The Next 100 Days

What can you do in one hundred days? You can establish the momentum and ultimate accomplishments you will produce from that point forward.  Whether you are elected to accomplish some task, to manage a business, or develop your personal life, the following leadership formula is sound:

    1. Create a vision of the future for at least the next five years of your life, or longer.
    2. Make a clear assessment of your present condition and resources, including obvious things like cash in the bank, your house, your business, and all physical assets.  Other, not-so-obvious resources include your skills, talents, knowledge, relationships, credit worthiness, and ability and discipline to organize and execute a plan, to name but a few.
    3. Bridge the gap between your vision of the future and your present condition. Begin to align your resources, both physical and otherwise, with the requirements of your vision to see what you can do given your current condition.
    4. You might require more resources than you have on hand, but don’t let this overwhelm you. Your vision must be substantial and excite all those who hear it. Additional resources will not come to those whose vision is too small and unexciting.  Money chases good ideas and there is far more money in circulation than there are good ideas.
    5. Formulate a plan that leverages your strengths, considers your resources, and determines the additional resources you will need. You now can begin to see how to realize your goals.
    6. Conduct as many phone calls or sales presentations as required to engage the people who need to be involved. Your heart tells you your vision is good and worthy of your life’s pursuit.  Personify the viewpoint described by many throughout history — persistence is omnipotent for all great accomplishment.
    7. Surround yourself with team members who possess the complimentary skills to create the look, feel and sound of a vehicle worthy of your journey.

By the one-hundredth day, you will have achieved what most people fail to accomplish during their entire lives.  Even if your vision is still a distance away, you are flying at seventeen thousand miles per hour at an altitude that ensures your vision is within reach.

Woody Allen once said, “My one regret in life is that I am not someone else.” You must be the person you want to be – the person who discovers what they truly want (step one), realizes the work to be done (steps two and three), creates a plan (step four), and then attracts the people and resources to help make it happen (step five). Nothing in life is more gratifying.

Secret to Attracting the Right People

“I don’t want the best players; I want the right players.” Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks in the movie Miracle

Surrounding yourself with the right people is one of the fundamental business truths everyone can agree upon. But just as surrounding yourself with low-level performers in a high-performance company is draining, surrounding yourself with high-priced, top quality people in a company that lacks the vision, strategy and leadership to steer such talent can also be a burden.

Recently, a friend was agonizing over a management hiring decision. I told him I thought it was a mistake to turn over the future of his company to whoever happened to respond to a one hundred dollar employment ad.  To his blank look, I asked him two questions: Where is your company going, and how do you plan to get there? Once he knew the answers to those two questions, he wouldn’t need anyone’s help with this or the many other issues that now bewildered him.

When you know where you’re going and how you intend to get there, you can tell in five minutes if you are speaking to someone who can help you. You can save the three-hour meetings for those who warrant them. The hiring decision is as “strategy driven” as the decision to buy a pickup truck, dump truck, or tractor-trailer. To haul eighty thousand pounds of farm equipment across the country, I would walk right past the pickup and dump trucks and check out every single feature of the tractor-trailer. While this seems obvious, it is common to meet business owners who continually surrounding themselves with pickups in a tractor-trailer business.

Sustained growth and profits in business today come from effective leadership and efficient management.  When leadership provides the where and the how, management can far more easily attract the right people. And when the right people, doing the right jobs, know where they are going and how they will get there, there is nothing you cannot do.

The Value of a Laser-Sharp Focus

Anthony Robbins, author and speaker, summed it up when he said, “Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.” In our organizations, the “giant capacity” of one person is multiplied by the number of people who share our focus.

Just as a laser unleashes its incredible power by aligning uniform particles of light to move in a perfectly parallel path toward a single target, a leader can harness a similar phenomenon when the motivations and activities of the people are aligned to deliver this primary contribution.

The leader is the barometer of the organization. If his interests are scattered, the trend will worsen as it moves throughout the company.  But if he is focused, his organization has the first building block of being world class.

Top 10 Leadership Traits

The following is a list of leadership traits I consider essential to achieve effectiveness, if not greatness. I have seen similar lists by John Wooden, Rudy Giuliani, Benjamin Franklin, General Schwarzkopf, and Stephen Covey, to name a few, and they all differ in subtle ways. But when someone decides to play to win, I don’t think you’ll find these traits lacking:

1. Self-esteem. Leaders consider themselves worthy to lead, yet possess humility and a balanced life, making them attractive to their followers.

2.Vision. Leaders inject passion into the organization through their vision. It is, by far, the leader’s most important and difficult job.

3. Planning. Leaders create a plan that can win, yet understand it may change.

4.Strategy. Leaders execute a strategy that capitalizes on their resources.

5. Focus. Leaders focus themselves and their organizations on the desired results.

6. Influence. Leaders affect others as much by who they are as what they do.

7. Communication skills. Leaders realize this is a skill worthy of lifelong effort.

8. Knowledge. Leaders ask questions, study results, and try new things, looking for improvement.

9. Persistence. Leaders never quit.

10. Association with other winners. Leaders know that steel sharpens steel.