31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 31 – Shared Greatness – The Epic Leader

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Epic means larger-than-life, on a grander scale, and above and beyond the ordinary. Epic is the magnitude found in a Cecil B. DeMille blockbuster movie with enormous sets, panoramic views and large crowds of people. They are like movies envisioned by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, JJ Abrams and James Cameron.

When I apply epic to leadership, I want you to think of leadership that is scalable, based on the situation, circumstances, and demands of the organization and needs of the people. The Epic Leader has the skills, abilities, talent and capacities discussed over the 31 Day Leadership Gauntlet. They produce gargantuan goals and vision, with the courage to be empathetic, resilient and able to adapt style, structure and emotions to be empathetic and emotionally intelligent.

The Epic Leader is in the mind of the beholder; the followers are made bolder because of their ability to shoulder the burdens together. They are effective in working as a team. Size matters to the follower because the Epic Leader is big enough to coach, mentor and lead where leadership is required. The followers feel they can trust them because of their reputation and trustworthy interactions. The Epic Leader also, has a grander vision, a sense of purpose with their egos intact as they develop their people to have the curiosity, strength through interdependence in turbulent times, with the spirituality and curiosity to be creative and able to overcome fear.

The Epic Leader is humble and their humility will not allow them to say, “I’ve got this or I am enough,” but you know it is true from the leadership versatility they exhibit and the leadership power that is granted to them by their followers. The Epic Leader makes others into epic followers. The followers feel like somebody. They feel they are going somewhere and to ready to do something great.

The Epic Leader creates impact players, who are students of the game, in the right role, powered by a dream and who are always created with high standards. They are continuous learners. They are familiar with the work and leadership practices of Gen. Colin Powell. Their people have grit. It is the grit that is talked about by Angela Duckworth and defined as passion and perseverance. The Epic Leader wants to take their people and organizations from good to great as Jim Collins discussed in his book. They have the vulnerability that Brené Brown writes, speaks and researches. They are equipped with the emotional intelligence referred to by Daniel Goleman and Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. They understand the Givers and Takers as outlined by Adam Grant and Start with Why according to Simon Sinek, and the strengths of their people as championed by Marcus Buckingham.

The Epic Leader ensures their followers will have the appropriate mindset, therefore a  they put forth the right effort and preparation.  They work to be culturally competent from reading Malcolm Gladwell in his books Blink, the Outsider and Talking to strangers. The epic leader understands unconscious bias through the work of Sondra Thiederman, Making Diversity Work, and the research of Mahzarin R. Babaji and Anthony G. Greenwald summarize in their book about hidden biases, Blindspot. He took the Intrinsic Association Test (IAT) at  https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/.

You do not start out saying you want to be an Epic Leader. They would not be the mindset of a person focused on humility. It is a distinction bestowed upon you by those who look up to you and learn from you. You have been a breath of fresh air on their development and they realized how you have improved their environment and enriched their lives.

May you unlock your leadership greatness and become an Epic Leader. May you continue to magnify and multiply; magnify your impact and spread your reach to positively influence more people. I am hopeful that your 31 Day Leadership Gauntlet journey was a mind stimulating, heart inspiring and faith affirming adventure into becoming an Epic leader. May your Epic followers be instrumental in helping you to change the world

The Epic Leader

The Epic Leader surveys the terrain

And ponders the strategy, yet remains

True to the mission; put their people first,

As they seek the best and plan for the worst.

The Epic Leader ascends and descends;

Adjusts and gains trust as they comprehend

The magnitude of the crisis at hand,

To manage chaos, while taking a stand.

Their mission is clear, their vision intact

They may have charisma that will attract,

Or humility and a strength of will

To lead the people with dreams to fulfill.

The Epic Leader has the confidence

Of someone emboldened by competence

And guided by a mission and vision;

A philosophy that shapes decisions.

The Epic Leader walks across the stage;

There is alignment, as people engage

In the moment, confidence exuded,

As people feel affirmed and included.

The rivals don’t always attack at dawn

And competitors charge with weapons drawn.

They have monumental ability

To focus on mental agility.

The Epic Leader manages to rise

To the encounter, but look in their eyes,

For there lies the energy on which they feed;

As power flows from what the people need.

The Epic Leader prepares and repairs.

To show us that leadership shares and cares.

They can get by on a wing and a prayer.

Resourceful, vulnerable, self-aware,

Emotionally wise and capable,

When change is truly inescapable;

Uncertainty is a root of the norm,

They will translate, transcend, as they transform.

The Epic Leader advises their crew

And wisely considers their points of view;

With seafaring credentials to perform;

Courageously at the height of the storm.

Copyright © 2019 Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. What can you do to become a bigger leader?

  2. How can you enrich the lives of those I influence?

  3. What you do today to make person I encounter feel important?

  4. What are my strengths and weaknesses in interacting, influencing and leading people?

  5. What are my blind spots, as it relates to understanding people were not like me?

  6. How do I gather feedback on how others see me?

  7. Who are the people I should select?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 23 – Spiritual Leadership

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New leaders, in my day, were given 3 pieces of advice. These words were to guide us throughout our business careers. These words could also be a gauntlet for any leader. They have been known to demolish the morale in an organization and destroy someone’s reputation and career. We were told to never get involved in conversations regarding sex, politics and religion.

A new leader had many areas to grow and we did not need to be distracted by these very volatile topics. We can debate the relevance of this advice today, but I would like address one of the topics in a positive way.  We frequently hear about the desire for employees want to bring their entire selves to work.  We cannot deny that spirituality is important for many people.

Spirituality is a key part of our makeup that defines who we are. Organizations may not discuss religion in the workplace, however many of them will provide space for people to reflect, study and pray at work. Organizations should be sensitive and aware enough to encourage religious expression, outside of proselytizing (recruiting) and making others uncomfortable.

Spiritual Leadership in our 31 Day leadership gauntlet refers to the way our spirituality influences our decisions and our interaction with others. It also covers how we express personal values that align with corporate values. Creating a climate where morality, respect, responsibility, integrity, caring and forgiveness are practiced, is essential for a respectful workplace.

 

The Lord is My Leader

The Lord is my Leader I shall not lack

Direction for He is standing at my back;

While in front of me He makes decisions

To meet my needs with ample provisions.

I shall not want for his abundance fills

My cup with affluence and as it spills,

As water flowing from a mountain top,

His goodness and mercy will never stop.

He mends my brokenness

And I find rest,

As He restores my soul,

He refreshes my spirit,

Changes my countenance

And makes me whole.

  

He leads me where the waters are still;

He tutors me as I study His will;

He comforts me in righteousness;

Though I walk through the valley

Of difficult times;

Disease, disasters and immoral crimes

I fear no evil for He

Protects me from my enemies

And loves me though there is sin in me,

And promises me an eternity

Of matchless splendor and serenity.

(Adapted from Psalms 23)

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

Practical Reflections

  1. How can we address spirituality in a way that allows people to be comfortable at work while practicing their faith?

  2. Can people gauge from your behavior, the spiritual foundation that influences your leadership style?

  3. Can people of different faiths practice prayer and Bible study in your workplace?

  4. What role does God play in your decision-making process?

  5. Which spiritual values do you illustrate at work?

  6. Do you believe in the second stanza to be true? How powerful is your faith?

  7. God is making you whole as you read this. Discuss the importance of these words. The Lord is your leader.

  8. How are you resting on His promises and finding comfort in His words?

  9. God as a leader has a vision for your life. Discuss your thoughts about his vision for you.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser    

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 19 – Purpose

The opening quote in my book the Isle of knowledge states that “I feel pressure from my purpose to align my passion with my potential.” This sentence illustrates my internal struggle to find my purpose and ensure that it is connected to my passion, so that I realize my potential, and my desire to make a difference in the world.

What is your purpose? We wrestle with the realization that we are blessed and may have talent and opportunity that is not fully utilized. We tend to go with the crowd as it relates to our careers or to align ourselves with what is popular or the most financially rewarding. Information came out recently about the top 10 jobs for the future, which indicated technology was the dominant career choice. Are you a technologically driven person? How do you align technology with your purpose?

You may be in a job that is not rewarding or fulfilling, but it is a job that pays the bills. When you determine your purpose, can you provide space to pursue it and keep your day job? Pursuing your purpose may require you to develop a ‘HIT’ list (Hobbies, Interests, Talents). This may provide the vehicle for you to address and fulfill your purpose.

Your purpose can sometimes be recognized in the things they give you the most excitement or feeling of value. Oftentimes, purpose is not about you, but what you can do for others. Through purpose you may find your significance. During your leadership gauntlet you may encounter a variety of distractions that derail you from finding and fulfilling your purpose. But you may find that within your purpose is God’s plan for your life.

God’s Plan for Your Life

YouTube narration with music 

Once you desired to be,

Who you were wired to be,

But you satisfied friends instead.

Though blessed with talent and skill,

You lacked the courage and will

To follow the dreams in your head.

Your parents hinted at times,

Since they were reaching their prime,

You should let them plan your success.

Therefore, achievements were built

On a foundation of guilt,

Which was geared to their happiness.

You were not strong enough then

To use self-discipline when

You heard the voice of the divine.

In whispers to intervene

He said he placed in your genes

The elements of your design.

Once you conspired to be,

Who you were wired to be,

To match the image of your trade.

You sought the power and fame,

The money, title and name,

In service to the masquerade.

Unplanned events played a role,

You flowed away from your goal,

Imprisoned by the undertow.

You gave into their appeal,

Although the look and the feel,

Was not what you needed to grow.

Through the influence of peers

You alternated careers,

And thus, fulfillment was delayed.

You showed an absence of nerve

And therefore, did not deserve

To prosper from poor choices made.

Now you aspire to be,

Who you were wired to be,

To do all you can with your life.

Committed to seek His will

And use your talents and skill,

To embrace God’s Plan for your life.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Personal Reflections

  1. What is your purpose?

  2. How did you determine your purpose?

  3. Are you working to fulfill your purpose?

  4. How are other people helping you with your purpose?

  5. What resources are you using, or have you used to clearly define and execute your purpose?

  6. How can you help others to find their purpose?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 18 – Breakthrough

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Imagine cruising along in your current reality knowing that life is good or at least predictable.  You have become complacent. Life appears to be working well for you. The challenges are manageable and under control. You reside in a comfort zone because difficulties and hardships do not exceed your ability to handle them. And you are not worried about the future for it promises more of the same.

Inertia, that natural resistance to change is keeping the necessary objects of your world in orbit. The results are predictable, as you act consistently to match your values and beliefs. It is fortunate to be insulated, protected and feeling no pain.

Eventually, you might become frustrated with the status quo. You are surrounded by sameness and mediocrity in a mundane and environment. You may want a fresh perspective, adventure and excitement. You may want a breakthrough before life/work breaks you.

Your current state, sometimes referred to as normal, “the way it is”, “business as usual,” and the status quo will remain stationary until something bad happens to negatively rock your world. Sir Isaac Newton said that an object at rest will stay at rest and an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. When the outside force strikes it may throw you headlong into a crisis. Therefore, it is wise to land a breakthrough before it becomes mandatory or too late. 

Theodore Levitt, the esteemed marketing guru, spoke of planned obsolescence. He said if you don’t make your product or service obsolete, somebody else will. To paraphrase, if you don’t plan to achieve a breakthrough, someone else may achieve a breakthrough that puts you out of business or leaves you behind the competition. Today is the day you began to make steps toward your breakthrough. If you look within the word, you may find that the word “rough” which may be an accurate depiction of the journey, but it will be worth the effort.

 

I Need a Breakthrough

I need a breakthrough,

A radical departure

From my current plateau,

To an area where endorphins flow,

In proportion to the challenges

I encounter.

I need a breakthrough,

Not incremental steps

To emancipation of thought;

But a bold new mindset to evoke

True innovation.

I need a breakthrough,

Ascending spiral staircases

To adventure;

To a domain where the air

Is different;

An elevation where

I must train vigorously

To sustain excellence

Of another kind.

I need to breakthrough

The stifling strait jacket

Of my staid routine;

To acquiesce to the audacity

To explore and find

The alternative sides

Of my capacity.

I need a breakthrough

To penetrate the glass ceilings,

To disintegrate the feelings

That the past and present

Are the best I can do.

I need a breakthrough

To build the images my mind

Has shared with me,

So that I can do

What is required to be

The type of person

I have been privileged to see.

Copyright © 2002 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Leadership Above the Rim

by Orlando Ceaser

 

Personal Reflections

  1. Where is a breakthrough needed in your life?

  2. Where are you subject to experience your next breakthrough?

  3. Talk to family members about their need for a breakthrough and listen and help.

  4. Who can help you achieve your breakthrough?

  5. Are you bold enough to take the necessary risks?

  6. What kind of training and resources are required to achieve the next level?

  7. Enter the breakthrough in your journal, tablet, computer or cell phone.

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube:

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31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 14 – Storytelling

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Field training is a process where someone works in the field (ride a long) with a Sales representatives during a typical workday. They would spend the entire day in the car and in offices evaluating the salesperson’s performance. The Field Trainer or Manager would provide feedback on sales planning and execution, business skills and customer service. Consequently, there is a lot of time in the car driving between sales calls. Field training also provides opportunities to share war stories or sales stories with the sales representative.

My District manager was a master storyteller. He would tell detailed stories about people and the company. An analysis of his possible motives for telling stories in those teachable scenarios led me to surmise the following about him:

  1. Enjoyed telling stories to impress us with his expertise

  2. Wanted to increase our knowledge by sharing his experiences

  3. Distributed selling techniques and information from our peers

  4. Shared company history to give us a sense of belonging and healing

  5. Provided examples of consequences of what happened to people who violated company policies (a policy reinforcement strategy)

  6. A model of behavior, we could use if we were promoted

  7. A model to use in developing our own stories

  8. Provided an environment to improve our storytelling by sharing stories with him

  9. Encouraged us to use stories with our client

When we became managers, the art of storytelling was found to be pervasive throughout the leadership culture. It was used at manager meetings to entertain, build relationships, pass along company and leadership information and help develop the younger managers. I swore that when I became a manager, I would never use stories. But I have passed on this time-honored tradition with many more stories of my own.

Whenever we gather, we influence the world through our stories.

Stories

YouTube Narration Set to Music

https://youtu.be/JI0q9QUvWjE

At corporate campfires

And watering holes,
The people gather.

Their hearts are stirred

By the leaders,

The keepers of the scrolls,
Whose words

Speak the curriculum

Of what occurred.

The leaders through language
Interpret and present:
Through parables and scenarios
Values are infused;
And in a lighter forum
They package events
So people are instructed,

Encouraged and amused.

At family gatherings
Enrichment of the soul
Occurs when the elders,
The keepers of the scrolls,
Assemble the generations
And dispense discipline
Through stories sprinkled

With wisdom and wit,

In moderation.

The elders portray

Passion and progress,
Pride and principles

And honor in the family name.

They tell tales of obstacles

And human failings,

Of being human,

And being sensible,

For invincibility

Is not a trait we can claim.

The stories form a bond
That is not bondage.
They chronicle ambition,
Growth and attrition
And forge connections
Of substance and relevance
That add alignment
And purpose to our lives

And gives us the strength

To continue the expedition.

At work and in families,
The keepers of the scrolls,
Through stories give us context
And texture.
For within these tales,
We identify with the roles
And through this revelation
We take our places
And become storytellers,
And add our voices
To the conversations.

Copyright © 2003 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Leadership above the rim by Orlando Ceaser

www.watchwellinc.com

Personal Reflections

  1. How are you using stories in your day-to-day operations?

  2. Develop the art of telling to use strategically and family, social and work situations.

  3. Where can you find your best stories?

  4. How can you develop your story telling technique?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser

31 Day Leadership Gauntlet – Day 1 – Gargantuan Goals

Minimalism is the concept of small. To live in a state of not wanting to rock the boat, make waves, or bringing attention to yourself. You want to go through life unnoticed. The minimalist leader does not want to grab anything large, unwieldy, which would require maximum effort. Contrast this to a gargantuan state of mind. Gargantuan refers to being large, enormous, headline grabbing, of significant size.

You have probably heard about the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. He talks about the BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal). They are large and intimidating. They are not for the squeamish or faint of heart. They attracted attention but required enormous cooperation and focus. The BHAG became the rallying cry for many organizations on their way to greatness. The gargantuan goal is a goal of this variety. It is monumental, motivating with the power to establish momentum, as a snowball that starts an avalanche.

Think about your purpose, vision and mission in life. Which gargantuan goals identify to help propel you to your destination?                                                                                                                                                         Gargantuan goals can be defined as enormous objectives that may ultimately have a profound impact. The challenge we face is to avoid timidity and reach for goals that will have a profound impact on the world. It is necessary to set a timeline, a deadline by which we plan to reach or exceed these results.

It would be magnificent to have a vision that encompasses these gargantuan goals in our lifetime. When we speak and act with such boldness, the ripple, chain reaction effect will embolden others to work with us to make this world a better place. These are not just nice to have goals but necessary for our survival.

In Our Lifetime*  https://youtu.be/DiMCh_R8c2U

To stem the flow of violence;

In our lifetime,

Let us pledge

To have courage to stand on the edge

Of fear and shout through the silence

Of apathy and turn the tide

On racism, poverty and genocide.

In our lifetime,

Let us commit to heal

The division among the races

And issue a universal appeal

To love as a spirit that replaces

Selfishness, to release

Old information as new interactions

Help form a foundation for peace,

And heighten our sense of obligation

To change the world,

Through an imperfect nation.

In our lifetime,

We should be known

As contributors, as well as consumers;

And millennials should bond with baby boomers

On major issues whatever they may be,

Freedom, justice and equality;

And serve as activist and catalyst,

Advocate and protagonist,

To diminish, devices of division;

To challenge consensus for the best decision.

In our lifetime,

An enormous task lies before us;

To consciously congeal

Around a greater purpose;

To be strategic as we invest

And endure the chorus

Of special interests;

To build coalitions in our zeal;

To stoke the fires of innovation

For the evolution of new ideas,

To suspend competition,

And collaborate on solutions,

To make our world a better place

For the environment and the human race.

*An excerpt from In Our Lifetime, reprinted from the book FREE by Orlando Ceaser, copyright © Watchwell Communications, Inc.

Personal Reflections

  1. Observe your world and situations in the outside world and decide where you would like to influence.

  2. What bold gargantuan goal can you create to incrementally make the world a better place?

  3. Who will be your partner to discuss your progress?

More leadership information at OrlandoCeaser.com.

The ‘O’ Zone Blog: myozonelayer.com

Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orlando+ceaser

Adverse City

Adverse City is a place we pass through
On the highway to Being Great;
Where storm clouds hover as a residue,
Reminding us that fortunes fluctuate.

The Motel Misery on the town square
Near “Woe Is Me” Hotel, is over booked
With occupants chanting life is not fair
To the downtrodden who are overlooked.

Adverse City has a Welcome Center,
And millions visit and wander its streets;
Through equal opportunity enter
The masses who find life is bittersweet.

Children of this town are known to excel
When love through compassion inspires dreams
And possibilities exist to quell
The stereotypes and negative themes.

Some hospitals convey hope with their names
And patients vary in their will to live.
On corners like Finger Pointing and Blame
Are angry victims and those who forgive.

Adverse City extracts enormous tolls
And develops or deteriorates
Based on acceptance that we can’t control
All things, and even strife can educate.

Adverse City should not be faced alone
On the highway to Being Great;
Each crisis, a detour, a chance to atone,
A chance to invite God to navigate.

Copyright © 2003 Orlando Ceaser
Reprinted from Leadership Above the Rim