360° Evaluation

A great tool I came across a few years back is the 360° Evaluation. One of my mentors had me do this as we began a long relationship. It is a great tool for current evaluation of where you are in your life. These people may or may not know your goals and may or may not know what you are currently working on. The goal here is to identify where you are based on unbiased opinion (meaning anyone but ourselves).

We tend to lean one of two ways when we are evaluating ourselves. We are either… Continue reading

Aggressive Influence

Aggressive Influence LogoBeing aggressive in leadership is very simple in concept but more difficult in practice. The key is being intentional. Intentionality is not a difficult thing to grasp. I do not do things just because I have the opportunity but I create the opportunity. That is different. An aggressive leader does not just take what is handed to them but takes what is handed to them and creates more of an opportunity with them. For instance… When you are spending time with someone and working through a task together, you take the moment to talk to them and build the relationship. That is basic bridge building, an important part of leadership. What makes someone aggressive in leadership is contacting someone who you want to build a relationship or further a relationship with and taking them with you. You are intentional about who you take and why you take them. You have a goal in bringing them with you and look to meet that goal.

What does it mean to aggressively influence? What does it mean to be aggressive in leadership? Hitler was pretty aggressive, is that what I am supposed to be like? What about influence, isn’t that leadership? What is the difference?

The difference is all in approach. The approach to leadership is the foundation for your impact.

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Do you have the answers?

source: Riofage

Having the answers means you have the KNOWLEDGE.

When you hear at knowledge the first thing that comes to mind, at least for me, is information. Knowing a lot of information is great except if it is all about something that does not matter. The biggest question here is not do you have knowledge but do you have knowledge about the right things?

Having the right knowledge leads to things. Here are the biggest of them.

  • Proficiency. When you have the right set of knowledge it leads to the opportunity to be the best at what you do. When you have the knowledge you can build those around you and under you.
  • Having the Answers. When you have the knowledge you have the answers. when people need answers they will come to you because you know. This will consistently grow your impact. More people have questions then we tend to think. They are just not always sure who to ask. When you make yourself available with knowledge you will gain an audience quickly.
  • Teaching others. Your influence grows the more you can explain to others not only what to do but why to do it. As you grow in your knowledge and your ability to transfer that knowledge to others you will have more and more opportunities to do so.

Most likely we have all heard someone say,

If you know what to do you will always have a job, but if you know why to do it you will always be in charge.

This is important because what you know matters just as much as what you can do. Doing is a huge part of working at your job, but knowing has a bigger part in leading.

So how do I gain Knowledge?

There are a few easy ways to gain that knowledge that will position you as with proficiency so that you can have the answers as well as the teaching opportunities to impact others.

  • Reading. Do not just read the stuff that is required but also find the cutting edge stuff in your field. You should be going through books on a consistent basis. Devouring these books will only serve you as your mind continues to process what needs to happen and makes available to you the opportunity to inflict change rather than be changed. If you are looking for help finding great books check out how I do it.
  • Mentors. That’s right, plural. There are two main types of mentors that you can grab. The first type of mentor is the one who is just a few steps in front of you. This mentor will be of great value to you as they have just lived what you are going through. Here you want to ask them the small what ifs?, when do I’s?, and how do I’s? The small things are a large part of the conversations. However, with the second, you call big. This guy is, as Tim Ferriss says, your Ubermentor. With this mentor you are consistent discussing the big picture of where you want to go and who you want to be. Your Ubermentor should be someone who embodies your end result. Between the two mentors, your knowledge will just continue to grow.
  • Questions. Simply put, if you want to be the guy everyone around you or under you asks for answers you have to be willing to find the guy above you that is that same guy. That person may or may not be your next step mentor but when you need answers you must know where to get them. This will come into play huge when you do not know the answer to someone’s question. When you know where to find it and can get back to them, you maintain the position of being the guy with answers.

If you can be the guy that has the answers you can make yourself that indispensible player on any team. Spend a few minutes and see if you can find the answers you need to have the knowledge that makes other people have to come to you to get the answers.

A Flag Covered Casket

Have you ever really thought through the association between honor and sacrifice? For some it is all to real, sudden, and unavoidable. I am not sure where your mind may go with that but let me tell you were mine goes. This past Thursday my Father and I attended a viewing in New Jersey. Let me explain…

My Father is a retired Police Officer of 25 years on the street in a city that, well, it ain’t Mayberry anymore. My Dad never really sought to pursue rank or rise to chief, he wanted to stay on the street. Which he did for over 20 years. My Father was a cop among cops and has the scares, broken bones, newspaper clippings, and peoples lives that he has saved to prove it. He was, and is, no joke. After he turned 40 he became interested in joining the SWAT team and at ae 43 earned a spot on the team, where he served for a number of years.

During this time, I grew up and saw my Dad do many different things, I was intrenched in this part of his life. I remember times when he came home after a fight, busted up or with his arm in a cast and I would help by unlacing his boots and help get his bullet proof vest off. Talk about a kid thinking his Dad was a superhero. That was me.

One of the most memorable times during this was when a Police Officer in the city of Philadelphia was killed in the line of duty. My Father took me out of school and had me accompany him to the funeral. He wanted me to see what honor and sacrifice looked like. (I think he knew then that I was going to be in the Marines, even though I didn’t yet.) I remember trying to count the number of Police Officers that came to show HONOR to this man, to the profession and to his family. It seemed as if there were legions of them. I remember seeing cars from states as far out as Colorado. The funeral procession looked like a parade with pomp and circumstance. I will never forget that.

A number of years later my Dad and I drove back to New Jersey to be present with a high number of Police Officers that were all present to honor and give their respects to a man who had died. It was a little bit different then what I remember from the funeral in Philly. He was not killed in the line of duty, it was cancer this time. He was 42 and left behind a beautiful wife and what I believe to be, at the time, a 5-year-old son.

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My Dad knew this Officer through SWAT. He was on the SWAT team from the neighboring town and they trained together when different teams get together to train for big “jobs”, which they carried out together.

When I was a child I did not understand the things of men, though my Father sought desperately to teach them to me. He knew that though he wanted to shield me from the hardness of life, that is what tempers a man. Now I am no longer a child and have seen sacrifice as it is paid on the battlefield and in the most grueling training of preparation.

As a child I saw the highest of honor paid to a man and understood little of his sacrifice and that of his family. I saw the numbers of men who came and saw the uniforms in which they dress themselves for the highest of occasions in row upon row and my mouth was left open and my mind wondering because I could not grasp it.

Years passed and as a man, I witnessed and took part in showing honor to a man and his family. Not because the masses were that of legions but because there were dozens of men present who were on the SWAT team with this man, who had trained with him doing the same drills countless times to prepare for the highest of risks. I was there to show honor because I understood it and was able to hold my head high in hopes that I might be counted among them who serve and have served well. But the whole while my hands and eyes were held low because, as a man, I understand the sacrifice that goes along with honor.

While we all were grateful the honor we could bestow we were broken for his wife and his son. As a man my mouth now is closed and trembles, my mind now grasps and prays, my hands now weaken with gentleness and with all confidence salute a closed casket.

This young man, 5 years old, may not ever have some of the memories that I have had with my Father. While that breaks my heart I pray that those who are around him remind him often of the honor that he witnessed that day, remind him daily for if he forgets that honor the sacrifice that he understands so well at so young an age will overwhelm it and honor will seem like such a little thing.

The true depth of sorrow will come when a man remembers only the greatest of sacrifices without the honor that they were made for.

Live honorably and the sacrifices will be many, but the honor is always worth it. ALWAYS!