The Better Leader Newsletter (February 20, 2020)
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One of the people from the community, Ellen, had this to say about the newsletter:
“Thomas – I LOVE receiving the newsletter. It’s been instrumental in helping me focus on the right things. I’ve shared it with many others who love it too. Keep it up!”
On to the content…
REFLECT ON THIS
Pause and consider what’s truly important.
We live in a world with an abundance of choices.
You make thousands of decisions every day. Some more important than others, but decisions nonetheless.
Have you stepped back to consider the impact those decisions have over time?
As a leader, time is your most valuable resource. Here’s a simple question to ask as you make your daily decisions:
Will this save me time in the future or cost me time in the future?
What’s on my mind.
There is a difference between being busy and being productive.
The busy person is task-oriented. They are “busy being busy”, often with unnecessary work. There is a great focus on “how” work gets done to the detriment of the “goal” that the work accomplishes. This leads to working hard on things that don’t matter.
The productive person is results-oriented. They care about the metric behind the work. There is a great focus on “why” the work is getting done in order that the goal might be achieved.
It’s the difference between “I have do to the dishes, mop the floors, and vacuum the rugs” and “I want to have a clean kitchen”.
Do you see it? Both have the same end goal in mind – a clean kitchen – but only one is focused on having a clean kitchen.
Develop a bias toward action that directly impacts the result you desire.
And when you aren’t seeing the results you want, ask yourself this question:
What result am I not getting because I am too focused on the task and not the goal?
FOR THE CURIOUS MIND
Broaden your horizons.
Curiosity is vital for growth. In each newsletter, I share a few resources tangentially related to leadership. I’ve found them interesting, and they’ve in turned expanded my capacity as a well-rounded leader.
The iPad recently turned 10 years old. At its launch, the iPad sought to create a new category of device that redefined the way people worked.
But 10 years after the first unveiling, the iPad has not lived up to its hype. It never quite found its footing between the phone and the computer. Jon Gruber argues it has been a spectacular success but falls short of the revolutionary change brought on by the Mac and the iPhone.
I agree. I’ve owned multiple iPads over the past 10 years, and I never found use for it apart from light browsing and reading. As iPhones got larger, I found myself using my iPad less and less.
It’s a great lesson for leaders. Fully understand the problem you are trying to solve, then create the solution and execute diligently.
The first American automobile company was founded in 1895. By 1920, nearly 500 American automobile companies were in existence.
But by the 1960s, 3 companies dominated the automobile market: GM, Ford and Chrysler.
Ben Thompson argues the same phenomenon is happening in technology today. Hundreds and thousands of technology companies are being created, but the clear winners are beginning to take shape: Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Google.
This consolidation, however, does not slow down the impact of technology. Just like the car greatly impacted American society in the 2nd half of the 20th century, I believe that technology will do the same in the 1st half of the 21st century.
The article is filled with insights for those that are curious about generational change in society.
Small gestures send big signals.
I loved this quote from the article in HBR:
“So much of the business culture remains fixated on strategic disruption, digital transformation, and the meteoric rise (and disastrous fall) of venture-backed unicorns. What if we took just a moment to think a little smaller, to act a lot more humbly, to elevate the person-to-person interactions that lead to more meaningful relationships?”
Never underestimate the power of a smile, a well-timed word or a thoughtful gift.
MY LATEST CONTENT
What I’ve been writing about.
Tell me if you have experienced this realization before: I am in a leadership role, and I am not prepared.
I’m certain I’m not alone. In my new series called “Welcome to Leadership”, my goal is to help you flourish as a leader by equipping you with battle-tested leadership principles, insights and tactics.
The introductory article, Welcome to Leadership, is now live, along with Part 1 of the series. I’ve listed the first 8 parts below. New parts will be released and shared here in the coming weeks.
- Welcome to Leadership Part 1: You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know Discovering your lack of knowledge is a hard but necessary part of the leadership journey. You won’t know everything, and that is OK. You can use this as a tool to develop your integrity and character.
- Welcome to Leadership Part 2: Character Traits of Great Leaders Great leaders share common traits that separate them from the pack. I discuss 5 key traits that are true of every great leader and how you can grow in each of them.
- Welcome to Leadership Part 3: Leading Yourself You will have an exceptionally difficult time leading others if you cannot lead yourself. I talk about how to lead yourself well and the practices that accompany those already doing it.
- Welcome to Leadership Part 4: The 80/20 Rule The majority of your impact comes from a minority of your opportunities. The 80/20 Rule will teach you how to focus on better inputs so that you maximize your outputs.
- Welcome to Leadership Part 5: You Are Responsible – No Exceptions! The buck stops with you – end of story. Failure to accept this reality leads to failing leadership. But what does “no exceptions” mean? The answer may surprise you.
- Welcome to Leadership Part 6: Leader, CPS, CRO You are not bound to a single title. As a leader, you have multiple titles. I unpack two important titles that all leaders hold, even if they are not explicitly given.
- Welcome to Leadership Part 7: The Listening Principle Great leaders are skilled listeners. Did you catch that? Listening is a skill that must be honed. There is a key principle to listening that most leaders don’t understand, but it is powerful for those that know how to wield it.
- Welcome to Leadership Part 8: Discovery > Dictation Dictation is easy, but discovery has lasting power. Great leaders understand the real power of “intentional discovery” and how to create moments where it can happen.
I hope you find immense value from the articles. If you do, please let me know and share with others!
Learn and grow by listening to others.
Here are 3 podcast episodes I enjoyed in the last couple of weeks, and you may too!
- Leaders are problem solvers. In this 2-part series, Craig Groeschel discusses how we can grow in our problem solving skills. The content is no-frills and highly actionable. I highly encourage you to listen to Part 1 and Part 2 as soon as time allows. My favorite takeaway: “A good plan executed with passion today is better than the perfect plan executed too late.”
- I loved learning about how Panera Bread got started on How I Built This with Guy Raz. Ron did what every leader should do: listen to what people are really saying, and act on it! It’s inspiring to hear his story. Ron is humble, curious and dedicated to making the best decisions to move his organization forward.
A QUESTION FOR YOU
Until we meet again…
At the end of each newsletter, I conclude our time with a thoughtful question designed to bring the best out of you.
Am I listening to the right people?
Until next time,
P.S. Did you know that you can help shape this content? Reply back with your favorite leadership insights and finds, or share them in the Better Leader Community on Facebook. I’ll handpick the best ones to include in future updates.
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