Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Do You Have a Leadership Philosophy?

I came across The Leader's Compass by Ed Rugggero in 2005. As a consummate student of leadership, this book was a call to action! I spent time thinking and exploring what I believed was important in leading myself as well as others. As a facilitator of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner's The Leadership Challenge, my leadership philosophy is based upon the five practices of exemplary leadership. It is a dynamic document that continues to be updated as I grow in my leadership. I've share my leadership philosophy with those I lead, my cohorts and coaching clients. I keep a copy of my leadership philosophy with me at all times in my journal. I refer to it regularly. I ask those with whom I've shared my leadership philosophy, "How am I doing?" I listen for feedback. I adjust and continue to work on my leadership. 

Do you have a leadership philosophy? Is it written down? Have you shared it with your followers and cohorts? Have you asked for feedback? 

David Carr’s Leadership Philosophy Based Upon the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership from The Leadership Challenge by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner

I model the way.

    I will lead in the ways I would like to be lead. I will do my best to Be the Golden Rule. My core values and beliefs are linked to Micah 6:8 and bound in three words:
    - Compassion – compassion means continuously seeking to understand, before being understood. It’s being aware of my self-deception.     
    - Gratitude – gratitude directly affects my attitude. A grateful heart knows and reaffirms the abundant blessings in my life rather than wishful thinking and desires.
    - Humility – not thinking of myself much differently from the way I’d be apt to think of anybody else.

    I work at being patient. I know there are two sides to every coin. I push back and seek information. I work at not assuming and most of all, I try not nurture phantom rules. I work at avoiding creating ugly stories. I seek to be curious and continuously ask questions. I make time for sharpening my saw including, the physical, the mental, the emotional and the spiritual.

I challenge the process.

    The number one challenge for me is to find and maintain balance. I find balance by continuously examining my life. I know I cannot be good for those I lead if I am not good for myself. Socrates wrote truth, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

    I believe stress is a major illness. I try to prevent stress by learning to simplify all areas of my life. I came into this world with hands and a mind free of stuff. I will leave this life taking nothing with me. In between its “stuff” that burdens the journey. There is so much I want, yet so little I need. People remember Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream,” and The Golden Rule. I believe core messages help me to avoid bad choices by reminding me of what is important. I seek to find ways to eliminate complexity and circumlocution throughout my life. I have learned to leverage. I know my strengths and focus on continuously developing these. I find followers whose strengths are my weaknesses and leverage.

I enable others to act

    I understand the difference between management versus leadership. Leadership is about effectiveness and doing the right things. Management is about efficiency and doing things right. I manage time, processes and things. I lead people. The only time micromanagement works is at a time of crisis, when people are emotional or fearful resulting in unclear thinking. There is no “microleadership.” I try to leave people and places in better condition than when I found them!

    I delegate. I give away the power. I give people the big picture, the expectations. I let them use their strengths, gifts, talents and passion to figure out the process that works best. I hold people accountable but give up control. I try to understand how much communication is needed to create a shared-mental-model for the expectations. I work to understand how people learn and communicate best. I know some people are visual learners, some are verbal learners and some are experience-based learners.

I inspire a shared vision.

    I believe I know what life is calling me to do: To help individuals, groups and organizations to learn, to live, to promote “seize the day” leading to reduced ignorance and reduced suffering and enhanced living.

   I am the author of my mission, the mountains I wish to climb the next several years. I have designed key initiatives to help me to focus on my mission. I set metrics and a timeline to measure my progress. My mission from 2008, was to announce to the staff of Joy Outdoor Education Center, Clarksville, OH, I would be leaving by the end of the year to work and live on purpose in North Carolina with my wife, Terri.

    I believe a leader who knows, who understands and is inspired by his/her vision is in a better position to lead others and to inspire others to a shared vision for the team and organization.

I encourage the heart.
    I know the only things a leader can control are the ABCs - Attitude, Behavior and Choices. Most of all, I know I cannot control others. I believe it is my responsibility to get to know others, my followers and understand them including their strengths, weaknesses, concerns, pains and worries. I know I cannot motivate, but I believe I can inspire by showing how much I care and cheering people on to bring their best, to be their best, to do their best for our team and organization.

These are the leadership questions I continuously ask of myself and of my followers:

What key functions can only I as a leader perform?
How am I doing?
Who is the customer? Am I/are we serving him/her well?
Do we know what our business is? 

Are we focused on that business?
What makes us good? What costs us at being good?
How can we break hierarchy and create networks?

I ask if you come to me with an issue or problem, please bring a solution as well so we may together resolve the issue or problem as quickly as possible.

Carrpe Diem!

David Carr

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Would You Fail Forward?

If you watched the final category at the Oscars on Sunday evening, February 26, 2017, you saw La La Land had won best picture. Many of us shrugged our shoulders, turned off the television and went to bed.  And then all hell broke loose! Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were given the wrong best picture announcement card by the PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC) representatives. La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz handled the snafu with class and dignity and got it right, Moonlight won best picture.

We immediately went into finger pointing mode. Whom did we blame? At first, the finger pointing went to Beatty and Dunaway. Then the finger pointed at the PwC representatives. Brian Cullinan, PwC representative, who handed Beatty the wrong envelope was distracted backstage using his smartphone. The fingers got pointed at the Oscar's producer, Michael De Luca, for not having better oversight. Finger pointing went to whomever designed the Oscar announcement cards for poor design, layout and typography.

If you are in charge of next year's Oscars, what would you do?

Here is what I know for sure. People make mistakes. Great discoveries are made in pain, suffering and mistakes. I would act with grace. I would give everyone who was involved in the 2017 Oscars a "fail forward card!" 

I'd go back to the 2017 Oscar card announcement designer(s) and have them make the 2018 Oscar announcement cards. You can bet he/she/they will get it right! I predict the 2018 Oscar announcement cards will be the easiest cards to read and understand while on stage in front 33 million viewers and the Dolby Theater audience of 3,400. 

I would not only have PwC continue to oversee the tabulation of the Oscar voting, I would bring back PwC accountants Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz to hand out the announcement cards again in 2018. You can bet they will be on top of their responsibilities and get it right!

I'd bring back the 2017 Oscar producer, Michael De Luca, to produce the 2018 Oscars. I believe he will find the most creative, committed and accountable staff to produce an over-the-top 2018 Oscar program. I'd make sure Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were again co-presenters, if not for best picture, then for another category.

This would be a "Golden Rule" moment to transcend what we believe to be the worst in people to the belief that people can be better than they were when given another opportunity. It is a belief that we grow from mistakes and failures.

Grace is a powerful, healing force. Forgiveness is all about extending grace. Forgiveness is about giving another opportunity to correct and be better. It is the gift we need to extend to ourselves and others. It is the work of the soul, based in humility. Grace and forgiveness check pride and tame it. The finger pointing focuses not on others but the three fingers turned toward us. Forgiveness affirms we are human, and we are worthy of love rather than shame. Aren't we all called to extend this love to others?