The Day Captain Picard Panicked – And What He Did

Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He was the icon of a generation — “The Next Generation.” His job was to fill Jim Kirk’s shoes. He didn’t really expect that the show would be a success, but the steady paycheck for a year is something that actors appreciate.

Then, according to Trent Moore at blatstr.com, Patrick Stewart discovered that the show was going to be successful and that six-year contract he had signed was going to be enforced.

Stewart is an artist whose first love is the stage. He had heard of people who had lost their edge because they had gotten into television or the movies, where you have infinite re-do’s if you need them. He didn’t want to lose his edge or his ability to connect with a live audience.

I believe one of the reasons that Captain Picard was such a great character is because a part of him was Patrick Stewart. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that Picard’s alter-ego would also be a thinker and a planner.

To deal with the problem, Picard developed a one-man show that he could do on short notice, so that when he had a chance to get away from it all, he could “relax” by getting in front of an audience and perform, live.

The fix was in, and Stewart was on Star Trek for seven years. He has gone on to continued success outside of the Sci-Fi drama. His name recognition, his fame–which he enjoys–has given him opportunities to pursue the work he loves now, using the skills he did not let fester while doing something different.

As a leader, do you continue to husband the skills you used to get you into your position of influence? If so, why? If not, why not?

Why Patrick Stewart ‘panicked’ when Star Trek: TNG became a hit by Trent Moore at blastr.com

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Introverts Are Leaders, Too…

Are you an introvert? Maybe you have taken the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator test and know that your fourth and last digit in your type is an “I”… (I am a borderline I). Maybe you are shy… but shy is more about not knowing what to do in a situation than about being an introvert.

As humans, we all need some company from time to time. Extroverts get their batteries recharged when they are around people, while introverts tend to get their batteries recharged when they can get time alone for a while. (But yes, more shy people are introverts than extroverts.)

The blog at Inc. Magazine had a great article recently about five ways introverted leaders can embrace their tendencies to become better leaders:

  1. Spend solo time thinking about strategy. Since you like to be alone to recharge, why not spend that time thinking about your goals? Focus your vision. Develop specifics. Divine your motivations. These can then be taken back to your team and help it move ahead.
  2. Use the power of one-on-one conversations. You don’t really like big meetings, so why not do one-on-ones. A tip I learned as a management consultant is to try to avoid using meetings to figure things out. Use them to confirm decisions already made. To do that you need to get with people and talk with them ahead of the big meeting. You might not always be able to get thing figured out beforehand, but one-on-one people might say or be open to things they cannot afford to politically when caught by surprise in a meeting.
  3. Notice who the other “Quiet Influencers” are. Introverts often have well-developed observation skills. In meetings, look beyond the loud ones to see who is quietly putting ideas out that move the group forward. Spend time with these people one-on-one to bring out their best ideas.
  4. Identify what you want to change. This is another take on your strong observational skills, introverts. You probably can very quickly figure out what needs to change so that you can keep moving forward. You may need help executing what needs to be done, but awareness is a start.
  5. Make the most of social networking. So, you don’t necessarily like to get in front of people? Well, social media is a way of interacting with them without having to be physically present. How can you use it to help you? Your personal brand?

There are some great things to think about here. If you are an introvert, or you work regularly with introverted leaders, why tips do you have?

5 Leadership Tips for Introverts by Stephanie Meyers at Inc.com

Its the Dog’s Life for Great Communication

Sam the happy British Lab and sage teacher.

Sam the happy British Lab and sage teacher.

Pet owners know that you can learn a lot from your animals. My wife and I have been “renting” Sam, a British Labrador Retriever — actually watching him for my sister-in-law since February who is selling her home and relocating near us. I recently wrote a blog about Sam and what I learned about communication and leadership. You will enjoy the full article, here, but let me summarize the points for you:

  • Make your needs known. Sam knows I cannot read his mind. When he wants something, he gets my attention and doesn’t stop until I acknowledge his need.
  • Tomorrow is another day. Hope springs eternal with dogs. If I don’t play fetch with him now, it doesn’t mean he won’t ask again later. No isn’t forever.
  • Make time for those you care about. Dogs (and kids) start acting up if you don’t make time for them. But give them time and you get enriched AND a well-mannered pet (kid).
  • Love one another. I don’t have to do anything but show up and Sam loves me (see his tail wagging in the picture?) His gratitude is infectious.  Gratitude is a form of love. Who are you grateful for? Do you show them love?

Sam will be moving out soon, but his lessons will stay with me. I hope that we can continue to have a great relationship here on Leaderclip. I hope these posts are useful and enjoyable, and that you get as much from them as I do. I would love to had a dialog with you, so please feel free to share your thoughts on this or any other post. I’ll reply…

What Man’s Best Friend Can Teach Us About Communication and Leadership by Dwayne Baptist at dbaptist.com

Nancy Faces Her Fear

Many of us have all sorts of fears — limiting beliefs that keep us from doing our best or having the life we really want. In her blog post, Nancy Loderick shares how even risk takers can become afraid of things. Read how empowered she felt when she faced her challenge.

Nancy also reminds us that we have choices about how to treat ourselves when facing our fears — ridicule or reaffirmation. Why not be like Nancy next time one of your mountains turns out to be a molehill and congratulate yourself for learning and growing?

Life is too short to play bully with yourself. Celebrate your victories and let your new-found knowledge lead to more action!

What fear do you need to face? Why don’t you share your struggle-victory story in the comments section below?

Face Your Fear by Nancy Loderick at nancyloderick.com.

Are You Holding Yourself Back?

Have you ever seen the rush hour in a major metropolitan area? I used to work in downtown Washington, DC. Lots of people, regardless of economic status use public transportation, at least part of the time. Why? Because it works very efficiently.

Suzanne Lucas, another Inc.com blogger lives in Basel, Switzerland, another town with an excellent public transportation network. She noticed that out-of-towners tend to take cabs when arriving in town. It was going to take them more time waiting for a taxi than to take public transportation. Why? It was what they knew.

Is your thinking holding you back?

Do you always rely on what you already know when approaching a problem or situation? I am not suggesting you not develop habits and use them to manage and control your life. But do you take time to check new situations to see if your assumptions still hold?

When encountering a new situation, ask yourself questions. Think things through. You might know the answers, but maybe not. Research those things. Don’t rely on assumptions, find the better way.

Will You Leave Your Comfort Zone? Ask Yourself This Question by Suzanne Lucas at inc.com

The King of Happiness

Chip Conley at TED. From chipconley.com

Chip Conley at TED. From chipconley.comI was stuck, looking for some inspiration on a project today and sought out some TED talks for inspiration. If you aren’t familiar with TED, it is a non-profit and acronym for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Well, I came across a talk called Measuring what makes life worthwhile by Chip Conley. It did not disappoint.

While Chip had lots of great points to make about how people and organizations struggle to move up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, he brought it all into sharp focus talking about the King of Bhutan. Shortly after the 17-year-old assumed the throne in the early 1970’s he was asked about his country’s Gross National Product (GNP – today called the Gross Domestic Product or GDP). The king responded, asking why should we focus on GNP, when we ought to be focused on the happiness and satisfaction of people? This has led to a movement called “Gross National Happiness.”

Of course, you cannot achieve what you do not measure, and for many it is especially difficult to measure an intangible such as happiness. However, the pursuit of happiness is exactly what Jefferson reminded us was a natural right. So, why shouldn’t we find a way to measure it?

In the end, Chip doesn’t offer any specific prescriptions for what people should measure, but he does offer questions you can ask yourself to begin to move in this direction, “…what less obvious metrics could we use to actually evaluate our employee’s sense of meaning, or our customers’ sense of connection with us?”  There are many things you can study to increase employee satisfaction with their jobs and customer/client connection with your company.

A key point is that you don’t have to choose between having either a great culture with happy workers and customers or a very profitable organization. Both are possible with some planning. And wouldn’t happy workers who find meaning in their work serving clients who value your products and services, not just for what they do but for how they make the customer’s life better lead to opportunities to make a fair profit for giving so much value to so many people?

What intangibles do you think show happiness and satisfaction for your life? For your organization? For your customers? Why not share some of your ideas in the comments section below?

And if you have about 15 minutes, why not enjoy Chip Conley’s TED Talk. You will be glad you did.

Chip Conley: Measuring what makes life worthwhile at TED.com

Interning with Tony Stark

I am Iron Man

I came across a new blog recently, The Savvy Intern, at youtern.com. The site focuses on helping people find internships, which they believe are essential for getting a job, especially if you are just entering the workforce. And why not? Interning is a form of networking, which I believe is essential to finding “the right job” if having a job is what you want right now. But I digress…

One of their bloggers, ComeRecommended, offered a playful article called “8 Leadership Lessons We Learned from Tony Stark (aka: Iron Man)“. I love this thoughtful and playful look at being a leader. Here they are:

  1. Choose your mission – don’t just pick a mission, find one worthy of you
  2. Stick by your mission – things will get rough, but see it through; after all, it is worthy of you
  3. Be socially responsible – Our highest calling is to serve others, even when things get tough
  4. Always improve – Don’t get complacent, always seek to expand your vision and make yourself grow
  5. Isolate yourself occasionally – doing is important, but we cannot find creative solutions if we do not give ourself space and time to just think
  6. Have a good team – even a genius cannot be everywhere at once; you need a team to get anything great done
  7. Be transparent – people will follow someone who is authentic; hiding things does not engender the trust needed to build a great team
  8. Enjoy yourself – keeping things light helps you reduce tension, and encourages those around you to give their best

If you are an Iron Man fan, check out the article; you will probably enjoy the Tony Stark graphics…

8 Leadership Lessons We Learned from Tony Stark (aka: Iron Man) on the Savvy Intern blog

Roles and Styles for Entrepreneurial Leadership

Do you realize that it takes many roles to succeed in an enterprise? Small businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises need leaders of all types. One of my mentors when I began management consulting taught me that leadership is not a position, rather it is a role. Therefore many types of people can be leaders. In fact, it is vital to have a variety of roles involved in a growing enterprise.

Martin Zwilling, an angel investor and entrepreneurial mentor shared some thoughts recently on a blog shared at entrepreneur.com. Talking about a book he read, Intelligent Leadership by John Mattone, Martin shared that you need to bring a variety of key roles onto your team. Here are 9:

  1. Helpers – those who want to guide others so that the team can succeed
  2. Entertainers – those who want to engage and win people over to a cause
  3. Artists – those who create and innovate
  4. Thinkers – those who analyze and study the world around them
  5. Disciples – those who work well with others, but need permission to act
  6. Activists – those who promote a positive vision and encourage others
  7. Drivers – those who take charge and take responsibility for getting results
  8. Arbitrators – those who bring people together and help them understand one another
  9. Perfectionists – those with high standards and ethics to ensure things are done well

Each role has its strengths and weaknesses, but the truth is you need all these roles filled (at the right times) for your venture to succeed.

Which role is your natural role? John Maxwell says in his Law of Magnetism that we tend to attract others just like us if we don’t find a way to connect people through a strong vision — something for them to have in common. What is your vision? How do you share it with others? Why not share your thoughts in the comment section? I would love to hear your perspective.

9 Leadership Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs by Martin Zwilling at entrepreneur.com.

 

DON’T Do These Things!

The Inc. Magazine blogs are a great source of inspiration and tips for running a business, or even doing your job better if you aren’t the boss. Writer Jeff Haden recently posted an article on 8 things you should not do every day. He was focused on productivity, and these will make you more productive. They are also great tips for leaders, and I’ll share why:

  1. Don’t check your cell phone when talking to someone. One rule leaders follow is to “be present.” Which is more important to you, the person you are with or something that might be going on elsewhere? If the answer is your phone, then maybe you should end your conversation and do the more productive thing. Anyway, how do you feel when somebody interrupts your conversation to check their phone?
  2. Don’t multi-task at meetings. Haden talks about how much you’ll learn because probably everyone else is multi-tasking, which is an interesting point. But as with point one, what are you communicating as a leader? (And if you don’t see yourself as “the leader,” what are you telling your leader?) If your time is more valuable spent elsewhere, do that. If someone “made” you go to the meeting, maybe they know something you don’t. If you want to be sure you get the most from any meeting, take a few minutes ahead of time and prepare for it. You will be surprised just how much more productive you will be at a meeting if you know why you are there.
  3. Don’t think about people who don’t make any difference in your life. Too many of us spend our lives worrying about what others think. I know I used to do it. One way to stop this problem is to know what you value and your goals so that you can be busy thinking about what is important. Need to think about people? Why not think about the people you are grateful to have as part of your life?
  4. Don’t use multiple notifications. Notifications are interruptions to your work flow, Haden reminds us. He makes the point about focus I made in the first two points. As a leader, you need to focus on what is important. Schedule the time you will be looking at email, etc.
  5. Don’t let the past dictate your future. When hiring, I am a big proponent of “behavioral interviewing” because the best indicator of what someone will do in the future is to see what they have done in the past. However, the big caveat to this dictum is when someone has had an intervening significant experience. If you have decided to change and you are on a path of change, you do not have to be shackled to your past. Others might continue to judge you based on your past, but remember #3 above…
  6. Don’t wait until you are sure you will succeed. When I teach people about goal setting, I teach them to find some small step to do that day that moves them toward their goal. Taking action is the only way to ensure success. Don’t wait. Act.
  7. Don’t talk behind someone’s back. Leaders don’t gossip. If you have a problem with someone, let it be between you and them. If you are willing to engage in gossip, others will wonder if you gossip about them, too. This does not strengthen your influence as a leader. Talk about things that matter and help move you toward your goals.
  8. Don’t say “yes” when you really mean “no.” One of your most important jobs as a leader is to have a vision and keep yourself and your team moving toward it. When you allow others to insert their priorities into your schedule, your agenda suffers. This was Rip Van Winkle’s problem. He was so busy helping his neighbors that he neglected his own duties. No wonder his wife was unhappy!

As leaders we are busy thinking about the things we should do, but as Jeff reminds us, there are things we really should not do, if we are going to succeed. At the Chic-fil-a Leadercast a couple years back, Jim Collins talked about having a “to-don’t” list along side your “to-do” list. These make a good start, but make your own list. What are the distractions that get in the way of you being more productive and successful? Why not intentionally remind yourself to steer clear of them?

 

8 Things You Should Not Do Every Day by Jeff Haden at Inc.

 

Whose the Leader? You’re the Leader!

A recent blog post by The Mojo Company reminds us that You’re the Leader We Need.

I used to work for a management consulting company that had four core values, one of which was “Lead.”  Our president, Mike Nigro, explained to us that everybody was a leader because even the most junior project team member was there to help our clients understand their problems, options, and recommend solutions. Our actions also provided an example for our clients and team members. While our clients (and supervisors) might want the right to make decisions, decision-making is not the hallmark of a leader. Influencing those who will make decisions is what leadership is all about.

As the Mojo article reminds us, we don’t need to be charismatic or outgoing to be a leader. Rather, leaders are people who can do the hard work of being an example and working to grow the team. People willing to change and grow.

All of this is part and parcel of what my mentor John Maxwell shares in his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

Are you willing to be an example? To change and grow? Your organization, your team needs you to. You can lead at some level. Will you?

 

You’re the Leader We Need at The Mojo Company