The challenge to Simply Lead: Leadercast 2013 #cfaleadercast


I learned a new word today.

Serendipity. defines it as: "an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident"

I experienced serendipity today.

I have been finding myself getting busier and busier, with more and more meetings and although my days are TOTALLY packed out, having that feeling that I'm getting less and less done, and at times feeling less and less effective.

Ever have that feeling?


I've been on leadership training over the last 2 days; the first day being Leadership Effectiveness Initiative Training and the second being Leadercast 2013

One of my big moments came when our LEI facilitator asked each of our cohort groups to discuss how much time we spent in meetings. As our group of 4 was discussing, I whipped out my phone and pulled up my calendar for a quick look. I counted hours and out of a 40 hour work week I had 33 hours of meetings. THIRTY THREE!!!  Surely this must be an anomaly. But as I scrolled through the weeks, they all looked the same.

When the facilitator asked each cohort group to discuss the amount of time spent in meetings it came to our turn. One of the people in our group was giving the recap and mentioned that we had a low of one person with one hour of meetings per week to a high of 33 hours of meetings per week.

At that point I had the joy of becoming the class object lesson :-)

The question then was pointed at me: With all that time spent in meetings, when do you do your work?

*I'm shifting in my chair at this point*

It was clear, I and many others like me need to bring about some change in how we do our work.

Understandably much of our work as leaders occurs in meetings.  However the thing that doesn't occur much in meetings and is a primary responsibility of a good leader is REFLECTION.

Reflection in this context, is the stepping back from all the chaos and noise around us and refocusing ourselves on What is important, Why its important and What I need to do about it.

In our training they use the term "Heroic Leadership" to describe people who try to do too many things, usually without the appropriate help of others. Many heroic leaders are functioning the way they are because the organization they are in rewards those who behave that way. If you become conditioned to this type of behaviour, you end up in an unsustainable situation. You're headed for burnout.


Day 2 of training arrives. 

Leadercast 2013.

The theme of this year's event: Simply Lead.

The whole day speaker after speaker is pounding into our psyche that to be an effective leader you MUST simplify. 

Hearing this was like water to a man in the desert. The question is though, with all the demands on us, how do we simplify? What does that look like? Will it make me less effective? Will it effect my output?

Here is the gold I got from Leadercast 2013.

(Credits to Andy Stanley, John Maxwell, Condoleeza Rice, Jack Welch, Rorke Denver)
  • We can't do everything. Be willing to prune off everything but what is MOST important.
  • Give up the need to make everyone happy
  • Ask these questions of yourself regularly:
    • What am I doing?
    • Why am I doing it?
    • Where do I fit in?
  • We don't need more time (Einstein, Mother Theresa, Bach all had 24 hrs per day just like you)
  • It's not time we need, it's space. Need to free our mind from the clutter of the less important and keep focused on the goal
  • Stop believing you can multi-task. Yes you can walk and chew gum, but with your brain, you can only focus your thinking on one thing at a time
  • Great leaders do 3 simple things: Attend to what's important, ignore everything else, keep the goal in front of them. Always.
  • Leadership = existing to serve others, not the other way around
  • Calm is contagious (in fact, so is everything a leader does)

As I reflect after the whirlwind of these last 2 days I realize as a leader I have some important decisions to make.

Front and center is learning to ATTEND TO WHAT'S TRULY IMPORTANT. Not what's loudest. Not what's right in front of my face. Not the email that's the most recent in my inbox. Focus on what is TRULY important.

Next is to try to be ruthless in IGNORING DISTRACTIONS. This will involve having to stop treating email like it's Instant Messenger. It will involve having to stop trying to be Heroic and do everything for everyone. Some things will need to be "not done", in favor of ensuring delivery of what's truly important. This will also force me to deal with wanting everyone to be happy. Telling someone, "No I won't be able to do that for you by when you want it" is difficult for me. You? If I am certain that what the ask is doesn't fit into what's Truly Important, then I have to get more comfy with being able to say "No" or "Not right now".

Lastly, I need to ensure I KEEP THE GOAL ALWAYS IN FRONT OF ME. I need to have it boiled down to a one or two sentence statement of purpose for why me or my role even exists. There was a reason the job each of us does was created. Get in touch with that purpose and keep that purpose in front of you at all times.

Now, time to implement.

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