Category Archives: #Inspiration
We had high hopes for 2020 this past January.
There was no way any of us could have predicted the dramatic events for the first 5 months. Global pandemic. Racial murders. Rioting and looting. Worldwide economic turmoil.
This past week’s senseless murder of a black citizen at the hands of a white officer, and the resulting violent protests while not only grievous, can only teach us one truth.
You can only change the world by changing you.
Much of my writing has been geared towards inward directed leadership, with the realization that if you want to change the world, it starts with the person on the inside. Unless an individual determines in their heart to change, to respect and treat all people with value and to focus their efforts on changing the person on the inside, then no real lasting pivots can ever result.
It is up to you – and me – each of us individually to make the change we desire.
We can change the attitudes of our employees when we treat them right. We can change the course of a toxic leader when we leave their company.
We can change the perception of tribalism by showing respect and empathy to others who are different. We can make that other person feel comfortable by validating their voice and giving them value as a fellow human being.
We can vote for our elected leaders. We can shut off the biased news media and not feed into social media trolls. We can also find the truth in our news sources and determine to study what’s true.
We can respond in righteous anger and make positive change by doing no harm, or we can join in the needless destruction of property of those who are innocent because our anger justifies it.
We can choose not to farm out our individual responsibilities to someone else and take ownership for our lives.
We can work towards changing our lateral relationships towards others. We can also work towards changing our vertical relationship towards heaven.
But it has to start with you. I know because it starts with me. I can’t change you, and neither can you change me. But if we both show an example of change together we can multiply our efforts.
I saw two quotes on social media since George Floyd’s murder last week that unfortunately blame the problems in our world towards forces remote and larger than us. No disrespect to those that wrote them, but it gives a feeling of hopelessness and that the system is against us.
Society manifests what leadership tolerates.
The system is not broken it was built this way.
Great leaders, and great people, take responsibility for their world, so I’ve inverted these saying to reflect this thinking on how you can change the world around you.
Leadership tolerates what society manifests.
The system is not built this way it was broken.
The greatest changes in world history have not been from the top down, but common people choosing to change their response. And if we choose so, we can do the same.
Examine yourself and your motives. Closely. What makes you willingly disrespect and devalue another human being needs to change.
Change can only start at the top if leaders at the top change. Most of us are not at the top, but are closer to the foundation of the right type of change – respectful, thoughtful and mutually beneficial – that the world can build upon.
The greatest hope in our world is that we all have the ability to change. We simply must choose to do so. Even if it means sacrificing our selfish ambitions, status and possibly friends. All great change in ourselves is rewarded at some level far beyond what we gave up to attain it.
And it starts with you.
The passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant has undoubtedly stunned many.
His relative youth (41 years) and focus on his post-basketball career seemed as promising as his athletic career.
While his passing is tragic, it serves as a sober reminder for us that nothing in life, not even life itself, is guaranteed.
All of our dreams, goals, plans and schemes can get derailed due to a myriad of unforeseen events.
And all that truly lives on after ourselves is our reputation for how we treated others.
As a leader, parent, spouse, or friend, we should remind ourselves every day what legacy we can make in others lives.
Do we give value to others, and esteem them better than ourselves?
Have we served to make people better, give them the encouragement they need in this life?
Have we told others how much we appreciate them?
Have we made sure we can sleep at night knowing we have made a positive impact on others’ lives?
While our hearts and prayers go out to the Bryant family and the NBA community, as well as countless others touched by Kobe’s life, let’s determine to leave our world better in the time we have.
Back in 2014 Simon Sinek gave a TED Talk about how good leaders make others feel safe.
Using a real life story from a military officer sacrificing his life to save others, and paralleling the parental duty of sacrificing for the nurturing of one’s children, Sinek outlined how these examples don’t reflect the current mindset of most business leaders.
And, unfortunately five years later, this still remains true.
Take as a prime example the fiasco at WeWork and SoftBank’s handling of the startup’s fall from grace.
In the last couple of months, the workshare company went from a potentially highly valued IPO to tumbling to a fraction of their value and being run by main investor SoftBank. They removed founder and CEO Adam Neumann who effectively ran the company into the ground and bought him out for a $1.7 billion golden parachute.
That was October. Last week, just about 4 weeks after, 2400 WeWork employees were notified that they were being laid off. As one would guess, many employees are outraged about Neumann getting off free while others have to suffer for his financial improprieties and erratic behavior.
This example shows the pervasive business mindset of sacrificing employees for the sake of a leader’s own self, or company stock price, or profits. All the things that Simon Sinek outlined in his talk that good leaders do NOT do.
This type of culture can only happen when a leader has good intentions for the people who trust them.
Sinek also told the story of a company back in the great recession of 2008 that was faced with a 30% loss of sales during 2008 and their labor needed to be cut by millions of dollars. When the board asked for layoffs, the CEO refused and instead gave every employee (including himself) 4 weeks of compulsory unpaid leave to be taken any time they chose over the year. He told the employees it was better for everyone to suffer a little, rather than a few suffer a lot. They saved $20 million, and morale greatly improved. As the leader instilled a sense of trust in the culture, some employees started trading leave – taking 5 so another would take only 3.
This type of culture can only happen when a leader has good intentions for the people who trust them. And people only trust their leaders when they know that their leader will take the risk themselves, and first.
When leaders do this, the natural response of people is to trust in return and to likewise sacrifice for the good of the leader’s vision. Because their leader would have done the same for them.
Great leaders find a way to sacrifice for their people, even if it hurts.