How Does It Feel At The Top

A colleague told me something interesting about what it feels like at the top.


He said:

The 360 degree view is good, but it get’s windy at times!


I thought this was pretty smart, and one reason that many people opt out of moving into senior and executive positions in their organizations. 


Yes, it’s great to be able to lead and have more visibility, influence, and impact. 


But at the same time, this does not come for free or without risks. 


At the top of the pyramid or corporate offices or whatever, there is opportunity. 


Yet, your dealing with other top honchos with strong personalities, egos, and often harsh ways of dealing with others and conflict can be perilous for many. 


My father used to tell me his philosophy:

Better a little less, but you know what you have. 


There is definitely wisdom in those words. 


Maybe as with most things in life, there is a time and place for everything. 


It is great to have the opportunity to lead.


It’s also not bad to have a time to follow and contribute in that way. 


What’s important is that whatever role your in at the time, that you do it with integrity and passion to do good. 


So how does it feel at the top–sure, it’s a nice view, but it can get very windy too. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Cracking Heads–In War and Work

Thought this was an amazing painting of the medieval battlefield.


The warrior in the center is using his war hammer to literally split heads open.


Not only for physical fighting (i.e. life and death), I’ve heard this term in the past used in the office setting:

“Cracking heads” to get things done. 

While war is war, I don’t think that getting to progress in the office ever merits cracking anyone’s head–let along with a battle hammer. 


Yes, people can be stubborn and occasionally pose obstacles to moving forward, but that is what communication skills and persuasion are for.


You have to seriously question the leadership and sanity of anyone who thinks and talks about hurting people at work. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Persuasion x 3

I liked this categorization of three types of tools of persuasion developed by Aristotle: 


– Ethos: Appeals to a sense of ethics, morals, and character. 


– Logos: Appeals to a sense of logic, reason, and rationality.


– Pathos: Appeals to a sense of emotion, empathy, and passion. 


I don’t know about most people, but I don’t get convinced easily. 


You need to show me, prove it to me, or convince me it’s right. 


Some others, and I don’t know why–it’s like you can sell them the Brooklyn Bridge, as they say.  


I think that’s dangerous!


Without critical thinking and evaluation, people can get led astray to do the wrong things…a perfect example is Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler (may his memory be forever cursed).  


Hitler appealed to the Germans people at the time:

– Emotionally to bring them back from the loss, destruction, and destitution that World War I inflicted and of course, to scapegoat the Jews, Gypsies, and political opponents and send them to the death camps. 

– Logically, that they were a strong and powerful people, the “Aryan nation,” and they therefore, deserved to conquer and rule Europe and the World.

– Ethically–let’s just say, this one didn’t really apply to Hitler, probably the most evil and destructive man this world has ever known, except that even Hitler tried to fool his people falsely proclaiming, “G-d is with us!”


It’s a war of good over evil out there, and we need to make our arguments to influence and persuade for the good, but we also have to be careful not to let others, who are not so good, manipulate us for their own selfish and depraved ends. 


Ethos, Logos, and Pathos–potent tools or weapons in the direction of mankind and civilization. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Me Myself and I

I thought this was really fascinating about how we interact with others.


It’s a theory by Martin Buber called the I-Thou relationship.


In every relationship, there are really 6 people in the room:


– Who I am.


– Who I want to be.


– Who I am perceived as.


———–


– Who they are.


– Who they want to be.


– Who they are perceived as. 


———-


Taking about a break between reality, fantasy, and perception. 


Is it any wonder that there are so many communication breakdowns and relationship disappointments. 


We need to coalesce around a unified persona of I and thou–and if we don’t know, perhaps we need to ask for clarification.


We don’t want to talk past each other. 


We want to talk to and work with each other. 


I am me and you are you. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Anus Protectus

So I learned this new phrase today:

“Anus Protectus”


It’s what it sounds like.


It when you communicate (or do) something in order to “cover your a*s.”


Sometimes we communicate as an FYI.


Other times as a FYSA.


And then there is the CYA. 


All of these are what we call “Purposeful communications.”


The only real difference is their purposes. 


When you open your mouth or your email make sure you know your:


– Why (intent)

– Who (audience)

– How (persuasion techniques)


These are the secret sauce of good communication. 


More blogs to come on this important topic. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Living Your Values

So I had this great conversation today with someone about values.


Thinking about what I really value and whether I am living consistently with these…


For me, I was able to clarify for myself these critical values:


1) Being a good person and influence in the world (having a positive impact on people and ideas)


2) Being a good family man (a loving husband, father, and previously son)


3) Being spiritual and serving G-d (living selflessly for my Maker and not selfishly for myself)


4) Being a hard worker (living productively and not as a laggard or sloth)


5) Being a balanced person (living along the “golden path” or “middle of the road”–not an extremist)


6) Being a generally healthy person (living a lifestyle that includes activity, exercise, good nutrition, and no smoking, drugs, or excessive drinking)


What I realized is that when I need to let my values guide me every moment of every day. 


This ultimately means my success and happiness! 


Being what I think that I am supposed to be or what others would want me to be, just doesn’t work–it’s a strategy for failure. 


My father used to tell me:

“Let your conscience be your guide”  (that and the Torah, of course)


This is the answer to a lot of questions that I have in my life–about what to do with my life and what decisions to make.


Values–driven by conscience and integrity–that’s where I want to go next and next. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When People Fear You, You’re Not A Leader

As the fortune cookie I came across yesterday says:


“Leadership is action, not position.”


And actions demonstrate a good or evil heart.


When everyone hates a leader is that a “leader?”


– Fear is not leadership.


– Bullying is not leadership. 


– Corruption is not leadership. 


Leadership is:


– Showing others what is right and being a good influence. 


– Rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work alongside everyone else. 


– Helping others to achieve their potential. 


– When others see you as a leader based on your integrity of purpose and actions. 


How we treat others is as true a test of leadership as of where we want to go and how we want to get there. 


G-d sees everything man (leader or not) does, and only He in Heaven is the Leader of Leaders and the King of Kings.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)