Leveraging the best outcome.

August 17th, 2012

With a major assignment due end of day tomorrow and the prep for two new projects that start Monday, I’m tapped into my energy of self-discipline. It’s self-control – my ability to manage my own thoughts – that allows me to get the job done successfully every time.

I’m focused on outcomes. My expectations are positive. There’s no struggle required. I ‘m leveraging how good it feels to save a finished file and check off it off my list. Mentally, I’m already there.

It’s like the name of a favorite 9th Avenue eatery, Qi Restaurant. Only instead of Herbal Coconut Calamari or Spicy Beef Mango Salad, I’m serving an energetic plate of vision, imagination, enthusiasm, self-reliance and initiative. In my mind, the work is all done, and delicious.

 

 

The energy of health and well-being.

August 10th, 2012

“Nutrition trumps genes.” – Dr. T. Colin Campbell

I knew that all diseases start with genes. But it wasn’t until Dr. T. Colin Campbell gave what I considered to be the most enthralling presentation at this year’s TEDxEast conference did I understand that nutrition is all that matters in the expression of genes.

How remarkable to think that whole, plant-based foods have the ability to transform our entire healthcare system, replacing drugs as the current centerpiece of that system. That nutrition is all we need to create and maintain health and prevent disease in a country where 90% of people over 60 take at least one prescription drug per day.

Dr. Campbell’s talk, “Resolving the Health Care Crisis,” is now online. His research, data and ideas will blow you away. And certainly give you something to talk about at dinner tonight.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons from the Flying Squirrel.

August 3rd, 2012

My apologies to you fans of “The Bullwinkle Show.” Flying squirrel here refers not to Rocket J. Squirrel, but to the nickname of 16-year-old Gabby Douglas, who yesterday won gymnastics’ biggest prize and her second gold medal.

The summer games have drawn comparisons between attributes of Olympic winners and the characteristics of successful businesses from some top leadership commentators. Here are recaps from two experts I’d put on the winning bloggers’ podium: Forbes magazine contributor Mike Myatt and Rosabeth Moss Kanter, tenured professor in business at Harvard Business School.

In his article, “4 Leadership Lessons from the Olympics,” Myatt presents the Olympics as a case study for leaders to strengthen themselves and their organizations. Here’s what you need:

  • Branding. The Olympics may operate on a four-year cycle, but it’s still a deadline that requires delivery of the products and the experience.
  • Execution & grace under pressure. The Olympics is a master study on everything required to deliver on your product or service’s promise.
  • Organization matters. The structure supports the vision and mission.
  • Sustainability. There’s a blueprint in place that guarantees leadership continuity.

In her blog post, “Ten Reasons Winners Keep Winning, Aside from Skill,” Kanter compared winning athletes to the top achievers in business she studied for her book, “Confidence” in a review of the advantages winners gain that carry them to their next success. Here are a few standouts:

  • Good mood. A positive mental attitude creates the energy that fosters resilience.
  • Learning. Winners have the confidence to learn from their mistakes. They see no limits on possibilities and understand that positive outcomes require practice of skills and fine-tuning of processes.
  • Freedom to focus. Winners don’t allow distractions.
  • Positive culture of mutual respect. Team members act generously towards each other. They trust each other in pursuit of a common goal.

Embodied in both articles are what I believe to be the core attributes of effective leaders: trust, confidence, hope, optimism and resilience.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

Taking my cue from Einstein.

July 27th, 2012

“Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

I must share today my recent encounters with Albert Einstein, because in the past 3 weeks he’s presented himself with highly positive energy no less than a half-dozen times. First, on Monday, as I left the lobby of the Soho Grand Hotel, he had the audacity to stick out his tongue at me from across the street.  I figured it was time in my space-time continuum to write about the synchronicity of my Einstein moments.

Forbes magazine blog contributor August Turak the gave a nod to Einstein on July 17th in his well-written article, The 11 Leadership Secrets You’ve Never Heard About. After that worthy read, Einstein waved a wrench in my face from the side of a plumbing company truck.

The previous week he caught my eye at a novelty store on Madison Avenue by appearing on a “relatively delicious” Einstein’s Energy Bar. (Copy on the package suggested that if the entire mass of the bar were converted to usable energy – for which, of course, there is no known method – I could jog to the sun and back 100 times or power the entire U.S. for two years.)

Before that I got an email from BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) announcing its commissioned revival of “Einstein on the Beach, An Opera in Four Acts” for the institution’s 30th Next Wave Festival this fall. Earlier still, but after the 4th of July, while viewing BAM’s 150th Anniversary Archive Exhibition in the lobby of its main building, I was struck by the cover of a teacher’s guide titled “The Amazing Einstein,” a children’s education program BAM presented in the ‘70s.

In the event you don’t click on the photo to enlarge the copy, here’s the quote that jumped out at me:

The mind can proceed only so far upon what it knows and can prove. There comes a point where the mind takes a leap – call it intuition or what you will – and comes out upon a higher plane of knowledge, but can never prove how it got there. All great discoveries have involved such a leap.”  – Albert Einstein

I admit I’ve had Einstein on the brain since the discovery of the Higgs boson, announced with a bang in Geneva on the 4th of July. I imagined Einstein with a glass of champagne toasting with scientists around this once-elusive particle’s existence as evidence of a field that extends throughout the universe giving mass to everything in it. For the Higgs discoveries support Einstein’s Unified Field Theory of continuous structures.

A man of incredible imagination, Einstein humbly said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” I stand with vigilante curiosity alongside those physicists today who continue to to chip away at the mysteries of nature in hopes of explaining the nature of reality.

 

 

Stephen R. Covey: A modern master on leadership.

July 20th, 2012

“Remember, to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.”– Stephen R. Covey

I was so saddened Monday to learn of author Stephen R. Covey’s death at age 79. His book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” which has sold more than 25 million copies, had such a profound influence on my personal and professional life that I wanted to read everything I could find about the man. There were reports of his passing in publications around the world. But I enjoyed most the wonderful stories, reflection pieces and slide shows found in The Washington PostThe Huffington Post, Harvard Business Review blog network, and on CNN.com, many with embedded slide shows or YouTube clips of interviews with Covey.

Covey offered us the opportunity to effect change from within ourselves, the starting place for transformational leadership and success. For him, leadership was about character. Being your best self allows you to affirm the value and potential of others. That’s what enables greatness.

And those seven habits?

  1. Be proactive.
  2. Begin with the end in mind.
  3. Put first things first.
  4. Think win-win.
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
  6. Synergize.
  7. Sharpen the saw.

 

 

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