Keys to Extraordinary Leadership

1.    Inspire and Challenge Them. People want to be inspired. They want to be encouraged to think bigger and better things. They want to look for and climb big mountains. They want to have someone help them dream their biggest dreams. That’s inspiration! They also want someone to set the high bar for them. They want someone to tell them that they can and should aim higher and go for more. That’s challenge! Show them the lofty heights, because not many others are. And the one who does is the one who will lead them.

2.    Teach Them. One of the greatest leadership development programs in the world is at General Electric. Jack Welch has personally devoted himself to its growth. And he has spent thousands and thousands of hours there himself, teaching in a classroom setting. He knows that information must be communicated. Take the time and be patient. Teach those who follow you how to go. Don’t be condescending because in the process, you will probably learn something yourself!

3.     Empathize With Them. OK, it’s almost cliché by now, but the saying, “I feel your pain” worked! Why? Because people want their leaders to feel their pain. They want them to know what it feels like when it is hard or when it is work. This doesn’t mean every board meeting has to be a touchy-feely sob-fest, but we ought to do more than tell our followers to “Suck it up soldier!” This day and age, that doesn’t fly. They want to know that you understand what they are going through and that you care. Sit down with them. Ask questions about the situation. And follow up with them.

4.    Strategize With Them. Some, but very few people want to be told what to do and then left alone. Most would like some direction and help in the area of strategy. Take the time to plot out the plan of action. Even if you know it, it is best to not just hand it over and say, “Now do it.” Take them step-by-step so they learn how to do it themselves. Remember, we aren’t just trying to get the job done; we are trying to get the job done and create new leaders under us. This is an investment!

5.    Dream With Them. Take an interest in what it is that they want to accomplish in their life. Give them opportunity to dream about what your organization or business can become. Let them, encourage them, to dream big dreams, and then do all you can to share that dream, foster that dream, and make that dream a reality! Let them know that you are committed to them achieving their dreams and they will follow you to the ends of the earth!

6.     Encourage Them to Shoot for the Stars. This is closely aligned with having them dream, but this has more to do with the size of their dream! Most people will underestimate what they can do or what they want to accomplish. Most people have much more potential than they realize, let alone live up to. Help them by encouraging them to stretch their dreams so they are even bigger and greater than their first plan.

7.     Communicate Honestly and Clearly With Them. People who follow want their leaders to be honest with them. They act of following is based on believing that you are being told the truth about where you are going! Be open about the positives and the negatives. People can take it and if you make them integral to the solutions, then even tough problems become a chance for teamwork!

Communicate in many ways: written, verbal etc. Just do it regularly so they know what the plan is, where you are going, what time departure is and the estimated time of arrival at destination SUCCESS!

Here is to YOUR success.

Chris Widener

Review Your Flight Options

By Brian Tracy

Once you have become clear about who you are, what you want, and what your true goals are in each area of your life, you can begin to evaluate all the different routes by which you can reach your destination. Now you can determine the strategies and tactics that you can use to achieve your goals and arrive at your destination on schedule.

Develop Options Continually
One of the most important rules that I have ever learned is this: You are only as free as your well-developed options. Before you can plan your time and your life, you must be absolutely clear about both the hourly rate that you are earning today and the hourly rate that you want to earn in the future. Every hour that you spend on a low-value or no-value activity is costing you $25, $50, or more.

Determine the Highest and Best Use of Your Time
Whatever job you choose to take, company you choose to make with your money, or time you choose to spend on a particular activity, think it through carefully in advance and be certain that you are making the highest and best use of your time and resources.

Action Strategies for Personal Achievement
“Action Strategies for Personal Achievement”

Fear Nothing. Achieve Greatness. Live Financially Free. With the skills I will teach you, you’ll see that success is inevitable and nothing is out of your reach.

I designed this program for individuals serious about getting immediate results.
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Refuse to Settle
Abraham Maslow once wrote, “The story of the human race is the story of men and women selling themselves short.” Many people, because of fear and timidity, settle for far less than they are truly capable of achieving. They stay in jobs they don’t like. They stay in relationships that don’t make them happy. They invest their money in things they don’t understand and leave their money there long after they realize they’ve made a mistake. If you are not satisfied with any part of your life, with your current seat selection, remember that you can always pay a price to be free.

Ask for What You Want
In business and in your personal life, remember that every term or condition that you are ever offered has been decided by someone and can be changed by someone else. Whether this involves the pay and conditions of a job, the terms of a contract, the costs of products or services, rental or lease rates of offices or equipment, or bank terms for loans of credit, if you are not happy for any reason, don’t be reluctant to ask for something different.

Cast a Wide Net
The rule with ideas is this: Quality is a function of quantity. This means that the more ways you achieve your goal that you consider before you embark on your journey, the better will be the quality of the choice you make. Cast a wide net. Don’t fall in love with the first idea that occurs to you. You must continually remind yourself that emotions distort evaluations. This means that the more emotional you become about a course of action at the beginning, the less able you will be to make the best decisions and determine the best way to reach your destination.

Action Exercise
Imagine that you are a consultant who has been brought into advise yourself on the very best course of action for you to take to achieve a goal or reach a destination. As your own consultant, force yourself to remain calm, cool, and objective about the advice that you give to yourself.

Learn from Failure and Confirm with Success by Chris Widener

Most people think that failure is bad and success is good. I want to help you change your thinking about that if you fall into that category. I will give you that failure isn’t fun and success is, but I think the following is true:

Both failure and success are good… if you know what their specific purpose is.

Of course we know that success is good, but why? Success is good because it confirms things for us.

Success confirms our plans.
Success confirms our decisions.
Success confirms our resources.
Success confirms our strategies.
Success confirms our hunches.
Success confirms our teamwork.
Success confirms our risks.
Success confirms a lot of things!

So when you are successful, ask yourself the following question: What does this success confirm in my mind?

Now, what about failure? What is the role of failure and how in the world can it be GOOD?

Failure’s role is to teach us. We learn from failure.

Failure teaches us that we need to change our plans.
Failure teaches us that we need to change our decisions.
Failure teaches us that we need to change our resources.
Failure teaches us that we need to change our strategies.
Failure teaches us that we need to change our hunches.
Failure teaches us that we need to change our teamwork.
Failure teaches us that we need to change our risks.
Failure teaches us that we need to change a lot of things!

But at least now we know one more thing that won’t work! With every failure, we learn one more way we can abandon and focus in on what may be the correct way in the future! When we look at it that way, we set ourselves up for a powerfully successful future!

So when you fail, ask yourself this question: What does this failure teach me?

Remember, Success and Failure are both good. They can both be your friend… If you know what role they are to play in your life.

Learn From Failure and Confirm with Success.

Here is to YOUR success.

Chris Widener

The Law of Planning

By Brian Tracy

Every minute spent in planning saves ten minutes in execution. The purpose of strategic planning in a corporation is to reorganize and restructure the activities and resources of the company so as to increase the “return on equity,” or return on the money invested and working in the company. The purpose of “personal strategic planning” is for you to increase your “return on energy,” the return on the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual capital you have invested in your life and career.

Every Minute
Every minute that you spend planning your goals, your activities, and your time in advance saves ten minutes of work in the execution of those plans. Therefore, careful advance planning gives you a return of ten times, or 1,000 percent, on your investment of mental, emotional, and physical energy.

10-12 Minutes
It takes only about 10-12 minutes for you to make up a plan for your day. This investment of 10-12 minutes will save you time of approximately two hours per day, or a 25 percent increase in productivity and performance, in ROE, from the first day that you begin planning your day in advance.

Time Planner
The key to personal efficiency is for you to use a good time planner. Virtually any planner will work if you will discipline yourself to use it as the core of your time management system. Today, Palm Pilots and personal digital assistants (PDA), in combination with personal computers, can enable you to plan your time with greater efficiency than has ever been possible.

The Life Planning Process
“A Goal Without a Plan is Only
A Dream…”

If you dream of achieving great things in life, planning for making them a reality on paper is vital to your success.

The Life Planning Process is a step-by-step manual to help you set and achieve your goals. Using this Action Workbook will guarantee that you stay on course, on time and on target. Learn more here >>

Master List
Begin with a master list as the foundation of your time planning system. Write down everything that you can think of that you will need to do for the indefinite future. As new ideas, goals, tasks, and responsibilities arise; write them down on your master list. Don’t trust them to memory. Plan each month in advance by transferring the appropriate items from your master list to your monthly list. This is best done the last week of each month. Plan each week in advance by transferring items from your monthly list to your weekly list. This is best done the weekend before.

Plan Everything in Detail
Plan every project, meeting, and goal in detail, before you begin. The very act of planning forces you to think better and more accurately about everything you do. The more you think about and plan something on paper, the faster and more efficiently you will accomplish it when you start work.

Regular Planning
Regular planning assures that you spend more time on activities of higher value. This increases effectiveness and your efficiency in everything you do. Perhaps, the most important rule of all if for you to “think on paper!”

Action Exercise
Discipline yourself to work only on those activities that have the most significant impact and influence on your life. Get them done quickly and well. Once you develop this habit of planning and prioritizing, your stress level will decline, your productivity will increase, and your career will take off.

Who Are We, Really? – By Bruce D Schneider, Ph.D., MCC

Whether I’m gazing at a majestically sculptured building, reading of a startling medical breakthrough, or soaring over the earth during a transcontinental flight, I’m always awed by the genius of humanity.

The world is millions of years old, and yet, in only a comparatively short period of time, the accomplishments of humanity can no doubt only be referred to as miraculous. Question after question, and challenge after challenge arose, testing and stretching the explorers — the most brilliant scientists, doctors, engineers, artists, and philosophers — to put forth great effort to answer and conquer anything in the way of our understanding and control of life. The most profound questions and monumental challenges didn’t stop the explorers, who offered all they could to assist humanity in creating a happier and healthier life.

And yet, two questions have persisted throughout the beginning of life on earth. These questions are, actually, the very basis for our existence and our ultimate challenge. Until answered, these questions seem to place all our worldly achievements in proper perspective, reminding us how young and naïve we still are. The questions are: “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” and all of humanity’s worldly achievements are dimmed by the lack of insight that would be alleviated by these questions’ elusive answers.

While most of my work is dedicated to helping people figure out how to share their gifts and how to get the most from life, which is, essentially, the “Why am I here?” part, this article focuses on the other question “Who am I?” My intention is not to offer you the answer, although I wish I could, but to enlighten you to know that you are not alone in not knowing. And that there is deep peace in the fact that, while we’re here, we’ll never really know.

So many people struggle to find themselves. They look in the mirror with hopes of seeing something they’d like to see, but are usually discouraged by the image of who they think they see. Worse is, that it’s not just our own image we see in the mirror; it’s the picture of how we think everyone else sees us as well. It’s no wonder why we don’t know who we are; how could we? We aren’t at all in touch with our authentic self, only an illusion of shoulds, coulds, and usually musts that we feel we have to accomplish to finally be our true self. Think about what this means. We will never really know our true self, because all we are is a definition given to us by the past, others, and even our own self.

It’s so confusing and challenging to figure out who we really are because we have no basis other than from outside of us. So most of us give up trying to figure it all out and decide instead to play a game of distraction. Distracting ourselves from the pain of not remembering our true self and burying our search in the questions and challenges outside of us, which were far easier to comprehend and overcome.

We are so unwilling to let our light shine. We’d prefer to remain distracted for fear of actually being responsible for our lives. We are actually blinded by the darkness — unwilling to grow and so, unwilling to really live. In “Relax, You’re Already Perfect: 10 Spiritual Lessons… To Remember,” I present the nature of our true self as Unconditional Love. This cannot be seen in any mirror. But we’ll still look for it, hoping that one day we’ll see the truth. The truth cannot be seen. The truth cannot be spoken, nor heard. In fact, trying to discern the truth from any physical sense is like trying to salt your fries with whipped cream — just the wrong tool for the job.

Please don’t get me wrong; I never said playing the game of distraction was a bad thing to do. It’s all a game; there is no good or bad. What I am saying is that the key to remembering more of our true self lies in our own hands, but we can’t see it. The key is hidden beneath fears, doubts, limiting beliefs, and yes, whipped cream.

High upon a mountain, conversing with a burning bush, Moses was told that God has not a name, but is a level of consciousness called “I AM.” The I AM consciousness is the highest level of awareness in the Universe. It is the image and likeness of God from which we were created.

Ultimately, the answer to the question “Who am I?” is “I AM.” This seems so simple and yet is so complicated. This is because I AM — the nature of our true selves — is immeasurable.

In the Jewish tradition, the word God is usually hyphenated as G-D. Jews are taught that you don’t take God’s name in vain, as by writing the word. And while this may mean different things to different people, I find a very profound message in this: By writing the name of God, we automatically limit God by trying to define that word by our words. You cannot define the indefinable. You cannot limit the limitless. And as expressions of God, we are, by our very nature, indefinable, limitless, and indescribable. Why try to figure it out? Don’t bother. Instead, consider the idea that we are a mystery. We are not who we see in the mirror. We are so much more.

Please ask yourself this: if you were to accept yourself as a beautiful mystery, and didn’t distract yourself in the process, how would your life be different? I maintain that there is deep peace when you let go of your ego and not have to know. Instead of having to know, try having faith — faith that you will never know and don’t have to, faith that you are beyond human description, and faith that regardless of the image you see in the mirror, you are always, and in all ways, more than you think you are.

So where do we go from here? I wish I coined the slogans from NIKE, “Just do it,” and Nissan, “Enjoy the Ride.” But I will combine their wisdom and suggest a direction to go. Regardless of our inability to figure out the mysteries of life, we’re here anyway. So regarding life: Just do it, and… enjoy the ride!

About the Author:

Bruce D Schneider, Ph.D., MCC is a Master Certified Coach, licensed psychotherapist, Reiki Master, founder and director of the Institute for Professional Empowerment Coaching, and author of “Relax, You’re Already Perfect: 10 Spiritual Lessons…to Remember” (Hampton Roads Publishing, 2002). Go to

The “Best” Test by Chris Widener

Some time ago, I spoke to a group of salespeople in Kansas City as they kicked off their new team. It was exciting to see them get excited about making a difference through their work.

The topic they assigned me was “Simply the Best.” So as I prepared, I asked myself: What characteristics would help someone pass the “Best” Test? That is, what are the characteristics of those who become the “best” at what they do? Here are the thoughts I shared with them:

The Best Are Optimists. You can’t get to the top if you don’t think that there is a top or if you think you can’t make it. One characteristic of those who reach the peak is that they always believe that things can get better or be done better. This pushes them on to be their best.

The Best Have Vision. They can see ahead of the pack. Their eyes aren’t locked into the here and now. They see the bright future and what things will look like when they reach their destiny. While working hard for today, they live for the future! They do what Stephen Covey calls “begin with the end in mind.”

The Best Relentlessly Pursue Excellence. The status quo is not for them. They want to be the best and experience the best. And that means giving their best. They go the extra mile so that in everything they do, in everything they say and think, they are striving for excellence.

The Best Have a Lifelong Habit of Personal Growth. They don’t want to stay at the level they are at. They want to grow in their work, their intellect, their spirituality, their relationships, and in every area of their life. And they discipline themselves to put themselves in situations wherein they grow. Personal growth doesn’t “just happen.” You choose to grow. I always suggest what Zig Ziglar does and that is to enroll in “Automobile University.” Whenever you are driving around, listen to a personal or professional growth CD or MP3. Over the long run you will grow. Also, read more. The old saying is true: Leaders are readers. So are those who pass the “Best” Test.

The Best Understand That They Will Be Pushed by the Competition—and They Welcome It. Like the lead runner in the race who has someone on his heels, the best know that the competition is right behind them. They love it, though, because they know that the competition keeps them from becoming lazy and resting on their laurels. Instead, the competition pushes them to go faster and to achieve more—to remain the best by forging ahead.

The Best Have a Quest for Leadership. Someone has to lead—it may as well be the best! Those who attain it get there because they want to. They want to lead and help make a difference. And they want to be equipped with the skills necessary to lead others on to a better place.

The Best Leave a Legacy. They aren’t in it just for themselves, though they will surely reap the rewards of being the best. Rather, they build things that last beyond themselves, things that can be enjoyed by others as well.

The Best Are Adept at the Two Most Important Pieces of Time and Personal Management: Prioritize and Execute. Just like weight loss boils down to eating right and exercise, personal management boils down to prioritize and execute. First, prioritize your activities. The important stuff goes on the top. Then, execute: do them. The best have habits and discipline that get them to the top by doing the best things and doing them first.

The Best Focus on Building Relationships. Success does not come alone. Everyone who achieves much does it with the help of countless others. How do the Best get others to help them? They treat them right. They embrace them and help them. People become the best because they help other people, and people like them.

The Best Make No Excuses. When they fail, they admit it and move on. They get back up and do it right the next time. They let their actions speak louder than their words. They stand tall and do the right thing the next time. No excuses, just results.

The Best Understand That the Good Is the Enemy of the Best. Yes, they could say, “This is good.” But that would mean they have settled for less than the best. Many people think that good is good. Good is not good. Good is the enemy because it keeps us from the best. Choose your side: the good or the best. The Best choose, you guessed it, the Best.

The Best Dare to Dream. While others live the mundane and settle into a life they never bargained for, a rut, the Best dream of a better life. And then they take the risks necessary to achieve their dreams. They live by Teddy Roosevelt’s quote: Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Want to be the best at what you do? Take inventory on the above characteristics and then start moving to bring your life in line with the characteristics of the “Best.” Then when you get to the top you will know that you have passed the “Best” Test.

Skills of Extraordinary Leaders by Chris Widener

Be A Leader

  1. Good Communicator. Extraordinary Leaders are those who can take the vision they have and communicate it in ways that their followers can easily understand, internal, and own. Then, and only then, can they carry it out! So focus on speaking and writing more clearly, and with the passion that you have for the vision you have. Use different ways of communicating, including different ways verbally and non-verbally. Above all, communicate often!
  2. “Sees” the End Result Long Before Others. I think the greatest compliment on my leadership skills I ever received came from a gentleman who told me that “you see things about 6 months before the rest of us.” Without tooting my own horn (okay, a little bit maybe…), that is a skill of a leader. They are always looking out ahead of themselves and their situations. Followers are worried about what happens today, while leaders are thinking about and strategizing about what they see for tomorrow. Be constantly looking ahead. Practice making projections. Get good at “seeing” the future. When you can do this better than others, they will look to you for leadership!
  3. Ability to Define Goals for Self and Others. Do you know what your goals are? Can you define them? Can you articulate them clearly (see number one)? Can you do this for those who follow? Can you define and set their goals? A Extraordinary Leader works at clarity and definition of goals so that they can be internalized and acted upon by others. Work hard at this skill and others will follow!
  4. Ability to Set Strategy and Course of Action. What will you do to reach the goal? Many people can say where we should go, but it is the Extraordinary Leader who can lay out a plan for everyone to get there! Work at laying out a plan for you and your followers. Remember that there are people with different skill and passion levels, and take this into account! Get good at this and when people want to get to their goals in a hurry, they will call on you to lead!
  5. Ability to Teach Others. One of the greatest leadership development companies in the world has been General Electric. This is because their CEO, Jack Welch, has always emphasized the need for current leaders to teach others. He himself spends what others would consider an extraordinary amount of time in the classroom teaching. But remember, he is an Extraordinary Leader and he is developing Extraordinary Leaders to follow behind him. Work hard at your teaching techniques, and be sure to use as many situations as possible for the opportunity to teach those who would follow.
  6. Ability to Inspire Others. You may have a great goal, but if you want to be an Extraordinary Leader, then you will have to put a little oomph under your followers! This is the ability to inspire! Work at helping them to see the big picture, the great end results, and how good it is going to be for them and others. Above all, make it exciting. If it is a good goal, it should be exciting. If it isn’t exciting, then dump it and get a goal that others can get excited about! (See the next article, the MFS Classic, for more on inspiring others)
  7. Delegates. An Extraordinary Leader is rarely a person who is doing everything him or herself. Extraordinary Leaders get there job done through others. They figure out the way, communicate the way, and inspire the followers to go that way, and then they get OUT OF THE WAY! Delegate to your people. Empower them! Set them free to soar!

This is what an Extraordinary Leader does. Leaders who do it any other way are just extraordinarily tired at the end of the day with very little to show for it!

Be Extraordinary!
Chris Widener

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