Leadership

Money does not a leadership problem fix.

In fact, a problem is simply an opportunity in disguise.

We grow — when confronted with the impossible. It is that defining moment of decision. Many will quit. A few will do what others say can’t be done.

Leaders will accomplish what has never been attempted, before.

Those who do are the leaders among us. Those who talk are not necessarily the followers. Talk is cheap and those who blather, generally, complain about all of their problems. Unknowingly and unwittingly, they are complaining about themselves.

For the entirety of human existence, accumulation of wealth has been the measure of empires. The Golden Rule has been disenfranchised into a barbaric slogan, “Those who have the Gold make the Rules.”

Rules and regulations do not an Empire make. In fact, Empires come and go — because, their leaders abdicate the responsibility to set an example. We, the People, learn by doing.

Leadership is not a cult-like mission of forcing others into compliance. Leadership is a deep-felt passion of guiding everyone to the best individual choices.

Say what?! Doesn’t a leader, by default, need followers?

For a moment, forget about following and let’s focus on leading. Leaders believe in the power of one. They understand life is best experienced from the inside, out. They are true to themselves, by constantly improving the character at their core.

Leaders make absolutely sure they have much to give. What they offer to the whole wide world is the Three-E Formula to Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage.

Enlighten

We don’t know what we don’t know. Leaders share the best of what they have learned with all who are accepting. The story of their journey is the inspiration for broadened horizons and myriad options of choice. Leaders communicate the saga and color that vision of abundance with broad strokes and vivid detail.

Empower

Knowing what to do and doing it are two, entirely, different things. Leaders offer the tools to build something special. We all want and need something different. Leaders are the ultimate teachers through explanation and demonstration, then asking for imitation, offering correction, and expecting repetition.

Encourage

The best teachers have humbly learned from the School of Hard Knocks. They can share many lessons learned the hard way and know, for an absolute fact, their Students need a few of the same experiences. Leaders patiently wait for new lessons to be learned, all the while supporting that effort.

True leaders always have a following. Hundreds, maybe even many thousands, are watching the silent example of their heroes. Actions speak so much louder than words. A life of character, generously offered to others — through consistent choices to build mutually beneficial dynamic relationships — is the legacy of leaders.

The choice is free, for us to make.

The results are priceless, for future generations.

Let’s accept the challenge of leadership.

www.kimfoard.com

Lead Dog

Lead DogWhy do the greatest leaders come from the humblest of beginnings? Why do they encourage others to follow them, even as they are quick to bend a knee in service to everyone else? Why is their end better than their beginning?

Unless you’re lead dog, the view never changes.

The arrogant read that simple phrase with the belief that leadership is a title bestowed. Those of humble beginnings know that leadership is a fiduciary responsibility to bring out the best in others. It is impossible to lead without first following the lead of others greater.

Leadership is a progression through levels of emotion.

At the level of peers, envy and jealously run rampant. At levels above are those who have either become comfortable and lazy, or those who have reached a level of incompetency. At levels below are those with imaginations bigger than their ability and willingness to grow into larger responsibilities.

Up, down, and sideways there is resistance to leadership.

If leadership was easy, everyone would be doing it. No pain, no gain. Resistance is, always, noisy; the detractors have plenty to say. Yet; the majority in rank above are silently encouraging, “You can do it.” Below are those desperately clinging to hope and thinking, “Please, show me the way.”

There is a reason for every season.

Strips of cloth and a barn manger is a humble beginning for The One who is King of Kings. In the same Book announcing His arrival is the story of His life and departure.

These are the experiences of leadership.

He gave them power and authority.
He promised them rejection.
He offered them a relationship.
He settled arguments among them.
He encouraged them to follow.

Why?

He walks ahead of them.
They follow him because they know his voice.
His purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
He sacrifices his life for a higher purpose.
A relationship connects Father and Son.
Giving is the way to receive.
Life is a voluntary offering.

Unless you’re lead dog, in the harness of the Master, the view never changes.

www.kimfoard.com

Degrees of Leadership

Navigators Compass RoseFrom the mouths of babes comes this sage proclamation: “Today, I want to be my own boss!”

In our early development, we knew how powerful those words were.

What the heck happened?!

Why do so many people forfeit their active leadership position for a passive lemming role?

Why do they look outside for a life purpose, which can only be determined from the inside? Why do they think others have the answers to their questions?

All we do begins with a thought.

Our thoughts determine our actions.

What are we thinking?

Oh, how quickly the mighty are fallen. In the course of one month, Steve Jobs has traveled the spectrum from Saintly Genius to Villainous Extremist. Why?

He was human. As are we.

He was authentic. Are we?

Humans are either busily placing people on pedestals, or equally ambitious in tearing them down. What if that effort was invested in really making a difference in the world, in actually bringing about change?

When the student is ready the teacher will appear.

There is only one person any of us can change. I see him every morning, while shaving. Staring back at you from any mirror is your first, and only, lifetime project.

The simple Secret is to change ourselves; to learn, to grow, to teach and to share. By doing so, the world will change.

In the course of this journey (to become all that we can be) is this guarantee: half of the world will love you and the other half will hate you. Why? Because, there are 360 degrees of choice. Yes, that’s the measurement of a full circle.

We can choose to go in circles. Or, we can pick a direction. I encourage you to, please, select 1 of the 360. By doing so, you forego the other 359. Now, raise your head, fix your eyes on a destination, and take the first step. Then, another and another, until, you reach that point of no return.

Look around and you’ll find fellow travelers. Billions of people on the face of this earth divided by 360 choices is a factor of many companions for our journey.

Standing 90 degrees to our left and 90 degrees to our right are our friends. Those on the opposite hemisphere will have little use for our way of life. In fact, they view us as being upside-down in thought and deed, which is exactly our view of them, too.

Now, the ultimate question: Can I be a faithful servant to offer my inherent and unique gifts to all?

For those who answer “No,” please, find someone to follow.

The rest of us will be leading, living, laughing, loving and leaving a legacy.

www.kimfoard.com

Say Yes

Say Yes

Have you ever been around people who said “Yes” to everything?

They say “Yes” to This and That.

How can that be?

By saying “Yes” to This, aren’t they really saying “No” to That?!

Well, the simple answer is, “Yes!”

By saying “Yes” to one thing, we forego all others.

That is what Steve Jobs did. He said “Yes” to everything he believed in and “No” to everything else. Can we be so brave? I believe the answer to that is, “Yes!”

First let’s take a look at the lessons, Steve Jobs taught:

1. Enduring innovations marry art and science

2. To create the future, you do it

3. Never fear failure

4. You connect the dots of life backward

5. Listen to that voice in the back of your head

6. Expect a lot from yourself and others

7. Care about succeeding

8. Surround yourself with talented people

9. Stay hungry, stay foolish

10. Anything is possible

This is what all Rebels with a Cause have in common:

1. People matter more than things

2. Inspiration is the soul of leadership

3. Thinking differently is a way of life

4. Passion and vision make hard work fun

5. Changing the world requires action

What if every person woke up every morning to these 10 lessons and 5 beliefs?

The beginning of every worthy creation is at the moment when one person makes a choice to think and do in a way which honors their unique gifts.

Each of us has that choice to make: Will we lead? Or, will we follow?

As for me, Yes. I choose to lead.

Wisdom for Life

A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.
And the day you die is better than the day you are born.

Finishing is better than starting.
Patience is better than pride.

www.kimfoard.com

Vowels of Leadership

Vowels of LeadershipWhat rowels are to spurs
— vowels are to words.

They are the jingle of rhythm
— and, points of meaning.

On a road trip when the kids were young, my son responded in exasperation to the parental coaching with his comment “Today, I want to be my own boss!”

To be successful in that desire, he became a leader of one and, eventually, many more. So must we.

Attitude

All we do begins with a thought. Whether we think we can, or can’t, we’re right. The secret is not to wear rose-colored glasses. It is to wrap our arms around the reality of what Is and, then, choose to make the best of It.

Example

Our actions speak so much louder than what we say. Words might motivate. Deeds inspire. For the naysayers who claim it can’t be done, the debate is easily won, by doing It. Courage is defined as, always, doing the right thing.

Inquisitive

Fascination and Curiosity have discovered more new frontiers than Resignation and Despair. Asking “Why?” prompts others to answer our questions. When the answers stop is where the fun really begins!

Original

Unless you’re lead dog the view never changes. Authenticity in Thought, Word, Deed, Habit, and Character, is where we discover our Destiny. We only get one chance to make a good first impression. To blaze new trails, we must push past the fear of the unknown.

Understanding

All of the Logic in the world is of little value without an equal measure of Emotion. Beyond the basic education and experience of Knowledge and Wisdom, is Understanding. It is much more powerful than empathy, because it wants to fathom the deepest part of another person.

Add in the Consonants from the many other facets of leadership and the world changes. First, we change — then, others change in response to the new person we have become. The ripple effect improves our lives and all whom we touch.

Good, better, best.
Never let us rest;
Until our good is better,
And, our better, best!

www.kimfoard.com

Coattails

Coattail LessonsHave you heard the one about the two golfers, Fred and Bob? Well, the two of them were playing as a duo in a tournament with some of their buddies. At the end of the day, everyone was sharing stories at the 19th Hole in the Clubhouse, when someone noticed Fred and Bob were missing. As the party moved outside onto the veranda to peer into the dusk of the evening, movement was detected advancing toward the Clubhouse.

Naturally, some went out to meet Fred and Bob. As they approached, it was discovered that Bob was no longer of this world. When they asked Fred how he managed to finish the course, he replied, “Hit the ball; drag Bob.”

While the names have been changed, Fred is a friend of mine and the story above is one that he tells. He and Bob have been business partners for more than thirty years. To continue with the dark humor of a sad situation, Bob’s tombstone might as well display the reality of his life:
Died 198X – Buried 20XX

In the course of a road trip with my family, one day we were waiting to be seated at a restaurant. Hanging on the wall was a sign that read:
Unless You’re Lead Dog, The View Never Changes

Now, there are several themes in the introduction above:

We get what we allow.

Coattails are dangerous.

Leadership begins with self.

An unspoken question between Fred and me has been, “How much better might his Game have been if he could have just concentrated on hitting the ball?” We don’t talk about it because it is a judgment relative to the past. What we know, for a fact, is that Fred has grown into a productive citizen; whereas, Bob relies on coattails for mobility. Furthermore, as an accomplished critic, Bob is one of those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Coattails can appear in the form of Heritage, Wealth, Success, and Reputation of a preceding generation. While all of that can be the foundation for the succeeding generation to build something special for themselves, generally, it exudes the taint of janitorial duty: the next generation is expected to maintain the empire.

Friends, Mentors, Employers and a variety of other Heroes can be sources of coattails. The most dangerous source of all is Government, with its propaganda of Free Lunch programs. Folks, “There ain’t such a thing!”

There is a price we pay for everything. Future dividends only come from present investments. Much more than financial matters, though, we are contemplating facets of the soul.

Moral of the story: The secret to happiness is, so eloquently, articulated by Teddy Roosevelt.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but, who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly!

From the Ages, comes the premise that we are to work out our own salvation with reverence. As with any relationship, the effort begins with us, individually, and is directed toward one other individual, deity, or focal point of development. Once we realize that life is best experienced from the inside, out; we begin to understand that internal change affects the external.

In this year of 2010, let’s consider that it might be time for the 2 x 10:
If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.

Ten little words, two letters apiece, which if believed and lived, can make a difference in our life, and the lives of many others.

So, please, pause for a moment and check for Coattails: Are you trying to ride on someone else’s? If so, hop off. Is someone trying to ride on yours? If so, shake them off. Trying never accomplished anything. In fact, we learn by doing and the fun is in the doing. Let’s all discover the fun of learning, together.

www.kimfoard.com