Investing In Your Leadership Trust Fund

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to build trust through long-term relationships. Reading time: 3:31

      You’re a General leading in battle when you’re forced to surrender to a fever-maddening illness that threatens your life.

Artist Taras Shevchenko's 1836 depiction of Alexander the Great and his doctor
Artist Taras Shevchenko’s 1836 depiction of Alexander the Great and his doctor

       You are so sick that even your official physicians refuse to treat you, fearing they would be cited for negligence or even murder.

      Compounding your predicament is a rumor that your rival is offering a reward to assassinate you.

      Finally you solicit a doctor willing to treat you against the odds.

       But then– just as you begin to take the medicine this doctor just prepared for you– you are presented an urgent note. The note says the medicine you are about to drink is poison. The note also warns that this doctor had been paid off by a rival General to assassinate you.

        What do you do? You do what Alexander the Great did.

         He scanned the note and immediately swallowed the medicine as cavalierly as if he were downing a drink in bar and while drinking handed the note to the doctor. The doctor also read the inflammatory note and hardly reacted to being called an ASSASSIN. He knew better.

        And so did Alexander The Great, who would go on to conquer half the known world some 2,346 years ago.

Continue reading “Investing In Your Leadership Trust Fund”

Wooo Wooo : Training Yourself To Stay Plugged In

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

 Here’s an idea to help you to stay connected  to all parts of your organization. Reading time: 3:10.

                           Woooo….Woooo…Woooo!
Can you hear it?

Woooooooo…..Wooooooo!
Can you see it?

       Oh yes you can if you are 8 years old again.Turn back the clock with me.

        There I am watching my choo choo train snake around the Christmas tree. This was no ordinary choo choo train. It came with scenery that you could set up, trees, and houses and yes even city lights. Wow. City lights.

     But then suddenly, ominously, mysteriously those lights flickered and went out and so did my enthusiasm. I was so sad and mad.  Everything seemed plugged in.

     Why isn’t my train running? The lights on our Christmas tree were on so I knew the electricity was on. The switch on my train was on. But nothing was moving. Everything seemed dead. And I felt like crying or screaming. I was having a bad day.

        But then my dad saved the day.

      He found a loose wire underneath the track. He showed me how to apply an electrical connector so that wire would stay connected. I twisted that orange connector that looked like a long jelly bean.

      Then suddenly those lights beamed in all their splendor. And then I heard my train erupt back to life and once again my  train whistled Woooo…..Woooooo……Wooooo.  I was so happy.

        That little electrical connector made such as impression on me for its ability to keep all parts connected and to assure that productivity is plugged in and continues to deliver power that today  I use those electrical connectors as a symbol of the connections that leaders make to keep their organizations running.

Continue reading “Wooo Wooo : Training Yourself To Stay Plugged In”

Relationship Building: Walking the Talk Step by Step

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to enhance your mentoring relationships. Reading time: 2:04.

             Walking along the beach, I followed in the footprints of a previous beachcomber.

             Those footprints got me to thinking about the Footprints poem of Margaret Fishback that Hallmark Cards acquired and popularized.

               In addition to the obvious spiritual and religious connotation, the poem also sets the stage to salute the merits of developing, designing and nurturing an on-going meaningful and relevant mentoring relationship.

             As you take your mentoring relationships to the next level of trust and understanding consider this adaptation of the  Footprints  poem:

Mentoring Footprints In the Sand

            I had a dream that I was walking along the beach toward a major presentation I was supposed to make. I sensed my mentor was walking with me although I did not see him.

            I only saw two sets of footprints in the sand. But as I got to my meeting to make this major presentation, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. There was only one set of footprints.

            I felt abandoned at the very time I needed my mentor. I was forced to give my presentation without my mentor. I was frustrated, angry I’m not sure what I was feeling but it wasn’t good.

             I confronted my mentor. I said: “You told me when I decided to follow you, you would walk and talk with me all the way. But when I needed you most, just at the time of my presentation you left me.”

           The leader whispered: “When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

               Effective leaders carry others into the limelight without getting carried away in their own spotlight. And in the process, effective leaders leave behind an imprint deeper than any footprint .

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Declaring Your Interdependence

Geese take turns leading. Each bird flies a bit higher than the bird in front for optimum drafting.

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to enhance the productivity of your teamwork. Reading time: 3:02

          Geese flying in formation honk at each other to keep themselves in a more efficient flying formation. They spell each other when the front-flier tires.

The followers do all the talking (honking). They honk encouragement to their leader to keep fighting that headwind.

        Intermittently, the follower becomes the leader.

         And interdependently, the leader becomes the follower.

        The metaphor of-all-for-one and one-for-all is the crux of teamwork and the essence of leadership. The most effective leaders not only stay in touch with their followers but intermittently climb down from the lofty ivory tower to see the world as their followers see it.

       And intermittently these most effective leaders even fly in formation alongside their followers. The leaders know the importance of that perspective to keep their vision real and their zeal authentic. Without it,  making headway against the winds of change is more difficult.

      No matter how tough the going is in any team situation — and there is always friction — you can  take solace when you see the flying geese, knowing that your team too could be more productive-if. If you are willing to rely -more than try-  each other. If you are willing to share the lead — and the load. If you are willing to pull together  –not pull each other apart. If you are willing to share  the  credit and the  blame. If you are willing to work together more than simply together work.

Leadership is a Job Not a Position

     The flying geese seem like parts of a well-oiled machine RELYING on each other for their own personal well-being let alone the productivity of the team.   Continue reading “Declaring Your Interdependence”

Teamwork: Turning Jeers Into Cheers

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to strengthen the bonds of friendship in the workplace.

           The opposing crowd taunts the first baseman. The rants turn to jeers and sneers. The scathing now has less to do with baseball and more to do with racism in America. It’s 1947. And the first baseman is the first black to play in major league baseball: Jackie Robinson.

Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson Monument in Brooklyn, NY

            You’re the on-field team captain. You feel those jeers — like so many spears– piercing the pride of your teammate standing only a few feet away from your shortstop position. You wince at the pain in hearing the rants of a racially troubled crowd on a southern baseball diamond in Cincinnati, just over the border from Kentucky a long way from the friendly confines of the Brooklyn Dodgers in New York.

    Here’s what the team captain did. Shortstop Pee Wee Reese acted like a compassionate leader. Amid  the taunts and racial slurs from both the opposing players and fans, Reese walked confidently over to first base and stood next to Robinson. Then Reese did what a loving leader would do. He put his arm on Robinson’s shoulder and faced the crowd.

     The fans got the message. Give Jackie Robinson a chance. Respect the individual. Treat him like a ballplayer. Boo if he makes an error like you would any other player. But don’t jeer or sneer. See him wearing a color – a blue Brooklyn Dodger uniform. Not being a color. See him as a player. Not as a symbol. See him as a man. Not at target. The crowd quieted.

    And Robinson went on to star in the major leagues, moving over to second base and teaming up with Reese at shortstop for one of the most formidable double play combinations over the next five, pennant-winning years.

     Today, that gesture of leadership — Pee Wee Reese standing with his teammate Jackie Robinson– shoulder to shoulder– a white man and a black man seemingly lifting up all of mankind in a gesture of humanity — is captured in a monument erected in Brooklyn, New York in 2005– more than a half century after the gesture in 1947 that foretold the Civil Rights Act that wouldn’t be signed into law until 17 years later. That gesture, says baseball author Roger Kahn of Boys of the Summer fame, “gets my vote as baseball’s finest moment.”

        Continue reading “Teamwork: Turning Jeers Into Cheers”