The Joys of Mastery

Bond as Lady Angela in Patience, 1881

It is a joy to watch a master at work. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In today’s microwave mentality society, we tend to think everything is easy and instant. The truth is that most things need time and effort to master.


Mastery is a joy to witness. There is a difference between being good and truly mastering anything. So how can you master you skill set? Pamela Slim at Escape from Cubicle Nation shares 10 ideas with us:


  1. Learn Patience
  2. Practice the Basics
  3. Appreciate the source of your materials
  4. Deconstruct everything
  5. Set boundaries
  6. Make your space holy
  7. Cultivate your voice
  8. Swallow your pride
  9. Punch through the bag
  10. When imitated, don’t retaliate, innovate


Some of these things are obvious, others not. As an Executive Coach, many of her suggestions rang true and are things I regularly recommend to clients. I especially loved #3¬†and #6.¬†Mastery comes not just from making you better, but by appreciating all the elements of your process, including the raw materials. As for making my space holy… well, let’s just say I am working on that one. I appreciate the challenge Pamela offers with it and am working to make it true in my space. (My wife appreciates this!)


Mastery makes you more attractive. I hope this list gets you thinking about how you can become a master, too.




10 Ways to Develop a Mastery Mindset at Escape from Cubicle Nation





Traditional Leader or Innovator?

Dan Rockwell at the Leadershipfreak blog posts short, pithy messages. I don’t want mine to be longer than his, so let’s jump into it.

Dan posits distinctions between traditional leaders, especially in 3 areas:

  • Receptivity. Do you try to make others do what you want, or are you willing to embrace other points of view?
  • Withhold judgment. Never making decisions leads to chaos, but are you always in a hurry to decide and move along, or are you willing to let new ideas play out for a while before deciding about them?
  • Curiosity. Do you need to appear to beall-knowing, or are you willing to celebrate and explore the unknown?

Where do you fall in the dynamic on each question? Remember that in today’s fast moving marketplace you cannot afford to ignore those who want to help you succeed. As a leader, your big job is to articulate the vision and help everyone get there. Others can be experts and not threaten your leadership if you keep the vision in front of the team.

Three Qualities Traditional Leaders Reject

Note: Originally published under title Three Qualities Traditional Leaders Reject. Originally submitted to the blog via email, I messed up the subject line.

Innovation is a Leadership Challenge

Scott Anthony knows a thing or two about innovation. The managing partner of an innovation consulting company and Harvard Business Review (HBR) blogger. He often comments about innovation issues.

His recent post, Your Innovation Problem is Really a Leadership Problem, talks about the leader’s critical role in establishing repeatable processes for innovation in their organizations. Innovation scares people. It is unnatural. Because we don’t often practice it, we are not especially good at it. Scott also points out that innovation requires leaders manage in two opposing directions: to minimize mistakes yet encourage experimentation.

This should not be any surprise. A leader’s number one responsibility is to define the organizations vision and keep it moving toward it. Innovation is not a quick and easy, short-term project. As Scott says, it isn’t a point event. Leaders who succumb to short-term pressures and do not work with their teams to create, evaluate, and shepherd ideas that support the larger mission and vision will either be replaced by leaders who can, or see their organizations move toward irrelevance.


Your Innovation Problem is Really a Leadership Problem