Monday, March 20, 2017

The challenge of leadership

In those days, in their thirst for water,the people grumbled against Moses,saying, "Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?"
"Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?"
So Moses cried out to the LORD, "What shall I do with this people?A little more and they will stone me!" Exodus 17:3-7

Today, we call them arm chair quarterbacks. 

When things are going well we can't find a fault with a magnifying glass. When they aren't, well, everyone knows WE could have accomplished the task quicker and with less controversy or drama.

"Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?"

Despite the seminars, webinars and the you-too-can-be-an-effective-leader-in-twenty five-days-or-less; it's never easy. A friend of mine used to say Wal-Mart's been out of crystal balls for years. 

I've worked with some great leaders in my life. I've distilled  it to the the three things I believe are essential to being an effective leader.


I don't care how motivated you are, if you do not posses a skill set you will never have credibility with the people you are looking to lead.  Inspirational speeches are retained for roughly twenty five minutes after they are completed. If there is no substance, no guidance or direction, after awhile our people lose faith in us. 

We lose our integrity. 

I help new business owners create a foundation  that gets  them  started on the right foot and increases their chances for success. I've owned my own business for over seventeen years. I know what helps and I know what hurts and when I sit down with a client they feel comfortable and confident. I know who I CANT help and that increases my value in the marketplace. 

I spent part of my career in human resource management and early in my consulting gig I did lottsa interviewing and resume reviews for my clients. When someone comes to me and asks for help in preparing for an interview I can guide them based on my knowledge and the skills I acquired over my career

It's a matter of knowledge over opinion and opinions are like elbows - Everyone has one.

One of my very first coaching clients called me early one morning and his voice was a bit shaky! He'd recently been promoted to president and CEO of his company and he'd had a terrible cold for the past two weeks. No matter how hard he tried he couldn't get over the blahs. 

Then it started. 

I bet they're gonna sell the company! Did you see the worried look on the bosses face. He's under a lotta stress!

I heard there are gonna be layoffs. 

What do I do? he asked me

Tell em you're sick


I explained to him that people in leadership are under a microscope. Their every move is examined and evaluated and when we see signs of stress or worry we do what we always do - Assume the worst. 

Real leadership is hard work. It's why there are so very few real leaders.

It's not about passion. 

It's not about a slip of paper that says you have a degree in leadership. 

It's a blend of desire, knowledge and courage. No matter how hard the wind is blowing you maintain the confidence you have in your skills to lead. 

Years ago I had a supervisor who would close his door every afternoon about a half an hour before the work day ended. He was not to be disturbed. After I'd worked with him for a year or so I asked him what he did during that time. 

He smiled and told me to come to his office. 

On his desk was a legal pad and a pen. Written on the paper were 4 things he was going to do the next day when he arrived at work. Each day built on the next and if life, or work in our case, got in the way of completing his daily goals he carried them over to the next day. 

It allowed him to keep focused on what was going on that day and helped him plan for the days ahead. 

Through his consistent leadership we knew what was expected on a day to day basis. 

Skills + Confidence + Goals = No Surprises. 

Moses walked around the desert for 40 years on what should have been an 11 week journey. In short, it took 40 years to get it right. 

Can I ask you something? 

Do you have that kind of time?

John Jurkiewicz is the owner and operator of  New Career Creations a unique approach to happiness and success in our lives through gaining satisfaction and fulfillment in our careers. He has over forty years of experience in operation management, human resource management, training and development and has owned his own business for close to 17 years. John is certified as a life coach, a career coach, and an intuitive career coach.  He and his wife Joan have been married for over 42 years

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Don't Quit

I've had the opportunity to work with a number of interesting people during my career.

Some of them are memorable.

Steve was one of those people.

He was thrust into a leadership role and asked to salvage a company that was teetering on the brink of collapse. He'd never managed more that 5 people during his career and now he was faced with leading close to a thousand people at different locations.

He had hired me as his HR Director.

When things got to be challenging and it didn't look like we were going to pull through Steve would gather his team in a conference room and read to us.

"When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow - You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out - The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit - It's when things seem worst that you must not quit."

He'd look up from the podium, smile and say Okay, lets get back to work. 

No great speeches or insights, butt busting or rallying cry. 

He left it there, hanging in the air. 

He left it there and so will I