13 Oct Three Questions for Leaders

I recently asked 41 leaders three questions:

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?

The 22 responses I received present fascinating and varied perspectives:

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CEO, Coaching and Consulting Practice

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
The best advice I ever received was on the importance of really listening, what I would call global listening. When two people come together, the experience is almost always dominated by words. The leader has to raise the game or raise the interaction by truly listening, without judgment, which requires a suspension of assumptions. This allows people in one’s organization to explore their own solutions, take responsibility for their own answers, builds their resourcefulness and increases trust. This kind of listening is not passive, and the impact is profound. Let me give you an example. As the primary person responsibility for building clients for our company, I am “pitching” constantly. The last two contracts we were awarded were worth over $60,000. After we were finished with the contracting phase, I couldn’t help but ask why did they select us over 7 other national training firms. The answer came back the same both times: you were the only one who really listened to what we needed, and asked questions and designed a program from there.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?
The greatest example of leadership was constantly displayed by my Great Grandfather, Senator Burton Kendall Wheeler. This US Senator from Montana was known for his uncompromising integrity, an uncanny ability to create relationships, (even with his enemies) and an unrelenting commitment to questioning the status quo. Growing up with him and being in his presence left quite an impression on me…and on Congress. As President Harry Truman said about him, “one of the greatest periods of my life has been my association with Burton Wheeler.”
There was a movie about him, a classic Jimmy Stewart entitled, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

When (Stewart’s character) idealistic junior senator Jefferson Smith arrives in Washington, he’s full of plans and dazzled by the history of his surroundings — qualities he retains even in the face of widespread corruption on the part of his colleagues. In this Academy Award-winning classic from director Frank Capra, we get to see him having his hopes dashed by the unstoppable, repressive Washington scene.
Smith had come so hopeful. As he sat downtrodden and dispirited, beneath Lincoln on the Washington Monument, his assistant Saunders says: “good comes from ‘fools with faith’ like you.” He persevered and the rest is history.
Mr. Smith, or Burton Kendall Wheeler, during his 22 year tenure in the Senate, and his 1924 run for Vice President, had seven children, all “fools with the same kind of faith,” who became exceptional leaders dedicated to public service. The point is, I know all about this kind of foolishness.
His eldest daughter, my grandmother, helped found the Young Democrats and a Planned Parenthood chapter, was a Washington lobbyist and a known author.
The two of them together taught me about the power of perseverance, and to remain grounded in your own personal ethics, no matter what.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
The greatest learning I have had as a leader was the process of becoming a professional coach. The depth of skill around self awareness and management of my blind spots has made me into the leader I am today. It taught me the power of feedback, the power of holding myself and others accountable, and how important fearlessness is in today’s leaders.

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Chief Clinical Informatics Officer and Physician, Healthcare IT Organization

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
A couple of different sources have conveyed the message that leadership is about successful processes for defining a vision of what needs to be done and empowering and supporting good folks who are energized by that vision so that they can help realize it. This seems like the essence of it all.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?
John Kotter and his books on leadership (Leading Change, The Heart of Change). His material conveys a practical, thoughtful approach to thinking about what leadership means, and how to get the critical things that need to be done accomplished.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
Although I haven’t had traditional exec leadership roles with responsibility for people and budgets, I’ve gotten some useful, large-scale projects executed by following the idea outlined in the answer to question 1. When you can clearly articulate the picture on the cover of the puzzle box, and share that picture clearly and passionately with other key stakeholders, the puzzle pieces will appear, and (with proper nurturing and support) practically assemble themselves. (This is happening right now with an effort to produce a practical guidebook for improving medication management, safety and outcomes in healthcare delivery organizations; dozens of individuals from many healthcare organizations on 2 continents are coming together to produce this information that will be co-published next year by 4 leading non-profit healthcare/information organizations.)

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President, Executive Leadership Forum

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
Leadership is about serving others and making other people around you happy.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?
Sam Addoms, the founder of Frontier Airlines inspired me because of his ability to execute and give all the glory to others around him. He inspired me to be a humble leader.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
Growing up and in college, I was the leader and captain of my various sports teams and was also the leader in any extracurricular activities. This gave me the grounding and experience in leading and guiding people towards a goal.

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Director of Learning & Organizational Development & former Air Force Colonel, Engineering Consulting Firm

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
To just be authentic and be myself. We all have strengths and one job of a good leader is to create the environment that allows the strengths of each individual to come out freely so the sum total of his/her team provide a synergy that generates strong results.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?
I had a CEO, Paul Reilly, of a former company that operated from strong values and principles. I got to see how easy decision making, problem solving and dealing with any kind of issue can be if you just come at the situation with a strong principle-based approach.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
My flying experience with a crew of 10 people probably taught me my most important lesson early on. People support what they help create. By involving people in decision making, etc. you not only get the best ideas (it takes lots of ideas to get the best ideas), you also get the support of the people in implementation which is critical. The best ideas not supported or implemented are worthless. I involved my flying crew in just about every decision and we achieved exceptional results — together

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Former President, University of Colorado

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
Be strong in your own beliefs, but always be open to hearing/listening to the opinions/advice from others. I think leadership is best exemplified if the “leader” is open and honest in seeking the input and advice from others, and doesn’t simply lead by “blind” will or determination.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why
President Ronald Reagan. I have recently read The Reagan Diaries and have been additional impressed with his leadership characteristics; e.g. unwavering commitment to his beliefs and not swayed by political pressures, leading by core values and beliefs and not by political expediency, constantly seeking the advice from others he trusted, leading with grace and humor, and leadership from a humble and understated manner.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
The opportunity to serve as CU President for a brief period. It was unlike any work experience I have had or ever will have. The wide range of constituent interests which were often in conflict with one another, the breadth of the position in terms of internal and external issues which were extremely varied and complex, and the daily unpredictability of what new issues would come across the desk challenged my abilities and leadership skills in unbelievable ways.

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COO, Multi-site Automotive Dealer

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
To lead, you need to understand the chemistry and motivational characteristics of the group you are leading. Why?….Cohesive and competitive groups are motivated by accomplishment and success. A “group of individuals” are lead more by “reward” for individual achievement. To lead successfully, you need to possess the characteristics in question 2.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why
A Top Ranking Toyota Executive, inspired me the most. He is an intriguing combination of personable, firm, fair, knowledgeable, motivated, MANIPULATIVE and blessed with incredible long term vision. Why? I feel that to lead you need to possess all of the characteristics. The proper balance of these characteristics/attributes is a perpetual challenge.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
The leadership experience that taught me the most…..was quite sad! I learned when people make requests, that are far from the norm, you need to ask at least 5 WHYS! A Japanese Management practice. In a nutshell, I learned that the 3 and ½ week vacation request was to serve a JAIL term! For an unforgivable crime! Not to participate in a civil trial. Why? I learned to respond decisively to dishonesty.

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Account Manager, Pharmaceutical Company

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
Mr. Kauffman, who owned the KC Royals and Marion Labs, said “Reward Those Who Produce and Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated. ”

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why
Lou Holtz, coached Notre Dame, said “Do What Is Right, Do Your Best, and Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated.” He also asked his players “Can I Trust You, Do You Care, and Are You Committed?” He also expected his players to ask him the same 3 questions.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
Being a Senior Regional Account Manager for Sanofi-Aventis for 14 years has taught me that the philosophies & principals of Mr. Kauffman and Lou Holtz are important if you want to be a successful Leader. Additionally, I’ve learned that you need to be Passionate about what you do. You need to understand your customers’ business and meet their needs. You need to have a Strategic Focus. Other Leadership behaviors that are important include: Goal Focus, Executing Priorities, Collaborating & Networking, Influencing, Resource Management, Qualifying Needs, Responsiveness, Planning, Innovation, Analytical thinking, Flexibility, Forward Thinking & Planning.

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Founder & CEO, IT Consulting Practice

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
Be HONEST always … being a leader is not easy, you need to deliver the honest facts to all people, you’ll gain the teams respect

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?
My business partner, under difficult situations – cross cultural situations and highly complex IT solutions his team always delivered world stage events without failure

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
When I ran a division for a multinational in Japan with 22 Japanese and I was the lone American, on how to win my teams trust as a leader and run a business with all the cultural and business differences … we eliminated the personal / national issues and focused on solving business issues … and celebrated the wins and losses as a team.

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CEO, Healthcare Organization

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
Not to confuse social conformity or group consensus with leadership. Leadership demands information-gathering and opinion cultivation to be sure; however, it is the resolute application of those through decisive action that defines and identifies successful leaders.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why
Winston Churchill. There have been, are, and will be, enduring qualities of leadership: inspiration, subordination of one’s self-interest to that of the group, commitment to excellence in conduct and ideals, and a rigorous sense of purpose……..even in the face of debilitating odds and oppression.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
That the marginal difference between average, good, and outstanding is one of nominal perseverance. For me, this lesson was forged through difficulty and challenge. This, for me, is best captured by Ross Perot, when someone asked him what makes him so successful. His answer (paraphrased): “I can tolerate more pain than most”. I think perseverance is the most undervalued characteristic of leadership. (An example was one where) the markets had made a determination that we would not be a viable company (trading at < $.02/share). Resolute in both our determination and resolve, we made some very difficult decisions (e.g., down-sizing), re-dedicated ourselves and persevered through the difficulty. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
General Manager, Large Bicycle Company

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
It’s not one big thing that makes a business successful, it’s all the little pieces done well that really influence positive change and growth.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why
I’ve had to learn and accept my leadership style. I’m not my father who started this business 35 years ago. He was the entrepreneur that created this business and loves to jump on solutions quickly. Now that we have up to 70 employees, it takes more time to make big adjustments. However, the little stuff can happen quickly as long as the employees know what’s coming.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
My experience so far has show that most issues in our business stem from a lack of communication. Employees and customers like to know what’s going on and what to expect. Change is bad when people don’t know what’s going on. Additionally, people communicate differently, not one form of communication is going to work for everyone.

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President & CEO, Chamber of Commerce

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
Two thoughts—a) Good pre-planning makes actual execution dramatically easier in all leadership challenges, and b) “We all have two ears and one mouth” consequently being a good listener is perhaps twice as important as being a good spokesperson;

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why
My father was a tremendous role-model for me in the sense he could communicate well with the typically upscale Board Room while also smoothly implementing frequently complicated strategic direction through his direct reports using effective delegation of both responsibility and authority; and

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
My service as a Platoon Leader at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia where I led an array of post-Vietnam service troops—challenges included short-term morale concerns, disrespect for authority, post-traumatic stress psychiatric issues as well as frequent chemical dependency—all of which make the typical day in the traditional office setting seem somewhat mundane.

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Entrepreneur, Coaching and Consulting Practice

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
Unfortunately, no one ever sat down with me and tutored me on leadership. What I now know and promote to my clients is a collection of both positive and negative experiences and observations. But what I know now is that people have a difficult time leaving an environment they are happy in, the most valuable player is usually one who makes all the other players on the team better and that I worked a lot harder for people who made me feel I was important.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why
This is a no-brainer, Father Fred (McCallan) he never asked for money but could raise it by the bushel. You just wanted to be around him because you felt better there. He made you want to do more by thanking you for all you have done. He was a visionary who could see things through your eyes.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
When I first started coaching youth football, during a game a parent walked up to me and told me it wasn’t very productive for me to call the kids bucket heads etc. in front of everyone. I had to agree. It’s funny where you find light switches.

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Retired Air Force General

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
Take care of your people and they will take care of our mission. Taking care covers many forms….developing competence, commitment and character are a few expressions of care. Looking out for our people’s whole life including engaging in personal coaching and looking after the well being of their families during good and bad times are also acts of caring.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why
Mahatma Gandhi……the remarkable force of a positive, others centered, servant-leader belief system. Such power (force and the will to apply it) leads to “empowering” self. Leaders don’t empower people. People empower themselves by developing understanding of what is right and wrong and acting in the context of what is right. Leaders create an environment of respect for one another’s right-mindedness and potential. This is the stuff of empowerment.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
Aiming High !! My first duty assignment in the military was to join an Air Force – Industrial team to catch and overtake the Soviets with their space program.
After huge investments of our nations resources (time, skills, money, international relationships, broken families, etc) and technical failures we achieved our purpose. Later our nation and its NATO allies decided on an “Aim High” strategy to end the cold war by applying our military-industrial-technological might. We did it by bankrupting the Soviets through the development and fielding the cruise missile program…..a program that expanded the political, social, technology and economic capabilities of the Soviets beyond their limits. Michail Gorbachev exercised the virtue of remarkable courage and transformed the belief system of the Soviets and ended the cold war peacefully…….making real the vision of the US Military belief that “Peace is our Profession.” Aim High !!

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Architect & Founder, IT Consulting Practice

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
1a. “This is not the highest form which civilization can reach. The highest form that civilization can reach is a seamless web of deserved trust. Not much procedure, just totally reliable people correctly trusting one another. That’s the way an operating room works at the Mayo Clinic. If a bunch of lawyers were to introduce a lot of process, the patients would all die.” – Charlie Munger
1b. “I am right and you are smart and eventually you will realize I am right” – Charlie Munger

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why
Gates, Torvalds, Munger

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
getting a pen thrown at me by a high up director at NASDAQ, but I knew I was right and he was wrong. See quote 1b.

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CEO, Supply Chain Solution Company for Banking Industry

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
The best advice I received relates to communications.
As a leader, it’s incredibly important to know your audience in both formal and informal settings and think about what you are saying and the implications it can generate before blurting it out. Many people form opinions based on who is delivering a message and not just the content of what’s being said, and I’ve witnessed the inadvertent damage that can be done when leaders don’t take that extra minute to “think”.
Many leaders also sometimes fail to recognize the “opportunity cost” of making requests to others who work for them. In the interest of pleasing the “boss”, many individuals will drop what they are doing in order to deliver a timely response or deliverable. However, that can often come at the expense of other potentially higher value initiatives that fall down the heap. Prioritization is something that leaders must continually keep in mind, especially as companies attempt to run lean and can only accomplish a handful of concurrent initiatives effectively.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?
I have been inspired by many leaders across various fields, from noted business and political leaders to sports personalities and coaches that have led teams to achieve great goals to individuals that I’ve met on a personal level in educational, religious or other settings. I don’t have a single person that I can say has had the most inspiration on me; rather, I often look at the level of passion and conviction that an individual dedicates to whatever business, mission or cause occupies the vast majority of their time and look for how that passion translates into programs and measurable results that truly make a difference within the “world” in which that leader operates. I then try to assimilate those various instances into my own actions when seeking inspiration.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
Having been a part of a management team during the various phases of growth, maturation and times of conflict that faced a former business of mine formed the basis of the most valuable experience I’ve had in leadership. Over the course of less than nine years, I was in a senior role with an organization that had gone from a turnaround situation through an IPO, experienced multiple acquisitions and divestitures, issues with management change and ultimately sale of the company. As the head of a business unit that was forced to downsize at one point during this evolution, I learned the value of being straightforward and direct with people, especially when the news wasn’t always rosy. I also learned to be adaptive to change, and not to prejudge situations until accumulating enough direct experience to properly form an opinion and act accordingly. There were also situations where I wasn’t in direct control of a business unit, but was responsible for various elements of its operation, leading to the need to manage in a matrix environment and provide guidance to individuals across functional areas. The sum of these experiences has taught me that leadership is really all about thinking and acting in a way that earns you the respect of others and enables them to act in a fashion that is characteristic of how you would act yourself, for the purpose of achieving a collective outcome beyond what you could do individually.

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Sales Director, Pharmaceutical Company

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
Two things that my dad told me when I worked as a laborer for him in his masonry business
– make every move count
– have a system
It has enabled me to focus on the right things, and to think things through

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?
Jesus has most inspired me b/c leadership in many ways is love and self-sacrifice when done right. It’s what Jim Collins says about Level 5 leadership in Good to Great. Only authenticity and pure motives have sustainability when it comes to people.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
Building a team of 65 reps and 6 managers and the following principle has taught me the most. “We intensely care about performance and people, and it shows.” I spent two years of my business life working on that. My whole career has been a leadership experience, as I have built up my own list of do’s and don’ts from observing others.
Two other thoughts on leadership.
“You need to learn how to step on people’s toes without taking the shine off their shoes.”– Regional Manager for a Pharmaceutical company speaking on manager interpersonal skills
Knowing that “doing things right” is management. “Doing right things” is leadership.

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Humanitarian and Founder, Peace Organization

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” Mark Twain.
You can replace “patriot” with leader and Twain’s observation is great advice. I think it is important for people to know that sometimes being a leader means staying true to your values even if everyone else will try to persecute you for doing this. I have also found the famous saying “success has many fathers/mothers and failure is an orphan” very accurate.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?
Jesus. His message that it is more important to save your soul than save your life inspires me to love other people, especially people who do not agree with me.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
I think the military leadership experience was my most educational. I was able to see good people working together for all the right reasons and clear examples of both excellent and poor leadership. I rarely found leaders of the same quality in the business world.

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Entrepreneur, Healthcare Consulting Practice

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
Your reputation proceeds you and your deeds follow you, this is important so you
understand the future impact of what you do.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?
Fred Wasserman was my mentor early in my career in managed care.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
A class in situational ledership I took while at Aetna.

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President, Wellness Organization

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
Always be willing to do what you ask others to do. I think it is important to understand what your staff do in their day to day lives. Listen to them and then act confidently and in a timely fashion.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?
There have been many people that have taught me things throughout my life. I can’t say that I have had someone that inspired me from a leadership perspective.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
The first time I had to lay someone off from their job taught me a lot. Being a small business allows for all staff positions to feel like extended family. However, business is business and sometimes layoffs happen due to things that are not in your control.

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Retired Sales Vice President, Pharmaceutical Company

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
Leadership starts with doing the “right thing.” It also includes treating others as you would like to be treated. And, very importantly, don’t ask others to do something you wouldn’t do. Lastly, people deep down want to know if they can trust you and really care about them as a person. With people growth comes company growth follows. A great leader will give their people a chance to grow and flourish. Remember, everyone wants to be treated with dignity and respect

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?
Bob Ingram, the former President for GSK, inspired me the most. He led by example, and blended a keen business mind with high interpersonal skills. His attitude was always positive…and he was humble…always credited those around him with his success.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
It is easy to lead in “great times.” However, a true measurement of one’s ability to lead is when things get tough. It is in times of difficulty that people will look to their leadership. How you react will have a great bearing on those that you lead.

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Vice President Operations, Largest Healthcare organization in the U.S.

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
The need for control and coordination can inadvertently undermine your employees’ ability to be creative & to act on their innovative ideas. Understand when to jump in and make the deep dive, and more importantly, know when to stand back and allow your team to make their way.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?
The president of a managed care company I worked for previously, who is now deceased. While not a well known persona, he inspired me greatly. He taught me to have fun, to make something of this work we do as leaders, and he taught me about influence. The power of influence, when used in a positive way, has a significant and sustainable impact on the people you lead and, therefore, on your ability to achieve the organization’s goals.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
The experience that taught me the most was a system conversion that failed to go live as planned & the consequences. The lessons ranged from supporting each member of the team without blame, to acting in reality, to crisis management, and to more tactical aspects of contingency planning. Some of my greatest learnings have grown out of difficult challenges.

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Speaker of the House, State Legislature

1. What was the best advice you ever received on leadership and why?
Use your mouth and your ears in the same ratio God gave them to you.

2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?
I am inspired by Robert Kennedy, who (relatively late in life) pursued – and inspired a nation to join – a fight against poverty.

3. What leadership experience taught you the most and why?
The negotiations that produced Referendum C taught me the danger of making the perfect the enemy of the good. 

10 Comments
  • Paula
    Posted at 18:54h, 18 April Reply

    As I read the 22 responses I tried to determine the level of leadership used by these people. Even with their varied responses, each one gave me insight into their VABEs. Each one made me think that it has been life experiences that have played a role in the development of their values and beliefs.

  • Kim Sawyer
    Posted at 23:20h, 20 April Reply

    The responses that resonated with me were: “leadership is about serving others and making people around you happy,” how could you go wrong?! As well as “be authentic”, “communicate”, and “can I trust you? do you care? are you committed?” BR/All of these responses had similar underlying themes of honesty, integrity, vision, etc. (everything we’ve been learning in class!)BR/Kim Sawyer

  • Brook Beaumont
    Posted at 05:23h, 21 April Reply

    The two remarks most commonly made related to the importance of listening and doing the RIGHT thing. Question #1 was the only question where the respondent could have possibly had any similarity in their responses and there were definitely some common threads. BR/Listening and doing the right thing go hand in hand – I dont think one could accomplish doing the right thing without listening first.

  • Derek Zunker
    Posted at 01:34h, 23 April Reply

    Charlie Munger’s posting was most interesting to me in that it presents a vision for what optimum leadership can produce. BR/BR/”The highest form that civilization can reach is a seamless web of deserved trust. Not much procedure, just totally reliable people correctly trusting one another. That’s the way an operating room works at the Mayo Clinic. If a bunch of lawyers were to introduce a lot of process, the patients would all die.” – Charlie Munger

  • Derek Zunker
    Posted at 01:36h, 23 April Reply

    Charlie Mungers answer to the best leadership advice question was most interesting. To me it presents a vision of what great teamwork and leadership can produce.

  • Betty Geer
    Posted at 18:56h, 26 April Reply

    2. From a leadership perspective, who has most inspired you and why?BR/BR/I found myself agreeing with several of the answers to this question – particularly the answers of: Jesus Christ and Ronald Reagan. Though not in the same league, both of these individuals demonstrated compassionate leadership. Both lead with conviction and courage. Both inspire others to be better than they already are because of their example and integrity. Both had vision and were great communicators. Both were at least level 3 leaders.

  • Khulan Dashpuntsag
    Posted at 19:51h, 26 April Reply

    Of the thtree questions, number three was most interesting to read, as it seemed to prompt for the lfe changing experiences or as we read for the Crucible of the leadership from the various leaders. Some referred to negative and some to the positive experiences. Reflecting on such events that occured to others will help me as an individual and become a better leader, when I might face them in the future. It was great to read that many valued clear communication and listening well as important skills an effective leader should possess.

  • Bob Cassiday
    Posted at 04:49h, 27 April Reply

    The Former President of University of Colorado mentioned former President Reagan as his biggest inspiration. I have not read the IReagan Diaries/I, but I read his autobiography, IAn American Life/I, and I too was inspired by Reagan’s optimism, his willingness to reach out to those who considered him an enemy, and his humor. Whether or not one likes his political positions, Ronald Reagan was a man of strong character and charisma and his apparent BVABE/Bs inspired a wave of optimism and patriotism in the country during his two terms. He drew support from the opposing party, in the form of “Reagan Democrats,” because they believed in him as a person. BR/BR/In all of the responses, common threads seem to center around integrity and humbly serving others. Most great leaders in business and in history nearly always follow these principles.

  • Emily Burke
    Posted at 20:28h, 27 April Reply

    The speaker of the house’s comment regarding listening resonates with me. He advises that one should “use your mouth and ears in the same ratio God gave them to you.” BR/BR/Active listening is a skill that requires practice. Oftentimes, leaders will not actively listen to issues, which leads to action before true understanding. In class, we discussed the importance of seeing– understanding– acting–. True understanding is dependent upon the ability to listen, before speaking and initiating action.

  • Glen Peterson
    Posted at 23:18h, 27 April Reply

    I agree with Emily. Several of the responses focused on the importance of listening. I have seen/experienced many times the influence and respect gained by those who exibit keen listening skills. This may be/should be one of the most valued traits of a true leader. The Speaker’s statement holds so much power (listen twice as much as you talk). The ability to truly listen without judgment, as mentioned by the CEO of the Coaching and Consulting Practice is an ability that few people have effectively harnessed. Great leaders maintain this trait, thus promoting respect, motivation and productivity amongst those around them. Furthermore, pure listening by a leader allows and develops an in-depth understanding of individual VABE’s, again assisting leaders in the development of the individual and organization as a whole.

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