Get Your Free eBook

GET IT NOW! Rory Vaden eBook

Sign up to receive my Daily Discipline blog posts via e-mail and get a copy of my popular e-mini book of quotes FREE.

Get a free Rory Vaden e-book!

What Leadership Really Is

It’s possible that you think of leadership completely wrong.

It’s possible that you don’t even accurately understand what leadership really is.

Because for whatever reason, we often think of the leader as the person who is elevated.

We think of the leader as the boss who should be feared and respected.

We think of the leader as the person in charge and the person who calls the shots.

And because we sometimes think about leadership in that way, then when by pursuit or circumstance we get designated as the leader, that’s how we think it should be.

We think we should be elevated.

We think we should be the boss.

We think we should call the shots.

But we are wrong.

Or that is at least an immature understanding of leadership.

Over the years at Southwestern Consulting we’ve had the opportunity to work with great leaders, coach great leaders, and we’ve been lucky to have been mentored directly by great leaders.

One of them, CEO of the Southwestern Family of Companies Henry Bedford, taught us early on that one of the jobs of the leader is to remove barriers from people on the front lines.

He taught us that leadership is not about having the fancy back corner office but that the important work is done on the front lines.

He taught us that leadership is not about having people working for you but about having people and a mission for whom it is worth working for.

In simple terms, he and other mature leaders like Ken Blanchard, have taught us that leadership is about service.

It’s not about being served; it’s about serving.

It’s not about being protected; it’s about protecting.

It’s not about being revered; it’s about revering.

But serving doesn’t mean you’re weak. And it doesn’t mean you just do whatever people want you to do.

It means you look out for the best interest of the team.

It means you protect the pursuit of the mission.

It means you strive to provide for the people in your care.

And it means you lay down and move beyond your own ego and dedicate yourself to elevating the status and survival of the collective.

In short, leadership means serving.

So if serving is beneath you, then perhaps leadership is beyond you.

How to Finish what you start with Jon Acuff – Episode 211 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of five books including Do Over: Make today the first day of your new career,and his newest book, Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done.

For 20 years he’s helped some of the biggest brands in the world tell their story, including The Home Depot, Bose, Staples, and the Dave Ramsey Team. Most recently he’s spoken to hundreds of thousands of people at conferences, colleges, companies and churches. Featured regularly on national media, Jon has been seen on CNN, Fox News, Good Day LA and several other key outlets.

In addition, Jon is also a big proponent of social media with blogs that have been read by 4 million people and more than 290,000 twitter followers. In 2010 he used his influence with his tribe to build two kindergartens in Vietnam. Jon lives with his wife Jenny and two daughters in Franklin, TN.

Show Highlights:

Which lessons about goals work and which are causing damage? @JonAcuff

“Shoot for the moon so you’ll land with the stars” doesn’t actually work. @JonAcuff

Most people judge goals on a pass/fail scale. @JonAcuff

You can have a big goal, but you should have steps along the way. @JonAcuff

Most goal advice is given as if you are a robot without emotions. @JonAcuff

As a leader, if you consistently set the wrong goal you create a culture of distrust. @JonAcuff

The breakroom tells the truth, the boardroom doesn’t. @JonAcuff

We live in a world with limitless distractions and bottomless opportunities. @JonAcuff

Most people tell their goals to their friends the wrong way. @JonAcuff

When you have a goal, you can choose shame or strategy. @JonAcuff

Often, we want complicated solutions, in part, because we don’t have to do them. @JonAcuff

Rory shares how to immediately increase your self-discipline. @rory_vaden

Finishing is a habit. @rory_vaden

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

3 Ways to Outperform Your Competition

There is a lot of value for any organization to be gained from being “best in class, #1, champion, or industry leader, etc.”

But with so much competition and so much universal availability of resources, how can you consistently rise above and outperform your competition or even just outperform your own potential?

Simple.

Regardless of whether you’re trying to beat someone else or just break your own personal records, it brings us back to 3 truths that remain timeless and relevant even in a world of constant change and technological advancement.

1. Work Longer – Work more hours than anyone else or than you ever have before. There is so much power in sheer volume. Don’t underestimate it. Find a way to take time from insignificant activities you’re engaging in to reallocate towards your goals that really matter. (Hint: if you’re watching the US average of 27 hours a week of television, start there!)

It’s also not just your own total personal hours (which should of course always be maximized in the direction of your key priorities) but that of your team as well. When you grow your trained staff, you’re growing the total number of hours being invested into the achievement of your mission.

2. Work Faster – Become more efficient. Stay more focused. And increase your sense of urgency to squeeze the ultimate value out of each second out of yourself and your team every single day. If you can eliminate distractions or unnecessary work from yourself and your team that will give you instant lift.

Also, as discussed in our most recent book Procrastinate on Purpose, “automation is to your time what compounding interest is to your money.” So, anything that can be automated, operationalized, or streamlined should be because over the long haul you will get ROTI Return on Time Invested. Most of all though it’s your own internal intention, focus, and discipline that needs to be mastered.

3. Work Smarter – There is such a thing as “a sharper axe.” So, it does make sense to be intelligent and strategic. For example, if you’re in sales, learn to master asking for referrals, prospect by vertical markets, use scripts and get a sales coach.

If you’re a small business owner learn the tools that will help you scale your business and generate leads.

If you’re busy at all, learn to multiply your time by spending time on things today that create more time tomorrow.

If you’re a leader, create the space you need to spend time developing your people. You also could get a leadership coach to shortcut your learning curve.

But never use working smarter as an excuse or justification for working less.

And never use the excuse that if you can’t work longer for some reason that you still can’t find a way to beat your best.

Because it’s not just about working smarter or working faster, or working longer.

When it comes to outperforming your potential, it’s always about a combination of all of the above.

Leading Like Jesus with Ken Blanchard – Episode 209 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Ken Blanchard is a prominent, sought-after author, speaker, and business consultant. He is respected for his lifetime of groundbreaking research and thought leadership that has influenced the day-to-day management and leadership of people and companies throughout the world.

With a passion to turn every leader into a servant leader, Ken shares his insightful and powerful message with audiences around the world through speeches, consulting services, and bestselling books. When Ken speaks, he speaks from the heart with warmth and humor. No matter how large the audience, he is able to communicate with each person as if the two of them were alone and talking one on one. He is a sophisticated storyteller with a knack for making the seemingly complex easy to understand.

Ken’s impact as an author is far reaching. His iconic 1982 classic, The One Minute Manager, coauthored with Spencer Johnson, has sold more than 13 million copies and remains on bestseller lists today. In the past three decades he has authored or coauthored 60 books whose combined sales total more than 21 million copies. His groundbreaking works—including Raving Fans, The Secret, and Leading at a Higher Level, to name just a few—have been translated into more than 42 languages. In 2005 Ken was inducted into Amazon’s Hall of Fame as one of the top 25 bestselling authors of all time.

Dr. Ken Blanchard is the cofounder and Chief Spiritual Officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies, an international management training and consulting firm that he and his wife, Margie Blanchard, began in 1979 in San Diego, California. In addition to being a renowned speaker, author and consultant, Ken is a trustee emeritus of the Board of Trustees at his alma mater, Cornell University, and he also teaches students in the Master of Science in Executive Leadership Program at the University of San Diego.

Show Highlights:

The important thing about leadership is not what happens when you’re there but what happens when you’re not there. @kenblanchard

Jesus understood servant leadership. @kenblanchard

There are two parts to servant leadership. @kenblanchard

You work for them – Jesus did this symbolically by washing their feet. @kenblanchard

In sales, if it’s all about you people are going to read through that. @kenblanchard

Great salesmen focus on their relationship with the person they’re working with. @kenblanchard

Results come when you develop great relationships. @kenblanchard

Jesus didn’t come to start a religion, he came to build a relationship. @kenblanchard

As a leader, you must manage the present while preparing for the future. @kenblanchard

The biggest addiction in the world is the human ego. @kenblanchard

There are two types of ego – more than and less than. @kenblanchard

The antidote for false pride is humility. @kenblanchard

Selflessness is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. @kenblanchard

The biggest obstinate to you leading like Jesus is ego. @rory_vaden

Self-doubt is a form of indulgence. @rory_vaden

@rory_vaden shares 5 takeaways from his interview with @kenblanchard

This is a special extended interview! Send an email to RoryPodcast@gmail.com with your first name in the subject line to gain access!

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

A First Step of Solving Almost Every Problem

A First Step of Solving Almost Every Problem

One of the biggest reasons why people struggle with solving problems is because they often overlook this critical first step.

Because no matter what the problem is or what the circumstance, you’re best hope for solving it almost always requires the exact same beginning.

You have to take ownership of the problem.

You have to internalize responsibility for your problem.

You have to resolve that regardless of how the problem came to be, it’s both your duty and your ability to find the solution.

It’s not something that you rely on someone else or something else to solve.

Because until you own your problem you can’t own your solution.

When you encounter a problem that you believe is the result of something outside yourself, then you will never be able to have power over that problem.

It is something that is happening to you of which you are just a bystander and a spectator.

By definition, its outside your control.

But when you own your problem, when you take responsibility for its existence, and when you decide that you’re in charge of fixing it, things start to change.

You stop viewing it as something that is occurring to you and you start viewing it as something you can maneuver.

You stop experiencing it and you start influencing it.

You stop being affected by it and you start affecting it.

Once you own your problem, you create the opportunity to find the solution.

Because if it happened to you through no fault of your own, then you are just an unfortunate victim of circumstances that are beyond your control.

But If you decide that you played some part in creating it, and you own it as your fault, then you can play the lead role in solving it.

And even if you didn’t create the problem. Even if the problem did result from something outside your control. You can still do something about it.

There are always things within your control that you can do. So do those things and never let any problem be an excuse for why you don’t focus on what is in your control.

While you can’t always control whether or not problems show up, you can always control how you respond to them and what you do about them.

One way or another, your life is your fault.

So own the problem.

Then own the solution.

The Limit of a Leader

Your level of influence as a leader is directly limited by the size of your ego.

The larger your ego, the less your chance to reach your leadership potential.

The smaller your ego, the greater your chance to reach your leadership potential.

Ego is a conundrum that many leaders will eventually have to face.

Overcome it, and there is no limit to the impact and influence that you can have.

Because a selfless leader magnetically draws in the loyalty and commitment of a team.

But a self-serving leader inadvertently creates fractures in the team and begins to push people away.

It’s a fascinating dynamic how it all happens.

Because you often become a leader by being a top achiever.

But it’s a case of what got you here as an achiever, won’t get you there as a leader.

An achiever cares about earning respect.

A leader cares about building relationships.

An achiever is used to competing for positioning.

A leader progresses by fostering principles.

An achiever rises by pushing themselves to new heights.

A leader rises by helping others along the path.

It doesn’t mean that a great achiever can’t be a leader.

It just means that they have to lay it all down for the team.

They have to intentionally choose to put the team first.

They have to evolve and adapt and mature to the point that their personal ego dies for the sake of advancing the team.

You can have any level of personal success as long as you have a higher level of selflessness towards serving the team.

Become selfless and do it right and you and your team will reach a whole new level.

Remain self serving though and do it wrong and you may start to find yourself increasingly isolated.