“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” ~ Antoine De Saint Exupery, via Blog of Jonathan Fields
Book Overview: According to J. Keith Murnighan, Great leaders don’t do anything—except think, make key decisions, help people do their jobs better, and add a touch of organizational control to make sure the final recipes come out okay. In sharp contrast, most leaders are too busy actually working to do these things—and their teams suffer as a result. Do Nothing!’s practical strategies and true stories will show you how to set high expectations for your team and watch it rise to the challenge. It will help you establish a healthier culture by trusting people more than they expect to be trusted. And it will help you overcome your natural tendencies toward micromanagement so you can let people do their jobs—even when you know you could do their jobs better.
Post(s) Inspired by this Book: Family First, Work Second. The Power of Family Values in Business.
A few years ago I presented a workshop on negotiation and decision-making strategies to the members of one of the Australian divisions of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). (This is a wonderful organization of young executives who can turn to one another for guidance, for advice, and sometimes just for an ear. They are also completely committed to learning as much as they can about leadership.) Several of the participants traveled from Western Australia to attend our sessions in Sydney, and I had several conversations with one of them.
He was a remarkably conscientious, self-aware leader, and our conversations touched on a variety of topics during the three days of the workshop. At one point he mentioned that he only hired people who put their family before their jobs; he didn’t want people in his organization if they put their jobs first. He felt strongly about this, saying that family-first people were the type of individuals he wanted to work with. He seemed both sincere and enlightened.
“You shouldn’t focus on outcomes so much. Focus instead on doing things right, on the best possible process, and on paying attention to what you can do rather than to what you can’t control.” ~ J. Keith Murnighan, Do Nothing!
“‘People don’t know how much you know until they know how much you care about them.’ You could be the world’s greatest expert on something but if the people you work with don’t know that you care about them, they won’t listen to you much.” ~ J. Keith Murnighan, Do Nothing!
“It is up to you as the leader to make sure that your team mebers feel safe. You must bend over backwards to make this happen, because team members know that their leaders are always evaluating them and they have perfectly natural fears about the outcome of those evaluations. You must work doubly hard to help them feel safe: you must treat your team members’ questions and observations as if you love hearing each and every one of them and you must entertain their ideas and even invite them to disagree with you. You must make it eminently clear that you want them to participate, to question, to comment, and to disagree – and you need to reinforce them when they do.” ~ J. Keith Murnighan, Do Nothing!
“Stated succinctly, partial trust sucks. When we know we have been trusted only partially, we naturally wonder, ‘Why didn’t he trust me more?’ This natural question reduces our motivation to reciprocate and leads to less long-term commitment to a leader, to a team, and to an organization. Partial trust sucks in many ways: it is the reverse of flattery and respect and it stimulates lousy outcomes, for everyone.” ~ J. Keith Murnighan, Do Nothing!
“Leadership Law: Think of the reaction that you want first, then determine the actions you can take to maximize the chances that those reactions will actually happen.” ~ J. Keith Murnighan, Do Nothing!
“Doing too much is far worse than doing too little. When leaders do too much, they cannot be as effective or as thoughtful or as strategic as they might otherwise be. Even worse, their team members are underutilized and underchallenged. Better team members are also likely to be increasingly angry – because their leader is doing what they could and should and want to be doing. By not letting good performers do their jobs, on their own, leaders don’t allow their team members to feel proud of what they can do. The end result is the development of dislike or even hate for a leader who butts in, as well as earning him a reputation for being a control freak and a micromanager.” ~ J. Keith Murnighan, Do Nothing!
By: Seth Godin
Book Overview: The Web can do amazing things, but it can’t provide leadership. That still has to come from individuals—people just like you who have passion about something. The explosion in tribes means that anyone who wants to make a difference now has the tools at her fingertips. If you think leadership is for other people, think again―leaders come in surprising packages. Ignore an opportunity to lead and you risk turning into a “sheepwalker”―someone who fights to protect the status quo at all costs, never asking if obedience is doing you (or your organization) any good. Sheepwalkers don’t do very well these days. Tribes will make you think (really think) about the opportunities for leading your fellow employees, customers, investors, believers, hobbyists, readers…. It’s not easy, but it’s easier than you probably imagine.
Post(s) Inspired by this Book: 10 Quotes from Tribes by Seth Godin… And Why We Need You to Lead Us.
“Secrecy is the enemy of trust and is responsible for much of the distrust that exists between business and society, corporations and customers, management and employees.” ~ Keshavan Nair, A Higher Standard of Leadership
“I’ve been told that certain species of fish will grow according to the size of their environment. Put them in a tiny aquarium, and they remain small even at adulthood. Release them into a huge natural body of water, and they grow into their intended size. People are similar. If they live in a harsh and limiting environment, they stay small. But put them someplace that encourages growth, and they will expand to reach their potential.” ~ John C. Maxwell, Today Matters
“When a leader makes the choice to put the safety and lives of the people inside the organization first, to sacrifice their comforts and sacrifice the tangible results, so that the people remain and feel safe and feel like they belong, remarkable things happen.” ~ Simon Sinek, TED
“Cats do what cats do, ducks do what ducks do, and eagles do what eagles, do. If you take a duck and ask it to do an eagles’ job, shame on you. As a leader, your job is to help your ducks to become better ducks and your eagles better eagles – to put individuals in the right places and help them reach their potential.” ~ John C. Maxwell, Leadership Gold
“Don’t waste your time trying to turn ducks into eagles. Hire people who already have the motivation and drive to be eagles and then just let them soar.” ~ Jim Rohn