255,207. Search “leadership” in Amazon and that’s the number of publications that will come up. With the plethora of ideas out there, is it possible to get to the heart of what leadership truly is? Val Jon Farris, CEO of Diamius Multinational Consulting Firm thinks so. With over two decades of experience conducting leadership development programs, he recalls that the more classes and seminars leaders go to, the more jaded they become.
“It diverts them from their innate knowledge of leadership. Doing a leader is not being a leader,” he says. Without an internal “leadership” compass, an abundance of misdirected actions can occur. Leadership is more than a checklist of best practices and lists. In this podcast, Val explains his thoughts behind this theory.
Having an innate understanding of what it means to be a leader is a major key to leadership success. “Leadership needs to be intentional and inherent,” he says, “The only person you can ever truly lead is yourself.” While he does not believe that everyone has a “leader” inside of them, he does believe that some people can take this approach to cultivate their inner trailblazer.
He stumbled upon this approach while working under the mentorship of inventor and world class engineer, Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller. Bucky believed in taking care of “Spaceship Earth” and all inhabitants of it. Val took this to heart and, over time, began to slowly shift his leadership style from “critic” to “education”. “I realized that things worked better when I put my pride aside and focused on making things work,” he recalls.
A second revelation occurred while he was ice climbing Mt. Shasta with some friends. After nearly falling to his death, he refused help from his fellow climbers. After taking a moment to step back, he realized that his ego was preventing him to getting the help he desperately needed at that moment. In fact, it was putting his entire team in needless danger.
“In that moment, I realized that I needed to move away from my ego – which was denying the help from my team, and move towards how I really felt—scared, shaken up and in need of assistance,” he says.
Listening to yourself and allowing your heart to influence your leadership decision is a crucial part of gaining your teams trust. Additionally, it provides space for others to flex their leadership skills. He calls this concept ‘holding space for someone’.
“I like to give my team space, while investing in them to be their very best. They’ll do so in their own way. They just need to know that you’re supporting them.”
What do you think about Val Farris’ theory? What’s driving the core of your leadership? Tweet us @WiseNapkin with your answers!
Have you ever nearly tripped over a milestone or a goal because you were focused on the bigger prize?
That happened at Paper Napkin Wisdom and we nearly let the 150th Episode go by without any recognition of what we've learned and done over the last 3 years.
In that time we've collected more than a thousand paper napkins, done hundreds of interviews, released a book, and TENS of thousands of you have subscribed and listened to the podcast.
Since we were looking forward, however, we almost forgot to look back and see just how far we've come.
What happened next is incredible ... I asked our Contributors to come back and share what has changed for them, if anything, since they shared their wisdom with us. I wasn't sure if I'd get one or two folks. I was overwhelmed to get 11 contributors come back and join us.
The content here defies a write-up ... it requires a listen.
There are three easy ways to sign up for the Paper Napkin Wisdom Podcast:
1. via iTunes at - https://goo.gl/J9lpnk
2. via Google at - https://goo.gl/7yo17X
3. via Stitcher at - http://goo.gl/OpZIni
or via www.PaperNapkinWisdom.com
In addition, this podcast launches the the vlog video version of Paper Napkin Wisdom so we recorded the live stream of the 150th Podcast Episode recording.
Join me as I talk to some of the world's most incredible entrepreneurs, leaders, and difference-makers and they share pearls of wisdom around faith, family, growth, people (teams), momentum, vulnerability, authenticity, resilience and success.
You can see the video on our YouTube Channel here.
What does it take to be an effective leader? Thousands of books and articles attempt to answer this question (including our podcast). On today’s show, entrepreneur support expert Miranda Barrett is an shares her insights on what it takes to be an effective leader. For more than a decade, Miranda has worked with over 400 entrepreneurs as part of the EO Global Team.
“I work with our member leaders to discuss their goals for the upcoming years and I’ve found similarities between the people who end up meeting those goals and those who don’t,” she says. Often times, leaders think they’re leading but their staff is disengaged and disinterested in the overall mission. “If you think you’re leading and no one is following, you’re just out for a walk,” she says.
According to Miranda, the main trait of a good leader is someone who knows how to leverage and engage their team. “Entrepreneurs have so much energy and passion. It’s akin to an excited golden retriever,” she says. Leaders must understand how to share that excitement and vision with the team. Additionally, showing sincerity and vulnerability is a crucial part of getting teams in line with their leader. She explains, “You have to admit when you’re stuck and turn to your team members to help fix the problem, instead of micromanaging. That trust is contagious and will come right back to you.”
Empowering your team through humility and vulnerability can also lead to teaching them to develop their inner leader, which in turn, will help you reach your goals. She recalls a situation where a supportive team led to success, “We were hosting our Global Student Entrepreneur Awards program. The team was phenomenal. My job was to make sure our emcee did the best job possible, despite last minute scheduling changes. In a very visible way, he was on the hook for anything that would have gone wrong, but he had a safety net. He looked alone but he was supported. ”
Things don’t always turn out as planned. When teams don’t reach their goals, it’s important to take some time to regroup. “There’s a humility in being curious. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Was the process broken? If so, where was the breakdown? Figuring out what happened and where, instead of immediately blaming your team is a crucial part of maintaining that trust,” she says.
Having a team of “yes-men” may mean that your team members don’t feel open enough to voice their opinions. A disengaged team can be just as bad as an incompetent one. “When you have people proactively looking ahead of you to help and feel safe making suggestions? That’s when you can be sure that your team wants to be there,” she says. Conversely, if your team isn’t making suggestions, they may not feel comfortable speaking up.
Finding ways to draw the honesty out of your team ensures its health. Miranda suggests that leaders find “fun and inventive” ways to get honest feedback from team members that may not feel comfortable opening up. Miranda recalls a company who was looking to open a store in China. In the meeting, the team assured their managers everything was on schedule to open on time. However, after the managers let the team place bets on when they thought the store would actually open, they found that the entire team didn’t think the deadline was possible. The store ended up not opening for months.
What are some things you do with your team to keep them engaged? Send us a tweet @WiseNapkin with your answer!
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitate. Roughly translated into “More things should not be used than are necessary,” Occam’s razor— a principle developed by Franciscan friar and logician—harps on the value of simplicity. In today’s podcast, Brian Kight explains the value of simplistic discipline. “[In order to be successful], one must choose discipline over default every day. It’s the one thing that enhances everything,” he says.
As CEO of Focus 3, an organization that helps organizations align leaders, culture and behaviors with strategy and goals, he routinely couches entrepreneurs on the value of discipline. “It’s a constant battle between our willingness to bring discipline to each day or to default into old habits. The hardest thing to do in the world is to execute the simplest tasks with discipline. Elite levels of discipline garner great results,” he continues.
While this idea seems simple enough, anyone can agree that it isn’t necessarily easy. Take diet and weight loss, for example. Everyone knows the basic ways one can shed pounds – healthy eating, exercise, regular check-ins with a dietician and so on. However, shutting down the default (also known as autopilot) and getting to the discipline part is what makes it so difficult. Default is anything driven by autopilot, resistance and impulse – three things that are not uncommon in the human experience. “Living a disciplined life means that you’re not on autopilot. You’re living intentionally,” he says.
For most people, the word discipline has an immediate negative connotation. But the word actually comes from a Latin word which translates into student. “All discipline means is learning how to narrow down and apply a system of standards,” Brian says, “In my observation, I encounter far too few people who have a definitive set of standards and living them with discipline.”
Contrary to popular science, Brian refuses to subscribe to the notion that it takes 21 days to establish a habit. “I don’t believe that discipline becomes our natural norm. It’s something you have to work on. Your brain is always going to want to find an easier path. Discipline must be a daily decision and very intentional,” he argues.
For leaders who are looking to incorporate more discipline into their corporate structure, Brian warns that discipline must come from within and not from external sources— otherwise, it’s just compliance. “First, you must set the standard, then give people tools that help them become disciplined and hold them accountable. It’s not about rules; it’s about establishing a standard through clarity and support,” he advises.
Entrepreneurs, what big plans have you been putting off because they seemed unrealistic or too far-fetched? Have you ever asked yourself, “Well, why not? What’s the worst that can happen?” Today’s podcast guests thinks that you should. “There are benefits to having ADHD”, declares founder of HARO and Paper Napkin Wisdom show favorite, Peter Shankman. “When you have ADHD, you have two speeds, off or all the way on. You tend to not overthink things. You come to the conclusion that you want to do things, just because you move faster than normal.”
Think of it as flying through and around and with things.
As it turns out, this ended up being how he got started with his latest project, Faster Than Normal, a podcast which focuses on turning ADHD into an advantage, instead of a disability. While many entrepreneurs are plagued by inaction due to overthinking, Peter doesn’t have that problem. “There’s a built in bias to action. More ideas have failed because they haven’t been done, not because they were bad ideas,” he muses.
While many successful entrepreneurs are innately curious, many also suffer from this bias. Perfectionism, while a noble quest, is often the serial killer to innovation and creativity. Peter’s approach pairs a relentless desire to execute and innovate with the relentless desire to have fun and let loose. This has proven to be successful for him: by using his ADHD as a rocket instead of a crutch, he has founded several entrepreneurial ventures.
The Faster Than Normal podcast is extremely personal to him. As a child, he often felt out of place. He subscribes to Kevin Spacey’s quote which states “If you're lucky enough to do well, it's your responsibility to send the elevator back down.” Peter often receives letters from parents that thank him for speaking up and providing his interesting perspectives on ADHD.
He believes that embracing differences is an important key to innovation. “I’ve lost several friends from suicide over the past decade or so. There need to me more conversations surrounding mental health for entrepreneurs,” he says, “We become our most honest selves when we become the help we once needed.”
So, how can entrepreneurs adopt the ‘do first and think later’ mindset? Think of your brain as an Internet browser. The more tabs that are open, the slower it will go. Peter suggests adhering to a strict routine and ruthlessly eliminating anything that does not fit within that routine. “Structure will set you free,” he says.
What are some of your ‘big, hairy audacious goals’? What’s stopping you from going after them? Tweet us with your answers @WiseNapkin!