• The 60 Second Leader
  • Seven Secrets of Inspired Leaders
  • The Little Book of Leadership
  • Leadership Hub for Corporates
  • Learning to Live with Huntington's Disease
 

Trust more. Blame less. New Year’s Resolutions for Leaders.

I just wrote these as part of a ‘Start The Year’ email newsletter for a client and thought you might like them, too. And, as a Leadership Hub member has just emailed me saying she wants some inspiration on ‘Core Purpose’ for a front-line training module she is writing on that subject, I’ve included a couple of snippets on bringing your organization’s core purpose to life, too, particularly for front-line people. See below. Happy New Year! Phil.

* * *

THINGS TO DO IN 2008 TO BE A BETTER LEADER (AND PERSON)

1. THINK ‘PURPOSE’ NOT ‘FUNCTION’

“The front-desk’s purpose is not to check people in. That’s its function. The purpose is to welcome the customer.”

“Purpose is too often ignored in favor of function. Functional competence can be commoditized – you’re just as good at checking people in (or whatever the process is) as your competitor.”

“But, purpose is something that frees people up to contribute with imagination and even passion. You can’t impose a purpose, though. Leaders set the purpose of an organization. But, employees make the decision to buy into it. So it’s a compact or agreement rather than simply following instructions or fulfilling a function.”

– Theo Gilbert-Jamison, V-P. Training & Organizational Effectiveness, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

* * *

2. THE PURPOSE OF A HOUSEKEEPER

This is what happens when, say, a hotel housekeeper, sees her purpose as ‘enlivening the senses’ (the Ritz-Carlton purpose) rather than simply clearing up a room. It’s a story I heard Tom Peters tell:

A customer wrote to the Ritz-Carlton expressing his astonishment at the behavior of the housekeeper during a stay in New York with his wife and daughter. After a day sight-seeing in the city, they returned to their room, only for the daughter to complain that her teddy bear was missing.

After a quick search, they found it hidden in the towel cupboard, with a foil-wrapped chocolate clasped in its paws. The next day, the bear had disappeared again; the daughter found it under the bed with another chocolate in its paws.

At the end of each day, for the duration of their stay, the daughter couldn’t wait to get back to the room to play ‘find the teddy’ with a housekeeping maid she never actually met. “It was the best part of her stay,” wrote the customer.

What can you do to help bring your organization’s purpose to life in 2008, so your people deliver an exceptional customer experience like this housekeeper did?

* * *

3. STOP TAKING DECISIONS. START MAKING THINGS HAPPEN

‘Too many managers mistake decisions for action. A decision is not the same as action. Use plans, analysis, meetings & presentations to INSPIRE deeds, not as a substitute for action.’

– Stanford Professor Robert Sutton

* * *

4. TRUST MORE

‘Do you trust enough to be trusted?’

– Lao Tzu, from ‘Understanding The Mysteries’. The more trust you give in 2008, the more you’ll get.

* * *

5. BLAME LESS

‘Blame or finger-pointing and lack of personal responsibility
Keep the gloomy game going.
They keep stealing your hidden genius and potential wealth,
Giving them to a dimwit on the sidelines with
No leadership, heart or financial skills.
Dear one,
Wise
Up!’

– Hafiz, 14th century Sufi poet. The less blame you mete out in 2008, the more personal responsibility your people will take.

* * *

6. MORE RESOLUTIONS

From Robert K. Cooper’s great book, ‘The Other 90 Percent’…

‘In my family it is a tradition that each New Year, someone will say a few words about what we have learned from the past or hope for the future. On the eve of the millennium…I wrote a short poem…and read it to them:

To lead by example…
Love as if you will live forever
Work as if you have no need for money
Dream as if no-one can say no
Have fun as if you never have to grow up
Sing as if no-one else if listening
Care as if everything depends on your caring
And raise a banner where a banner never flew.’

I’m not sure if Cooper did actually originate that, but we’ve all seen versions of it doing the rounds by email, with extra lines added such as

‘Love like you’ve never been hurt’
and my favorite
‘Dance like nobody’s watching’

* * *

7. EVEN MORE RESOLUTIONS

This one first surfaced in 2000. I know we’ve all seen it and I’m pretty sure it didn’t come from the Dalai Lama, but it’s the right time of year for a reminder. It’s supposedly the Dalai Lama’s recipe for starting your year afresh…

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, respect for others, responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

* * *

8. AND A SHORT ONE FROM EINSTEIN: BREAK YOUR HABITS

‘How many people are trapped in their everyday habits; part numb, part frightened, part indifferent?

To have a better life we must keep choosing how we are living’.

– Albert Einstein. Challenge inertia and your own habits, and the habits your organization practices towards customers, to change ‘the way we do things around here’ at work in 2008. Your customers will be the happier for it.

* * *

AND, FINALLY…THE TEN-SECOND FUNNY: TOP TEN NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

1. I resolve to work with neglected children (my own).
2. I will answer my snail mail with the same enthusiasm with which I answer my e-mail.
3. When I hear a funny joke I will not reply, “LOL… LOL!”
4. I will not ring the steward/stewardess button on airplanes just to get his/her phone number.
5. I will balance my checkbook (on my nose).
6. I will think of a password for my computer other than “password.”
7. I will try to figure out why I “really” need 11 e-mail addresses.
8. I will go into McDonald’s and order a McSpreader
9. I will go into McDonald’s and order a McSlurry
10. I will find out why the correspondence course on “Mail Fraud” that I purchased never showed up.

* * *

THAT’S ENOUGH RESOLUTIONS!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*