Posts Tagged integrity

Asleep at the Wheel

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Drop and give me 200…seconds!

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

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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 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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The God Squad

In the military the term “God Squad” is sometimes used to represent an elite group or a group of leaders formed into one fighting element. This would be a very experienced force, those capable of nearly any mission; a veteran group with unlimited capabilities.

This weekend the Minnesota Wild Hockey Club took part in one of our outdoor team building exercises; this mission was codenamed Operation: “Urgent Fury” (this was the name of the US Forces operation onto the island of Grenada to rescue college students in 1983.)

The Wild had four assault squads for their exercise; three of the squads were complied of the players, while the fourth squad or “God Squad” was comprised entirely of the coaches and staff.

The coaches and staff are all fit individuals, but the daily physicality of being an athlete in the National Hockey League is not their main assignment. They are there to plan, prepare, coach, train, mentor, provide treatment and lead these men. Believe me, I’ve spent many weeks with them in the past; the staff works extremely hard, as well as shouldering most of the burden of the organization.

The God Squad did a fantastic job! In four simulated combat & technical missions they scored a first place in one event and no lower than third place in the remaining events.

The God Squad shared blood and sweat with the men under their charge and their actions in this operation sent clear messages to the team. First and foremost it shows the men that their leaders are prepared to battle with them side by side in the mud and more importantly they are willing to “embrace the suck” that they are going through. The leadership isn’t just telling their men to go and fight, rather they are doing it together in the “one team – one fight” concept.

Secondly is shows the men that the warrior-instinct and spirit is alive and well in the leadership, and despite that role the leaders are mentally and physically ready to pick up the sword and defend the arena if called upon.

Not only did the Minnesota Wild players receive a great assessment on their performance from our cadre; the God Squad received equally high marks as well! Hooah!

The lesson here is that all leaders, regardless of rank, position or authority, need to occasionally get out there and “embrace the suck.” Feel what the people under your charge feel, serve with them side by side. You will be surprised what you will learn and it provides the leader their own “compass check.”

I salute the Wild staff for getting out there and doing this mission; they set the tone for their organization as Warriors, Winners, Leaders & Survivors!

Have a great week! Keep moving forward and thanks for reading my blog!

HOOAH!

JB Spisso
Performance Coach & Lead Consultant
Elite Leadership Training LLC

@Leadership_Trng

http://www.eliteleadershiptraining.com

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