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Don’t be Passionate about Shorthand Abstractions…they have no Integrity

by Rick Baker
On Jan 12, 2017

Over the last few years, I have written and talked about the communication problems that happen when business leaders use words like Passion and Integrity to lead/encourage/inspire people to be the best they can be at work. The words Passion and Integrity are laced with double entendre and have been overused and misused to the point of obfuscation. Put another way, these two words have been clichéed to the brink of uselessness. Their use has evolved and become mostly bad habit.

Like many of the words and phrases we exchange with one another, the words Passion and Integrity are shorthand abstractions. You can also think of these two words as troubled memes. The words Passion and Integrity have been passed down the generations and passed around the tables for so long and by so many that intent and meaning have been bastardized as happens in ‘telephone games’. 

Business leaders should exercise care when they communicate, especially when they use shorthand abstractions that are likely to touch sensitive territories including personal values, morals, emotions and powerful feelings. 

Why should leaders take greater care when we use shorthand abstractions?

Here’s some thoughts from Tor Norretranders’ –

“That is also the point with abstractions. We want them to be shorthand for a lot of information that was digested in the process leading to the use of the abstraction but not present when we use it. Such abstractions have depth. We love them. Other abstractions have no depth. They are shallow, just used to impress the other guy. They do not help us. We hate them.”

Article – ‘Depth’ by Tor Norretranders, Science Author. An excerpt from John Brockman’s edge.org inspired book ‘This Will Make You Smarter’, (2012)


PS: Yes - interesting use of the shorthand abstractions ‘love’ and ‘hate’ in the quote above. That goes right to the heart and brain of my message here.

PPS: Yes - much of what we communicate has the forms of both shorthand abstraction and bad habit. That's why we provide definitions of words and explanations: this is one way to help people understand what we are trying to communicate. 

 

Do you aim to give people more, less, or exactly what they expect?

by Rick Baker
On Nov 9, 2016

When you aim to give people more than they expect…

  • You must be ready, willing and able to go the extra mile.
  • You must embrace Napoleon Hill’s ‘QQS’ principle: deliver more Quantity and Quality of service and do it with a winning Spirit.
  • You must seek out problems, knowing you can solve them because you know how to take advantage of new technologies.

When you aim to give people less than they expect…

  • You must be ready, willing and able to drive hard bargains.
  • You must be prepared to lie, cheat and steal.
  • You must be wary of the inevitable reciprocation that is sure to come your way.

When you aim to give people exactly what they expect…

So -
  • What are your Values?
  • What do your clients value?
  • What value will you deliver to your clients?

On Influence

by Rick Baker
On Mar 24, 2014

Influence is the magical part of leadership.

Influence is the magic that allows leaders to convert Vision and Desire into amazing actions and thrilling accomplishments.

So...How does one positively Influence others along the road to success?

Q: Does one need to be Intelligent?

A: Yes.

Q: Does one need to master Self-Control?

A: Yes

Q: Does one have to have Integrity?

A: Yes...if the success is to be constructive and sustained.

Q: Does one have to know People, Processes, & Situations?

A: Yes.

Q: Any other things?

A: Yes...here's 5...and here's 5 more...and here's another 5...and there's more.

***

What do the wise have to say about Influence? 

My favourite inspirational educator, Napoleon Hill said...

"Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another."

One of my heroes, Napoleon Bonaparte, said...

"The herd seek out the great, not for their sake but for their influence; and the great welcome them out of vanity or need."

Dale Carnegie, who wrote the book on how to win friends and influence people, said...

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” 

Clint Eastwood, a widely respected Hollywood icon, said...

"It takes tremendous discipline to control the influence, the power you have over other people's lives."

And an unknown author said...

"Influence may be the highest level of human skills."

***

If you want to be a great leader, or a good leader, or even a leader who accomplishes a few meaningful things...it's tough to argue that last point.

PS: Sustained positive Influence is the cause that leads to trust.

 

Take Steps Toward 'Change Leadership'

by Rick Baker
On Nov 15, 2013

If you want to lead change and influence others to help you achieve the success you desire, consider these things:

  • Your Intelligence - This is a tough one! How can you be objective? How can you know whether or not you have the intelligence required to be a successful leader? Here's a few suggestions: (1) view this as a life-long process, work at self-knowledge, & figure out how to measure accurately [then you will be able to apply these things to understanding others], (2) ask for input from others then consider it from different perspectives [as examples, subjectively and objectively], (3) have at least one mentor...intelligence is not fixed - it is something you can expand if you work at it.
  • Your Self-Control - There are two dimensions: (1) short-term control over emotions, feelings, thoughts, & actions and (2) 'Grit', the ability to control thoughts and actions so they align with personal Values, Vision, Rules, & Goals. 'Grit', as defined here, is the thing in you that determines whether or not you can illustrate Integrity to others and whether or not you have the conviction required to achieve your Desires.
  • Your Emotions - Another tough one! Start by defining Emotions and how they differ from feelings, moods, and other mind states. Seek help from others who can observe you in a variety of Situations: under heavy workload, under stress, under assault [for example, while being criticized]. Assessments can help identify your weaknesses. Major weaknesses must be corrected. If they are not you will violate sacred things like Integrity and your stated Values...violations will destroy followers' Trust in a blink. 
  • Your Actions - and the Actions you must do to deliver value, lead others, inspire others, influence others, and help others. 
 
Dedicate at least one full, uninterrupted day each year to measure your progress. 
 
When you do this you will observe progress steps that look something like this...
 

Integrity - such an interesting piece of human fabric

by Rick Baker
On Nov 8, 2013

I think people have a built-in need for Integrity.

Then - so very often - we cause them to violate it. 

We do this in subtle, unplanned ways.

We create work environments that conflict with their inherent Integrity. We construct tasks that do not fit their Integrity. We communicate in ways that offend their Integrity. And we promote situations that encourage and sometimes force them to act in ways that violate their Integrity.

Integrity is a personal thing. Yes, it has common threads that bind us. Call them cultural or community threads.

Yet, Integrity is a personal egoic thing.

Unfortunately, most people struggle with it rather than work to understand it. Most people don’t even take the time to define Integrity. Yet, they place high standards of it on others.

Tags:

Integrity

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