The Power of Preparation

rmhsymxupw0-jj-thompson.jpg

Yesterday, I was in my leadership class again. My instructor – a highly esteemed retired high school Principal – handed us four packets of interview questions. There must have been 700 questions in there. We started going over a few and discussing possible answers.

I don’t know about you, but just the thought of interviews makes my palms sweat.

I felt really, really nervous at the prospect of having 10-12 people around a table asking me 20 questions. And then he said,

“If you’re really nervous before you go in, you’re not prepared.”

Yes. I knew this to be true. Sure, butterflies are normal. This is your body’s way of preparing you to be on your toes. But the shaky, can’t-think-straight nervousness you feel before you have to perform?

You’re not ready.

So whatever you’re preparing for, work it. Work hard. Put in your hours, your sweat, blood and tears. Do the research, or the workout or the practice. Give it all you’ve got and then surrender.

*Maya Angelou tip: Think of all the people who have ever loved you and the people around who love you now. When you go in for the interview, get on that stage, or go in the boxing ring, call all your loved ones to accompany you.

 

 

Workshop Wisdom

5mz_m06fc9g-roman-mager
by Roman Mager

I attended a workshop on educational leadership today. I walked away with lots of good stuff but one quote that stuck with me was:

Get what you want. Find a way.

Being a leader means helping others lead, really. Supporting others to be the best they can be is one of the biggest objectives and one of the most challenging.  One vital channel to this goal is to make others feel appreciated and help them in their jobs.

Make your staff feel valued by obtaining resources that they need or want for their work. Show them that you appreciate what they do and that you consider it important. “Get what you want. Find a way.”

This is really the secret to success, isn’t it? What do you want? How can you find a way to get it?

 

 

 

What’s Transparency?

jellyfish

I was in a workshop for educational leadership. We broke out into groups and were asked to list cultural values we would uphold as leaders. One group mentioned “transparency.”

“What does that mean?” Our instructor asked.

“You know…you get what you see,” one group member answered. She sounded feeble.

“Transparency.  No secrets!   You share everything…that includes your conversations about other people. When you talk about someone who isn’t there, you should only say what you’d say if they WERE there.”

This is when I realized I have worked in a lot of dysfunctional work environments. How would this affect your professional life? That is, if you stopped engaging in gossip? How about your personal life?

 

 

 

 

Japanese Ritual Suicide – Power of Culture

culture
Bilocal Culture Crossing

 

“Seppuku” is a traditional, excruciatingly painful and public way to commit suicide in Japan. It has not been displayed since World War II,  but was widely observed and expected in Japanese culture up until then. Ingrained in Japanese culture is the concept of shame and the expectation of suicide in the face of that shame. In fact, it was not only men who committed suicide (sometimes through disembowelment), but their wives would commit suicide should their husbands have brought shame to their house.

You may have heard of honor killings in India and Pakistan. This, too, is part of their culture. With Internet and social media, some cultures are changing. Closed cultures are opening up due to their youth using social media. They no longer want to embrace these traditions.

Yet, it speaks to the power of culture. Disembowelment? Kill your sister? If your culture dictates that it is right, you will do it, no problem.

Leadership is so critical because leaders help create and maintain culture. An exceptional leader inspires employees and societies. Leaders help create strong, empathic cultures. Thus, it is critical to choose our leaders carefully.