Posts Tagged ‘travel’

In 1492, columbus sailed the ocean blue

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

If you are like me, you learned that rhyme sometime in elementary school.

Specifically, Columbus left on his first voyage on August 3, 1492, sailing in search of a seagoing route from Europe to Asia with the vision of creating a trade route for spices, silk and more.

He led a crew of three ships on that voyage and, as history shows, instead found islands of North America. While not the first European to make this discovery (the Norse did it 500 years prior), it was his voyages that lead to the widespread awareness (and eventual colonization) of “the New World”.

Enough history.

I am writing about Columbus not because of his discoveries, or even his major mistakes, but because of what his life can teach every leader.

Here are five specific lessons, as valuable today as ever, that we all can take from Columbus` legendary life.

Exercise your belief. Columbus believed the earth was smaller in circumference than most did. This belief led him to the logical (based on his beliefs) assertion that within a few weeks his ships could reach Asia. While he was wrong, he built his plan based on that belief, gathered support for his plan in spite of ridicule and disbelief, and crafted a plan to test those beliefs. This is what leaders do.

When did you last exercise your beliefs in a tangible way?

Find great supporters. Columbus didn`t have the resources, power or money to put his plan into action. He tried to build support in Portugal and England, before finally persuading Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to support his plan. Even Royalty wasn`t enough – his supporters also included a group of Italian business interests. Great leaders know they can`t do it alone, and they are persistent in building support for their visions and beliefs.

Have you created a team of supporters for your vision?

Don`t be satisfied. Columbus found land in his first voyage (what is now the Bahamas), but he didn`t find the trade route he sought. So he went again, and again and again. Ultimately he led four voyages; each finding new territory (and getting as far as Panama). While you could classify him a failure in achieving his desired goal, you can`t call him a quitter. When your vision is clear, and your belief strong, you can lead persistently.

How persistent are you? Do you lead past the first challenge or failure?

Build a plan. Columbus didn`t just go to Queen Isabella, turn on the charm, lay out some ideas and then go hop on the ship. His navigational beliefs, his travel plans, and his funding support came together over several years. The funding process alone started seven years before he sailed. Over that time he honed his plan, made adjustments, and continued to build as he brought the plan to ultimate fruition.

Do you plan? Are you willing to adjust and modify when necessary in service of your beliefs and vision?

Think bigger. In the time of Columbus you could get spices from Asia on the overland route. Before he sailed, people had even gotten there by sea by sailing around the tip of Africa. Columbus, though, thought bigger. He believed from his study and planning that he could make it directly, more quickly and more cost effectively by sailing west. He didn`t tie himself to conventional wisdom or approaches. He thought bigger. It was this bigger thinking that ultimately helped him sell his plan.

How big do you think? Are your visions large enough to captivate, persuade and engage others to follow you?

The story of Columbus proves that we can learn from events and actions from more than 500 years ago and while the context has changed, the lessons are as real and valuable as ever. The lessons are always there, when we look for them.

The other major message of this article isn`t just the lessons, but is found in the questions after each idea; questions that beg application of the lessons. Learn the lessons, but answer the questions to really bring the lessons to life for you and those you lead.

Remarkable Leaders are continually learning and practicing the lessons of Columbus, which is just one example of why learning continually is one of the competencies of The Remarkable Leadership Learning System – a one skill at a time, one month at a time approach to becoming a more confident and successful leader. You can get two months of that unique system for free as part of our Most Remarkable Free Leadership Gift Ever today at and become the leader you were born to be.

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, leaders and entrepreneurs are required to be more adaptive, responsive, and innovative than ever before

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, leaders and entrepreneurs are required to be more adaptive, responsive, and innovative than ever before. Assessing situations quickly, and developing novel solutions have become a requirement. Differentiating your self, your product or your organization is essential–and requires creative thinking.

If you approach a new situation with the your habitual thinking, it’s impossible to generate new ideas, visions or solutions. Your thought patterns will travel down the same neural pathways in your brain the same way they always do–and the outcome will be the same ideas you typically have. Thinking in novel ways requires new connections within the brain. New thinking requires pattern breaking. Research shows that by actively engaging the brain’s capacities from both hemispheres, you have a larger “playing field” from which to create – there is more cross fertilization between neural synapses which leads to original ideas and “A-ha” moments.

The “left brain” organizes what already exists and thinks linearly. There is a sequential, analytical process toward a specific outcome. The often overlooked (but not less important) “right brain” imagines what can be and thinks in nonlinear interconnections. It has immediate access to insights and novel connections. Cultivating the use of both sides leads to breakthrough leaps and the ability to think on your feet under pressure.

I developed a simple Whole Brain Brain Dimensions chart to help you better understand your dominant thinking style. The words in the left hand column are typically associated with the “left brain thinking,” and the words in the right hand column are typically associated with “right brain thinking.” These are simple generalizations, designed to get you thinking about the habitual thinking patterns you use to approach your work. The more integrated your brain hemispheres are – accessing and using the elements associated with both sides of this list – the more effective you will be at generating elegant solutions and developing new solutions. Most individuals and most organizational cultures lean more toward one side or the other. Which are you? Which is your organization? Which is your culture?

Quickly scan the list for the words that apply to you in your work. Don’t think about it—go by initial instinct. Keep track of how many words in each column describe you. You don’t have to choose between the 2 columns – just check off each word that speaks to you as part of your own process, even if they seem opposite. For example, you may find you already use both detailed and big picture thinking in your work. If so, check both.

Whole Brain Dimensions Chart

Left Brain…………….Right Brain

Details Big…………….Picture
Verbal………………….Visual, Kinesthetic
Prove, Verify…………..Envision
Pattern Perception…..Spatial Perception
Sorts & Separates……Infuses & Blends
Conclusion…………….A-ha Moment
Levels & Stages………Dimensions

Add up the totals on each side to become aware of your dominant thinking approach. What are your dominant thinking patterns? Where is there room for skill development for more whole brain thinking?

Whole Brain Integration Techniques

The flowing are some quick and simple exercises you can use at your desk to begin to integrate the hemispheres and strengthen your less dominant side.

1. Opposite functions – Spend some time doing everything with your non-dominant hand. Every time you break a dominance habit, you create new neural pathways and give the brain more options. It become easier to think in new ways throughout your day, and easier to adapt, respond and create in high pressure environments.

2. Color and No Lines – Instead of using lined legal paper and a pen in meetings, brainstorming sessions or any other work related functions, try use unlined paper and colored markers. Lines have a subconscious effect on us which keep the brain locked in habitual thought patterns. By removing the lines, the brain is more free to think visually and instead of just in words. Using colored markers has a stimulating effect on the brain because the right brain thinks in color.

3. Sensory Immersion – engage all of your senses in your ideation process. Instead of coming to a situation from analytical thinking alone:

> Visualize it
> Use different types of music to stimulate thinking
> Use 3-dimentional objects to move around on your desk as your are brainstorming
> Talk about it out loud (left brain) as you are seeing it (right brain)
> Develop mindmaps with both images and words
> Use body nonlinearly, i.e., have the right and left arms doing 2 different tasks at the same time.
> Try Crossover Movements – cross the left hand over the right, or touch the left know with the right hand and vice versa for a couple minutes.

The more senses you use simultaneously, the more the brain sides work in harmony and the information you receive.

4. Embodiment – become the project, problem, vision, product and act from its point of view. New ideas will flood your mind. This is easy to prove. First, try imagining new features to add to any product in a certain time period, i.e., 5 minutes. You will come up with a number of features. Then, pretend you actually are the product – become the product -and start talking as the product, again for 5 minutes. You will learn exponentially more about what additional features it “needs.” The act of becoming a product or concept will give you new insights and awareness’ into the product, and therefore, potential new features, that you cannot get from just thinking about it.

Innovation has become one of the top business values today, and thinking creatively is requisite for sustainable innovation. Whole brain thinking is the one of the most effective – and accessible – approaches to break out of limited thinking and develop consistently fresh thinking patterns. Once you access your brain’s creative wellspring, business challenges can become innovative opportunities.

Lately i’ve been thinking about the leadership characteristic of integrity

Lately I’ve been thinking about the leadership characteristic of integrity. Several years ago, I worked for a leader who lived out that quality. In fact, if you looked up the word “integrity” in the dictionary, I think you’ll see his face posted next to the word. It was great working with a person I could trust – knowing I could believe what he said and that his motives were true.

I recently traveled to China with four businessmen to participate in an ethics and management forum for Global Partners in Hope (GPiH).  During one of our luncheons, two of the men had a very lively discussion about honesty in the workplace, with both agreeing it was extremely important.

As I watched their animated conversation in which they talked excitedly and nodded their heads in agreement, I was blown away by how strongly they felt about this issue.  One of the men said, “Hey, if an employee will lie about a small thing, then count on them lying about the big stuff, and I can’t afford to have employees who are dishonest.”   The book of Proverbs in the Bible states, “It’s better to be poor than a liar.”  I think we underestimate the impact of a lie and how it affects relationships.

During the forum in Beijing, one man told of how dishonesty had affected both himself and his family.  He spoke with tears and it was clear he was wrestling with how to function with real integrity in his business. 

Honesty is important in most cultures, but how we define honesty can be confusing. What one might call “negotiations” another culture might call a “bribe.”  In certain cultures, negotiations are expected as a rule in business. For example, at the Silk Market in Beijing, a person is expected to barter for a certain product. If you don’t, it’s not “sporting” or much fun.  Most of the fun is in the bartering, right? There seems to be a clear definition between a negotiation and a bribe.  The merchant would not consider this process as being dishonest.

How about in the workplace when an employee who calls in “sick,” but he or she actually is just fine and simply took the “sick” day to play tennis. Is this acceptable? Should we just accept this in the workplace? Should an employee lose their job over a “little lie”?

A line should be made clear in the workplace about honesty and what is acceptable. The leader has the responsibility to model this for those they lead. Why?  Because it builds trust, and trust is the foundation for healthy relationships. If trust breaks down, then relationship will break down. Employees want a leader they can trust and employers want employees they can trust.

Regardless of the responsibilities of a leader, some leadership characteristics have universal value. Honesty is a key component of integrity, and any leader looking to lead effectively will not overlook its significance.

This article discusses how the generalist ceo will give way to specialist ceos in the companies of the future

This article discusses how the generalist CEO will give way to specialist CEOs in the companies of the future. As the perfect CEO, who is good at everything, will be a rare entity, companies should instead look for CEOs with deep expertise in one or two areas with enough knowledge to build a high performing supporting team. The author has described five specialist CEO types. The Brain will be a CEO who is an expert engineer, innovator, and can help lead R&D teams. The Ambassador will be a well-traveled CEO, having made visits to the leading and developing economies of the world. The Dealmaker will be an expert in mergers and acquisitions. The Conductor will be required to increase collaboration between corporate units and to help promote teamwork. The Casting Agent will be a CEO who can employ, retain and deploy the best people in the company, in short – assemble an all star team.

Future companies may have more than one CEO – each a specialist in his/her field. In the studies of leadership, the big five personality framework – extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness to experience – are considered to be traits of an effective leader. Here, instead of searching for a single leader with all leadership qualities, we are searching for different leaders excelling in at least one of the qualities. If we implement this format, it will bring about changes in the studies on leadership and organizational behavior. Along with studying relationships between the CEO and his/her employees, we will also have to study the inter-personal relationships between the different CEOs of the same company handling different jobs yet working together to head the company.

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