My distractions

From Values to Action

I am in a professional leadership course and have several required reading books. This past month's book was: From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership by Harry M. Kraemer. The reasoning behind this choice was to get the class thinking about values. This book does that, and much more.

Mr Kraemer provides leadership lessons through reflecting on his experience of working his way up from cubicle life to CEO of a large company. He concentrates on 4 principles to guide values-based leaders.

The only way to meaningfully lead others, in my opinion, is to inspire, motivate, and influence the group to move the organization forward in-line with a vision and mission statement. Leaders who lead with values are able to pull this off.

The 4 principles are:

  1. Self Reflection
    • Take time to reflect
  2. Balance
    • Ability to understand all sides of an issue
  3. True Self-confidence
    • Helps you appreciate your strengths, talents, and accomplishments, while also acknowledging the areas in which you need development
  4. Genuine humility
    • should not forget where you started

As said on p7:

Perhaps there's no greater benefit of becoming a values-based leader than setting the standard for the rest of the organization so that it, too, focuses on what matters most.

One of my favorite parts is when he describes life buckets. This is the concept that we all have 168 hrs a week to use as we desire. We plop our lives into buckets of time for the week. he describes an exercise (which I plan on publishing mine soon) where you make a table and write out a desired time for each of your identified life buckets.

From the middle part of the book, we learned the essential parts of a values-based organization:

  1. Have Strong Values

    • Communicating your values also helps set expectations for what behavior is acceptable and what is not acceptable. p80
  2. Have a Phenomenal Team

    • Picking the right people must come before setting the direction. p95
  3. Set a Clear Direction

    • Every person...must have a clear understanding of exactly what needs to be done, and how those actions fit into the bigger picture. p111
  4. Use Effective Communication

    • ...committing to effective communication produces a better return on that investment of time than if you relied on a shortcut, such as a hastily written e-mail or a voice mail you leave for your team. p126
  5. Motivate the Team

    • ...if you want to know if you are an effective leader, turn around. p133
  6. Execute and implement the strategy

    • Most of the time when you lose, it is not so much a result of making the wrong decision as it is waiting too long to make a decision. p162

Some interesting thoughts from the book (with my highlights):

If you prioritize one hundred things, then there is only [one first priority], one second-place priority, and so forth. p18

Engaging in self-reflection on a regular, ongoing bases keeps you from becoming so caught up in the momentum of the situation that you get carried away and consider actions and decision that are not aligned with who you are and what you want to do with your life. p22

Self-reflection can serve as a wake-up call [to live your life more fully in the present]. p25

Balance is the ability to see issues, problems, and questions from all angles, including from differing viewpoints, even those that are diametrically opposed to mine. p28

Listening to each team member brings another incredible advantage to any leader: it helps create a phenomenal team. p30

Leadership is not a democracy. My job as the leader is to seek input, not consensus. p31

As a leader, you must not only balance your professional and personal life but also model this thought process for others. p35

Unless you measure how you spend your time, you cannot make meaningful changes that will positively impact the quality of your life and, by extension, your leadership. p38

True self-confidence is an inner quality that establishes your leadership and enables you to empower your team. p45

...because you cannot be good at everything, you lead with your strengths and recognize those individuals who excel in areas in which you are not as proficient and whose abilities are complementary to yours. p58

Genuine humility will enhance every dimension of your life. p60

Within an organization there are no secrets. Everything you do as a leader - how you operate, how you treat people, how you present yourself - is visible to everyone. Your leadership is literally 24/7. p75

Your ability to influence people...depends significantly on their ability to appreciate your values. p79

People should know what they do well and what they don't do well, and a developmental plan should be in place to help them improve over time. p104

To know what people are really thinking, you need to make the environment safe for those who are willing to speak up and give feedback. p119

 ...the job of a leader is twofold. The first responsibility is to think about strategy...the second is to make sure that the team executes and implements the strategy. p154

The strategic process determines where you are today, where you want to go, and what you want to become. p156

As soon as you have [the necessary information], even if it is incomplete, [get moving!] p163

[Change + Uncertainty = Chaos]. We know there will be change; that is a given. Therefore, the less uncertainty you create, the less chaos that will result. [Your priority as a leader is to reduce the amount of uncertainty that surrounds change]. p 175

[Controversy requires swift and firm action]. p176 is common for leaders to confuse activity with productivity." p5


beekeeping booklists chess family how-to life music productivity quotes race-plans race-results races runs sundays sundays, quotes