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Asleep at the Wheel

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Asleep at the Wheel

Leadership is a dynamic process and a learned trait.  All of us are born with a certain amount of talent in a variety of different areas.  What we do with that talent based on our skill we put into it (practice) is what eventually will define us.  You would rather be the person that has gone above and beyond with limited talent then the one with all the talent and little to show for it.  That all being said I think it’s absolutely critical that leaders at every level know what’s going on around them and take responsibility for their actions and those under their charge.  Look, there will always be things that happen that are out of your control; things you don’t directly manage or affect.  However, responsibility falls back to the “leader” and President Harry S. Truman said it best when he declared “The buck stops with me.”

No leader wants to be embarrassed, ridiculed or exposed in a scenario where they seem as if they had no idea, training, or experience into what happened.  Murphy’s Law comes into play at times and “stuff happens;” how you deal with that as a leader will define you.  President John F. Kennedy had his own issues when he took office in January 1961.  He immediately was thrust into the debacle known as the  “Bay of Pigs.”   This operation actually began in the Eisenhower administration and captained by the CIA.  The plan was to use counter-revolutionary insurgents (Cuban exiles) trained by the U.S. to overthrow the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba.  As history tells us this was a complete disaster and many feel JFK was pressured into the invasion from his more experienced senior civilian and military advisors.   Afterwards JFK didn’t deflect the issue to a previous administration, or to advisors that were possibly misinforming him in the hopes of making him look bad.  Rather JFK went on the air and took public responsibility for the failed invasion and said “…we got a big kick in the leg and we deserved it. But maybe we’ll learn something from it.”  People are not dumb; they can accept the truth and most often will welcome it regardless of how hard it is. Key note: the highest point of JFK’s Presidential approval ratings came in wake of Bay of Pigs disaster.  Despite the embarrassing admission the White House made about the U.S. involvement in the botched invasion, JFK actually received a bounce in his approval ratings.  It’s also important to note JFK then fired three top CIA officials immediately after this failed invasion.

Now there are hundreds of other leadership examples out there and you can each do your own research and form your own opinions.  Taking responsibility for not only your actions but also the actions of the people and situations you are overall responsible for, shows that you are “manning the helm” and being answerable.  When you don’t take responsibility, or defect accountability, or make counter accusations, all you do is display the perception that you’re “asleep at the wheel.”  As a leader, you have to keep abreast on what’s happening around you.  Many times we surround ourselves with very smart and extremely competent people.  The advantage of this is you can give these folks a direction and distance and they can get the task accomplished with little guidance.  The disadvantage is the left and right limits of the task sometimes get wider, making the target objective larger, slowing the effort.  Then you also have what I like to call the “good idea fairy” that comes into effect; beware of this!  The good idea fairy only complicates the process by adding layers to the objective when you should be “staying the course.”  Simply, plan your fight (task) and then fight (execute) the plan!  If there are changes to be made then take time to make sure it’s the right change and don’t make change because you hit a speed-bump.  Key note: we would often say in the military “don’t scrap the plan at the first sign of gun-fire.  This is to be an expected part of what we do.”  The same goes for business.

The Take-Away:

If you’re a leader at any level, know what’s happening around you.  Manage, don’t micro-manage. Ask questions (a lot of questions), look for multiple solutions, and regardless if you made a particular decision or not, its your responsibility to be accountable for it.  You may get it wrong from time to time but the leadership value you will learn will assist in your expertise moving forward.

I never kept count of the times I was wrong, all that does is eat at your spirit and fuel a negative leadership style.  What I always do remember is standing there and being accountable for the men and women under my charge and my decisions and their actions.  Believe me, that’s what they will remember most!

I look forward to your comments and an always, Lead From the Front!  Hooah!

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Warriors learn from Warriors

Never Give Up, Never Surrender!

EliteLeadershipTraining

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Warriors learn from Warriors

We laid to rest this week one of the greatest Warriors of all time, her name was Patricia G. Spisso. She was not only a brilliant educator and champion for Women’s rights, she was also the greatest mother any family could ever ask for. Warriors learn from warriors, and we learned from the best!

As a modern day performance coach and leadership consultant I often speak about being a warrior, winner, leader and survivor. Four key attributes that define the best of the best and what I challenge everyone to be. These attributes all have sub-attributes, which complete the definitions. Though only four simple words they are very complex. For example, you can’t be a winner if you’re not a gracious winner or a sore loser. Winning is the action but a “winner” is what defines the attribute.

I often ask clients what their definition of…

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TV Interview: JB Spisso Discusses Women in Combat

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TV Interview: JB Spisso of Elite Leadership Training Talks About Notre Dame Football’s Change of Heart

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Warriors learn from Warriors

jb-spisso-credit

Warriors learn from Warriors

We laid to rest this week one of the greatest Warriors of all time, her name was Patricia G. Spisso. She was not only a brilliant educator and champion for Women’s rights, she was also the greatest mother any family could ever ask for. Warriors learn from warriors, and we learned from the best!

As a modern day performance coach and leadership consultant I often speak about being a warrior, winner, leader and survivor. Four key attributes that define the best of the best and what I challenge everyone to be. These attributes all have sub-attributes, which complete the definitions. Though only four simple words they are very complex. For example, you can’t be a winner if you’re not a gracious winner or a sore loser. Winning is the action but a “winner” is what defines the attribute.

I often ask clients what their definition of a warrior is? What do they believe embodies a warrior and more importantly defining an example of one? A warrior is not only the Spartan jumping off the rock impaling the enemy with his spear. Being a warrior is much more than the physical attributes (though it does have a part); being a warrior is working hard to be the best at what ever you do and doing it with honor, personal courage and character.

My warrior traits and ethos I learned from my mother. She absolutely set the standard and did so with a kind heart, gentle touch, and a brilliant mind that taught my sisters and I toughness, humility and passion.

Toughness is a trait often mistaken for someone with the rough exterior and attitude to match. Being tough has nothing to do with being a prick, nor being cold, callous, mean or aggressive. Toughness is the ability to do the right things, despite the “crowds opinion” or personal consequences. My mother had the look of an Italian movie star and the toughness of a Spartan Queen. She stood for Women’s Rights in the most unpopular times and squared off against some of the most chauvinistic and ego maniac men that Western Pennsylvania had to offer. Her battle armor was her spirit, her mind and the knowing she was making life better for others. As a brilliant educator (41 years), she worked tirelessly to help the children of the rich, middle class and poor receive an education. She showed kids from all walks of life how to succeed, how to move forward and especially how to do it with the humility necessary.

She challenged my two older sisters and I to leave a “footprint” in life. Mom always said if we did it the right way with honor, personal courage and integrity that others would use our path for their own success. She never let herself be bogged down with negativity or negative people, and taught us to do the same. If you wanted my mother’s help, you better show up positive and ready to work; the “oh poor me” attitude was never accepted.

My mother didn’t come from money nor married into it; my father and her raised three successful children on a middle-class budget and inspired all of us to follow our dreams and leave that “footprint.” All of us have that work ethic, and though we might have a few more “things” than our Parents, the values we have learned are the foundation.

My mother accepted another warrior into our family many years ago, my loving wife. Cut from the same mold they quickly formed a bond that was untouchable. Throughout the years she taught my wife and I how to love and understand each other more than we thought was ever possible. My mother and father were married over 53 years; she shared with us her tools to a happy, healthy, blissful marriage. Some say sons marry their mothers and it’s no different in my case; my loving wife has all the attributes my mother possessed, taught, inspired and loved.

Warriors learn from Warriors. Teach, coach, mentor, train, inspire, be passionate and motivate; these are what I do best, but only because I learned from the best!!

Patricia G Spisso, 10/09/2011
Rest in Peace Mother, you will never be forgotten!

JB Spisso
Performance Coach & Lead Consultant
Elite Leadership Training LLC

Twitter: @Leadership_Trng

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http://www.eliteleadershiptraining.com

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Get mad, get over it & get on with it

No one likes making mistakes, well at least I’ve never met anyone that does. The bottom line is we cannot live in a zero-defect environment, we would all like to but it’s not practical nor reasonable.

You cannot as a leader in any business have a “zero-defect/zero mistake” policy. Granted, there are limits, and if laws are broken or standards not adhered to that put peoples lives in danger, the axe must fall.

This blog isn’t about your tolerance as a leader, it’s about understanding that we all make mistakes and not to let those mistakes (yours or others) derail you from the mission.

If you’re like me, mistakes can burn at your internal armor, sometimes it actually just pisses me off. A Special Forces (SF) Sergeant Major (SGM) and fellow friend of mine gave me this advice years ago and I’ve put it to use and it works. “Get mad, get over it, and get on with it!”

Simply, it’s ok to get mad over a mistake or issue, get pissed if you have to. However, get over it and get on with the task at hand.

There are some great leaders out there that can do this, some better than others of course. The best don’t let these issues or mistakes stew at them. This doesn’t mean they don’t take care and concern in these issues, rather they understand you have to review what happened but always keep moving forward. These types of leaders can give you the necessary “ass chewing” if it’s warranted, but five minutes later it’s back to the mission.

To this day I hate mistakes, it’s in our nature. I plan contingencies in detail to mitigate mistakes; the fact of the matter is, they still happen from time to time.

My solution: “Get mad, get over it and get on with it!”

HOOAH!

Put this in your leader tool bag and give it a try!

JB SPISSO
Performance Coach & Lead Consultant
Elite Leadership Training LLC

http://www.eliteleadershiptraining.com

Info@eliteleadershiptraining.com

Twitter: Leadership_Trng

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Don’t sweat the small stuff

With the way our fast past, always moving society is today we often make mountains out of mole hills. There’s a line at our local coffee shop, or there is no parking in the vicinity of the store we want to shop. All goes to hell in a hand basket, life is just too hard!!!

Seriously, don’t sweat the small stuff!

I’m an expert planner, especially when it comes to our leadership classes and team building exercises. As mission hit times approach, my attention to detail increases and also does my intensity level. I want everything to go as planned, on time, and to perfection. The bottom line, no mission ever goes perfectly as planned but as long as you can adapt, improvise and use your contingency plans you will will be in great shape.

I say this because I have to remind myself at times to not sweat the small stuff. Don’t confuse this with a lack of planning or preparation (no excuse for that), but an unwanted grey hair should not throw a grenade into your days events.

There are enough stressors in today’s life to fill your life glass full and then some. Don’t add to it by adding unwanted stress that frankly have nothing to do with life, limb or eyesight. I had a layover in Philadelphia airport a couple weeks ago and my flight to NY was cancelled. Passengers hit the roof! Yelling and screaming and though the airline agents were rather “unhelpful,” there’s no use in getting nuts. There are dozens of flights a day from Philly to NY, you’re going to get rebooked on another flight, and the worst that happens is you spend most of your day in the airport (which happened to me!).

I actually was starting to get a little irritated about hour 6 in the airport, until I sat back and thought of all our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines & Coast Guardsmen who are standing on a post somewhere, eating cold chow, thousands of miles away from their families. I immediately said to myself “suck it up Sergeant Major & stop whining.” I’ll see my family soon enough, there is plenty of hot chow, and though the airport latrines might lack the “G.I. clean” standards, there are plenty of porcelain toilets to choose from!

Just put life into perspective.

I stopped at our favorite coffee shop today and the line was eight people deep, I just smiled and said to myself, don’t sweat the small stuff!

Keep moving forward! Hooah! JB

JB SPISSO
Performance Coach & Lead Consultant
Elite Leadership Training LLC

http://www.eliteleadershiptraining.com

Info@eliteleadershiptraining.com

Twitter: Leadership_Trng

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