How “Bandwidth” Can Expand Your Leadership

Post by Scott Cochrane

Bocolod-2Recently I completed a two week leadership coaching trip with Bill Hybels, who was building into leaders from Hong Kong to New Delhi. One teaching in particular left an indelible mark in my own leadership.

How broad is the bandwidth of your leadership?

That question might have been the most impacting of all of the leadership challenges posed by Bill Hybels on our 2015 leadership coaching tour in Asia.

A leader had been attempting to nail Bill down on a “this or that” kind of leadership question.

“Should I be a tough-minded leader or more of a relational leader?” he had asked.

Bill quickly responded with a much better leadership perspective.

“What you should really be focusing on,” Bill began, “Is ‘What is my elasticity as a leader?

I’m talking about your bandwidth as a leader. For every growing leader this is a huge concept to master.”

As Bill went on to explain, I was busily taking notes.

“The bandwidths of leadership refers to the tension leaders must constantly monitor in various leadership situations.

You need to know when to be passionate, and when to be dispassionate.

When to be clear, and when to be ambiguous.

When to launch, and when to delay. These are all questions of a leader’s bandwidth.”

And that, I noted to myself, was a masterful leadership insight.

All too often leaders try to let themselves off the leadership hook by reducing leadership to a set of formulas or simplistic extremes. “Leaders must be tough”, one leader will say. “Leaders must be quick to act” another will declare.

But for growing, leaders, Bill reminded us, effectiveness lies in the nuances in between. They recognize that some situations, some seasons, and some people, require leadership that is quick to act, decisive and blindingly clear.

At other times, in other seasons, and perhaps for other people, leadership requires patience, seasoning, even a bit of ambiguity.

Here are the key points I scrawled on my notepaper that day.

1). Leadership can never be reduced to a set of inflexible formulas

2). Leadership requires the ability to read a situation and respond to its unique circumstances

3). Leadership is much more fluid an art than it is an exact science

Keep these concepts firmly in mind, and your leadership bandwidth can experience tremendous elasticity, and effectiveness.

How broad is your leadership bandwidth?

View Scott’s original post HERE.

Brené Brown on Blame

Here is a fun video from Brené Brown on Blame.

You are probably a bit of a blamer – most of us are. But why should we give it up? In this witty sequel to the most watched RSA Short, inspirational thinker Brené Brown considers why we blame others, how it sabotages our relationships, and why we desperately need to move beyond this toxic behaviour.

View the original RSA video HERE.

Just In: Summit 2015 Speaker Leak

Screen shot 2015-02-16 at 12.53.17 PMWillow Creek Association is pleased to announce that Summit favorite Jim Collins, nationally acclaimed business speaker and author, will be joining us for the 6th time at The Global Leadership Summit 2015. Known for his well-researched insights into the practices of great leaders, his current work was described in a recent issue of Inc. Magazine.

The Re-Education of Jim Collins

The author of “Good to Great” went to West Point to teach leadership. Instead, he was the one who got schooled.

Post by Bo Burlingham, Editor at Large, Inc.

It was a warm, late summer afternoon on the banks of the Hudson River, and a large contingent of cadets had gathered in the Hayes Gymnasium on the campus of the United States Military Academy. Dressed in gray T-shirts and black shorts, they had come to train for the Academy’s grueling Indoor Obstacle Course Test (universally known as the IOCT), which involves jumping through tires, climbing ropes, swinging on monkey bars, leaping over barriers, running along a balance beam, and sprinting around a track with a medicine ball, among other physical feats. Cadets say it is one of the hardest parts of a West Point education.

On one side of the gym, a group of cadets watched an older, gray-haired man trying to mount a shelf 8 feet above the ground. He was Jim Collins, the best-selling business-book author who was visiting West Point to hold seminars on leadership. “No, sir,” a cadet said to him. “You don’t want to do it like that, sir. You look like an old man, sir. You need to do it this way.”

“I am an old man!” Collins murmured. Then, he tried it again.

Why was the author of such business classics as Built to Last and Good to Great competing with college students less than half his age? For one thing, Collins, 55, is an avid climber and seldom shies from a physical challenge. (For his 50th birthday, he had scaled the 2,900-foot vertical rockface known as The Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.) But what Collins really wanted was the opportunity to interact with cadets, to experience what they experience. With that in mind, he had set himself the goal of completing the course in the same time required of all male cadets before they can graduate–three and a half minutes or less. So he was grateful that West Point’s rock-climbing team had turned out to coach him.

Glancing around the gym, Collins could see numerous other cadets struggling with various obstacles; some of them were not much farther along than he was. Most of them had at least one or two other cadets standing nearby, coaching, critiquing, and cheering on their compatriots.

That struck Collins as interesting. (Read Full Article)

The Art of Self Leadership

Post by Bill Hybels

Your toughest management challenge is always yourself. 

Imagine a compass—north, south, east, and west. Almost every time the word leadership is mentioned, in what direction do leaders instinctively think?

South.

Say the word leadership and most leaders’ minds migrate to the people who are under their care. At leadership conferences, people generally think, “I’m going to learn how to improve my ability to lead the people God has entrusted to me.”

South. It’s a leader’s first instinct.

But many people don’t realize that to lead well, you need to be able to lead in all directions—north, south, east and west.

For example, good leaders have to lead north—those who are over you. You can’t just focus on those entrusted to your care. Through relationship and influence good leaders lead the people over them. Much of what I do at Willow Creek, through relationship, prayer, and careful envisioning, is to try to influence those over me—the board and the elders.

Effective leaders also learn how to lead east and west, laterally, in peer group settings. If you don’t learn how to lead laterally, if you don’t know how to create win-win situations with colleagues, the whole culture can deteriorate.

So a leader must lead down, up, and laterally. But perhaps the most overlooked leadership challenge is the one in the middle. Who is your toughest leadership challenge?

Yourself.

Consider 1 Samuel 30. David, the future king of Israel, is a young emerging leader at the time. He is just learning to lead his troops into battle. He’s green. But God is pouring his favor on David, and most of the time the battles go his way. One terrible day though, that pattern changes. After returning home from fighting yet another enemy, David and his men discover soldiers have attacked and destroyed their campsite, dragged off the women and children, and burned all their belongings.

This would define “bad day” for any leader! But it’s not over. His soldiers are tired, angry, and worried sick about their families. They’re miffed at God. A faction of his men spreads word that they’ve had it with David’s leadership. They figure it’s all David’s fault, and they decide to stone him to death.

In this crisis David’s leadership is severely tested. Suddenly, he has to decide who needs leadership the most. His soldiers? The officers? The faction?

His answer? None of the above.

In this critical moment he realizes a foundational truth: he has to lead himself before he can lead anybody else. Unless he is squared away internally he has nothing to offer his team. So “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6). Only then does he lead his team to rescue their families and what’s left of their belongings.

David understood the importance of self-leadership. And although self-leadership isn’t talked about much, make no mistake, it is a good part of the ballgame. How effectively can any of us lead others if our spirits are sagging, our courage is wavering, and our vision or commitment is weak?

Last summer I read an article that created some disequilibrium for me. The author, Dee Hock, challenged leaders to calculate how much time and energy they invest in each of these directions—people beneath them, over them, peers, and leading themselves. Since he’s been thinking and writing about leadership for over 20 years and is a laureate in the Business Hall of Fame, I wanted his wisdom.

His recommendation: “We should invest 50 percent of our leadership amperage into the task of leading ourselves; and the remaining 50 percent should be divided into leading down, leading up, and leading laterally.” His numbers bothered me so much I put the article away. But I let it simmer, which is my normal practice when someone messes with my mind.

View the original post by Bill Hybels on Christianity Today.

3 Lies That Can Shipwreck A Leader

Post by Scott Cochrane

“The water should be deep enough here.”

Many a ship’s captain has believed that lie, and many of their ships have ended up stranded on a sandbar or dashed against a reef. In the same way, there are lies that leaders are tempted to tell themselves every day. And some of these can shipwreck their leadership too.

In my experience these are some of the most dangerous lies a leader can ever tell themselves. Start believing these and you could easily find your leadership dashed on the shore.

“I got away with it last time. I can get away with it this time.”

There might be nothing worse for a leader than to have once cut a corner and gotten away with it. Because the next time an opportunity presents itself to shave the truth or to take a financial short cut, the temptation can be almost irresistible.

“After all,” a leader can think, “Borrowing that money from petty cash last time was ok. I returned it before getting caught. I can get away with it again this time.”

Eventually, this will shipwreck a leader’s integrity.

“It’s just a one-time thing.”

The idea that an off-side action can be justified “just this once” is one of the worst lies of all.

Because leaders who believe this once can begin to believe it repeatedly.

And when that happens, a leadership shipwreck isn’t far behind.

“It’s okay. No one will notice.”

This lie is a doozy.

It happens when a leader has dropped a leadership ball and, rather than coming clean and owning up, the leader instead pins hope against hope that no one was watching.

Instead of accountability, this leader is counting on being able to fly below the radar. “After all,” they’ll reason, “If no one picked up on the financial blunders, I’m in the clear.”

No leader ever starts out wanting to abandon their impeccable character. Leadership shipwrecks happen one little lie at a time.

So keep your radar on full alert for lies like these.

Because if you can identify and resist these kinds of lies, your leadership can sail strong for years to come.

What are some other lies leaders are tempted to believe?

– See Scott’s Original Post HERE.

Unbroken: The Power of Forgiveness

Have you read Unbroken or seen the film? Help inspire #UnbrokenForgiveness, by watching and sharing this 6-minute video accompanying the DVD release of the award-winning film Unbroken. The short film, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, in partnership with NBC Universal, and created by an Oscar®-winning documentarian, amplifies Unbroken’s inspiring themes of faith, resilience, and the power of forgiveness. How forgiving are you?

Unbroken: The Power of Forgiveness 

unbroken

20 Mile March

Post from Summit Alumi Jim Collins

Imagine you’re standing with your feet in the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, looking inland. You’re about to embark on a 3,000-mile walk, from San Diego to the tip of Maine. On the first day you march 20 miles, making it out of town.

On the second day you march 20 miles. And again, on the third day you march 20 miles, heading into the heat of the desert. It’s hot, more than 100˚F, and you want to rest in the cool of your tent. But you don’t. You get up and you march 20 miles.

You keep the pace, 20 miles a day.

Then the weather cools, and you’re in comfortable conditions with the wind at your back, and you could go much farther. But you hold back, modulating your effort. You stick with your 20 miles.
Then you reach the Colorado high mountains and get hit by snow, wind, and temperatures below zero — and all you want to do is stay in your tent. But you get up. You get dressed. You march your 20 miles.

You keep up the effort — 20 miles, 20 miles, 20 miles — then you cross into the plains, and it’s glorious springtime, and you can go 40 or 50 miles in a day. But you don’t. You sustain your pace, marching 20 miles.

And eventually, you get to Maine.

Now, imagine another person who starts out with you on the same day in San Diego. He gets all excited by the journey and logs 40 miles the first day.

Exhausted from his first gigantic day, he wakes up to 100˚ temperatures. He decides to hang out until the weather cools, thinking, “I’ll make it up when conditions improve.” He maintains this pattern — big days with good conditions, whining and waiting in his tent on bad days — as he moves across the western United States.
Just before the Colorado high mountains, he gets a spate of great weather and he goes all out, logging 40- to 50-mile days to make up lost ground. But then he hits a huge winter storm when utterly exhausted. It nearly kills him and he hunkers down in his tent, waiting for spring.

When spring finally comes, he emerges, weakened, and stumbles off toward Maine. By the time he enters Kansas City, you, with your relentless 20-mile march, have already reached the tip of Maine. You win, by a huge margin.

Now, think of medical-equipment maker Stryker as a 20-Mile March company.

When John Brown became CEO of Stryker (SYK) in 1977, he deliberately set a performance benchmark to drive consistent progress: Stryker would achieve 20% net income growth every year. This was more than a mere target, or a wish, or a hope, or a dream, or a vision. It was, to use Brown’s own words, “the law.” He ingrained “the law” into the company’s culture, making it a way of life. (Twenty percent may seem like a high bar, but for a small company in an explosive industry, it was achievable.)

Brown created the “Snorkel Award,” given to those who lagged behind; 20% was the watermark, and if you were below it, you needed a snorkel. Just imagine receiving a mounted snorkel from John Brown to hang on your wall so everyone can see that you’re in danger of drowning. People worked hard to keep the snorkel off their walls.

Stryker’s annual division-review meetings included a chairman’s breakfast. Those who hit their 20-Mile March went to John Brown’s breakfast table. Those who didn’t went to another breakfast. “They are well fed,” said Brown, “but it is not the one where you want to go.”

If your division fell behind for two years in a row, Brown would insert himself to “help,” working around the clock to “help” you get back on track. “We’ll arrive at an agreement as to what has to be done to correct the problem,” said the understated Brown. You get the distinct impression that you really don’t want to need John Brown’s help. According to Investor’s Business Daily, “John Brown doesn’t want to hear excuses. Markets bad? Currency exchange rates are hurting results? Doesn’t matter.” Describing challenges Stryker faced in Europe due partly to currency exchange rates, an analyst noted, “It’s hard to know how much of [the problem] was external. But at Stryker, that’s irrelevant.”

From the time John Brown became CEO in 1977 through 1998 (when its comparison, USSC, disappeared as a public company), and excluding a 1990 extraordinary gain, Stryker hit its 20-Mile March goal more than 90% of the time. Yet for all this self-imposed pressure, Stryker had an equally important self-imposed constraint: to never go too far, to never grow too much in a single year. Just imagine the pressure from Wall Street to increase growth when your direct rival is growing faster than your company. In fact, Stryker grew more slowly than USSC more than half the time. According to the Wall Street Transcript, some observers criticized Brown for not being more aggressive. Brown, however, consciously chose to maintain the 20-Mile March, regardless of criticism urging him to grow Stryker at a faster pace in boom years.

John Brown understood that if you want to achieve consistent performance, you need both parts of a 20-Mile March: a lower bound and an upper bound, a hurdle that you jump over and a ceiling that you will not rise above, the ambition to achieve and the self-control to hold back.

View the original post HERE.