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FLOWER POWER: BEE-ING A LEADER

Think of yourself as a bee pollinating flowers every morning when you make your Friendly Five rounds. That’s the way Walt Disney characterized his leadership style.

Disney compared himself to a bumble bee “going from one area in the studio to another to stimulate everybody.”

Pollinating the blossoming of others is an instructive metaphor for the essence of a loving leader.

No wonder the most effective leaders schedule no formal meetings for at least the first hour “in the office.”

(This is an excerpt of a newly relaunched book titled
LOVING Like a Leader now available on Amazon.com

That’s why the most effective leaders invest in the Friendly Five every day Continue reading

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Teams Teem With Balance

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to spark teamwork. Reading time: 3:23

      You’re the leader of a baseball team packed with enormous hitting talent: three to four times the hitting talent on most teams.

      baseball_pitching_gripsBut wait. All’s not well in this hitting paradise. Your hot-hitting team, fortified with eight players hitting over .313, finishes the season in last place –40 games BEHIND the winning team in your division.

      No way!! That’s so far-fetched that could never happen. No way, you say. Just check the baseball history books.

      You’ll find the ragged-pitching, hot-hitting Philadelphia Phillies in 1930 suffered through 102 lost games and finished 40 games behind the pennant- winning St. Louis Cardinals. What happened?

       These  Philadelphia Phillies were bat rich and pitch poor. Their hitters were blazing hot. But their pitchers were freezing cold. The Phillies pitching staff gave up a whopping 6.7 earned runs per game and allowed more than 500 hits more than the Cardinals.

     Teams teem with balance.  That’s why the most effective leaders realize you need the balance of both the offense and defense to win in sports, in business, in life.

Continue reading

Making Yourself Heard in the Jungle

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to collaborate more productively. Reading time: 2:02

       Swinging from the vine, Tarzan’s yell trumpeted throughout the jungle, blasting his personal signature in the movies with an ear-piercing, attention-commanding roar.

      tarzan Yet in reality, Tarzan’s yell was comprised of three different male voices collaborating together to record cinema history.

      Tarzan’s Scream Team is an instructive metaphor for the way the most effective leaders collaborate to assure their collective message is heard, understood and acted upon by the broadest set of followers.

      Collaboration enhances overall performance. In the jungle and in the sky. Take a look at the North Star. It’s revelatory to note that

Continue reading

TEAMWORK: Reflecting Off Each Other

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to strengthen your focus on teamwork. Reading time: 3:23

          Look closely at a single feather of a peacock’s tail and you’ll see a dull brown color. But, collectively, those dull colored individual feathers display a spectacular array of colors. a peacock extraOut of many individually lifeless feathers comes collectively one brilliant blast of beauty.

         Physicists call this phenomenon “Diffraction.” The colorful plume blossoms like a bouquet of flowers from the way light is diffracted from and through each of the other dull brown feathers.

          Leaders call this phenomenon – the power of teamwork- where the power of many strengthens the scope and significance of an individual entity. Out of many, one. E pluribus Unum.

          No wonder the most effective leaders know how to fan the peacock’s plume—COLLECTIVELY– rather than simply focus on managing each feather individually. After all, an ant weighs one ten-thousandth of an ounce yet collectively all ants on earth weigh more than all the humans on earth. Continue reading

Drinking More Than Champagne From a Slipper

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to bring out the best in your team. Reading time: 3:23.

        The executive offered a champagne toast, sipping the bubbly out of one of her high heel shoes. Her staff was astounded as she playfully kicked off her shoe; reached into a box of new shoes; held one of the new patent leather shoes as if it were a glass and began pouring the champagne in it.

      Maybe the strain of the highly stressful but successful project just completed had finally gotten the best of her.

      “You are the best. You deserve more than a traditional toast for all the work you did in making this project a success.”

       The executive had a method to her madness. She used the champagne-in-a-slipper toast as a leadership lesson that few ever have forgotten.

       Turns out those fairy tale writers may have been on to something when they told of heroes drinking out of a slipper.

       Scientists say the leather in the slipper accentuates the flavor and aroma of the champagne. The leather contains nitrogen which brings out the best flavor in the champagne.

       That’s what leaders do. They bring out the best in others. They build teams two by two. It all begins with that first pairing, that first combination of talents that stirs the creative pot and brings out the best in each.

      Savor some peanuts and chocolate together or German Beer and black radishes or a martini and an olive and you’ll taste the leadership difference –where protein taste agents bring out the best in the carbohydrates.

     Continue reading

Partnering Power: How Sweet It Is

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you strengthen your partnerships. Reading time: 4:42.

           As a reporter with the Miami Herald in 1975, I met Jackie Gleason in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when he was promoting a professional golf tournament, the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic. He was honing his golf swing to host President Jerry Ford in a celebrity round with legendary entertainer Bob Hope and the greatest professional golfer at the time, Jack Nicklaus.

          And that sunny February morning Jackie Gleason taught me a leadership lesson I never expected and never have forgotten over these last 37 yearsl

Jackie Gleason as bus driver Ralph Kramden in The Honeymooners.

Jackie Gleason and Art Carney in The Honeymooners

      The Great One. That’s what the television entertainment world called Jackie Gleason. And no wonder. After all, he hosted  television programs in the 1950s-60s that dominated the airwaves —from The Honeymooners to The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS — and made loud-mouth Ralph Kramden the most famous bus driver in New York.

       In fact,  the first time I heard Jackie Gleason’s voice live and in person on the golf course, he sounded more like the boisterous and cantakerous Ralph Kramden in the The Honeymooners who would yell at his wife: “Straight to the Moon, Alice.”

        Jackie Gleason was mad as hell. He stood about 50 yards away from me on the driving range. Gleason yelled at my photographer to stop taking photos (“Hey Pal, not now!”).  The Great One demanded to be left alone to concentrate on his golf swing.

      By the time I could intervene and introduce myself as something more than a pesky fan, I figured Ralph Kramden would also kick me “straight to the moon” when I requested an interview. Maybe I could hope he’d settle for just making one of his patented threats: “One of these days… POW!!! Right in the kisser!” I was wrong. In fact, Jackie Gleason taught me a lesson in leadership that surprised me, especially after I saw first hand how self-absorbed and arrogant he appeared to be based in his personal behavior during a practice round of golf. Continue reading

To Get Ahead Lead From Behind

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

 Here’s an idea to help you lead your team more effectively with less effort. Reading time: 2:34.

         Relax, dear reader. Take off your shoes and socks.  Sit back and put your bare foot up on your desk or on the dash board the next time you’re a passenger in a vehicle. Then focus on your big toe. Now concentrate on your four other toes.

        And ponder this caption that John Long posed to his Lumpy Gravy comic strip readers as they looked at the exact picture you are looking at right now: your big toe and four other toes all in a row on your bare foot. The caption read:

     “What the big toe thinks about: I don’t know if I’m at the front of the line or the back.”

       Leaders know. The big toe is at the back.

      The most effective leaders I have known lead from the rear.  In fact in his autobiography, Nelson Mandela equates the behavior of a shepherd with the actions of a great leader.

    The shepherd stays behind the flock  “letting the most nimble” sheep  go out ahead ” whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

        Indeed, leading from behind is  critical especially in spearheading innovative behavior, observes Nancy Hill, writing in the Harvard Business Review, 

   Continue reading