Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

This Inspired Me

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

By Robin Sharma
Author of the #1 International Bestseller “The Leader Who Had No Title”

I’m sitting in an airport lounge as I write this. In Florida. Just delivered a Lead Without a Title keynote for 700 top CEOs at an event sponsored by the FORTUNE 100 company Ingram Micro. Fantastic audience! Grateful.

This morning–in deep prep mode for the presentation in my hotel room–I came across an interview with the famed French designer Philippe Starck (a genius who can design a chair in 2 minutes and a chic hotel in 1.5 days. He says he prefers to work in solitude–”naked in my bedroom” for maximum productivity).

Anyway, the piece (which I read on The Harvard Business Review’s website), really validated a lot of my personal productivity practices (except the bedroom thing). And left me with a ton of creative inspiration.

And so I wanted to share it with you. So you work at peak. And succeed massively.

Here’s an excerpt that’s really worth thinking quietly about in this world of “dramatic distraction” and “really busy being busy”:

HBR Interviewer: “What’s the secret to working so quickly and productively?”

Starck: “I am sort of a modern monk. We don’t go to dinners. We don’t go to cocktails. We don’t go to movies. We don’t watch TV. I don’t use my energy on other people. I just work and read. I live with myself in front of my white page (My Note: yes, he works with a simple pencil and piece of paper).

…Of course, for much of the year I have to travel and speak to journalists, engineers and things like that. It’s the worst. But from the 15th of June until the 15th of September, I live completely secluded–locked in one of my houses–working from 8 am until 8 at night–or making my own biorhythm; work 3 hours, sleep 45 minutes, work 3 hours, sleep 45 minutes for 24 hours, without eating.”

“It’s a little sick. But I’m like Dr. Faust. I signed a contract with the devil to sell my life for Creativity.”

Beautiful..

I absolutely LOVE this! Yes, Philippe Starck isn’t the most life balanced person. But no true master ever is. They all were obsessed with their craft. DEVOTED to pouring their genius into the marketplace. And inspiring the world via their exceptional gifts and talents.

Look. You owe it to yourself to make time to be alone. To create space for your biggest ideas to flow. To access your most raw and natural potential. And to pour all you come up with out into the world.

So your life gets to it’s best level. And so you inspire everyone around you. By your obvious brilliance.

Until next time, please remember to make time to create and think in solitude. Your greatest creativity needs space before it will flow. And few things will make you feel happier than presenting your best to the world.

Your fan always,

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Q and As on Leading Without a Title

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Q1. You advise the big players of this world on Leadership. What do you teach them first and foremost?

I advise them that the old model of leadership is dead. Look at Wall Street firms that have crumbled, organizations that have fallen and CEOs who were once revered, who have now lost face. The new model of leadership is all about Leading Without a Title. That doesn’t mean that titles and positions no longer matter. It simply means that any business that really wants to win in a time of dramatic disruption needs to build the leadership capability of every employee, at all levels. This is Leadership 2.0. and organizations that don’t make the leap will end up obsolete.

Q2. Could your teaching also apply to the bosses of small and medium-sized companies?

Absolutely. The game changing idea that the #1 competitive advantage in this time of radical change is building leaders at all levels not only applies to our FORTUNE 500 clients like Microsoft, GE and NIKE but to any business in the marketplace today. In my book "The Leader Who Had No Title" I distill exactly what the best businesspeople and organizations are doing that most don’t. These tactics include daily innovation, creating a base of fanatical followers who are your customers, building a Leadership Culture and the importance of transparency.

Q3. What characterizes a leader?

There isn’t just one thing that makes an exceptional leader – just like there isn’t just one thing that made Mozart exceptional or Picasso great. The best leaders have a bias towards innovation, are ruthlessly focused on just a few things, have remarkable capacity to attract superb talent, have strong resilience in the face of turbulence and are often radically optimistic (while being wildly practical).

Q4. Is management a kind of vocation?

Management is obsolete. Any company that is serious about winning (or even staying alive) should stop thinking about management and start obsessing about leadership – especially the imperative of every employee Leading Without a Title. Just imagine a company where every single employee worked like Roger Federer plays tennis. That’s what the whole Lead Without a Title philosophy is about.

Q5. Can we learn what it is necessary to become a good leader?

Absolutely. Exceptional leadership isn’t born – it’s built. The best leaders have trained and practiced their craft. That’s good news for anyone in business today: all that stands between you and world-class is learning the science of leadership and then practicing it every day to mastery.

Q6. Did the economic crisis change the expectations of companies towards leaders?

Of course. Given the behaviors of so many once-respected leaders, stakeholders are now demanding only the highest standards of performance, transparency and ethics of their leaders. In The Leader Who Had No Title, I write: "it could take you 20 years to build a great reputation and 20 seconds to lose it – in one act of bad judgment."

Q7. Which are, according to you, the new important criteria for a Leader?

1.Leave our egos at the front door and do brilliant work – that adds remarkable value for your customers.
2. Build a phenomenally great team. A mediocre team results in a mediocre company.
3. Innovate and disrupt the way you think and perform daily in hot pursuit of something even better.
4. Build deep relationships.
5. Be authentic and transparent. Winning companies show they are the real deal and live their brand.

P.S. To follow me on Twitter Click Here

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Obama and Leadership

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Read in The Economist that US President Obama’s likeability factor amongst Americans is nearly 70%.

Reminded me that in so many ways, leadership is a people sport. Fundamentals like being interested in other people, building bridges versus fences, lifting others up versus tearing others down and communicating with candor live at the very heart of what it means to lead.

Though not as many agree with President Obama’s economic policies, the fact that he’s so popular as a person reminds us that – if we want to thrive in these challenging times, we need to first become a person that others will like, support – and trust.

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Leadership Lessons from Michael Phelps on Brand Protection

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

He blew away Mark Spitz’s 1972 record of seven gold medals at the Munich Olympic Games with a stunning 14 victories, making him the most successful Olympian in history. He was given millions of dollars worth of endorsement deals and feted the world over. Yet, a single photo, taken from a cell phone, showing him smoking marijuana at a college party 3 months after his wins at the Beijing Olympics sent his life into a tailspin.

Michael Phelps, the world’s fastest swimmer, went into seclusion for a month. He lost major contracts. The picture of him brought ridicule and was circulated across the Internet. USA Swimming suspended him for 3 months. Many days, he was so depressed he couldn’t get out of bed.

Now he’s back. Ready to try and recapture some of the magic. Prepared to try and rescue his good name. But the road will be long.

The lesson for us? Protect your brand and your personal reputation. We live in a world where privacy is, in many ways, a lost thing. People can snap your every move with a cell phone – and when you least expect it – and without having the respect to seek your permission-  upload it onto YouTube for the world to view.

In the end, people do business with you because they trust you. They do business with you because of what you stand for – and who you are. Your good name matters. Michael Phelp’s experience serves to remind us that it could take years and years to build a strong brand. And about 60 seconds of bad judgment to lose it.

Of course, I wish him well. Everyone deserves a second chance.

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The 6 Fuels of Inspiration

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

I used to think the whole notion of inspiration was soft. I’ve now come to deeply understand it’s not. Every great act and innovation in science/arts/society was done under the spirit of inspiration. And as a Leader Without a Title, may I suggest that you owe it to yourself to get your levels of inspiration to world-class. In so doing, you’ll change the game. And elevate every thing you touch.

Here are 6 of the tactics I teach to employees of our corporate clients to help them stay inspired so they do great work:

1. Leverage Music. During your Holy Hour, listen to music that elevates your state and rekindles the fire in your belly. During workouts lately, I’ve been listening to Aerosmith. The flood of energy provoked runs me through my routine.

2. Be Near Art. At least once a week, find some free time to connect with art. Being around masterpieces and high works of creative self-expression will engage the genius within you.

3. Rise early. Leaders get up early. And once you do, make time to reflect. Reflect on your mission. Consider your deepest values. Deliberate on what you want the coming day – as well as the gift of your life – to stand for.

4. Love Good Food. Interesting food can be inspiring. If you usually eat meat and potatoes, try Malaysian food. If you usually have sandwiches for lunch, go for Japanese. Shaking things up grows your reserves of inspiration.

5. Read Great Books. Few fuels are as powerful an energizer than learning. As I wrote in a recent post I did on Twitter, “Learning drives passion.” And when it comes to learning, you just can’t beat reading. I try never to hold myself out as an ideal. I’m a simple/ordinary person – doing the best I can. But one thing I’m fairly good at is my commitment to reading every morning. And it moves me to drive my standards forward. Every single day.

6. Talk to Yourself. Words are so very powerful. Manage your vocabulary. In my new “Leadership in Turbulent Times” workshop, I encourage employees to use words that keep them in peak state. You won’t find Lewis Hamilton complaining and condemning before the big race.

Leadership has a lot to do with inspiration. Being uber-inspired helps you see solutions where others see problems. It helps you innovate. Move faster. And positively influence others. Please remember: you can’t inspire others until you get inspired. So we need you at your greatest. And absolute best.


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