Wednesday, September 30, 2009

October newsletter & more

Click here to see my October newsletter. In it I continue the series I began in August about what followers are looking for from their leaders. Last month's issue focused on building trust. This month's issue is about showing compassion.

Visit the Resources page at my website to see all of my archived newsletters, videos and recent webcast.

Seize the day!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Some Great Quotes

Here are some great quotes I came across recently in George Barna's new book called Master Leaders. In all cases he is quoting another well-known leader he is interviewing around the question of "...what have been some of the great discoveries, the "aha" moments, that have shaped your thinking about what it means to be a leader?"

"I came to realize that really I can't change anybody." (Don Soderquist)

"I have found that successful leaders are much more aware of their subjective, emotional responses than you would expect." (John Townsend)

"I have little I can do by myself and how much I can do through others." (Sam Chand)

"I have come to think of leadership as the mobilization of people toward a shared objective. And that mobilization requires the leader to first listen in order to learn, in order to lead." (Barry Black)

Some things for you to think about. What have been some of your greatest discoveries or "aha" moments that have shaped your thinking about leadership? Please comment and join the discussion.

Who are you learning from? Who do you spend time with and glean from so that you are growing as a leader? King Solomon, in the Proverbs writes, "He who walks with the wise becomes wise."

Seize the day!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reading With Purpose

I was working with my coach last week on putting together a reading plan. I love to read and learn new things and I am constantly struggling to find more time to read. So, I decided I needed a plan to become more intentional. Hey, that's sound like what I try to get my clients to do. Imagine that.

There were a couple of interesting takeaways for me from that coaching session that I thought I would pass along to you.

First, my coach asked me what my motivations were for reading. An obvious one for me is my love of learning. But, what else came out of that interchange was very interesting to me. Here are some of my other motivations, ones I hadn't thought of before:

1) The more I read, the better resource I will be for my clients.
2) If I am consistently reading I will be more informed of current events and have a more consistent flow of new ideas and insights. This will help me come to the dinner table with some interesting things to talk about. I have been looking for ways to get better at initiating meaningful conversation around the table.
3) My wife loves to read and reads about ten times faster than I do. She is also great at staying abreast of world events and things going on in the culture. We both really enjoying talking with one another. The more I read the better prepared I will be to have interesting things for us to talk about together. We never lack things to talk about, but the more well-read I am the better partner I will be in those interactions.
4) I love to do public speaking. One of my weaknesses in this area is story-telling and the use of analogies. I have a hard time coming up with them. The more I read, the more stories and analogies I will be exposed to, so I will have a larger inventory to draw from.

As I keep these all in view, I think I will be much more motivated to follow through on my plan because I am more aware of all the benefits I stand to gain.

The second insight that came from my coaching appointment was that I decided to break up my reading material into categories. I am a slow reader by nature. However, because I read slow and have a good memory, I tend to remember most of what I read. As we discussed this concept further I became aware that there are certain books/articles that I read just for fun, and am not interested in the full content. These are the kinds of things I could just skim and be satisfied. So, I have created two different categories:

1) Stuff I want to consume, learn & apply
2) Stuff I wasnt to skim and glean from

I still have more work to do, but this progress and insight has already been helpful.

What motivates you to read? How will those motivations affect your reading habits? Do you have different ways you could categorize your reading to help you use your time and energy more efficiently?

Click here to sign up for my free monthly newsletter. I would be honored to be added to your reading list. And remember, readers are leaders and leaders are readers.

Seize the day!

Monday, September 21, 2009

What a Week!

Last week was a whirlwind, but all in all, a good one. I was on the road to Ft. Wayne IN for a 2-day conference and then back to Lombard IL for another 2-day conference, both sponsored by the Christian & Missionary Alliance - Midwest District. At both conferences I had the privilege and opportunity to present another, even more-compressed version of my Conversational Leadership program. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago the folks at Ronald McDonald House Charities Int'l Conference really enjoyed the workshop. More importantly, a number of them commented that they were heading back to the office with tools they could begin using immediately.

This last week the pastors and ministry leaders who attended the conferences had some very similar comments. They were also able to identify, very clearly, how the principles I shared could impact their relationships at work and at home. I am very encouraged that people are walking away from these events with real-life tools they can use right now. That is incredibly important to me. I want all my listeners/trainees to walk away with immediate value and with resources that will bring them value over time.

This Wednesday I get another opportunity to compress the program even further. I will be doing a 30-min. webcast at 2pm CDT for an organization called Stratos Four, a digital media company based out of Cedar Rapids, IA. I hope you can join us. Click here to register for the event. I would love to have you there!

I think I have learned a valuable lesson over the last few weeks. If we are delivering something of real, innate value to our customers, then the amount of time we have does not limit our ability to bring value. It does limit the amount of value we can deliver in that space of time, but our ability to deliver value is not eliminated just because we don't have a multitude of hours.

This reminded me of a brief encounter I had with another client where, in a matter of 5 minutes, I had communicated the bottom line of this program. He walked away with three solid nuggets he could apply right away. That was tremendously encouraging.

So, what do you have to offer those in your sphere that is of real value? How could you slice and dice it, while retaining it's essence, that would allow you to deliver it in smaller, or larger chunks, without diluting the bottom-line for the customer? Stretch your thinking on this one and you will be surprised what you come up with.

Seize the day!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

When Do I Get To Do That Again?

Last week I shared with you the great news I received in the feedback that Ronald McDonald House Charities gave me after I spoke at their conference. While I certainly enjoyed getting such positive feedback, I have to say that as I reflected back on the whole experience I enjoyed something else much more - actually giving the presentation.

Not everything about the experience was wonderful though:

  • The initial preparation for the event was somewhat tedious. I had to take 16 hours of material and consolidate it down to 3 hrs. I didn't hate it, but it wasn't a lot of fun.
  • Putting together the PowerPoint presentation wasn't my favorite part either. I can get the content into the slides, but making them look good and giving them some creative flair is also not one of my strenghts.
  • The 30-minutes just prior to the workshop were a little stressful too. As people began entering the room and choosing their seats I introduced myself and tried to make some small talk. Some of you may be saying, "That would have been the best part." Not me. Meeting new people is tough for me. I tend to be shy and feel awkward in those early moments.

But...when the program started and I launched into the presentation it was like I entered a different realm. It felt great, looked great and sounded great...and I was loving every minute of it. It is what Michael Jordan used to call "the zone." It was that place where he felt like he couldn't miss (and usually didn't). In baseball hitters who are in "the zone" say that it's like the ball is coming at them in slow motion and the ball looks as if it were the size of a softball.

When it was all over there was this feeling of, "When do I get to do that again!?!?" I was full of energy and excitement. I was ready for the next class, though there wasn't one. Reality set in and I was back to "normal." I share this with you because this is how it looks and feels when we are operating in an area of strength - success and satisfaction (consistently). If you have been reading my posts for the last year you will know that is an area of passion for me - supporting other people in identifying and developing their natural talents into functional strenghts.

That experience I had is one I want others to experience for themselves again and again. So, I ask you, When was the last time you said, "When do I get to do that again?" Other questions to ask yourself are:
  • When is the last time I completely lost all track of time when doing something?
  • What are the 10-15 things in my life that I have accomplished that have given me the greatest amount of satisfaction?
  • What, when I am engaged in it, actual returns energy to me, instead of drains it from me?
Ask yourself some of these questions. It will help move you toward your areas of talent and strength. If you are serious about taking the next step you can take some assessments that will do a better job of nailing down the specific areas of your talents. Read my previous post called, "Anybody Got a Match?" to see more about a specific tool I recommend that is readily available and very inexpensive.

Seize the day!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sharing the Good News

I recently spoke at the Ronald McDonald House Charities Int'l Conference. It was a great privilege to be involved in an event of that magnitude. I was asked to do a compressed version of my program called, "Conversational Leadership." I normally deliver this material over 16 hours. At the RMHC conference I only had 3 hours. That was a challenge.

A few days ago I received the official feedback from the event coordinator...and I was thrilled. I had really enjoyed the event, and felt in my gut that it had gone well. However, I never expected to get such overwhelmingly positive feedback.

I thought I would share some of it with you so you could celebrate with me:

"We engaged Joe Denner from Alliant Leadership as a speaker for our 2009 International Conference. With over 800 attendees and more than 50 educational sessions, Joe’s workshop was consistently rated as one of the BEST. He is a great speaker and powerful influencer, capable of equipping organizational leaders with the tools they need."
Donell B. – Event Coordinator
Ronald McDonald House Charities Int’l

"Thanks Joe! Your presentation provided me with valuable information that I have already started applying in the workplace. I hope you’ll be back in 2011 with an advanced conversational leadership session. Thank you!"
Eric S.
RMHC Phoenix

Comments from other participants:
· Wow! I’m excited to get back and use these tools. Joe knew his topic and didn’t rely on slides, which is so important in keeping people focused and engaged.
· Fantastic – best session so far. Excellent presenter – great pace – addressed individual questions
· Too short – best session yet!
· One of the best sessions – can apply to all areas of life but he applied to RMHC
· Please have him come back!
· Outstanding – equipped me with the tools to have the one-on-one
· A great influencer – very easy to listen to – presentation moved at a nice pace
· Would be a great addition to Executive Training

I am very thankful to the Lord for enabling me to deliver this kind of value to my clients.

Take time to celebrate. So many of us don't. If you have received any positive feedback lately, please share it with me. I would love to celebrate with you!!

Seize the day!