Archive for March 6, 2017

Rise Up from “We the People” to “We The Leaders”

Ryan Underwood is the CEO and Chief Leadership Officer of TEAMTRI and a Sector Partner of GiANT Worldwide. Ryan helps multiply leaders to serve and create awesome futures. Ryan and his wife Carrie Underwood attended the Presidential Inauguration and share with us lessons from this unique experience. Email: ryan@teamtri.com   Twitter: @TEAMTRI_CEO

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We recently had the opportunity to attend the 58th Inauguration of the President of the United States as guests of Congress. Our home, like all of our Team at TRI, split our votes in a number of ways for a number of candidates just like America did.

The point of this reflection is not to call out a party or politics, but, to call up all of you to reach for a higher level of leadership, service, and love from yourself, for one another, and for our nation.

In the video I shot on my phone from my vantage point on the inaugural platform, you’ll experience what we experienced during the swearing in ceremony. Listen closely. This is what most of the world didn’t hear if you watched it on TV.

Listen past the Supreme Court Chief Justice trying to conduct the ceremony. Listen past the pledge of the President. Listen for the voices in the crowd SHOUTING the Preamble to the Constitution over the top of the ceremony to try and distract, disrupt, and derail the proceeding. They are not hard to miss.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO

Did you hear “WE THE PEOPLE…?!”

Did you hear some of the audience trying to disrupt the swearing in ceremony?

There was nothing wrong with the inaugural platform, speakers or AV. There were speakers placed throughout the platform and we all heard every speech, presentation, and prayer clearly during the ceremony—until this moment.

The Preamble was being SHOUTED in a rehearsed, choregraphed, and orchestrated fashion right over the top of the swearing in ceremony. How the Chief Justice and President got through this moment without error still amazes me. It was the exercise of the First Amendment guaranteeing FREE SPEECH at full volume carelessly attempting to interrupt the first part of the Constitution that makes possible that very same right.

And while inauguration week ended with the transition of power, my lesson on that day comes from the beginning of the week when we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Day.  Dr. King famously said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

As I’ve reflected on inauguration day and Dr. King, it occurred to me that, “Drama cannot drive out drama, only leadership can do that.”

In a democracy, we choose officials who represent us. They do more than represent our perspective, issue, or opinion—they represent our current collective level of leadership.

If we want better leadership, we’re not going to get it by SHOUTING at officials rudely as that is exactly what our leaders are going to do back to us. We’re going to get great leadership when “we the people” become “we the leaders.”  When we use our voices as leaders in the right time and the right space with the right message not to “call out” others but to “call them up” to the higher level of leadership we as citizens exhibit and expect.

A clear example of using your voice the right way, at the right time, with the right message can be learned from Dr. King.  And, I’m not talking about Martin Luther, I’m talking about another Dr. King—his youngest daughter Reverend Dr. Bernice King.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO

I loved her message, especially at the 12:55 mark when she said, “People no longer care whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, they are looking for leaders willing to serve humanity at all costs.”

When we limit our view to seeing ourselves as just people, then we the people disrupt and shout. And we get people at all levels who disrupt our lives and shout at us.

But when we see ourselves as leaders serving humanity at all costs, we are going to get leaders who serve us and humanity at all costs.

The best the laws of man can do is create a Constitution for we the people. But, the laws of humanity call us to stand on the foundation of the Constitution and rise and reach to become we the leaders.

Rising up happens in your house…in my house…before it happens in The White House. Rising up means we can do better than shouting. Rising up means realizing actions do indeed speak louder than words. Rising up means we serve. And when we rise, we the leaders will raise up true leaders to serve humanity and the shouts we hear will be shouts of joy!

From Likes to Followers: How to Increase Engagement at your Next Event

In the fall of 2004 I was a freshman at the University of Colorado at Boulder when rumblings of a new site were first being heard. My friends started to sign up for “The Facebook”, but I wasn’t sure if this site was worth my time. By January of 2005, I gave in to the peer pressure and never looked back. A lot has changed in these past twelve years – Facebook has grown from 1.2 million to 1.75 billion users, and the entire concept of social media has changed the way we communicate, connect, and consume.

When planning events for today’s young adults, you cannot lose sight of the importance of social media. But just having a feed is not enough. Just making a post is not enough. Just picking a hashtag is not enough. In today’s social media-centric landscape, how do you truly engage your conference attendees and increase followership? Here are ten tips to raise the bar and help your event connect like never before. Some may seem obvious, but the key to successful engagement is quality execution.

  1. Go Live: Plan to go live during a few key moments! Perhaps you go Facebook Live as registration begins, the doors to the general session open, or the new officer team is being announced. This engages those not in attendance so they feel a part of the event.
  2. Social Media Wall: There are lots of great options out there, but one we have used before is Tint. Have a station setup in a prime conference location that shows a feed of all the posts from your conference hashtag. Attendees will want to see their posts on the wall, and it becomes a great focal point for your event.
  3. Social Media Shoutouts: Use your general sessions as a moment to recognize attendees who have been posting on social media. Read a few tweets and share a few of your favorite posts onstage in front of everyone. This is a simple way to make your social media shoutout more fun and exciting for the attendees.
  4. Name Badge Ribbons: Attendees love ribbons on their name badges! Have ribbons printed for each social media network your organization is on, and have your leaders hand them out to attendees who can show that they like or follow your page.
  5. Hashtags: Be sure to have an event hashtag identified early and promote it leading up to the event and during the event. Not only does it create dialogue and foster conversation, it also helps you collect great feedback and user generated content! Pick a hashtag that is easy to remember and promote it everywhere you can.
  6. Personalize Content: Think about each network and how your users interact on that network. Your content should look different on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Think creatively and have fun!
  7. Officer Handles: Do your officers want to engage with members more? Most likely, so make it easy for them! Promote your officer’s social media handles in the program and on screen during the general sessions.
  8. Raffle Prizes: Offer prizes exclusively through your social media channels! Promote them during the sessions, celebrate the winners, and recognize those who participate. But only offer the prizes through your desired social media channels so you are driving traffic where you want.
  9. Snapchat Geofilter: This one is a must for all youth-related events. Be sure to set up a geofilter for your event. Even better, create a few for different moments in the event! Maybe you have one primary conference geofilter, and then a special one for the awards session. Think of when your attendees will want to post the most, and customize geofilters for those moments!
  10. Conference Program: This may seem obvious, but it is not always utilized! The conference program is the number one resource attendees use for information on your event. Be sure to not just list your social media usernames in the program, but include each networks icons (we live in a visual world) and promote the hashtag.

Do you have more ideas? Share your ideas with me on Twitter (@teamtri_sean) and best of luck as you prepare for your upcoming event!

 

BOSS or LEADER?

Today’s TEAMTRI Guest Blog is from Dr. Jim Lemoine. Dr. Lemoine is on the research faculty at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Buffalo as part of their Center for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness. He is an Assistant Professor of Organizations and Human Resources; a Trustee of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership; a past local, state, and national Career Technical Student Organization officer for FFA, FBLA, and PBL; and a TEAMTRI Alumnus. His research on organizational management has been published in several outlets including the Harvard Business Review. As a researcher, Dr. Lemoine is always looking for organizational partners to study leadership behavior and determine effective approaches to improve outcomes. His email address is jlemoine@buffalo.edu.

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We all know that leadership is important. It’s the primary topic of countless books, speeches, and classes. It’s the focal concern of thousands, maybe millions, of organizational managers. It’s a development area for most every employee in the world, and the one thing we believe can make or break a business, a sports team, or a country. We talk about the need for better leaders, we hear how great leadership can make great differences, and we lament that so many of our institutional leaders do a poor job of leading us.

We know that leadership is important. But something I often wonder is whether we could ever agree on what it actually is.

Imagine you were working with an exchange student from a deeply solitary culture, where people work alone for most of their lives as hermits, without any managers or hierarchy or even teams. He is confused by this word, “leadership,” and asks you what it means. How would you describe it?

A government official once answered that question by saying that leadership is power. I noted that this was a pleasingly simple and easy-to-understand definition, and he nodded agreement. Then I brought up the possibility that a robber might hold him at gunpoint, forcing him to hand over his wallet.

The robber would certainly have power over him, but it would be difficult to argue that the robber was actually ‘leading’ anyone. In the end, we agreed that there was likely more to leadership than just power.

A manager I worked with answered that question by saying that leadership is exhibited when your employees respect you, so they get things done. I told her that I liked the sound of it, but wondered whether this was really leadership itself, or the outcome of leadership? Was it possible that respect and effectiveness were the things that resulted from good leadership, rather than the leadership itself? What, then, are the actual leadership behaviors that would result in these good outcomes?

A senior corporate executive in a training seminar answered that question by saying that leadership is just treating people well. Everyone in attendance liked this definition, but I had to wonder: was that really all leadership was? Surely you could argue that treating people well is part of leadership, but is treating people well really enough to lead them? What about holding them accountable? What about getting things done, as the manager had suggested? The last time I ate at Wendy’s, the salesperson behind the counter treated me very well. Was he leading me?

A janitor at a company I used to work at answered that question by saying that leaders are servants. This was a very different answer than I was used to hearing, so I asked him to tell me more. He told me that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said that serving others is the most important definition of greatness, and that by serving others, we teach them to care about us, each other, and the world around them. Through that care, they would be motivated to go forth and accomplish great things.

Personally, I like the janitor’s answer the best. He taught me something that day.

Former U.S. President and World War II General Dwight D. Eisenhower (the first American general to eat meals with his enlisted men, rather than in the officer’s tent) once said that leadership was the art of getting people to do what you want them to do, because they want to do it. And how do you make them want to do, what you want them to do? You don’t coerce, you don’t order, and you don’t merely treat them well: you ask questions, you listen, you help, and you persuade. You learn what their goals are, and you find alignment in how working toward the organization’s goals, or the community’s goals, or even society’s goals, can help you both. You provide them with the training and resources to succeed in your new mutual goals. You push them to ever-higher levels, believing in them and ensuring they have all of the skills and knowledge they need to reach their potentials. You learn from them by listening, and try to teach them what you can in turn. You build their self-confidence, and motivate them to help others just the way you, hopefully, are helping them.

Many have said that there is a leadership crisis in the world. It is difficult to argue with this statement, although this crisis is not a new problem. It is possible that the reason we can’t seem to find good leaders, is that we have not yet agreed on what a good leader is. We are drawn to charismatic and sometimes narcissistic individuals, assuming that their smooth speeches and visionary talking points are the marks of a leader, without thinking through what it is we really want from a leader. We are conditioned to see leadership as a position of power, a title to be held or an honor to be bestowed, rather than something that any of us could do, at any time, from any job. We unfortunately view leadership as something on a pedestal, something distant, rather than something that could be practiced by anyone – like a janitor.

Leadership is about putting the people around you first – being a servant – such that they collectively are able to accomplish goals that they previously could never have attempted. Leaders point the way to those ambitious goals, and help their colleagues find ways to reach them together.

The mark of a great leader is not accolades and awards, but rather that the people around her have grown and succeeded. The great leader is not necessarily the person who is elected to a political post, or the manager who skyrockets up a company’s chain of command: it’s the team member who constantly has to replace his team, because they keep growing and getting promoted.

The boss asks, “What are you going to do today? How are you going to hit your goals? How is the company going to be better, because you were a part of it?” The leader asks, “How can I help you accomplish our goals today?”

Being a boss is as simple as giving orders, promising raises and promotions, and threatening punishments. Being a leader is much more difficult, as you have to be humble, you have to listen, and you have to put your team first.

You have to learn about them, develop them, and show them how they can be even more than what they are.

Would you rather work for a boss or a leader? Would you rather be a boss or a leader?