FranklinCovey Consultant Blogs | Todd Wangsgard | Endeavor
Last week, I had the privilege of facilitating a 7 Habits for Managers program to a mix of leaders from diverse organizations including a state hospital, community hospital, and public schools. All participants were, of course, employees of a not-for-profit organization. But that’s is exactly what made the experience so profound. Not one person in the room was responsible for making his or her organization profitable, yet the principles taught in the 7 Habits for Managers program transcended that fact. Their need to be fiscally responsible and increasingly more effective was met by principles that never discriminate.
We began by discussing the need for leaders to lead themselves and then to lead others – as opposed to being managers who don’t lead by example and then attempt to control or manipulate their employees. Leadership is certainly not for the weak of heart. But it is certainly for those with heart.
This week I would invite all leaders (whether by title or by function) to revisit the 7 Habits and decide which habit could most enhance your leadership practices at the moment. Is it being more proactive? Do you always begin each endeavor with a written plan? Are you spending sufficient time on your priorities, instead of relentlessly being drawn in by the urgent? Does your team believe win win-win solutions? Do they actively seek them out? How well do you and others truly listen to understand, instead of listening to formulate your response?
When Ullyses wanted to hear the sweet, sultry song of the Muses, he knew that others had been met by tragedy when their ships turned too close to the rocks and were dashed into pieces. Ullyses had a plan. He told his seamen to fill their ears with wax and continue rowing, no matter what he might say or do during the journey. Then, they lashed him to the mast of the ship. Ullyses was able to listen to the beauty of the Muses’ ballad as the ship sailed safely on its course. No matter how much he screamed at the sailors to take him closer, they kept him safe at bay.
Who will lash you to the mast? Personally, I’ve decided that I need to focus on better working the priorities I’ve already set for myself, and not let distractions get the best of me. I’ve shared my intentions with others who can “lash me to the mast.” I’ve physically removed some distractions that might otherwise hold me back.
Six years ago this month I was sitting in a friend’s living room in our neighborhood talking about nothing. These are friends in their mid-30’s who had two beautiful children, good income, and apparent happiness. Out of the blue the wife said, “I’m planning to start medical school this Fall.”
I just about fell out of my chair. Not because someone would go to medical school – that happens all the time. I was surprised primarily by this seemingly dramatic turn in her life and career as a stay-at-home mom who seemed to have already established the life that she wanted. Besides, most people begin this kind of endeavor a little earlier in life. She went on to explain that she had the grades for it and had always been interested in the health occupations. Good for her!
Then she said something that rang in my ears for the next several weeks. My neighbor’s reasoning was, ” I’m going to look back 8 years from now, and I will have either become a doctor or I won’t. Regardless of what I do in that time, 8 years are going to pass.” › Continue reading