You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2012.
A man and his son observed an antelope that was looking out over the desert.
“What’s he looking at dad?” asked the boy.
“What do you think?” responded the father.
“The rolling dunes?” suggested the boy.
“No, I don’t think so.”
“The millions of grains of sand?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“What else is there? All I can see is the desert and the desert is made up if rolling dunes with millions of grains of sand.”
Educator Daphne Koller recently gave a TED talk that contained the following contrasting quotes:
Firstly, from Mark Twain,
College is a place where a professor’s lecture notes go straight to the students’ lecture notes, without passing through the brains of either.
And then this from Plutarch,
The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting.
These quotes describe the difference between giving information that no-one cares about and getting your audience excited about what you’re sharing.
If you’re just going to look like everyone else…
If your opinion is the same as the rest of the team’s…
If what you do is a replication of those around you…
If no-one notices when you’re not there…
If you never have a dissenting view or an innovative idea…
Then the reality is that we probably don’t need you.
Steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, once said, “No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.”
He understood that learning how to delegate effectively is one of the keys to being a great leader.
It’s not a skill that comes naturally to me and I’ve seen a lot of other leaders who struggle with it as well.
But if you want to become a better leader, with more proficient people around you and a team that’s achieving brilliant results, you need to learn how to delegate.
Here are three reasons why:
Here are some important facts about our careers.
- We will spend approximately 100,000 hours at work.
- Only 20% of workers say that they are doing something that they enjoy and feel passionate about.
That’s a lot of people dreading Monday mornings (and Tuesdays and Wednesdays etc.).
If you don’t like your work, it means that effectively you’re getting paid to be unhappy.
I don’t care how much you’re getting paid and what sort of lifestyle that salary supports, 100,000 hours is too long to spend doing something that makes you miserable.
There were once two children who attended a large karate dojo.
They were both keen to improve their martial arts skills and impress their sensei.
Every time their sensei barked an instruction something interesting would happen.
The first child would immediately respond with what he thought was the right thing to do. He would jump into a position and act according to his understanding of the instruction.
The second child would hesitate and watch everyone else to see what the right thing to do was. He waited until they were all in position and then copy them.
As a result of their default responses something happened that defined how competent they got at karate and more importantly how they responded to life.
Sometimes, I wish that I was as skilled at motivating others as Tony Robbins.
Or perhaps it would be cool if I was as talented an athlete as Michael Jordan.
Or if I could compose songs like Chris Martin.
Or if I could write an amazing blog like Seth Godin.
Or if I could preach like Rick Warren.
Or if I had the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of Sir Richard Branson.
After T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) finished writing his autobiography, “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” he left the only copy of the manuscript on the London underground, and it was never seen again.
What a dopey thing to do!
So, how did he respond?
He didn’t sit and sulk.
He didn’t shy away from others, embarrassed by his own stupidity.
He didn’t give up.
Every organisation has a league of ordinary gentlemen.
They hang around and complain about everything they see.
They do the bare minimum and see any performance system as unfair favouritism.
Their energy levels are low and when they’re together it drops even further.
They attribute the success of others to luck.
Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball, recently delivered the graduation speech at Princeton University. In his presentation, he shared this story:
A few years ago, just a few blocks from my home, a pair of researchers in the Cal psychology department staged an experiment. They began by grabbing students, as lab rats.
Then they broke the students into teams, segregated by sex. Three men, or three women, per team. Then they put these teams of three into a room, and arbitrarily assigned one of the three to act as leader.
Then they gave them some complicated moral problem to solve: say what should be done about academic cheating, or how to regulate drinking on campus.
Exactly 30 minutes into the problem-solving the researchers interrupted each group. They entered the room bearing a plate of cookies.