leadership

A ‘Hare’ Raising BIG Fuss: A Small Trademark Wrecks a National Monument

(Picture: AP)The new Nelson Mandela statue at the Union Buildings. The statue is 9m high and made of bronze. (Helen Zille, Twitter)

I just read a news item of a small matter that has become such a big matter in South Africa. Its not completely unexpected – this is Nelson Mandela’s statue we are talking about. Here is the story – the sculptors who did the 9 metre Mandela statue wanted to put their trademark rabbit on the statue. They decided the best place to do it would be in Nelson Mandela’s ear  – how dare you!

The little rabbit is barely noticeable to the naked eye – but some prying long lens camera or binoculars picked it up. Then all hell broke loose. This small rabbit cannot stain the big person of Mandela. The little rabbit must go! The little rabbit probably costs less than USD1 compared to the almost USD1 million dollars cost of the statue.

Just a few thoughts ran through my mind and as usual I thought of some lessons:

  1. The small things in life have the potential to damage big things
  2. Little harmless actions can have serious unintended consequences – imagine a little trademark rabbit has become a sign of big disrespect!
  3. Always check the small stuff – ‘the rabbit is in the detail’

EXTRAORDINARY DECISIONS need EXTRAORDINARY REFLECTION

The New Year requires making a lot of key decisions. Your life is shaped by the decisions you make and fail to make. The quality of your decision making process impacts the quality of your decisions. Jesus chose his twelve disciples after much consideration. These twelve went on to impact the world. How did he do it?

“And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued ALL NIGHT in prayer to God.
And when it was DAY, he called unto him his disciples:and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles” – Luke 6:12-13

It’s extraordinary that Jesus didn’t go in the valley – but went to the top of the mountain. Let me unravel this.

KEY LIFE LESSONS HIDDEN HERE:

1. Never make major decisions backed by minor prayers
2. When you spend time in the night with God you will see clearly in the day before man
3. To make major decisions take an elevated view – Jesus went up the mountain

Declaration

I make sound decisions. I gather enough facts and information backed by prayer to make impactful decisions.

How To Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

There is a story from ancient Israel of a man who was paralyzed for 38 years. He lived by a pool that was called Bethsaida. This pool had healing powers. An angel would come periodically and stir the pool – if any sick person jumped into the pool at that time, they would get healed. This man for 38 years desired to be healed. Jesus turned up one day and saw the man. All the man could tell Jesus was “There is nobody to help me into the pool”. He was looking for a pity party. Jesus responded with three verbs: “Stand up, pick up your bed and walk” The gap between wholeness and 38 years of lameness was just ACTION!

Many dream few execute. Many desire and few perspire. Action must now succeed where words have failed. Action is the spark in your dream. I want to share with you four principles critical to executing your dreams.

Principle One – Change Your Mentality

You cant be winning in life if you are losing in your mind. The lame man had a dependency mentality. For 38 years he was waiting for someone to help him get into the miraculous pool. It never happened. Execution of your dream is one thing you can never delegate. Your dream hears your voice. What YOU can conceive YOU can achieve. You have the power to turn your dreams into reality.

Principle Two – Change Posture

Position determines possession. The man had been sitting for 38 years. Jesus asked him to change his posture – “stand up!” Execution sometimes requires that you change your methods.

Principle Three: Change Your Focus

You become what you behold. For 38 years this man focused on his inability to get into the pool. He had a deficit inquiry than appreciative inquiry approach to issues. He looked at what was not working rather than what could work. Positive focus is the force that turns dreams into reality.

Principle Four – Action, Action and Action

Action is the bridge between your dream and reality. It is instructive that Jesus did not make a hell shaking prayer or sing a powerful hymn for this lame man to be made whole. He gave a simple command – stand up, pick up your bed and walk. 3 verbs! Therein rests the greatest key to executing your dreams – action. I want to persuade you to turn the great ideas from thin paper to thick action. That song must be sung. The book must be published. That business must get busy. The project must get off the ground.

Rise up; pick up your ideas and fly!

Keys To Make Your Vision A Reality

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“A vision on its own is not enough. Hard work and dedication is required to make that vision a reality” – Strive Masiyiwa

To be the best in life you have to learn from the best. I was reading quotes from the richest Africans and got some interesting thoughts to share. Read article http://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2013/11/13/20-inspirational-quotes-from-the-richest-africans/

Success is a not a microwave or pop corn affair – it’s work! In this generation of instant coffee, microwave, minute noodles and dot com boom there is a temptation to think success comes easy. Easy come easy goes…lasting success is work.

Let’s get to the best book I use on success for some really inspired thoughts:

“When Jesus saw his ministry DRAWING huge crowds, he CLIMBED a hillside. Those who were APPRENTICED to him, the COMMITTED , CLIMBED with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and TAUGHT his CLIMBING companions” – Matthew 5:1-2 (MSG BIBLE)

There is some interesting lessons right here:

1. Don’t follow the crowds. Success is not for the crowds, Jesus screened crowds by climbing a hillside. He knew that not everyone had the willpower to climb the hillside. Not everyone is willing to pay the price for success
2. To succeed you need to be apprenticed – be teachable, get a mentor, a coach and learn from the best. Only the taught managed to climb the hillside with Jesus. Who is your mentor or coach?
3. Success is not caught, it’s taught. Jesus gave the famous “beatitudes lecture” to those who were willing to be a taught. A leader is a reader. Never stop learning.
4. It’s a quiet at the top …aim for the top where there is. less noise and where you can see things clearly. Jesus went to the hillside. Never be satisfied with the mundane and the mediocre.

Aim for the top. Push the bar always and your vision will become a reality.

The Power of Association

General Colin Powell wrote this about the power of association, “The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity” Its a fact! I have a different revelation to this though. I want to share the same quote wearing my appreciative inquiry glasses “The more you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you celebrate excellence in others, it increases your excellence” One of the greatest lessons I have learnt in life is that between you and your next level of success is a person – just get the right connection and you will go to the next level. Today I was reflecting on the impact that Jesus had on his disciples:

“When the Council saw the boldness of Peter and John and could see that they were obviously uneducated non- professionals, they were amazed and realized what being with Jesus had done for them!”

These simple man became overnight celebrities based on a simple qualification – “they had been with Jesus”. Their association with Jesus was a game changer. It gave their gloomy, inglorious lives an EXTREME MAKEOVER…overnight. This is the power of association. Here are some nuggets to chew over the weekend:

1. Your alignment determines your assignment
2. Your position determines your possession
3. Who you see determines who sees you
4. Perception influences acceleration
5. Your network determines your networth

If I had time I would share about how an orphan called Lot became so rich, just by being with Abraham …the power of association!

Little Man With a BIG Idea: The Power of Goals

“…Zacchaues…wanted DESPERATELY to see Jesus, but the CROWD was in his WAY––he was a SHORT MAN and COULDNT see over the crowd. So he RAN on ahead and CLIMBED UP in a sycamore tree so he COULD see Jesus…”- Luke 19:2-4 (MSG)

I was reflecting on this story. Zacchaues had a simple goal – he wanted to meet the biggest celebrity of his day – Jesus. But there was a little problem – Zacchaues was a little man! Jesus rolled with huge crowds. Tiny Zacchaues had no chance of getting to see Jesus. BUT he had some idea – ‘get up the big tree little man, and grab attention’. It worked – he caught the attention of Jesus.

If you are reading this I know you have goals. How desperate are you about achieving those goals? Your frustration must be your foundation. Think about what Zacchaues did:

1. Let your desperation be your inspiration. He was desperate to see Jesus and he was inspired to do something about it. Do something about your goals.
2. Focus on the clouds not the crowds…it’s crowded at the bottom. When you look up, you will spot opportunities. He looked up and saw a sycamore tree
3. Don’t run away from problems – hidden in every problem is the solution. He “ran on ahead”
4. A problem is not solved at the same level at which it was created…Zacchaues climbed up a tree
5. Be innovative – when there is no way, create another way.

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. When you come short your faith makes up!

Your Thoughts Attract Your Desire

What you perceive, you will conceive. What you conceive you will achieve

A few days ago I was traveling with a team from work. We passed through a place where I buy my favorite Aloe Vera. I really wanted to grab a few bottles but we were out of time. I didn’t talk to anybody about it, I thought about it. Some few minutes later, a colleague just said ” O I have got your favorite drink” pulling two ice cold bottles of Aloe Vera from their bag. I was dumbfounded. I was reminded of this scripture:

Ephesians 3:20
Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] —

A few points I want you to think about:

1. Your thoughts are a forcefield – they attract that which you desire
2. What you ardently DESIRE will TRANSPIRE
3. Solutions and answers gravitate towards the area of greatest need, but your heart needs to be ready to receive
4. What you PERCEIVE, you will RECEIVE
5. Your life goes in the direction of your thoughts

This week I wanted to challenge you to think the right thoughts. Create an atmosphere for possibilities and answers by meditation on the positive, the good, the lovely and the pure. There is no thought too small, or too big – this principle of thought works the same all the time.

8 Different Ways to Get Great Ideas

We asked eight innovative Stanford GSB alumni entrepreneurs including Kiva’s Jessica Jackley (MBA ’07) and Design Within Reach’s Rob Forbes (MBA ’85) to shed light on how they come up with their best ideas. From collaborating with others, to observing consumer behavior, to taking naps, read tips for boosting your creativity:

1. “Interrupt the logical mind and allow space to daydream”
“What inspires me is beauty and the human desire and capacity to create it. I listen to Glen Gould’s piano pieces or other acoustic music in the morning. My best ideas come randomly. I take naps and steam baths. You need to interrupt the logical mind and allow space to daydream.

Einstein said the theory of relativity came to him when he was riding a bike. The best ideas will not come from slamming three espressos and grinding it out, but rather at weird moments: in the middle of the night, when you are traveling on a train, when you are receptive to oblique inspiration and the suspension of disbelief. Zen teachers refer to this as ‘the beginner’s mind, where possibilities are many.’ We are all too finely tuned. Our mind uses us more than we use our mind.”

 

— Rob Forbes (MBA ’85), Founder of Design Within Reach and PUBLIC Bikes
Read the full interview

 

2. Listen and reflect
“Every real insight I’ve had has come from being a good listener. I need to have time for quiet reflection to digest it and consider how it affects me, to figure out my voice and how I can contribute to that story.”

— Jessica Jackley (MBA ’07), Cofounder of Kiva
Read the full interview

3. Expand the “adjacent possible”
“I have worked in so many different industries and niches: big companies, small companies, government, for-profit, not-for-profit, etc. For me, it is about expanding the adjacent possible. Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, explains that the world is full of many possibilities, but only certain things can happen. Only by opening doors to new opportunities — a new adjacent possible — can you create what I call a palace of possibilities. I have more doors open — a larger palace of possibilities — than most people, so I can see connections others may not see. My best ideas come from this collage of experiences.”

— Denise Brosseau (MBA ’93), CEO of Thought Leadership Lab
Read the full interview

4. Don’t seek out great ideas
“Great ideas find you. I don’t think you find great ideas. As a venture capitalist, you don’t come up with ideas. The entrepreneurs come up with the ideas. It is a lot harder to be an entrepreneur than to be a venture capitalist. And the great ideas that lead to great businesses generally find the entrepreneur, not the other way around. The ones where the entrepreneur is looking for the idea tend to result in flips. Look at Microsoft. EBay. Dropbox. Airbnb. None of those guys was looking to start a business. The ideas just hit them. The great ones just know.”

— Lecturer Andy Rachleff (MBA ‘84), Cofounder of Wealthfront Inc
Read the full interview

5. Collaborate with others
“I come up with my best ideas by engaging and talking with other people. Great ideas are not solitary things. Feedback from other people is the best catalyst.”

— Trae Vassallo (MBA ’00), General Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Read the full interview

6. Spend time away from your industry
“I get my best ideas when I get off the grid and detach myself from my industry. Spending time thinking about fashion, toys, or architecture frees me up to think imaginatively. It’s hard to be innovative when you are stuck in your own industry. You see artificial boundaries around what you can and can’t do.”

— Laura Ching (MBA ’00), Cofounder of Tiny Prints
Read the full interview

7. Observe consumer behavior and culture
“I enjoy observing consumer behavior and culture. I like to envision what could be, and I ask myself: Why isn’t this better? How could it be better? I start to play out that scenario in my head. The best ideas come out of pain points I experience in my daily life and based on what I learned of gaps in financial services at Progreso. I am already working on my next company.”

— James Gutierrez (MBA ’05), Founder of Progreso Financiero
Read the full interview

8. Free up your mind
“For some reason more ideas come to me when I am near water — even taking a bath. I just did a weeklong meditation retreat. Freeing up the mind is a good way to get to inspiration. We fill our lives with so little space. Inspiration looks for crevices to parachute into. The fewer crevices you create in your life, the less likely you are to have inspiration come through you. You need to allow yourself to be a vessel so that something can come through you.”

—Chip Conley (MBA ’84), Founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels