Stability and Leadership – Are They Related?

Stability and Leadership

I have recently begun hanging around some entrepreneurs in an effort to learn from these folks about how to build something tangible from just a dream and and some drive.  These guys (and one gal) are inspiring to me.  My hope is that they will help me grow Leadership Voices beyond my own personal abilities.

There are many management philosophies out there and they have many followers that would state that stability in and of itself is actually non-entrepreneurial. Here are some common expressions that may be familiar to you:

  • Always question what you have.
  • Don’t follow the rules.
  • If you don’t take the risk, you will never succeed.

Although I agree with the spirit of all these statements in general, I disagree with the typical or traditional interpretation of their intent. All these actually imply one very important and often overlooked pice of advice. The underlying theme of all these maxims should be that your goal is be to be performing continuous improvements to the process. But, unfortunately, the above statements are usually taken too literally and that is a danger for budding entrepreneurs and leaders.

Let’s consider the impact of those statements on my topic for the day. – Stability. Continue reading “Stability and Leadership – Are They Related?”

The Difference Between a Leader and a Master of Ceremony


Leaders provide vision and a well-considered direction to reach a common goal. A Master of Ceremonies just announces that it is time to dance.

I run in to a lot of folks who look and act like MCs in my daily activities. But I see very few real leaders. Most of what I see looks more like being a master of ceremonies where the key concern is keeping everyone happy at the party and keeping the proverbial drinks flowing.

Let’s compare and contrast those two individuals for a few moments. What do each of them really do?  And what can we learn from looking at each of them?


Masters of Ceremony usually have a script that they are following. The really good ones make everything they do seem as though what they are saying and doing is flowing from a sense of spectacular spontaneity. Pace and humor are very important to a good MC.  Pace and humor are important skills for leaders. But they are the stock and trade of a good MC.

By contrast, leaders don’t always have a script to follow. Or if they do, they are writing it as they go along. Leaders are actually directing the flow of events with their voice, their presence and their example. Continue reading “The Difference Between a Leader and a Master of Ceremony”

Sailing the 7 “C”s of Leadership

Seven Cs of Leadership

I am not a sailor. But I love alliteration in writing and, in addition, it helps me to remember things. So, today, I offer you the following “7 ‘C’s of Leadership”.

These are not the only things that are important to be a real leader. But, if you were to focus on just a few aspects or defining characteristics of a real leader – these would certainly be on the list.

Commitment to the Team – A real leader is committed to the team. They are committed to the entire team and do not play favorites. In fact, a leader’s commitment to the team is of more importance than the team’s commitment to the leader. A leader must be committed and willing to sacrifice for the good of the team and the mission.

Creativity and Freedom – A real leader fosters a sense of creativity and freedom of expression from those around them. Fresh ideas and suggestions are welcomed by a real leader. Long gone are the days of the “Yes Men” that have been constant fixtures of some insecure leaders.

Continue reading “Sailing the 7 “C”s of Leadership”

Distance and Leadership

Distance and Leadership - 2

There is an old joke that is not all that kind to girls.  And it goes like this: “She was so homely looking that the only thing that improved her looks was distance.”

Do you see? I told you it wasn’t very nice. So, I apologize to all of the women in our audience. That old joke is the set-up for my article.

Maybe I am a little preoccupied with the concept of distance since I am writing this from a hotel room about 7600 miles from home. And I desperately would like to be in much closer proximity to the ones that I love.

Does “distance” affect the way that you are perceived as a leader? In other words, does your leadership look the same up close as it does from a comfortable distance? Or are you afraid that if folks get really close to you they will see the real you? And maybe the real you isn’t the kind of leader that you think you are.

I am not indicating that we should act in any way so that we will gain favor in the eyes of those that we love. That would put us in the camp of the “people pleasers.” People pleasers don’t usually make good leaders. Instead I am asking us to consider whether or not we are genuine and that we look the same up close as well as from a distance where our flaws are not as readily noticeable.

So now we are back to the set-up joke. Am I so flawed and blemished as a leader that I only appear acceptable from a distance?

Continue reading “Distance and Leadership”

Loneliness in All Aspects of Leadership

Loneliness in All Aspects of Leadership

“There is a loneliness in all aspects of leadership.”

This is a line from a speech given by a man named Gordon B. Hinckley to a group of students and faculty at Brigham Young University in November of 1969.   I will not debate the theology of that institution. Nor will I debate the incidents that gave rise to Mr. Hinckley making the statements that I find so fascinating. But rather I would ask you to consider the impact of that statement on those of us who would be leaders.

At the point that he delivered this address, BYU was embroiled in a great controversy. For those unaware, the BYU football team had recently been to Laramie, WY to play the University of Wyoming at War Memorial Stadium. Fourteen black football players had planned to wear black armbands as part of their uniform to protest the policy of the LDS church that many considered to be racist. These same fourteen players were dismissed from the team on the evening before the big game.

Now consider some more words from Gordon Hinckley about the loneliness of leadership.

“It was ever thus. The price of leadership is loneliness. The price of adherence to conscience is loneliness. The price of adherence to principle is loneliness. I think it is inescapable. The Savior of the world was a Man who walked in loneliness. I do not know of any statement more underlined with the pathos of loneliness than His statement: ‘The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head’ (Matthew 8:20).

There is a loneliness in all aspects of leadership. I think we feel it somewhat in this university. BYU is being discussed across the nation today because of some of our practices and some of our policies and some of our procedures, but I would like to offer the thought that no institution and no man ever lived at peace with itself or with himself in a spirit of compromise. We have to stand for the policy that we have adopted. We may wonder in our hearts, but we have to stand on that position set for us by him who leads us, our prophet.”

For the record, the policy that prohibited black males from the priesthood was rescinded in 1978. And one of the top leaders of the church at that time was none other than Gordon Hinckley.

What happened between 1969 and 1978? Many things. Not the least of which was the rapid expansion of the LDS church in South America and a new temple being constructed in Brazil. How would the policy of the day work in such a multi-cultural and multi-racial nation as Brazil? Apparently, the leadership of the church came to the conclusion that the policy was no longer feasible.

What is the point for us as leaders? Continue reading “Loneliness in All Aspects of Leadership”

Go Quietly

Quiet Please

I had a very interesting and brief email exchange with a friend via LinkedIn.  He had read an article that I posted on LinkedIn and he “Liked” it.  (By the way, that is very gratifying to a writer. . .  just sayin’)  I responded to him briefly and thanked him for taking the time to read the article and then taking that extra few seconds to give it the internet “thumbs up!”

This will be very brief today.  But he said something in his reply to me that struck a chord.  I had asked him why he thinks our comments are relatively low when our readership is at an all-time high.   And his response was that culture and the politically correct climate is causing this.  In other words, culture is squeezing us into a mold of quiet conformity (my words not his.)

Quiet leadership as opposed to screaming and yelling is a virtue to be sure.  In fact, I have written on this topic several times already.  Consider this one on Mahatma Gandhi and this one on the nature of leadership for some of my thoughts on the topic of quiet leadership.  But what are the implications of the quest for silence on other aspects of our lives and behaviors?

I am traveling this week and much of next week and may not have time to delve into this a little deeper until I return.  But, I really think that he is on to something with his response to me.

What are your thoughts?  Do you have any fodder for consideration as I put my thoughts into words?

Three Things About Failure

How many times have you heard that failure is just a stepping-stone to success?

Although it is true, it is not very helpful just knowing that little tidbit. The fact of the matter is, just knowing this is simply not enough. It’s not going to actually bring you success and it’s not going to help you become a better leader.

The fact remains that most people are afraid to fail. We’ve been conditioned since childhood that it’s a bad thing. Failing a test in school didn’t exactly get us one step closer to an “A” now did it? Want to start up a new business? Don’t fail. Because if you do you will lose all your capital that you invested in the venture.

Failing at something doesn’t mean that you have no skills or abilities, or you don’t know how to do anything.

Consider this. Failure, after you strip out the emotions, is just feedback. And it’s from this feedback that we should extract the lessons, learn from them, and apply them to our leadership development. Here now are three things that I think we need to consider where failure is concerned. Continue reading “Three Things About Failure”