This is a guest post by Dennis N.T. Perkins, Author of Into the Storm: Lessons in Teamwork from the Treacherous Sydney to Hobart Ocean Race
Imagine navigating a tiny boat through a sudden, violent storm at sea — with winds roaring at nearly 100 mph and waves soaring to 80 feet — to not only survive, but triumph over formidable competitors in one of the world’s toughest ocean races. It’s a feat claimed by the crew of the AFR Midnight Rambler, overall winner of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart — the most treacherous and tragic race to date in the six-decade history of Australia’s iconic competition.
As Dennis Perkins, an expert on thriving under daunting conditions, shows in his new book, INTO THE STORM (AMACOM) it’s also a feat rich in lessons for anyone tasked with maintaining smooth, effective teamwork — and delivering winning results — in the unpredictable, turbulent waters of today’s business environment.
Inspired by the Ramblers — the Midnight Rambler‘s team of one determined skipper and six dedicated amateur sailors — here are five crucial strategies, with proven tactics, for Teamwork at The Edge of human endurance: Continue Reading…
There’s a simple test you can take to see if you’re a leader: turn around and see if anyone is following you.
People may follow you for all kinds of reasons. I tend to break them into three categories:
They follow you because they have to – you are an authority over them.
They follow you because they need to – you have something they want.
They follow you because they want to – you influence them in a positive way.
Influence is a leader’s most valuable currency. When you spend your influence in the right way, it can help you overcome an obstacle and move a group of people toward a certain goal or objective.
I believe a person can increase his or her level of influence. A potential leader can develop a greater influence in the lives of others. Continue Reading…
Maybe you can relate to the following dilemma:
I put all of the tasks I want to accomplish during the day on a list.
I call this…my to-do list.
Throughout the day I attempt to tackle all of the items on my to-do list.
On good days, I’ll try and accomplish the more important tasks rather than simply going after the most urgent ones.
I’ll typically come to the end of the day feeling like I didn’t have enough time to accomplish what was on my to-do list.
One of the items I put on my to-do list everday is exercise.
Unfortunately, when I run out of time, exercise is one of the first things to get pushed to the bottom.
Has this ever happened to you?
Even if you prioritize your list, there is still the temptation to procrastinate on the more difficult tasks. For me, exercise is one of those things I know I need to do. Yet an unfinished to-do list can easily become the reason I skip it. Continue Reading…
It’s a fact of life that no matter what you’re involved in, if you stay with it for any length of time, you’re going to encounter problems. Student leaders who are surprised when problems surface during their time in leadership have an unrealistic view of things. In fact, if there were no problems there wouldn’t be any need for leaders. So from this point forward, let’s consider problems to be a part of your job security as a student leader.
Not only will you have to work at solving problems in your personal life, but must deal with the problems that occur within your team and organization. Without a proper perspective and strategy to handle problems, the progress of your group can be halted and conflict can easily escalate.
When you and your team begin to lose momentum, it can seem like every issue you handle is a problem. The excitement and energy that carried you through the beginning of the year is starting to dwindle. Small problems can all of a sudden seem much bigger.
Problems provide an opportunity for leadership. The perspective you take and the process with which you tackle the problems that come your way will help to establish or detract from your leadership. Continue Reading…
The beginning of a school year, the start of a project, or the launch of a campaign are moments filled with energy and hopeful enthusiasm. Everyone is excited at the start of something. I just returned from a weekend retreat with the new freshman students on our campus. There was a palpable sense of anticipation and excitement. Up to this point, everyone has straight A’s. As a leader, I would encourage you to take advantage of the built-in momentum that comes with each new beginning. Leadership is easier at the beginning because this momentum carries a team through the initial bumps in the road. It will become more difficult to lead when this momentum begins to fade. Continue Reading…
I am in the business of helping student leaders succeed.
But you must realize that I probably define success differently than most. Within the world of student leadership, the road to success is sometimes paved with failure. Some of the best lessons I can teach or talk about come from the mistakes and mishaps that occur during the student leader year.
For a student leader, failure can be the fodder of lifelong lessons.
When a student leader experiences success, he or she will move quickly to the next thing. When they fail, it tends to stop them in their tracks. The lessons of leadership form better roots in the fertile soil of failure.
So I don’t freak out (not as much as I used to) when a student leader fails. While I don’t go looking for it, I’m not surprised by it. Success is learning from a mistake and doing something different next time. Failure is making a mistake…over and over and over again. When that happens, our mistake has turned into a bad habit. Continue Reading…
This is a guest post by Dr. George H. Labovitz and Victor Rosansky, co-authors of Rapid Realignment: How to Quickly Integrate People, Processes, and Strategy for Unbeatable Performance. As you read this post, think of ways you can implement this realignment system within your own environment of culture.
If you’ve ever skippered a sailboat, you know that you cannot simply set a course and then sit back, relax, and watch the waves roll by. Some combination of external and internal factors will be driving your boat off course: a shift in the direction or speed of the wind, a hidden current, your own force on the tiller, or something else you cannot anticipate.
These disruptions require that you stay alert, keep an eye on your compass bearing, the sails, the knot indicator, and the direction of the wind, and make adjustments as needed. By sensing and responding to changes as they happen, you can keep your boat on a steady course.
Organizations have a lot in common with that sailboat; they are continually buffeted by forces that push them off course and out of alignment. And because the pace of change is swift, management must respond with equal speed — that is, with rapid realignment. Continue Reading…
Have you ever tried to get into a restaurant or store in the middle of the day but the door wouldn’t open.
You look at the sign displaying the business hours – the business is open but the door won’t open. You see people inside and wonder why they have locked themselves into the building.
Then you see it…the other sign.
The little sign next to the door handle says “push.” You’ve spent the last five minutes trying to muscle the door open by pulling on it.
Don’t feel too bad, we’ve all done it (and lived to laugh about it).
Here’s the thing: doors that you pull open are easy to open when you pull, but next to impossible to open if you push (and vice versa).
This is a great illustration of the way many students (as well as people in general) approach leadership. It’s like they wake up one day and think, “I’m going to be a leader” and try to push their way in. But the leadership door won’t open for them. It appears to be stuck.
They simply didn’t read the sign. Continue Reading…