My Word for 2019

Finding a word to guide my thoughts for 2019

What began as a simple task of reflecting on the year that is about to be behind us and preparing for the year that is before us is evolving into much more of an integrated exercise of intentionality. This overall process has brought me today to the point of identifying one word that will help me create an overarching sense of purpose for the activities and actions that will form the body of 2019.

And that word is — Mindful.

How did that word come to embody my aspirations for 2019? 

I am a fairly introspective person by nature. When you look at the results from my original Emotional Intelligence profile from TalentSmart, it shows a high level of self-awareness. That component was higher than the self-management score. But that is a topic for another time. As I have reflected back on 2018 and as I look toward 2019, the one thing that keeps creeping into my thought process from every angle is the need to be more “mindful” in all that I do. 

My Process

We must first come to realize that this entire process is one of intentionality. It cannot be done haphazardly nor while flipping through Facebook or LinkedIn on our smartphones. It requires specific times that are carved out of our daily allotment of 24 hours.

Set aside a time of reflection and self-awareness — This part of the process is a solo activity. There will be times for sharing a little later. But, this part is intended to be done alone and in whatever setting creates the greatest sense of peace and quiet focus. For me, it is at my desk at home while listening to soft jazz as a sound backdrop. This not always easy as my house if full and energetic. But, it can be done. And I have done it.

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Leadership Soup

An unusual quote for Thanksgiving Day

I was trying to come up with something memorable and appropriate to say on this Thanksgiving Day of 2017. BrainyQuote.com had serious quotes, funny quotes, thought-provoking quotes, and more than one guilt-inducing quotes. But, then, I came across this little gem.

What a marvelous resource soup is for the thrifty cook – it solves the ham-bone and lamb-bone problems, the everlasting Thanksgiving turkey, the extra vegetables.

Julia Child

Are you kidding me? Is that the best you have for today?

Yes, that is the best that I have for today. Don’t judge it too quickly. I have had the pleasure of sitting at the tables of some of the finest cooks on the planet. My paternal grandmother was an amazing pie and bread baker and all around farmhouse cook. She didn’t really believe that we ever went to the moon. But, man, could she cook!?!

I don’t think she ever used a recipe. It wouldn’t have done any good because living during the great depression, you never really knew for sure what you would have to make a meal out of. Freshly baked loaves of bread and soups were a staple. You just never knew what kind of soup it would be. Sometimes there would be corn, sometimes there would be a few potatoes, and sometimes there was more water than anything. But, one thing was certain. Nothing was wasted.

Are you ready for the Thanksgiving angle on the nature of this soup quote?

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Waiting on the “Word”

What are you waiting to hear?

Waiting on the Word

As I arrived at the office today, parking spaces were plentiful. You could even find one close to the elevators in the parking garage. That can only mean one thing — Today is the day before a national holiday and many of the folks that are actually in the office today are just waiting on the “word.”

What “Word”?

We are waiting on the word “leave” from senior management that will say something like this: “Unless business reasons would make it otherwise imprudent, feel free to leave early this afternoon and begin to enjoy the July 4th holiday.” Those are the words everyone is waiting to hear. Days like today are the kinds of days that, unless you have something specific planned or are going to be out of town on vacation, it just doesn’t make sense to take the day off as a vacation today since it will be a short day anyway. Plus, you can be really productive in the time that you are there because there are only a handful of folks here and there are very few meetings that show up on your calendar. So, it is really a good day to get stuff done and get caught up on email or other administrative tasks that have slipped to the back burner lately. Like many others, I am just waiting for the word to come from our leader and I will exit with all due haste.

What is the Leadership Lesson here?

The leadership lesson is that from time to time we need to be asking ourselves about what message our followers may be waiting for. We need to ask ourself this question: “What ‘words’ are our followers waiting to hear from us?”

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The In Between Week

What are you doing this week?

the-in-between-week

The week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day is an interesting week. It begins with joy and excitement on Christmas morning. It has times of great peace and contentment as we enjoy the presence of loved ones in our lives. There are times of great frustration when our kids tell us they are “bored” two days after Christmas!

There are times of reflection as we approach January 1st and the start of a new year. What will it look like? What opportunities or challenges will it bring? We also take some time this week to look back at the year that is about to close.

What Does a Family Leader Do This Week?

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My Family and the Manger

Don't send them. Lead them!

my-family-and-the-manger

There are a lot of leadership topics that we have discussed in the 4 years since the start of Leadership Voices.  But today, I am focused on leading your family to the manger.

Everyone sings about the manger. We may even have a little manger scene on the platform at our church. Something glorious is about to happen.

No, not Santa.

Just like more than 2,000 years ago, while the world slept, Jesus was born!

Ok, maybe not exactly on December 25th.  But He was born on a night like that night.  It was a night with lots of activity.  For Joseph and Mary, it was the busyness of the census and traveling with the throngs of people as they all journeyed to their ancestral homes.  For many of us, it is the busyness of wrapping, cooking, cleaning and the mad rush to the 24-hour drug store as we realized that batteries really weren’t included.

It would be foolish of me to suggest or to try to eliminate all of the activities that accompany the modern Christmas season.  But I would speak to you men on this day.  I would speak especially to you husbands and fathers.  And if I am honest, I would speak to myself.  And what I would say is this:

Let’s lead our families and loved ones to the manger on Christmas morning.

And I am speaking literally here.  I don’t see this as just a figurative suggestion. Let’s actually lead our families to the manger in some form or fashion on Christmas day to worship Jesus Christ the newborn king. It would be easy to stay home and remind them that they need to go to church and just send them on their way. But don’t.

Don’t send them.

Lead them!

Leadership Can Be Messy

Leadership Lessons from Christmas Morning

leadership-can-be-messy

How many of you took a photograph of the kids all in the pile of torn paper, ribbons, and bows after all of the presents had been unwrapped on Christmas morning?

Oh, wait, you are one of those neat freaks who cleans up the wrapping as you go along? Well, read on anyway. It may have some entertainment value for you. If you are like most folks who have a giant mess in the middle of the floor after unwrapping presents, read on. There is an interesting leadership lesson to be learned.

Christmas morning can be a messy process

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Thanksgiving and Football

And an Interesting Leadership Example

thanksgiving-and-football

My thoughts today run from family to football and back again. I hope that you are having a great day today and that it is filled with family, food, and fellowship.

Thanksgiving has been known for many traditions. Not the least of which, unfortunately, may be that there is football on Thanksgiving. The Dallas Cowboys have played on Thanksgiving Day since 1966 and that my friend is a tradition.

I grew up and became a Steelers fan in my teen years. They were awesome in the 1970s. I tried to be a Patriots fan in the early 80s. I was a Falcons fan during our time in Atlanta. And when we moved to the DC area, I became a Redskins fan. Those Dallas Cowboys weren’t bad either. Even the most ardent Redskin fan would have to admit that. But one of the best thing to be said of the Cowboys for about 29 years in a row was their coach – Tom Landry.

Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do to achieve what they want to achieve. – Tom Landry

There have been some amazing coaches in pro football, Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh, Don Shula, Chuck Knoll, Joe Gibbs, and Tony Dungy are only a few of the great coaches that have walked the chalk on the sidelines on cold Sunday afternoons. But, beyond their ability to motivate and draw up the Xs and Os, consider for a moment one of the key tasks of the football coach as the leader of the team.

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Leaders and Resolutions

4 Resolutions Every Leader Should Make

Leaders

Tis the season for many things. Not the least of which is making New Year’s Resolutions. Each of us should consider making some resolutions. And as leaders, here are a few that I think you should consider putting on your list.

Resolve This Year To Be A Better Leader — This one is exceedingly obvious. Yet it is surprising how many leaders are not intentional about developing their leadership skills. So, resolve this year to find some way to increase your leadership skills and abilities. There are so many resources available to help us develop as leaders. Several resources jump to the forefront of my mind at the very thought of leadership development. I am a very big fan of Leadercast and I have been a co-sponsor of one of the local simulcasts here in the Houston area. There are also many books on leadership that can be obtained via Kindle at much lower costs rather than in hard copy. Nearly all of my books are in some eReader format. Just reach out to me if you are looking for resources and I can help you identify some.

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