Monday, April 14, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become a More Effective Leader

It’s a little bit like American Idol,
except everybody is Simon Powell.
-- President Obama, on his first two months in office.
 
Although his father wanted him to be a farmer, a seventeen-year-old from Michigan dropped out of school to follow his passion for mechanics. In his own words, his family had “all but given [him] up for lost.”
In 1899, his employer offered him a promotion with the condition that he give up his private obsession with designing a gasoline engine that would inexpensively transport people. He refused, and quit his job.
He became the object of much derision for trying to ‘democratize’ the automobile by producing one at a price the common man could afford. The founder of the Ford Motor Company went on to become that rare person to mass-produce his own invention. By the time the Model T gave way to the Model A in 1927, the pioneer of modern assembly-line production had sold fifteen million worldwide.
Do you have to lead knowing some of the people you’re leading don’t like you very much? If you want to become a leader who “makes a ding in the universe,” as Steve Jobs once said, you have to be willing to go against the grain when your deeper values require it.
This week, make a pact with yourself to do three things: First, to accept that some people will not support you or what you are trying to create. Second, to learn what you can from their good opinions. Third, to discard the rest and get on with the challenge of effective leadership.
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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, April 7, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become Your Greatest Fan

Usually, your best idea or work 
is going to be attacked the most.
-- Francis Ford Coppola

An unknown writer from Lousiana unsuccessfully looked for a publisher for his book for over eight years. Simon & Schuster commented that John Kennedy Toole’s book “isn't really about anything.” At age thirty-one, Toole gave up, and committed suicide.

His mother spent another five years searching for a publisher with no luck. After she accosted him repeatedly in his office without an appointment, a literature professor at Loyola University in New Orleans, where the novel is set, finally took some interest in the manuscript and helped her publish it. 

Within a year of publication, A Confederacy of Dunces became the first book ever published by a university press to win the Pulitzer Prize. In my opinion, it still stands as the funniest book ever written.

This week, ask yourself this one question: “Do I want to be liked by everyone?” If your answer is yes, your end-goal translates as: “I want my actions and opinions to be congruent with the values of everyone I know.”

That’s tantamount to answering the question, “What music do you like?” with “Whatever is currently in the Top Forty,” or responding to the question, “What is your favorite football team?” by exclaiming, “Whichever team wins the Super Bowl.”

Opinions are like friends: choose a few and your life has meaning. Choose them all and you end up with none.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, March 31, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Build Meaningful Relationships

It is better to be hated for what you are
than to be loved for what you are not.
--- André Gide

Who is the person in your life with whom you are most afraid of sharing your honest feelings? Which relationship do you not want to ‘stir up’ out of fear that the other person will abandon or reject you?

Have you been doing exactly what your boss wants for years without telling her you feel undervalued in the company and want to be consulted more on strategic decisions? Are you still being the child your mother or father always wanted? Have you been reluctant to share that you don’t want the career they want you to have, that you are gay, or that you’re not interested in the kind of partner they want for you?

Are you choosing a path over and over again that leads you only to unmet expectations and a feeling of inner failure that eats away at your soul? Are you afraid of feeling vulnerable and exposed for who you truly are?

Having real discussions and airing differences is the only way to usher in the feelings of safety and true connection that lead to a lasting, meaningful relationship. So wouldn’t it be easier to skip the charade and just be yourself from the starting gate? While ‘What have you got to lose?’ by being yourself is a good question, an even more compelling question is ‘What have you got to gain?’ by the alternative.

This week, come up with one new strategy in your life that will bring more authenticity to your relationships.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, March 24, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Create the Intimate Relationship You Desire


Fortune favors the daring.
--- Virgil

If you are at all like the rest of us, you sometimes find it challenging to speak to someone whom you find attractive. Your fear of rejection may leave you feeling paralyzed.

We all tend to find fault in others to distract ourselves from this fear. When you stand against the wall for hours and convince yourself each person you see is too arrogant, or bossy, or unattractive, in truth you’re just finding reasons not to step up to the plate and start a conversation.

You become a modern-day apparition of the potbellied man sitting on the couch with beer in hand screaming at the television. Because you are unwilling to put yourself on the line and approach someone, you never work up the courage or verbal flow to talk to anyone.

Courage is contagious. Acting boldly and going for what you truly want in your life—in this case, a healthy relationship—is attractive to others, most of whom are also paralyzed and unable to muster the courage to strike up a conversation.

This week, do not prohibit the sublime beauty that could enter your life through a new friendship or intimate relationship for a moment longer. Instead, imagine there is an invisible hand pushing you in the direction of someone who looks interesting and just walk up to them and say hello. More often than not, the imaginary obstacles you erected in your mind will vanish right before your eyes. 

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Live the Life You Have Imagined


A goal is a dream with a deadline.
--- Harvey Mackay

A New Yorker cartoon shows two goldfish talking in a small goldfish bowl. The larger goldfish says to the smaller one, “You can be anything you want to be—no limits.” Many of us limit others—especially our children—by sharing our expectations of what they should do.

One father put his son into a small tank with his expectation that he should become a doctor. At the age of nineteen, his son was selling 50,000 dollars in computer components each month from his dorm room. When the father authoritatively said, “Get your priorities straight. What do you want to do with your life?” the son replied—to his father’s dismay—“I want to compete with IBM!”

Two years later, the young entrepreneur’s company had already reached $60 million in sales. Encouraged by his success, he established a goal of $1 billion in annual sales within six years. Sound audacious? Michael Dell more than doubled it.

Ever since the 1960s, academics like David McClelland of Harvard and David Kolb of MIT have proven that entrepreneurs who set goals and then develop a plan to achieve those goals are likeliest to succeed.

This week, come up with a small, short-term goal with a fixed deadline you will concentrate on achieving. Whether you achieve it or not, reflect on what you learned in the process and then design another time-sensitive goal. Once you feel ready, create a longer-term, more audacious goal that’s aligned with the dream you want to transform into reality.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, March 10, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become a More Effective Leader

I don't dictate.
You don't dictate to Stevie Wonder,
not successfully.

---
Spike Lee

A dimension of culture first identified by the Dutch researcher Geert Hofstede is “power distance.” Power distance is the degree to which members of a culture accept and expect an unequal distribution of power.

Cultures high in power distance, such as most nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, tend to be characterized by centralized authority. In such cultures, leaders tend to practice an autocratic style of decision-making.

Low power distance cultures such as the United States and northern European countries like Sweden, Denmark, and the United Kingdom, on the other hand, tend to be democratic and authority in such cultures tends to be decentralized. In such cultures, managers tend to practice a consultative style of leadership in which they ask their employees to share their opinions and participate in the decision-making process.

This week, ask yourself a few questions: First, what level of power distance is reflected in your personal leadership style? What beliefs have led you to practice this level of power distance?

Next, in which cultures were your employees raised? Which cultures have they assimilated into later in their lives? How have their cultures affected their perceptions of effective leadership?

Remember: Leadership is a relationship. The concept of leadership only exists within the context of the people you’re leading. Without them, you’re taking a long walk on a short pier.


Based on how you’ve answered the above questions, construct your personal leadership style within the specific context in which you are currently leading others.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, March 3, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become Your Greatest Fan


If you start worrying about the people in the stands,
before too long you’re up in the stands with them.
--- Tommy Lasorda

When you seek approval, you allow the motivations of others—rather than your own—to be your guide.

Reflect for a moment on your most important life goals. Who is sitting in the bleachers at your stadium? Who is reclining in a comfortable seat and giving you their unsolicited two cents on your career choices, or the kind of people you date, or the way you raise your children?

How will you spend your time—working on your game or trying to gain their approval?

Consider what you are signing up for when your self-perception hinges on the taste others have for you. Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk and Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Swiss Almond—like other premium ice creams—are made from high-quality ingredients. Yet while some people love these flavors, others can’t stand them.

Unless you want to be the Flavor of the Month one day and yesterday’s news the next, don’t base your self-perception on how you taste to others. Instead, develop an appreciation for the high-quality ingredients that make you a unique, dynamic, and lovable human being.

This week, write down a few of your standout qualities―the high-quality ingredients―and then remind yourself of them whenever anyone sends an unsolicited message of disapproval your way.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).