Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Covey’

Becoming a Courageous Leader

Friday, December 16th, 2011 by Ellen Bryson

Courage is one of the primary characteristics we need to possess to be an effective leader.  It is an attitude that helps us deal with anything we recognize as difficult or possibly dangerous without withdrawing from it. Possessing this skill is especially important during times of uncertainty or adversity when fear of the unknown can hold us back or immobilize us. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act in spite of it.

As I reflect on this statement and think about business leaders in the 21st century, Steve Jobs comes to mind. Jobs exemplified courageous leadership. He was a visionary; he was passionate about his dream and he pursued it every day. He overcame great personal and professional adversity during his career, but never lost sight of his goal to make the world’s best PC. Jobs dreamed big, took lots of risks, inspired others to follow him, overcame obstacles, and delivered a new way to work and play to millions of people around the world. He demonstrated courageous leadership!

Following are some lessons taken from Jobs’ example that can assist you in honing this skill:
1.  Dare to dream big dreams. Believe in your ideas. Embrace your values and vision and let them be your guide.
2.  Persevere, never give up!
3.  Define who you want to be as a leader and commit yourself to doing the things necessary to achieve that reality.
4.  Develop skills that enable you to act quickly and deliberately.
5. Develop a plan, but remember, a good plan is not enough; it requires action. Execution produces sustainable results.
6.  Take calculated risks. Accept failures or setbacks as learning opportunities. Mistakes are our greatest teacher.
7.  Keep pursuing your dream.
8.  Deliver results.

Stephen Covey said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Courage isn’t a characteristic that you are born with. It is one that has to be developed or created through experience. As you develop as a leader, mastering this trait will help you define your way.


Summer 2011 CEO Advantage Advisor Meeting: Video Excerpts

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Troy Schrock

Last week, the Professional Community of CEO Advantage advisors met for our 2-day summer meeting.  What a wonderful time of professional growth with some of my favorite people!  Collectively, we have spent thousands of hours working with CEOs and executive teams on strategic issues, so we grow in our effectiveness as advisors by sharing insights, suggestions, and experiences with each other.  Not only is it a fulfilling time for us, but it also enables us to provide greater value to our clients. 

On the second day, each advisor presented an educational topic to the group.  I have posted below a few excerpts from those presentations.  (Unfortunately, due to complications with the camera, we were not able to capture clips from each advisor.  I hope to introduce more “advisors in action” following future meetings.)

In this excerpt, Jim Woods talks about techniques he uses to help executive teams engage in constructive conversation about strategic issues.

John Anderson talks about Stephen Covey’s “The Speed of Trust” and its relevance to his advisory work with CEOs and executive teams:


John Anderson answers a question about how organizational discipline depends on the personal discipline of the CEO:


If you are interested in joining our Professional Community of certified advisors, click here.  If you would like to learn more about how a CEO Advantage advisor can help your organization, click here.   


Finding Simplicity in Complexity

Monday, January 31st, 2011 by John Anderson

Creating simplicity out of complexity is the essence of leveraging leadership and a non-negotiable ability for the CEO.  Before you can simplify for others, however, you must first do it for yourself.  Start by identifying the fundamental principles that drive your success and review those principles on a daily basis.  For me, those principles are captured in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  I have found that both my successes and failures over the years can be directly attributed to how well I practiced those seven habits.  Therefore, I now read Covey’s book for fifteen minutes each morning.  I even listen to it in my car.  I find the only way to truly digest a great book is to read it, listen to it, and break it down into small chunks that I can share with others at work and at home.

An equally important discipline for me is journaling.  Each morning, I spend about twenty minutes (enough time to fill up one page) recording my thoughts.  This has proved invaluable in fleshing out new ideas, identifying priorities, and sorting through challenges.  Those who know me well encourage me to complete it each morning because they know how influential it is on my performance. 

A couple years ago, a good friend of mine developed his own set of simplifying habits and disciplines.  Michael Brennan is the CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan (UWSEM).  His CEO Mastery Success Plan was the foundation for a formal six-month mentoring program he developed for select members of his team.  The Mentor Series consists of a simple 3-step process: 

  1. Attain piercing clarity of your unique ability and strengths.
  2. Define success for your life and criteria by which to measure it. 
  3. Establish a daily discipline of “deliberate practice” to execute your goals.

To read more detail about this CEO Mastery Success Plan and how Mike is using it to develop the future leaders in his organization, read “Finding Simplicity in Complexity” in the 2011 CEO Advantage Journal.