Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New kid on the book club!

Happy snow day! I felt like a school kid when I looked out the window this morning and saw the forecaster's predictions coming true - the snow was blasting to the ground which only meant one thing for me - that book club would cancel and I didn't have to have the following book read by 4 pm today!  I was recently invited to join this book club, established a while ago by leaders in the college, and I immediately recognized the invitation as that uncomfortable nag in my heart as exactly the thing I should answer with a hearty "yes please!" because it's good for me.  I've been trying to get through this month's reading - but I admit to falling a bit short.  It's a good read, but it's not like an easy Nicholas Sparks story or anything.

Here's what I've learned thus far (about 1/2 way through):

1.  Effective leaders tell stories full of imagery to influence and motivate.  The answers, er, your strategies, of course, are hidden in the story you share.  For instance, if someone says "Paris" to you, you might respond with something about the Eiffel Tower, or the Louvre, the Seine, or the Arc de Triomphe.  Typically, no one would reply with facts about population or GDP.  Human memory is sensory and we respond and remember that.  If someone asked me about Paris, incidentally, I would mention baguettes and long meals and political discussions...and fabulous coffee...and of course, wine.

2.  So the story I probably need to encourage is - "We support people who use computers and thereby help with the learning, teaching, research mission of the university!"  That's more appealing than "we fix computer problems!"  With this mindset, it's way easier to authentically lead others to places they may not want to go.  While maybe not realizing it, most of us want, after all, to live purposeful lives.

3. DWYSYWD - Do What You Say You Will Do!  I can think of a few "leaders" I've worked with who don't ever follow through!  Leaders who talk out of both sides of their mouths aren't really leaders at all.  It's all about the VIDEO matching the AUDIO.  You can wax elegant all day long but if you don't make decisons, and then put decisions into action, your truth is meaningless and your authenticity eventually suffers (regardless of your magnetism).

4.  If you don't believe the messsenger, you won't buy the message.  Credibility is so important to successful leadership - practice what you preach, walk the talk, follow through with your promises.

If the craziness ever quiets, I might get the rest of this book read.  Maybe next week . . .

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