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The Need to Lead – Part 2

career_opportunities On The Bigg Success Show today, we continued our discussion with Douglas E. Welch, host of the popular Career Opportunities, podcast. Last time, we discussed why Douglas has declared 2009 the “Year of the Leader.” Let’s get back to the conversation …

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georgeOne of the challenges we face is getting started. You’ve talked about inertia – we tend to remain inanimate unless we really push ourselves. One of your quotes that I love is that we need “leadership over laissez-faire.”

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douglasThere’s the old phrase that the only person who likes change is a wet baby. I see that every single day. It is so important. Newton had it right – objects at rest tend to remain at rest; objects in motion tend to remain in motion. I find that if I can get someone in motion, making the smallest step, the next step becomes all the easier. There is something about momentum and forward movement that builds on itself. Unfortunately, inertia builds on itself too. We can become really sedentary in our lives in a variety of ways – both physically and mentally. That’s part of the reason I write the column. Sometimes when I write, I picture myself giving that stone just a little bit of a push downhill. If I can get it to roll a quarter of a rotation, maybe it will start to roll a little bit further. That’s something we need to do in our own life and also cultivate in others.

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marylynnLeaders are admired for their ability to keep pushing, taking all the steps necessary to keep progressing toward goals. Does your knowledge in this area stem from a time when you didn’t push yourself enough?

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douglasI have to admit that I face this problem every day. I think we all do. There are days when we just want to sit down and do nothing. We just want the world to go spinning around us and not have to worry about whether we have groceries in the house or if that check has come in from that client. It just gets a little overwhelming to us. I grew up in a very small town – a rural town – in Ohio of about 2,000 people. Frankly, in a town that small, there’s a lot of inertia. There’s not a lot of push to go on. I found out very early, though, that I get bored very easily. If I don’t have a constant set of stimulus coming in, I can very easily settle down and just let the world go by me. So as part of learning about myself, I realized I have to have a new book to read, something new to watch, a new place to go to, a new area to go for a walk. I have to constantly have that new input so that I can continue to create the output that I do create such as my column, my podcast, and the other stuff that I do.

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georgeThat’s a great way of looking at it. Look at the inputs – the actions that you take – and then the results will come at some point.

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douglasThat comes from an artist coach that I had become friends with many years ago. I worked at Walt Disney Imagineering for five years as an IT professional in the computer department. One of the biggest perks I got at that job was that I had access to all of the art coaches that all the creative people did. One of the things we discussed was that you cannot output art or other great things in life unless you have enough input coming in. Those are the raw materials that you use for your creation. I really took that to heart and have lived that particular philosophy for a long time now.

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georgeAnd if you can’t afford a coach, find that friend who may be a little bit ahead of you in life or in their career. I have a friend who I meet for coffee. We would always say we needed to get together more often, but it never happened because we didn’t make it happen. So we finally said that we would meet at a particular time every month. That’s what made the difference – getting it pre-planned.

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douglasI started a whole new event here in Los Angeles specifically for that reason. It’s LA Friday Coffee. It is coffee and casual conversation between work and dinner. We meet at various coffee places all around the city. But at its essence, that is my attempt to get myself out on a Friday night to meet and talk to people that I don’t see often enough.

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marylynn
And boy you just can’t beat coffee!

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george
Unless it’s a martini!

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douglas
Anyone who follows my Twitter stream knows that I’m into coffee!

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george
We have to be, doing what we do. Right?

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douglasIt’s weird. I’m a geek in all things. When I find a new interest, I geek out on it as much as I geek out on technology or anything else I’m interested in. So I’ve read up on roasting coffee, how to make coffee, and the perfect espresso shot. My wife’s family is Sicilian and we’ve been to Sicily so I’ve tasted real coffee. That whole geekness kind of filters into my whole life as well.

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george
I’ll bet you make a mean cup of coffee though. When will it be ready? We’re on our way!

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Thanks Douglas for sharing your thoughts with us. He has started a free online resource called Career Camp where members of his community can share their expertise. We highly recommend it to you!

And thank you for taking time to read our post today. Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00333-021809.mp3

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The Need to Lead – Part 1

career_opportunities We are thrilled today to talk with Douglas E. Welch on The Bigg Success Show. Douglas is the host of Career Opportunities, a fantastic podcast where he helps people build the career they deserve. He is also a writer and computer consultant with articles published in Wired, MacWorld, and the Los Angeles Times. As if that’s not enough, he also conducts seminars on podcasting for schools and businesses.

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marylynnOne of the things we wanted to talk with you about today is that you have declared 2009 “The Year of Leadership.

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douglasThis year was a definite conscious decision to choose a theme. It started about three years ago when I decided that, working alone in my home office, I had really become disengaged from my community – both the tech community that I work in and the community in general. So for my own personal decision, I decided to make that year the Year of Reconnecting and Getting Out. In 2008, I stumbled across the idea of the Year of Visibility, which I also think is very important. It’s about people making visible what they do and how they do it. So when 2009 rolled around, I realized that this was getting to be a great idea for each year. I was already working on a column and a podcast on leadership. If there’s ever been a year in my lifetime when I really needed to exercise leadership and get that out of other people as well, this is the year. We’ve simply been lacking leadership in a lot of ways across the entire world.

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georgeI love that you said you need to do this. When you announced this on your show, you were really clear that it was about personal leadership leading to engaging a community and getting other followers.

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douglasEverything starts at home. Sometimes I think we forget that. I could see in myself areas where I needed to lead more – whether that’s in my business, in my podcast, in my column or whatever. I think a lot of people have gotten the idea that leadership only exists “out there” somewhere. It’s something that takes place in the executive suite, in the boardroom, or in higher levels of government. The fact is that leadership is a fundamental aspect of our lives that we exercise – or should exercise – every single day.

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marylynnIn your Year of Leadership, what are some of the steps that you’ve been taking? What challenges have you faced?

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douglasI remember when I worked in a corporate office and lunch time would roll around and the question came up about where we were going to go for lunch. And no one would decide! It’s kind of a joke, but kind of not. One of the simplest things you can do is start making decisions. Too many of us abdicate our decision making. We don’t decide and face problems with that down the road. So most fundamentally, it’s just stepping up and making decisions. Now I realize why we don’t make decisions. We’re scared – scared of failing, scared of making the wrong decisions. The fact is there is no wrong decision because each decision you make brings you closer to what you need. If something doesn’t work, you say, “You know what, that didn’t work. We’re going to try this now.” The point is to keep moving forward and to keep making those decisions so you don’t suffer what I’ve heard described as “analysis paralysis.” You spend all your time looking at all the different options out there and never end up doing anything.

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marylynnI think one of the scariest things when you’re trying to step up your leadership role is that you might have to challenge the existing leadership. How do you tip toe around that?

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douglasOne of the ways is what we’ve already discussed. You start making decisions for yourself. It’s a relatively non-threatening way of pushing those decisions up the silo. One of the best things we can do as a human being is set a good example by our actions. As people see you making decisions, it helps them to take the reins as well and move forward.

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Thanks so much for checking in on us today. Join us next when we continue our conversation with Douglas. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00332-021709.mp3

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Great Bigg Ideas are Born Bad

By Bigg Success Staff
10-01-08

Growth

newborn 

Cavas Gobhai has consulted with some of the world’s largest companies. He helps them implement bigg ideas. Over the years, he has noticed something about ideas that succeed bigg. Here’s a quote from The Wall Street Journal:

"Big ideas don't get built incrementally. You back into big good ideas from big bad ideas."

Most good ideas may look a bit odd at birth. They may sound crazy or outrageous at first. But these bigg bad ideas are the seed for break-through ideas that help you succeed bigg.

We became familiar with Gobhai’s work through the book, The Predators’ Ball, written by Connie Bruck. One of his most famous clients, Drexel Burnham, ultimately failed for reasons that aren’t relevant to our discussion. However, during the time Gobhai consulted with them, they went from being a no-name firm to become one of the most formidable investment houses on Wall Street. 

While Gobhai’s techniques are largely geared for companies, we can also use these ideas in our personal lives. Here are nine steps to find your great bigg ideas:

#1 – Schedule time

If you don’t plan time for creative thinking, the odds are that it won’t get done. Dedicate a block of time at least every quarter to creative thinking. In a short time, you’ll see what a valuable investment this is.

#2 – Create the right environment

Some people think most creatively in absolute silence. Others work best with some noise. Whatever works for you works! Just make sure you place yourself in an environment where you can be most productive as you seek bigg bad ideas.

#3 – Accept spontaneity

While it’s important to dedicate time, it’s also crucial to develop a system to record your bigg bad ideas as they occur – on your commute, in the shower. Make sure you archive your bigg bad idea, whenever or wherever it pops into your mind.

#4 – Focus on challenges and opportunities

What’s the biggest challenge you face right now? What’s the biggest opportunity you have right now? Your opportunity may come from your own challenge or somebody else’s. By concentrating your energy on your biggest issues, you’ll move ahead further and faster.

#5 – Suspend reality

When you find yourself coming up with all of the reasons why something won’t work, suspend reality for a bit. Picture yourself free from all constraints – time, money, and your own self-imposed limitations.

Think about why it could be done and how you would do it. Don’t reject any idea out of the gate; remember that your great bigg idea will come from a bigg bad idea. In fact, allow yourself to think of it the opposite way – the more outrageous the idea seems at first, the better!

#6 – Use images

This is another Gobhai technique. Use pictures, drawings, metaphors, animals or anything else you can think of to bring your ideas to life. By visualizing your idea, you come to a deeper level of understanding. You may realize that your image isn’t right; there’s a better analogy. Fantastic! You might be moving from the bigg bad idea to the great bigg one!

In The Predators’ Ball, Bruck discusses a Drexel session with Gobhai. One of the Drexel employees suggested that most of their competitors operated like a pride of lions. These companies had a definite pecking order among their employees. As the group discussed this, they realized their model should be a wolf pack, where everybody would feast together. 

#7 – Form a Master Mind Alliance

Here’s the bad news – you don’t have all of the world’s best ideas. The good news is that you can align yourself with others to discover more great bigg ideas.

Napoleon Hill, in his great book, Think & Grow Rich, defined “master mind” as:
“Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”

Find people who skills and goals are complementary with yours. Play off of your different strengths to discover ways you can mutually succeed bigg.

#8 – Review all your ideas

At regular intervals, but no less than once a week, sit down and review your inventory of bigg bad ideas. Upon further reflection, you’ll be able to categorize your bigg bad ideas in three ways:

  • truly just bad ideas that won’t go anywhere. You can ditch these.
  • bigg bad ideas that don’t solve your most immediate challenges and opportunities. You’ll want to archive these ideas for future use.
  • bigg bad ideas that you can implement now. You’ll develop these further and act upon them.

#9 – Reduce your idea to buzzwords

For that last category of ideas, reduce your great bigg idea to buzzwords – a word or phrase that you can easily call upon. These words should excite you to act now. You’ve turned a bigg bad idea into a great bigg idea!

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show

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3 Steps to Solve an Ethical Dilemma

By Bigg Success Staff
08-05-08

Leadership Skills

dilemma

One of the most important leadership skills you can possess is a high moral intelligence.
It may appear that bad behavior is rewarded in the corporate world, but it is usually a very short-term phenomenon. In the long-term, good behavior tends to pay off.

What makes ethical dilemmas particularly difficult is that they often involve conflicts between two or more deeply held beliefs. Consider this admittedly simple example …

A friend of yours just had a baby. He’s the most homely baby you’ve ever seen. While holding her new baby boy in her arms, your friend asks, “Isn’t he the best looking baby you’ve ever seen?”

Now you value honesty. But you also believe you shouldn’t needlessly hurt someone’s feelings. You have an ethical dilemma!

Ethical dilemmas flow upward
All of us are leaders, even if it’s just personal leadership. However, when you start managing others, it’s crucial to have a framework in place to deal with ethical dilemmas. Leaders must learn to apply their values, aligned with the values of their organization, to these situations. Ethical decisions are often trade-offs between:

  • Utility – the value delivered to the stakeholders in your organization
  • Rights – entitlement to something
  • Justice – equitable sharing of pain and pleasure

Because of these trade-offs, leaders must be prepared to deal with ethical dilemmas because these decisions tend to flow upward. So leaders must develop a framework to handle these inevitable challenges.

The benefits of an established framework

There are at least four benefits to putting a framework in place for making ethical decisions:

  • Efficiency – decisions can be made more quickly
  • Consistency – results in more systematic outputs
  • Payback – builds emotional goodwill with your constituents
  • Self-respect – you feel good about yourself when you look in the mirror

3 steps to solving ethical dilemmas

#1 – Know your values
There are certain values about which society agrees. For example, we tend to value honesty. Our discussion here isn’t designed to change your values – instead, it’s about applying them. Before you can apply them, you have to know what they are.

If you haven’t formally contemplated your values, or even if you haven’t thought about it for awhile, check out our article on core values.

Application: Create your list of core values.

#2 – Select a model
According to the book, Moral Issues in Business, ethical theories can be divided into two classifications: consequential theories (the formal term for these is teleological theories) and non-consequential theories (formal name is deontological theories).

The following is not a complete list of ethical theories, but it certainly covers the most significant ones for business people.

Consequential theories
With consequential theories, actions are judged by outcomes. If an action results in a positive result, it is morally right. If not, it is wrong.
Egoism – An act is moral if it promotes your best long-term interest.

Strengths Weaknesses
– Useful for decision-making – Ignores wrongs
– Flexible – Ignores interest of others
– Doesn’t build relationships
– Inconsistent (i.e. right for me, wrong for you)
– Can’t resolve conflicts of interest

Utilitarianism – An act is moral if it produces the great ratio of good to evil for everyone.

Strengths Weaknesses
– Useful for decision-making – May ignore wrongs
– Flexible – May conflict with justice
– Recognizes interests of all – Difficult to design rules
– Resolves conflict of interest

Situational – An act is moral if it creates the greatest amount of love.

Strengths Weaknesses
– Humanizes decisions – Lacks definite criteria for decision-making
– Rejects moral legalism

Non-consequential theories
According to non-consequential theories, a factor (single rule non-consequential theories) or factors (multiple rule non-consequential theories) other than the outcome should be considered when faced with an ethical dilemma.

Single rule

Golden Rule – An act is moral if you treat others the way you would wish to be treated.

Strengths Weaknesses
– Personalizes decisions – Needs modification to fit commerce
– Brings fairness into play – We can’t know how others feel and think
– Carries childhood teachings into business

Categorical Imperative (Kant) – An act is moral if you would wish that everyone behaved in the same manner.

Strengths Weaknesses
– Useful for decisions (i.e. do your duty) – Doesn’t resolve conflicts of duties
– Recognizes responsibilities – Subject to misinterpretation of duty
– Provides humanistic dimension – Results of acting on duty can be disastrous
– Respects rights of others

Multiple rules

Prima Facie Duties (Ross) – An act is moral if you fulfill your duties; if there is conflict, fulfill the duty to which you are most obligated. Prima facie duties include, but are not limited to: fidelity, gratitude, justice, beneficence, self-improvement, and non-injury.

Strengths Weaknesses
– List of duties is educational in itself – Difficult to determine weight of duties
– Sensitive to consequences – No basic agreement on moral principles

Maximin Principle of Justice (Rawls) – An act is moral if it provides an equal amount of liberty for you and others, except when social or economic inequalities exist. In that case, the worst-off in society should benefit more from the act.

Strengths Weaknesses
– Shows inherent respect for individuals – Concerned only with justice
– Encourages social responsibility by all – Assumes a high level of rationality
– Shows concern for less fortunate – Assumes acting without self-interest

Proportionality (Garrett) – An act is moral if, in engaging in it, you don’t will a major evil to you or anyone else and if you don’t will, risk or permit a minor evil to yourself or anyone else without a proportionate reason.

Strengths Weaknesses
– Synthesizes most useful theories – Definitions are vague
– Provides flexibility without immorality – Highly subjective

You probably noticed that all of these theories have weaknesses. So you may think that selecting an ethical theory is an exercise in futility. However, once you select the ethical theory that you feel is most closely aligned with your core values, you’ll find solving ethical dilemmas much easier. You can recognize the weakness of your method, while feeling confident in your process.

Application: Choose the ethical theory which most closely aligns with your values.

#3 – Use a problem-solving process

Now you know your values and you have a model with which to apply them. The remaining piece is to follow an orderly process to solve the problem, because not all ethical dilemmas are as simple as your friend and her baby that we discussed earlier.

We recommend that you SOLVE IT! That’s our acronym for the timeless problem-solving process. When you follow a process such as this to solve an ethical dilemma, or any problem for that matter, you feel good about your ultimate decision. You know you’ve considered all of the alternatives and chosen the best alternative under the circumstances.

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Gearing Up for a New Workplace

By Bigg Success Staff
06-05-08

Leadership Skills

keyboard 

Great leaders are vital to success for any organization. It’s especially true today as we face more challenges with a multi-generational workforce. We’re also learning more about how people respond to calls for change.

It’s incumbent on leadership today to focus the attention and activities around these three questions:

#1 – What are the most important results for us to achieve?

Your people must know what needs to be done. Not the duties, but the outcome. What is the expected result of the work you’re doing together? Identify it, proclaim it, and repeat it … and repeat it … and repeat it.

#2 – What behaviors are necessary to achieve those results?

Identify what it will take to achieve your desired result. Don’t worry about current behavior. Focus on what behavior will lead to bigg success. To accomplishing what you set out to do.

#3 – What is working well?
Along the way, highlight those things that are leading you and your team to your goal. Keep your discussions on discovering these things and then making them part of your system.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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