Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Pomegranates + Patience

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Was at my parents’ home the other night. Beautiful/decent/wise people… who I deeply appreciate. Whenever I go over, the fridge always seems to contain plastic containers full of pomegranate seeds. These little treasures are super healthy, fantastically tasty and overall pleasures that elevate life. I never really thought about where they came from. Just ate them.

This morning I was saying good morning to my Mom on the phone. Got onto the topic of pomegranate seeds because I’d dropped off a brilliant device I’ve discovered for getting the seeds out of the fruit without the achingly painstakingly complex process of doing it by hand (try it once and you’ll get what I mean). Mom: “I’ll try it but your Dad takes out all those seeds for me himself every night. He knows we love them. So quietly, he does this for us.”

As I write, I reflect on my father’s patience. And on the metaphor of pomegranate seeds. Much goes through my mind as I think about this. One thing is the power of patience. In a world gone hyperSpeed, patience is a stunning success behavior. My Dad’s patience in doing something kind+thoughtful+loving for his loved ones. The patience of an entrepreneur toiling in solitude, advancing a dream that nobody gets. The patience of a teacher developing young minds amid fewer resources. The patience of a leader, building an organization that delivers awesome value for the people it’s blessed to serve.

Not sure if I’m making my point clearly. I’ll reflect on it more over the days that come. But patience truly is a virtue. Of the finest of leaders. And the very best of Dad’s.

Keep Leading Without a Title.

Robin Sharma

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PICK FIGHTS FAST

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Yes, indeed, most of us dread conflict as much as a dental visit or a speech in front of a room full of hecklers. And yet, conflict brings advantages – especially to businesses that really want to out-innovate their peers.

I recall a dinner on The Bosphorus in Istanbul where I chatted with an uberSuccessful entrepreneur. He enthusiastically shared his ideas on business-building, picking A Players (the bigger the dream, the more key the team) and delivering value to customers. And then he said something unforgettable: he revealed that his company hired a young man fresh out of business school with the sole job to passionately challenge every one of the great ideas the executive team came up with.

Loved it. Why? Because the beginning of the end of a great business (and life) is “the falling in love with your own most closely cherished ideas”. Yes, you have to believe in your vision when no one else will. Agreed. But – at the same time – following the same business model or way of working just because that’s the way you’ve always done it, is the way to inevitable obsolescence. This leader was incredibly smart: his company built a protocol to generate healthy conflict / to challenge their favored assumptions and to ensure that only the best ideas won.

Maybe it’s better to be surrounded by “No People” versus “Yes Men”? Please share your comments below – I’d love to get a conversation going on this point.

Patient Leadership

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Patient LeadershipAll Spring, I’ve been watching the trees in my backyard flourish. All of them have grown into lush masterpieces of nature and vivid beauty. All have matured and revealed precious blossoms to my family and I. All have provided us with shade, joy and protection. All but one.

This one tree stands apart. While the others were growing quickly a few months ago, this one had no leaves at all. It looked thin and frail. I wasn’t even sure if it had made it through the Winter. I left it for dead. But then something very spectacular happened.

From nowhere, it started to yield stunningly beautiful little flowers on its almost instantly firm branches. It grew higher than every other tree around it. And it offered us more cover than its counterparts. This tree is now the best tree. The Lead Tree in my backyard.

Here’s the leadership lesson: strong roots eventually yield great success.

I have a suspicion that while the naked eye suggested that the tree wasn’t growing, in truth, it definitely was. But the expansion was below ground rather than above ground. And so I dismissed it.

While the other trees were reaching for the sky, this special tree was quietly working on its foundation, ensuring its roots were strong and its base was secure. And once done, it outperformed every tree around it.

Business and life has taught me so many lessons. And so has nature. And one of the best is that leadership takes time. You might think that other people and other organizations are so far ahead of you that you’ll never catch up. But please be patient. Tend to your roots. Do exceptionally great work. Build deep relationships. Invent and innovate daily. And Lead Without a Title.

Nature is always fair. And eventually, like the special tree in my backyard, you will win.