New Website is Live!

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Friends,

My new website is now live at https://www.dougdickerson.net/ 

Come on over to the new site where there’s a new fresh look but with the same great leadership content!

At the new site, take a moment to sign up to follow my new site via email and never miss a post!

More new features to the site will be coming soon but you will miss it all if you don’t make the move with us!

Going forward you will find more featured articles, workplace culture insights, and a focus on servant leadership.

Don’t wait any longer – check out the new website today!

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Website Has Moved

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For those of you who follow my blog or subscribe via email, I want you to know that the move to my new website is now complete!

You can now find all my posts and content at https://dougdickerson.net/

Be sure to stop by, get signed up to receive my posts each week via email. Thank you for taking this new journey with me!

 

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Website Moving

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For the past few years you’ve accessed this site through Dougdickerson.wordpress.com  Since then, the readership has grown and the time is right for an upgrade.

In a few days, you will find my blog at Dougdickerson.net  It will have a new look and theme but still with the same timely leadership insights that you’ve grown accustomed to reading here each week.

I want to thank everyone for sharing the journey with me! I will see all of you soon at Dougdickerson.net

 

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Comebacks: Inspiration From Tiger Woods

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The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it. – Vince Lombardi

The golf world had one of its most magical moments in recent years when Tiger Woods won the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia on September 24. He led the tournament from start to finish and it marked his first win in five years.

Tiger’s stroll up the 18th fairway to the green is nothing short of“instant classic” status. It was in a word – stunning.

Tiger’s comeback has been a long time in the making. You know his story and you are aware of the headlines, no need to rehash it all here. His public fall from grace was just as iconic as his comeback. His was a messy humanity on display for the world to see. Add to that four back surgeries and his comeback defied the odds of many who thought it was not possible.

We live in times when creating and building up our heroes only to tear them down is done for the sport. It’s a time in which the voices of redemption and grace are drowned out by the screams of the mob.

“What you see and what you hear,” wrote C.S. Lewis, “depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.” Maybe this is the introspection we need in times like these.

Maybe Tiger’s triumphant walk up the 18th fairway in some small way gave inspiration to those facing their own setbacks and defeats and gave encouragement to never give up. Maybe in him they caught a glimpse of themselves as they wish to be – knocked down, battered, broken, but back. Could this be you?

As you read this you may be dealing with your own set of struggles and private battles and you may be wondering if the struggle is worth it. Here are a few simple takeaways from Tiger’s return. It could be a blueprint for yours.

Never give up

Tiger’s winless drought lasted five years. While four back surgeries kept him sidelined and not playing at a level he was accustomed to, he found his way back. Not by listening to the voices of those who said he’d never return, but by listening to his heart and never giving up. Your comeback begins with your mindset. It begins by determining that your present location is not your final stop.

Fight through the pain

Even by his own admission, Tiger thought he would not return to golf. Back in 2015, he said, “There’s really nothing I can look forward to, nothing I can build toward.” The pain Tiger endured on his way back was at times unbearable and debilitating. But he pressed on through the pain. Your comeback may be painful as well, but nothing worth fighting will always come easy. You may be experiencing growing pains right now, but find your strength for today and fight through the pain one day at a time.

Tighten your circle

As C.S. Lewis said, you have to know what you see and what you hear. When making your comeback, you must tighten your circle and be mindful of the voices you are listening to. Woods acknowledged this saying, “You know, the people who are close to me saw the struggles and what I was going through, and some of the players I’m pretty close to, they’ve really helped me throughout this process and the last few years”. On your comeback journey, you have to know who’s in your corner and who’s not.

Making a comeback will require more than what has been addressed here. These are just starting points. But you must never give up, you will have to fight through the pain, and you will need to tighten your circle. Not everyone who speaks into your life belongs in your life. Be open, be receptive, but by all means be wise. Your comeback depends on it.

 

©2018 Doug Dickerson

COMING SOON: My blog site will soon be found at Dougdickerson.net  

 

 

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The Power of Purpose Driven Leadership

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When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment and common purpose, anything is possible. – Howard Schultz

There is a story involving Yogi Berra, the well-known catcher for the New York Yankees, and Hank Aaron, who at that time was the chief power hitter for the Milwaukee Braves. The teams were playing in the World Series, and as usual, Yogi was keeping up his ceaseless chatter, intended to pep up his teammates on the one hand, and distract the Milwaukee batters on the other. As Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to distract him by saying, “Henry, you’re holding the bat wrong. You’re supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark.” Aaron didn’t say anything, but when the next pitch came he hit it into the left-field bleachers. After rounding the bases and tagging up at home plate, Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said, “I didn’t come up here to read.”

The story is a great reminder of why having and knowing your purpose is important. Do you know your company’s mission or vision statement? If not, sad to say, you are not alone. According to a survey conducted by TINYPulse of over 300 hundred companies and 40,000 anonymous responses, the survey revealed that only 42 percent of employees know their organization’s vision, mission, and values.

If your employees do not know your company’s vision, mission, or values then they will be poor representatives of your company. If you, as the leader, have not clearly communicated those core values then you have fallen down on the job. How can your employees represent what they do not know? Purpose-driven leadership is essential to your success. Here are three reasons why.

It gives context to your past

In order to understand where you are and where you are going, it is important to understand your past. Knowing the back-story of your organization – all the successes and failures and how it emerged in the formative years is foundational information worth understanding.

Marcus Garvey said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without its roots.” Seek to understand where you have come from in order to make sense of where you are going. From that knowledge, you can have a greater understanding and appreciation for where you are today.

It keeps you focused on the present

When your purpose and vision is clear it gives your employees the focus they need to succeed. If your team is in the dark about its mission and vision they are without the most basic of tools needed for success. Your employees cannot lead your organization to its intended destination if they do not understand why they are going there or the values that will guide them.

A clear understanding of your purpose gives them the ability to focus like a laser on accomplishing their goals and objectives. Just as Hank Aaron was able to tune out the distraction at home plate and hit a home run, so too, will your team succeed when they focus on their mission.

It gives you direction for the future

When you can put your past in context and focus on the present then you can build for the future. When you have a purpose that is known, with employees who are engaged, then you have a future that is promising.

“Even though the future seems far away,” said Mattie Stepanek, “it is actually beginning right now.” Purpose-driven leadership is about empowering and equipping your team. Purpose-driven leadership is the rudder of your ship and will keep you on course. Your future is only as promising as your ability to empower.

The time is now to lay claim to your purpose, make known your mission and vision, and discover the possibilities before you.

 

© 2018 Doug Dickerson

 

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Potential Principles That Matter

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When leaders of organizations articulate and live their values, they drive them throughout the organization, and they become a way of being. – Howard Behar

Tune in to any talk in leadership circles today and you will hear all about living up to your potential. We instill it in our children from the day they start school and suit up for Little League. We remind them again at graduation and send them off to the real world full of promise and the hope that they will live up to the potential and hopes we placed in them.

But what happens when the realities of the real world sink in and living up to one’s potential becomes a dead end chase? Is there a way forward? Is living up to one’s potential still attainable?

Gallup research reported on in Inc. magazine says that “70% of employees aren’t working to their full potential. Adding insult to injury, 52% of those are just sleepwalking through their day.” The article states, “When a company raises employee engagement levels across every business unit through great management of people, it leads to higher profitability, productivity, and lower turnover.”

This sounds reasonable enough at first glance so where is the disconnect? Let’s take a closer look. “And therein lies the problem.” the article continues, “ to remedy the 70% crisis you first have to find those managers. Gallup reports that companies fail to choose the right management talent for the job a staggering 82 percent of the time.”  

When companies fail to find the right managers 82 percent of the time, and when 70 percent of employees aren’t working to their full potential, then perhaps it’s time to rethink our approach as to what management potential looks like. Here are a few ideas for consideration.

Potential must be measured against values, not skills

Perhaps one of the reasons why so many companies hire the wrong managers is that they are looking at skill sets when they should be looking at values. Managers without a clear set of values such as honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, etc., can only lead for so long and take the company so far. Without a clear set of values in place, that leader has no true north, and the people have a leader with limited capacity.

Potential and leadership development go hand in hand

Without question, companies want to hire highly qualified managers who can add value to the organization. No company purposefully sets out to hire the wrong managers. But along the way, companies are missing the mark. The good news is that it can be fixed. A great starting place is in leadership development.

Some time ago, Jack Zenger writing in The Harvard Business Review shed light on the fact that we wait too long to train our leaders. His research points out that the average age of managers who receive leadership training is 42, but the average of supervisors in these firms is 33.  Zinger states, “It follows then, that if they’re not entering leadership training programs until they’re 42, they are getting no leadership training at all as supervisors. And they’re operating within the company untrained, on average, for over a decade.”

And this is the disconnect between someone not living up to their potential and someone with it. Leadership makes the difference.

Your potential and capacity is not defined by others

The premise of the Inc. article states the reason people are not living up to their potential is that companies are promoting the wrong people to management. While the argument has some merit, I believe that the premise lacks clarity.

To be sure, bad managers can be a drag on the culture of the organization. But it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. You can reach your potential without them. It’s no excuse for “sleep-walking through the day”, and opting not to perform at your best.  Commit yourself to growing, learning, and developing your skills and your potential will will be realized.

When your potential is grounded in your values, in leadership development, and individual responsibility, you can certainly reach all of your potentials. It will make a world of difference for you and to the organization you serve.

 

©2018 Doug Dickerson

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The Leaders’ Secret To Connection

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Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around – Leo Buscaglia

In his book, No Limits, leadership expert John Maxwell recounts his reaction to the above quote by Leo Buscaglia. Maxwell reflected on those words after speaking to a large audience. He said, “As I spoke that day, I had invited people to come to me in my world, I realized that instead, I needed to go to them and put myself in their world.”

There are not many more important things that you can do as a leader than connect with your people. Without a connection to your people, it will be hard to lead your people. And herein lies the secret sauce for leaders today – stop expecting the people you lead (or desire to lead) to step into your world. You must step into theirs.

One would think that this is would be a given that most leaders understand. But is it? This train of thought by Maxwell highlights a significant leadership blindspot that must be owned – we think it’s about us, but it’s not.

The impact that you make as a leader shifts in your favor the day you realize this truth and begin to act like it.

When you step out of your own orbit as a leader and put yourself in the world of those you lead great things begin to happen. With this fresh perspective, you just might learn a few things. Here’s a sampling.

In their world, you learn their hopes and dreams

You might accidentally learn the hopes of your people when they are in your world, but you learn it intentionally when you step into theirs. To remove yourself from your people is to deny yourself from knowing what inspires them the most.

When you know what fuels the hopes and dreams of your people you will begin to see your leadership more as a sacred trust. The people you lead have placed a degree of trust in you so you need to treat it with its due respect.

In their world, you learn their ‘why’

When you step into the world of your people you will not only learn about their hopes and dreams, but you will learn the most important things. That you already know their skill sets and areas of expertise is a given – but now you get to know them for who they are, not just what they do. Now you can be in a place to learn their ‘why’ and you can be a leader in their life that adds value with purpose.

When you step into their world you get everything that comes with it. Knowing their ‘why’ gives you the knowledge you need to step up and be the best leader possible.

In their world, you can learn more about yours

Maxwell’s transparency about the Buscaglia quote was a dose of refreshing transparency and a lesson for all of us. He felt good about himself after his successful presentation only to realize that he had only been thinking about himself.

As leaders, it’s easy to get caught up in our own orbit and think it’s only about us – our wants, our needs, our ideas, our opinions, and last but not least – having things done our way. But it’s not.

What we learn here goes to the heart of good leadership. When we lead with a heart of kindness, learn how to smile, give a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, an act of caring – these are things that will set you apart as a leader. And when you do these things, your people will be much more receptive to your leadership.

It’s time to realize that to be effective as a leader you must step into the world of the people you lead.

©2018 Doug Dickerson

 

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