Posts Tagged ‘team player’

Inner self talk is critical to success in life.

December 2, 2015

Finding your voice.

Past voices….

As usual, Toastmasters never ceases to inspire….

Using a style of writing that I’ve used before, and tying in to my ending, I will tell you where I am headed with this piece of writing….to My goals (please use this as a work-through (or ‘workshop’) to achieve whatever happen to be YOUR goals! This is meant to INSPIRE YOU! LOL). I want to share how important self-talk can be to success in life….

I promise to get you there reasonably quickly via past voices (negative ones of course) that my Toastmaster mentor Dawna (short form To-rmentor? No, I digress)…I will keep her last name private, but she does exist and has inspired many) was able to work through…given her near-death experience. Yes, near-death. Don’t wait for life to take you there before you take life where you want to go!

Come, now let us work through this together. Dawna’s Toastmaster workshop (Jan 2015) took us through a time long ago in her life, which still resonated slightly in her mind. We could see that she still had a little bit more work to do (as far as positive self-talk was concerned).

Years back, it was the teacher’s voice (Miller) that spoke to her and compared her negatively to her sister, older to her, and better at many things. This left her in a wake of comparisons made by other teachers who invariably knew her sister and made negative inferences too….

Lesson: ignore the negative voices in life (the ones that don’t fit in with a healthy self-image of yourself). For your benefit, and to personalize this story a bit more, here is an excerpt from the handout that Dawna provided us, so you get the point…idea is to work through your negative voices, so put this piece into practice, will ya! Do this by answering italicized questions….or absorbing the presented information to improve your thinking. Here are the excerpts (italicized):

My Mr. Miller is….

‘Certainly not as good as your sister are you?’  (This had a huge impact on Dawna’s life…  She gave up – she quit! Lesson: don’t listen to negative voices, DON’T QUIT! EV-ER! This is when you go Lalalalala in your head! As a child, or as an adult. Don’t listen! LOL.

In retrospect, what should Dawna (read ‘this could be any one of us, but we will use Dawna as our guinea-pig test person as per her workshop) have done differently? (Folks, this is where you are supposed to THINK and come up with some positive solutions – for the rusty, just substitute any positive affirmation)

‘It’s a product of what I did!  It’s my best work ever!’  Remember, whatever you have created (at school, work, or play), is PERSONAL expression and it is NOT – NOT to be compared with others….even (or especially) when you are a teacher (read mentor, parent, older respected sibling et al).

My nurse Amanda is…I should explain; nurse Amanda was the one who Dawna first heard say ‘we didn’t think you would survive!’ when Dawna ended up in the hospital due to serious stress related conditions. The italicized portion below will explain how she internalized this statement. (Backdrop: Shakespeare – remember, ‘nothing is good or bad, thinking makes it so!’)

Dawna: through self-induced stress…. She was barely conscious.  Stressed.  Exhausted. She spent three weeks in a hospital!  Nurse Amanda: ‘Dawna, we didn’t think you would survive!’

So…Dawna felt she was not supposed to be here! (Yes – she meant on earth)… She stopped having fun.  It was a ‘Wow’ experience – in a very negative way!

My Jennifer is…again, this bears explanation…in Dawna’s workshop, Jennifer was a good buddy and best friend who helped her realize the positives in life; she offered Dawna heart-felt and sincere encouragement and helped her heal from her negative thinking and cloudy past.

My cheer-leading team: Who is yours? For example, one of mine is: Shelley U., David L., and Isabelle H.  They are my encouragers and I probably owe them a debt of gratitude. Not probably, I do. Thank the people that believe and encourage you….



‘ Nothing is good or bad… thinking makes it so….’

Now, as per Dawna’s workshop….we are going back and reliving those moments in life, (we all have them) using a NEW perspective and the introspective that Dawna provided us:

My future voices…

If I could go back to Mr. Miller I would….  Have the wisdom I now have, with conviction….

I now choose to tell myself….  ‘Nothing is good or bad thinking makes it so.’

If I could go back to my nurse Amanda I would….

Use more positive affirmations, and change the (negative) messages in my head. I’d meditate, be more healthy, associate with positive people, stay healthy, and have more purpose in life.  Live a renewed life as a second chance….for living in greater abundance!

I now choose to tell myself….my affirmations….

‘Nothing is good or bad thinking makes it so.’

If I could go back to my Jennifer I would

Thank her!

Realize ‘they’ (the negative ones) don’t know me….  hence they Gotta be wrong.

Watch serials Buddha and Suits. (I love them!)

My leadership voice…

I need to tell Trish P that she is quick and decisive.

I need to tell Kalida….thank you!

I need to tell Agee….hey! Thanks for being you!


Inner self talk is crucial to success in life.

BIG take-away from this workshop: How to turn negative talk into something positive.

PEOPLE, your self-talk is really important! It can ultimately be damaging or life-enhancing. At least be a good ‘Buddhist’ and ‘take the middle road’ and don’t be too hard on yourselves. (Talk out your negatives out loud to see if they sound ‘right’ or completely off the wall!)

In sum, Donna was shy and timid….  Her sister was an athletic and an academic star.  Jen was a best friend and star athlete.  Donna was part of a big family of children who were special from top to bottom yet Donna felt stuck in the middle, forgotten and unimportant.  Birth order can be determinative of how you feel – if you let it! Donna felt like someone stuck in the middle.

To overcome her difficulties though, she changed her mind set and the way she talked to herself….

Here’s one final positive thought for us to all take away…. to be more mindful of, and kinder and gentler with ourselves… what Donna learned from a positive role model, mentor and good friend….

Her friends said that though she was not the end pieces in her large family of siblings…she was the peanut butter…. the jam that made the whole sandwich sweet! (Aww!’ So sweet! No pun intended.)

So be good to yourself, and everyone else will too! We can be our own worst enemies, or our own best friends. It just takes a mental adjustment! You know….

Inner Self-talk can be critical to success in life!

Nilesh Shreedhar.


Arfath Saleem’s “To be a Legend.”

August 23, 2015

Speech giver: Arfath Saleem.

Organization: (International) at TM International Conference: August 13-16, 2015.

Venue: Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, U.S.A.

Purpose of this post (Acronym: R O S E):

1. To Retain this valuable information for posterity.
2. To Offer inspiration to people.
3. To Share the wisdom gleaned from motivational and inspirational speech givers at such events.
4. To Effect positive changes in the world.
This speech was done by Arfath Saleem and it is called “To be a legend.” during the just completed International Toastmasters Conference in Las Vegas, U.S.A.

Here it is as best as I can recall….

Arfath Saleem’s “To be a legend.”

Just three words…That’s all it takes….
Arfath fell in love 15 years ago with his math teacher. He had a gambling problem…at a tender age and became the school’s so-called ‘favourite’ student. Well, not exactly….

They kept him back since he was too busy gambling, not studying. His mother became very concerned and she introduced him to a student tutor named Samantha. Samantha said: “I’ll help you…” From that day those three words changed his life. Samantha devoted 15 hours per week to help him study. She made him feel smart! Result: he aced all is subjects!
In the process she had changed who he was…he said, she was his jackpot and quickly realized she was the type of person having the stuff legends were made of…Samantha became his hero.
Some time later Aunt Jenny came to him with the same problem – her son was having difficulties in school. ….Arfath, all grown up, now himself tutored school subjects. He ran to her and spoke the same three words that Samantha had spoken to him many years back…the same three words that changed his life…I’ll help you, he said. He met her son for only 15 minutes every week and with that he was able to score 93 on his math paper.
Ms. Samantha had become legendary enabling Arfath to be a conduit to help others. Like Dr. Ralph Smedley who first offered help to those who had difficulties standing up and giving speeches creating Toastmasters in the process.
Isn’t that in fact, what legends do? You just need three words to be a legend, not a special degree….I’ll help you!

Nilesh Shreedhar.

Aditya Maheswaran’s “Scratch” , 2nd place finish at Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking.

August 20, 2015

Speech giver: Aditya Maheswaran

Organization: (International) at TM International Conference: August 13-16, 2015.

Venue: Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, U.S.A.

Once again, here is my mantra – the purpose of this post (Acronym: R O S E):

  1. To Retain this valuable information for posterity.
  2. To Offer inspiration to people.
  3. To Share the wisdom gleaned from motivational and inspirational speech givers at such events.
  4. To Effect positive changes in the world.

Congratulations to Aditya Maheswaran of Mumbai, India, District 41, on finishing in second place for his speech, “Scratch.”

This speech was given by Aditya Maheswaran…..called ”Scratch”….about lessons learned after buying a new car…then going out right after with the girl who made his heart sing….

Driving with Neha, in his beloved new car, he parked it at the beach where they walked together….. He looked back – what should he see?

Aghast, he saw the Man walking at the beach scratching his….brand…. new…car with a pair of skis as he walked by! Completely neglecting Neha….he forgot about her and attended to car instead, running off, not caring about her….until much, much later. Alas, the damage was done – and not just to the car!
Depressed and at home, still thinking about it, he also hurt mom as he was still upset about the car, which was hard to get over…even saying leave me alone to his mom! The next day, with a wise mechanic’s help the car – was looking new again! Once again beautiful, sleek, and elegant…..The mechanic proffered ‘a scratch stays only as long as you don’t polish it.’ Using this wisdom, knew exactly what to do! He hugged his mom. After so much effort – realizing the errors of his ways – he persisted, and called Neha…12 times! He sincerely apologized for his behaviour saying, “I’m sorry, you are my precious!”…putting to use the significant wisdom that he had gleaned only days earlier from a mechanic!

Four Ways to Deal with Conflict.

June 23, 2014

This information is relevant at any time. It always makes me wonder why people think conflict is actually abnormal given the fact that even in a given household where one would expect a fair degree of homogeneity, you have different values and opinions. So then why is it so unusual to find the clashing of opinions? Yes, mishandled it can be potentially disastrous, but not more than a festering wound left completely unattended – that’s even worse….Read on to find out how this might be so….


Refer back to your Conflict Journal and match the five different types of conflicts with real conflicts that you have witnessed or been personally involved with.  How were these conflicts resolved?  Pick one of the conflicts that you witnessed (i.e. were not personally involved in).  How did you know it was a conflict?  If you could have acted as the mediator, role-play the steps you would have taken to help resolve the conflict.


What follows is a reply to a question posed during a Conflict Resolution class I attended for courses I took a while back…It is insightful and immediately practical! Good luck with it…

One of the conflicts that I witnessed is one in which the employee complains about the employer and how he doesn’t like the way the employer manages the office, in other words, he feels that things shoud be done differently. This person is fairly experienced and makes valid points, but just may lack the full perspective that comes with positions of higher authority. He also feels that he is not being listened to, or that his (in his view valid) concerns are nto being addressed, just ignored.


Steps that I have taken include emphasizing the positive aspects of the relationship of workiing for the employer, requesting him to take a more active role in union representation so that he doesn’t get himself in trouble with the employer, and just staying positive with him, making recommendations to attend any type of training available, such as one that was recently offered on Change Management.


This seems to be the way to go about dealing with these issues, according to Howard Guttman, author of The Art of Managing Conflict, and who states that, When you stop to think about it, there essentially are four ways in which the players in a conflict-laden situation can deal with it:


• Playing the victim: saying nothing, acting powerless, and complaining. Such behavior clearly is corrosive and often subversive. It leads to griping and sniping and tends to drive discord underground. Injured parties can sap the vitality from relation stops–whether at home or in the office–as sufferers focus inward on their unresolved issues and reach out to recruit supporters to their point of view.

• Flight: physically removing oneself from involvement. Face it; walking away or leaving is always an option. We can turn our backs on our friends, get divorced, or quit our job and head for greener pastures. How many times can we run away however? It is better to learn how to mediate conflict.

• Change oneself: Move off one’s position; shift one’s view of the other party; “let it go.” Sometimes, we can change ourselves by changing our perceptions of a situation. For example, you might try to achieve a positive outcome by altering your “story” or interpretation of another person’s behavior. Of course, being forced to modify one’s story often rankles. Moreover, what happens at those moments of truth, when all the attempts to reframe your perceptions simply do not work? The only option remaining is to confront conflict.

• Confronting: addressing the issue openly, candidly, and objectively; communicating with the other party. This approach is ideal. One executive we know uses a colorful metaphor to illustrate the concept. He likened the tendency to let disagreements fester to having a dead elephant’s head in the middle of the room. It is unsightly, disturbing, and takes up a lot of space, but no one is willing to acknowledge its presence. It distracts people from more important work. The longer the elephant head remains, the worse its effect will be. The elephant head will not get up and go by itself. Only when people admit that this distasteful object is present and needs to be dealt with will they be able to remove it and move on to more productive activity.

If you decide to end your conspiracy of silence and work out your personal or business conflict by confronting, we recommend using the Four C’s approach:

Connecting. In conflict resolution, timing and location are next to godliness. Before attempting to connect with another person–to establish a rapport that is conducive to discussing your mutual needs–always check with the individual to determine the best time and place to have a meeting. Do not forget to set the stage. Make sure you have privacy; will not be interrupted; are in a neutral, non-threatening environment; have scheduled enough time to cover all the salient points; and that both of you have had adequate opportunities to prepare for the dialogue. At work, this might mean repairing to a neutral conference room. At home, you might head for the nearest Starbucks.

Using the proper phrasing

Finding the right words to begin a potentially adversarial discussion can be difficult. We suggest using “partnering phrases,” which convey the idea that you are ready to address the issue candidly and objectively and that you are serious about resolving it. For example, “I have some concerns about the way we are making decisions relating to one another that I would like to explore with you,” or “I have an issue with your attendance. You are not keeping up with your commitment. We cannot afford to let this continue,” or “I am having some difficulties with the way you are managing the ‘so-and-so’ project. They really are going to get in the way if we fail to deal with them,” or “I am uncomfortable with your approach to performance reviews, and I want to work my concerns out with you.”

Clarifying. All the breast pounding and good intentions will not rescue a situation in which clarifying is not employed properly. Static is an agreement buster. Encourage the other party to open up about the real concerns he or she has. Describe the behaviours and the reasons you find them troubling. Choosing the right words is crucial. Try these phrases: “Let us take a minute to clarify what we hear each other saying about the way we have been making decisions,” or “It is important for me to understand where you are coming from. What do I need to know to understand what has been happening with your attendance?,” or “Regarding the assigned project, what feedback do you have for me about my contributions to the situation?,” or “I want to know what you think. What is your point of view on performance reviews?”

Confirming. This entails summing up the facts, restating the issues to ensure that nothing has been misunderstood or omitted during your discussion. Equally important is a summary of the emotional progress that has been made–the commitment to finding a mutually agreeable solution. While both parties usually are eager to move to action at this point, investing a few additional minutes in confirming will make the next step much easier.

These are especially useful confirming statements: “Here is my understanding of our differences and where we are right now on the issue of the ‘so-and-so’ project,” or “Do you have any other concerns about our performance review?,” or “I really appreciate your willingness to work through this issue with me,” or “I am optimistic that we can reach a compromise here.”

Contracting. This is the final stage in managing disagreement by interaction. It entails finding the illusive win-win solution that both parties can commit to. Let us take this example from the business world. Deborah, the project manager at a major pharmaceutical company, has authorized overtime to keep a key project on schedule. Sam, her supervisor, has just learned about this from another manager. Sam might sound something like this in confronting his subordinate: “Deborah, when you authorize overtime without telling me, you put me in a difficult situation. I am the one who is responsible for staying on budget, and if there are any cost overruns, I am the one who will have to explain them. From now on, I need you to come to me before authorizing any overtime.”

Sam is using a three-part “I” response in which there are a trio of essential components: a description of the troublesome behavior; the disclosure of your feelings about the act; and stating the effect it has on you. In other words, the focus of the message is on “I” and not the other person.

At this point, Deborah is likely to respond with an explanation of her actions, such as: “You were away for the weekend; you said you could not be reached; and I had to make the call. I figured because you did not give me your phone number, you did not want me to bother you. If you want to make decisions, I have to be able to get in touch with you.”

Now Deborah is the one asserting herself, making it clear that she, too, has needs. The negotiation should proceed, back and forth, until both Sam’s and Deborah’s needs are met. If Sam is not willing to give up his privacy by leaving a phone number, maybe he will agree to call Deborah for a daily update the next time he goes away. Or, he may decide to give Deborah more leeway, arranging for her to authorize overtime up to a certain number of hours without his approval.

Some useful contracting phrases are: “I think the whole team/family needs to be involved in budget decisions. What do you think?,” or “Having you here four 10-hour days does not work for me, but having you come in at 10 a.m. and stay until 6 p.m. would. Does that work for you?,” or “One thing we can do to move the project ahead is …” or “What would you prefer that I do differently in the future regarding the way I conduct my performance reviews?”

Managing conflict effectively is a learned behaviour. Conflict-resolution skills are not part of any high school, college, or business school curriculum. Yet, the potential for discord exists whenever we interact with others. As Pat Parenty, senior vice president and general manager of Redken, U.S.A., points out, “Expecting people to resolve their differences without giving them conflictmanagement skills is like giving a computer to someone who has never seen one before and saying, ‘Have fun using this.'” Do not count on having a good time.



Proquest. Newsweek. Aug 6, 2007. pg. 43. A Math Makeover; OMG! Actress and mathematician Danica McKellar wants girls to know that being good at numbers is cool.; [U.S. Edition Edition] Retrieved  at 12:49 pm from



Guttman, Howard M., The Art of Managing Conflict. USA Today Magazine, 01617389, Jan2004, Vol. 132, Issue 2704. Retrieved at 7:45 am on August 20, 2007 from:

Love Works – Joel Manby – Toastmasters International speech.

May 27, 2014

Love Works…Joel Manby Keynote

Joel Manby is a professional businessman, not a professional speaker and I got the pleasure to see him speak well and sincerely at the International Toastmasters Conference held in Orlando, Florida on 15 August, 2012. (Yes I’ve been meaning to get this out to you for a while, the old saying about writers and procrastination may have some truth to it after all). However, the lessons Mr. Manby teaches, imbibes and lives are still true. Here is part of his story, which I may continue in future for brevity’s sake.

Manby was the CEO for the U.S. operations head for SAAB. He described how on Easter Sunday he received a life-changing call from his boss in Sweden. In fact, it was the situation that helped him to alter his life for the better and many can probably relate to it….The first quarter sales were down for the North American Saab operations, but Joel had attained three years of solid growth over the previous NA boss…

Despite this, Joel was ‘called into the boss’ office. Except…. this office was in Sweden! The call he got was at 7:30 am in the morning, which meant that it was 3 am in Sweden at the time of the call!

Joel had made 15 moves in 20 years and, as was expected, always showed concern for the bottom line, but when his boss tore into him in Sweden, in front of his peers, he felt humiliated, and a loss of dignity. In short it was his worst nightmare realized and he felt that it was unjustified.

Here was a Harvard business school graduate who had moved all over, working for top companies like General Motors and who always paid attention everywhere to the bottom line and yet he was getting what he felt was the worst treatment of his life!

This is when Joel’s emotional withdrawal began from within from Saab. He thought to himself that there had got to be a better way in business to care about people and profits! There had to be! He wanted to be authentic (same at home, work and spiritually).

That’s the exact moment when Jack Herschend entered his life. Manby says that he’s the best at what he does, and Jack asked Joel to be on his Board….Jack was getting older and he wanted someone to replace him in his growing business. Joel felt thankful and lucky that he was asked by Jack.

As they say, the rest is history….Since 2000, Herschend Family Entertainment has had 12 years of solid growth. Joel can also proudly say that he definitely balanced home and work life.
Joel now has a mission and he wants us to be inspired…so he asked us these questions during the international Conference held at Orlando, Florida.

What is love? Did you know that there are actually four kinds: Eros; philos; storge and agape love(s)…this according to the Greeks.
Agape is unconditional love. How you treat each other. All relationships are about agape. Joel asked: why do we exclude agape?

He never saw this in any previous of the companies he worked for. It’s not being ‘soft.’ (An inaccurate thought).

Go to the Bible. 1st Corinthians: “love is patient, kind, trusting, and unselfish, truthful, dedicated, forgiving….weddings (?)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres… (

Be unselfish – think of self less.
He developed this formula, (Employee unselfishness + Company unselfishness= and Sharing (our love, ideas, skills = it)) forward:
Think of yourself less…EU$ + CU$ = SIF$$$ (share it forward)…

I will follow this article up with more information as I may have piqued your interest now…gotta go! You’ve got enough information now to look into these great ideas for yourselves. Gotta keep you on your toes…

“Joel Manby is the current President and Chief Executive Officer of Herschend Family Entertainment, the largest family-owned theme park corporation in the United States. HFE creates, develops and operates entertainment, tourism and hospitality properties spanning 26 locations in ten states.”

Part #2: “If you are Speaking, you are selling.”

April 18, 2014

Jeremy Tracey.  “If you are Speaking, you are Selling.”

Hazel McCallion C, Delta Hotel, Meadowvale, Ontario.Toastmasters Spring Conference.

April 5-7, 2014.

“If you are Speaking, you are Selling”

As promised, here is the second selling  formula that Jeremy recommends so that you and the people you care for can get the things you want in life – either at work, or at home.

Jeremy often draws upon the experience and wisdom of Craig Valentine, a world-class professional speaker. Craig says that in order for an idea to appeal to someone, it must help them:

  1. Esteem more.
  2. Do more.
  3. Gain more.
  4. Enjoy more

Jeremy uses this EDGE formula and says it will work every time because it appeals to all types of people in one way or another.

Here is an example of it being used, in Jeremy’s write-up to invite people to this workshop:

“Regardless of your subject, you want your audience to walk away feeling excitement and enthusiasm because of what you said and how you said it. This workshop will be highly interactive and hands on. Arrive with questions and walk away with the skills that will help you stand out as a speaker that inspires your audience every time you speak. …It will take you less time to prepare an effective message when you understand the process that leads to your audience feeling connected to you and your words. It feels fantastic when people tell you how your speech has changed their way of thinking. Get ready for a lot more positive feedback.”

Notice how his advertisement appeals to all people, as all value their esteem or wish to do, gain or enjoy more…

You can use this simple EDGE (esteem, do, gain or enjoy more) formula everywhere – such as when getting the kids to help you clean up, or to convince your wife that you could both use a vacation!

Now let’s see what you can do to come up with creative uses in your own life!

If you want more information about Jeremy and what he does, check out the following links:;

Shreedhar on Maxwell’s Leadership Key #6: Dependability.

March 14, 2012

Review of Maxwell’s Leadership Keys: #6 – Dependable

He’s a New York Times Bestselling management-guru and in “The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player” John C. Maxwell writes about being dependable, or, as he puts it at the preface of the chapter, quoting Wolfram Von Eschenbach: “Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.” Put another way by Maxwell himself, “dependability is more than ability alone (Maxwell, 2002, p.46).”

He uses the example of Christopher Reeves who ‘had it all’ in 1995: he was married to his best friend Dana, had three amazing children and a bright future living together inWestchester County,New   York. Successful at whatever he put his mind to, he was an accomplished pianist and composer, an expert sailor, a licensed pilot, an excellent skier, scuba diver and a horseman – a tremendous outdoorsman and all-round athlete!

Then, the sudden and unexpected happened during the cross-country portion of a riding competition – Reeves was thrown hard from his horse Buck. Due to the force and angle of the throw, he sustained life-altering injuries to his spine at the first and second vertebrae, his breathing stopped and he was paralyzed from the neck down (Maxwell, 2002, p.48).”

Reeve’s own words after coming to consciousness some time after the accident describe how he realized that he couldn’t do anything for himself any longer:

“If all the people who are around to help me were mad at me or in a lousy mood or whatever, and they went away, there’d be nothing I could do about it. Absolutely nothing…It all comes down to goodwill. Nobody has to do any of these things; I’m completely dependent on them.” That’s the way it is on every team whether we can se it as clearly as Reeve does (sic). Teammates must be able to depend on one another (Maxwell, 2002, p.49).”

It’s true – teams need dependable players.

Maxwell’s tips on becoming a more dependable team player

According to Maxwell, the essence of dependability is found in four principles:

Pure motives, responsibility, sound thinking, and consistent contribution. Maxwell explains….

To illustrate pure motives Maxwell quotes and contrasts Aristotle: “all we do is done with an eye to something else (Maxwell, 2002, p.50).” Perhaps Aristotle didn’t believe that we can trust anyone’s motives. However, Maxwell uses this relational rule of thumb until proven wrong: he prefers to give people the benefit of the doubt most of the time as he keeps his motives right; he encourages teammates to do likewise. Be there for your team and put your own agenda behind. Maxwell cautions: “When it comes to teamwork, motives matter (Maxwell, 2002, p.50).”

To demonstrate responsibility in this four-part dependability formula, Maxwell quotes Michael Korda: “In the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have…is the ability to take on responsibility (Maxwell, 2002, p.50).” Maxwell advises that “While motivation addresses why people are dependable, responsibility indicates that they want to be dependable (Maxwell, 2002, p.50).”

As poet Edward Everett Hale states:

I am only one,

But still I am one.

I cannot do everything

But still I can do something;

And because I cannot do everything

I will not refuse to do the something that I can do (Maxwell, 2002, p.51).

In other words dependable people do what they can.

Maxwell demonstrates sound thinking, his fourth principle, with the example of a reporter missing the ‘scoop’ for the newspaper he was writing for. Initially he had been sent to cover the story of the game which was to occur but couldn’t write about the game because the stadium collapsed. Alas, he came back empty-handed with no scoop missing the obvious story of the stadium collapse as he wasn’t thinking well! Maxwell recommends that dependability needs to be coupled with good judgment to be of real value to a team.

To illustrate consistent contribution Maxwell quotes the powerful words of Winston Churchill: “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required (Maxwell, 2002, p.52).” Maxwell’s own feelings about the topic are quite revealing: “Consistency takes more than talent. It takes a depth of character that enables people to follow through – no matter how tired, distracted, or overwhelmed they are (Maxwell, 2002, p.52).”

Here are tips on improving our dependability: check our motives, discover what our word is worth and find someone to hold us accountable.

For checking our motives we should commit our goals to paper and check to see how committed we are to all of the teams that we happen to belong to – organizations, families, volunteer groups, or athletic teams. He suggests we compare how we benefit to how we benefit our teams and spend some time to align personal priorities with those of the teams we belong to.

To discover what our word is worth, ask such team members “when I say that I intend to do something, how reliable am I? Rate me on a scale of one to ten.” Don’t defend yourself if the answers don’t meet your expectations, and remember to include a superior and a subordinate in your survey.

Finally, in finding someone to hold you accountable, partner with someone in order to develop your dependability as you are more likely to keep your commitment.

The above ideas are excellent and practical tips to increase your dependability.

Dependable as the lighthouse in a storm.

Nilésh (Neil)Shreedhar.

Shreedhar on Maxwell’s Leadership Key #3: Committed.

March 11, 2012

Review of Maxwell’s Leadership Keys: #3 – Committed.

There are no Half-hearted Champions. 

He’s a New York Times Bestselling management-guru and in “The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team PlayerJohn C. Maxwell writes about being committed, or, as he puts it at the preface of the chapter, quoting William H. Murray:

“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way. (Maxwell, 2002, p.19)”  

Taking One for the Team 

Maxwell tells the compelling story of Jonas Salk, who completed his medical training at the age of 25 at New York University  (Maxwell, 2002, p.20).” Although he had originally wanted to be a lawyer, he was discouraged from doing so by his mother who felt that he wouldn’t make a very good one. After many trials and tribulations Salk became interested in the diverging opinion about how polio should be combated and this concern later drew him to the field of research. Advancements at Harvard University allowed viruses to be multiplied and this allowed Salk to capitalize by supplying him with a constant source of virus strains on which to do his trials. Through his dedicated hard work he was, after four years, able to develop a vaccine which he felt was strong enough to combat polio: 

“It’s one thing to believe in something you’re doing, it’s another to be totally committed to it. In the summer of 1952, Jonas Salk inoculated healthy volunteers with his vaccine (including)…himself, his wife, and their three sons. He was committed (Maxwell, 2002, p.21)! 

 Salk’s commitment paid off. Four million children were vaccinated in 1955, and from an initial 28,985 cases in that year, the number was cut in half by 1956 and by 1957 there were only 5,894 cases. 

As Maxwell, puts it, Salk further demonstrated his commitment in his decision not to patent the vaccine so that it would be available to everyone around the globe: 

“You could say that the team he was most committed to was mankind (Maxwell, 2002, p.22).”

Fleshing it Out 

Maxwell insists that true commitment is not doing something just when you feel like it, rather it is a persistent quality which enables one to keep going, even when difficulties arise. He says that the barometer of our human emotions seem to rise and fall all the time, but commitments have to be rock-solid and advises that if you want a solid team, whether it is in business, sports, or in marriage, you must have players that are committed to the team (Maxwell, 2002, p.22).


Maxwell’s tips on becoming a more committed team player

According to Maxwell, commitment is usually discovered in the midst of adversity, commitment does not depend on gifts or abilities, commitment comes as the result of choice and commitment lasts when it’s based on values

Commitment is usually discovered in the midst of adversity. The funny thing about people is that the harder they have to struggle for something, the more they seem to value it.  The same goes for commitment; it seems to thrive under adverse conditions and to make the point clear Maxwell quotes NFL Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi

“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender (Maxwell, 2002, p.23). 

Commitment does not depend on gifts or abilities. To make the point that a person doesn’t necessarily have to already be endowed with some natural ability in business, sport, or art in order to be successful, Maxwell contrasts the person who has such ability but whose talent is squandered away from lack of use. To further reinforce the point he then quotes author Basil Walsh: 

“We don’t need more strength or more ability or greater opportunity. What we need to use is what we have (Maxwell, 2002, p.24).” 

Maxwell states that commitment comes as the result of choice and prefaces this paragraph with a quote from Choices, by Frederic F. Flach, who writes: 

“Many people look back over the years and identify a time and place at which their lives changed significantly. Whether by accident or design, these are the moments when, because of a readiness within us and a collaboration with events occurring around us, we are forced to seriously reappraise ourselves and the conditions under which we live and to make certain choices that will affect the rest of our lives (Maxwell, 2002, p.24).” 

According to Maxwell, commitment lasts when it’s based on values. He summarizes this point by articulating that “A commitment to something you believe in is a commitment that is easier to keep (Maxwell, 2002, p.24),” because once decided on, it doesn’t have to constantly be reevaluated. The issue is settled once and for all. 

Reflecting on it

Maxwell challenges: How important is commitment to you? Are you someone who values loyalty and follow-through? Do you muster the strength to continue when things get difficult, or do you have a tendency to compromise, or even quit? If you are in any way tentative in your commitment to your team, you should aim for greater commitment (Maxwell, 2002, p.25). 

As usual, Maxwell ends the chapter on tips on how to improve your level of commitment. He suggests you tie your commitments to your values. He suggests that you first take the time to find out what these values are through reflection, then, after taking inventory of personal and professional commitments, he tells you to articulate your core values. This exercise will bring forth commitments unrelated to core values. These commitments should be reevaluated against values that you are not living out and that you should commit to (Maxwell, 2002, p.25-26).” 

Maxwell advises us to take risks, as the act of commitment involves moving into uncharted territory, quoting George Halas former owner of the NFL Chicago Bears who said: 

“Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it (Maxwell, 2002, p.26).” 

Wise words also follow in a caution by Maxwell to ‘evaluate your teammates’ commitment,’ because a reluctance to commit on your part may be related to the fact that your teammates may be untrustworthy; put another way: 

“You cannot make a commitment to uncommitted people and expect to receive a commitment from them (Maxwell, 2002, p.26).”

Maxwell ends the chapter with a dramatic example of the commitment to a cause shown by Hernan Cortes in 1519. Cortes had been preparing his whole life to sail to Mexico from Cuba to gain riches for Spain and fame for himself. He discovered that his crew was not as devoted as he. Rumours sprung that the crew might mutiny and return to Cuba with his ships. What was his response? He burned his ships and left no possibility of return. Maxwell then asks, ‘how dedicated are you…, do you always have an out? If so, perhaps you need to burn a ship or two, as there are no halfhearted champions (Maxwell, 2002, p.27).”

The above practical ideas, when implemented, will assist you to increase your commitment to a team.

Nilésh (Neil)Shreedhar.

Shreedhar on Maxwell’s Leadership Key #11 – Mission Conscious.

March 11, 2012

Review of Maxwell’s Leadership Keys #11 – Mission Conscious.

He’s a New York Times Bestselling management-guru and in “The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player” John C. Maxwell writes about being mission conscious, or, as he puts it at the preface of the chapter, “the secret of success is constancy to purpose (Benjamin Disraeli) (Maxwell, 2002, p.89).” 

Using 1778 war hero Mary Hays as an example, he describes her role in the Battle of Monmouth when American soldiers fought with the British to that they could win their sovereignty (Maxwell, 2002, p.90).”  What was amazing was the fact that if you had seen her participation in the war but a few minutes earlier, you would have seen a woman who was aiding the soldiers in the U.S. army, including her husband, in any way she could, including providing them with water as they fought a battle that was up to then so evenly fought, that either side could have won. 

Mary was forced to step into the role of soldier when her husband, William Hays, already in a state of exhaustion was called back in the fight. The man who relieved him was wounded. William too was felled within a very short time after taking his post once again. Mary, who had been travelling with the army for long enough by now, knew immediately what to do. Without hesitation she took her place as the cannon’s gunner and it is clear that without her assistance the army would have been shorthanded.

 Gleaned from the above example, Maxwell provides us with the following lessons for individuals who are mission conscious, as Mary was; he states of such individuals: 

1.                  They know where the team is going.

2.                  They let the leader of the team lead.

3.                  They place team accomplishment ahead of their own.

4.                  They do whatever is necessary to achieve the mission.

 To further illustrate the first point of individuals who are mission conscious, Maxwell quotes author W. Clement Stone who said: “When you discover your mission, you feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it (Maxwell, 2002, p.93).” Hays knew what she had to do and didn’t hesitate one second to fill her husband’s spot in the line up of canons. 

To illustrate the second point of individuals allowing leaders to lead, Maxwell states that the Battle of Monmouth could actually have been lost. In fact, earlier on, the actions of General Lee, in disobeying a direct order from Commander in Chief George Washington caused the American army to fail to capitalize by strategically advancing their army as they should have. For his inappropriate actions Lee was later court-martialled, but not before being relieved of his command by George Washington himself in order to seize the advantage that had almost been completely lost by Lee! 

Maxwell demonstrates the concept of  mission conscious individuals placing team accomplishment ahead of their own by reminding us how in the heat of the battle Mary Hays did not even allow herself to grieve the death of her fallen husband by keeping the bigger picture of defeating the enemy present in her mind. 

Finally, Maxwell states that individuals must do whatever is necessary to achieve the mission. Once again using Mary as an example Maxwell reminds us how she showed her willingness to assist in any way possible by cooking, washing clothes, or serving, or by stepping into the battle lines with the soldiers. He insists that this is the type of attitude that mission conscious team players must have for the benefit of the team. (Maxwell, 2002, p94). 

To drive the above points home, Maxwell contrasts Mary Hays’ performance with some current examples, such as that of star athlete Reggie Jackson, who broke records over a twenty year span playing baseball. Mr. Jackson is a member of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame; however in one learning example with the Baltimore Orioles, Jackson stole a base without being signalled to do so. Later, Reggie had to be taken aside and the rationale of him actually not stealing the base had to be explained to him by Manager Earl Weaver. This strategic thinking required Weaver’s view of what was of overall benefit to the team and of the bigger picture. 

In sum, individuals who are mission conscious always have the bigger picture in mind, and Maxwell suggests that it often takes sacrifice and giving up one’s personal agenda. Therefore, he recommends, this is what one should do in order to be of benefit to the greater good. 

Nilésh (Neil) Shreedhar. 

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