Thursday, February 28, 2013

Leadership and Common Sense

Lee Iacocca writes about the 9 “C’s” of leadership in his book, Where Have all the Leaders Gone?  The ninth “C” is Common Sense.  It struck me as funny because I would like to know his definition of “common sense.”  It’s a term that any of us would struggle to define; however, we all know it when we see it, right? 

In fact, like Iacocca, other business/management/leadership authors use the same type of words to describe leadership:  character, credibility, competence, communication, charisma, conviction, courage, curiosity, etc.  These words all have the same problem as the word beauty—I can’t describe it, but I know when I see it.

The problem is that we all view the world differently and there is no single working definition of any of these words.  Even the word leadership fits into this category of words—I can’t describe it, but I know it when I see it.

If Common sense is so common, why do most of us have a different idea of its definition?  Men and women differ on common sense because we have different experiences, the different generations differ because of different contexts, people who live in different States differ because of different environments, people from different countries differ because of different cultures, people of different religions differ because of different beliefs, people of different social/economic levels differ because of different lifestyles, people of different education levels differ because of different amounts of information, etc.  Actually I have really over simplified the problem as all these differences affect the common sense of everyone. Additionally , many more factors are involved in our personal common sense such as race, ethnicity, attitudes, values, abilities, past experiences, etc.

We are all different, even children growing up in the same families have different definitions of common sense because they all had different friends, interests, role models, teachers, jobs, hobbies, and experiences. 

Clearly, good common sense says the there is no such thing as common sense and I hope that is what Iacocca meant.  Like art, meanings of leadership and common sense are in the eye of the beholder.  Once we realize each person interprets words, situations, and relationships differently, we will then begin to communicate, lead, and follow better.  For leaders to be effective, the leader’s job is to clearly communicate to people her/his meanings of words including common sense.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Use Your Fear of Public Speaking to Your Advantage

Even if Our Biggest Fears of Public Speaking Happen, It Still Won’t Cause a Negative Difference in the Effectiveness of Our Message

All Politics aside, Senator Marco Rubio’s response to the President’s State of the Union address should ease the fears of most public speakers. 
The biggest obstacle that most people refuse to hurdle in order to share their valuable viewpoints, ideas, and information is the fear of public speaking. 
Those fears are specifically some of the following:

  •  Not being perfect        
  • Dry mouth
  •  Sweating
  • Red face
  • Being laughed at
  •  Being judged
  • Not being liked
  • Not being approved

Other fears include:
  • White face
  • Hands or knees shaking
  • Feeling sick to your stomach
  • Being stared at
  • etc.

Senator Rubio had the first group of fears happen to him and he is still fine.  He survived, went to work the next day without losing his job, and got invited to be on many TV and radio talk shows.  He raised his profile by getting a lot of attention from the comedians, and questions from the press.  This resulted in more platforms to share his message. 
However, he did not get seriously judged for being nervous.  Nervousness is something all professional speakers can understand.  Even though most in the press brought it up, they (pundits of all political stripes) brushed off his nervousness as not important and not part of the message.

Ironically, Florida Democratic strategist, Steve Schale, said Rubio's water grab didn't hurt him and his initial good-humored response to it could end up being a plus for him.  Schale said Democrats should take Rubio seriously as a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

The audience and the message, tailored to such audience, is where our focus should be, only partially on our performance.  To Senator Rubio’s credit, he did not focus on his performance, it was on his message.  Not once in his presentation did he apologize or bring attention to his sweating and dry mouth.
He will still be asked to speak many, many times in the future as his nerves were not and will not be a determining factor in his speaking ability.  He will be remembered for the water drink and could have handled that with better grace though; but, still it isn’t important in the larger picture.  We still need people like Senator Rubio and all other people such as you in all walks of life to have their voices heard in an effective, clear, and civilized way.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Do you want to fight for a cause?

Do you want to speak up; but, nobody listens?
Do you want to make an important point, but it gets lost in words?

Do you have a burning passion for a societal issue or political cause, but don’t know how to be heard?

That’s my job.  My purpose in this life is to teach people to stand up for their beliefs and be heard.  I teach you to say what you mean in the least amount of words with the highest possible impact.   

This is my cause, my way of speaking up, my important point, my societal issue.

You can call me and I will help you move people to action and/or change the way people think because of your passion.