This TED talk is worth watching repeatedly, until you get it all the way through to your soul.
If that made sense, these might too:
Organizational leadership takes place in one of two contexts.
The organization is heading to new heights – it’s a start-up, or an existing organization that’s reached a plateau. It needs a Visionary to take it to new and uncharted territory.
The organization is sinking in the depths; in the shit, as it were. It needs a strong and resolute leader with experience and courage to save it. It needs a Savior.
The expertise required may be different, and the motivation for each may vary, but each role still requires the same fundamental leadership attributes: independence (to judge and make decisions); people skills (to engage, delegate, and motivate); expertise (to know what to do and how to do it); and passion (to care enough to make the effort and stay the course).
Some would argue that there is a third context, the organization that’s just humming along, neither growing, nor under threat. I would counter that if an organization is not growing, it’s stagnating. And if its stagnating, it’s dying. It’s competitors will soon take its position. If there are none, there soon will be. Such an organization better be lead by a Visionary soon, or it will need a Savior soon.
Here’s the thing… it’s occurring to me now, as of course it would, that those two contexts, let’s call them “fighting to survive” and “scaling new heights” are mirrored in our own individual lives. The vicissitudes of life are such that we are either overcoming challenges, emotional and/existential, that is, we’re working to save or preserve some value or values that we already possess, or; we’re working to create for ourselves and those we love some new values. The in-between, the drifting along without significant challenge (time for R&R notwithstanding), is as dangerous for an individual as it is for an organization. Don’t move and you’ll get stiff. And, as my Sifu is fond of saying, “stiffness is death”.
Where is your organization at? And how about you? Struggling to remain a going concern or pursuing exciting new challenges?
Remember, the status-quo is dangerous, because the Universe never stands still. So, neither should you, and neither should the organization(s) you’re a part of.
HAVE YOU GOT 18 minutes to spare? No, scratch that – just make 18 minutes available. Now, or maybe come back later. Either way, this is worth your time.
Why you do what you do, whatever that is, is the key. The what you do and the how you do it are tertiary to the why. Why is sincere. Why has integrity. Why inspires. You don’t lead for the sake of having followers, you lead towards a Vision, a “Why”.
POSTING IS LIGHT while we work a little on the new website. In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, two all-time classics, one of the the silent movie era, one from WWII, both with more than just entertainment value (but loads of that too).
Some find it hard to watch very old movies, especially silent ones. They take a longer attention span as often slower-paced and less action-packed than we’ve become used to, but these are worth setting aside time for, and you might find after viewing that they leave you with more than just a 90 minute distraction. If nothing else, these are by two legendary filmmakers who greatly influenced later directors, actors, and comedians. They truly broke new ground, even though it’s hard to see their films in that light now.
The first, Buster Keaton‘s “The General” from 1926. Some have called it the greatest film of all time. Enough said.
Next, Charlie Chaplin in “The Great Dictator” (1940), a spoof with a serious message and one of the best film speeches ever given. This is not Charlie Chaplin as you might think of him – with bowler hat, cane, and quarter-to-three feet – this is a serious send-up (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) of Hitler and his Nazis, as they deserved. And it’s very, very good.
THE definition of leadership is:
It’s not by accident that the first clause is about what you are setting out to achieve. It all starts with that.
Good leadership is founded on vision.
That term, “Vision”, is a bit over-used, and therefore perhaps compromised, sullied, clichéd, but it still fits. Good leaders don’t accept what is, they create what should be. The “what should be” is the vision.
Now here’s the thing: everyone needs a Vision. More than one, actually.
To quote our “What is…” page:
One of those attributes, the most important one, is an independent mind. A mind (and Soul), that looks at the world in its own unique way, and says:
“What do I want to achieve and how will I do that?”
Creating a Vision for yourself, in fact, a vision for all the major values you’re pursuing in life, is essential. As somebody wise once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?”.
Visions change, grow, are achieved, replaced; but make no mistake, we all need them. Success, (and the happiness it brings), depends on achieving values. Your visions of the values you’re out to achieve are not only your guide (like that mythical star), your Visions are your chief motivators too. When the going gets tough, a powerful, well crafted Vision – one you can almost taste, it’s so real – will keep you moving, allowing you to maintain momentum.
* * * * *
Momentum, a fine concept, and the subject of the next post. See you in a couple of days.
TODAY, just a short one. Words of wisdom:
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”
IF you haven’t already, I highly recommend bookmarking Brain Pickings.
Created by Maria Popova, the site is well worth regular visits. From the “About” page:
Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are.
Today’s post: The Pace of Productivity and How to Master Your Creative Routine is worth reading twice if you’re undertaking any kind of longer term creative endeavor, and/or your routine is less than solidly entrenched.
Here’s the key message. You. Must. Work. On. Your. Creative project. EVERY. Day.
And while you’re there, be sure to check out the left side-bar under “Labors of Love” and “Must Reads”. It’ll keep you busy for hours.