The Faster We Go, the Harder it is to See

One of my favorite blog posts of all time was written in December, a couple of years ago. For my last post of 2014, I want to share these thoughts with you again. 

For nearly 35 years I have been friends with a guy I grew up with named Stacey. Even though we now live in different cities, we still talk almost every week.

As a 16 year old, Stacey served as more than a friend. He also had wheels … hot wheels. And I am not talking toys on tracks.

Stacey actually had a 1950 Chevy Truck that was painted red. Had we not gotten in the way, the ride would have been a chick-magnet in our small town.

1950 Chevy

Stacey’s dad could work on anything you put in front of him (all dad’s knew how to fix stuff in those days). So, he helped Stacey rebuild the truck into a real hot rod.

Except for one thing, the truck was loaded.

Cue the question . . . “What was the one thing?”

Believe it or not, it was the windshield wipers. Stacey’s wipers were not like today’s wipers. Back in the day, their was a vacuum motor that had a hose connected to the wipers. Let’s just say Stacey’s hose had pressure problems.

The Chevy’s wiper speed was dependent upon the acceleration of the engine. When the truck was sitting still, the wipers operated really fast. Whenever he would accelerate, the wipers would barely work.

Translated — if Stacey and I were stopped at a red light in the rain, the wipers would fly back and forth and we could see great. However, whenever he accelerated, we could barely see the road.

For the past couple of weeks, I have had conversations with countless people who seem to have a leadership vacuum leak. They have used words like tired, exhausted, busy, rushed, frazzled, broke, and dread to describe their Christmas season.

If you fall into that line of thinking, may I remind you our lives are a lot like Stacey’s old wipers. The faster we go, the harder it is to see.

When we drive, there are speed limits for a reason. They serve to protect, not just a driver, but everyone else on the roads. Don’t you wish there was a December speed limit for our lives? I suspect if there were Christmas speeding tickets our hearts would be reminded to slow down and see what is right in front of us. Maybe then, the family and friends who are on our ‘Christmas road’ would not view us as someone who is blowing through at a reckless pace.

Ultimately the choice will be yours. You will either drive by, or drive through, your Christmas. I say go through every moment, every gift, every conversation, and every memory.

You might have more Christmases in the future, but you will never have this one again.

May this truly be your slowest Christmas ever and may your wipers work great.

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

Who do you need to slow down for today?

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I am looking forward to applying the principle of the wipers to my own life the next couple of weeks. The blog will be back in January. In the meantime, I pray you and your family will have a blessed Christmas. Thank you for being a faithful reader and for helping me spread the word. I am truly grateful! 

Have You Found Your It?

Dr. Seuss once said, “You know you are in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

Leaders are a lot like lovers. Once they discover their “passion,” and make its pursuit their reality, it keeps them up late at night.

Do you have something that drives you? I’m not talking about a “high school crush” kind of leadership where you move from one exciting idea to the next. No, I am talking about something that burns at your core and never goes away.

You owe it to yourself and to those you lead to discover what “it” is. But beware. Once you find it, expect some late nights.

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

What keeps you up late at night?

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Are You Leading a Cohesive Team?

Last night during a conversation with a friend, he indicated his desire to be a part of a high performance team. It made me appreciate his leadership in a much greater way.

The best leaders place a high value on creating a team culture. Author Patrick Lencioni even goes so far as to say that effective executives are obsessed with “building and maintaining a cohesive leadership team.”

Lencioni defines such a team with these words … “A cohesive team trusts one another, engages in constructive conflict, commits to group decisions and holds one another accountable.”

When you look at your leadership, I have two questions . . .

1. What are YOU obsessed with?

2. Does YOUR team match Lencioni’s definition?

As you lead today, give this some thought and take a step toward building a more cohesive, high performance, team.

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

Is there anything you would add to Lencioni’s definition of a cohesive team?

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Final Exam

Yesterday, I returned home to find my living room floor covered in charts laced with peptides and covalent bonding.

Final Exam

The dreaded biochemistry final exam is today for one of my daughters. I have been amazed at how much she has prepared. Not surprisingly, she has not asked for my help this week. No, this one she has to finish on her own.

As 2014 winds down are there things you still need to finish? Projects that need a bow to tie up loose ends? Fitness goals still within reach? Someone you have been meaning to contact all year? If so, it is not too late to finish strong.

I remember as a student always pushing harder near the end of the semester. It was as if the deadlines lit a fire and helped me have more focus.

I hope things slow down for you the next couple of weeks so you can enjoy the real meaning of Christmas. But I also hope you will make one last push and ace your final exams … whatever they may be.  Identify the places where it is still possible to make an “A” and then hit it hard for a few more days.

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

What is one thing you need to accomplish before the end of the year?

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Do You Have a Constantly Repeated Formula?

Every day people all over the world pour a cup of coffee to start their day. It represents a routine which is defined as, “an unvarying and constantly repeated formula.”

Coffee

Leaders can learn a lot from coffee drinkers. Namely, find a routine and stick with it. A constantly repeated formula can lead to leadership success.

I am not saying that routine should be your only focus. There are many times you should live outside the box. However, you will never have success unless you are willing to establish some disciplined routines for learning and leading.

Find a routine that helps you lead yourself first, and you will be ready to lead others.

The next time you pour yourself a cup of coffee, may it remind you to be relentless in your self-leadership routines.

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

What are some of your routines that make you a better leader?

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