Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Answering Questions

Have you ever watched the news and whenever someone asks a politician something he never answers the question directly? For example, "When did you decide to XXXXX?". No one answers "This morning, 8am". Normally the would answer, "We started a sub-committee and it went through xxxx and xxx. After periodically xxxx we decided to xxxx after conferring with xxxx this morning at 8am.".

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The 21 Laws of Leadership

Success is a contextual value, having different definitions according the person, the time, and the circumstances.

In perhaps 80-95% of cases, our success is dependent on other people or rather our ability to get other people to provide the resources like time, money, information, wisdom, assistance, prestige, to achieve our goals.

When it comes to other people, we then need to have influence. And influence is leadership.

Perhaps, when I grew up I didn't understand what leadership is. But after understanding first that we have an underlying purpose in our lives, a goal to achieve, then leadership comes into the picture. Leadership is not a measure of our success. A person who's idea of success is living like a hermit on top of a mountain would not need leadership skills. But when it comes to achieving a success that involves the effort and resources of more than one person then leadership is needed.

Maxwell's 21 laws provides insight to what leadership is, through stories he illustrates principles that affect leadership and who the true leader is.

Most leadership books assume that you are the positional leader. E.g. the newly promoted manager, the CEO, the CG leader. And it then teaches you how to use that position or how group dynamics work, etc. Maxwell says that these leadership books aren't leadership books at all. They're actually management books.

Leadership is influence.

Maxwell's 21 Laws of Leadership in my own words:
  1. The Law of the Lid. This means that your leadership affects how much you can achieve. Ability to lead determines the degree of success in your endeavours.

  2. The Law of Influence. This means that leadership is influence. No matter what your positional power is. If you cannot get people to follow you, you're just going for a walk.

  3. The Law of Process. This means that it must be learnt and practices. When people confer to you a title, you don't really become a leader. Leadership is practised daily. A title just means that someone finally recognises your leadership ability.

  4. The Law of Navigation. You must plan ahead to handle obstacles. Excellence in gathering your resources and mapping your way through treacherous obstacles, whether social, psychic, materially, spiritually, politically.

  5. The Law of E.F. Hutton. This means that it isn't just the content of what you say that matters, it's who you are that matters even more. (Who is E.F. Hutton? Forget about E.F. Hutton. It's just something that means more to an American who has seen an insurance ad.) People listen to you because of who you are. Or to be more precise, your character, your relationships, your prestige, your credibility, your links, your track record, your knowledge and abilities.

To be continued...

Note: Every word that we say matters in life. Especially off the cuff. I've been influenced just as much by off-the-cuff remarks as well as by formal speeches and talks. As the Bible says, we are accountable for every word that we say.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Real World

Leadership is a very important yet misunderstood subject.

There are people who are the managers, HOD's, CEO's etc. But who the leader is, can be--as is often the case--different.

Leadership is also a multiplier effect. Having your workers "work harder" or longer hours doesn't make it more effective. Good leadership provides multiplier effects that makes 8 hours of work turn into 16 hours of effectiveness. I would rather have a great leader with people working 7 hour days than a lousy leader with people working 16 hour days.

Church is one of the best places to develop leaders. Why? Because there leaders become leaders purely from leadership capability, not like positional or rank status like in corporations or in the army.

Which leads to another thought, what is the "real world". Terms like "when I enter the real world" or "it's different in the real world".

We are born and study for about 1/3 of our lives. We then work for another 1/3 and live retired for another 1/3.

If the working world is the "real world". Then it seems we live in a "fantasy world" for 2/3 of our lives.

Your life is real whether you are a child or retired. The terms "real world" seem to imply that the 2/3 of our lives that we live in the "unreal world" seem to be unimportant and trivial. It then seems to be the cause of people neglecting the growth of their children when they are busy "pursuing their career" (whatever the word "career" means) and the purpose of their lives after retirement. (If there is such a thing as "retirement").