A collection of links to the very best articles, tips and tools for personal, professional and business success.

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Leadership Lessons From Fallen Leaders

By Bigg Success Staff
Novemeber 25, 2007

Career Builder

We’re told to learn from our mistakes. It’s even better to learn from the mistakes of others. Recently, there’s been a slew of turnover in senior-level positions in Corporate America. Here are six lessons in leadership that you can learn from their very public departures.

  • Deliver daily
  • Doing your job well is the first step to earning the respect of others. If you want to be a leader, you have to show people that you’re a goal-getter, not just a goal-setter. Otherwise, how can you expect them to do otherwise?

    You can’t rest on your laurels, but you also shouldn’t get discouraged if you fall a little short of the mark. Seek to win every day, but remember to 7 get over today tomorrow.]

  • Hold yourself to the highest standards.
  • Nobody respects a phony. You can’t expect others (especially subordinates) to behave differently than you. You have to walk your talk.

    Many people do the opposite. They hope nobody sees them breaking the rules. They think that nobody will notice if they cut corners. It doesn’t work. You will certainly destroy people’s trust if you fail to apply this lesson.

  • Show respect to get respect.
  • You can’t expect anybody to respect somebody who treats him or her like a nobody. People won’t follow people they don’t respect. Genuinely value the unique talents and personalities of those around you.

    Develop a deep appreciation for skills you don’t have. You need people with those abilities more than someone with your own expertise.

  • Take a genuine interest in others.
  • You have to take an interest. And it must be genuine. Otherwise, it’s worst than not showing interest at all.

    This is a basic lesson in human interaction. Show people that you’re interested in them. Listen. Relate. They will support you because they like you. Now they want to see you succeed.

  • Connect at different levels.
  • Strive to connect with people above and below you in your organization. Get to know your boss. Really understanding his or her challenges helps you make an impact. Ditto for you subordinates. Serve them by understanding.

    If you’re not a senior-level manager, try to understand their point-of-view. Doing so helps you understand the big picture. If you’re not on the front-line, be sure to make some friends there, too. You’ll understand the challenges faced by the people on whom everyone else depends for their job.

  • Feed the feedback.
  • Seek advice from anywhere and everywhere you can get it. Welcome people’s suggestions. Thank them each and every time they offer one.

    People love to feel like they’re a part of something bigger. Eventually, you’ll find a few who have particularly valuable insight. Let them know. Give them credit. Watch them support you even more!

    Find at least one mentor – inside or outside the organization, or both. You want someone to whom you feel accountable. Someone who can bounce ideas off without worrying about any repercussions.

There are lessons to be learned from fallen leaders. Expect more from yourself than you expect from others. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Be the role-model for others you want for yourself! Make these six lessons a part of your daily life and you’ll find people lining up to follow you.

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John Wooden’s Pyramid Of Success

By Bigg Success Staff
November, 25 2007

Timeless Principles

Coach John Wooden's Pyramid of Success book cover

On a previous post, in The BIGG Success Show, we discussed definitions of success. We said that our favorite definition is by John Wooden. He was named ESPN’s coach of the twentieth century. Believe it or not, we think that honor doesn’t begin to fully recognize his accomplishments:

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Review: Geek Gap

By Bigg Success Staff
November, 25 2007

Bigg Book Review

The Geek Gap: Why Business And Technology Professionals Don’t Understand Each Other And Why They Need Each Other to Survive

Book by Bill Pfleging and Minda Zetlin 

Technology and business pros (“geeks” and “suits”, respectively, in this book) often find working together to be a challenge. Bill Pfleging, self-proclaimed geek, and Minda Zetlin, representing the suits, have written this insightful book to help you understand the other side.

As the use of technology continues to proliferate, you’ll find that knowing how to close the gap between the two worlds is a critical skill.

First, seek to understand
In this book, you’ll find a specific example of Steven Covey’s general principle – “seek first to understand” – as discussed in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The authors assert that geeks like to solve problems, while suits rely on influencing people. Through numerous examples, you’ll come to understand the other side, so they can understand you.

Then, learn to value
Suits view technology as a tool to accomplish their goals; geeks see technology as a “living, breathing thing.” These diverse points-of-view strengthen your organization.

Whether you’re a geek or a suit, you’ll find practical suggestions to help you learn to value the complementary skill sets of your co-workers. That’s a skill that will help you advance in your career.

Final note
While this book reports to be about geeks and suits, it’s really a book about working with people who think differently than you. If you want to improve your ability to communicate with others, we think you’ll find this book useful.

John Bramblitt

The Art Of Seeing Opportunity In Adversity

By Bigg Success Staff
November, 25 2007

John Bramblitt

John Bramblitt is an unusually gifted painter. More importantly, he is an inspiration to countless numbers of people. We think you’ll be as inspired by him as we have been.

You see John has dealt with adversity for most of his life. He first experienced a seizure over twenty years ago. He had a kidney removed as a kid. He endured hearing loss. At eleven, he required glasses.

If all that wasn’t enough for a young man who had just turned thirty, he began noticing that his friends’ faces weren’t clear. A doctor diagnosed that he was going blind. The cause of his blindness is still unknown.

In the years since, John has experienced a lot. At first, he was sad, frustrated, and angry. He turned to painting, in part, to symbolically give God the finger. That’s when he made an amazing discovery.

He sees better now than he did before.

He says he sees with one hand, while feeling the paint with the other. The more he painted, the less angry he was. He found that, what he thought was a curse, has turned into a blessing.

So what can we learn from John Bramblitt?

Use all your available senses

You possess more abilities than even you know. Look at each day as an opportunity to discover gifts you didn’t know you had. To practice this, check out our 8 visualization exercise.]

Become adept at adapting

John learned that he could distinguish colors by their feel. He developed his memory so he could picture the painting in his mind as he touches it with his hands. Get excited about all you can learn when challenges come your way!

Know when to quit

John knows a painting is done when doing any more would take away from it. We recently discussed John Wooden’s definition of success. We said that you must do all you can, but that’s all you need to do. When you do that, you have peace of mind. John achieves this with every one of his paintings, then he quits.

To learn more about John, check out the following links:

See John’s paintings. You’ll be amazed at this young man’s talent.

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Work Life Teeter-Totter

By Bigg Success Staff
November, 25 2007

teeter-totter

Work-Life Balance 

There’s a fantastic article by Stephanie N. Mehta with Fortune magazine. It’s entitled Confessions of a CEO, but it’s less CEO, more confession about one man’s dilemma to balance work and life.

The subject is Dominic Orr, who’s generally regarded as a very successful CEO. We admire Mr. Orr for sharing some of the difficulties he faced as he tried to become a complete man.

We also applaud Ms. Mehta for this piece. We’ll hit some highlights here, but you should check out the full article to gain insight from a person who has, and still is, struggling to strike the proper balance.

We refer to a teeter-totter, in the title to our article, because it seems we often are up on one side of the equation while being down on the other. This is evidenced by a common problem faced by many of us today.

When you’re home, do you ever find yourself catching up on all the work you didn’t get done that day? At work, do you find challenges from home spilling into your day? So what lessons can we learn from Mr. Orr?

Organize your day. One solution Mr. Orr discovered was to work different hours. He didn’t work less; instead, he organized his day so he could spend time with his kids when they were available.

Define success properly. Mr. Orr felt constant pressure to not screw anything up. That’s a tough standard to uphold. You should allow yourself to be human. Humans aren’t perfect. For a realistic standard, see 7 four things you must do to insure success.]

Do the right things right. First, determine what the right things to do are. In other words, 8 visualize the future you want.] Then, you can do the right things right. If it involves things, focus on efficiency. Find the shortest path to get your project completed. If it involves people, focus on effectiveness. Connect with the person you’re trying to reach. Mr. Orr’s vision was to die a complete man. This meant changing his ways.

Use balance to your advantage. Mr. Orr’s management style has changed as part of his journey. He’s more rounded now. That comes into play at work and home. Find ways to use lessons learned in one world to benefit the other. Now you’re using your balance to your advantage. Let your balance drive your success, rather than detract from it.

Get the cat out of the cradle. Note how Mr. Orr used the only model of parenthood he knew. What kind of a model are you setting for your kids? You’re creating your granchildrens’ childhoods now. Are you happy with how they’ll grow up?

Work your teeter-totter. Mr. Orr took time away from work after selling his business. He focused on his children. He tried going back to work and still found it difficult to balance his career and family. Make the teeter-totter your friend. Accept the fact that at times your work will be up, family down. Then make it reverse. Work the teeter-totter, don’t let it work you.

A balanced life is one of the most difficult challenges we face today. Following these tips will help you work toward a more balanced life. It’s a process. Take baby steps, but be sure you take at least one today.

(Image of teeter-totter by mayr, CC 2.0)