leadership dot #2803: a hell of a job

President Warren Harding is quoted as saying about the presidency: “My God, this is a hell of a job.” It’s impossible to know the true scope of any position before you take it, but I can’t even imagine the surprises that a U.S. president finds after the inauguration.

The sheer breadth of responsibility is daunting, even before you learn the nuances or have to face the issues with serious time pressures. One current candidate’s website lists where they stand on the following topics: affordable housing, climate change, consumer protection, criminal justice reform, disability, election security, Electoral College, equitable public education, extremism, foreign policy, gender equity, gerrymandering, gun laws, health care, higher education, immigration, inclusive economy, Indian country, infrastructure, judicial system, LGBTQ rights, minimum wage, national service, organized labor, political representation, racial justice, reproductive rights, rural economy, special interests, veterans and voting rights. Who would want the job?!

Shortly after President Warren Harding took office, he said: “I am just beginning to realize what a job I have taken over. God help me, for I need it.” As we celebrate this President’s Day, let us wish blessings on all those who have and will hold the position and give them the strength to rely on others to guide them in understanding the issues they face. The same holds true for you.

leadership dot #2800: anthropomorphize

Apparently, it wasn’t enough for retailers to cash in on the $20.7 billion that Americans spent on Valentine’s Day last year. Now they are trying to extend the holiday sales by targeting dog owners to spread the love from pet to pet.

Milk Bone created bones that are imprinted with popular names of dogs, calling it Bones for Friends. They also created special treats embossed with heart shapes – allowing you to send a valentine to your favorite pooch. Just like you decorate your house for each season, now there are toys, collars, and clothing that allow you to accessorize your dog for each holiday, too.

Obviously, the animals have no sense as to whether the treat has a heart shape or the bone has their name or a nemesis, but the human tendency to anthropomorphize their pooches has led to the creation of these types of products.

Can your organization capitalize on this phenomenon? Maybe your next bake sale can include dog biscuits where you write their name in spray cheese or frosting. You could make holiday pet bandanas as a craft project. Or you may consider hiding treats instead of candy and allow dogs to hunt at Easter.

People are crazy in love with their pets. You’d be wise to find ways to direct some of that exuberance to benefit your organization.

leadership dot #2775: compelling

“One of the biggest differentiators between those who are skilled leaders and those who are unskilled leaders, between those who are really leading and those who are leaders in name only, is their effort and ability to craft a compelling vision of where they want to take their groups*.”

I have seen this phenomenon play out over and over – especially with new leaders who are more accustomed to being told the vision instead of having to craft one. I’ve also seen too many leaders who run into problems because they have a vision, but no one else knows what it is. A vision that is not shared does not inspire anyone.

One person who is synonymous with vision is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As you celebrate the holiday today, pause for a few moments to think about his vision for the county. In 1963, King spoke from the March on Washington: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

 How can your vision move your organization forward? What does your dream look like? Share that story with passion to give others a compelling reason to follow.

*Julie Straw, Mike Scullard, Susie Kukkonen, Barry Davis. Work of Leaders: How Vision, Alignment and Execution Will Change the Way You Lead (Wiley, 2013), p. 18 as quoted by Terri Fairchild on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

leadership dot #2755: have a ball

Tonight, at precisely 11:59pm Eastern Time, the famous New Year’s Eve ball will drop from One Times Square with millions watching. It will be the 91st time for the ceremony and serves as a revered bridge between the old and new year.

The ball contains 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles and 32,256 LED lights to create its magic. The crystals come in varying shapes, including this year’s addition of a pineapple shape to represent the Gift of Goodwill. Other crystals represent the Gift of Harmony, Gift of Serenity, Gift of Kindness, Gift of Fortitude and Gift of Imagination. You can learn more in a fascinating fact sheet here.

 Just as the ball remains on display all year, goodwill, harmony, serenity, kindness, fortitude and imagination should represent more than crystals on the New Year’s Eve ball. Make them your mantra to live by in the coming decade.

leadership dot #2749: priceless

A real estate firm in Baltimore surprised its employees by handing out a total of $10 million in bonuses as a tribute to the holiday and celebration for achieving a company-wide goal it set in 2005. The 198 employees received checks ranging from $100 to $270,000 based on longevity with the firm, with an average gift of $50,000! I’m sure it made for quite a memorable holiday.

Even if your year-end bonus was slightly smaller this year, I hope that you have a holiday filled with the same amount of joy that these employees must have felt. As the Grinch reminds us, Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Today, celebrate all the good in your world that doesn’t have a price tag.

Happy Christmas!

Thanks, Emily!

leadership dot #2748: reindeer

The local credit union put a twist on the usual “visit from Santa” by hosting a live reindeer to celebrate Christmas. His handler, Mrs. Claus, wouldn’t let me pet the reindeer but she did share some Reindeer Facts that could impress the guests at your holiday gathering:

  • Reindeer hair is hollow, and the warm air is trapped inside each hair. Their coat is soft, dense, warm and waterproof.
  • Reindeer differ from other deer in that both males and females have antlers.
  • Reindeer antlers are a soft, rubbery, mass of blood and marrow covered with soft furred skin called velvet. Toward the end of August, the blood stops flowing and the bone begins to harden.
  • Reindeer have broad hooves, designed for walking in snow and ice.
  • Reindeer can pull up to twice their own weight, making them an ideal animal for pulling a sleigh.

The entire time of the visit, Mrs. Claus remained in character and spoke as if the reindeer next to her would be flying Santa around tonight. Who knows!!

Two takeaways from my encounter with this famous animal: 1) Santa is seemingly everywhere so kudos to the credit union for doing something different, and 2) If you do an event, bonus points for doing it right. Not only did they have the reindeer, but Mrs. Claus had a beautiful costume, cards with reindeer facts, cookies and candy canes, etc. It was a celebration.

I hope you’ve been on the Nice List and the reindeer finds you tonight!

Source: www.2josFarm.com

 

leadership dot #2745: holiday genre

I just finished The Christmas Shopaholic novel and it occurred to me that the holiday has spawned an entire genre of its own. There is a whole section of Christmas-themed books at the Library, both in print and audio. Radio stations devote their entire playlist for weeks to Christmas music. Hallmark has a cottage industry with its holiday movie series, but many others on television as well as in the movie theater base their plots around the Christmas theme. When taken as a whole, it is an amazing amount of art produced with one holiday at its core.

Consider whether this presents an opportunity for you or your organization. Maybe you can create your own Christmas-based story or video to add to the offerings. On a personal level, maybe you can craft a gift basket of books, music and movies that celebrate the occasion and use it as an actual present or as the prize in a raffle. Perhaps you can organize a holiday-art swap and exchange Christmas favorites so that others can expand their themed consumption next year. Or maybe you can start with Christmas as a theme for your next writing prompt since it appears to stimulate others’ artistic production.

Whether you create it or consume it, take a few moments in the craziness of the next week to enjoy some of the holiday magic that authors, artists and musicians have compiled for you.