Tag Archives: freedom

Empower people and unlock productivity

Empowering people is such a key to unlocking productivity, yet so few do it well. Bill George of Harvard asks the question for Huffington Post.Rowing eights

 “Where is the spiritual value in rowing? It is in losing of self entirely to the cooperative effort of the crew.” — George Yeoman Pocock, boat builder, 1936 Olympic gold medal winner

Stepping into a Zappos Call Center is like walking into a circus. Phones ring, voices rise, and laughter bounces around the room. If you closed your eyes, you’d think you’d entered a loud family reunion, not a billion dollar company.

Zappos employees work in a fiercely proud culture. Only 16 years after founding Zappos, CEO Tony Hsieh has made the online shoe-retailer into one of best places to work in the world. Zappos employees not only love their work, they care deeply about others in the community.

How did Hsieh do it? He did it by empowering his employees to lead. In Eyewitness to Power, David Gergen writes, “At the heart of leadership is the leader’s relationship with followers. People will entrust their hopes and dreams to another person only if they think the other is a reliable vessel.”

There was a time when leaders thought their role was to exert power over others. No longer, today’s best leaders — people like Ford’s Alan Mulally, General Motors’ Mary Barra, and Google’s Larry Page — recognize their leadership is most effective when they empower others to step up and lead. That’s exactly what the new generation of Gen X and Millennials expect from their leaders, and they respond with great performance.

Tony Hsieh focuses on relationships first and business second. In good times and bad, Hsieh’s communications are authentic, funny, and informal. He speaks directly and personally to his colleagues. As Hsieh says, “if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff…will just happen naturally.”

Hsieh reflects traits of an “empowering leader.” These leaders have discovered that helping people find purpose delivers superior results than forcing subordinates to be loyal followers. By giving others the latitude to lead, they expand their own potential impact.

So, how can you empower others? In Discover Your True North, I profile five things great leaders do.

  1. Treat Others as Equals: We respect people who treat us as equals. Warren Buffett, for example, gives equal attention to every person he meets. He has the same sandwich and Cherry Coke combination with a group of wide-eyed students as he does with his close friend Bill Gates. Buffett does not rely upon his image to make people feel he is important or powerful. He genuinely respects others, and they respect him as much for those qualities as for his investment prowess. By being authentic in his interactions, Buffett empowers people to lead in their own authentic way.
  2. Listen Actively: We are grateful when people genuinely listen to us. Active listening is one of the most important abilities of empowering leaders, because people sense such individuals are genuinely interested in them and not just trying to get something. The leadership scholar Warren Bennis was an example of a world-class listener. He patiently listened as you explained your ideas and then thoughtfully contributed astute observations that came from a deep well of wisdom and experience.
  3. Learn from People: We feel respected when others believe they can learn from us or ask for our advice. The best advice I ever got about teaching came from my Harvard Business School (HBS) colleague Paul Marshall, who was one of HBS’s greatest teachers. He told me, “Bill, don’t ever set foot in an HBS classroom unless you genuinely want to learn from the students.” I have taken his advice into every class I have taught for the past 12 years, telling MBA students and executives, “I feel certain I will learn a lot more from you than you do from me.” The students find that hard to believe at first, but they soon see how their feedback helps me understand how today’s leaders and MBA students think.
  4. Share Life Stories: When leaders are willing to be open and share their personal stories and vulnerabilities, people feel empowered to share their own stories and uncertainties in return. On Thanksgiving eve in 1996, I sent an e-mail to all Medtronic employees, expressing my gratitude for the support Penny and I received following her ordeal with breast cancer and chemotherapy. We were overwhelmed by the number of people who spontaneously shared their stories with us.
  5. Align around the Mission: The most empowering condition of all is when the entire organization aligns with its mission, and people’s passions and purpose synchronize with each other. It is not easy to get to this position, especially if the organization has a significant number of cynics or disgruntled people. Nonetheless, it is worth whatever effort it takes to create an aligned environment, including removal of those who don’t support the mission.

Leaders of every organization have an important responsibility to articulate how their company contributes to humankind. At Medtronic, our mission was to restore people to full health and wellness. At Disney, it’s to make people happy. Even at the most “boring” business-to-business company, the business can play a powerful role in improving the lives of its stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, and community.

With leadership comes responsibility. As Clayton Christensen wrote, “No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognized for achievement.”

It’s time to lead authentically. You can do so by focusing on empowering others.

Follow Bill George on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Bill_George

Ensure GOD is in control of your business

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Benham Brothers testify how God helped them to start a Real Estate company after they got fired.
In a recent post on their website the brothers revealed that their company, Benham Real Estate, was born out of a painful firing more than a decade ago, which left them without jobs. They then reminded Christians through Scripture that
God’s plan is usually far greater that man’s plan.

Benham Real Estate is now a full service real estate company that specializes in selling bank owned properties. The real estate division, Benham REO Group, has about 100 offices in 35 states across the United States, according to the brothers’ Facebook page
“When the tables have turned in life, we need to realize that God owns the tables. He always has a plan and it’s far greater than any plan we could ever come up with. It may be hard and painful to understand at the time, but God’s ways are always best,” began the brothers in the post. The twins then highlighted the adversity that resulted in their successful real estate company.

“Twelve years ago, before my brother and I started our real estate group, we worked for a large company that went through a horrific split. The split found us on the wrong side of the fence, so we got fired. Although we were heartbroken and had no other jobs lined up, God used that to force us to start our own company,” noted the post. “For two years we scratched and clawed to make enough money to feed our budding families, all-the-while building our little real estate company. Well, the rest is pretty much history, as God has blessed our little venture supernaturally, even to a point where HGTV offered to do a show based upon our real estate expertise,” they added.

Now that they have lost that initial HGTV offer, the brothers believe that the adversity they went through before prepared them for the fallout with HGTV. “God had already prepared us long ago for a situation just like this. All we need to do is remember that he owns the tables, and when they turn He is up to something good! “When the tables turn in your situation, don’t try to flip them back to where they were, just let it play itself out. Recognize that God Himself is the One who owns the tables. He’s got you right where He wants you!” ended the post.

The Benham Brothers, whose planned reality show was cancelled because of their conservative views on homosexuality, were dropped by SunTrust Bank this week. The brothers believe it is part of a move to silence Christian views in the marketplace.
“If our faith costs us our HGTV show and our business, then so be it,” Jason said.

David Benham said they were “caught off-guard” when SunTrust pulled all of its listed properties with the Benham brothers and several franchisees across the U.S.  “This came without warning or explanation from SunTrust and took place over a 15 minute period on May 15, 2014,” the brothers noted. SunTrust corporate spokesman Mike McCoy did not specify whether the brothers’ conservative views were behind the decision.

Earlier in May, the brothers’ planned HGTV show “Flip It Forward,” which was going to be about the brothers flipping houses for profit and helping other families do the same, was cancelled. HGTV’s decision came after website Right Wing Watch published a post labeling David as an “anti-gay, anti-choice extremist” for leading a 2012 prayer rally outside of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. During the rally, he called homosexuality a sin.

The show’s cancellation sparked debate online, with David Benham arguing that “there’s an agenda that’s out in America right now that demands silence, especially from men and women who profess Jesus Christ and hold to His standards.”
After the surprising move by SunTrust this week, the brothers are even more convinced that Christians are being marginalized. “Keeping us off television wasn’t enough, now this agenda to silence wants us out of the marketplace,” said David Benham. Conservative Christian group Faith Driven Consumer, which has been campaigning in support of the Benham brothers, believes SunTrust is punishing them simply because of their Christian beliefs.

Live eternal now – OBEDIENCE = SUCCESS and certain reward in heaven.

NEED BOTH DIMENSIONS – NATURAL & SPIRITUAL

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                   NEED BOTH DIMENSIONS

   NATURAL                                                                                                       SPIRITUAL

BUSINESS CONCEPT                                                                               CALLING & VISION

PRODUCT                                                                                                      OBEDIENCE

SUCCESS                                                                                                        FRUIT

FREEDOM                                                                                                     STEWARDSHIP

Reputation & Position                                                                  Manifestation of the Kingdom