The building blocks of excellence are moments – specifically, defining moments. In the 7 Moments… That Define Excellent Leaders book, bestselling author Lee J. Colan tells leaders how to recognize, create and utilize these moments effectively to bring out the best in their people.
I wanted to share some of those here with you as these are really powerful.
- A Moment To Commit: Giving your all-time best
Giving your best always gets the best results. A total commitment creates momentum. However, leadership will not always be a smooth flight, because good leaders are responsible for themselves and their teams.
- You are the conductor of your own No one else can control them for you. Your mind is a magnet. Only you can create your own positive attitude and by doing so, attract things of a similar disposition.
- Mentally reframe challenges to view them in a positive Your experiences are not as important as how you choose to see them. The way you think about what happens determines the ultimate outcome.
- True commitment never .. keep pushing. Your responsibility as a leader includes always pushing your people and yourself. Aleader never stops showing his team the way to success.
Create a compelling cause
- Answer the question, “Why do we do what we do?” Meaning precedes motivation. People need to fully understand the situation before they can decide to commit
- Keep it simple and easy to understand– people commit to what they can understand. Excellent leaders take the initiative to define causes for their teams. These causes must be real and relevant to be effective and
- Think big– your cause should stir the emotions. Compelling causes are not project goals; these are reasons to be excited to go to work every day. These should be capable of inspiring the employees to deliver great performance. Explaining a compelling cause can create a defining moment for employees while igniting a commitment to excellence.
Secure your foundation
- Define and live by your team’s foundational values. These values are how a team flows and interacts. Leaders are committed to these values, and must be both examples and standards of these values.
- Look at repeat problems for symptoms of cracks in your foundational Repeat problems indicate that the solutions are not deep enough. Steps should be taken to address these problems better, or discover what the deeper problem is in order to solve it.
- Define rules of engagement to reinforce your team’s Setting rules of engagement, which describe how a team interacts, helps focus on what is critical for performance. These rules of engagement must always be visible and applied to even the smallest things.
2. A Moment To Plan: Taking time out
Planning is a crucial step for success, and vital for anything excellent. A defining moment for a leader is when he takes time to plan instead of just reacting to daily, tactical demands.
- Set a high-definition vision
Answer the four questions employees ask:
-What are we trying to achieve? (Goals)
-How are we going to achieve it? (Plans)
-How can I contribute? (Roles)
-What’s in it for me? (Rewards)
The clarity of the answers made to these decisions is directly proportional to the clarity of your own vision. Without a clear vision, moving beyond the current boundaries may prove very difficult or even impossible.
- Be more specific than you think you need to be. Employees may feel that they need to know more than you think they do. They demand a certain level of clarity before they can fully see the impact of their
- Don’t underestimate the intelligence of your employees. Leaders who underestimate their employees’ intelligence usually overestimate their own. The time invested in setting a high-definition vision can pay off in terms of avoiding problems that stem from a low-definition
Optimize your sweet spot
- Know your own leadership sweet spot by asking:
-What am I absolutely passionate about?
-Which tasks are very easy and natural for me to perform?
As in sports, sweet spots in business are the areas that provide the best results. Knowing your own sweet spot allows you to better design roles and deploy talent in the team.
- Match each employee’s sweet spot to job Matching these two is the best predictor of job success and excellent performance. Employees will work and perform better in the areas that they are best suited for.
- Redesign work to keep your team in their sweet spots. This can be done by combining tasks with similar skill requirements, automating repetitive tasks,
streamlining inefficient processes and eliminating redundancy and outsourcing tasks that require a high level of people power but have little impact on the organization.
Magnify your leadership
- Cut through the complexities of your operation and keep it Complexity is proven to eat profits, and is hence the enemy of excellence. Studies show that simple, focused organizations are more profitable.
- Determine where the 80/20 Principle Twenty percent of things (people, products, etc.) in an organization are responsible for 80 percent of profits. Identifying this 20 percent allows you to concentrate 80 percent of your efforts on areas in which they will be most effective.
- Leverage your vital few and minimize your trivial After identifying who and what the 20 percent (the vital few) are, steps can be taken to increase their efficiency while eliminating, minimizing or automating the remaining 80 percent (the trivial many). This results in faster and more efficient performance.
3. A Moment to Act: Making every minute count
Life rewards those who seize their time and take action. Excellence belongs to those who act instead of making excuses. Actions may sometimes get lost in intentions, but other people judge you by what you do, not what you meant to do.
Check your focus
- Your focus is a magnet for your life– look for excellence in all you do and excellence will find you. The things we focus on create a magnet for our lives by attracting similar A person who focuses on excellence will thus be very likely to find it.
- Look at how you spend your time to check your focus. Focusing on positive aspects of life attracts “luck”. The most successful people create their own luck by preparing to meet Their focus and preparation put them in the right place at the right time.
- Hard work is the best predictor of .. and excellence. Apositive focus should be combined with hard work to achieve excellence. Hard work can yield defining moments for the team, and defining excellence as well.
Treasure your precious resources
- Say “No” to non-value-added This allows the team to use its resources, which are finite, more efficiently. Saying Yes to one thing means saying No to another, so care should be taken on which things should actually be said Yes to.
- Use your team’s time, money and energy carefully, particularly in These things, when spent, cannot be regained and cannot be used in other areas. Leaders decide how to use an employee’s time, and must therefore ensure a good return for their time investment.
- Define what “inside your boat” and stay focused on Do not worry about things that are outside your control. Concentrating on the things that you can do something about helps retain focus.
Make real-time decisions
- Spend your time on the most important 20 percent of your decisions. Using the 80/20 Principle allows for faster and better decisions. The actual results of these decisions, whether or not they were successful, are also the best source of analytical data. Successful results, however, should be
- Collect the best information you can quickly, then use your leadership intuition to make the Once you have all the facts, waiting will not improve the decision. Using leadership intuition can create a defining moment for a leader.
- Listen at least 50 percent of the time. Your ability to make proper, informed decisions is directly related to how well you listen. Also, the higher you are in an organization, the more filtered the information you receive, so listening to employees will help give you proper insight for future real-time
4. A Moment To Connect: Reaching for the hands of time
The secret of successful companies lies in employees that feel and act connected to each other and to the company. Connected teams can do more than employees acting on their own, no matter how productive they may individually be.
Look beyond your employees
- Demonstrate an interest in your people, not just your People do more for those who appreciate them. Showing appreciation is a matter of priority and action. Statistically, the only difference between excellent and mediocre leaders is the amount of caring that they show.
- Ensure at least 3 positive interactions to 1 negative This 3-to-1 ratio is the minimum for having productive workgroups. This reinforces desired behavior and increases the chances of it occurring more often.
- Go bananas with employee recognition– find ways to be creative and do it frequently. Employee recognition is more effective when it is tailored to the individual. There are thousands of ways to do this at little or no cost, but which still mean a lot to the The frequency is for constant positive reinforcement.
Cultivate your network
- Methodically cultivate relationships– they are your lifeline. Relationships are often the only constant. They also allow you to stay current with new trends, give ideas of where to build skills and enable quick access to Every moment should be used as an opportunity to connect.
- Store information about your network in an easily accessible This allows you to quickly access information and resources when needed.
- Use your system of information and people to answer any question within 12 This is the best and most efficient use of these resources. Today’s fast and wired world allows for this speed, which is twice the previous one.
Ritualize your team
- Use rituals to reinforce your values. Rituals connect team member to you, each other, and ultimately to the compelling cause. Effective rituals enhance the way a team flows and
- Choose team rituals that fit your Rituals should fit both your leadership style and the chemistry of the team. They should also be comfortable and natural in order for them to be effective. Team rituals can be focused outward as well as inward.
- Implement fewer rituals deeper. Effective rituals must be fun, simple and meaningful, and should never be compromised. Having a limited number of rituals helps ingrain their importance, making each one more
5. A Moment To Invest: Giving your time to improve a life
Investing in other people and in yourself gives great returns. Investing in people is the best predictor of achieving leadership excellence.
Inspire future leaders
- Mentor for success in work and life. Excellent leaders coach employees to become great people, helping them build better lives for themselves and others from the inside out. A fundamental law of leadership is: If your employee is successful, than you are
- Coach well the first time to ensure learning and prevent re-coaching on the same skills. This is the most time- and cost-effective way of coaching. The best return is generated from a proper investment of a leader’s time and
- Expose your team to a rich variety of experiences. Experiences help your employees grow as people. Having a variety of situations allows for more rounded growth.
Live your legacy
- Focus on living your legacy instead of worrying about leaving Living your legacy is often the best way to ensure that it will remain, and is also a good way to lead through example. The life you live today affects future generations.
- Give your life and wisdom Passing the baton to someone you have invested in and seeing your values reflected in that person is one of the most joyful moments for any leader. Living your legacy defines yourself and others by a life of excellence.
- No investment is too small. Even small investments can pay off big, if made properly. Investment in others is not about money, it is about
Exercise your brain
- Embrace lifelong learning. Keeping your brain sharp builds competence. This in turn builds confidence, which is something every successful leader has. Like any muscle, the brain atrophies when not
- Use your downtime as mental uptime– read, listen, learn, Visualization sends signals to your body that can lead to a stronger and more effective performance during the actual event. The mind does not know the difference between physical and mental practice.
- Use mentors to get valuable answers to tough questions. Mentors are a great source of As your goals change or new stages of life Mentors are a great source of information. As your goals change or new stages of life are entered, your mentors will naturally change. For the greatest benefit, seek out mentors with specific skill that you wish to acquire.
6. A Moment To Change: Adapting to the times
You should constantly examine your boundaries to determine if they should be let down for expansion or kept up. Barriers that are always up can constrict your ability to exhibit full potential.
Delight in discomfort
- Keep your momentum in seeking discomfort… and delighting in it! Discomfort allows you to keep your momentum and gives a healthy alertness of where you can improve. Delighting in this makes you more relaxed and more likely to find good solutions. It helps you stay on the offensive and thrive, rather than remaining defensive and merely
- When you feel you are cruising to victory, take a look .. but not only at your
opponents. Looking at those who perform well, even in other fields, will keep you humble and focused on improving yourself. Excellent leaders are never satisfied and never complacent.
- Lead beyond the status quo–always focus on the next Goals should force changes, require tough decisions and inspire bold actions. Those that are easy to achieve are not big enough and will not allow you to get to the next level.
- Get rational about your fears– identify the primary cause of your Since fear of the unknown is always the strongest, defining moments can occur when you choose to know your fears. Fear can be used as a good motivator.
- Get to know your fears and act on them– don’t react to Fear is a secondary emotion. The key is to identify the primary response, think about it and act on it. Causes of behavior are usually easier to address than the symptoms, like fear.
- Seek out different opinions before they come to Excellent leaders seek no- holds-barred input. Your greatest fear should be of wasting a potentially defining moment. Leadership excellence is rooted in knowing that what is discovered will pave the way for improvements in the team.
Multiply your power of one
- Convince yourself that YOU make the difference. A single act creates a ripple effect that can be felt many miles and people All changes start with one person, one thought, one word, one action.
- Change your world with one small Your goal is not to change the world, but to change the lives of those whose paths you cross. The same amount of time is required for a positive act and a negative one.
- Make a positive change every As a leader, you must be the difference maker for your team. Making positive changes reinforces this. You should always pursue excellence for you and the people around you.
7. A Moment To Conquer: Standing the test of time
Real survivors are masters of their own circumstances, never victims of them. Your attitude to life is what will come back to you. The ability to choose your attitude is a gift and a huge responsibility.
Move through adversity
- Take inventory of what is lost and what is not lost. Gratitude should always be expressed for what remains. This attitude will make you happier and more resilient.
- Convert turning points into learning points. Adversity should be used as a time to pinpoint opportunities to improve, learn, grow, rebuild or test your character or faith. With the right attitude, roadblocks can be turned into stepping-stones.
- Plan for the future but live in the present. Do not obsess about yesterday and do not be seduced by the promise that tomorrow will be better. Facing the present allows you to conquer adversity and create your own defining moment.
Take your stand
- Know your non-negotiables. These are the things that you should not compromise. Excellent leaders do not settle for what conditions force upon them. Leaders have to be bold and faithful to themselves.
- Rise courageously above the crowd. Courageous leadership is knowing what is right and acting on it. Excellent leaders break the rules and do not follow the beaten path. Instead, they create the conditions for success by blazing new trails.
- Hang onto humility. Taking a stand requires courage to conquer outside forces, and humility to conquer the inside ones. Excellent leadership is not about you, but other people. Humility is the fuel for leadership excellence.
Stick to it
- Keep the faith in your leadership– stick to it long enough to win. Most people fail because they do not stick to it long enough to succeed. Sticking to it long enough to win can be a defining moment for leaders and their teams.
- Ignore the odds and critics. You must trust that doing the right thing will yield the desired results. This is done in everyday things, but may seem more challenging when applied to your team.
- Never, ever give up. Mediocrity involves constantly changing direction, while the signature of excellence is sticking to it. You must always have faith in yourself.