Your Two Words

SecretNote: This is a Guest Post by author and leadership expert, Mark Miller. Enjoy!!

I recently wrote a post entitled, Just Two Words. At that time, I encouraged you think deeply about what you do – and to articulate your answer in just two words. The feedback on that activity has been extremely positive. The following are some of your responses…

  • Share stories
  • Encourage leaders
  • Serve public
  • Love people
  • Multiply disciples
  • Trust God
  • Grow giants
  • Be authentic
  • Teach Christ
  • Pursue excellence
  • Encourage diversity
  • Mentor leaders
  • Fathering leadership
  • Convene conversations
  • Serve others

What a fantastic list!

What if you don’t know the answer; or just can’t narrow it down to just two words? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Ask yourself the following questions (each answer should only be two words)

What do I think I was born to do?

What would I do if I could do anything I wanted?

Where do I add the most value in this word?

What is the highest and best use of your time and talent?

What do you currently do that brings you the most energy?

  1. Ask close friends and family members what their two words would be for you. You may be surprised what they’ll say.
  2. One other tip to consider – it may be helpful to start your two words with a verb. Remember, you’re trying to articulate what you DO.

The truth is, leaders do many things and we must do them all well. However, there’s power in clarity.  So, my suggestion is for you to get really clear on your two words and then organize your life so you can live in alignment with your stated ambition.

If you’ve not already accepted the challenge, give it a try. If you can say what you do succinctly – in just two words, you’ll have a better chance of living it out on a daily basis.

My answer to the two-word challenge was: Serve Leaders. I hope this post has served you well.

Enjoy the journey!

Mark Miller, Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness for Chick-fil-A, believes that leadership is not something that’s exclusive; within the grasp of an elite few, but beyond the reach of everyone else.  In the tenth anniversary edition of The Secret, Miller reminds readers of a seemingly contradictory concept: to lead is to serve. With more than 600,000 books in print, Mark has been surprised by the response and delighted to serve leaders through his writing.

The 10th anniversary edition of The Secret was released September 2, 2014.

Guard Your Heart

This is a guest post from Mark Miller.  Mark’s latest book is, The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow.

Originally Posted on greatleadersserve.org on Wednesday, September 4, 2013

GUARD YOUR HEART!

The Heart of Leadership is built upon a simple premise: unless your heart is right, no one cares about your skills. This may sound harsh, but it’s true. If people don’t trust our heart, they don’t trust us. If they don’t trust us – they won’t follow our leadership.

That’s the idea the book is built upon, and when we demonstrate leadership character, others see it. They see it as leadership character in action. They see it when we…

HUNGER FOR WISDOM

EXPECT THE BEST

ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY

RESPOND WITH COURAGE

THINK OTHERS FIRST

But why does this matter? Aren’t we just supposed to get results? If you’ve been leading long, you know you can get results without creating follow-ship. Results can be the byproduct of a very toxic workplace and poor relationships with those you lead. The irony of this approach is two-fold. It is not the way to maximize results. And, it is not sustainable over the long haul.

There is a vast reservoir of untapped potential in most people and in turn, most organizations — potential that goes unused and wasted. It resides in the discretionary efforts of our people. The day of the hired hands is dead. Leaders operating from that perspective are the dinosaurs of our day. As Peter Drucker said, “We are all knowledge workers.” The implications for leaders…

For every pair of hands you hire, you get a free brain.

Our challenge is to create the context and the work environment to mine that potential, to capitalize on that FREE brain. It starts with us. People don’t leave organizations, they leave their supervisor. Are we becoming leaders people want to follow? Or, are we driving talent away from our team?

Yes, we need the skills of leadership. I’ve devoted decades of my life to helping leaders acquire the requisite skills to lead well, but skills alone are not the answer. I’ll go back to where I started this post and to the premise of the book. If your heart is not right, no one cares about your skills. You and I will be dismissed as a leader if all we bring to the table are skills.

Leaders rarely fail for lack of skills. Certainly you can find examples of this, but in my experience, for every leader who fails because she can’t build a team or cast vision, countless others disqualify themselves for issues of the heart. The good news, we can change the condition of our heart. If we couldn’t, I wouldn’t have written the book.

So, what’s my point? I want to encourage you to be vigilant and diligent – give adequate attention to matters of the heart. It is much more important than most leaders think – it is critical. These are not soft issues; these are issues that ultimately determine our impact on the world!

There is an ancient proverb that summarizes why the matters of the heart matter so much – it captures my thoughts as well as I could ever hope to…

ABOVE ALL ELSE, GUARD YOUR HEART. EVERYTHING YOU DO FLOWS FROM IT.

Mark Miller, well known business leader, best-selling author, and communicator, is excited about sharing The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow with those who are ready to take the next step. You can find it on Amazon and in bookstores everywhere.

Remember the Heroes Today

Image courtesy of Carlos Porto/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever had the opportunity to meet one of your heroes in person?

I’ve been able to meet two of my leadership heroes, John Maxwell and Zig Ziglar.  For more years than I can remember, I have read their books, listened to their audio recordings and heard them speak in person. I’ve learned much from the teaching of these two encouraging giants. Here’s how the two meetings came about.

I went to a local church to hear John Maxwell speak about leadership principles from the life of a man in the Bible named Paul.  Following his excellent talk, he invited people to come forward to meet him and offered to sign books. I was the first in line!  John was gracious, warm and kind.  I asked him to sign his book Today Matters, one of my personal favorites. When John handed the book back to me, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Todd, this is the most life changing book I’ve ever written.”  I agreed that it is.  I thanked him and went on my way with renewed purpose to make today matter.

Meeting Zig Ziglar was more indirect, but no less uplifting. I was a monthly subscriber to Zig’s fantastic online learning and personal growth site, Success 2.0.  Due to a job change, I had to end my subscription so I contacted customer service to ask that it be cancelled right away.  I got a gracious note back from Cindy Oates saying that it would be done by the end of the day.  A couple weeks later, when I checked my credit card statement I saw that the monthly charge remained.  I contacted Cindy and asked again.  She removed the charge immediately.  In Cindy’s email reply, she said she’d like to make it up to me by getting “Dad” to sign one of his books of my choice.  I had no idea that Cindy was related to Zig, but thankful that she went the extra mile to make my week.  True to her word, about two days later, I got an autographed copy of the Zig Ziglar classic, See You at the Top.

Our personal heroes are heroes because they don’t disappoint. They come through for us in the clutch. They struggle with fears and doubts just like everyone else, but in the end, their actions match their message. Heroes seize daily opportunities to put someone else’s needs before their own.

We don’t need to be famous to be a hero. Heroes come in every shape and size and from every circumstance in life. Heroes act while others just talk.

We can all be a hero to someone. We may not know who is watching or waiting for us to respond. But when we do, we make someone’s journey a little bit easier and their burden a little bit lighter.

Today matters because are remembering the 9/11 attack on America.  A day that called out heroes like no other day in recent memory.  Thank God, that day in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania there were ordinary people who became heroes. First responders who said, “today matters to someone.”  Rescuers who entered the World Trade Center towers saying, “I will see you at the top.”  They came through for us in the clutch and we are forever in their debt.

Remember the heroes today.

Be a hero to someone today.