Is it Time to Purge Your Leadership Closet?

A few weeks ago I spent time purging my closet. It happened as a result of reading Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism.

In the book there is a powerful quote from the late Peter Drucker, “People are effective because they say ‘no,’ because they say, ‘this isn’t for me.'”

As I worked in the closet, I kept saying ‘no’ to item after item … several times out loud. I knew it was weird when I turned and saw my wife watching. Her question, “Are you talking to your clothes?,” was a bit disturbing, but it didn’t slow me down. I prevailed, and the closet is much better.

But there is another closet. It’s my leadership closet, and if I’m honest, it is a bit cluttered as well. Cluttered with demands on my time, and littered with ideas for resources I will never have time to produce.

The leadership closet is relentless, always demanding more than I have the capacity to deliver.

I love McKeown’s words, “The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default.” 

Design means eliminating more than you add. It requires a leader to carefully consider the ramifications of saying yes. And the affects are always more than time. There are emotional and physical tolls to be paid when we say yes to everything. We also dilute our effectiveness when we water down our leadership.

Is it time for you to declutter your leadership closet? As you prepare for a new month spend time designing the life you want, refusing to give in to, “this is just the way it is,” thinking.

If you want to go to another level it will require saying no to default mode and yes to designing the life you want.


What is one thing you need to eliminate during the coming month?

Is it Time to Do Something Really Radical?

In his book, Great by Choice, author Jim Collins suggests there are several myths companies embrace to try to keep up with the competition.

One of the “entrenched myths,” as he calls it is . . .“Radical change on the outside requires radical change on the inside” 

The research shows that great companies react much less to outside circumstances than average ones do. That shouldn’t surprise anyone, and yet at every turn I see the masses following the masses.

Let me make up a new definition of average. Average = following the crowd.

But if great leaders refuse to follow the latest and greatest crowd, what should they do?

Collins says they should maintain their discipline in a fanatical way. He writes, “Discipline, in essence, is consistency of action – consistency with values, consistency with long-term goals, consistency with performance standards, consistency of method, consistency over time. Discipline is not the same as regimentation. Discipline is not the same as measurement. Discipline is not the same as hierarchical obedience or adherence to bureaucratic rules. True discipline requires the independence of mind to reject pressures to conform in ways incompatible with values, performance standards, and long term aspirations. For a great leader, the only legitimate form of discipline is self-discipline, having the inner will to do whatever it takes to create a great outcome, no matter how difficult.”

Wow! What a great reminder of the importance of self-leadership and self-discipline. Leaders don’t go against the grain nor do they go with the flow. They stay true to their mission, no matter what everyone else is doing.

If you find yourself wondering if you need to make a radical change, maybe you should consider doing something really radical like staying the same, only with a renewed commitment to radical discipline.

Parades are overrated. The difference makers are the ones who march to the beat of their own drum.


Why do you think so many organizations fall into the temptation of copying their competition?

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Are You Ready for Groundhog Day?

Today is Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is on pins and needles.

Will the little critter see his shadow and head back into his hole marking six more weeks of winter, or will a cloudy day signal spring is near?

The groundhog was never more popular than he was back in 1993 when the movie, Groundhog Day, was released. The comedy featured Bill Murray, who played a zany weather reporter named Phil Connors. Because of some crazy spell, every day was February 2 … Groundhog Day for Phil.

My favorite line of the movie was when Murray quipped, “What if there was no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.”

If there was no tomorrow for you, what would you do differently today? I suspect your answer to the question reflects spending your last day on the things that are most important to you.

As you live through this Groundhog Day, I challenge you to make the day count. Laugh. Love. Lead.

And then get up again and do it tomorrow.


What is one thing you want to do before this day is over? 

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Time to Decide Again Today

Today you will make an important decision. You will either be a consumer or a contributor. The difference????

Consumers: Think about themselves; Complain; Blame; Take; Cut corners; Are never satisfied.

Contributors: Think about others; Understand themselves; Take responsibility; Share; Wait; Understand that satisfaction comes from being a contributor.

Time to decide. Will you be a consumer or a contributor?


What is one way you hope to be a contributor today?

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