Leadership Articles
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Great Leaders…Coach

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Leaders are the coaches in our lives. They inspire us to believe in what we cannot yet see and awaken our true potential. Leaders emerge in many places throughout our lives. They may be the boss, the boss’ boss, someone who inspires us, a peer, someone who works for you and maybe even someone in your family. Leaders are everywhere, inspiring us to be who we truly are.

Leadership is not in some of us. It is in all of us. The myth that leaders are born and not created is garbage. What is true about the myth is that we are all born with the power within us to lead. The fact is, it just comes a little easier for some of us than others.

Growing up in a lacrosse-oriented world, I started playing when I was young. I initially went out for the team because everyone played lacrosse back east. It was part of the world I knew, so I tried out.

Initially, I stunk at lacrosse. I was and remain amazed I made the team and yet my Coach saw something within me and took the chance. She inspired me, ran me ragged to develop what she would know was an important ability - out pace your competition; and when you are small you better be able to run and run fast!

So what were the lessons of those endless practices and invigorating games?

  • Rule 1: If you’re not early, you’re late
  • Be prepared
  • Show up and play full out – there is no room on a team for laziness
  • Coaches are always watching, not just at try-outs (a.k.a. when you get hired or have your annual review coming up!)
  • Work/leverage your strengths
  • Consider the team first
  • Mistakes happen. Your character is defined by how you react to them and then by what you do about them.
  • If you blame and shame, no one wants to hang with you!
  • Be responsible. Know your job/position, what you are to deliver/responsibilities (offense, defense, scoring), practice to your full potential and play through the last second of practice as well as the entire game (in business this is defined as follow-up as well as follow-through)
  • Momentum comes from positivity…find what is right and build on it
Then there was the biggest lesson of all:
There was a girl my age who was a tremendous athlete and unfortunately she had more ego than self-confidence. Our Leader/Coach knew this would only hold her back from her potential. I will never forget when she sat her out for a big game.

I thought at the time, does Coach know what she is doing? We can’t win without our ringer! And there was Coach as she pulled the rest of us together and said we have what we need in the 12 girls going out to the field. She said, “You have prepared; you are physically and mentally ready; you know our strategy. It is time to lead us."

I remember the goose bumps that covered my arms as I stood tall and ready to do “my” job. How proud I was to take the field. How present I was to my teammates, their movements, our team’s strategy and adjusting to our competition’s decisions as we played.

Coach’s leadership inspired me. Her coaching skills made me want to play better, smarter and run faster. She knew that her job went beyond knowing our competition, knowing our team’s skills and weaknesses, building out a smart strategy to win. She knew that to win was to get the most out of her players and she made us all believe in what we did not see and play hard for what she did see.

By the way, we lost that day and yet our team went on to win big. Our star player “joined our team”. We all aligned stronger than those weeks before. We all practiced harder, ran faster and found what was right about one another.

Coach taught me more than stick work and skills, more than how to listen to my competition to leverage our position. She taught me to persevere even when I thought I was too tired and had nothing left to give and that great coaching comes from the power of leading and inspiring. Coach set the strategy, worked our skills and made us train to our full potential. She pushed with compassion and aligned us to our higher purpose…and in the end we focused us on our weekly goal…to win games and win them with style.

Renie Cavallari is the CEO and Chief Inspirational Officer of Aspire, an international strategic marketing and training company positioning organizations to generate increased revenues, specializing in:
  • Innovative Training. Sales. Leadership. Reservations. Spa. Coaching Skills.
  • Cultural Alignment. Team Building
  • Re-energizing Organizations. Strategic Planning.
  • Sales & Marketing Consulting. Revenue Optimization. Positioning. Branding.
  • Customer Service Culture. Customer Service Training.
  • Awakening the Passion within People & Organizations.
Founded in 1995, Aspire has headquarters in Phoenix with a network of inspiring professionals across the country. www.aspiremarketing.com

For more information on how to drive revenues through improving your leadership team check out: www.aspireleadership.com

All rights reserved. 2011© RC International

Awaken the Passion within Your Organization

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Passion is the combustion of energy, focus and emotion all coming together to power people. Passion is the fuel of life. It is not in some of us…it is in all of us. Some of us just haven’t tapped into our passion. As leaders we must awaken the passion of our people and hence within the organizations we lead.

You cannot teach passion…you can only awaken it. As a leader, you must demonstrate and inspire passion if you truly want to tap into it in others. To have passion you must feel it. To have passion you must live life with passion.

As a leader, awakening passion in your organization is like getting 100 miles out of a gallon of gas. So go, fill up!

Here are 10 ways to awaken passion in your organization:

  1. Be fanatical about engaging your people and customers. They are your voice and when they speak about the organization with passion they will be the loudest voice your marketing efforts will ever have.
  2. Get people fired up about your vision and their role in bringing it to life. Get people passionate about the purpose of their work and its impact on the higher purpose of your business.
  3. Embrace change as progress. Organizations who look to proactively evolve/change make constant and never-ending progress.
  4. Make work fun. Fun is not a committee. People who are having fun have more energy - and energy triggers emotion and evokes passion.
  5. Light the fire within your people, not beneath them.
  6. Beware of your own head trash. Your head trash can leave imprints on others.
  7. Skip looking back. What you focus on is what they focus on. Look towards where you want to go. Look to the organization’s compelling future and potential.
  8. Be fanatical about strategies and flexible around tactical execution.
  9. Remove the barriers to progress. Ask what will slow them down and what they need to move smarter.
  10. Leverage results:
    a. What gets rewarded gets done.
    b. What gets measured gets improved.
    c. What gets appreciated gets attention.

Renie Cavallari is the CEO and Chief Inspirational Officer of Aspire, an international strategic marketing and training company positioning organizations to generate increased revenues, specializing in:
  • Innovative Training. Sales. Leadership. Reservations. Spa. Coaching Skills.
  • Cultural Alignment. Team Building
  • Re-energizing Organizations. Strategic Planning.
  • Sales & Marketing Consulting. Revenue Optimization. Positioning. Branding.
  • Customer Service Culture. Customer Service Training.
  • Awakening the Passion within People & Organizations.
Founded in 1995, Aspire has headquarters in Phoenix with a network of inspiring professionals across the country. www.aspiremarketing.com

For more information on how to drive revenues through improving your leadership team check out: www.aspireleadership.com

All rights reserved. 2011© RC International

I thought I was a Strategist and then I went Fly Fishing

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There are many elements to outstanding leadership, one of which is the ability to identify true market opportunities and align the organization to make them come to life. This strategic ability is how businesses become and remain relevant. Recently I spent a few weeks in Montana where I continued my exploration of fly-fishing and why the people who do it are so insanely passionate about it! To say that an extraordinary fly-fisherman is a strategist is an understatement. Their love for the game equals my love for identifying strategic opportunities, and below is what I learned from those masters of the river.

  1. These people are fanatical: Fly-fishermen will fish all day and into the night. They use the internet to learn what is happening on the river. Every detail from the flow (velocity) to the water temperature is studied, and over a beer they will discuss any number of theories as to why the water temperature dropped 10 degrees. They don’t have 1 rod, they have many. They don’t have a few flies, they have hundreds.
    The Lesson: If you want to be great at something, you have to be passionate.
  2. They are information gatherers and they use information to meet their goal: to catch fish! They read the river, the fish, what the fish are eating, the weather, the water temperature, the water flow and everything that is happening down to the insect and aquatic life on the river.
    The Lesson: Information makes your decisions smarter and your success rate higher.
  3. They know how to get the fish’s attention: they match the insects that are hatching with their artificial flies so fish will not think they are a fraud. Fish have a lot of food to choose from, so your fly has to be good.
    The Lesson: Make sure your offers (products and services) are appealing to the buyer. Stop selling and start creating buying environments.
  4. Fly-fishermen understand that presentation matters. They present the fly in a way that deceives fish into thinking an artificial fly is the real McCoy. This means the consideration of the type and size of the fly as well as the type, length and the strength of the line which all has to match the fish’s perception of what is real.
    The Lesson: Your offer has to be presented in a way that highlights your unique benefits. This must match what your customer is looking for and must do so in a way that gets that customer to take action. Remember, creativity alone will not get you success. Once you catch your customer you must have the processes in place to deliver on your promise. No one likes to be taken.
  5. This sport takes energy. To start, there are 4 main types of casts that a fly-fisherman must master and they are using any one of these four casts hundreds of times in a single day. And while they are casting, they may be walking in a fast moving river or standing in a current that could sweep them away. This requires balance. Sometimes they may even chose to walk against the current. This requires strength.
    The Lesson: Energy ignites what is possible and in business and in life you have to stay healthy and in shape. Be curious about what you don’t know and have the energy to be persistent towards your goals. Don’t be afraid to walk against the current - especially when you know there are fish upstream.
  6. Fly-fishermen are very competitive. They want to be in the best place on the river where the fish are hanging out. When they catch a fish they take a picture and track each day’s count (missed strikes as well as the fish count). They talk about each fish like they are talking about their children.
    The Lesson: Healthy competition gets everyone wanting to play bigger. Celebration and pride in accomplishments builds momentum.
  7. They are present, focused and patient. They have the confidence in their analysis that they so diligently completed and constantly look for more clues to adjust their approach (actions). They do not set it and forget it. Their approach is always changing as the indicators around them change.
    The Lesson: Do your homework, spot opportunities, be fanatical about your goals and strategy and agile on your tactical execution.
  8. They use the knowledge they gain. I thought I had heard it all until I learned that after they catch their first fish of the day they actually pump the stomach to learn more about what the fish ate. In the end, you cannot catch a fish if you don’t know what they want to eat. Period.
    The Lesson: Measurements give you insights into what you need to change, enhance or walk away from. Know what your customers want and give it to them the way they want it and you will own your marketplace. Period.
  9. Fly-fishermen know that there are good days and bad days and even that some days are both. They don’t let the day when they didn’t catch a single fish affect their attitude towards hitting the river tomorrow.
    The Lesson: Attitude and tenacity matter. If your people don’t have the right perspective and are not tenacious you are vulnerable to your competition regardless of the quality and advantages your product might have. In the end, fly-fishing is about the fishermen and their approach to fishing…not the fish.
  10. In the end, the fly-fisherman hopefully gets his fish, takes their photos, measures and logs the results to be smarter tomorrow and pays tribute to his Fishing God. All to release that fish back into the water for someone else to catch.
    The Lesson: Do what you love, make it fun and it will never feel like work.

Renie Cavallari is the CEO and Chief Inspirational Officer of Aspire, an international strategic marketing and training company positioning organizations to generate increased revenues, specializing in:
  • Innovative Training. Sales. Leadership. Reservations. Spa. Coaching Skills.
  • Cultural Alignment. Team Building
  • Re-energizing Organizations. Strategic Planning.
  • Sales & Marketing Consulting. Revenue Optimization. Positioning. Branding.
  • Customer Service Culture. Customer Service Training.
  • Awakening the Passion within People & Organizations.
Founded in 1995, Aspire has headquarters in Phoenix with a network of inspiring professionals across the country. www.aspiremarketing.com

For more information on how to drive revenues through improving your leadership team check out: www.aspireleadership.com

All rights reserved. 2011© RC International