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”
With the impending arrival of Halloween, many of us are naturally preparing for our neighbourhoods to be overtaken by ghosts, goblins, superheroes and wizards. Although this yearly event tends to be associated with decorating pumpkins and handing out candy, Halloween also provides us with some unique insights on the importance and value of fostering a sense of community in our organization.
As our neighbours, family, and friends can attest, Halloween is a pretty big event in our household. Every year, we transform the front of our house into this magical place for Halloween – the picture above offers a glimpse of what the neighbourhood children have in store when they visit our home.
Being a parent, it comes as no surprise that one reason why I go through all this effort is because I love kids. But there’s another reason behind this drive to create a unique and memorable display for the children and families in our neighbourhood.
While most of us are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, researchers have found that we are also driven by three core psychological needs, one of them being relatedness. Studies has shown – and our collective human history repeatedly reminds us – that we are all driven to attain a sense of community; of feeling a connection and sense of belonging with those around us.
We’re compelled at an innate level to reach out and bond with those we relate to and who we share a common interest or experience with, a key driving force behind the popularity and growth of today’s social media networks.
This also explains why Click here to continue reading »”Fostering A Sense Of Community To Promote Organizational Success”
The following is a guest piece by David Burkus.
There’s always excitement around a new project. We’re excited about the possibilities, a little nervous about the outcome, and unhesitant to dive in and get started. That excitement doesn’t last forever. Instead, it typically comes to a predictable end when we hit something inevitable: constraints.
We’re told there isn’t enough time to implement what we first thought, or that the budget was slashed and now we have to produce the same outcome with less money. We run into constraints around people, the market, the interests of stakeholders, and more.
Just about every influence on our once new and exciting project also brings a constraint. It’s enough to pull all the energy and excitement right out of us. We can lose interest or become frustrated by our once shiny new project. We start to push back against the constraints, claiming we need more time or more budget money.
While trying to ease up on the constraints isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s important not to try to remove them entirely. Despite what our frustrated selves might believe, constraints are Click here to continue reading »”Why Creativity Thrives Under Constraints”
Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking at the 28th Annual Material Handling and Logistics Conference (MHLC) alongside thought leaders Patrick Lencioni and Guy Kawasaki, as well as The Container Store’s VP of Logistics and Distribution, Amy Carovillano (not to mention live performances by Jay Leno and REO Speedwagon).
Although each of these speakers addressed a different aspect of leadership and organizational growth in their talks, it was interesting to note the commonalities in the experiences they shared and some of the points I discussed in my presentation on what organizations require from today’s leadership to help them navigate the current global business environment.
To help give you an idea of some of the insights shared at this conference, here are three of my favourite quotes from these thought leaders, and how they reflected some of the actionable steps I discussed in my talk on what leaders need to implement in order to ensure their organization can succeed and thrive in today’s increasingly competitive global market.
1. “Make a culture that makes you smarter about the decisions you make.” – Patrick Lencioni
One of the speakers I was looking forward to hearing from at this conference was Patrick Lencioni, given how I used a quote from him to reinforce one of the concepts I discussed in my talk.
In describing the ideas and insights he writes about in his latest book “The Advantage” (which Patrick generously gave me a copy of and signed for me after I asked him a question about his talk), Patrick pointed out how fostering trust and respect in our organization’s culture allows us to better manage conflict, as our focus shifts away from Click here to continue reading »”What Leaders Need To Do To Create A Thriving Organization”