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A Personal Invitation

Attendance for The Certification Weekend is limited to a small group, so claim your spot now!

 

Click here for all the details!

 

Right now, there are only a handful of Extreme Leadership Facilitators on the planet, and you may have an opportunity to be one of the team.

If you have the impulse, instinct, or inclination to get certified in The Extreme Leadership Workshop (whether you work for an organization, have your own coaching or consulting practice, or you’re just wanting to expand your own leadership capacity), I suggest that you consider joining me in San Diego this coming March.

From my side, I’m looking for the right mix of talented people with a deep-seated passion to change the world through the teaching and implementation of the principles of Extreme Leadership: Love, Energy, Audacity, and Proof.

It all starts with a fantastic experience in San Diego on March 4-7, 2015–but it goes way beyond that.

The Certified Facilitators are my inner circle, so to speak. We work together throughout the year to develop each other and help each other grow as business people, educators, and influencers in our organizations and communities.

This isn’t a decision to be made lightly–by you, or me.

If this sounds compelling to you, please review the details–including schedule, location and pricing and let me know if you have any questions.

 

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4 Steps for Extreme Feedback

It’s the oldest skill in the management texts: listen to your employees. Seek their input. But it’s not enough to ask for feedback; you have to be genuinely interested in the response—especially if you think you won’t like it. Those posing as leaders seek feedback because HR has ordered them to do it, not because they’re really interested.

Extreme Leaders will not only use 360-degree assessments (which can be powerful tools when used effectively), but they seek extreme feedback face-to-face because they know they need it in order to be great. If you’re willing to hear the unpleasant truths about yourself—or at least about how you’re being perceived—and you’re ready to use them to progress in your journey as a leader, then these Extreme Feedback steps should be just the ticket:

1. Put Yourself at Risk By asking for feedback (and meaning it) you automatically put yourself in what can feel like an exposed, underbelly-up-to-the-mad-wolves position. But—and this is counter-intuitive—it’s really a very strong position for a leader to be in. We follow human beings, not idealized icons of unattainable perfection, so your vulnerability gives us the opportunity to connect with you human to human, and a strong human connection engenders commitment and loyalty, the elements that every leader longs for in his or her team. Putting yourself at risk when asking for extreme feedback not only gives you the chance to learn from those around you, it deepens the relationships as well.

Take your risk by personally going to your team—either one-on-one or as a group—and asking them to tell you what, specifically, you need to do to improve as an Extreme Leader.

2. Accept What You Hear (And Show It) Take copious notes as they’re answering your question. Don’t defend yourself, justify, or make excuses for what you’re hearing (and writing). If you’d like, ask some questions to make sure you fully understand each item, and talk it through to make sure you’re understand the details and context with crystal clarity.

And then, when they’re all done, when they’ve unloaded all there is to unload, read your notes back, out loud, and check to be sure you’ve captured it all accurately.

And then, look him, her, or them in the eye and say these two words straight from your heart:

“Thank you.”

3. Do Something About It Nobody will realistically expect you to start at item one and work your way down the list, fixing each one in turn. But they will (and should) expect to see you try. Let them see what you’re doing, where you’re improving, and where you need their help to improve. Prove through your own actions that you’re taking their input to heart.

4. Close the Loop (and Start a New One) After a month or so, have a follow up conversation to review your notes and discuss your progress (or lack thereof). And then start it all over again.

CAUTION: DO NOT ATTEMPT UNLESS YOU REALLY, SINCERELY DESIRE TO HEAR THE TRUTH AND ARE WILLING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

If you do try this, however, you’ll find that you’ll soon earn the right to ask the people from whom you’ve been getting feedback to go forth and replicate the process with their teams, colleagues, co-workers and clients. You’ll soon find that even though you started out attempting to improve your leadership skills, you’ll end up setting a new standard of communication and openness throughout the organization.

And that’s the kind of organization that cultivates Extreme Leaders at every level.

When Was the Last Time You Wrote One of These?

When it comes to strumming the heart strings at work (or anywhere else), nothing beats a personal, hand-written note of thanks, praise, or gratitude–especially in these hyper-digital days of texts and email.

Maybe it’s because of the manifest, tactile, 3-dimensional nature of ink and paper; maybe it’s because of the subtle presence of the writer’s DNA. You can hold the paper. Feel the fibers. Keep it as tangible evidence of your positive influence on others. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying the impact of the literal pen on the human heart.

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When was the last time you received a note like that?

More important, when was the last time you wrote one?

As I write this post, I have on my desk a beautiful letter from a participant in a leadership workshop I was facilitating. He handed it to me on the last morning of an intensive, 4-day offsite at an executive retreat deep in the wilds of Michigan. But I’m just the letter’s custodian because he wrote it to my son:

 To: Steve’s Son

I understand that you are curious about what your dad does when his job takes him away from home. I’ll bet it’s tough on you, sometimes, to have him away when you’d like to have him home more than he is.

As one of his students this past week, I thought you might like to know what he did to help me and others in the class which he taught. Your dad has a lot of valuable knowledge about how businesses work and how to make them work better. Even more importantly, he helps people to make their lives better and happier. And he teaches all of this in a fun way so that the time we spend with him in class is really enjoyable.

I just wanted you to know that we really appreciate your sharing him with us this week. And, if he’s anywhere near as good or as fun as a father as he is as a teacher, you’ve got yourself one fine dad.

Carl English

One of Your Dad’s Students

That note is still sitting on my desk on this 24th day of September, 2014.

Carl English wrote and handed it to me at the end of a Leadership Challenge Workshop for the senior executives of Consumer’s Energy on April 17th, 1997.

17 years ago.

And I will keep it forever–that’s the power of this simple yet profound human gesture.

Who’s holding on to your notes?

Nobody.

Unless, of course, you write one.

Carl English Note

The Love Assessment

"Love is the ultimate motivation of the Extreme Leader: love of something or someone, love of a cause, love of a principal, love of the people you work with and the customers you serve, love of the future you and yours can create together, love of … Read the full article→

When I First Met Pops

In anticipation of the release of the 10th Anniversary Edition of The Radical Leap, here's another entry from my hand-written notes on the original manuscript. (Read the previous post here). This became the scene where I first meet the character, … Read the full article→

Looking Back to Look Forward

The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership was first published in 2004 and has become the cornerstone of my body of work. In preparing for the launch of the 10th Anniversary edition (coming in September!), I found myself looking back … Read the full article→

A New Standard for Public Service?

John Morgan, the founder of The Chinook Institute for Civic Leadership, is, at his core, a civil servant. An urban planner, to be precise. Given the stereotypes that many attribute to government workers, you may think that "love" and "urban … Read the full article→

A Declaration for Your Wall

A declaration is a powerful thing. By making a declaration, you not only announce something, you proclaim it to be a true and accurate representation of who you are and what you believe in. You make a vow to anyone who reads or listens that you … Read the full article→

4 Steps to Tracking Your Commitments

In response to the challenge in my previous post, Bob "Batch" Batcheler launched himself on a personal Do What You Say You Will Do campaign. He shared his experience in the comments: "One of the things that I am trying to do is to write down EVERY … Read the full article→

A 7 Word Sequence that Changes Everything

I'm 56 years old and I'm embarrassed to say that it's taken me so long to figure this out: People who consistently follow through on their words are exceedingly rare. Unfortunately, most of us, no matter how well-intentioned we may be, let our … Read the full article→