Am I Teachable?

…Or Just a Learner?

I wonder if anyone has ever answered “no” when asked if they were teachable.  “No, I’m done being taught – I already know everything I need.”  Makes for a good chuckle, but we wouldn’t really admit to thinking that.

We couldn’t completely stop learning if we wanted to.  Our five senses are constantly feeding new information to our brain.  But the question, “Am I learning?” is different than, “Am I teachable?”

Learning can be passive, happening to us pretty much by accident.  Or our curiosity may drive us to experimentation that we learn from.  But the idea of being teachable implies being in a state where we welcome insights from others.
Continue reading Am I Teachable?

Defining Leadership Success

It’s Not About You

How do you know if you’re a successful leader? Regardless of your title, two things are true if you’re really a leader:

  1. Someone is following you. No followers, no leader. Following under compulsion (like just to get a paycheck) doesn’t count. People choose to follow true leaders.
  2. You’re going someplace. If you’re going nowhere, you’re not leading.

Leadership is inherently other-centric. You only succeed when your followers do. My followers should be more successful with me leading than if I wasn’t. My success is multiplied when my followers become leaders whose followers are becoming leaders. As a student in a recent class commented, leadership is a “pyramid scheme”. Continue reading Defining Leadership Success

The Cure for “Too Busy”

The Investment that Pays Back Big…

I’ve written before about dealing with the pervasive problem of being too busy (see http://www.enlumenls.com/say-no/, or the videos at https://youtu.be/IlqgjjR3m68). There is a way to gain significant ground against this problem. Now don’t roll your eyes at me until you’ve heard me out, but I believe the best, most lasting solution to being too busy is… Continue reading The Cure for “Too Busy”

The No-Brainer We Often Miss…

Managing Expectations

I slipped up this week. On Monday I told several people I would have something out to them by Tuesday. This was Wednesday morning. Someone else owed me the last piece I needed so I could do my part. It might come in any minute. Or maybe not. But naively thinking I would have it, I had made a commitment.

Here was my Wednesday morning thought process…
Continue reading The No-Brainer We Often Miss…

How (vs. What) to Communicate

The Method Matters

Never in history have we had so many options for how to communicate with each other. Face-to-face was once the only alternative. Then we added written words and pictures – although before paper, being carved in stone was a constraint! Radio and telephone introduced real-time remote options, and now the internet offers many ways to communicate with almost anyone, anywhere in the world instantly.

But all communication channels are not created equal — each has advantages and disadvantages. Continue reading How (vs. What) to Communicate

Minimalist Project Management

Doing Small Projects Well

Landing a man on the moon or building a skyscraper are incredibly complex projects requiring advanced project management (PM) skills.  Highly skilled project managers pull off seemingly miraculous feats of coordination and puzzle-1019766_640collaboration. You may not need that caliber of PM skills, but even small organizations still need to rally multiple resources to launch products, plan events, create marketing materials, build business plans, and solve other problems. Continue reading Minimalist Project Management

Hard vs. Bad

The Difference Our Attitude Makes

Like water, I tend to seek the path of least resistance through life.  We don’t intentionally seek the “hard” times, but if they can make us stronger and we must go through them, then let’s get the most out of them. One thing within our control determines the positive or negative impact of tough times: our attitude.soldier-919231_640

We don’t always choose our circumstances, but we do choose our attitude in response to circumstances.  But that choice begins long before the hard times hit. Continue reading Hard vs. Bad

When Knowledge Fails Us

Wisdom Takes Us Forward

We used to say that “knowledge is power”. Sometimes that’s still true, but these days it’s generally more accurate to say that “knowledge is ubiquitous”.  We’re just clicks away from more knowledge than our grandparents ever conceived of accessing.meadow-680607_640

But the accessibility of knowledge doesn’t create – and may even hinder – the growth of wisdom. Continue reading When Knowledge Fails Us

First, Lead Yourself

Pre-requisite to Leading Others

Consider the following characteristics of leadership:

  • Leadership is influence. Your followers don’t need your leadership if they’re going to do what needs done without your influence. That doesn’t mean you have to hover over them to direct their every move. It means creating the culture, graffiti-Follow-me_640values, and clarity of vision and strategy so that competent people know and are inspired to do the right thing without your micromanagement.
  • The goal of influence is to change behavior. If nothing needs to change, there’s no need for influence or leadership.
  • Changing behavior requires getting someone to do what they wouldn’t naturally do or don’t want to do. Someone has said that there are only two ways to change behavior: Manipulation and inspiration. We can manipulate by threatening loss of pay, position, promotion, or status. Or we can inspire by casting a vision and helping followers be energized to see their role in bringing that vision to reality. Do you do your best work when led by manipulation or inspiration? I’m guessing inspiration. The same is true of your followers.

Continue reading First, Lead Yourself

Leveraging Our Weaknesses

…Instead of Ignoring Them

I’m a fan of the Clifton Strengthsfinder assessment (http://www.strengthsfinder.com/). If you’re familiar with the tool, you’ll recognize my “Restorative” nature (seeing problems or weaknesses as opportunities) reflected in this article. Those with strong “Maximizer” traits probably didn’t get past the title to read this far.gym-592899_640 Continue reading Leveraging Our Weaknesses