Mike Figliuolo, founder and managing director at thoughtLEADERS LLC, has recently written a book titled One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership. As part of his book launch, he has asked several of his colleagues to take the challenge and draft their leadership philosophies on “one piece of paper.” I’m honored he asked me to participate. It’s a very cool idea.
We were given the choice of completing a worksheet in one of four areas: leading yourself, leading the thinking, leading your people, or leading a balanced life. You can view all of the worksheets here.
While as a consultant I work with different people and companies, I’m also responsible for leading myself. So I’ve chosen this topic to talk about how I manage me. The worksheet poses the following questions as a way to distill my leadership stories and experiences down to simple “maxims” which ultimately become the rules of behavior I follow.
Why do you get out of bed every day?
My maxim is “I make a difference.”
The story behind this maxim: Two stories actually. First, one of my clients has been named one of the best places to work in South Florida. I sent them a congrats note. The company president wrote me back to say, “you’re one of the reasons we won.” Second story: Another client invited me to an employee celebration. During the awards portion of the program, they gave me an award. My client said, “you might not be an employee, but you’re definitely one of us.” How cool is that?!
What guidelines do you live by?
My maxim is “Trust your crazy ideas.”
The story behind this maxim: Years ago, someone gave me a bookmark with that saying on it. Now, it hangs on my office wall. I believe if it hadn’t been for this bookmark, maybe I wouldn’t have taken the leap to become a consultant. Maybe I wouldn’t have started writing a blog. But whenever I get this little crazy idea in my head, I see that bookmark on the wall and it reminds me to take the chance.
When you fall down, how do you pick yourself back up?
My maxim is “I can only be bummed out for 24 hours.”
The story behind this maxim: When I worked in Corporate America, employees would come into my office complaining about stuff that had happened to them days, weeks, months and even years prior. They were really struggling to let go of the negative. It seemed like very superficial advice just to say “shake it off” because sometimes what the employee was experiencing really sucked. So I would tell them, “You have 24 hours to be bummed. Then you have to move on.” Employees seemed to appreciate having permission to be in a funk for a day – but only one day. So I’ve adopted my own advice when things are crummy.
How do you hold yourself accountable?
My maxim is “I might not give you the answer you want to hear. But I will give you an answer.”
The story behind this maxim: Over the years, I’ve been complimented for giving people answers. Not always the answer they wanted, but an honest answer. Example: the job applicant who was turned down and thanked me anyway because other recruiters didn’t bother to reply. It’s tough delivering bad news. It’s worse ignoring people.
I really enjoyed answering these questions. It was a thought provoking activity. This could be a good activity for you to do on your own or with the members of your team.
Lastly, as part of this leadership challenge, Mike asked each of us to spread the word by “tagging” three other bloggers to answer the same questions. So I’m tagging Deborah Herman, author of HR Optimist; Benjamin McCall, author of ReThink HR; and John Nykolaiszyn, author of Fast Food HR. I look forward to reading their thoughts.
What maxims do you use to lead yourself? Leave your pearls of wisdom in the comments.0