Archive for the 'servant leadership' Category

28
May
15

Enraptured or Enraptored?

dinospeakerHave you ever been listening to someone and wondered, “Who’s this bird and why, exactly, am I listening to him?” Truth be told, this thought constantly reverberates through my brain. And unfortunately, in today’s world of infinite inputs, there’s so much jibber-jabber taking place I actually have to make an effort to keep this question a part of my inner dialogue instead of blurting it right out in the open.

But there’s a reason for this. It’s not that I’m judgmental or elitist; it’s that I’m so experiential and pragmatic that I refuse to go on words alone. The old trust-but-verify is tattooed on my brain. In fact, whenever someone talks theory or hypotheticals with me, it does not compute. So in today’s world where we can’t swing a cat without hitting a consultant, speaker, trainer, leader, manager, entrepreneur, healer, dealer, free-wheeler, expert, or  some other self-proclaimed wizard, it pays to pay attention. No one can lead you further than they themselves have gone so it is absolutely critical, if you want to grow, that you follow the trail and guidance of a Sherpa who’s actually made it to the summit.

Back in the 90s there was a great book called Dinosaur Brains: Dealing with All THOSE Impossible People at Work that was all about the Jurassic Jerks that many of us have to cope with every day. So how can you tell if a person is premier or primeval and whether you should stick around to hear what they have to say? Let’s take a trip back in time and retrace the evolution of some modern-day birds of prey to learn if they want to help you take flight or make you crash and burn.

Velociraptor: The name means “swift seizer” and this is the predatory predecessor to the vulture. Quick to take the words right out of your mouth, and the dollars out of your pocket, this one has made it to the top by using others. You are nothing but a means to an end. Relentless and unscrupulous, they draw you into their lush nest proclaiming that this too can all be yours, if you just become one of them. The problem with these birds is that they have to accumulate ever more naïve fledglings in order to fluff their own domain. Their power derives not from what they’ve accomplished but from how many people are beneath them supporting their roost.

Velocicraptor:  This bird is the predecessor of the seagull. It typically enters the arena touted as an outside expert sent into the bowels of your organization to fix whatever the managers inside could not take care of. Not to be confused with outside input, which can allow you to see things previously hidden to you, this bird comes in, makes a bunch of noise, craps all over everyone, and then leaves with a big fat check clutched firmly in its talons. If you take input from someone who’s changed jobs/industries/partners/spouses, etc. in a repetitive or abrupt fashion, be forewarned. Their flight path is most likely marked by a path of poop and destruction. If someone seems too good to be true, they are. So don’t buy it.

Velociyaktor: If you find yourself in the presence of someone who won’t stop mimicking the actions, words, or thoughts of others, you have just encountered the original myna bird. They recite whatever junk du jour they can find because they have nothing in their own repertoire to sing. Just like all great actors, they create a scene on life’s stage so real you’d swear it was actually happening. But life isn’t a play, it’s reality, so don’t take council from a parrot-like, pull-string puppet. Living vicariously through others only counts in science fiction.

So you’re probably thinking, “Why so snarky, Tracey? Everybody’s got to make a buck, right? And if a person is too stupid to spot a phony, it’s on them!” Wrong. Representing yourself as possessing wisdom worth sharing with others is an incredibly serious thing. And you MUST be on the up and up about who you are and just why you are qualified to speak on any topic and what action you are requesting others to take.  Otherwise you are a huckster, a fraud, or my all-time favorite old-timey word, a charlatan. Being disingenuous is not just about lying and letting the buyer beware. It’s about the less evolved getting caught up in a quagmire of ego and deceit. So don’t listen to these primordial birds; after all, they’re headed for extinction just like their famous ancestors.

22
Dec
14

What Difference Do I Make?

You've got the whole world in your hands.

You’ve got the whole world in your hands.

Throughout the many different roles in which I’ve served, there has always come a time when I had to wonder if I was actually making a difference in the world. This type of reflection is a healthy one if you use it to grow yourself into new directions of service.

I recently shared with a group of students at a social-responsibility class at Central Penn College three things they are likely to encounter as they go about a life spent making a difference:

Bigger is not better:  Laurence J. Peter said, “Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status.” I used to think that the bigger the company, the smarter and more ethical is was. This is not necessarily true. High walls can be a haven for low morals and the more bureaucratic an organization is the more likely it is to tolerate incompetence. It’s in the nature of bureaucracies to be bloated, full of bull, and to ensure the beneficiary is beholden to their interests.

Size does matter; the smaller the better. In 2011, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, there were 5.68 million employer firms in the United States. Firms with fewer than 500 workers accounted for 99.7 percent of those businesses, and businesses with less than twenty workers made up 89.8 percent. In short, small business is what actually makes the world go round and packs the most economic punch.

Only you can make a difference: Nations, industries, companies, religions, races, etc., etc., etc., are not good or evil. The only thing inherently built to do good or bad on this planet is man. And we are only held accountable for our own actions. Never, ever underestimate the power of the person as you go up against those who couldn’t care less about doing what’s moral, ethical or legal. As my father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, so famously said, “Have you ever seen a monument dedicated to a committee?”

What continues to shape the world of social responsibility is the gift of the individual. The power of the purse is felt most when the hands that hold it are freely and selflessly giving. Giving by individuals makes up the vast majority of contributions received by nonprofit organizations. Giving USA 2013 estimates that individual giving amounted to $228.93 billion in 2012, an increase of 3.9 percent in current dollars (1.9%, adjusted for inflation) from 2011. This accounts for 72 percent of all contributions received in 2012.

Cause and Effect: According to the laws of physics, the effect can never be greater than the cause, so you need to have a burning commitment to the mission at the heart of all you do. If you work for a company, that’s slavery. If you work for yourself, that’s selfish. If you work for others, that’s worship! Your role in making the world a better place should be a blessing, not a curse. If social responsibility is a J.O.B. you’re doing it wrong.

Every living thing on this planet has an obligation to give back something—anything! It may be time, talents, or other resources. It may be connections, or just a warm body needed to complete a task. Wherever we are in life, it is our sole purpose to be doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. And if we need help, we need to be willing to help others. John D. Rockefeller said, “Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.” If you need help, get it, and then go about the business of helping others.

May your 2015 be filled with countless tremendous opportunities to serve and bless others!




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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