Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Leadership Beyond Reason: How Great Leaders Succeed by Harnessing the Power of Their Values, Feelings, and Intuition

Leadership Beyond Reason: How Great Leaders Succeed by Harnessing the Power of Their Values, Feelings, and IntuitionLeadership Beyond Reason: How Great Leaders Succeed by Harnessing the Power of Their Values, Feelings, and Intuition by John Sims Townsend
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a good book about leadership, relationships, and priorities. I  trust you will enjoy and be challenged by the following quotes from this book:

Personal values will always override organizational values.   ~John  Townsend

I have seen leaders who considered their organizational values in some sort of consultation or task setting and were diligent about it. And the result was a Word document, an email, a poster, a reminder of things that everyone signed off on. But at the end of the day, no one would really and truly change their behavior based on these stated values. Nor would they think about them when faced with an opportunity or a problem. These values weren’t part of the fabric of the leader’s heart. They were helpful and potentially valuable, butb they weren’t considered.   ~ John Townsend

He (a well-known leader) talked about the delemma most of us face in an election: we don’t agree with everything any one candidate says, so how do we decide for whom to vote? His values aha statement that stuck with me was, “There are some issues I don’t have to agree with and will still vote for a candidate. But some issues are so important to me that if I voted for a person who disagreed with my position on them, I wouldn’t know who I am anymore.” That is what I mean by “when your values aren’t lived out, it bothers you.” Compromise and negotiation are valuable in leadership. But when it comes to values, you want to always know who you are.  ~John Townsend

There is a myth that the creative process can only be unleashed when you get away from all order, discipline, and parameters. People who believe this say that creativity must be as free as possible to express itself. This sort of thinking is not true, and it discourages leaders from investing in the process. Leaders know the value of structure in organizations. They aren’t about to abolish all that in the hope that creativity might happen.

The reality is that creativity floourishes with structure. Creative freedom can exist within parameters. A brainstorming meeting with a flip chart occurs for a specified amount of time. People ask thought-provoking questions to get the creative progress going.

A great example of the creative process within parameters is music. Any musician has to submit to the structure that there are musical scales with finite number of notes. Chords

Think of your mind as having a certain amount of room in it, like the RAM of a computer. RAM is used for the “thinking” a computer has to perform. The more RAM, the better the machine operates. When too many applicatrions are open, however, there is less room, and the computer can become sluggish or inoperable. In a broad sense, the clearer your life and mind are, the more space creativity has to grow and bring new ideas.  Creativity, especially for the leader, takes work and discipline.   ~John Townsend

Just remember the problem solving nature of anger. Don’t avoid it. Don’t let it control you. Be sure to find its source, and take action.  ~John Townsend

Leadership is about wanting to make a difference, having a vision, helping people you care about, changing lives, and meeting goals.  ~John Townsend

Leaders resist helpless situations.  I don’t mean that you are completely and totally helpless. Certainly you have options and choices, but there are times you must accept that you are helpless to change someone or something. Here are some examples of what you may say, “I can’t change this” about. You might be helpless in:
making someone change their neagative opinion of you;
resurrecting a deal thast has gone away;
causing someone to stay who wants to leave;
keeping a position that is no longer an option;
going back into the past and doing things again differently.   ~John Townsend

Happiness is a valuable experience, but it is a miserable goal. In its proper place, as a celebration of gratitude and an appreciation of the good, the emotion of happiness has real benefit. It is a fruit, a result of the good. But it never works out when we focus on happiness as something to accomplish.  ~John Townsend

When you stop trying to find happiness, it will find you. I don't mean this in some mysterious way. There is reality to this idea. When you focus on what is really important, and live and lead in the right way, you will experience the side benefit of happiness. It will find you in those moments of enjoyment along the way. And it will find you also when you see that a life well lived is a good life indeed. ~John Townsend

I define passion simply as “focused desire.”  ~John Townsend

Passion develops when we are doing what we are designed to do.  ~John Townsend

Life and leadership require that you give up good things and good opportunities in order to carve the best path.  ~John Townsend

One aspect of character growth and maturity is the ability to lose the good, in order to gain the better.  ~John Townsend

You can’t create passion, not for yourself or for anyone else. Your job is to create the right environment for the chemistry to happen. You do this by personal research. You must spend the energy to know your people and learn which tasks intersect with their passions.  ~John Townsend

People who feel a passion inside don’t mind challenge. In fact, they are internally driven to meet challenges. They don’t need you to motivate them. They need you to provide a structure for them to push themselves toward the goal.   ~John Townsend

Performance Appraisals
First, you need to be able to normalize the evaluative process itself.
Next, talk to the person ahead of time about the process.
During the review, it is important to add to the reached or unreached goals, the underlying causes. It is never about the numbers only.
Finally, it is important that you hear the person’s responses to the appraisal.  ~John Townsend

It is a benefit to a leader to become involved in the personal growth and improvement process at some formal and structured level.  ~John Townsend

The point is, as a leader, you need a place you can go for yourself, not just your work. It is the difference between deciding to get up an hour earlier to be more time-effective and facing a problem of letting others control your time during the day so that you need to get up earlier. One is change, and one is transformation.   ~John Townsend

I need to clarify that transformation is not simply about skill building. Competencies, vision casting, people management, and strengths building are all necessary parts of leadership training and development. They are the roles you need to develop the right culture, the right people, and the right results. But I am adding to that what you need to grow and develop as a person, in your own character.  ~John Townsend

When approaching the arena of the personal – our character, growth issues, and our ability to relate – we do not have the option to manage weaknesses, we need to resolve them.  ~John Townsend

A character weakness or issue is not part of our hard wiring in the same way that our gifts and talents are. We weren’t designed to be self-sufficient, or unable to comfort. Those weaknesses come from our significant experiences, our backgrounds, and our own choices. So when we talk about character, we do not have to manage or accept as a fatalistic reality that we will always be this way because we have always been this way. There is always hope for change and transformation. ~John Townsend

You simply can’t separate yourself as a leader from yourself as a person.  ~John Townsend

You can’t lose in leadership by growing as a person.  ~ John Townsend

Your spiritual nature points to the fact that we are all unfinished and incomplete without God.    ~John Townsend

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