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    Leading the strategic changes

     

    Implementing new strategies, new directions, new objectives, is introducing change, major change, into the organisation. As such it is essential that the implementation is approached, managed, in a similar fashion to that adopted when major changes are being made. The implementation of the changes must be planned, implemented as smoothly as possible, and then be monitored and evaluated for progress and performance against the desired outcomes, objectives, that were the drivers of the change. The leader must ensure that all aspects of the changes, the new strategic plan, are managed successfully. The leader is the change strategist, whose role is to lead, to champion the changes, to promote the vision, to keep the organisation travelling in the chosen direction, and to ensure that all those involved in implementing the changes, the strategies, perform to the best of their ability. There are a range of leadership styles that could be drawn on. Some would argue that certain changes need an autocratic, aggressive style of leadership, and, whilst there may be the need for an element of this approach, if used as a single style it rarely results in a positive post-change environment. This is the flaw in this approach, for, after the changes have been implemented, and the strategies are in place, the managers, specialists, operational employees, and all contributing stakeholders, must work together in a harmonious, positive, manner to make the desired progress and achieve the objectives. If the leadership style during the change has been harsh, unforgiving, and aggressive, it may take many months, even years, to re-establish a positive environment, a healthy, goals focused, teamwork driven culture. The only logical choice of leadership style in any major change is one that combines all the styles, but leans heavily to those which focus on a team approach. The leader adopts a flexible, responsive style, that is a blend of the consultative, participative, and democratic, leaving room for an occasional, sparing touch of the autocratic to be employed if absolutely necessary. This style will then be the foundation on which the new, changed, organisation is built on. Performance at the strategic, corporate level must be monitored by the leader. Changing strategic direction, no matter how thorough the preparation and planning, entails taking the organisation into uncharted territory. The leader is the guide, the expert, the most high profile member of the team embarking on this journey, and as such must be constantly aware of how much progress is being made and, when required, able to adjust the pace of progress and degree of activity to ensure that progress is satisfactory. To be successful in this the leader must carry out monitoring and evaluation activity on a regular basis, demanding timely and accurate information with which to make the assessment. In turn, the senior management team must show that they are successfully cascading this review and evaluation process down into the operational activity areas. The leader must set evidence of achievement of this task as one of the performance appraisal criteria for the senior managers, and they in turn must apply this approach to the operational managers and teams, as discussed below. The senior managers are the change implementers at corporate level. Their role in implementing and managing the strategies and ensuring that the objectives are met, is crucial. It is these managers that will be leading and managing the operational managers and specialists, and monitoring performance and progress made. One of their roles will be to inform and manage the operational managers, and to appraise their performance. In all of these activities the leader(s) must provide the senior managers with encouragement and the necessary support to carry out their work, but must also appraise their performance and demand improvements where necessary. At the operational levels the middle and functional managers must assist in making the changes and then achieving the objectives. This includes in hard areas of activity such as the achievement of targets, goals, deadlines, outcomes, objectives, in managing budgets, controlling costs, maintaining quality standards, producing goods or delivering services. It also includes the effective management of soft areas of activity such as in communications, coaching, training and development, managing resistance, and providing support for those negatively affected by the changes. The leader cannot manage at this level, but should regularly ask for evidence from the senior managers that the strategic objectives have been successfully translated into operational targets, deadlines, and goals, and that operational performance is satisfactory. In all but the smallest organisation the leader will have little regular contact with the operational employees. However, that does not mean that the leader should not be known to them, or that their feelings should not be known by the leader. The role and style adopted by the leader should ensure that the operational employees are aware of the leader, and of the style of leadership being adopted. This is achieved partly through the communication of the mission, or vision, or simply the strategic direction being taken by the organisation, partly through the cascading down of the strategic plans, becoming visible as operational objectives, and partly by the visibility of the leader in channels such as newsletters, the corporate website, and local or national media. Visibility by physical presence, for example in the leader visiting operational activity areas, could be helpful, but is not always possible and must always be carefully handled. The only realistic way for the leader to communicate the strategic plan and direction is through the operational managers, themselves responding to the messages from their more senior managers. However, the importance of the operational employees in helping to achieve the strategic objectives, through their performance at the operational activity level, cannot be overestimated. The leader must ensure that they receive the support, the training, the resources, the quality of management, that they need in order to achieve the operational objectives. Without success at this level, the strategies will fail. Most organisations have a number of important external stakeholders. The leader must inform and liaise with these, as they are important to the success of the strategies. Shareholders must continue to support the changes, and the leader; lenders will need constant reassurance that their funds are being used wisely and repayments are not under threat; business partners will need reassurance of positive progress being made; suppliers will need reassurance that they will be paid; local authorities and other agencies will be required to provide services; the media will want to report on positive progress but will also be watching for negative news to report; families of employees will need reassurance that their providers are not at risk; and customers will continue to demand that the products or services that they purchase will meet their needs. The leader must be aware of, and respond to, all these demands. The leader is, without doubt, the most important person in the process of implementing a change of strategic direction. The analogy with the captain of a ship is an apt one. It is the responsibility of the captain (the leader) to ensure that the officers (the senior and middle managers), the engineers and mechanics (the specialists in finance, marketing, quality, etc), and the crew (the operational employees), are all working to the best of their abilities in maintaining all areas of the ship. With this under control, the leader can then focus on the primary role of maintaining the course that has been set and forecasting and taking corrective action against threats that may lie ahead. One aspect of managing change, relevant here in implementing a new strategic plan, or direction, is that of celebrating success. Mechanisms should be in place, at senior management, middle and operational management, and operational employee levels, to visibly reward success. Success here could mean many things, including: achieving important milestones or targets; overcoming resistance to change; removing barriers; settling conflict; taking opportunity; defending against threats; removing or reducing weaknesses; making unexpected improvements; raising quality standards; improving the plan. Morale and motivation will be raised significantly if success is rewarded. The leader should ensure that reward for success is a high profile aspect of the way in which change is managed. In leading the strategic activity that is required to implement the strategic plan, to change the strategic direction of the organisation, the leader is managing, leading, a major change. The majority of the change activity will, by necessity, be technically, operationally, managed by others. With this in mind, the leader must focus on ensuring that the organisation is following the direction laid down in the strategic plan, whilst at the same time managing those who are operationally implementing the plan. It is a dual role that requires great skill and a high level of effort and energy. Effective leaders will have prepared for this by equipping the organisation with appropriate physical, financial, and human resources, and by equipping themselves with the necessary knowledge and understanding of strategic change management. With these in place, the leader will be successful in managing the change and the strategic objectives will be achieved.

         
    Make the elephant jump leading with a kind heart

     

    PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required. E-mail to: [email protected] Word count: 567 Leadership is not about getting people to do what they want. If they did what they want, you wouldn't be needed as a leader. Instead, leadership is about getting people to do what they don't want to do (or don't think they can do) – and be ardently committed to doing it. This paradox lies at the heart of all great leadership. Unlike management, which involves simply the care and feeding of your organizational elephant, great leadership gets that elephant to jump. Anyone who knows anything about elephants knows that they may run, they may stand on their hind legs, they may kneel on their fore legs, they may roll over; but they don't jump. And that's what leadership is all about: getting organizations to do what they usually can't do, i. e., getting great results consistently. Now, you can't do the jumping yourself. The elephant must do it. You can't push the elephant into the air. It must jump of its own volition. Making the elephant jump involves cultivating a special relationship between the leader and the people of the organization. Many leaders misunderstand that relationship. They try to use fear and pain to spur the activity needed to achieve consistently great results. "Sure, I'll get this elephant to jump. Just give me an electric prod!" But inducing fear and pain are habit forming and ultimately destructive both to the leader and the people. To make the elephant jump -- not now and then but consistently, i. e., to lead people to consistently to achieve great results -- deep, human emotional bonding between leader and people must take place. And fundamental to that bonding is the nature of the heart of the leader. This is the secret: You can't get the elephant to jump unless you have a kind heart. Kindness in leadership means following the Leadership Imperative: "I will lead people in such a way that we not only achieve the needed results but we, the people and me, become better as leaders and people." Most leaders focus on the first part "getting better results" and forget about the second part. But in truth, when you have a kind heart, getting results and helping people be better are not two things but one. From now on, see every leadership challenge you face as a way of having people increase their knowledge, their skills, their courage, their tenacity, and their leadership abilities. Cultivating that perspective is a kindness. But don't mistake kindness for being nice. Don't mistake kindness for having people simply feel good. Don't mistake kindness for allowing people to indulge the worst aspects of their character, laziness, inconsiderateness, selfishness, etc. Furthermore, you may be kind and have people be frustrated with you. Many great leaders I've had relationships with got me frustrated as they had me go through the trouble of tackling challenges I might not otherwise have tackled. (In fact, deep, human, emotional bonding cannot happen without a great deal of frustration.) But I was motivated despite my frustrations because I recognized that they essentially had my best interests at heart. Yes, through skill, persuasiveness, understanding, forcefulness, education, and guidance, you can get the elephant to jump -- as long as you do it through the kindness of your heart. 2006 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

         
    Make your leadership your life and your life your leadership

     

    PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to: [email protected] Word count: 794 Make Your Leadership Your Life And Your Life Your Leadership by Brent Filson Companies facing global competition are expecting more from all employees, more initiative, more innovation and more results. Critical to meeting these expectations is leadership. The word "leadership" comes from a old Norse word meaning "to make go." Leadership is needed in organizations to make things go, to muster and coordinate direction, ardent commitment and resource alignment. Working with thousands of leaders of all ranks and functions during the past 21 years, I've seen that most leaders deem leadership as exclusively an on-the-job dynamic. They don't see it as a life dynamic. Companies seeking more from their employees must promote leadership that delivers more, and that leadership can only deliver more if it is effective both on and off the job. If you don't make your leadership your life and your life your leadership, you diminish both your leadership and your life. The reasons are simple. The best leaders establish a deep, human, emotional connection with the audience. Why is that necessary to achieve organizational results? Leadership isn't about getting people to do what they want to do. If people simply had to do what they wanted to do, leaders wouldn't be needed. Instead, leadership is about getting people to do what they don't want to do and be totally committed to doing it. These people have a good chance of achieving a lot more results, achieving those results faster, and achieving "more, faster" on a continual basis. One may tyrannically order people to get results, but the effectiveness of such leadership is not as consistent nor as substantial as having people make the free choice to get results. And people will make that free choice mainly in an environment in which deep, human, emotional relationships are developed. Look at the leaders in your life. I'm sure you've been at the receiving end of both the tyrants and those with whom you've had deeply beneficial relationships with. Weren't you more likely to go all out for those leaders who promoted an environment in which those better relationships flourished? Clearly, that's an environment one should seek to establish in one's life as well. The relationships you develop as a leader can be similar to the relationships you should develop in your life outside your job. In my many seminars on the Leadership Talk, I have seen people use my processes outside their job, with their spouses, friends, and children, etc. There are many values that should be promoted in our lives: trust, honesty, integrity, coming through on commitments, fairness, tenacity, tolerance, and more. Let's "trust" as one example. I believe we should live a life of trusting others. I call it "living in trust." Of course, trust can be taken too far, and we may open ourselves up to be deceived and betrayed. My wife says I often trust others too much; and certainly I have paid in many ways over my life for such a propensity. But though we may be deceived if we trust too much, we will nevertheless suffer more if we don't trust enough. Living in trust means extending trust without conditions until that trust is clearly betrayed. And then, depending on the circumstances, we may continue to extend trust even if it is betrayed. For when it is betrayed, we may not necessarily be the poorer for it. We may indeed be the richer; for without trust, we cannot establish deep relationships. My view of trust in life can be extended to leadership. Leadership is about getting continual increases in great results. To do that, leaders must engender trust in the people they lead. In fact, great results can't accrue without strong bonds of trust established between the leader and the people. I've often said that it is better for a leader to buy the Brooklyn Bridge for a nickel rather than to sell it for one. People will not be led by you to do extraordinary things unless they trust you; but they won't trust you unless they know you are taking the risk to trust them. In fact, many organizations get into trouble when the people don't trust or stop trusting their leaders, and when their leaders stop trusting them. So, trust operates both in our lives and on our jobs as leaders and must be cultivated both on and off the job. There are many other values that should be manifested in both the life one leads and the leadership one manifests. The point is that when you make sure the leadership traits you carry out on the job are the very traits you live by in your life, you enhance the quality of your leadership and your life. 2006 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

         
    Mastermind team do you have one

     

    The key to life is to be around the people who will empower you to reach the next level in life! In order to exceed your present reach, you need to be around people who will help you stretch a little farther. The secret to a productive mastermind team is for you to surround yourself with people who you can always learn from. A sign of a very intelligent person is to be smart enough to realize that you need to learn from others who can contribute to your WHY in life. As you know, my ultimate outcome is to develop the #1 personal self-development company in the world. Each and every day I strive to immerse myself in material and people who will enable me to achieve our corporate mission. As you look at your own mission in life, you need to ask yourself a very honest/straightforward question ....“Is my personal development engine in Forward, Neutral or Reverse?” The answer is very simple. All that you need to do is to write down the top 10 people you regularly associate with. As you review the list, realize that you will become an exact duplicate of those 10 people -- financially, spiritually, physically and psychologically. Once again, be honest with yourself. If you are not 110% happy about what you see yourself becoming due to your present relationships, you need to take ACTION immediately! Make a decision to develop a mastermind TEAM! Unfortunately, 95% of people will never take the action needed in order to become part of a mastermind team. They will continue to live their lives and wonder WHAT HAPPENED to their LIVES and all of their DREAMS. You need to stop whining and begin working on yourself to become part of a Mastermind Team! I am proud to say that each and every day I associate with people who are either at my level of enthusiasm, excitement and intelligence or even more so than I am, which is the key to a personally productive mastermind team. You need to be a part of a group of people who make you want to exceed your present reach. Be honest with yourself and know that you need to change your associations in order to achieve your God-given dreams! You will be amazed by the results. Your life will SOAR like an EAGLE to the ends of the earth if you change your associations! Find your WHY & FLY! John Di Lemme FindYourWhy

         
    Mentoring future leaders setting the framework for success within an organization

     

    “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men (women) to do what he (she) wants done, and the self restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” - Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States Where have all the leaders gone? Where can you find a real leader today? The state of leadership today within organizations is at a critical point and how senior most leaders decide to act now will dictate what we experience in our tomorrow’s! To listen and observe senior leadership today, whether within the military (alarmingly, far too many senior officers are no longer cognizant of basic functional operations they are tasked with nor capable of running around the block without a needed trip to a hospital), within government (managers appear incapable of getting employees to work together and accepting an environment of disfunctionality as you can’t get rid of a bad employee without a seemingly act of Congress) or within the business place (whereby a protectionist mindset to keep one’s own job by mid level managers causes a guarded interaction with others), would lead an outside observer to conclude that leadership development is evaporating before one’s vary eyes. It seems, far too often great followers and future leaders are stymied by poor and ineffective organizational leadership development programs and opportunities. Recent studies by the American Business Institute and reinforced by a client survey by JMI revealed some powerful reasons that this mindset may be breeding. Shockingly, survey data consistently revealed that the first mindset of a man when promoted in the workplace is around the theme of, ‘what must I do to get the next promotion and how fast.’ Whereby the first mindset of a women, promoted in the workplace centers around, ‘what is expected of me in this new position to succeed?’ A simple solution is to establish an environmental mindset of growing successful future leaders and placing present leaders on notice by active participation in some sort of a “Leadership Mentor Development Program”. Some effective guide posts for designing an effective Mentoring approach to cultivate and grow true leaders is to: 1. Select solid performers (not political lackies) that are at least two direct report positions removed from the individual to be mentored. This positional space between mentor and the mentee allows for greater interaction and giving on the part of the mentor. 2. Allow the relationship to be both ‘Formal’ (measurement protocols and assignments) and ‘Informal” (conversational and relationship driven) in contact. 3. Have predetermined objectives for both mentor and mentee and an objective means by which to measure and hold all parties accountable. Most organizations in their efforts to remain competitive in the past have actually created their vary problems of the present by expecting great leaders from within to step forward and lead teams to greatness. By creating environments of competition within, individuals have actually seen what gets rewarded is what they will do, and for most this seems to be how do I attract the spotlight directly to me and at me in a favorable manner and do so at any cost. The costs of the past will pay heavy penalties in our future unless senior leaders remove reality blinders and institute rigorous developmental programs to ensure a prosperous future. ### Jeff Magee, Ph. D., PDM, CSP, CMC can be reached at [email protected], toll free 1-877-90-MAGEE or JeffreyMagee for more information on keynotes, training seminars and skill development resources. For more information and ideas get your copy of, YIELD MANAGEMENT: the Leadership Alternative, by CRC/St. Lucie Press (ISBN# 1-57444-206-6 / $29.00) and of ADVANCING IN YOUR CAREER (ISBN# 0-9641240-7-6 / US $15.95) … to see other exciting resource book, audio and video titles, go to JeffreyMagee/library. asp !

         
    Mission how leaders create the greatest version of what you can be

     

    A statement of mission is one of the most powerful things you can do, whether you are running a major corporation or a small team. It expresses the purpose for the organisation’s existence, its raison d’etre, and becomes the rallying point around which everyone can unite. Often managers create mission statements because they think they should and then leave them gathering dust on the shelf. But this is to mistake the real power and purpose of mission statements. If put together with real understanding of what a group of people can achieve, they can act like irresistible magnets drawing everyone in the same direction. It is one of the core roles of leaders, whether at the top of the organisation, or anywhere within it, to confirm, verify, communicate, and live the mission statement. Here are some of the ways that can happen. • Write your Mission Statement down. Although it can be used for promotion purposes, it should never be seen purely as a promotional tool but as the group expressing the best version of itself. • Think first about how the group benefits others. These could be those who work for it, those who are its customers, the wider community, or future generations. • Think in terms of being sent on a mission by a higher power. If you see the organisation as fulfilling a role at some profound level, beyond perhaps your immediate understanding, then the Mission Statement becomes easier to write. Your mission will have far more power if you get a sense of the business’s unique and special purpose, rather than simply re-stating its aim to make money for its stakeholders. • Tie in your Mission Statement with your goals, aims, and visions. • Use language that everyone can understand. The best Mission Statements are simple monosyllabic one-liners. • Don’t worry about getting it right first time. Just like our own understanding of our purpose on this earth, understanding the mission of your organisation is a work in progress. So keep at it and revise it as you go. Of course, it is easier to state these high-sounding aims, another to find the right words. So, take a look at some famous mission statements used at various times by well-known companies. 1. Reebok: “Our purpose is to ignite a passion for winning, to do the extraordinary, and to capture the customer’s heart and mind.” 2. Walt Disney: “To make people happy.” 3. Wal-Mart: “To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same things as rich people.” 4. The Body Shop: “Tirelessly work to narrow the gap between principle and practice whilst making fun, passion and care part of our daily lives.” 5. Marks and Spencer: “Our mission is to make aspirational quality accessible to all.” 6. Sony: “Our mission is to experience the joy of advancing and applying technology for the benefit of the public.” 7. Coca Cola: “The basic proposition of our business is simple, solid and timeless. When we bring refreshment, value, joy and fun to our stakeholders, then we successfully nurture and protect our brands.” 8. 3M: “To solve unsolved problems innovatively.” 9. Glaxo: “We are an integrated, research-based group of companies whose corporate purpose is to create, discover, develop, manufacture, and market safe effective medicines throughout the world.” And here to top these statements is the mission statement of Ringland Bros circus, penned in 1899: "To be good, mankind must be happy. To wreathe the faces of humanity in smiles for a time, to loosen the chains that hold man captive to his duties and return him to them better fitted for his obligations, is the mission of amusement. Amusement unfetters the mind from its environs and changes the dreary monotony of the factory's spindles to the joyous song of the meadowlark. It softens the wrinkles of sorrow, makes smiles of frowns. This is the mission of amusement - and the circus with its innocent sights of joy for the children and its power to make all men and women children again for at least one day, comes the nearest of any form of amusement to fulfilling this mission." We can of course write our own mission statements. Doing our own statements makes writing them for our organizations much easier. Here is the mission statement of a working mother: "I will seek to fulfil my duties towards both my work and my family since both are important to me. My work is the place where I aim to achieve service towards others, the expression of my technical knowledge and the building of harmonious and satisfying relationships. My home is the place where I aim to find happiness, peace, contentment and joy. Despite all the challenges, I aim to balance work and home and the genuine needs of those who look to me to help them." Let the last word be with Paul Beeston of mission-coach. co. uk: “To live your mission is the most generous thing you can do. Your mission is always going to make a major contribution to your life, the lives of others and the planet. Humankind and the planet needs you to live your mission. Your mission is part of the tapestry of life and without it there are stitches missing. Is there anything more important for you to do?”

         
    Narcissistic leaders

     

    "It was precisely that evening in Lodi that I cam to believe in myself as an unusual person and became consumed with the ambition to do the great things that until then had been but a fantasy." (Napoleon Bonaparte, "Thoughts") "They may all e called Heroes, in as much as they have derived their purposes and their vocation not from the calm regular course of things, sanctioned by the existing order, but from a concealed fount, from that inner Spirit, still hidden beneath the surface, which impinges on the outer world as a shell and bursts it into pieces - such were Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon ... World-historical men - the Heroes of an epoch - must therefore be recognized as its clear-sighted ones: their deeds, their words are the best of their time ... Moral claims which are irrelevant must not be brought into collision with World-historical deeds ... So mighty a form must trample down many an innocent flower - crush to pieces many an object in its path." (G. W.F. Hegel, "Lectures on the Philosophy of History") "Such beings are incalculable, they come like fate without cause or reason, inconsiderately and without pretext. Suddenly they are here like lightning too terrible, too sudden, too compelling and too 'different' even to be hated ... What moves them is the terrible egotism of the artist of the brazen glance, who knows himself to be justified for all eternity in his 'work' as the mother is justified in her child ... In all great deceivers a remarkable process is at work to which they owe their power. In the very act of deception with all its preparations, the dreadful voice, expression, and gestures, they are overcome by their belief in themselves; it is this belief which then speaks, so persuasively, so miracle-like, to the audience." (Friedrich Nietzsche, "The Genealogy of Morals") "He knows not how to rule a kingdom, that cannot manage a province; nor can he wield a province, that cannot order a city; nor he order a city, that knows not how to regulate a village; nor he a village, that cannot guide a family; nor can that man govern well a family that knows not how to govern himself; neither can any govern himself unless his reason be lord, will and appetite her vassals; nor can reason rule unless herself be ruled by God, and be obedient to Him." (Hugo Grotius) The narcissistic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies. The malignant narcissist invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and this is further exacerbated by the trappings of power. The narcissist's grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience are supported by real life authority and the narcissist's predilection to surround himself with obsequious sycophants. The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution". The narcissistic leader fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, mythology. The leader is this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling. The narcissistic leader is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that his people - or humanity at large - should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, the narcissistic leader became a distorted version of Nietzsche's "superman". But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral. In this restricted sense, narcissistic leaders are post-modernist and moral relativists. They project to the masses an androgynous figure and enhance it by engendering the adoration of nudity and all things "natural" - or by strongly repressing these feelings. But what they refer to as "nature" is not natural at all. The narcissistic leader invariably proffers an aesthetic of decadence and evil carefully orchestrated and artificial - though it is not perceived this way by him or by his followers. Narcissistic leadership is about reproduced copies, not about originals. It is about the manipulation of symbols - not about veritable atavism or true conservatism. In short: narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), the leader demands the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment. Narcissism is nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very language and narratives are nihilistic. Narcissism is conspicuous nihilism - and the cult's leader serves as a role model, annihilating the Man, only to re-appear as a pre-ordained and irresistible force of nature. Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the "old ways" - against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader. Minorities or "others" - often arbitrarily selected - constitute a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that is "wrong". They are accused of being old, they are eerily disembodied, they are cosmopolitan, they are part of the establishment, they are "decadent", they are hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, or because of their race, sexual orientation, origin ... They are different, they are narcissistic (feel and act as morally superior), they are everywhere, they are defenceless, they are credulous, they are adaptable (and thus can be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They are the perfect hate figure. Narcissists thrive on hatred and pathological envy. This is precisely the source of the fascination with Hitler, diagnosed by Erich Fromm - together with Stalin - as a malignant narcissist. He was an inverted human. His unconscious was his conscious. He acted out our most repressed drives, fantasies, and wishes. He provides us with a glimpse of the horrors that lie beneath the veneer, the barbarians at our personal gates, and what it was like before we invented civilization. Hitler forced us all through a time warp and many did not emerge. He was not the devil. He was one of us. He was what Arendt aptly called the banality of evil. Just an ordinary, mentally disturbed, failure, a member of a mentally disturbed and failing nation, who lived through disturbed and failing times. He was the perfect mirror, a channel, a voice, and the very depth of our souls. The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions. In the aftermath of his regime - the narcissistic leader having died, been deposed, or voted out of office - it all unravels. The tireless and constant prestidigitation ceases and the entire edifice crumbles. What looked like an economic miracle turns out to have been a fraud-laced bubble. Loosely-held empires disintegrate. Laboriously assembled business conglomerates go to pieces. "Earth shattering" and "revolutionary" scientific discoveries and theories are discredited. Social experiments end in mayhem. It is important to understand that the use of violence must be ego-syntonic. It must accord with the self-image of the narcissist. It must abet and sustain his grandiose fantasies and feed his sense of entitlement. It must conform with the narcissistic narrative. Thus, a narcissist who regards himself as the benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt elite - is highly unlikely to use violence at first. The pacific mask crumbles when the narcissist has become convinced that the very people he purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, the prime sources of his narcissistic supply - have turned against him. At first, in a desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, the narcissist strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. "The people are being duped by (the media, big industry, the military, the elite, etc.)", "they don't really know what they are doing", "following a rude awakening, they will revert to form", etc. When these flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail - the narcissist is injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized - is now discarded with contempt and hatred. This primitive defense mechanism is called "splitting". To the narcissist, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object. A narcissistic leader is likely to justify the butchering of his own people by claiming that they intended to kill him, undo the revolution, devastate the economy, or the country, etc. The "small people", the "rank and file", the "loyal soldiers" of the narcissist - his flock, his nation, his employees - they pay the price. The disillusionment and disenchantment are agonizing. The process of reconstruction, of rising from the ashes, of overcoming the trauma of having been deceived, exploited and manipulated - is drawn-out. It is difficult to trust again, to have faith, to love, to be led, to collaborate. Feelings of shame and guilt engulf the erstwhile followers of the narcissist. This is his sole legacy: a massive post-traumatic stress disorder.

         
    Occam s razor and leadership

     

    PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Email notice of intent to publish is appreciated but not required: mail to: [email protected] Word count: 1185 Occam's Razor And The Leadership Talk by Brent Filson A Medieval English philosopher and excommunicated Franciscan friar can help you markedly with your leadership today. William of Ockham (1295-1349) is credited with the concept of Occam's razor, a heuristic that is used in many disciplines but somewhat neglected in leadership. Ockham wrote, "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate" or "plurality should not be posited without necessity." In other words, one should always choose the simplest explanation of a phenomenon, the one that requires the fewest assumptions. He used the razor to criticize the convoluted elaborations of the scholastic philosophy of his time, criticism which led to his excommunication. Today, Occam's razor is applied in science, helping winnow out the more promising theories from masses of available ones; in biology in evolutionary hypothesizing and Systems constructs; in medical diagnostics, identifying the fewest possible causes that will account for all the symptoms; in manufacturing, making products using the fewest parts and least amount of energy; in engineering, getting maximum output from minimum input. And in many other fields. But Occam's razor has not been used extensively in leadership; and when used, it has been applied mainly as a problem solving tool rather than a tool to help promote the people's motivation. Clearly, problem solving is part of a leader's portfolio. But if your leadership job description is simply to solve problems, you might as well call yourself a manager or a technician. As a leader, you need to be more than a problem solver. You need to motivate people to take action to achieve extraordinary results. Motivation is the operative word. Leadership devoid of motivational strategies and tactics is leadership that is running around in the dark. Let's apply Occam's razor to motivation in leadership. Most leaders fail to motivate people because they misunderstand the concept of motivation. To understand what motivation is, you first must understand what motivation ISN"T. Motivation isn't what you do to the people you lead. It's what the people do to themselves. You can't motivate anybody to do anything. As a leader, you set up an environment in which the people make the choice to be motivated. You communicate, they motivate. Occam's razor, then, is a tool to help the people make that free choice. The tool is effective because it slices through clutter that multiplies the opportunities for error. Today, many kinds of clutter prevent the people you lead from making choices you want. There's the clutter of the Leader's Fallacy, the mistaken idea that just because you are a leader speaking that the people will automatically want to hear from you and agree with you. There's the clutter of your misunderstanding their needs. There's the clutter of your focusing on your needs and the organization's needs at the exclusion of a focus on their needs. There's the clutter of confusing what is changing for you and the organization with what is changing for them. There's the clutter of misreading or ignoring their major problem; the clutter of not understanding what gets them angry; the clutter of being oblivious to what they're truly aspiring to. To wield Occam's razor against clutter, let's understand how the razor interplays with three key factors of motivation: logic, emotion, and time. Since Aristotle, it's been well known that the choice people make to be motivated is predicated on both the rational and the emotional. The word motivation comes from the Latin root meaning "to move." When you want to move people to take action, you engage their emotions. Yet before they can become involved emotionally, your communication must make sense to them. This is an important psychological point. Before the people make an emotional commitment to act, they usually undertake – however briefly, however adequately or inadequately – an assessment of the logical necessity of what they are being asked to accomplish. To understand this, try this mind-experiment. Picture a crying policeman, hair disheveled, weeping into his hands. We don't know what to feel about that policeman until we can logically connect who he is and why he is crying with what we are. He might be a crazed, mad dog killer who has been shooting at people and is weeping because he's run out of bullets. On the other hand, he may have been trying all night to talk someone from jumping off a bridge; the person has jumped to his death, and the policeman is weeping over the tragedy. Your logical assessment of the policeman either as a crazed killer or a compassionate Samaritan lays the groundwork for your emotional reaction to him. That's where Occam's razor comes in. To communicate so the people choose to be motivated means "plurality should not be posited without necessity." Your introducing extraneous factors into their assessment process may frustrate their making that assessment in your favor. Furthermore, simplicity promotes motivation because of an extraordinary feature of the human heart: its capacity to be profoundly changed in an instant. Experiences that take place in the blink of an eye can propel individuals to radically alter their behavior and even the course of their lives. Once you understood precisely why the policeman was crying, you could immediately form a judgement about him; and brought to bear on that instantaneous judgment is a wealth of values, experiences, viewpoints, and suppositions that you had learned throughout your life. This simple experiment is borne out by many studies in neuroscience, especially findings detailing the brain structure called the amygdala and its electrochemical interactions with the brain's reasoning regions. In fact, the "blink of an eye" has been precisely measured decades ago by pioneering neuroscientist, Dr. Manfred Clynes. In his groundbreaking findings, Clynes discovered that two-tenths of a second is the shortest time in which humans can consciously respond to stimuli. "All consciousness depends on time," he said. That fraction of a second is the unit of awareness of the mind. I submit that is the time it takes for somebody to make the choice to be motivated. History is replete with instances of people's lives being changed in an instant of understanding. Just one example out of countless: In 1835, when Wendell Phillips saw William Lloyd Garrison dragged with a rope down a Boston Street by a pro-slavery mob, Phillips became so outraged that he joined the abolitionist movement and became one of its most effective activists. I'm sure you can look back in history and also back on your life and come up with examples in which a moment's realization prompted a change in thinking and behavior. Since it is in the realm of heartfelt words and actions that great leadership results accrue and since your understanding and use of the heart's miraculous capacity to be instantly transformed can boost your leadership, the razor can be one of your most important assets. It'll help you cut away the sapwood of extraneous thoughts, speech and actions to reach the heartwood of the true motivational impulse in the people you lead. However, be careful that you don't cut into or cut away that heartwood. Apply the razor adroitly by taking Einstein's advice about using it in physics. He said, "Theories should be as simple as possible but no simpler." 2006 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. – and for more than 21 years has been helping leaders of top companies worldwide get audacious results. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get a free white paper: "49 Ways To Turn Action Into Results," at actionleadership For more about the Leadership Talk: theleadershiptalk

         
    Only a passing glance

     

    What is Faith? Faith is believing in something. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, concept or idea. It is the mental acceptance of the truth or actuality of something. In its positive aspect, it is a belief in the favorable outcome of anything undertaken. There are two kinds of faith. The first is a faith that is predicated on truth, and can be proven by experiment. The experiment that proves this truth is one that produces the same result every time. As an example, one might say two plus two makes five, but that does not make it true. In fact, upon hearing this, one might become convinced and even convince others that this is correct, and still this would not make it true. The only possible way to get the correct answer to a mathematical problem is to conform to the established laws of mathematics, which are based upon truth. Therefore, in applying this law, you get the correct answer: two plus two equals four, at any time, at any place, and under any conditions. Truth. The second is based upon ignorance, conjecture or supposition. This is a faith that has not been fully determined by tested experiment. No matter the fervor in its tenets, this professed faith is still in a state of doubt and uncertainty until empirical experiment can prove that it is either true, or reveal that it is false. As an example, for five thousand years people believed implicitly that the world was flat. They had the utmost faith in their belief. Columbus came along, and, by experiment, proved that the world was round. Their earlier faith was based on ignorance, and an experiment proved that it was false. People had an untrue faith, exacerbated by the church, that the sun revolved around the earth, until Copernicus discovered the truth. Over time, many other beliefs were held to be true as well, until they were proven to be false, and the debunking of conjecture and supposition continues to this day. Flawed and outmoded thought consensus, perpetuated by our fear and indolence, a trait of our human nature, causes us to steadfastly hold on to the security blanket of established orthodoxy. We let go only grudgingly when confronted with irrefutable scientific proof. Faith may be bolstered by knowledge but that knowledge too may be true or false. After all, knowledge is the state of being aware of something, or the possession of information. It is very easy to be aware of something untrue, or to possess information that may prove to be false. Therefore, the old saying that ‘knowledge is power’ should be revised. Knowledge is power provided that it is based upon a truth, otherwise it may be a tremendous burden, a serious impediment, a decided hindrance, and a very present handicap to mental or spiritual development and progress. And burdened is where we are today, handicapped by our misguided faith in the efficacy of our respective economies, the lack of credibility in our leaders, and the false idols of progress at whatever cost; and success no matter what it takes. We are entering a period in our collective consciousness where the next great paradigm shift in perceptions will leave most of us still thinking ‘the world is flat’ and that we can just continue to keep on keeping on. Many unwary will be left devastated. And this is where the laws of the universe come into play. God as all pervasive energy is invisible and all of his laws are invisible. No one can see life, spirit, thought, electricity, atomic energy, or any form of power. All we see is the manifestation of those powers. Mankind, despite his arrogance, does not create power. He merely discovers it and appropriates it to his own use, sometimes wisely, sometimes not. He has harnessed electrical power, mathematical power, chemical power, atomic power, and many other forms of power. But the greatest of all power is treated with only a passing glance, and that is spiritual power. Many of today’s thinkers, scientists and physicists are beginning to express the view that the greatest discoveries going forward will be along spiritual lines. Here is a force which history now clearly teaches has been the greatest power in the development of mankind. Yet, so far, we have merely been playing with it and have never seriously studied it as we have the physical forces. Now that we have an understandable conception of truth and its application to other forms of energy, the time has come, in survival and in evolutionary terms, to devote more time to discovering the underlying truth of spiritual power. No doubt someone will try to find a way to pervert it for personal gain or power, but this truth, by its very nature, may not be so amenable to selfish human intervention. Appropriate use of this consciousness raising power would be a great asset for improving and enhancing every aspect of true personal growth as well as sorely needed synergistic social cohesion.

         
    Ontario sports and olympic youth academy ooya shape our leaders beyond the 2010 winter olympics

     

    : Leadership in our Canadian youth is pervasive and active. As a volunteer, I was witness and observer to an extraordinary 4-day conference hosted by the University of Ottawa (May 11-14). This year's theme was “Making a Difference”. The delegates to this 2006 Ontario Olympic Youth Academy, were fifteen Ontario students representing their high schools. These students confirmed that our youth will bring a new order of leadership to this country, their province and their communities.OOYA is sponsored by Sport Alliance of Ontario, OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations), and the Canadian Olympic Committee. The Ontario Olympic Youth Academy is held each year and serves 2 purposes:

    1. 1) To share the magic of The Olympic Games in a 'hands on' format by debating, discussing, discovering, meeting, networking, playing, laughing in an active & dynamic 4-day conference.
    2. 2) To meet Olympic athletes, coaches, organizers and managers and hear them speak about the impact The Olympic Games has had on their lives.
    Working long hours, this group of engaging teenagers were involved in interactive presentations and group workshops. Through the team sports of Dragon Boat Racing and a modified Olympic Games event, the group showed their ability to focus as a unit and meet goals. The delegates developed Sports and Exercise programs that can easily and immediately be introduced in their respective schools and communities. Programs are like:
    1. 1) “Clean Play Starts with a Clean Place to Play”,
    2. 2) “Mini Olympic Days” to promote a healthy and active lifestyle to Grades 5 & 6,
    are designed for both athletes and non-athletes and help shape high school students into leaders.Appearance by guest speakers included:
    1. 1) Sue Holloway, Honorary Chair of OOYA - Silver and Bronze Olympic Medalist for kayaking (1980-Los Angeles). Ms. Holloway is the first female to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics (1976 - kayaking and cross-country skiing).
    2. 2) Shaunna Burke - second Canadian female to reach the summit of Mount Everest (spring 2005).
    3. 3) Pierre Lafontaine, CEO Swimming Canada - recently, Head coach for Australian Institute of Sport, and before that the Phoenix Swim Club of Arizona. Mr. Lafontaine led 4 and 8 medal swimmers to Olympic victories in 2004 and 2000 respectively.
    4. 4) Marg McGregor - Chef de Mission 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England.
    5. 5) Greg Joy - Silver Medalist and world record for high jumping 1976 Montreal Olympics.
    6. 6) Marc Leger – 2005 Canadian delegate at the International Olympic Academy in Greece.
    7. 7) Dr. Gene Sutton, Chair OOYA and National Olympic Academy, Director of the COC Board, and Canada’s Chef de Mission for the 2003 Pan American Games team.
    8. 8) Michael Chambers - President Canadian Olympic Committee (COC).
    These speakers had a profound impact on the delegates. The Academy ended on a high note with an emotional closing ceremony during which each delegate lit a candle from the 1988 Calgary Olympic Winter Games Torch!

    However subtle, a key message was woven throughout the conference presentations by the Canadian Olympic athletes, Olympic coaches, and Sports executives. And that message: to have these future leaders consider sports management, sports coaching, and sports education as career options. This message was effectively introduced and appreciated by the delegates. Some delegates openly shared their renewed consideration for sports education/management as a career choice.

    Currently, there are a number of active Provincial/Territorial (PTOAs) Olympic Youth Academy Programs:

    1. 1) Quebec Youth Olympic Academy
    2. 2) Ontario Olympic Youth Academy
    3. 3) Alberta Youth Olympic Symposium
    4. 4) BC Olympic & Paralympic Youth Leadership Academy
    5. 5) Nunavut Youth Olympic Academy
    As a youth sport educational forum, the various Olympic Youth Academies, are an excellent way to introduce Canadian Youth to career and volunteer opportunities and rewards associated with national, provincial, community sports management/coaching, and sports education. The Olympic Youth Academies provide an expanded opportunity to share the Canadian Olympic Dream whether as an athlete, a coach, an organizer or a volunteer.Expanding and funding the Olympic Youth Academy Programs to each and every Canadian Province and Territory has been an ongoing initiative of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC). Each province should embrace this youth leadership forum.

    It is a perfect program to parallel the COC initiative Own the Podium 2010

         
    Paddles portages and pings on leadership

     

    After 3 long days of a very intensive workshop in Toronto, a group of us decided to go canoeing for a day, up in Barre, Ontario (an hour north of Toronto) on the Nottawasaga River. It was a warm day, the water was warm, and no one else was on this pristine flat-water river winding through a protected swamp. We had idyllic moments out of time, we had mishaps and laughs, and we had the slogs of carrying canoes and gear (called a portage) around logjams in the river more than a few times, as well the insufferable companionship of mosquitoes. Why am I sharing this with you? I want to share some of the pings of the day, and the pings were all about leadership and the dynamics of leadership. It was reassuring and inspiring to see leadership arise from a number of different people in the group adding strength and depth all around. Great leaders are always working on themselves. In this case, the leaders never stopped paddling. They led by example. In spite of the mosquitoes, they stayed focused on the objective of the day, 19 km through utter wilderness. Exemplary leaders don't push or manage a lot. They problem solve, then inspire and motivate the team. You can be a strong leader without being impolite. When a canoe capsized, a leader didn't wait for the organizer to suggest it, a leader just handed people life jackets and said "Put it on", because it was the right thing to do. Another leader figured out how to recover, right and empty the canoe. Leadership means learning to be bold without being a bully. To build your influence, you've got to walk the talk in front of your group, team, or clients. You've got to tackle the first problem, seize the moment and make quick decisions. In our case, it was a leader choosing the portages. Leadership also means learning to develop humor - but without folly. It's OK to be witty but not silly, to have fun and be funny without being foolish. A leader's response to the first person getting dunked in the river was to put a positive spin on the slight mishap -- just like we all do for a baby learning to walk or a child learning to ride a bicycle. This leadership skill was brought out in many of our leaders later on the trip when we kept sinking into the mud, or shoes got stuck in the mud. One leader unabashedly sang old songs on the portages as a distraction from mosquitoes feasting on us. Leaders are good at dealing with reality. They accept life as it is. This is not fatalism or the opposite of optimism. It's practicality. It's a constructive approach to the truth. On the river, when the mosquitoes and logjams got to us all late in the day, there was a dramatic switch in group dynamics. Leaders recognized what had to be done, picked up the pace and just did it without discussion, negotiation or complaining. In the end, I think we had more fun and the adventure was more memorable because of the challenges that brought out the strengths in each of us. As leaders, we want to inspire the people around us to bring out their strengths too. So what adventure will you organize to inspire the people around you?

         
    Peers and power are a potent mix

     

    Excerpted from the forth coming “The Truth About Being a Leader…And Nothing But The Truth” Have you ever walked into a high school locker room or a martial arts class? The smell that hits you is that of competition and sweat. In meeting rooms in organizations around the world, the dynamics, if not the aroma, are similar, as peers jockey for power in an adult version of sports competition. It's no accident that on feedback questionnaires of all kinds, peers tend to mark each other below scores received from bosses and direct reports. When you enter a leadership role, it's important to realize that the game has changed and your new peers may now see you as competition. It's usually not personal. A certain amount of distrust is natural, because, now or in the future, you and your peers will be in direct competition for roles, resources, and remuneration. And it's okay, indeed healthy, to develop some caution regarding the motivation and moves of your peers. Otherwise, you could be in for a nasty surprise. Consider Albert, who relied on another department's research and fact finding capabilities. He soon found that their reports could be biased and that they did not give his group enough information. Frustrated, he openly complained about the research department and refused to continue using their reports. But Albert soon realized he was burning bridges with his actions. He backed off and approached the problem differently. Using feedback gleaned from asking his clients what they thought, he let the research department know how the biases and omissions in their previous reports had upset his clients. When the emphasis was on serving clients, not helping a peer and possible competitor, the research department recognized and responded to the need to cooperate. Given that resources are usually stretched and the interests of departments often don't coincide, developing trust with peers is tricky. Ideally, trust comes from knowing that a peer is able to put the organization's interests before his or her own, and will give credit to other departments rather taking total ownership. But don't take it for granted that a peer will always act this way. Establish clear guidelines and expectations for your work together. For instance, if you have to split a commission, agree on the percentage split in advance. And constantly monitor your joint efforts, giving quick feedback about what’s working and what isn’t if your peers' work diverges from the framework you set up. In Albert's case, he found that providing clear guidelines and expectations backed by others was the first step in creating a good peer group relationship. He also learned that he had to communicate constantly with and test the research team to be sure they were working toward compatible goals. Remember, a peer today may be a boss tomorrow. See keep it clean and keep it clear and you’ll be happy that you did. See more about Dr. Karen Otazo at globalleadershipnetwork Executive Coaching

         
    Premature articulation

     

    Ask anyone about what makes a good leader and they are sure to put the ability to communicate high on the list of necessary skills. Yet all to often communication is simply seen as the ability to speak. Listening – actively is an incredibly powerful tool at times rather neglected. I stated working with ***** who said, “I feel really frustrated. I often suggest ideas at meetings but others get the credit! I am really keen to get promotion and want to impress” ***** was keen to do well. He wanted his superiors to recognise his potential and felt it was important to come up with the goods. At meetings ***** always tried to get in first. He was quick to speak, often cutting across others and interrupting. By doing so there were a number of consequences quite different to his original intention: Bosses lost their train of thought; they found the interruptions irritating. ***** concentrated far more on what he was going to say rather than internalising what was being said by others. His contributions were not focused on the matter at hand, or were shallow because he had not taken the time to analyse what had been said Thoughts were articulated before they were completely formulated. Others picked up on the idea, thought them through logically and re-articulated them as their own, gaining lots of brownie points with the bosses The problem was premature articulation, a very common problem. The solution is easy to identify but requires practice on a regular basis if the new behaviour is to become second nature. Together we considered how to manage the problem. I asked ****** to make a conscious decision to act differently at the next meeting. To remain quiet, listening carefully and to contribute only when their opinion was asked for. Planned strategies for listening, ordering thoughts and recording ideas were put in place. It was agreed that ideas were to be offered after enough thought had taken place to ensure they were logical ordered and listened to. The result was amazing. ****** felt more in control and was ready with positive, well thought out contributions which were accredited to him. ***** found the situation in meetings was less stressful and frantic as the pressure to perform was lessened. Listening attentively, taking time to get his thoughts together before offering a contribution has taken a bit of effort but well worth while. Feedback from *****’s boss has been extremely positive.

         
    Preparing yourself when you speak in public

     

    Public speaking does not have to be difficult. Here are some tips to help you prepare for public speaking. You don’t need to be perfect in succeeding in speaking in public. You do not need to be too witty and brilliant to be successful when you speak in public. Public speaking is not all about that. It may look like it is, but in actuality, it is not. You can be the average guy you are. What is important in speaking in public is that you give your listeners something that is worth their time. If people leave after your speech with something that is of value, they would think of you as a successful speaker. They would consider your speech as something that was worth their time. Deliver your main points You may want to put in as many facts and information as you can. But only emphasize three or four main points. You could even talk about one main point if you want. You should remember that what your listeners want from you is that you give them two or three key main points that they can understand and would make a lot of difference to them. If you are able to structure the talks that you have, lots of complexity will be removed. Inject some humor but still practice humility While there are many other public speaking styles, humility and humor are some of the devices that you could use to make your speech livelier and entertaining to your listeners. Just make sure that you are comfortable being humorous and that the humor is appropriate for the occasion. If you do not feel comfortable giving jokes, then you might as well not use jokes which might fall flat on your nose. Or if you are speaking before a crowd of Americans of Asian descent, do not tell jokes about Chinese food or Oriental customs. Humility in public speaking means standing before the others and sharing with them your own mistakes, your human frailties, and weaknesses. If you show to other people that you are not afraid or ashamed admitting such things, you create a relaxed and intimate environment that will permit them to open up to you too. Being humble in public also makes you more believable, more credible, and more respected, with your listeners relating to you easier. You are no longer the remote expert who is ahead of them, but is one of them.

         
    Presentation skills that persuade and motivate

     

    Almost everyone feels a bit nervous about delivering a presentation before a group. Some people would rather undergo a root canal than experience the anxiety of giving a speech. Follow some basic guidelines for preparation and delivery, and you can transform your nervousness into positive energy that achieves the results you desire. The secrets to successful presentations are simple, based on common sense. Many people, however, fail to employ them. Step One: Purpose What’s the purpose of your presentation? There are many reasons to make a speech or announcement, and you need to clearly define your goal. Do you have to deliver bad news to your department? Do you require a decision from your superiors on a problematic business situation? Do you have a solution and want to convince people? Are you trying to sell a solution or product? Most presenters try to persuade their audience to buy into specific ideas. They must sufficiently inspire and motivate listeners to take action or give the green light to act on suggested solutions. You need to lead your audience through the decision-making process so members can go through it with you. Unless they believe they “own” the decision, they won’t act upon it. It’s critical to avoid spelling everything out for them. Let them “see” what the problems are and which decisions are needed. They will then be happy to engage in finding solutions and enthusiastic about acting on them. Step Two: Know Your Audience Your audience is not merely composed of the people you’ll face when you deliver your speech. It also includes those who may be influenced or affected by your proposal. Before you think about what to say, you must determine who your audience is and what they’ll need from you to buy into your argument. Make sure you’re selling the benefits of your solution—not the features. For example, if your new program benefits the company by saving time and money, this is what you should emphasize. It will appeal to your audience much more than any discussion of actual program features. Always focus on your audience’s interests. Step Three: Structure Your Presentation Most of the time, it’s wise to open with a story that reveals a picture of the problem at hand. Stories engage people, especially if they’re personal and real. They create an authentic connection and grab people’s attention. Remember: Your first 30 seconds are the most crucial. Follow up your story with an honest analysis of the problem, and back it up with research statistics. The Internet makes this part of your task easy, but be cautious about spending too much time on stats. Then, present the solution. This is the “good stuff,” as people want to know relief is in sight. Spell out the benefits to your audience. Strengthening Your Presentation If you use slides or PowerPoint graphics, don’t become overly attached to them. They should supplement your talk and illustrate key points, not deliver the presentation for you. Don’t use graphics that contain every word you say, and never read directly off the screen. Limit text to subheadings, which should be large enough to read from the back of the room. Don’t talk to the screen instead of your audience. And always be prepared for the possibility of a power or technological failure; bring handouts and have an alternative way to deliver your speech in case there’s no screen. Managing Anxiety Some experts suggest memorizing the first 60 seconds of your speech. If you do this, make sure it sounds natural and authentic. Because you’re likely to open with a personal story, introduce yourself and explain why your topic is so important to you. This makes the first 60 seconds sound natural, even if you memorize your text. Don’t draw attention to your nervousness by telling your audience about it. You can share your feelings, but not your anxieties. Your goal is to present yourself authentically, as a real human being. Don’t fidget or fiddle with your hair, clothes or body parts. Practice your speech in front of a mirror as often as you can, and minimize nervous tics by standing behind a podium, if necessary. Practice drawing a deep breath for instant relaxation.

         
     
         
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