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Building Community Through Better Relationships

Ready or Not Here I Come

For generations, kids from assorted locations, tax brackets, social classes, and ethnicities have played Hide and Seek. “Ready or not here I come!” is the game’s familiar refrain. Whether you counted to twenty by ones or to one hundred by fives the game really begins when those words are shouted.

Neighborhoods often had one kid who always seemed to find the others and return to home base first. He was better than the others at Hide and Seek. That kid always seemed to win. Typically, he was not exceptional in any conspicuous way. He may have been fast so that he could outrun others back to base. Or he may have been thin so that he could successfully hide behind trees. But, physical characteristics alone did not explain Hide and Seek dominance.

Fast forward to adulthood, some people still seem to win more often than others. The lessons from Hide and Seek shine light on this transition from participant to winner. First, winners are defined as individuals that establish a clear goal and achieve it. In Hide and Seek, the goal is to find all the other kids and return to home base before them. In adulthood, winning can involve: being first, performing best, having most, or simply finishing.  Anyone with a goal and achieves it, by definition is a winner! So, what common attributes do Hide and Seek winners demonstrate?

  • Joy – The kid who wins at Hide and Seek loves playing. When the gang gathers to decide what to play next, guess what the winning kid suggests? The kid has confidence, probably as a result of early success. The resulting cycle is: I had success, it was fun, I have confidence, I want to do it again, I have success. Joy is getting to do what you love and love getting to do it. Wanting to capture that good feeling remains into adulthood.
  • Tenacity – The Hide and Seek superstar identifies with his success. The kid wants to get better at the game because he knows the other kids are gunning for his crown. Even, if the other kids are simply content with running and hiding, the winner is motivated to compete better in case they change their mind. This behavior continues later in life as the winner finds subsequent passions and attacks success in those areas, too. He pursues the grind of practice because he loves the accolades of victory.
  • Vision – The winner walks through the neighborhood looking for great places to hide. He notices subtle changes in where objects are located so they may become new hiding places. He sees the successful hiding places that others use so he can return to them when it is his turn to seek. The winner is always preparing his mental map, studying the landscape and using his evolving intelligence for future success. He maintains a mental picture of himself winning.
  • Speed – All the zeal, desire and preparation are for naught without action. In Hide and Seek, speed is an essential action. The quicker he finds each kid, the less time they have to grow bold enough to risk dashing for home base. Nevertheless after finding each player, the winner still needs to outrun them to home base. He does not have to be the fastest kid. He just has to be faster than each kid when he finds them.

Alas, children grow up. “Youth is wasted on the young.”, according to George Bernard Shaw. But, is it really? Children do mature and become concerned with education, careers, causes, entrepreneurship. However, childhood lessons still apply. Joy, tenacity, vision and speed result in success in both youth and maturity. Good grades, job opportunities, changing the world, launching a business all involve displaying these attributes. Whether it is an individual or team, navigating these characteristics is essential to reaching an established goal. They are essential to winning.

So, shout “Ready or not here I come!” Kids playing Hide and Seek say this. And, these kids are everywhere. They are of all ages in every size, shape and color. Be one of the winners; they are the ones that are coming and actually find what they seek!

By Glenn W Hunter

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December 12, 2012 Posted by | Better Person | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Batman Leadership: Why the Caped Crusader is a Superior Leader

Batman Leadership shines an entirely new spotlight on the Caped Crusader. It is a new paradigm to illuminate the Dark Knight.  Batman has been a successful crime fighter for decades.  His success as an individual contributor and as a leader with the Justice League has been unparalleled.  What is most remarkable is that he possesses limited innate abilities.  Even more surprising, Batman’s prowess is not even dependent on one set of characteristics.  It is the following combination of attributes that makes Batman a legendary superhero and leader.

  • ŸHumility – In the superhero community, Batman is human in a universe of immortal and invulnerable peers.  His humility is a huge attribute because he does not have the luxury of being reckless. But, intelligent risk assessment is a trait of great leaders.  Batman knows his survival depends on his accurate assessment of risk for every single heroic activity.
  • ŸCourage – Batman’s trademark mode of operation features leaping quickly into a situation and correcting it.  His courage, in conjunction with supreme confidence, is critical to his success.  In thwarting his enemies Batman relies on fearlessly moving quickly, resulting in seizing first mover advantages on his enemies.  With stealthy maneuvers, Batman defeats his competitors often before they can establish a defense. Batman’s courage leads to action and action leads to victory.
  • ŸToolbox – Batman possesses an exceptional set of tools that mega-sizes his effectiveness.  Like any great executive, he constantly adds new items to his toolbox.  Batman calls it a Utility Belt.  Since he stays close to research and development activities, he quickly incorporates cutting-edge technology and strategies to resolve new crises and unprecedented threats.
  • ŸCapitalization – Before strategy, before execution, before evaluation, Batman benefits from a well-funded enterprise.  Although his alter-ego, Bruce Wayne, bankrolls all of Batman’s activities, Batman remains an extremely responsible steward. He shows extraordinary integrity and discipline by using all of his allocated capital specific to performing his mission.

Regardless of how passionate, maniacal and mission-driven that Batman’s adversaries may be, the Caped Crusader prepares for victory by continuously improving his performance.  His strategy, his preparation, his mindset is singularly focused on his crime fighting goals.  He trains physically and intellectually with an unmatched zeal.  Also, he maintains a clear perspective on his values.  He never violates his rules of engagement regardless of how diabolical his competitors behave.  His ethics are unwavering.  Any leader can enjoy long-term success by incorporating humility, courage, a reliable toolbox, and a well-capitalized operation toward an impassioned goal.  Understandably, Batman continues to be a legendary crime fighting leader because he exercises these attributes in every engagement.  The model works.  The cape is optional.

By Glenn W. Hunter

December 10, 2012 Posted by | Better Business, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Leadership is More than Good Intentions

A long-time, loyal employee finally gets his coveted vice-president promotion. A company man in very sense, he demonstrated integrity and the company’s culture at every step to anyone paying attention. At last, after years toiling on the front lines, earning the respect of his peers, and delivering on assorted tasks, he is an executive. Making this promotion especially gratifying, this new role features being a leader who develops leaders. Surprisingly for the first time in his distinguished career, he spectacularly fails!

In this case, this executive knows the business from the ground up, has worked well with multiple organizational levels, plus has skillfully managed teams and tasks. The problem is that he had not led leaders and was clueless how to start. Regardless of the vice president’s best intentions for his direct reports and his love for the company, he did not have the skills to develop talent to become more effective leaders.

Babysitting talent is common, but true leadership features developing talent that multiplies any singular individual’s capabilities. The objective is to achieve overall high performance. Simply being a good soldier or having the best intentions falls woefully short. So, how does the next identically qualified candidate overcome this shortcoming to sustain a record of superior performance?

  • Find the experts – Operations superstars are not necessarily strategic experts. But through mentors, coursework, coaches, or peer groups new leaders have opportunities to acquire real-time, leadership skills. An alternative that super-sizes the benefit is to make these found experts available to the team.
  • Train people – First and foremost a leader is responsible for results. These results are delivered by subordinates. Training is the delivery method to give subordinate leaders the knowledge and resources to be successful. To maximize the impact, let the subordinate leaders learn and share their valuable lessons among their peers and superiors.
  • Allow failure – Not catastrophic loss, but failure is acceptable. Tom Watson Sr., IBM’s legendary former CEO, once called into his office a subordinate leader who had just managed a project resulting in a $10 million loss. After only receiving stern coaching, the young executive exuded gratitude: “Thank you Mr. Watson, I was afraid you were firing me.” Tom Watson shot back, “Fire you? I just spent $10 million educating you.”

Successful leaders must never overprotect, but communicate confidence, courage and harsh realities to grow their subordinate leaders. Children stumble before they walk. Soldiers endure boot camp. Champions lose along the way to a title. Regardless of how loving and well-intentioned a leader may be, progress requires work! There is no substitute. Leaders solve problems and deliver results. Their success is a product of leveraging others to contribute exponentially. Achieving that goal requires effectively providing the necessary tools to build team strength. Ultimately, a leader’s glory results from those that he leads!

By Glenn W Hunter

December 3, 2012 Posted by | Better Business, Better Person | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment