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9 Leadership Lessons from George C. Marshall

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The Leader’s Bookshelf is a great resource on leadership. There is one chapter on the book “Soldier Statesman Peacemaker: Leadership Lessons from George C. Marshall.” Here are the 9 principles of leadership which are timeless.
Do the right thing - This is the principle of integrity. George Marshall stood for the highest of values. In our lives this can be applied by clearly defining our mission statement, clearly defining the values we want to stand by and keeping our promises.
Master the situation – This is the principle of action. As a leader action is everything. Another key quality a leader needs is flexibility which is the ability to be nimble under the onslaught of change. Assess the situation and take appropriate action.
Serve the greater good – This is the principle of selflessness. Servant leadership is the best form of leadership. You have to find a mighty cause that serves a larger purpose than just profit. Business when it is combined with altruism is great for the world.
Spe…

60 min Exercise Payoff

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We have been told so many times that exercise is good for us. Most of us start exercising to lose weight. I believe it is better not to exercise to lose weight but actually make it a lifestyle change. I have been exercising consistently for quite a few years and recently I have increased my effort to 45-60 min. I like to exercise first thing in the morning. Of course not everyone is a morning person and you can make time during lunch or in the evening. The key is to start and stick to a program that works uniquely for you.
I have expanded each letter of the word exercise to indicate the payoff you get when you do a 60 min workout. Yes even 20 min exercise is fine but to get the full benefit I believe we should do it thrice or four times a week for 60 min. Of course you should check with your doctor for starting any new exercise program that will work for you. Here is the payoff for getting into a consistent exercise program.
Enthusiasm – I have found that whenever I start the day with…

The Path to Success in the 21st Century

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Deliberate practice is a term that has become common place now in the lexicon of success. I found these six books to be illuminating and insightful. In combination they cover the waterfront of peak performance. Here are the six books that can give you the complete view on peak performance.
Talent is overrated by Geoff Colvin – This is the best book I have read on the subject. Why don’t people lead teams like Jack Welch or play golf like Tiger Woods? The real reason for success is deliberate practice. It is absolutely hard work and what does it take to sustain the passion. First you have to know what you want because unless you really know it you will not be able to sustain the passion for the long haul. You also need to believe you can put in the effort to get the results you wanted. Here is my review of the book. Talent is overrated
The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle - It is deep practice that is the key. Myelin is the key nerve fiber that gets enhanced with deep practice. Some consider …

Start Something That Matters

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Start something that matters by Blake Mycoskie is a truly inspirational book on how making a difference in the world starts with a simple idea. Blake had an idea which came to him while vacationing in Argentina. He came to understand that there are so many people in this world without shoes and he wanted to start something where for every shoe that is bought there is one shoe which is donated to the people in need of a shoe. It is a great story and one that inspires me every time I read it.There are three questions I liked that can be applicable to all of us.
If you didn't have to worry about money what would you do with your time?What social cause are you seeking to serve?
What kind of work would you want to do to serve your cause?
I also liked the chapter on simplicity. Some of the ideas I liked are
Keep a notebook: We have too many things in our head. The best way to get clarity and to empty our mind is to write down everything that is occupying our mind.
Own as little as you ca…

Barking up the Wrong Tree

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Barking up the wrong tree by Eric Barker is a wonderful book which is well researched. It is a refreshing take on success with science backed research. This has also become a Wall Street Journal Best Seller. Here are the key lessons I gleaned. Know yourselfFirst you have to define what success means to you. You have to understand what your strengths are and focus on that. There are filtered vs unfiltered leaders. Churchill was the unfiltered leader. He was the one who took on Hitler as he came back from the wilderness and his services were only needed during a crisis. So if you are unconventional that’s fine. Understanding what works for you is the key. Pick the right pond Once you know yourself you then need to find the environment that works for you. For example decide what work will help your strengths. Decide a career based on what you know about yourself. Be gritty Grit is hanging in there when the going gets tough. A lot of us have dreams but achieving them requires a lot of grit.…

Taking People with You - Leadership

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Taking people with you by David Novak is one of the best books I have read on leadership and business.The main thesis is appreciating people for the work they do. It is important because you don’t want people to reach the end of their career without having ever felt the joy of getting appreciation on a job well done.
Here are three good questions that can help us as leaders.
What is the single biggest thing you can imagine that will forward your business or change your life?
Who do you need to affect influence or take with you to be successful?
What perceptions habits or beliefs of this target audience do you need to build change or reinforce to reach your goal?
There is also a mention of step change. This means if you had achieved 3 percent growth last year then you should make it 15 percent. Double your target goal and shorten the timeline. Remember what Peter Theil says if you have a 10 year timeline ask why it cannot be achieved in 6 months.
There is a chapter on being yourself. He …

Legacy - 15 Inspiring Lessons on Leadership

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Legacy by James Kerr is a wonderful distillation on leadership. It is built on the All Blacks rugby team but the lessons are applicable to all of us. Here are the 15 lessons I gleaned with my take on each. Character - Never be too big to do all the small things. Basically as a leader you have to be humble with a ferocious will. Great leaders balance pride with humility. This is similar to the Level 5 leaders explained by Jim Collins. As a leader you need to do the right thing always. Vince Lombardi would start every game saying gentlemen this is a football. The takeaway is we should never ignore the basics or fundamentals. Having a vision without action is a dream and action without vision is a nightmare. So the key is moving towards your vision. Ethos is the word that represents character. Define the values of your organization and your personal values as leader as well. Adapt: When you are doing great that is the time not to be complacent. If you are on top of the game change the gam…

9 Ways to Live your Legacy

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We have all heard so much about legacy. People say that when you think about leaving a legacy you feel a lot happier and purposeful. The more I thought about the topic the more I understood that while leaving a legacy is important it is not as important as living your legacy. I would like people to talk about me in the way I want to be known when I am alive. I think this is more exciting than thinking of what people will say when I am no longer there. David Brooks talks about eulogy values vs resume values. Eulogy values are what make you stand for your highest values and by your deepest convictions. Eulogy values gives you the big picture for your life and gives you the impetus to create the life you want. The time to start living your legacy is now. This is one of the best ways to feel happy while you journey through life. Here are the 9 ways to live your legacy. Love your life – The first step to consider while living your legacy is to love life. We need to understand that we have …

11 D's of Success

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Success is tantalizing and the word evokes a lot of positive images. As long as your success does not depend on tearing other people down you can be happy when you are moving towards your definition of success. I have identified 11 D’s of success. Here they are.
Desire: This is the first word we should remember when it comes to success. Success truly requires a vision of something better than what is there today. What is it that you want so badly that you will do the necessary sacrifice to achieve? Desire is the starting point of all success. Desire has to be personal and it cannot be what someone else wants for you.
Discipline: Jim Rohn said discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. Basically successful people do the things that others don’t like to do even though they may not like to do it. For example successful people always do the things that are difficult. They take care of themselves well. All this requires sacrifice which is a key word when it comes to success…

11 Important Factors of Leadership

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Leadership has been endlessly dissected and there are so many books on leadership every year. That maybe because it is one topic that never can be exhausted. I reread Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill in which he defines 11 important factors of leadership. I found them to be absolutely on target. Here they are with my take on each.
Unwavering Courage
Leaders are respected when they take charge and are able to make tough decisions. They have high self-confidence and never give up. Courage is truly the leader’s edge.
Self-control
This can also be another way of setting an example. Leaders are role models for the followers. Unless you master yourself you cannot lead others. The first victory is truly to conquer self.
A keen sense of justiceA true leader is not biased. They are independent of petty problems. They are always on the look out to help their followers. Irrespective of personal reasons they always make decisions which are just in the long run.
Definiteness of Decision
This is a…