UpliftAnother1

Building Community Through Better Relationships

Outwork The Next Guy

running uphill

Two hikers walking in the woods come across a large bear playing with her cubs. Mama bear roars at the hikers! While both hikers try to remain calm, one hiker reaches into his bag and slowly pulls out his sneakers. Mama bear roars again while deciding whether to maul the intruders or just scare the people. The second hiker whispers, “You will never outrun that bear.” As the first hiker finishes tying his second shoe he quietly responds, “I don’t have to outrun the bear; I only need to outrun you!” The first hiker clearly understood what many competitors miss. He does not have to defeat all competitors, he just needs to outwork the next guy.

Be Prepared
“Fortune favors the prepared mind”, according to Louis Pasteur. Preparation comes before success alphabetically and procedurally. Who really packs tennis shoes to go hiking? Preparation is not a singular event. It is a habit; a mindset! Obsessive preparation halts progress. Everything is planned and nothing happens. But, purposefully planning to win works.

Effective preparation begins with the end in mind. Defining goals is a great start. Defining success is another essential element. If the plan is weight loss, then identify a target amount. If the goal is to earn a million dollars annually, then personal results dictate earning $500 per hour for a plan to work 40 hours per week and enjoy two weeks vacation. Setting goals, creating a plan, and executing that plan is essential to success. Unfortunately, performance does not occur in a vacuum. Achieving lofty goals demands outworking others.

Get Started
“A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step.”, according to Lao Tzu. So, what’s the first step? In academic settings, students receive a syllabus which outlines class expectations and guidance for how grades are calculated. Reading the syllabus is a great way to get started toward earning an A. Competitive athletes start preparing for the next season after a brief period of rest and healing, by targeting specific skills to improve. At that performance level, the competition is particularly fierce, leaving little room for backsliding.

But, preparation is just the start. Next, repetition becomes the focus. Identifying areas of improvement is useless without dedicated skill development working toward progress. High performance results from preparing, starting, and executing. Each step closes the gap toward the goal. Measure progress. Keep score. Tenaciously work toward specific metrics to stay ahead of the competition. And, if progress is unsatisfactory, then reevaluate preparation and the plan. Confirm that the stated target is the desired outcome. Changing routines for better results is allowed.

Back to the hikers, packing sneakers in the bag was a great idea. However, if the hiker was grossly out of shape, escaping the bear is futile. Good preparation without dedication toward improvement leads to being mauled by a bear. Prepare, start, execute! Regarding results, consistency applies equally to collegiate athletes and second grade students; the same for social workers and CEOs. Most importantly, collaborating with the other guy that you outrun, elevates both of your performance. Iron sharpens iron. And, if you are both prepared, then get started, and execute with excellence, you both may outrun the bear!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

July 26, 2017 Posted by | Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Defeating the Enemy Within

OVER-COMING-OBSTACLES2

Why do heroes always win? Because winners write history! Upon emerging from the battlefield, heroes create the legend. However, conflict and competition does not produce winners without producing ancillary damage, or unintended consequences. Sometimes winners lose comrades, integrity, or dignity. Nevertheless, no one else cares much about the failures that heroes endure on their way to epic accomplishments. Heroes simply win! But inside, winners know the sacrifices, scars and compromises involved with victory. So, how do they manage that internal conflict?

Emotion
“If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm” is an old African proverb. The enemy within magnifies vulnerability. Fear, insecurity, emotional baggage can cripple any effort. The emerging victor must first overcome their internal conflicts. The successful combatant must be emotionally superior to their adversary. They require more resolve and focus. Unyielding belief in victory is an exceptional advantage. Feel the fear and do it anyway!

Realize that fear is a notable weapon. Winners first attack opponents with heavy doses of negativity. In the heat of battle, “it does not matter whether I win or lose. It matters that I win and you lose!” In individual or group competition, projecting a losing mentality on the opponent creates huge advantages. Before engaging the enemy expose weakness in their character, their cause, and their core beliefs. Strip away the adversary’s why! Create doubt. The winner’s story will read that he crushed his enemy. In reality, he defeated the loser in the mind before even attacking the body.

Logic
To secure their inner advantage, winners must eliminate their own disabling thoughts. Kick out the enemy within! Confidence is fickle. Bravado is relatively easy to conjure and project. Real courage is trickier. Logic is an empowering agent. Identify core advantages. Size, strength, intellect are tangible attributes. Find advantages and create a battleground based on those characteristics. Logic has to make sense. It does not have to be accurate. Create logical structures to trick opponents into seeing obstacles that you wish to impose as the winner. Convince enemies that giants are waiting to kill them. They never have to know the giants are only windmills.

Victory ultimately relies on tactics. Whether deception or brute force create advantages, winners still must execute their plan. A combatant can psyche himself up to start, but eventually in the heat of battle, he must believe in his advantages. The enemy within who is a secret coward, must build a belief structure that has confidence in their attributes. Superior execution, according to a plan, becomes the dominant weapon once fear has been placed in the opponent and the winner performs with precision.

Is it emotion or logic? Both provide advantages in overcoming adversity. Master deploying one or the other… or both. Use tools, like obedience and faith, to remove internal obstacles, then focus on explicit goals. Whether the combat is a physical conflict, or a personal best performance, bring both a logically structured plan and an inspired mindset to the battle. Create a plan and execute. Personal success depends on it. Individual victory requires it. Defeat the internal adversary. Then, march over external enemies’ decaying carcasses. Write the epic story of your resounding conquest. Then, dominate your next challenge with confidence, experience and success.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond

June 22, 2017 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Accountability To What?

Buffalo Stampede

A herd of majestic buffalo rumble across the prairie creating a deafening roar. The ground literally shakes as they hurry in loosely orchestrated chaos. Upon reaching a cliff each one races beyond the edge and crashes into the rocks below. The insanity of the thundering group is catastrophic. At least, the group reached their tragic demise together. Buffalo herds, like traditional organizational structure, are built on blind loyalty to the larger group. Their success assumes higher collective intelligence. Sometimes, groups are wrong. People get hurt. Who was in charge?

Improving Performance
Leaders are established to help groups achieve specific results. Considering that such groups are collections of individuals seeking a common purpose or goal, leadership provides a structure facilitating that achievement. Particularly with time-sensitive goals, everyone running faster is a reasonable tactic. But, what about the individual? Is there contribution valued? Or, are they expected to be a component of some unknown, or loosely defined, plan?

Optimally, a group that unites for a specific goal features contributing members. By accessing more individual input, the group potentially benefits from increased output. A good plan is necessary. Additionally, it requires a leader taking responsibility for execution. By getting individuals to improve their input with better contributions, leaders coordinate and enhance results. In the absence of a leader, too often one emerges who will accept responsibility and the glory. But, does this truly meet the members’ of the body individual needs? Who is accountable?

Changing Behavior
Actually, leadership’s challenge is meeting the individual needs of the members of the body. The old saying, “If you want to be a leader, grab the baton and get in front of the parade.”, is both witty and frightening. Declaring a leader in the absence of one, does not mean the group’s needs are prioritized nor met. It definitely does not mean that individuals’ needs are prioritized and met. Yes, the leadership box is checked. Now, the herd is prepared to be led off the cliff, instead of randomly charging off it.

New and improved behavior requires individual accountability. To get behavior to change, every member must find individual benefit. When real leadership is applied effectively, processes and opportunities exist to develop individuals within the group’s framework. The body does not need four well developed arms to maximize performance. It needs two functional arms and two functional legs to perform in accordance with the established design. Sustainable results happen when individual components develop in alignment with the group’s success.

Essentially, the leader needs to equip group members to develop fully. The group members need to be equipped to fulfil their individual goals. Sounds like a lot of selfishness in the name of the team. However, individual self-interest is not selfishness. And anyone who claims that it is, secretly is unhappy that they do not have the group’s blind loyalty. Improving performance is easy. Changing behavior is hard. All members must contribute toward accountability to align behaviors. Otherwise, the result is ineffective leaders who essentially join the group in running off the nearest cliff.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

April 20, 2017 Posted by | Better Business, Better Community | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prepare to Win, Perform to Win

allen-iverson practice

“We’re talking about practice. Not a game!… We’re talking about practice.” Hard core professional basketball fans still love quoting Allen Iverson’s practice rant from 2002. Iverson was making a point about the importance of performing even at the risk of minimizing preparation. Despite being an exceptionally unique and productive performer, history argues that he may have benefited from better practice habits. Unsurprisingly, in other competitive arenas, like business or entertainment, that truth regularly faces performers. Yes, we are talking about practice!

Preparation
Preparation for superior performance is not a singular act. Musicians practice regularly regardless of immediate performance obligations. Likewise, highly accomplished business professionals routinely identify opportunities for additional training in their areas of expertise. In fact, over-achieving professionals, will take time to train others in order to sharpen their own mastery. The preparation involved in their presentations promotes peak performance. The process clarifies their best thinking so that they can effectively provide maximum value to their audience and marketplace.

School children learn that practice makes perfect. Athletic coaches are fond of saying, “Perfect practice make perfect.” The truth about preparation regardless of the field, is that it is a necessary part of the process toward excellence. The more repetition endured in preparation, the better prepared the competitor will be to maximize their performance when the stakes are highest. Undoubtedly, talent provides several advantages. Yet, skill can be developed and improved. Preparing to perform is a skill that in turn enhances skill. This two-step tactic delivers superior results.

Performance
So, what happens when it is time to perform? And, how important is experience? Simply put, more experience produces better performance. When stakes are highest, no professional performer really wants to be searching for a solution. More practice, more preparation, and more learning activities eventually result in better equipped opportunities for superior performance. “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.”

Skills and knowledge necessary for peak performance have typically already been explored. Perhaps a coach is available to share their experience in managing potential situations. Perhaps the repetition of intentional and intense practice included multiple scenarios expected to occur in competition. Successful sales professionals consistently rehearse and refine their pitch so that they can effortlessly overcome objections and conquer competitors. “Fortune favors the prepared mind.”, according Louis Pasteur. Take the time to prepare in your area of expertise so that your knowledge and discipline are engaged to propel you to targeted success.

The benefit of practice is that the prepared mind secures the advantage. In any competitive endeavor, the competition most likely expects to win, also. The nature of competition demands outperforming an opponent. Practice provides the edge. Structured and disciplined practice provides a bigger edge. Regardless, of the field, winning through competition produces rewards. Generate more sales, score more points, raise more money, discover a cure faster, save more souls. Winning is not an event; it is a process. Target the results. Prepare to win. Perform to win. Embrace the rewards.

 
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

April 13, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Building Relationship Is For Them

 

Hall Crowd

Who doesn’t want to be loved? Some people seem to attract strangers who are willing to share their life stories. Whether they have an empathetic ear or a trusting face, these lucky listeners have people approach them with personal details. The best of these folks embrace their abundant relationship trait. Patience is often a common characteristic. An electric smile emerges as a sure sign in other cases. Nevertheless, recently two friends laughed over really good coffee about how they manage the unusual attraction of people who willingly over-share.

Music
Friend One is a musician who has a full dose of the relationship trait. As a working musician, he finds himself in assorted halls, theaters, and churches where he encounters diverse fans. Invariably, after a set, fans and listeners are inclined to pull up a chair to share. Friend One believes his highly evolved ear makes him a gifted listener.

He receives their input by listening intently. Too often, people do not really want someone to solve their problems; they want someone to listen to them. They equate listening with caring. Because Friend One listens well, his audience believes he cares well. Consequently, they share well and in turn, experience relationship. Friend One’s gift is establishing connectivity with people who need it. The music is simply a vehicle.

Lecture
Friend Two on the other hand, is a lecturer. Whether teaching, presenting, or consulting, he dispenses knowledge for listeners to apply. Establishing rapport is a skill he has developed over time. But in order to personalize information, he has to understand his audience in as much detail as possible. His primary skill is questioning.

Great lecturers do not necessarily create knowledge. But realize that knowledge is more readily available now than at any time in history. A great lecturer personalizes the knowledge. They present information in ways that multiple individuals in the audience want to receive it. Consequently, asking the right questions, while sharing information to ensure understanding, is an exceptionally valuable attribute. And, as the audience responds, either by individual or as a crowd, the connection becomes more firmly established. And, whether the bold learners address him during Q & A, or the extremely bold learners approach as he packs his materials to leave, Friend Two reinforces connection by exchanging more information individually.

Fundamentally, connecting with people happens at an emotional level. President Theodore Roosevelt stated, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” The conversation is just the foundation. The listening and connecting is where the value happens. Relationship is the foundation of human and commercial value. Would you buy your morning coffee from someone if you do not believe it is going to be good (or at least dark & hot)? Whether the power comes from listening or questioning, it is the personalized dialogue that expresses caring. And caring is the foundation of relationship.

So, in building relationship, how do you express caring? When are you most receptive to connecting?

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond

April 5, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yellow Means You Can Do It

yellow-traffic-light

Never has running a yellow light been so hazardous! As more people migrate to Tennessee for the great cost of living, good quality of life, and beautiful changes of seasons, they all bring their native driving habits. Particularly, Californians who move to Tennessee have to adjust to a dramatically different driving culture. Tennessee’s driving culture sees yellow lights as a warning that the light will turn red, so let’s stop. In the hustle, bustle and unfathomable traffic of California, their drivers interpret yellow traffic lights to mean to go faster: “You can do it!” Same traffic light, but different cultures, results in multiple collisions.

Can Do Attitude
Regardless of which culture is right, the resulting accident is bad. But, the crashing of the two cultures still intersect at a common understanding. The yellow light literally means caution, but a pervading attitude is “you can do it.” People relocate for a better life, regardless of any number of factors that ultimately drive the decision. That sense of optimism generates hope and opportunity. By setting goals, the mindset assumes a perspective that a better existence results from achieving the stated goal. Whether it is a healthier lifestyle, a better career, or educational accomplishments, acknowledging that “you can do it”, is an essential first step. Naysayers and failure are often around the corner. All the same, see the caution, then go for it anyway!

Still Pay Attention
Despite the decision to seize opportunity, the yellow light still means caution. Risk remains. Not every entrepreneurial venture is a roaring success. Some ideas never take flight. Effective planning helps mitigate some risks. Better information and creative alternatives provide options to the original plan. Inner confidence contributes an even heightened priority because people who want to squash progress and achievement everywhere. Sometimes they are part of the journey. The line between being concerned for someone and selfishly wanting to hold them back is often indistinguishable. Be wise. Be alert. Be courageous.

Yellow lights are not a license to speed, nor permission to enter a congested intersection, regardless of what Californians say. But, they are right when they believe that the caution signal means “You can do it.” Find an intersection. Life is full of crossroads. Drive through it. Don’t let your old ways, prevent you or anyone else from advancing. Recognize the risk. Perform the necessary internal calculations. Then, seize the moment. Take the chance. Set an ambitious goal. Accomplish it. Or, fail at it. But either way, take the experience, then speed to the next intersection. The road leads to more opportunities. Recognize the caution. Then, proceed to get somewhere new. You can do it!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

March 31, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning?? What’s my Grade!!

dunce-cap-2

What do I have to do to get an “A”? This refrain echoes throughout classrooms everywhere. “What do I need to know to get my certification?” is another version of the same song for the professional learner. Unfortunately, learning is not embraced, nor respected in neither case. Students want to benefit from presented information as painlessly as possible. The act of learning is just a necessary evil. Too often, learners in classrooms at any level are so eager to swallow and regurgitate information that they never digest the lesson. They fail to grow. They do not progress.

The Journey
The process of learning multiplies value through connections to more information and skills. Too often students simply give correct answers to get to the next lesson. Then, they can ace that part, too. Learning’s real value involves applying acquired knowledge in new, innovative, and more beneficial ways. A student masters algebra, in order to conquer calculus, then get their diploma. Except, the diploma is not the end. Learning to process information with multiple variables is the point. Then, understanding more complex processes to explain them to others creates the most value. Do not be shortsighted. The student who learns, applies, explains and contributes knowledge to a group becomes the boss and eventually benefits more. Every student moaning, “Why do I have to learn this; I’ll never use it in the real world” deserves the harsh response, “You are right. You never will use this information or any other new information with that attitude!”

The Destination
While the journey is important, the destination facilitates growth. The journey features a finite set of instructions. But, the destination continues to evolve and expand. More learning results in more questions, which results in more innovation, which results in better answers. Acing the test and advancing short circuits all the compounded, long-term benefits. The worker brags about getting a great review. Meanwhile, the leader focuses on solving problems that significantly improve the enterprise and team member’s personal well-being. Rank and file mindsets complain that leaders have enough money and they do not need more. Therefore, she does not need the worker’s best contribution. The leader simultaneously thinks that this minor contributor is hurting the team’s efforts. Then, she searches for a replacement so that all can achieve more. Next the leader resumes planning to groom her successor, then charts a path to the next adventure. Mindsets of poverty fester and deny growth. Mindsets of prosperity continue to reset destinations and promote opportunities. Acquire and develop more resources to keep pursuing additional horizons.

Ultimately, “What do I have to do to get an A?” is the wrong question. “What do I have to do to pursue my destiny” is much more satisfying. Learning is more than acquiring facts. It is acquiring new ideas and constructing them creatively. Students who only want to learn familiar material in the same way are starving themselves. Permit multiple teachers to feed your curiosity. Learn, then spread, ideas across the landscape. Let losers argue and manipulate their grade in one class. Take new knowledge and apply it with innovation toward the next learning experience. Incorporate feedback and insight to create more value. Enormous value results from pursuing destinations that continue moving just beyond reach. So, “What do I have to do to get an A?” Who cares! “What do I have to do to maximize my value?” Keep learning! Then, share the lessons with others to help everyone involved benefit more.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Journey, No Treasure

If you have a treasure map, which is more important: the journey or the treasure? As a trainer and educator, this debate looks like the conflict between academic and practical education. Learning wrestles with this ongoing tension. Ultimately, people learn in order to improve their quality of life. Whether the objective is a degree, intellectual curiosity, or new skills the process determines the success. But which one takes priority?

Unsurprisingly, several processes, techniques and approaches are available for better learning. However, the motivation for self-improvement is more limited, and is definitely individualized. Success results from prioritizing a specific objective, identifying the path to achieve it and valuing the accomplishment. So focusing on value, is it the journey or the treasure?

The Journey
When pursuing new knowledge a map is helpful. It leads to the treasure. The map has value in itself. Pirate movies famously show heroic battles for treasure maps. But, the map is not the treasure! A class, webinar, or lecture may deliver critical information. The investment of time and money can provide a return so that the student becomes more productive or better compensated. Nevertheless, realizing full value requires additional steps. Even when learning for personal curiosity, the true value comes in applying or sharing the new knowledge. Indeed, the education journey can be exciting. But applying newly learned knowledge often results in maximizing value.

The Treasure
In other cases learning yields direct results. Completing a training program may immediately result in higher compensation for a professional. Or in the example of passing the bar, enduring academic processes and subsequent testing satisfy a life goal that leads to more prestige. If pursuing knowledge means securing wealth, the motivation is clear. The map has a clear purpose, and the learner is ready to endure even more pain beyond acquiring the map. However, the learner must be certain that the riches will be worth the sacrifice required to achieve them. Being properly motivated is great. But being properly rewarded has to follow.

The Objective
Eventually, it all comes down to “why”. Learning for curiosity is noble. Studying for personal reward has clear motivation. However, acquiring knowledge to achieve a clear objective is enduring! With a transcendent purpose behind the learning, the student will be driven and persistent in pursuing the end result. When learners approach acquiring knowledge from a growth perspective, the drive, the curiosity, the reward all come together. Ultimately learning with a clear objective yields the best results. Satisfaction is there for the taking.

The best value for any educational investment results from a clear focus on a specific life enhancing outcome. Successfully attaining more knowledge goes beyond just keeping score. GPA’s are important, but they are not the final judgment. Acquire and apply new facts and insights. Enjoy growth through new knowledge. Too often, individuals accomplish goals and feel empty. Brilliant people engaging in self-destructive behaviors are a cliché. But, by constantly seeking and growing, the next adventure will yield new surprises and experiences. “You don’t stop playing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop playing.” Pursue life and learning with a youthful exuberance!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond

December 8, 2014 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I KNOW A GUY – 3 Easy Steps to Creating Value

The planning for a major association conference is approaching a critical deadline!  During the organization’s executive committee meeting, ideas bounce around for speakers for the upcoming event. The objective is to be innovative, educational, and value-adding!  While brainstorming among potential speakers and topics, the vice-president shouts out, “I KNOW A GUY!”

As a group of professionals, everyone on the committee knows people.  But something special happens when you know a GUY.  Not just any guy, but a game-changing expert regardless of gender who generates value.  Value is created through relationships, credibility and actionable ideas.  Networking alone does not complete the assignment, win the proposal, or motivate an audience.  Value emerges from the credibility of the referrer and the execution by the target. The objective is to achieve results because of the relationship, not just drop names.  Consequently, knowing a GUY only achieves the objective when three criteria are met.

1. Referrals
Referrals are the foundation of networking. Successful professionals foster relationships that demonstrate their influence.  The number of people in a network may be large or small depending on who is measuring.  However, it is the influence that the network can demonstrate that matters.  When you know a GUY, who is part of your network and their presence at an event instantly adds value, then you have the right individual. Beyond position, wealth or celebrity, does the contact raise the experience level of those around him or her?  A yes answer means you have the right GUY.

2. Credibility
An essential element of elevating an event’s profile is that the GUY has a following who believes that she will deliver.  In a best case scenario, the GUY will contribute their proven expertise and challenge the participants with innovative insight and additional knowledge.  Maximizing credibility requires more than passing on pre-packaged information, but rather facilitating new ideas for the group’s benefit.  The participants must believe that individual or organizational improvements will result from the GUY’s contribution.

3. Execution
In order to facilitate change, the GUY must perform to a high level of expectation. A celebrity who appears at an event, makes a few canned remarks, poses for photos and exits has not created value. No improvement occurred. He did not execute.  A speaker, presenter, panelist or dinner guest that delivers actionable knowledge, facilitates additional introductions, moves forward the sales process, or solves a problem has accomplished a measurable goal.  That GUY has executed and value has been created. That is the GUY everyone wants to know!

Knowing a GUY is a form of social capital.  Recognizing a relationship’s value affirms that the capital can be exchanged.  Transferring trust through a personal introduction, demonstrated credibility, and recognized execution is essential currency to transact the social capital that yields tangible results.  So, when someone says that “I know a guy” measure the guy’s ability according to the likelihood for referrals, credibility and execution. The guy who passes that test, provides an opportunity for many to benefit greatly from a new relationship. The person who passes this test is undoubtedly the GUY you want to include!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal at Hunter & Beyond

September 18, 2013 Posted by | Better Business | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

3 Reasons Why General Education Matters to Leaders

The old saying goes, “A leader without followers is just someone taking a walk.” This wisdom applies to business, technology, the military, but is presented as literature. Literature is part of General Education which represents coursework that emphasizes baseline skills. Such skills establish a foundation for educated individuals. While technical skills are essential to perform a specific job, combining that learning with General Education develops the capacity for different types of people to interact. Across departments, cultural backgrounds, geographies, or socio-economic status, the expectation that educated individuals have a similar set of skills and experiences starts with reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic and goes to recognizing life lessons from literary classics, thought leaders, and assorted cultural perspectives. Leading depends on this understanding.

1. You Lead the Other Guy
Lead, follow or get out of the way ~Thomas Paine, American revolutionary. For people to follow effectively, they must know where they are supposed to go and the leader must communicate that to them. A common understanding, a common language, a common set of beliefs are necessary to proceed in an orderly fashion. Just because you are loud, have a position, or have more experience does not mean that you are clear. Knowing how to read to understand, to write to be understood, and to connect with other people as they see the world helps all groups communicate and perform better. General Education develops this capacity.

2. Innovation is Born of Diverse Ideas
A leader’s expertise may be technological, but their peers and superiors still have to consider finance, sales, and human resources. How can you follow directions or agree on the best plans across disciplines, without understanding all perspectives? How can you truly innovate with only your own, original ideas? Innovation is clearly a collaborative exercise. Technical knowledge is based on historic learning. You learn how to do a particular task or execute a process, then you repeat it. However, our dynamic world means the marketplace constantly changes. No matter how much any individual professional dominates her technical field, to repeatedly benefit from great innovations she needs external inputs. For leaders who are responsible for creating strategies, new products, or future forecasts, General Education provides diverse thinking skills to optimally use all inputs.

3. Get Out Your Lane, Now Pass
Leadership does not stop inside the organization. Leadership is a skill and must be continually developed. Professionals who safely stay in their lanes will eventually run into traffic and stop progressing. But, professionals who intentionally get outside their lane gain new perspectives and opportunities to progress. Progressive leaders maximize their skills by contributing to ad hoc projects, corporate boards, industry committees and non-profit boards. In turn, highly productive boards perform at their best when they compile a diverse set of high-performing professionals. General Education learning skills that include: reading across intellectual disciplines, creating content to demonstrate expertise among decision makers, and enlarging one’s cultural lens to better understand a growing legion of followers, enable leaders to fulfill their greatest potential. In short, they lead better because they can authoritatively connect to more followers!

Organizations and their leaders have to be culturally aligned to be successful. A particular discipline may dominate an organization and dictate its objectives. But, the marketplace will not be that rigid. Charting new paths and solving new problems are essential to effective leadership. General Education teaches applying diverse skills to solve new problems. If you are not solving problems, then you are just taking orders and are easily replaceable! Without General Education, you become “just someone taking a walk”.

By Glenn Hunter
(inspired by MDP)

August 13, 2013 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment