have bad fruit, what do you think that means? Obviously, you better take a look at your roots. What do you believe? Why do you believe that?
Similar to the point Danielle is making,
LTL 141: Global Leadership Summit Takeaways Part One
Back in August, I attended the 2019 Global Leadership Summit and I said that I would follow up with a summary of the leadership tips that I picked up during the event. While I’d love to share it all with you, I’m going to pick my key takeaways and share them in a handful of shorter episodes over the next several weeks. These will be tips that I believe you can put to use immediately. This is Part One.
The takeaways for this first episode come from Craig Groeschel. Craig is a pastor, podcaster, speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. He’s also the global champion for the Global Leadership Summit. This episode is dedicated to the value bombs he dropped during his opening session. So let’s get started!
Everyone Wins When The Leader Wins
Everyone wins when the leader gets better. So simple, and so true. Leaders make things happen and every leader must focus on making a way for those around them to improve. A rising tide lifts all ships. You will never regret investing in yourself or others. And PLEASE, stop waiting for someone else to invest in your growth. Take that responsibility for yourself.
Next, was a concept that will be hard to describe without you seeing what I’m talking about. Imagine a graph with QUALITY on the Y-axis (the vertical axis) and COST on the X-axis (the horizontal axis). Now, imagine starting in the left-hand corner of that graph and drawing 60% of a frown. So you start up and to the right, but it starts to slope back down to the right. This graphic represents diminishing returns. What it means is that initially, and early-on, your investment (think in terms of dollars or time) will produce movement up the QUALITY axis.
Eventually though, you reach a point where continuing to invest will not only no longer improve the quality, but it actually reduces the quality! Think of it in terms of writing a blog post. Let’s say it takes you an hour to produce something half-way decent. After another hour, the quality of the content is good enough to publish on your website. If you spent another hour on it, you might be able to improve the quality by an additional 5%, but spending more time is only going to provide fractional increases in quality.
Craig’s point is that our job as leaders is to understand where the inflection point is on the curve. In other words, where does the graph start to curve the wrong way (diminishing returns)? Often, we get to a point where further revision damages the quality rather than improving it. He uses a clever acronym that he calls GETMO as a reminder not to keep pushing towards diminishing returns. What does GETMO stand for you might ask?
* Good* Enough* To* Move* On
You’ve heard it before: perfection is often the enemy of progress. Maximize your investment and generate as much return as possible without going down the curve of diminishing returns.
Bend That Curve
I love this next thought: Craig asks us to consider how we can bend the curve up so that we obtain higher quality for the same cost. Think about the blog example again. After you’ve been practicing for a while with your writing, it’s likely that you can produce blog content that is of a higher quality for the same time investment. You have essentially bent the curve up. It’s powerful – you’re getting a higher retur...
LTL 140: Consistency Revisisted And The Difficulty Of Things Worthwhile
I know this happens to you at times. You hear something, and then you hear it multiple times and all of a sudden, you recognize that you need to sit up and pay attention! That happened to me recently. It started with a simple reminder: consistency is foundational to our effectiveness. But it didn’t end there – I heard it multiple times in a matter of a couple of days. I knew it was time that we revisited the topic of consistency together. And it wasn’t just consistency. It was connected to the difficulty of things worthwhile.
Consistency: Critical Trait For Great Leaders
Here’s my fear and I know it’s a bit irrational. My fear is that once I dedicate an episode or two to a specific topic, I fear that you might tire of hearing it again. Truly, I’ve got a special place in my heart for consistency. I know how important this trait is in great leaders.
I dedicated a couple of episodes to it: LTL 052: Why Consistency Is King and LTL 087: The 180-Degree Leader And The Power Of Consistency were released in 2018. Both more than a year ago.
But you heard me say recently that a message has to be repeated as many as nine times for it to take hold and make a difference. And I heard this point about consistency no less than four times 48 hours along with another critical point: John Maxwell recently said on his podcast that everything worthwhile is uphill. There are no shortcuts or easy paths to things we currently, or eventually will come to, cherish.
So, because this topic is super important, I’m going to spend a few minutes unloading a massive amount of value in a short period of time.
Don’t worry – all of this is in the show notes and you’ll be able to check it out on markslemons.com. Don’t try to write it down. Today, I want you to think about the words I’m saying. And then I want you to think about what it means to put them into practice in your life. I want you to visualize implementing what you are hearing/learning. Some of this is not new, but all of it will change your life if implemented.
Make Sure You Are Repeating Right Actions
First, what do you think of when I say consistency? You can be consistently bad at something and it will likely wreck your results. To clarify, doing the same thing over and over doesn’t produce great results when it’s the wrong thing over and over. Aristotle said, “…virtues are formed in man by his doing the right actions.” Our success is based on establishing a regular routine of practicing our habits…specifically, the good habits.
Eric Holtzclaw wrote an article for Inc. back in 2012 where he formed five rules around consistency. His first rule? Measure the results. Is what you’re doing consistently moving the needle?
Don’t judge it too early or too late. He recommends waiting for at least six months to evaluate the effectiveness of your habit. Sometimes it’s a matter of making simple changes versus a complex over...
LTL 139: A Controversy Regarding Forgiveness
Isn’t it awesome when you run into validation for a perspective unexpectedly, especially when it’s from an authority that you respect? As you know, I’m a proponent of not allowing others to control my future due to unforgiveness. Episodes 136 and 137 were dedicated to the issue of resentment and the problems it causes us as leaders when we don’t resolve it. It can sometimes lead to a controversy regarding forgiveness.
So I came across a post from someone who I admire greatly in the LinkedIn community. I always read his comments because he strikes me as well-balanced, genuine, with a high degree of integrity. His name is Mark A. Smith and he’s a speaker, writer, editor, and Sr VP of Sales at Frontpoint. He was commenting on a question that had been posted to Liz Ryan who is the Founder and CEO of Human Workplace, also an author.
So here’s the question posted to Liz:
Q. My ex-boss from two jobs ago sent me a connection invitation on LinkedIn, with a long note gushing about what a great coworker I was. Spare me. He was horrible to me. I quit without having another job. I guess he is job hunting. That’s the only reason he would reach out to me.
What should I do? I’m not going to connect to him. He did not apologize for or even acknowledge the brutal way he treated me.
Before I give you Liz’s response, I want you to put yourself in this person’s shoes. A horrible manager that drove you to quit your job seems to be “making nice” and wants to connect – no apology for the past. What would you do?
It’s easy to be overly simplistic because it didn’t happen to us. Maybe think about something painful that did happen to you. What if it was that person? Could you operate in forgiveness with them?
Frankly, Liz’s response surprised me. Here’s her answer:
A. Ghost him. You are not responsible for checking your LinkedIn inbox on anybody else’s timetable, or at all. Many if not most evil bosses have amnesia when they run into you years later. They remember what a great coworker you were, but forget what a snarling beast they were.
So Mark typically calls a spade a spade and doesn’t hide his feelings. Here’s what he said in a comment to Liz’s post:
This is atrocious advice. The strong act. The weak are acted upon. Forgiveness is the supreme act. Forgiving freely shows tremendous mental and emotional fortitude and takes away any power that negativity once had over you. Forgiveness is merciful to the offender and redeeming to the offended. He may not have known how brutal he was. If you are a powerful person, you won’t be afraid to tell him. Doing so maybe his chance to change, and that kind of change can have far-reaching implications in the lives of anyone he impacts. If he’s still a jerk, well, you tried. Your hands will be clean.
Years ago in the mortgage industry I had a truly terrible regional boss (my direct boss was terrific). He was condescending, added stress to my life, and never helped me once. A few years later, after the crash, he reached out to me.
Top Notch and Practical
When I’m looking for some practical leadership help and training, this is always where I turn first. Mark’s podcasts go deep, which is one of the things I value and appreciate most, and they are also easily applicable, whether you’re leading a multi million dollar company, or a brood of future leaders. There’s something for everyone, literally. Thank you, Mark!
Awesome show, highly recommend!
Mark and his guests provide some incredibly actionable and compelling content, spotlighting the absolute best tactics on how to become a better leader and (more importantly) a better overall person.
Highly recommend listening and subscribing to The Leader to Leader Podcast if you want the knowledge AND mindsets to effectively lead your team (and reach your overall business goals as a result)!
Mark is an influencer.
This show is one I look forward to weekly. Mark paints the picture of what it’s like to be a leader. He shares insight from work, family and dealing with people. He’s become a leader I trust. I find myself recommending this podcast regularly. Excellent show.