Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Leaders Are Readers...

I believe the old adage that, "leaders are readers and readers are leaders." Those who are informed and constantly advancing and challenging their knowledge of history, their current environment and the technical areas of competency that they need to master are going to have a better opportunity to influence those in their sphere than those who are uninformed.

I am currently reading the following books: The Healthy CEO, The Leadership Challenge, The Ascent of a Leader, Setting Sales Appointments and the Bible. I am being challenged on a daily basis in the areas of leadership, business development and the continuing growth of my character and spiritual maturity.

What good books are you reading? How are you stretching your mind? In what ways are you challenging the status quo of your own life? Turn off the TV, your iPod or Internet and get into a good book.

Seize the day!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Are You Staying on Track?

Most of us feel like we are living in the middle of a whirlwind. It seems that in every area of life we are being pulled in multiple directions and the demands are constant. In that kind of environment one of the major challenges we face as leaders is staying on track.

Watch the following video (0:38) to hear about one of the most consistent things that take us off the track.

Management guru Peter Drucker said, "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."

Personally staying on track is very important to doing the right things. What pulls you off track? What are some intentional steps you can take to stay on track? Who could you share that with that could help keep you accountable to your commitments?

Seize the day!



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Family Pride

I decided to give everyone a break from the interview videos to share with you what a great weekend the Denner family had.

Seven of my eight children were in a rectital on Saturday. Two of my daughters (ages 17 & 6) were in ballet numbers and all five of my boys were in a martial arts demo. Because the dance studio and the martial arts studio share the same building they put on a joint recital each year. Talk about efficiency for a family with eight kids!

It was great! I was so proud of my children as I watched the fruit of a year's worth of hard work and dedication. It was all that much more enjoyable because so many of our family members were able to make it. All the grandparents were there in addition to my sister and some of her children, all of whom came in from out of town.

On Sunday we celebrated my son Matthew's 8th grade graduation with a family cookout.

I am very thankful for the wonderful family God has blessed me with and for these memories that we will have for a long, long time.
How are you enjoying time with your family? Are you making it a priority? I know I need to continue to raise it up on my personal list. Don't wait until next year. Start today!

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Seize the day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bottom Line of Effective Leadership

Here is another clip from the interview that I did on strong leadership qualities. This clip (0:22) focuses on the bottom line of effective leadership.

Any comments? Join the discussion.

Seize the day!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

3 Skills to Master

Here is a brief clip (1:47) from an interview that I taped a couple of weeks ago for a local cable TV program. The interview focused on what makes strong leaders. This particular clip looks at three important skills for all budding leaders to master.

The show I was being interviewed for is called, "SchoolScape" and is sponsored by Lombard School District 44. My thanks to Jay Wojcik (interviewer) for the invitation to the show and for permission to post the interview.

If you are interested in the entire, 9-minute interview, click here.

Seize the day!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

This Is Leadership - Video

What is leadership? It is many things, but at the end of the day it is all about significant influence within your sphere.

You have to watch this video. This is leadership in action. You need to hang in there until the 1min mark and then it unfolds. Enjoy.

Seize the day!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Anybody Got A Match?

I work with a lot of leaders in various arenas. They are all very different, and yet in one thing they are very much alike. They are alike in that when I began working with them they had a very limited understanding of their natural talents and strengths and how that impacts their leadership.

I am surprised by how little self-awareness these people have. My surprise is not an indictment of these individuals. It is an indictment of our education system, in general, and of our training of leaders, in specific. In his book, StrengthsFinder 2.0, author Tom Rath states,

"At its fundamentally flawed core, the aim of almost any adult learning program is to help us become who we are not...If you're not very empathetic, you get sent to a course designed to infuse empathy into your personality. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to our shortcomings than to our strengths.

How sad. How much time have people wasted, banging their heads against a wall trying to become something they are not? How many people out there are chasing dreams they are not equipped to achieve?

I am not saying that it doesn't take a lot of hard work and energy to become the best you can be. However, when you invest significant time and energy into your natural talents it is like striking a match against a rough surface - it bursts into flame, creating light and energy. Too many people are trying to mix oil and water and wondering why they are so frustrated and drained of all their energy and life and have little to show for it, or have no sense of genuine fulfillment from all that they have been able to achieve.

It's time to figure out who you really are and who were meant to be. What raw materials exist within you? How can you invest significant time and energy into turning those raw materials into a high quality finished product - i.e. strength?

I highly recommend the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment tool (that comes with the book mentioned above) as a way to start. You can get the book at any bookstore or online at Amazon. You read 31 pages and then spend 30-45 minutes taking the online assessment. As soon as you are done you get a great report that clearly lays out your natural talents and then gives you suggestions on how to invest time and energy into them. I use this tool with all of my coaching clients and have seen how beneficial it is when properly applied.

Anybody got a match? Seize the day!