Me! Me! Me!

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Firms are fighting for the same customer thereby giving the customer the upper hand.  Each company focuses on catering to the needs of their customers to a point that they provide customized services around the needs of their customers.   Take for example, McDonald’s has it your way, in which you can choose what you want, including super sizing it.  Isn’t it great that the company wants to meet my needs and customize their services to match them?  That’s awesome!   It creates a society focusing too much on individual needs, which results in people thinking that is it is all about me.

The ME-focused society has created a challenge in which people tend to want to do things for the sake of getting the credit.   The need to be rewarded every single time is not realistic, because it creates a shift in focus from team to individual.   Who has not worked with someone who wants to be front and center and take call the credit?   They might have worked alongside everyone, but when it is time to get the credit they are in front of everyone.   Right, wrong, or indifferent, most projects are a team sport.  You need a group of people to work together to get the job done. Therefore when providing recognition, you focus on the team first.

How do we make sure the team gets the credit?

  • Highlight the delivery and what value it brings either to the organization or clients.
  • List all the names of all people who participated in the project.
  • Specify any special process or innovation that we put in place to make the solution better
  • Last but not least, unless someone has done a special job, stay focused on the team effort and commitment

At work, celebrate your people’s uniqueness, but focus on the over-arching goal and how the team accomplished such goal.   State the collective wisdom that helped accomplish the goal.   Highlight innovation and game-changing decisions that help differentiate your company.  Individuality is great, but in a team sport of having many people working on your project, you need to make sure the team feels recognized and appreciated.

Leaders Who Listen

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Take a moment and think of a leader you admire. Focus on how he/she interacts with their audience.

Does the leader listen and provide undivided attention? Or, does the leader at times cut off the other person in the middle of conversation?

Not to take any sides in politics, but former President Bill Clinton has the gift of captivating the attention of the person he is talking to by looking at the person intently like no one else is around them. By doing this, he makes the person feel special.

As Stephen Covey says, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” I personally have done this many times; I listened to respond, instead of listening to learn. As I became aware of my mistakes, I put an effort to listen carefully. At that point, I learned that I was indeed listening, but not understanding, when I experienced that I failed to remember some of the points that were discussed.

I decided to understand the different barriers to listening to help me avoid them: distractions, for example, such as anyone doing something and making noises; emotions that affect effectiveness; inattentiveness; and lack of clarity. By understanding these barriers, I’m able to focus.

A leader listens to receive, retain, process and translate the message. You’ll notice that great leaders are good listeners because they are not afraid to repeat what they heard to ask for confirmation. They also look into non-communication forms like facial expressions, gestures, and body language to get a complete picture.

How Does A Leader Demonstrate Effective Listening?

A leader:

  1. Always maintains eye contact (most important).
  2. Uses body language to demonstrate that he/she understands what is being communicated by nodding.
  3. Asking questions to clarify the points.
  4. Repeating the message to receive confirmation.

To be a good leader, one must master the art of listening. By developing this skill, over time you’ll slowly head in the right direction.

Let me know your thoughts on my post. Do you agree? If you don’t, please share your thoughts.

Tell me about a time when listening impacted you!

What would you do? Unsportsmanlike conduct

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March Madness did live up to its expectation.   My two favorite teams made it to the final four. Kentucky and Wisconsin are my favorites. I had picked Kentucky to win, however Wisconsin was clearly hungrier and wanted it more.

After Wisconsin won a fierce match against Kentucky, what transpired after left me shaking my head. How could Coach Calapari let his team walk away without shaking hands with Wisconsin’s players?   I understand that the players will be upset when you lose a big game, but sportsmanship is the ultimate reason why we play the sport.     I was surprised that Coach Calapari would let some of his players walked off the court.   As a coach, he is the leader and leaders should hold their people to a high standard.

I’ve been coaching for three years and I always stress the importance to our players that we will win and lose graciously.   While we will be upset, we will honor our opponent and respect them,    because they earned the win.   I will never tolerate anyone on my team disrespecting our opponent.

What ensued made matters worse. During the press interview, one of the star players for Kentucky was heard saying profanity on live microphone.    I find that inexcusably rude and disrespectful. What did Coach Calapari teach his player? It is unimaginable that they could be high draft picks entering the NBA draft when they don’t have the basic manners needed.   I put this back on Coach Calapari’s shoulders, that he needs to step up and rectify this.   We expect better from his players and know that they need to be held to a standard like everyone else.   The loss was a huge disappointment, but the is totally unacceptable.

As a leader, you need to make sure that your team understands that they are upholding a certain standard.   That any unsportsmanlike conduct will be dealt with accordingly and no stone will be left unturned.     As an athlete, they are role models whether they like it or not.   They need to step up and be accounted for.

If you’re the head coach, what would you do? How would you provide an effective feedback?   I felt that the moment it happened was the perfect time to teach your players a lesson.   It is more impactful to deal with it right after it happens than doing a postmortem.     As Vince Lombardi says, “The strength of the group is the strength of the leaders.”     With that said, the leader should be the role model and carry the team in good and bad times.

Doing the right thing

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Play-nicelyI’ll start my post with a quote from Oprah Winfrey, “Real Integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”     In life, we are often faced with challenges such as meeting people and stakeholder’s demands.   This creates a complicated situation in which some people will do certain things just for the sake of satisfying the majority but going against their personal values and beliefs.

In my over 24 years in the workforce, I’ve seen a myriad of things that people do just to make things happen. Some people do whatever it takes to get it done, like doing it at all costs. These sacrifices at times affect people’s life as they have to give up a lot to get things done. But just like anything else, you’re only as good as your current performance.   Prior performance is often forgotten; sadly yes, that is the reality we live in.   Furthermore, we see heads of public organizations and government figures getting in trouble because they did something they should not be doing.   This is also pervasive in the athletic world, where some athletes think they are above the law.

In sports, it is often a challenge when coaches focus so much on wins that it becomes the be all end all. When win becomes a measure of success instead of learning the skills to get better and improve future chances.   Because of the need to win, players at times play hurt or the coach will put in players who are hurt.   In doing so, you could sacrifice the future of the player.   In recent weeks, I’ve faced the same situation, my team was off to a slow start and our shots were not falling. In addition, my strategy was not working, coupled with one of my best player being injured.   A few days after the injury, we had another game.   I thought about playing her since she was available. In the end before I drove home from work, I made a decision to seat her.   As it turns out, our opponent never showed up and I ended up asking my team to have a scrimmage.

As I look back at that situation, what helped me make the decision was to think about the long term health of my player. I’d rather take a hit now than to risk my player having a further injury.   It goes back to doing the right thing regardless of the situation.   I’m thankful for the opportunity to be challenged and came out with an experience that further strengthens my commitment to doing the right thing.   As Ms. Winfrey says, doing the right thing is doing it regardless of anyone looking at you.   In essence it is a commitment that makes sure you stay true to your core values.

Writing is a labor of love, if you like my post, please share with other. If you don’t agree, let me know your viewpoint as I can always learn from you.

Giving Back – Developing Leaders by being intentional

JMT in Cebu

Prior to my recent trip to the Philippines to attend a family reunion and my father-in-law’s 88th birthday, there was a span of two months in which I was really busy with something that I’m passionate about. I’m doing the John Maxwell certification. Part of the program was teaching the Mastermind group. During the two month period, I taught two Mastermind groups about the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. For some reason, I was energized to teach the class after a long day at work. I believe that I finally found what I want to do in life. That is to teach and coach people on how to be better leaders and positivity in life.

For over 15 year now, I’ve been an avid follower of John Maxwell. I learned a lot from his teaching. In addition to John’s teaching, my earliest influence in leadership was my father. He was a great leader who led by example. I learned a lot by observing him, particularly how he interacted with people around him. I learned that leaders sacrifice more to help others grow and develop. He inspired me to be a better person and I eventually became a better leader to those who work with me. My leadership journey continues in my quest to become a better person and leader and help develop others along the way.

Before I left for vacation, I decided to offer a free Mastermind program on the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. I reached out to my niece and sister-in-law. They helped me secure a place and we also provided refreshments and snacks. The seminar was open to 30 people. Before I arrived, the seminar was fully booked. I was so excited to share John Maxwell’s teaching to others.

On the way to the event, I was anxious. I was confident with the material because I’ve taught two video casts of this topic for six-weeks each. But there were still butterflies in my stomach. Thankfully within 15 minutes after I started the session, I was at ease. I kept the participants engaged through table discussion and sharing of insight. We had a great time learning from one another. The morning session went by really fast. During lunch I was focused on coming up with ways to engage the team because people tend to be sleepy in the afternoon and that is the time you lose your audience. Fortunately I was able to keep them engaged. Before you know it the event ended already. The event was attended by some relatives, business folks and school representatives. The school representatives of Gothong High School were very engaged in the discussion. We had a healthy dialogue and I learned about them. At the end of the event, I gave away three copies of the book that I co-authored, The Character Based-Leader.

Giving back to the community can be done in many ways. Developing community leaders is by far the most effective way of giving back to your community. When you develop leaders, they in turn will develop other leaders in the community. Developing leaders has a multiplying effect, thereby increasing your reach. I told the participants that I expect them to take three things from the seminar and implement it in their daily life. I urged them to create a growth plan, execute and track their progress. Create a do-not-do list – a list of thing they should stop doing. By stopping those things like doubting themselves, they would be better already. Sometimes we are the worst critics of ourselves and we can be really hard on ourselves, and that starts affecting our confidence and ability.

I look to this experience with joy and appreciation. I thank God for the gift that He gave me to touch people’s hearts.

Teachers – a Sandy Hook perspective

Will Lukang, CLDC, CSM, PMP

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Teachers are known to be the people that help shape the future of our country, because they are the ones that teach the leaders of tomorrow.   Through their guidance, support and nurturing, the next generation’s minds are shaped and educated about the things that make them a better people in the society.  Of course parents play an important part in the upbringing of the children, but for seven hours a day during the school year, the teachers help the children learn the things that they need to get to the next grade.

Through the years, I often heard people say that it is great to be a teacher because they only work till 3 p.m. and they have summer off.   Comments as such in my mind are made because people are envious of the people who enter such a profession.    Sometimes people think that just because school closes at 3 p.m. the teachers get to leave at 3 p.m.   More often than not they have to stay behind to clean up and they are often up early to prepare the agenda for the day.

From my experience, there is a teacher in my life that helped turn my life around.  Her name is Araceli Ilao.  She was my 3rd year high school teacher.   I used to lack confidence and believed that I wasn’t smart or capable of accomplishing anything.  I felt that way because the people around me kept telling me that I wasn’t as smart as my siblings and didn’t amount to anything.   She told me that I’m the only one who knows my capabilities.   If I trust and believe in myself, I can accomplish a lot of things.

Each day under her guidance, I gained confidence and before I knew it I placed third in my section. I couldn’t even imagine getting a great score much less to aspire to be an honor student.   But for some reason I started to believe in myself and studied hard and aimed high.   As the year progressed, I was impressed with what I’d done, because the excellent score helped me work harder for the next one.   By the end of the year, I placed third in my section.   As I look back to that year, it was the best year of my young life.   I wrote names of people I wanted to prove wrong and each year I would work toward proving them wrong.   I turned a negative into a positive.  Negative in which people don’t believe me and positive by channeling the negative energy to working hard and focusing on my goal of proving them wrong.   Mrs. Ilao helped me become the person that I am.  Teachers like her make a profound impact on people’s lives long after she is done teaching them.

In light of the Sandy Hook Elementary incident, I’ve more respect for teachers and the profession.  The sacrifice they put in on a daily basis to teach, nurture and mold the children who will be leaders of tomorrow.   The fact that they have put their lives on the line to save the lives of their students, such  heroism is above beyond what we ask for.   Take for example, Victoria Soto who hid all her students and told the gunman that they were on the playground.   She sacrificed herself for the love of her students.  Such act of courage is beyond compare.    As I end this post, my family continues to pray for all families who lost love ones and for the family of the gunman for the pain and suffering that they are going through.  May this incident help change the way we manage how people secure guns.   May the act of courage of the teachers served as a reminder that we need to hold all teachers in high regard and pray for their safety on a daily basis.

Seize the Day

By Will Lukang, CLDC, PMP, CSM, MASCL

Family

As I drive home tonight after a long day at work, I can’t help but think about the things that transpired at work and all the things that are left to be taken care of tomorrow.   In addition, numerous releases that need to happen in the weeks to come.   I find myself trying to figure out any possible issues and gaps that we could possibly miss.

As I get closer to my house, I can’t wait to see my family and hear the stories on how their day has gone.   It dawns on me that I need to unplug myself from work and focus on the task at hand, which is to be there for my family.   I’m often reminded that I only have one (1) chance to make an impression, connect and bond.  If I miss this opportunity, I will never be able to take back the time.  There is no rewind and replay in life; it is a one way ticket and there is no looking back.   In some respects, there is no point to regretting you missed the opportunity, but rather you need to try your best to make up, or re-establish the connection.

I wrote this blog because I want to help others to realize that this opportunity is for them to seize or let go.   From my perspective, here is what I’ve been working on:

  • Listen to your children – pay attention and ask questions to let them know that you’re there for them and what they say is important.
  • Let them know that they matter – by showing you love them in words and action.  Not by giving them a false sense of love through monetary means.
  • Lead by example – we need to walk the talk (do what you say you would do) and be a role model for them.  They need someone to help them learn right from wrong and understand the importance of integrity and community.  This includes being true to your words.  Sometimes it is difficult, but making an effort can make it happen.
  • Teach them that life is not fair – Don’t shelter them, and let them learn that they cannot have everything they want.  Sometimes you can’t have what you want, because you don’t have the means to afford it.
  • Outcome often depends on your effort – If you work hard you can be successful, although it is not guaranteed.  But you’ll get what you invest in and reward can only be expected if you put in the effort into getting it done.
  • Allowing them freedom – in choice by making some decisions that you believe they are able to make, and let them try or explore things in life within your guidance.   Try new sports or school activities to learn more about themselves.
  • Teach them to love mankind – by caring for others and people who are in need.  Have compassion for others and try their best to help the best they can.
  • Believe in them – give them the confidence by believing in them and helping them grow and develop to be people who use their values and morals to lead their lives.

In the end, my belief is that you’ll get what you put in.   On most days, it is hard to juggle multiple balls everyday but when I get home I’m trying to disconnect and unplug to listen to my little one read me a poem or a book or talking about that happen during the days and ask questions that elicit interaction.    Carpe Diem is what it is all about.   I hope you’re take away from reading my post is to spend more time with your family or love ones.  Let them know you care about them.   Feel free to share your thoughts.