Leadership By the Book: Finding Love

Psychology portrays love as a cognitive phenomenon with a social cause.  However, defining love is one of the most difficult tasks for mankind. Centuries have passed by, but no one can give the proper definition of love.  No matter how you define it is the eternal truth in the history of mankind.  It has been said in the book of psychology that one component of love is commitment.  Also, an old ancient proverb defined love as a higher form of tolerance.  The tolerance view has been accepted and advocated by both philosophers and scholars. It is written:

  • Love is patient
  •  Love is kind
  •  Love does not envy
  •  Love does not boast of itself
  •  Love is a truth seeker
  •  Love protects; preserves and hopes for the highest possible positive aspect for another.          

Most people can be leaders.  Much more, in fact true love is required to become an authentic leader.  Time will test authentic leadership and the leader’s true character will be revealed. Authentic leadership will aspire to, and meet, the highest standards.  An authentic leader will lead with a certain love that only comes through a full understanding of servant leadership.  It will also be motivated by and practiced with a love for others.

Personal fame, material acquisitions, and fortune are the desires and goals of fauxial leaders.  These are not the desires and goals of authentic leaders.  Inspired authentic leadership does not provide using others to simply attain a goal. Fauxial leaders will use any means to achieve a goal with the justification that achieving the goal is more important than the means by which it was achieved.  Authentic leaders foster sustainable relationships with other leaders, friends and even co-workers.  It is not unusual for authentic leaders to be mentored and become mentors themselves.  A strong love for and from others supports leaders in addressing and overcoming personal and professional problems.

Love, as life, is like a violin. When touched by a master, an amazing transformation occurs, greatness is achieved, and the world catches a glimpse of the violin’s full potential.  The capacity of the violin then is never diminished by a simple absence of the master.

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Leadership By the Book: Selfish Leaders #2

Everyone is born authentic. As each person moves from childhood, through adolescence and into adulthood countless hours are spent by society to separate everyone from their authentic, natural and spontaneous selves. Today leaders may hide the real person from themselves and others. They become confused and do not really know who they are. This act of hiding the real person becomes mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually stressful.

America today faces a crisis of authentic leadership. It is pernicious and all-pervasive. It is pernicious because an environment has been established that discourages potential authentic leaders from stepping forward. One of the causes of this crisis is selfish leadership. Selfish leaders attempt to lead others for their own personal gain. They disregard the detriment this causes to others. These selfish leaders assume that life is a point driven (poll driven), a zero-sum game, with winners and losers. They encourage others to become losers so that they can collect all the spoils for themselves. Selfish leaders are not driven by integrity. Selfish leaders are disastrous. Poisoned water is as bad, or even worse, than no water at all, and selfish leadership is as bad, or even worse, than no leadership at all.

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Leadership By the Book: Again About Change Leadership

We have been conditioned by society to submit to a formula. When cooking, we are expected to follow a recipe. When playing a sport, we follow a coach’s instruction. When driving a car, we are expected to abide by the traffic laws.

Leaders often face complex situations that cannot be solved by following a standard formula. Socially complex situations are especially challenging because these situations usually involve diverse points of view. Complex situations usually cannot be solved following a repeatable formula. Likewise there are no repeatable formulas for success.

Military leaders know this principle well: “If you repeat your strategy, the enemy will adapt.”

In any situation to enact real change, to meet chaotic challenge with skill, The Art of War suggests not a formula, but a pattern of two phases, or two movements: The orthodox and the extraordinary.

In the text, The Art of War advises, “When in battle, use the orthodox to engage but use the extraordinary to attain victory.” What this means is engaging first in what is well-understood and expected, particularly by others. People expect managers to behave in a certain way. They expect lawyers to behave in a certain way. In fact, in most interactions, the other person holds one or more expectations about the other person and how they will engage. This is the orthodox approach. This is the first phase of engagement. It is important to know the orthodox, relate to it properly, and engage the orthodox first.

The orthodox phase is where trust is gained by the leader. Remember the commercial some years ago: “The best surprise is no surprise?” People are accustomed to “branding” and are not expecting a unique leadership experience. A leader cannot proceed to the next great opportunity without first meeting the expectations of those he or she plans to engage. This task requires a sense of value and level of experience that is unique to the level of complexity of the situation. Going at this in any other way will create an engagement that is hostile, undefined and adrift. Leadership can become enormously ineffective when the leader does not know exactly who he or she is engaging. Once orthodox has been achieved the leader can build a strategy for the extraordinary solidly based on the orthodox.

The second phase is to engage in the extraordinary. This is the unexpected. One cannot engage the extraordinary without first having engaged the orthodox. Many try and most fail. Oftentimes the extraordinary arises spontaneously. A small opportunity may occur and then when acted on properly and with precision the situation dramatically changes rapidly and success can be achieved.

THE FORMULA WILL NOT WORK IN REVERSE.

  

Enacting change does not have to be chaotic when engaged with skill. To accomplish unconventional change requires a lot of character, as was suggested it requires a disciplined leader open to views and information coming from unconventional places. It also requires the courage, confidence, and character to act on the opportunity.

 

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Leadership By the Book: Lessons from Isaiah

 

Isaiah’s lesson on the Traits of a Leader:

1.      The leader’s life and words match;

2.      The leader rejects dishonest gain;

3.      The leader has core values that reject bribes;

4.      The leader refuses to dwell on issues of destruction

5.      The leader disciplines his or her mind;

6.      The leader knows himself or herself and the true source of inner strength;

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Leadership By the Book

Weak leaders = weak organizations

Strong leaders = strong organizations

Weak leaders surround themselves with weaker individuals

Strong leaders surround themselves with the best individuals

Weak leaders are reactive and panic in the face of a crisis

Strong leaders anticipate change and prepare for it proactively

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Leadership By the Book: Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior

You may be old enough to remember the time when leaders were statesman-like and when general civility was practiced until it became as normal as breathing.  What we see now is a complete rejection of the concerns and appreciation for other points of view.  It is hard to find leaders who are role models for civility.  Many so-called leaders not only lack civility skills but appear to have even less leadership skills.  Leadership is all about solving problem, respecting others, and managing conflicts.  Today most leaders attack people rather than problems.  Too many leaders place politics above principles.  With that being said, it may be time to look back at an early writing of George Washington at the age of sixteen.   Here are the hand copied 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation: (Note: The original spellings are unchanged and will be posted in several short posting).

1st   Every action done in company, ought to be with some sign of respect, to those that are present.

2nd When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body, not usually discovered.

3rd  Show nothing to your friend that may affright him.  

4th  In the presence of others sing not to yourself with a humming noise, nor drum with your fingers or feet.

 5th If You cough, sneeze, sigh, or yawn, do it not loud but privately; and speak not in your yawning, but put your handkerchief or hand before your face and turn aside.

 6th Sleep not when others speak, sit not when others stand, speak not when you should hold your peace, walk not on when others stop.  

7th  Put not off your cloths in the presence of others, nor go out your chamber half dressed.  

8th  At play and at fire its good manners to give place to the last commer, and affect not to speak louder than ordinary.

9th  Spit not in the fire, nor stoop low before it neither put your hands into the flames to warm them, nor set your feet upon the fire especially if there be meat before it.

10th When you sit down, keep your feet firm and even, without putting one on the other or crossing them.

11th Shift not yourself in the sight of others nor gnaw your nails.

12th Shake not the head, feet, or legs roll not the eyes lift not one eyebrow higher than the other wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your spittle, by approaching too near him when you speak.   

13th Kill no vermin as fleas, lice ticks in the sight of others, if you see any filth or thick spittle put your foot dexterously upon it if it be upon the cloths of your companions, put it off privately, and if it be upon your own cloths return thanks to him who puts it off.

14th   Turn not your back to others especially in speaking, jog not the table or desk on which another reads or writes, lean not upon any one.

15th   Keep your nails clean and short, also your hands and teeth clean yet without showing any great concern for them.

16th   Do not puff up the cheeks, loll not out the tongue rub the hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them or keep the lips too open or too close.

17th   Be no flatterer, neither play with any that delights not to be play’d withal.

18th   Read no letters, books, or papers in company but when there is a necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave: come not near the books or writings of another so as to read them unless desired or give your opinion of them unasked also look not nigh when another is writing a letter.

19th   Let your countenance be pleasant but in serious matters somewhat grave.

20th   The gestures of the body must be suited to the discourse you are upon.

21st   Reproach none for the infirmities of nature, nor delight to put them that have in mind thereof.  

22nd  Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy.

23rd   When you see a crime punished, you may be inwardly pleased; but always show pity to the suffering offender.

24th   Do not laugh too loud or too much at any public spectacle.

25th   Superfluous complements and all affectation of ceremony are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be neglected.

 

(You can find the full 110 on the web). 

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Leadership By the Book: Part 3; Destruction Occurs with Economic Growth

When entrepreneurs are released to innovate, they commonly break with tradition and move boldly forward; breaking away from the established norm.  This innovation brings a junk heap of obsolescence.   Joseph Schumpeter termed this process as creative.  There was a time that this writing would have to written and re-written by hand, but in 1829 an American inventor, William Austin Burt applied to patent a machine that wrote letters on a long strip of paper.  Although his ‘Typographer’ never made it to market others pursued the same idea.  A few years later, the manual typewriter became obsolete with the introduction of the electric typewriter.  The electric typewriter was replaced by crude word processing and that quickly became the present day computer.  It is hard to visualize what services and products will be replaced by new technologies.   Economic growth comes to a halt when the process of creative destruction is interrupted.  This failure then hurts more people than the few that may benefit by slowing creative destruction. 

It is obvious even to the casual reader that America has moved dramatically away from the Adam Smith economic theory that wealth is best attained and can thrive where individuals are completely free to apply their individual skills and resources to pursue their own self-interest freely at their own discretion.  For the last few years, the country appears to have been following the Keynesian economics theory where the public sector steps in to assist the economy when poor economic conditions exist.  The United States government has been priming the pump through increased spending and an increased money supply. 

According to Schumpeter there is no will of the people or common good.  His theory supports autocracy as the best method to pursue the common good.  It could be argued that today’s voters do not fully understand that elections have consequences.  Many people rely solely on the propaganda presented by their leaders and their parties of choice. It could also be argued that legislators and leaders are now faithful followers of the Schumpeter economic theory, believing their superiority and that they know what is best for the people.  Schumpeter’s influence in America today can best be seen in a recent statement by a leading national elected official; “Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive.” 

Economic growth is the primary product of a capitalistic, free market economy. Other cultures at times may rival capitalism in inventions, but without the systematic innovation mechanism of a capitalistic economy, each will ultimately come to a dead-end.  Any economy responds best to the market system where individuals, not the government, make decisions based on supply and demand on using the economy’s resources. The best environment for entrepreneurship to flourish is the free market.  The potential for profit provides unparalleled incentive for entrepreneurs to dream higher and dig deeper for new and better ideas. Every country and culture has entrepreneurs.  They have people who are creative, waiting and willing to take risks.  But not every country provides an economy and a government structure that encourages entrepreneurs to develop new products, ideas or services.  In order to maximize potential, an economic system must provide the most important incentives of private property rights and a competitive market system before potential entrepreneurs will take the risks necessary to promote and sustain a prosperous, sound economy. 

It is unthinkable that America now follows the mindset that the few of society’s elite and public leaders are the only individuals privileged to hold the ability to create wealth for a nation.  The problems America faces today are a direct consequence of legislators and leaders who failed to continually create and maintain economic policies that encourage, motivate and incentivize the innovation and risk taking of entrepreneurs.  America will find its best days can be found by enforcing property rights rather than promoting selective social-sharing experimentation.  Legislators and leaders must allow society to keep, control and profit from the fruits of their labor, enforcing strong contract, patent and copyright laws.   The government must allow and encourage free trade competition through deregulation rather than preferential promotion of those it considers to be “too big to fail.”  Government handouts given to non-producers from resources confiscated from the producers do nothing to honor and promote entrepreneurial accomplishments.  History has shown that a return to greatness can only be achieved when the government fully recognizes and appreciates the benefits created by entrepreneurs and allows them to flourish.  However, that will mean that those who hold power for the sake of power must be forced at the ballot box to devise laws and regulations reducing government’s power to set upon and seize the entrepreneurs’ rewards.

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Leadership By the Book: Part 2; Entrepreneurs Create Destruction to Create Economic Growth

It was only a few years ago that American homes were heated and meals were cooked by wood fires.  A hundred years ago almost all American families lived on small farms. They raised hogs, cattle, sheep and chickens.  They planted corn, fruits, garden vegetables, hay, and wheat. The entire family worked long and hard for very little money.  The main task was to raise and harvest enough food for themselves and maybe a few of those in need.

 

This simple hard life provided ample incentive and a longing for a better life.  Those times presented few obstacles and enormous self interest for the inventor, inventions, entrepreneurs, and those willing to take a risk to achieve something greater.  This was when ideas became labor saving devices, processes and methods that increased productivity and monetary reward.  However, no matter how far-fetched the dream or idea at that time, those entrepreneurs could never have imagined modern day airplanes, television, mobile telephones, microwave ovens and the virtual world of the internet.  Most of the devices and concepts that are taken for granted today did not exist 100 years ago.

 

These early entrepreneurial ventures became small businesses that turned into big business as the products, devices and processes of old gave way to the new, improved products, devices and processes.  This process of progress formed the basis of Joseph Schumpeter’s later re-evaluation of his creative destruction theory.  Despite the fact that technological innovations spurred economic growth and improved the standard of living for multitudes, Schumpeter rejected the market power of big business and opined that the process should be limited by legislators and leaders. There are many elected officials today that still hold to that same concept.

 

Innovation Freedom is Essential:  As entrepreneurs create wealth with their ideas, they also create more opportunity.  Often government bureaucrats, who are less innovative, resent the creation and destruction process of innovation and wealth.  They may even propose that government should confiscate the wealth and “spread it around.”  As surely as they confiscate the wealth, they also reduce the incentive for innovation. The greater the confiscation the greater the innovation decline.  The government confiscation process can continue until the complete destruction of incentive and the end of innovation.

 

Free Markets are Necessary:  There are those who cannot fully appreciate that entrepreneurial ideas are the sparks that ignite the fuel of progress. Those detractors see the creative process as disruptive and prefer to limit those disruptions and thus maintain the consistency of status quo.  A free democratic society and democratic process is essential to foster, maintain and advance innovation.  In Joseph Schumpeter 1942 book Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, theorized that elections are necessary for maintaining democracy.  He departed from the belief that full participation provided offices filled through competition by a vote of the people.  Schumpeter proposed that the competitive struggle for the vote of the constituent may not provide the appropriate decisive power.  However, America stands insolvent, and economically stagnant, today because the United States federal system has continued to greatly centralize the decision making, continually confiscating more from individuals and usurping the powers previously left to state and local governments.market. 

Next Part 3

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Leadership By the Book: Entrepreneurship, part 1

The Constitution and Bill of Rights of America guarantee individuals in America the right to life, liberty and the individual freedom to pursue their highest aspirations.  Each person must then choose between the responsibility and security insured by those freedoms or the destruction caused by governmental paternalism.  If, as the Bill of Rights states, each individual is endowed by the Creator with natural rights and freedoms then the only purpose for government is to protect and defend those rights. 

 

Combining these rights with the right of each individual to own what he or she has honestly acquired, forms the basis to incite the individual to action.  The incitement to act turns into action once the individual sees the action producing personal benefits. Therefore incentive then becomes the interest the individual has in his or her own self interest.

 

The Entrepreneur and Incentive

 

Self interest and incentive spur the individual to see an opportunity in a new idea or invention.  He or she then finds, blends, and brings together the resources necessary to make the idea a reality in the marketplace.  This entrepreneur has then accepted the responsibility of managing and has assumed the risk of business enterprise. The entrepreneur looks for products and services that can be improved.  Sometimes they create completely new products.  Either way entrepreneurs are like everyone else, they respond to incentives. In a free market economy, if the created product is in demand and the entrepreneur can please the consumers, then a profit will be realized.  This profit realization drives the entrepreneur to repeat or continue the process.  This process occurs in an economic environment that upholds and protects a free market and private property.

 

Defining Entrepreneurship

 

The essence of entrepreneurship can best be realized when an individual or business through incentive ventures forward.  His attempts at trying something new benefit self-interests but also ends up benefitting a host of other people.  Entrepreneurs do not take the path most often traveled, but blaze a new path, following opportunity and taking risks to grasp that opportunity.  Anyone with an idea and the willingness to take a risk is an entrepreneur.  They write the recipes, design the machines, create processes, lead a workforce and deliver a new and improved product.

 

Destroying Entrepreneurship

 

Economic logic denies the possibility that jobs can, on net, be created by government.  The key to understanding government job creation is understanding opportunity cost.  Every action has a cost.  Researching and preparing this writing has an opportunity cost.  It is a subjective value placed on the thesis versus another activity in which the writer could be engaged.

Government jobs programs are always financed by taxation or borrowing by the government.  Government has no money of its own, but must take the money from someone money producer.  The producer who often pays the highest cost is the entrepreneur.  This removal of resources means the entrepreneur has less to spend to research and produce new and improved products for the marketplace.  Less money for consumers means less money spent. Less money spent means less demand. Less demand means less production and employment. Government jobs programs therefore reduce private sector production and the employment that production creates.  For every job created by government, another job is destroyed somewhere else.  More government creation means less private creation.

 

Next Part 2.

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Leadership By the Book: Subjective versus Objective

It seems these days that everyone is always trying to convince someone to think as they do.  That appears to be the new norm for today’s society.  Most seem so interested in selling themselves or something that will benefit them personally that they cannot answer a simple yes or no question without a dissertation of evasive platitudes.   It is not unusual for fauxial leaders to bombard the unsuspecting with fauxial facts, figures, opinions and projections.  They know that most people do not have the time or energy to create some sensible order out of the chaos of their bombardment.  Generally people will seldom search to find the patterns that would help them understand what is true, what could be true, and what is outright false.  Society today desperately needs to have a firm grip on what is objective and what is subjective.

What is “objective?”  Objective is a completely unbiased authentic statement.  It is a statement that is not tainted by the personal preferences, experiences, or tastes of the speaker.  Objective is verifiable by the facts.

What is “subjective?”  Subjective is the opposite.  It is a statement that is colored by the personal preferences, experiences, tastes, and even character of the speaker.  A subjective statement may often be based on reality, but becomes faux due to the speaker’s personal perception of his or her reality.   Subjective cannot be verified using by the facts and is most often used by fauxial leaders to enhance their perception in the eyes of others.

When a leader becomes careless about how he or she handles the concepts of subjectivity and objectivity, it is easy for him or her to end up being convinced that morality, reality, or truth only exist in his or her subjective point of view.  In this age of political correctness those who become careless with subjective statements find support in justifying their limited subjective views under their own misguided assumption that “they have infinite wisdom and know what is best.”  The subjective view shows total disrespect and intolerance for the opinion of others.  From their subjective stance only what makes sense to them, makes sense.  Those who live with the subjective mind-set quickly tend to advance toward philosophical positions that are completely at odds with ordinary beliefs and practices.

It is vitally important for a leader to be objective when attempting to reach any kind of rational decision.  A leader cannot afford to get caught up in a subjective “fairy-tale” world of just playing a part.  The subjective leader believes that perception is reality.  In reality he or she is nothing more than a coached actor reading his or her professionally prepared lines on cue.  The subjective leader can never hope to equal the magnitude of the true heart of the objective leader.

Watch for it coming soon; Are leaders who use the subjective personal pronoun “I” authentic or fauxial?

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