Jun 192014
 
The confluence of social capital, servant & replicative leadership, and systems.

Social Capital.

Servant leadership ( upside down pyramid being the most apt visual )

Replicative leadership ( Level 4 )

Systems thinking ( a la, Senge, Kiyosaki, Gerber, Woodward, Brady, & others less well known. )

They do intersect, and confluence exists in a metaphorical “river” – this spark that connected them together for me came while reading a page in a remarkable book by H.W. Crocker III.

The author is summing up the Battle of Chancellorsville, talking about Robert E. Lee & Stonewall Jackson and the aftermath of the tragedy which prematurely took the latter General’s life in a ‘friendly fire’ incident on the battlefield.

The quote is powerful :

“People matter, individuals matter; no system, however well-oiled, and no leader, however omnicompetent, can afford to ignore the importance of personnel and having the right people in the right posts.”

So so true. Major league level truth in a matter of a short paragraph!

Mr. Crocker then quotes General Lee …

(speaking to one of the Army of Northern Virginia’s chaplains) “He [ Jackson ] has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right.”

To Lee, Jackson was far more than a subordinate officer. He was supremely trusted to handle the fires of war and the enormous task of leading a tired, under nourished, out-manned & gunned, and strongly individualistic group of men. Clearly, he was the right man in the right post; so to borrow a portion of the quote, “people matter, individuals matter …”

What came to be after this decisive Confederate victory quite likely would have been different if Stonewall Jackson, the “great and good” leader in his own right, had lived. Lee had replicated his impeccable leadership traits, skills, and courage in those within his inner circle – he was by definition, a mentor, a teacher, and a Level 4 leader. Yet, while the system in place within the South’s military was pulling victories from the jaws of defeat and causing President Lincoln much angst and soul searching, the system could not by itself replace Jackson. The personnel mattered too much, empowered as they were to take action and lead from the front.

Think about this. Live it out. Build strong social capital -those wide & deep relationships which are cultivated like that of the farmer in his field. Be the example. Live for those whom you serve. Align your personnel to their strengths, and build an iron clad inner circle. Yet, never lose sight of how valuable one person can be to the whole.

Mar 282014
 
Praise - human relations skill box - Praise

Praise is powerful food for the human soul.

Why don’t we capture the vibrancy of this truth in our dealings with others far more often?

Consider these words from Mr. Charles Fillmore:

Words of praise, gratitude, or thanksgiving expand, set free, and in every way radiate energy … You can praise a weak body into strength, a fearful heart into peace and trust; shattered nerves into poise and power; a failing business into prosperity and success; want and insufficiency into support and support.

Wow. Tell me that doesn’t hit home with you!  Then again, perhaps it doesn’t … yet. Why could that be?  Our common culture disconnects our heart and soul from our mind and actions, let alone dampens our spirit and desire to be more than average.

Fillmore went on to say:

The whole of creation responds to praise and is glad. Animal trainers pet and reward their charges with delicacies for acts of obedience; children glow with joy and gladness when they are praised. Even vegetation grows better for those who love it.

Two books that stand out on this theme that I highly recommend reading and applying their truth nuggets are here and here.

Make it a great day, evening, or week, wherever you happen to be reading this post. Thank you for investing time in doing so & God Bless.

Aug 112013
 
What you do MATTERS -- Serve. Pay forward. Give. Bless Others.

Ripples in the still water…

They are caused by something which breaks the stillness; something which serves as the cause, while the effect is palpable to the naked eye …

Who among us, likely while with your parents on a hike, a camping trip, or at a retreat, hasn’t tossed a rock into a pond, a lake, and watched with glee as your act caused something so obvious?  Raising my hand, I am one of them 😀

So, why would we, as adults, not apply this same principle to your life?

What you do MATTERS.

Here’s the principle I speak of. This is not a new idea, yet I wished to cover it today, as earlier this summer, I was privilved to hear a moving talk from an accomplished business owner ** ( w/ her husband ) who re-told the story that I’ve linked back to at the bottom of this post. The story is a core of the ‘Butterfly Effect’ , and is synonomous with ripples from a smooth stone tossed as a young child. Rather than re-tell that story, let’s use it as inspiration – print it off, and refer to it often …

Let’s apply this to our lives today. Stop spending so much time on obligations that only benefit ourselves and which have limited value to our families, trusted friends, and our society. Our families are the cornerstone of our culture – thus, the butterfly effect, the ripples, matter – and our culture is in dire need of an infusion of leadership that rises from organic growth of our own thinking. Our friends are valuable, so why would we not spend time and effort cultivating those relationships?  That will ripple.

And, social capital can only be rebuilt by conscious focus on restoring values which will bring satisfaction in our business ownership (or our careers/jobs), our faith/spiritual development, our marriages/parenting, and in our time spent community building (anything from the YMCA, PTA, church youth groups/VBS, et al.)

Yes, what you do MATTERS. Focus on priorities! Match your calendar to them at all times. No excuses, please. If you rank something as #1 in your life, it should be #1 on your calendar in terms of the time you spent on it, as often as possible. Sure, urgencies will arise; so long as you remember Covey’s ‘Big Rocks’ vid clip, the visual should stick with you  to guide you back onto the path in case you are knocked off of it.

It is a privilege of mine to serve others, paying forward world class/gold medal information which has the highest potential to lead to the butterfly effect in others’ lives. Help one person/family/entrepreneur fix an issue and grow their servant leadership?  Define their purpose? Sharpen their vision?  Up their adversity quotient?  Fix their finances at the deepest roots?  Those are ripples. They are priorities for those folks, right?  So, the stone and rock tossed is the information, that which, once learned & applied, will effect the change.

How amazing a feeling to shake hands, hugs, fist bumps, and pats on the back with the people whose lives you bless!  Up your count. Give of yourself & pay forward transformational info that has benefited you/your family/your business. And, you will have  your own opportunity to be the Moses, the George W. Carver, the Henry Wallace, and the Norman Borlaug in your own ways.

+ + +

** Thank you so very much, Laurie Woodward, for your ability to inspire through stories! The story that she cited can be found elsewhere; however, here’s a great source that is found easily online > http://lifetoday.org/connect/words-of-life/the-butterfly-effect/  <

Apr 042013
 
Personalities & People

Greetings!

These two words could, and have (!), filled entire books, so my discussion of them and how they are fused together is necessarily brief in breadth, but is meant to still be impactful, esp.. for those readers whom are not in a mastermind/leadership growth style group, familiar with effective networking principles, and/or have not yet embarked on a self-directed/liber educational model.

Personality types:

I strongly recommend reading and applying the information from the following books:

Personality Plus  

The Great Connection

Robert Rohm also wrote a book ( I won’t list it above since I haven’t yet read it ) whose theme is personalities; I have listened to a leadership talk he gave on the backgrounder for them – so I can still easily recommend the D.I.S.C. model from the audio learning alone.

Layers”

Readers should most definitely check out the blog of one Mr. Bill Lewis to dive in further on this people related topic –>  http://bill-lewis.net/2012/11/01/be-encouraging-by-removing-your-layers/

From notes taken tying back to his blog, and from an audio he recorded, am happy to summarize details that I gathered from both sources. While I didn’t realize it before, most definitely, layers impact every single relationship, and person to person  encounters that we have, so understanding them & learning to grow through the below areas can only benefit you in every area.

The common layers >

Super serious all of the time; makes it difficult to laugh at yourself.

Sarcasmsarcastic

Cocky attitude / cockiness

Very defensive when questioned

Joking all the time ( there’s a diff. between being funny and this )

False humility

—— Two root issues if we don’t ‘shed’ these?  —-

We are seeking a desired avoidance or a desired response, rather than truly connecting with someone. The layer impedes trust and the ability to serve them without having yourself/self in the way.

You’re not in control and forcing something to happen; reaching for a desire should not be a motivating factor in relating with others.

 

Can the personality types in any of the three books discussed above lead someone to have more layers? Conceivably, yes. However, speaking personally, several of the layers from the above list were ones I had until I started to change personally — taking a mental ‘shower’, if you will. While facing issues like layers will be a lifelong challenge, it is one that I face with aplomb, and information like the above from the books, blog, audio, and associating positively (while rebuilding social capital), many more will learn their personality, be able to relate to the differing personalities of others, and avoid or remove the layers.

Have a terrific day ahead & be blessed on your journey of a 1,000 steps.

Mar 232013
 
14

This was so eye opening to me, that I immediately had my next blog post topic!

So yes, we’ve all heard of rules before. Many times. Often. However, what about these kind of “rules” , those which have a strong root in past history, and can surely be re-applied as history’s rotating cycle has brought us into a ‘4th season’ and on the upcoming brink of a ‘1st season’ ?   Most definitely worth discussing!

These 14 are derived from C.E. Sargent’s classic read, ‘Our Home‘ , which is a Top 100 recommendation on the TJed Teen/Youth list, thereby making it a must-read, regardless of if you grew up in this classical educational tradition, are now embarking on it, or will be in the future.

One/1 :  Embrace the New, then Embrace the Now.

“Those who pine away for the old will not succeed, nor will those who wait around for the old days to come back.”

Two/2 : Spend evenings and Sundays with family.

Community’s cornerstone is the family unit. When endless entertainment, excessive trading of time for money, dissolution of family, or other issues arise, it’s surely best to address these at the root.

Three/3 : Strengthen your selfculture.

This is the antithesis of popular culture; it runs counter to the concept of peer pressure (fitting in with the crowd, looking for approval, being right with others)

Four/4 : Articulate and write out your individual rules for life.

Who are you?  Leaders are not conformists, except to core morals & goodness.

Fifth/5 : The focus of families is on raising adults & the focus of education is to prepare young people to be good parents & informed citizens.

Opportunities abound to offer leadership and other crucial chances to impact society positively to those age 12 & up; responsibility is borne from the need to help the family succeed.

Sixth/6 : Meaning is a central component of learning.

Replacing the tunnel focus on ‘getting ahead’ & prosperity for self. Gratitude, mistakes as growth moments, & persistence shine through.

Seventh/7 : Spend time serving the less fortunate/vulnerable in society.

Service ahead of self (entertainment all the time) and boredom are moved aside. This creates real community and rebuilds social capital.

Eighth/8 : Marriage as a central, vital project/focus.

This evolves from putting working & parenting ahead of your spouse. Family is strengthened, tying back to the fifth rule above.

Ninth/9 : Pursue & complete a true leadership education.

Also known as an ‘Impact’ education, this replaces 1:1 the previous focus on job & career / professional track. Initiative, ingenuity, tenacity, creativity, and persistence, amongst other skills/values are at the core.

Tenth/10 : Entrepreneurship.

A must. Period. Even for those who have apparent security in their job/career, many find that the security translates to prosperity or fulfillment. The views of entrepreneurs changes over the seasons; the best to emulate is “build(ing) a business to change the world.”

Eleventh/11 :  Produce wealth.

The best time to produce wealth? Build it when the community, including your family (to maintain standard of living), your country, and society need it the most — in times of economic calamities and challenge. The response is to become a producer, which is far more valuable than a dependent, victim, employee, or consumer.

Twelfth/12 : Developing Creativity and Inventiveness.

Doing so helps address society’s problems & ties back to the 11th rule in producing something(s) of value. Opportunity springs from challenges in offering people what they need, as well as want, even in times that it seems far more difficult to do so.

Thirteenth/13 : Inner resiliency.

Winston Churchill is a wonderful role model for this rule. He was able to remain optimistic and enthusiastic even when life was very very hard. Leadership dovetails perfectly here with effecting positive change.

Fourteenth/14 : Growing your ambition.

Being clear to define ‘ambition’ in the right context for the season/time, as either/both of these >  Making sure the right side wins. Making sure the right changes happen.

The quality of the education and leadership determines at the heart what will result from the winning side’s victors and after the change(s) take place.

 

Did this information hit you as mentally hard as it did me?  I have come to believe more and more that the times we are in are far from what the self-anoited ‘experts’ are saying is a ‘great recession’; on the contrary, it is far, far deeper than that. However, without reading, studying, and listening, let alone associating with those who also do these things, its clear why a fair number of those in America & the West have agreed, at least on the surface.

Comments are most welcome. Thank you, as always, for reading, and God Bless.

————————————————-

* Chapter 7 in the terrific book, ‘Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens” was my primary reference for the above; some of the comments below each rule are mostly my own, tying in from other books.

Mar 182013
 
Do social capital & mental fitness overlap?

To answer the question in the post header …  my answer is an unqualified ‘Yes’.  Of course, as always with my blog, comments are most welcome, however, first, let’s discuss this in more detail:

( note that these are core topics that can fill entire books, so the post’s purpose is to encourage sensus plenior = metaphorical, systems based type thought, reflection, and focus. May it make you a better person too! )

 

Social Capital

Social capital & a related ‘twin’, community building, both cover some similar ground. One way to describe is putting a premium on voluntary association in/with groups of like minded people. Rebuilding of organizations that focus on positive social capital creation & maintanence is imperative in order to restore a key building block that made America what it used to be in the time of the Founding generation, and well into the 19th century.

I could cite a litany of groups that fit under this vast umbrella; to wit:  YMCA/YWCA; 4-H; Red Cross, Salvation Army, PTA, church youth groups/Sunday school, and even local governmental bodies / positions within like a (low or non paid) city manager or mayor, council member, or volunteer fire fighter.

Regrettably, as our culture and society has fractured due to various reasons over the past century, participation in these groups has not kept up with population growth and the aging of those who made time spent in/with these groups central to their lives. I’ve nothing against technology, as its march into our lives will continue forward and has brought us numerous positives, however, I’d cite it, a too relentless focus on trading time for money, and too many hours spent on personal entertainment (mass media) as the main culprits to lift time spent building social capital and community to where they need to be.

How does the ‘twin’, community building, come into the picture?  Community building is a focus on growing your own leadership ability to lead someone to follow you. Cast a vision, focus on one’s purpose, coach/mentor/counsel, and bring out the best in everyone, and you have the core “tools” to build a community. And if you compensate it, that’s the icing on the cake 🙂

Mental Fitness

Mental fitness. A broad category/classifiation, indeed. For the purposes of this post, let’s define as a focus on strengthening your ability to handle what life brings your way – for instance: building relationships (esp friendships); generating the right mindset/attitude; how to handle conflict & adversity.

What vehicle are you using to grow your mental fitness ‘muscle’?  Are you even growing it, or is it weakening?  It is really important to realize how important it is to be humble, honeable, and hungry  to get better; no one who understands people skills will think any less of you if you admit that you can be a better person through conscious focus!

The mental fitness of our society overall, I believe, has been weakened by the very same forces that I discussed above: technological over-dependency; mass media over-entertainment, and too much focus on making money over making memories and putting time ahead of dollars instead of trading them. Like the re-generation of social capital, this can be fixed, and there are people out there who realize this – anyone from Peter Block, Robert Putnam, John StahlWert, Chris Brady, Dan Hawkins, and Charles Murray, to name just a few.

Some concluding thoughts >

The overlap gives those who want to restore a foundation in America (let alone other Western nations) a ring of bulls eyes to focus on. Does this mean that someone who wants to improve his/her mental fitness or rebuild social capital cannot ever entertain him/herself?  That he/she cannot have a smartphone, or social media accounts?  No! It just means that you have to parcel out your time more wisely:  We have the exact same 24 hour day as all the men and women who have walked the Earth before us, yet there is far too many who say they are “busy”. That is a time allotment and prioritization issue, and nothing else, at its direct core.

Recommendation:  Find a mentor & join a group that is focused on building communities & instilling mental fitness and social capital in our society. By definition, it’s a voluntary decision and quite often, the decision is the best thing that you’ll ever do. Why?  You are growing yourself personally, and given tools to bring out your inner genius, so you can, over time, pay it forward to someone else. Your legacy won’t be written by how many hours of TV you watched, how many songs you have on your iPod, how much O/T you worked, or how many times you posted on your Facebook:  these are all part of the fabric of your life, however, your real legacy is reflected back in how many people you edified; how many marriages you helped improve, how many you helped to get out of debt & grow their financial literacy, how much better you handle conflict and adversity, and the revival of the numbers who are joining you in whichever social capital groups that you are part of.

These are part of a mission which has completely revolutionized my life, and I extend my hand to others to ponder it in depth as I did/have. Many kind regards, blessings, and success to you!

Dec 302012
 

Role models. Heroes. Those who carry a positive burden.  Leaders.

These are descriptors that sum up proactively what I’m going to discuss in today’s post.

First, let’s discuss those whom should not be considered any of the above ** :

Actors/Actresses

Other celebrities.

Politicians.

Sports stars/athletes.

Mass media stars ( anchors, reporters, journalists.)

From my reading, listening, and associating positively, I have come to the foregone conclusion that the real role models, heroes, and leaders are those whom we can look to from our rich history and from the present day who aspire to live up to timeless values, principles, and resolutions which bring out, as Alan Loy McGinness taught us, the best in people.

These are those whom should be considered instead :

Entrepreneurs

Statesmen

First Responders

Social capital rebuilders

 Authors/writers

Why, for instance, would an entrepreneur be a role model for our culture/society?  Simple. He/she/they have stepped out from the crowd/herd, and built a business, nearly always from scratch, and by doing so, has put up a bridge between a problem identified and a likely solution.

Think of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Randy Gage, Carrie Wilkerson, & countless other entrepreneurs too numerous to name. These men & women were/are rascals. They made, and still are, making a difference by doing something to ‘dent the universe’, and not simply settling for their perceived lot in life, as far too many do by default (or due to following societal norms/conventional wisdom)

Social capital rebuilders – who/what am I talking about?  I am referring to those who have grasped that something is wrong with our society due to a lack of interdependent thinking, connectedness, bonds of true friendship, faith/hope, strong marriage, and model parenting. As these entail a vast percentage of what really makes someone happy, someone who embraces any or all of these should be a role model worth writing about, following, or studying; Edmund Burke realized this centuries ago, and today, Chris Brady, Tim Marks, Art Jonak, Oliver DeMille, Paul Zane Pilzer, Bob Burg, John Maxwell, Tony Dungy, & Seth Godin fill this bill very well.

First responders. That’s an easy one. Think of 9/11:  Every single man & woman who ran TOWARDS danger, knowing that they were serving others by upholding their responsibility, is automatically a qualification to be a role model, and a hero worth emulating. Unquestionably.

Authors/writers. Regardless of the medium/vehicle used to consume, study, and then apply the wisdom (paperback, hardback, audio, or e-reader), authors and writers should be applauded and properly recognized as role models for our citizenry. Thomas Jefferson once said that he couldn’t live without books, and there are many other fantastic quotes from history just like his; in short, do not let technology or entertainment distract you from consuming the words that these men & women put from their will, heart, and head into yours.

Lastly, statesmen/women. What a HUGE difference there is between this category and politicians!  Huge. The same yawning gap exists between a politician and a true leader. We are seeing this today in present day America & elsewhere in the West, especially when compared to those who practiced and understood public virtue and servant leadership from our past. These names should never be forgotten:  Thomas Nelson, Abraham Clark, & Robert Morris. All three of these men, along with their wives, were statesmen & women were heroes. Look up their stories: There’s nothing that changes the world more than these type of folks.

I hope this blog stirred something in your mind, your heart, and/or your souls. We must understand the true nature of those whom we pattern our lives after and define, learn, and then do our way to success with the right role models. The world as a whole badly needs true leadership, and these categories of citizens are those who have the most to offer.

** – There are always exceptions, I think of Joe Thomas, Ron Paul, Ronald Reagan, Andy Roddick, & Chuck Norris.

Have a fantastic night & week ahead!

Jul 152012
 

There has been plenty written about how small changes can and do lead to huge differences in results. One such example is the sliver between very hot water, at 211 degrees Fahrenheit, and boiling water, at just one degree, 212, higher.

Success works the exact same way. Recently, I had the privilege to re-listen to an audio by accomplished entrepreneur Marc Militello . In it, he discussed three topics which have been explored in depth before, however, when combined together for someone who wants to improve his/her personal or professional development, or both, that degree of difference can be bridged even easier.

My transcribed notes below in this post are a bundle of Mr. Militello’s original thoughts as espoused on the audio along with my interpretation/wording.

AREA 1 : Time Management

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are 86,400 seconds in each and every day. In order to use them wisely, be sure to ask the question, ‘Is this the best use of my time?’ before doing anything.  A book recommendation [ note: I haven’t yet read it- it’s on my bookshelf ] that he made:  ‘Eat That Frog!’ by Brian Tracy.

AREA 2 : Self Improvement | Development

 

 

 

 

 

Anyone who wants more out of their LIFE should chart out a course of lifestyle change that develops the inner core and helps one deal with the outward circumstances that come at us daily. Self-help, self-improvement/development cannot be taken for granted in a world where intellectual and social capital are both in unlimited need.

Reading great books ( such as ‘Rascal‘ ), being a hungry student ( seeking out and applying lessons and principles from a coach/guru/mentor ), joining a tribe/community that focuses on leadership growth & positive association, & giving your best in all you do are all part and parcel of this area. Additionally, the tale of two woodcutters is recommended reading.

AREA 3 : Daily Discipline

 

 

 

 

 

The final area is discipline. We’ve all heard about this one before!  Discipline, however, should not be viewed in a negative light or with emotion; discipline for success may bring with it some pain and discomfort, however, it is only with pain and stretching oneself out of his/her familiar zone that will lead to lasting success.

The ‘Do It Now’ principle will be a big help with overcoming bad habits, primarily procrastination, fear, and risk-averseness.

The Parable of the Touchstone is a great visual to help with re-programming your subconscious mind to deal with the changes you’ll experience in this area. Imagine finally having the touchstone, and then tossing it into the sea like all the other stones, just out of rote habit!

 

May your have nothing but success moving the needle on your leadership thermometer to 212!