“If you can anticipate the future, then…”

Standard

I believe it was Paul Allaire, former chairman of Xerox who said, “if you can anticipate the future, you can also help shape it”.

That sounds wise. To make it practical, you need to take the time to think about the future. In the midst of these busy days, that is easier said than done.

However, it will be well worth it if you can discipline yourself to make a regular time in your schedule to evaluate what’s going on in your life and adjust your plans accordingly.

“View from the top” book review- D. Michael Lindsay

Standard

Over the years, I have read literally hundreds of biographies and books on leadership and business. This is one of the more interesting I’ve read. I had a very difficult time putting it down.

This book was researched over a 10 year period of time, with interviews done of top leaders: over 250 ceo’s, former presidents, dozens of cabinet secretaries, members of congress, and heads of federal bureaus, and agencies representing nine White House administrations, and more than 100 leaders of the world’s largest non profit organizations. (half of the leaders worked in business, 25% in government, and 25% in non profit (including higher ed.)

I thought it was just fascinating learning what it takes to be a leader at the very elite levels of government, business, and education.

Leaders, are you too busy?

Standard

Your workplace may motivate you, but your family depends on you. So, how is your work-family balance?

For example, how does a father described in this passage live with his fatherly absenteeism?

“Leaders’ families also feel the strain as their father, mother, or spouse is pulled away by a demanding job. One day, as Bill Roper left for his job as head of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, he was shocked to hear his three-year old son send him off by saying, “Thanks for visiting, Daddy.” (taken from “View from the top” by D. Michael Lindsay)

How about you? Leaders are you too busy? Is it time to start making some changes in your priorities?

A leader to you, as a leader, …

Standard

For seven years, George Shultz had one of the most important and consuming jobs in government, serving as Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan. In the midst of the whirlwind of incoming information and outgoing decisions, he purposefully paused for undisturbed intellectual labor: “its easy to get totally dominated by the events- something is always happening.
So I would try – at least twice a week during the day when I was still fresh (not at the end of the day) to take three-quarters of an hour off. I said, “if the President calls or my wife calls, put it through, but no other calls.” And I make a pact wth myself not to look at the stuff in my inbox, and I go over and sit in a comfortable chair with a pad and paper, take a deep breath and say, “What am I doing here? What am I trying to achieve? What are the main problems?” So you try to get yourself out of all the detals of day-to-day stuff and try to look a little more broadly from your own perspective.
this passage is taken from “View from the Top” (pgs.62-63) by D. Michael Lindsay

What to do in Winter–how about Bocce Ball?

Standard

If you are like me, you are probably a little bummed these days with the realization that Winter is going to be here for a while. So, how can we make the best of it?

My family enjoys Bocce Ball. We toss a golf ball-sized ball out in the yard and then we take turns throwing a bigger ball towards the smaller ball. Whoever is closest wins, and we’ll play up to ten. Its a pretty casual and enjoyable time together walking around talking with each
other.

I’m sure in this brutally cold weather, no one would enjoy doing it outside. So, why not do it inside? If you go to a dollar store in your area, or a Walmart, you can find softball-sized foam/spongy balls. They are a great substitute for outdoor Bocce Balls.

So, take the same concept and take turns getting closest to some object in your house. It will be a fun and nice family activity.

Sleep for Success

Standard

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “dress for success”. What about “Sleep for Success”?

In an interesting study (done by Cheri D. Mah) utilizing the Stanford Men’s Basketball team. For 2 weeks, the men on the team slept according to their normal schedules–6.5 hours of sleep a night. Then the players were told to try and sleep as much as they could for five to seven weeks, with a goal of 10 hours in bed each night. Their actual time of sleep increased to 8.5 hours and the results were startling.

By the end of the extra sleep period, player’s performances had improved. Their free throw shooting improved by 1.4% and their 3-point shooting improved by 13.7% . There was also an improvement of .7 seconds on the 282 foot sprint drill. Every single play was quicker than before the study had started.

A 13 percent performance enhancement is the sort of gain that one associates with drugs or years of training–not simply making sure to get tons of sleep. This research strongly suggests that most athletes would perform much better if sleeping longer –if they could do it.

And I’m thinking if athletes could improve with more sleep, maybe we all could.

Taken from Faster, Higher, Stronger by Mark McClusky