The following is a guest piece by Chi-Dooh Li.
In the early 1980s, I was gripped by the idea that land ownership was the key to breaking the cycle of rural poverty in Central America, where I had lived for three years as a young boy. Today, this idea has flourished into a wonderful organization named Agros International which is helping landless communities in Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico achieve land ownership.
The organization has established 42 villages in those countries and has touched thousands of lives.
I have spent the last 30 years working with the poor and would love to share three of the biggest leadership principles that I have learned from the experience with you.
1. Open yourself to unconventional thinking
If you expect to be a leader you have to break out of the tendency to follow the crowd, which is very strong in our culture. If you think like everyone else, there is will be no one left to lead. If you want to be a leader you have to embrace unconventional thinking.
Conventional thinking would not have permitted me to begin Agros. It would have told me that land reform is done by governments, not through private initiative. It would have said that you can’t change things that Click here to continue reading »”3 Leadership Attributes Revealed Through Serving Others”
Have you ever noticed how when someone tells us how they’ve been really busy with work, we automatically interpret this as being a bad thing? Certainly, no one associates having a lot of work to do with sunshine, love, happiness or any other positive experience.
In many ways, this is a natural product of both our schooling and work experiences, where we’re not guided and supported to use our genius, creativity, and talents in order to do the work we should do. Rather, what is the more common experience is being funnelled through a system that puts us into neat slots like gears in a complex piece of machinery.
When it comes to work, we’ve come to accept the concept of ‘no pain, no gain’ as being the proper route to success and prosperity. That we need to tough it out in the hopes that – someday – we might finally be able to do what we want to do because we’ve ‘paid our dues’.
To make matters worse, even if we are lucky enough to do work we enjoy, that sense of satisfaction tends to be short-lived as we’re rarely given the space to grow and evolve, with the freedom to make mistakes without being blackballed a failure and someone no longer worthy of development or the attention of those in charge.
And so, we inevitably hunker down, hoping that someday Click here to continue reading »”When Did Work Become A Bad Word?”
The following is a guest piece by author Dennis N.T. Perkins and Jillian B. Murphy.
In 1998, a tiny 35-foot boat called the AFR Midnight Rambler accomplished an amazing feat — winning one of the toughest ocean races in the world. The Sydney to Hobart is demanding every year, but in ’98, an unexpected “weather bomb” hit the fleet, creating 80-foot waves and 100-mile-per-hour winds.
While bigger, better-equipped boats tried to maneuver around the storm, the crew of the AFR Midnight Rambler chose to head directly into its path, and ultimately won the coveted Tattersall’s Cup — the smallest boat in ten years.
How did they do it? And what lessons can we learn from this team of “amateur” sailors to make our own teams more successful?
One of the keys to the Midnight Rambler‘s success was their ability to recover quickly from setbacks. Just as people vary in their ability to deal with stress, so do teams. And like individuals, teams can develop the capacity for rebounding from pressure and setbacks. Click here to continue reading »”Into The Storm: 4 Lessons In Teamwork From The High Seas”
There’s been a lot discussion lately on the merits of telecommuting, in terms of fostering teamwork and innovation among disparate employees in an organization. While there’s certainly been a number of valid points made on both sides of this issue, one fundamental problem with this on-going discussion is the focus on how we work without any evaluation of how these strategies address the issue of why we work.
By now, all of us are familiar with the numerous studies that have unequivocally demonstrated that the ability to motivate employees through salary or other financial incentives has a very short shelf-life and is especially difficult to maintain when obstacles or challenges are placed in our way.
These studies have also shown that the most effective way to sustain our motivation and drive over the long run is being able to connect what we do with an internalized understanding and appreciation of the purpose behind why we do it; of why it matters both to ourselves, and to the organization and community we serve.
This is exactly the approach we see in many of today’s thriving organizations which have a clear connection between their collective efforts and the purpose behind their organization. These purpose-driven organizations don’t care about what their competition is doing because they don’t need to rely on others to define the value of what they do. That definition has already been created internally and collectively.
Our purpose tells us why what we do is so important that only we could do it, if not also why we have to do it. In the pursuit of profits and market share, it’s easy for an organization to Click here to continue reading »”What Organizations Really Need To Succeed And Thrive”