I want to deal in the capital of ideas. I remind myself every morning that it is the ideas that have preeminence, that capital follows ideas, that capital is only an idea actualized. I must resist the temptation to define success as the product of an idea, instead of the idea itself. This does not divorce the idea from execution; it only establishes priority of the idea.
The leader knows that, to do the job properly, there are a series of mindsets within which he or she must enter. It is essential to match work type to mindset. It is also essential to be on guard against trying to do the right work in the wrong mindset. Your circadian rhythm is an important part of understanding your flow. The leader who performs the appropriate work type within the appropriate mindset experiences what positive psychologists call “flow” (a much-coveted state of high performance). The effective leader achieves “flow” as the norm, rather than the exception.
It is in helping others to understand that we increase our own understanding. Perhaps 40 percent of my teaching benefits the student. At least 60 percent benefits me. The paradox of the learner-teacher is this: one teaches so that one may learn.
A prerequisite for leadership is to be willing to sacrifice. Many of us are willing to sacrifice time and energy. Most of us are not prepared to make the sacrifice of honor. If one seeks leadership as a means of self-validation, they should flee before it is too late. It will be better for that individual to become a policeman or teacher. Leadership will strip you. It is not the road to confidence.
The effective leader will constantly be second-guessed. He must be prepared to be wrong and then admit it to his entire team. He must be prepared to be right, and still be thought of as wrong by his entire team. You will not gain status; you will lose status. The only relief comes when you have reached the age of one like Billy Graham, and during those final hallowed years you may receive some recognition. If one desires to lead, they need to lay down the need to be respected. Leadership does not equate with popularity.
Philosophy is the software that you run your life with; theology is just the higher elements of that philosophy. Men who attempt to find some form of peace in the midst of a chaotic world have a philosophy and a theology (or anti-theology), whether they declare it or not. Their inner conflict arises from the difference between their declared values and their actual actions. Indeed, every man is a philosopher; some of us are just (very) poor at it.
I think while I am thinking. I've been told you can only concentrate on one thought at a time, but there is a way to articulate in your mind while at the same time there is a way to ruminate at an even deeper level. The first is a “λέγω” experience; it is progressive. The second is a “λαλέω” experience; it is iterative. And so, while I am speaking with my mind, I am also "feeling" (but this is still a form of reason) with my mind. It is here, at this deeper level, where my most important insights occur. Strangely enough, the second level occurs only when the first level is active. Sometimes it is best to occupy the foreground of my attention so that I might ruminate with the background of my intention.
The problem with the notion of "brand promise" is that it places the origin on the sender rather than the receiver. The fact that you tell me that I can trust you (i.e., a promise) does not mean that I actually trust you. In fact, I might even have a negative response to the claim.
We need a notion of brand that starts with the receiver, and that takes the form of an expectation as opposed to the form of a promise. Brand represents the aggregate experience of the value proposition — not just my experience as a customer, but the market's experience, and the reputation associated with the same. That experience fosters an expectation, and the brand must deliver on that expectation.
A promise does not have the impact of an expectation because a promise originates with the sender, whereas an expectation originates with the receiver — and thus is more powerful. Brand delivery works better when we understand that it is not about making a claim, but helping a prospect arrive at a conclusion. People challenged with a claim naturally resist it. But people who arrive at a conclusion will naturally defend it.
The source of the value proposition is typically derived from the spiritual DNA of the founder. An essential mission for the founder/leader is to impart his DNA to the organization. This means transferring the distilled essence of his primary gifting from his person into the “corporate person.” This is an artful procedure that begins most of all with purposeful intention.
Wisdom is derived from choosing and then perceiving the resulting pattern. Wisdom is not a past tense quantity that accumulates; it is a present tense experience that only aggregates as you choose.
If for a moment I am feeling ungrateful, I need only to reflect my way into a tiny sliver of reality. It is with this gradual glimpse that I can escape the foolishness of my dissatisfaction. If I cannot reflect, then at least I can read - I read Edward Doyle, the blind poet from Harlem:
To A Child Reading
My darling, spell the words out. You may creep Across the syllables on hands and knees, And stumble often, yet pass me with ease And reach the spring upon the summit steep. Oh, I could lay me down, dear child, and weep These charr'd orbs out, but that you then might cease Your upward effort, and with inquiries Stoop down and probe my heart too deep, too deep! I thirst for Knowledge. Oh, for an endless drink Your goblet leaks the whole way from the spring-- No matter, to its rim a few drops cling, And these refresh me with the joy to think That you, my darling, have the morning's wing To cross the mountain at whose base I sink.