On Leadership and Facing a Massive Data Breach

Data Breach

Data breaches are becoming a serious threat to companies of all sizes. But many business leaders are underestimating the debilitating costs associated with a hack — and paying the price for this ignorance.

Data Breach on Someone’s Watch

Look at what happened to Neiman Marcus. Hackers stole the credit card data of 350,000 of the luxury retailer’s customers last year. The breach cost the company $4.1 million and counting in legal fees, investigations, customer communications, and credit monitoring subscriptions. Plus, it suffered a $68 million loss during the holiday quarter.

The company later learned that hackers set off system alarms 60,000 times — but it failed to see the warning signs amid the massive accumulation of data.

In the digital age, companies have to be wary of potential breaches. And leaders are the ones responsible for identifying the threats, taking action, and mitigating the costly consequences.

Underlying Implications of a Data Breach

Cleaning up a malicious breach in the U.S. can cost up to $246 per record. And the effects of an intrusion extend across an organization.

A company can lose revenue, as Neiman Marcus did, or face fines from regulatory agencies. In Massachusetts, for example, a company faces a fine of up to $5,000 for each compromised record. A hacked company can also lose trade secrets.

Breaches can impede financial transactions, causing data to become unavailable or unusable and disrupting business. Furthermore, a defaced website weakens a company’s integrity and credibility. If customers can’t access cloud services, check their accounts, or make purchases, companies could lose their trust as well.

Major Industries Hackers Are Pursuing

Not surprisingly, financial firms are attractive targets. A recent survey of 5,000 senior executives in 99 countries by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 45 percent of financial services firms had been hacked. Only 17 percent of other types of firms had the same experience.

Health data is also high on hackers’ lists. While a stolen credit card or Social Security number is worth a dollar or less, a person’s medical information can yield hundreds of times more, according to the World Privacy Forum.

Hackers recently stole the personal information of 4.5 million patients of Community Health Systems’ 206 hospitals in 29 states. The government has tracked 944 health institution incidents, affecting about 30.1 million people, since 2009. A majority are tied to theft, followed by data loss, hacking, and unauthorized access accounts.

Very often, successful intrusions can be traced to sloppy management practices. The health information of 500 patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles was compromised when an employee’s laptop was stolen from his home. The laptop didn’t have hospital-required encryption software.

Nearly every industry is at risk. Hackers stole personal financial information of about 25,000 employees of the Department of Homeland Security after a breach in a contractor’s system. But this widespread susceptibility to breaches doesn’t mean leaders should accept this fate.

A Leader’s Role in Protecting the Company

Digital security is not an IT problem — it’s a company problem. If a breach happens, the board won’t call the technology director; it will want to speak to the CEO. Here are a few ways leaders can actively prepare for and prevent breaches.

  1. Understand what you’ve got. Decision makers should have a full understanding of the data they are housing or interacting with that could present a valuable target for cybercriminals.
  1. Know the law. Examine any data security regulations governing your industry. If a breach occurs, which regulatory body should be notified?
  1. Make a plan. Administrators and employees should know their responsibilities ahead of time so they can react quickly if any suspicious activity is discovered on the network or within their internal systems. The plan should include timely public announcements.
  1. Ensure that your culture emphasizes security. Leaders should implement tangible security programs that employees are actively involved in. Everyone should be responsible for securing their information, not just the chief information security officer and members of the compliance and technology organizations.
  1. Invest in training. This is especially relevant for compliance and technology security staff. The methods malicious users utilize to attack organizations are constantly changing, and it’s critical that your employees keep their skills up-to-date.
  1. Run security assessments on your network. This allows an organization to potentially find security issues before a malicious user does. Prioritize external-facing systems during the scan to locate holes.
  1. Monitor compliance. Target was breached because an HVAC contractor was given remote access to its systems without requiring two-factor authentications. And when hackers stole the personal or credit card information of 100 million customers, it cost the company an estimated $148 million in losses in one quarter.

Data breaches can compromise a company’s reputation and financial stability. And as a leader, your name is associated with your company’s preparedness and response to a hack.

To lessen the burden or even bypass a potential cyber attack, you need to understand the extent of this threat, actively plan for it, and properly educate your employees. When you’ve prepared for the worst, you can protect the positive customer rapport you’ve worked so hard to build.

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——————–
Scott Byers

Scott Byers is the President and CEO of EDM Americas
EDM Americas a Global Company dedicated to Information Lifecycle Management
Email | LinkedIn | Web

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Hey Leaders: Lighten Up a Little

Walt Disney

One of my favorite Walt Disney quotes is, “That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up.”

Now think about it a minute. You don’t need to “grow up,” in the common sense of the word, to be “professional” or a “leader,” It’s all about how you embrace yourself – your attitude – and how you present yourself. There’s nothing wrong with having some “kid” left in you. Having that bit of kid makes you more approachable – more likeable – easier to associate with.

The Right Balance

We all know the people who have changed as they’ve been promoted. They become more (too) serious and in the process lose touch with the people they supervise. They lose the kid in themselves – quite often on purpose.

When you lose that part of you it causes you to lose your:

  • flexibility
  • understanding
  • communication
  • ability to retain employee’s
  • ability to empathize.

It may also cause you to destroy your:

  • culture
  • ability to attract talent
  • current relationship’s.

What am I saying here? Act like a child? Not at all. Just keep an open mind. Continue with that ability to relate to your employees – on all levels. You did it as a peer so why lose it as a supervisor. Have some fun. Think about the best work experience you’ve ever had. I bet it had something to do with having fun.

Being An Encourager

A number of years ago I had a manager, a leader, (we’ll call him Bob) that was moving up quickly. Our team worked extremely well together and enjoyed it. We could joke around with Bob – not like a “buddy” – and we could all brainstorm to come up with any off-the-wall idea. In fact, it was encouraged. That’s a big key – no matter how goofy the idea, there may be something to it. You can’t cut ideas down. Bob always smiled, was energetic, and even poked a little fun at himself now and then. Bob’s position was putting him pretty high, but we were always on a first name basis.

But something, we don’t know what, happened in his life that drained the kid out of him. He became that serious “professional”, and it was all downhill from there. There was no more fun, no more lunches together, no more cohesiveness . . . and no more goofy ideas. People started transferring and Bob’s quick climb came to a screeching halt.

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” ~ Dale Carnegie

Organizations Who Have Fun

What’s one of the most common things that the most successful organizations have with each other? They have fun. People are allowed to hold on to that most precious part of their personal history.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Disney
  • Zappos
  • Flickr
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Cisco

If employees can say that they’re having fun at work, it also means that they’re not as uptight and communication will flourish because people are easier to approach.

Fun, But Serious

Now, they call it work for a reason. So I don’t mean wear a red nose, do magic tricks or a stand-up acts all day long. However, a sense of humor can go a very long way. It’s a great way to bond with people. It instantly lightens the mood and lifts morale.

The office is the office. There has to be some seriousness also. Some of us are in some very serious occupations. Just remember that no matter how serious the work is, it’s still being performed by human beings and we all need a little time to lighten the mood. As a leader, you have to be accessible and able to hear and sense when performance is needing a lift. Better yet is to not even wait that long.

Terminal Seriousness?

Do you know the general tone of your office or work environment?

Take this short quiz from Jody Urquhart to get an idea whether your staff is suffering from terminal seriousness.

Yes or No

Do you regularly catch people laughing or smiling at work?

YES or NO

When something funny happens do people stop and appreciate it?

YES or NO

Does your organization have fun activities at least monthly?

YES or NO

Do you have tools (fun giveaways, drawings) to invite employees to participate in having fun in your environment?

YES or NO

Are managers usually optimistic and smiling at work?

YES or NO

If you answer NO to two or more of these questions, your staff probably suffers from “terminal seriousness,” which is negatively affecting morale and productivity.

The Right Environment

If you need to create a turnaround in your culture, just remember, it’s not your job to MAKE work fun but rather it’s your job to create the conditions where fun and happiness can flourish.

Are your employees relaxed, or uptight? Do you see many smiles at work? Are you projecting a positive attitude? What can you do to create the opportunity for fun?

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——————–
Andy Uskavitch

Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development and Customer Service Specialist
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Blog |  (727) 568-5433

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On Leadership and The Value You Bring Your Followers

Value Proposition

So Leaders: What’s your value proposition to your followers?

The employee is regarded by the employer merely in the light of his value as an operative. His productive capacity alone is taken into account.” ~ Leland Stanford

Compelling Value Proposition

In the world of modern sales and marketing, providing customers and clients with a compelling value proposition is the maxim.

  • Companies strive to engage by enticing potential customers with a vision of what life might be like if their pain were removed or they could achieve their dream.
  • Every effort is expended to nurture the customer until they beg to find out how this dream can be realised.
  • Then and only then is the solution provided and heaven help the company that fails to deliver the promised value.
  • This is not an equal exchange of value because modern consumers expect value greater than the money they pay.

Why then do many employers not have the same value proposition approach to their most valuable capital, their employees?

Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.” ~ Warren G. Bennis

Making Value Choices

All organisations want to recruit and retain high potential internally motivated staff to achieve the company mission.

>>> So what’s in it for the employee and why should they choose you over other opportunities.

>>> More importantly, what is it you do for them that would make them want to stay? (It is not just about money…)

>>> What is your value proposition for them and how do you intend to deliver it persistently and consistently?

Making Monetary Choices

To paraphrase Vernon Hill at Metro Bank, how do you turn your staff into fans not just your customers?

Telefonica O2 said, “An organisation that does not enlist its own staff to its ‘fan base’ is not maximising its long-term value.

Does it make a financial difference?

Towers Perrin-ISR’s 2006 findings four:

Those companies with a highly engaged workforce improved operating income by 19.2 per cent over a period of 12 months, whilst those companies with low engagement scores saw operating income decline by 32.7 per cent over the same period.

Over a 12 month period, those companies with high engagement scores demonstrated a 13.7 per cent improvement in net income growth whilst those with low engagement saw net income growth decline by 3.8 per cent.

Making Value Propositions

You can find much more on the business benefits of a values proposition to employees in a report to the UK Government “Engaging for success: enhancing performance through employee engagement

So, let’s look at the employer/employee relationship at its most basic.

An employee offers their effort and expertise to an organisation and in turn they gain reward most usually but not always in the form of money. Balancing the equation is the hard part. The employee wants a fair reward for a certain level of input and the employer wants the maximum amount of input from the employee for as little as is reasonable to pay them.

It might be expressed as:

Motivation = Perception of benefits minus Perception of costs

The ideal situation arises when an employee invests “above and beyond the call of duty” just because they are motivated to do so by other factors outside of remuneration. Somehow their internal motivation has been triggered and they are self-sustaining. What value can you the employer give to your staff which would likely catalyse this behaviour or at least create the environment for it to develop? Peter Drucker said:

The true business of every company is to make and keep customers.” ~ Peter Drucker

But he also said:

Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”

If we synthesise the two we might get:

The true business of every company (organization) is to make it easy for its staff to make and keep clients

The Tangible and Intangible Factors

The value given to followers comprises both tangible and intangible factors.

Key contributions might be:

  • Authentic listening
  • Identification of direct interferences restricting employees’ capability to achieve goals
  • Mitigating or removing such interferences

This is essentially the same thinking used daily by sales people to convert a prospect into a customer. Warm the prospect up first with sincere enquiry to identify their pains and dreams and then explain how the pain can be removed or their dreams achieved by your product or service.

You can find a compilation of the personal visions of 12 TED speakers on the subject of inspiring, values proposition-based leadership here.

Sellling The Vision

Ask yourself tehse questions:

  • So, how might your task as a leader alter if you considered your purpose was to “sell” the vision of working (and staying) with your organisation as a value proposition?
  • What value would they receive in “buying” into your offer?
  • How can you maintain, nuance and increase the value they receive in order to keep them?

This does not mean you roll over and give more than you can afford but we are not just talking about the money here. As has been proven so many times the last thing you talk about with sales prospects is the cost the first is what will change for them and by how much. Why would you expect the mindset of your staff to be different?

Your key actions for today

  • In today’s conversations with staff did you add value or take it?
  • Are your organisation’s job adverts value propositions?
  • Review one report’s job description today – on a scale of 1 to 10 is this a value proposition or a description of demands (i.e. tasks and responsibilities).

Further Reading

Drucker on Leadership: New Lessons from the Father of Modern ManagementWilliam A. Cohen PhD

For those will an interest in basic research on the psychology of business:

Harter, Hayes and Schmidt (Gallup, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and University of Iowa) Business-Unit-Level Relationship Between Employee Satisfaction, Employee Engagement, and Business Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

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——————– 
Gary Coulton

Dr Gary R Coulton is CEO of Adaptive Intelligence Consulting Limited
He empowers leaders to release their Adaptive Intelligence
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On Leadership and Reaching Beyond Wonder

Wonderment

Leadership is understanding the balance between the push for purpose and the need for action. Human beings are drawn to thoughts of what’s possible and what could be. We are built for a focus on a brighter future.

But a critical leadership skill is to the ability to link today’s actions to that possible future.

It’s an ongoing dance between helping people get excited about the wonderful future possibilities while not getting stuck in a “wonder” mode.

 Anchoring to the Future

Highly successful leaders are exemplary at creating a cultural anchor to aspirations for a better future. This is where the organization is successful as a result of a philosophy or guiding principle.  Successful leaders speak about it every chance they get.

Creating a culture where people are thinking about how to get things done through the lens of that philosophy is exemplified here:

  • Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes.” ~ Tony Hsieh
  • Connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, low-cost air travel.” ~ Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kellarher
  • “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” ~The first of Google’s “10 things” (that are the foundation of their culture)

What all of these statements/sentiments have in common is they are guiding principles or the guard rails of how decisions are made in these organizations.

  • Nothing is done at Zappos that would ever undermine the customer experience.
  • Southwest will seldom hire someone that is not fun or has a good sense of humor.
  • Google won’t tolerate people that don’t abide by their “10 things.”

Leaders in these many other organizations work very hard to speak about and act on these principles or “purpose.” Each of their actions emanate from them.

So why isn’t it easy just to say things like this and every company turn into Zappo’s?  Don’t most organizations have “guiding principles” or Mission Statements?  Why don’t people just get on board and make it happen?

Linking Actions to that Future

Many  leaders don’t take the next logical step.  They forget to create causal links between the future they’ve been sharing and the actions necessary to take to get there.

There is a a tendency to believe that people should just understand why an action, task, or project is necessary to get to that intended future.  But the truth is they do not.  If leaders don’t intentionally make that causal link, then people will make up their own meaning.  Usually this meaning is neither powerful nor is it attached to an intended future.

This can lead to outcomes that are not in line with that intended future:

  • Irate customers – My wife’s recent interaction with a car dealership while trying to get a refund. She dealt with the folks from the “back office” until she wrote a letter to the owner of the dealership and put something out on Yelp that she got no service.
  • Lost sales – Ron Johnson’s failed strategy at JC Penny. SO many employees didn’t know how to act or what they were to do differently in the new paradigm.
  • Bad publicity – As evidenced by the recent recorded call regarding a customer trying to cancel their Comcast account

The list is really endless.  But the bottom-line is that when people don’t know how their role, action, task or project fits into the bigger picture, they are left to wonder.  The result is almost never that good.

So…

So what can a leader do?

A simple and direct method is to make sure that every role, task, or project links directly to the future that the leader has envisioned.

If the leader’s vision of the organization is to revolutionize how people buy clothing products on the internet by delivering the best customer service, then each process that is developed needs to be in line with that intention.

A Great Example

For example, the new employee training must be grounded in delivering a unique and powerful customer experience.  This training should be so intense that at the end of it people are given the opportunity to leave the company with pay.

You can imagine that the conversation about developing that new employee training was something like this:

“We need to create an on boarding experience that ensures the people we hire understand that every action they take should be in support of the customer experience.  At the end they should be able to determine if they see themselves in that future.

As opposed to this:

“Okay, we need to create an on boarding program that gets people in and out in about a week.  It should teach them all our most important processes and make them aware of our employee code of conduct.”

Leaders must not only create the vision of the future, but tie everything back to it. Without anchoring and linking, leaders can leave people in a state of wonder.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

When people are left in a state of wonder they do things like this:

I was checking out at a big box store with my elderly Mom and some small kids in tow.  A pair of $8 shoes I was buying rang up for $10.

I questioned the clerk on the price.

She said “No they rang up for $10. You can go back there and check it yourself.”

I wasn’t about to do that, so I just settled up for the $10 and left the store frustrated at the experience. Grrrrrr… 

When I got home, I pulled the shoes out of the box and guess what. The actual price tag on the shoes said $8! I was right all along! Grrrrrr… 

The next day I went back to the customer service department for a refund and happened to be waited on by the same sales clerk that insisted the shoes cost $10.

When I showed her the price tag on the shoes she said, “That wasn’t my fault; it was the cash register. I can’t help you.”

Uuuuummmmmmm………

The moral of this story: Don’t leave your team in a state of wonder.

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———————
Anil Saxena

Anil Saxena is a President & Senior Consultant Cube 214 Consulting
He helps organizations create environments that generate repeatable superior results
Email | LinkedIn | TwitterWeb | Blog | (847) 212-0701

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On Leadership and Morning Routines

Businessman Breakfast

Hey Leader: Does Your Morning Routine Matter?

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” – Steve Jobs

Successful CEOs and business leaders have different ways of starting their days. Some depend on established routines, mapped out almost minute-to-minute, in order to extract the greatest productivity out of every day.

Others take a more chaotic approach, believing that winging it actually gets more done than some preordained system.

Top 3 Things in the Morning

The sheer variety by which CEOs and others start the day begs the question — does your morning routine really matter?

Yes, says corporate wellness coach Mike Iamele, and here’s why:

Three compelling reasons for a morning routine

  1. This is ideally the time to focus on yourself (there may not be another chance to do so all day). This is when you “consistently remind yourself that you’ve got to take care of yourself first before you can possibly be effective at helping others.” Those who adhere to a regular routine generally get more done because their morning routine acts as a reminder to first of all, take care of yourself.
  1. An established morning routine doesn’t have to be perfect — you don’t have to run five miles every day, your eggs don’t have to be perfectly cooked, etc. What truly matters is your willingness to get up and get moving according to a set pattern that propels you through the day. As Iamele says, “The fear of failure can’t hold you back, because if you do it every day, you’re inevitably going to fail once in a while. But that’s OK. You’ve got a routine, so you just get up the next day and do it again.”
  1. The previous day may have been difficult, overly demanding, even a bit traumatic. A solid morning routine acts as a “reset button” — a time to pause, meditate and shake yourself free of yesterday’s distress.

Breakfast Counts

Not everyone needs a big breakfast to get moving in the morning. But health experts generally agree some type of breakfast is important for your physical health.

If preparing breakfast seems to take too much time, consider doing some prep work the night before. Slice up the fruit you intend to eat and store it in the refrigerator. Set out dishes you plan to use. Do everything you can to hit the ground running come morning.

Keeping things simple is another no-nonsense approach. For many people, a cup of coffee and an oatmeal muffin will suffice — or some other easy option like yogurt with fruit, a frozen fruit smoothie or a peanut butter breakfast bar.

Exercise Makes a Big Difference

Exercising at the crack of dawn isn’t for everyone, but even a little bit of physical movement can help clear your mind for the day ahead.

The good news is you don’t have to do the same type of workout every day.

Running, push-ups, swimming laps — whatever you choose, some strenuous activity boosts your energy level and helps you stay charged and focused throughout the day.

Start the Morning the Night Before

Some business leaders incorporate a brief evening ritual into their daily routine. At the end of the day, for example, Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express, writes down the three top things he intends to accomplish the following day.

He uses that list to get started in the morning.

Tackle the Hardest Stuff First

Once you’re in the office, don’t waste valuable creative time looking over emails or listening to voicemails. “In many ways, these are among the worst ways to start a day,” says Kevan Lee of Buffer.

Both activities hijack our focus and put us in a reactive mode, where other people’s priorities take center stage.”

A growing school of thought proposes that CEOs tackle their most challenging task or project at the beginning of the day. Proponents cite the fact that for most of us, the early hours of our workday are our most creative, energetic and productive (or have the potential to be). Why waste that precious time and energy on niggling administrative matters or chitchat with others that gets nothing done?

Corporate trainer Jennifer Cohen urges business leaders to start the day by focusing on what they least want to do.

Instead of anticipating the unpleasantness of it from first coffee through your lunch break, get it out of the way,” she says. “Look at this way, your day will get progressively easier, not the other way around.

What’s your tried-and-true morning routine? Do you have a favorite breakfast item to start the day? What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–

Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay
She serves in Sales, Operations, coordinating, and Business Development
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Articles of Faith: Leadership, Legacy and Grasping the Wind

Leadership Double Glasses
This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series
here. Published only on Sundays.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23, NLT

A month ago I finally began to appreciate this proverb. A month ago, I died and was rudely shocked back to the operating table by a wonderful team of well-meaning surgeons. How were they to know that I was thoroughly enjoying the total peace and joy of having truly let go?

Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless–like chasing the wind. NIV Ecclesiastes 4:4

It took a heart attack and an all too brief visit to heaven for me to accept that anything I have been doing on this earth is no more than a striving after the wind.

But surely that wasn’t me. I wasn’t doing what I do for my success because I was envious. Surely, I had much better motives than that?

Some Context…

I should back up a little and give you some context:

I am a leadership coach and mentor, and the marketplace is my ministry. My mission is to impact lives, to be a lighthouse for people struggling to find meaning and direction in their careers and help them get in balance and make headway towards their own purpose and mission in life.

I love helping people and I’ve been working hard these past few years to expand the business and grow such that I can impact more lives. And perhaps you are beginning to notice what happens as soon as I talk about this. It’s all about me, and it’s all about doing.

Feeding on the Myth of Better

As I reflect on the months leading up to my taste of mortality, I realize that I had been striving to achieve something worthwhile, and I had chosen to feed on the myth that I had to be better, to do more, to compete to win in this world. I had unwittingly re-joined the rate race. I was on the hamster wheel of life running to keep up and falling down exhausted.

In the months prior to my heart attack, my thought life had been quietly and insistently repeating: “What are you going to do? What are you going to do?” All because I wanted to get on with things and stop wasting time.

I may not have consciously been competing enviously with other, more successful, and more spiritual people in my line of work. Even so, I did want to be known for doing it better, if I am to be completely honest here.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. Proverbs 3:5  (AMP)

Learning to Let Go

When was I going to realize that I am simply not smart enough to run my own life, let alone build this business and ministry into something that, in all humility, is a worthwhile legacy?

Trusting God. So often this is a last resort: “Well there’s nothing more I can do, all I can do now is trust God.” Proverbs 3:5 does not say, “…with a little bit of your heart”, nor “…rely on some of your own insight and understanding.”

Am I utterly barmy?

[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is. Jeremiah 17:7 AMP

I Want to Be a [Most] Blessed Man!

I’ll guess that you. Like me, have heard many wondrous testimonies of instant miracles, overnight turnarounds, miraculous healings and effortless overcoming of addictions. I love to hear them. And then my thinking starts to buzz inside like a mosquito in the bedroom: “Why God why? When God when?” Consciously, I chastise myself for such unchristian thoughts and repeat Proverbs 3:5 until I drown out that mosquito. Only for it to come back a little later just as I let my guard down.

If I can’t ‘guard’ my heart, perhaps I can ‘let not it be troubled’?

Jesus left me His peace (John 14: 27) and thus enabled me to “let not” my heart be troubled, nor be afraid. However, I still struggle to get comfortable not knowing when, why or where and just trusting God.

On REALLY Letting Go

It’s easy to tell someone to “let go.” I’ve shared this “wisdom” with many. But then I started to wonder how we actually can let go.

Before they shocked me back to the operating table, for a short while, I felt that peace and joy of having chosen to finally, and completely, let go. Oh, I cannot begin to describe how good it felt. For now though, it seems I am not finished here yet.

I didn’t struggle to completely trust the surgeons and staff at the hospital… Perfect strangers. I had no qualms about letting them be utterly in charge. Yet, in spite of the overwhelming evidence in my own life that He is always there, I keep taking the reins of control back from God.

I know Jesus will never leave me, nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). I know that when I keep my eyes on Him, everything works out for good (Romans 8:28). And then just like Peter (Matthew 14:29-30), I get distracted by the circumstances around me.

Distraction is a jealous seductress. It lures me away from my peace and sabotages my joy in rest.

Let Go, Let God

It is time to throw my own retirement party and let God.

Striving after the wind is all vanity. I will still strive. I will strive to enter that rest and not fall into the same disobedience as those in the wilderness by trusting in myself (Hebrews 4:11). I shall get comfortable not knowing what or how or where or when or why and trust Him. Pray for me.

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——————–
John Kenworthy

Dr John Kenworthy is Chief Success Officer at AdvantEdge
He serves clients with his Potential to Performance Success System
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook

 

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On Leadership, Lying and Breaking The Honor Code

When a large, trusted and well-established institution gets caught in a public lie, the entire code of honor is at risk of failure. Leading like this is poisonous to the entire entity and everything for which it stands. 

When honor is broken, what comes next?

How Emory University Failed Its Own Honor Code

The revelation (see related article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) by leaders at Emory University that a former Dean of Admissions had been supplying false data (lying) when reporting the SAT scores and Class Ranking of  incoming students has been a great disappointment to the city of Atlanta, and a revelation throughout the country.

If high-level leaders at a university renown for quality education and ethical values are violating the very basic rule of honor–tell the truth–then what must be going on elsewhere?

In fact, this is not the first revelation of such false reporting by a university trying to gain an edge in competing for annual rankings in sources like US News & World Report.

As in other professions, it appears that for some leaders, any means can be justified when the end goal has implications of gaining power, money, and influence or protecting their prestige or position.

Widespread Leadership Issue

We have become accustomed to seeing dishonorable leaders in politics–after all, they thrive on publicity and when they get in trouble, their high profile role makes them magnets for media attention.

But, when we learn that administrators from a highly regarded university are playing just as dirty as many back room politicians or businesspeople, we must conclude that the problem is deep and wide, transcending every profession at every level.

We should not be surprised; after all, we are all cut from the same cloth—we are fallible and flawed human beings.

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Living By Your Words

The Emory University honor code, as posted online, has as its very first point, “…the University community assumes high standards of courtesy, integrity and responsibility in all of its members.”  But we make a great mistake when we assume integrity, even our own.  Events such as this provide a reminder that we must know ourselves and regularly check our own moral compass.

“Trying to take the easy way based on fear is taking out good men and women at a rapid pace.  We all suffer each time one falls. We tend to become more cynical, and at the same time our cultural standards of right and wrong drop another notch.”

Every day we face decisions that have honor implications and we must regularly re-examine our commitments and behaviors.  Additionally, we need to regularly seek counsel from close comrades who have very high standards who will give us counsel on our questionable decisions.

The bottom line is that we can’t assume that we (or others) are above dishonorable behavior.

We are most at risk when we become afraid about what could happen. Trying to take the easy way based on fear is taking out good men and women at a rapid pace.  We all suffer each time one falls. We tend to become more cynical, and at the same time our cultural standards of right and wrong drop another notch.

Going Back to Our Foundation as Leaders

The foundation for living and leading with honor is courage.  Every day we will be faced with fears and temptations to take the easy way out.  Only with a commitment to a code of honor will we have the courage to choose to do the right thing, because the right thing is usually the hard way.

Remember, all discipline in the moment seems difficult, but in the end brings peace and true success.

Do you assume your integrity?  What are you doing to make this assumption a reality in your life?  Do you have someone with whom you discuss difficult decisions, someone who can give counsel based on high standards and an objective viewpoint?

I hope you will join in this discussion and share your experiences.  Do you agree that it’s dangerous to assume your integrity?  How do you manage this key area of your life?

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

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Lee Ellis


Lee Ellis is Founder & President of Leadership Freedom LLC & FreedomStar Media.
He is a leadership consultant and expert in teambuilding, executive development & assessments
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | Book | Facebook | Twitter

His latest book is called Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.

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