Share your gifts

Sometimes there are those days, may be even months and years, when you hold yourself back. You’re thinking small…afraid to take the leap.

You feel unsure,  not certain of what you have to offer and are fearful that it doesn’t bring value. You question your word, wondering if it’s worth sharing and if anyone would listen.

You question your contributions, doubting if they have they meaning or have made a difference. The path you’ve traveled so far seems pointless and the direction of the one going forward is unclear.

When you find yourself listening too much to — and obeying — that little voice in your head that’s fueling your negative and doubtful thoughts, read this poem.

Be renewed. Feel confident. Share yourself, your gifts.

Jump off the cliff and grow your wings on the way up.

Cargo by Greg Kimura

You enter life a ship laden with meaning, purpose and gifts

sent to be delivered to a hungry world.

And as much as the world needs your cargo,

you need to give it away.

Everything depends on this.

But the world forgets its needs,

and you forget your mission,

and the ancestral maps that used to guide you

have become faded scrawls on the parchment of dead pharaohs.

The cargo weighs you heavy the longer it is held

and spoilage becomes a risk.

The ship sputters from port to port and at each you ask:

“Is this the way?”

But the way cannot be found without knowing the cargo,

and the cargo cannot be known without recognizing there is a way,

and it is simply this:

You have gifts.

The world needs your gifts.

You must deliver them.

The world may not know it is starving,

but the hungry know,

and they will find you

when you discover your cargo

and start to give it away.

Art:  Set Yourself Free by Amanda Cass



This Week’s Leadership Favs

The BIG Friday leadership favorites are an eclectic collection of articles, blog posts, quotes, pod casts and whatever else engaged our interest as we did our work over the past week. Lead BIG and enjoy!

How to Map the Politics around Your Work (Colin Gautrey, The Gautrey Group)

Ewwww, say many people when the topic “office politics” is broached. Yet smart leaders understand that office politics can’t be ignored, and in fact, need to be understood. Colin offers up a fascinating exercise in this post, designed to help leaders develop a “firm grasp of what is “really” going on, can you start to navigate safely through the corridors of power.”

The 70-20-10 Rule  (Center for Creative Leadership e-Newsletter, requires free sign-up)

Based on their own research, CCL proposes a formula for developing managers that incorporates three categories of experience: “challenging assignments (70 percent), developmental relationships (20 percent) and coursework and training (10 percent). Says CCL’s Meena Surie Wilson, ‘We believe that today, even more than before, a manager’s ability and willingness to learn from experience is the foundation for leading with impact.’”

Bad is Stronger Than Good (Roy F. Baumeister, et al, research paper)

If your orientation to the world is a glass half empty, you’ll have a field day with the scientific data here, “having a good day did not have any noticeable effect on a person’s well-being the following day, whereas having a bad day did carry over and influence the next day.”  For us glass-half-full folks, all the more reason to keep working on making a positive difference and paying it forward.

Bad Boss or a Bad Job Fit? (Chris Young, Rainmaker Group)

Chris poses an interesting question here: are you certain your workplace problems are caused by having a crummy boss, or is the root cause that the wrong person was hired for the job? He proposed a three-step process to find the answer.

4 Big Reasons to Kill Your Weekly Status Meeting (Art Petty, Management Excellence)

Time is money. Relationships are the new currency of workplace. If you’re a boss and value both time and relationships, read Art’s post before you schedule your next staff meeting.

Quote of the week:  “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” ~Art Turock



12 Signs of Being a Wimpy Leader

If you’re feeling a little (or maybe a lot) put out that people at work take advantage of you, take this little true/false test.

  1. Your goal is to be well-liked and everyone’s friend all the time, every time.
  2. Your favorite phrase is “we’ll see.”
  3. You’re the one who always gets asked to plan holiday parties, bake cupcakes, organize the potluck — usually at the last minute — and pulls it off no matter if you have to skip sleep to make it so.
  4. Your comfort zone has been the same size for the last ten years.
  5. You’re almost an urban legend for never having been heard to utter “no.”
  6. You are your boss’s go-to person for all last minute project requests.
  7. You quietly finish and/or correct a direct report’s work, knowing they’ll do better next time.
  8. Everyone in your department “meets expectations” on their performance review and gets the same size raise.
  9. You’re the first to be asked to make department budget cuts, and your percent of decrease is larger than other departments.
  10. The last time you defended a colleague, a direct report, yourself was…never.
  11. When asked to define what you’re most passionate about, most people say you’re really nice.
  12. People transfer out of your department but no one has ever been fired out of it.

If you answered true to more than three, get thee to a coach, colleague or close friend who can help you become more assertive!




This Week’s Fav Leadership Reading

Some interesting leadership reading that caught our eye this past week…please enjoy!

Empowering Women by Investing in Education (The Glass Hammer)

The Foundation for Social Change and the UN Office for Partnerships kicked off the second annual Global Conference for Social Change with a Women and Girls Education Summit. This post provides an overview of several programs across the world for educating and empowering females. Good stuff.

Six Extras that Build Power and Leadership (Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business Review blog)

Too often we think about power as being negative. Power is simply the capacity to bring about change. It is access to resources combined with the authority to decide to what end those resources will be used. It is only in how one chooses to use power that it becomes positive or negative. In this insightful piece, Kanter presents six building blocks for what the Get Your BIG Team calls win-win power: being a good colleague, connecting people, being a giver, framing issues, commitment and diplomacy.

Creating a Leadership Movement (Mike Myatt, N2Growth)

Systems tend to perpetuate themselves. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes it’s not. With the Wall Street sit-ins opposing corporate greed occurring, the times are telling us that business practices and leadership models need to change. Here Mike presents a well-thought out argument for changing leadership, saying “It’s not too difficult to make the case that leadership has devolved rather than evolved. If you pay even casual attention to the media and world events, it would appear those serving a personal agenda greatly outnumber those serving something greater than themselves.”

Creativity and Leadership Perceptions (Research Paper)

Danger, Will Robinson: there’s some serious academic-speak going on here. However, these research findings are fascinating! What’s explored here is the complex relationship between creativity and leadership. A not-so-surprising finding: that negative connotations and concerns result in organizations bypassing creative types for leaders who demonstrate a proclivity to maintain the status quo. (Perhaps another reason why Mike’s leadership movement and the character-based leadership revolution advocated by the Lead Change group are so necessary (and this group is even writing a book about it). Guess it’s no secret how the Get Your BIG On thinks!

The Truth About What It Takes to Be Successful — and Happy (Jeff Haden, BNET)

“No one has a secret success formula that applies to everyone. Success, both in business and in life, completely depends on how you define it – and on the tradeoffs you are willing not just to accept but also embrace as you pursue your definition of success. Why? You can have a lot — but you can’t have everything.”

Encouraging-you-to-fly quote of the week: “There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications, and just go for it.” ~Judith McNaught


This Week’s Fav Leadership Reading

The Big Seven Stakeholder Management Mistakes (Colin Gautrey on The Influence Blog)

The Lone Ranger management model rode off into the sunset a long, long time ago. Yet many managers still haven’t gotten the word that stakeholdering is a vital element in their leadership success. Stakeholders come in all sizes and places within an organization, and can play a large role in either the success or failure of your venture. Colin offers a most helpful list of seven not-to-do items with communicating and/or partnering with stakeholders.

Build versus Buy: Taking Stock of your Frontline Pipeline (DDI Directions)

A client group is preparing their 2012 business plan. The high level yet thoughtful questions and insights posed in this article were most helpful to them as they thought through how to approach their workforce staffing and development needs. “Identifying and developing emerging leaders requires—and is receiving—a focus from organizations across the world.You have to start by answering the critical question: ‘Do we build or do we buy? Building is identifying and developing existing and emerging leaders from within. Buying is hiring from outside.”

Tom Reads The Little BIG Things (Tom Peters on tompeters!)

Do you work at an organization where the sole focus is on profits/the bottom line, and that singular focus leaves you feeling empty? At Get Your BIG On, we believe magic happens when people feel confident, are engaged and know their employer values their contributions. If you believe in this kind of magic and need a boost, listen in as Tom reads a proposed company credo in the audio version of his The Little BIG Things. Warning: be prepared to swoon with delight and be transported to business as it should be, a place where there is an accountable focus on personal leadership growth, input and opinions do matter and are invited, and where a spotless work record signals not stellar success yet an unwillingness to brave the unknown…woohoo!

The Real Lesson of Moneyball (Wally Bock on Three Star Leadership)

This is a great companion piece to the Tom Peters reading noted above. Wally tells the story of how the Oakland A’s were the first baseball “team to use the statistical analysis tools that find undervalued stocks to find undervalued baseball players.” While using statistical tools must be part of the leadership/business toolkit, it isn’t a guarantee of fool-proof success. As Wally points out, “New ways of doing business and business process innovations are important. They can give you a temporary advantage, but soon your competitors copy what you do and what was once a big advantage becomes table stakes.”

Your Company’s Secret Change Agents (Richard Tanner Pascale and Jerry Sternin, Harvard Business Review)

One thing is for certain: with the “new normal” in business, an effective leader must be on the perpetual lookout for change. The tried and true doesn’t always cut it. One must seek the “sparkling exceptions to the rule” as they’re so aptly defined in this article. The authors outline six fascinating elements for helping a group learn from its own hidden wisdom, thus eliminating the “not-invented-here” bias that typically flows from best practice and benchmarking analysis.

Quote of the week. The Get Your BIG On team is loving on this quote this week: “If you’re interested in misery, 1) always try to look good in front of others; 2) always live in a world of assumptions and treat each assumption as though it’s a reality; 3) relate to every new situation as if it is a small crisis; 4) always live in the future or the past; and 5) occasionally stomp on yourself for being so dumb as to follow the first four rules.” ~W. W. Broadbent


This Week’s Fav Leadership Reading

Developing a Leadership Training Program for High Potentials: A Case Study (Gina Abudi on Dan McCarthy’s Great Leadership)

Gina was extremely thoughtful and generous in detailing the several specifics required to establish a competency-based development program for high potential leaders. This post can be a great stepping off place if your organization is just beginning this process and doesn’t know where to start.

How Great Leaders Inspire Action (TED Talk by Simon Sinek)

It’s Friday - so grab a cup of coffee and treat yourself to two donuts (or two apples), then listen to Simon Sinek explain his Golden Circle. As you listen to his explanation, you’ll suddenly gain clarity about why so many initiatives and change efforts fail. Learn about operating from the inside out. Listen to Simon explain why people don’t buy what you do, rather they buy the “why” because they’re doing it for themselves. Intriguing stuff.

Why Do We Trust Someone? (Hauke Borow on Effective Tools for Holistic Leadership)

The Get Your BIG On team shared this post with a client this week who had totally mucked up a work relationship, destroying all trust. Hauke explains his view of trust being built on transpareny, authenticity and predictability. There’s no magic sauce here, just some simple and straightforward guidance that can help build, or rebuild (with a lot of work), trust.

Measuring the Success of Leadership Development (Bersin & Associates Research Bulletin)

If you’re going through 2012 business planning and getting pushback from your boss or finance regarding your proposed leadership development expenditures, the simple facts here might help you with your business case so you get the funding approved.

Quote the week: “Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion and empathy.” ~Dean Koontz


This Week’s Fav Leadership Reading

Five People You Need On Your Personal Board of Directors (Tina Vasquez for The Glass Hammer)

If you’re a woman interested in making professional connections for career advancement, there’s some good advice in this article. Rather than wait for a mentor or sponsor, be proactive and create your own board of directors. Tina offers suggestions for five roles for the individuals you select for your board. This composition provides a variety of feedback which “leads to diversity of thought and in most cases, better results.”

Who’s Got the Monkey? (HBR Classic by William Oncken, Jr. and Donald L. Wass)

Struggling with a ‘to do’ list that gets longer every time one of your direct reports pops into your office? If your employees are delegating their issues upward to you, this will be a great read (or re-read!). HBR re-released it in the late ’90′s, and it totally resonated with the leadership team where I was working at the time. To help us manage what the authors call “subordinate-managed time,” we all purchased the barrel of monkeys toy, using it as a visual symbol to track who was giving the monkey to whom!

Cultivating Goodness (Mary Jo Asmus, Aspire Collaborative Services)

Here at Braithwaite and Get Your BIG On, we’re big supporters of goodness, kindness and making a sustainable positive difference. We applaud Mary Jo for creating a thoughtful list of things leaders can/should do to serve the greater good. “When you put goodness out there, it comes back to you. Make an impact and watch goodness ripple throughout your organization.”

Why Airplanes are a Productivity Haven For Me (Kevin Eikenberry on Leadership and Learning)

Kevin’s post made us chuckle. We share his view that airplanes are a haven for unplugged productivity. Kevin’s key point to add to your toolkit is finding your haven - a place to think and renew. “It’s about making (not finding) the time and place to do your most important work.”

Whack Pack: The best brainstorming tool for the iPad

I’m a big fan of Roger von Oech’s Whack Pack. It’s a great tool for introducing creativity concepts to leaders and for brainstorming. Now it’s available as an app. This article provides suggestions on how to use the tool via an iPad…ingenious! (And now all I have to do is get an iPad!)

This quote stopped us in our tracks this week: “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.” ~Nietzsche


Leadership: On Leaving Marks

An old friend shared this story with me. It’s short yet poignant and full of life, love and leadership lessons. May you enjoy it as much as I did.

A pencil-maker told the pencil five important lessons before putting it in the box:

1) Everything you do will always leave a mark.

2) You can always correct the mistakes you make.

3) What is important is what is inside of you.

4) In life, you will undergo painful sharpening which will only make you better.

5) To be the best pencil, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that holds yours.

We all need to be constantly sharpened. This parable encourages you to remember that you are a special person with unique talents and abilities. Only you can fulfill the purpose which you were born to accomplish. Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot be changed.

Like the pencil, always remember that the most important part of who you are is what’s inside of you.



The 7 C’s – A Mid-Year Leadership Checkup

Wow, it’s amazing that half a year has whizzed by!  Now is a great time for leaders to look back over those six months with a mini-assessment for lessons learned and wisdom gained. Then, take your insights and put them to good use in the second half of the year, focusing on using your head to manage and your head to lead.

The 7 C’s



Have I established my goals, both what I want to do and what I want to be?
Am I aware of my strengths, and do I put them to good use?
Am I tuned in to how I come across to others take that into account in how I interact and communicate with them?
Have I identified my purpose and passions?    
Do I take and make the time to fuel my purpose and passions in my daily living, either in doses large or small?
Do I make it a priority to make the time to connect with others so I understand their point of view?
Do I regularly engage in two-way dialogue?    
Do I share freely what I know to keep others in the loop?
Do I actively listen with my both my head and heart to what others have to say?
Do I stretch myself to the limits of my potential?    
Do I inspire those around me to do the same?    
Do I practice tough empathy on myself and those around me?    
Do I regularly smile and laugh and have fun both at work and at play?
Do I frequently recognize the accomplishments and contributions of others?
Have I mastered how much control I give to my inner critic?    
Have I learned to constructively work with ambiguity?
Do I give myself, and those around me, permission to learn through failing?
Have I chosen to be a person of integrity, never afraid to be found out?    
Do I treat those without power with the same respect I accord to the powerful?    
Do take the stand for what’s good and what’s right, even if doing so is unpopular?
Have I dedicated myself to finding connection, communicating, reaching for my potential, celebrating, and being courageous, sincere, caring and authentic?    

This Week’s Fav Leadership Reading

Why Fair Bosses Fall Behind (HBR magazine article by Batia M. Wiesenfeld, Naomi B. Rothman, Sara L. Wheeler-Smith, and Adam D. Galinsky)

If you’re a leader who values fairness and respect and if you’re ready to get your shorts in a knot, read these research findings. They confirm that nice gals and guys DO finish last. “Our research, which included lab studies and responses from hundreds of corporate decision makers and employees, began with the age-old question ‘Should leaders be loved or feared?’ We went a step further, asking, ‘Can you have respect and power?’ We found that it’s hard to gain both.”

The Question That Changes You (Dan Rockwell post on Leadership Freak)

If you’re getting “doing” confused with “being,” this insightful post from Dan provides some illuminating advice as to how the great ones separate who they are from what they do.

Twitter Takes (Tom Peters on tompeters!)

In keeping with Tom’s spirit of brevity, check out how to define leadership in 140 characters. Delightful!

Leadership Caffeine: Do You See Beauty or Blemishes? (Art Petty on Management Excellence)

If you work for a “negative motivator” as Art describes them or (glory be!) suspect that you might be one yourself, you might find some positive inspiration from the five ideas given for achieving better balance in giving feedback. “Just for today, start looking at the beauty in work and try and not preoccupy on the blemishes. You might be surprised how people respond.”

Get-you-thinking-quote of the week: “Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” ~Mark Victor Hansen