Chess

ChessSetLast year, Mr. J, a 10 year old kid taught me how to play the game of chess. Needless to say, he kicked my butt every single time. I’m captivated by the game. Chess, I believe, teaches you so much; one being the art of decision making.

A good chess move could be the death of you two moves later. Notice I said good move. When you decided to make the move it looked really ‘good’. It’s a lot like how we make decisions. At that moment, it appears to be the best decision ever, only for things to go south later.

Research! Weigh your options. Ask extensive questions. You will not always make perfect moves, but a little more information and patience could save you a lot of pain. There are moves that bring temporary pleasure and long term stress.

Mr. J showed me where chess and life meet. I no longer jump at ‘good’ opportunities that glitter. I don’t get it right all the time, but every time I have a decision to make, I think chess.

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Difference

difference3You only occur once. Think about it. According to science, there was no you before you and there’ll be none after you. If that’s not special, I don’t know what is. Your difference naturally sets you apart; it’s your right to lead.

I’m ever fascinated by Steve Jobs. Often, I’m accused of talking about him like he’s still alive. Jobs was one guy who understood the power of difference and got very rich as a result. He knew its worth and fought hard to protect it. The man stayed different.

Your difference is you. It’s your identity, power and respect. It’s your right to oxygen. When you lose the energy that comes from expressing your difference, you lose you. The sparkle in your eyes disappears.

Difference births conflict. That’s understandable. Usually, it’s attacked by those who have lost sight of their own difference and expect others to be like them.

Don’t rob the world of your essence. You add fresh perspective to life and we need it. We want you. The you that’s no other.

I Don’t Know

idontknowOne fading idea is the thinking that a leader is supposed to know everything. For so long people have believed it. Some still do. Unfortunately, this mentality prohibits progress in the 21st century.

I thoroughly enjoy the fact that I don’t have to know everything. I call it the joy of not knowing. It’s so much fun. Please don’t get me wrong. I do my best to know all that I can. However, I relish a good team.

I think it’s stressful to be the only one that people approach for solutions all the time. You get easily worn out; this rarely occurs when you’re surrounded by leaders. Others have solutions too. Share the spotlight.

I’m always thrilled to say, “I don’t know” because someone in my team does know. That way I look smart without trying. Everyone is a gift to you. Avoid the superman syndrome (I-know-it-all) and enjoy the good gift of others.

‘Stitch by Stitch’

stitch2I recall the first time I saw the movie 300. The frame of the soldiers made me see the need to hit the gym:) I was taken by the story line. King Leonidas was relentless. He believed that Sparta could be saved by 300 men.

Here’s the trick! The king understood the power of building momentum. Consistent ‘small wins’ brought him closer to the ultimate victory, dead or alive. His 300 men instilled fear in King Xerxes’ army. In leadership, momentum is a major factor.

John Maxwell calls it The Law of the Big Mo! It states that: momentum is a leader’s best friend. Effective leaders understand how to systematically build momentum one small win at a time. At some point, the buildup becomes an irresistible force.

You may not have achieved the ‘big’ goal just yet. Meanwhile, celebrate the small wins. They all add up to the majors. They bring your dreams together stitch by stitch. Thank you Javier Colon:)

Fluid 3.0

fluid6Once upon a time, in a certain country, I was invited by GlaxoSmithKline to conduct leadership training for their management team. On that note, I walked into a meeting with the HR manager (we had never met). The first thing she said to me was, “You’re young!” She was surprised. I replied, “Yes, I’m young! This is the new face of leadership”.

The leader has changed.

This is an era where leadership comes from anywhere. From singer Justin Bieber, to designer, Jonathan Ive, to Brazilian celebrity chef, Alex Atala. It’s not just the bald president or business executive with years of experience. It’s different now.

We need solutions that work. Anyone with an answer can lead. You don’t need a title, position or ages of experience. Just do your thing and those seeking what you have will acknowledge your skill.

Leadership is YOU. The world is waiting for you to step out and take the initiative to provide solutions. You don’t need approval. Just lead!

Fluid 2.0

fluidThe above picture was taken during a team’s strategy meeting. The guy in the photo is one of the company’s strategic thinkers. In the corporate world, it’s not typical to put a toy on your head during a board meeting. Interestingly, when he did it, no one was distracted. It’s normal!

The work environment has changed.

People! That’s the idea. We often forget that the CEO is a person. The workplace has people working in it. People want to be people. They want to be treated and respected as people.

In the 21st century, companies are being forced to acknowledge people’s humanity. This helps workers relax and increases creativity. Effective leaders support this process.

People get on Facebook when there’s no pressing assignment, design their personal work spaces or enjoy a good laugh in the corridors. They want to BE as long as they produce results, not creating discomfort for others or breaking reasonable company policies. Let people be people. The bottom line smiles for it.

Fluid

waterAccording to TIME, “Millennials aren’t trying to take over the establishment; they’re growing up without one”.

The leadership landscape has changed along with the global one. It would be disastrous to lead based on old methods because the followers have changed. They are largely made up of the group that TIME magazine calls The Millennials (born 1980-2000). They are narcissistic (TIME said it) and well informed. Gone are the days when people blindly followed leaders.

How do you lead this group?

Fluid Leadership! The new followers want to be inspired, not bullied into action. They want to think with you, not have you think for them. It’s got to be a partnership. Traditional exchange between leaders and followers is no longer relevant. Leaders must accept this change and enjoy it.

Now, followers can easily ‘unfollow’ you. They’re that powerful. Thanks to Twitter!