12 Rules for Self Leadership

Laura Novakowski  -  Jul 04, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Source: Unknown

1. Set goals for your life; not just for your job. What you think of as “meaning of life” goals affect your lifestyle outside of work too, and you get whole-life context, not just work-life, each feeding off the other.
2. Practice discretion constantly, and lead with the example of how your own good behavior does get great results. Otherwise, why should anyone follow you when you lead?
3. Take initiative. Volunteer to be first. Be daring, bold, brave and fearless, willing to fall down, fail, and get up again for another round. Starting with vulnerability has this amazing way of making us stronger when all is done.
4. Be humble and give away the credit. Going before others is only part of leading; you have to go with them too. Therefore, they’ve got to want you around!
5. Learn to love ideas and experiments. Turn them into pilot programs that preface impulsive decisions. Everything was impossible until the first person did it.
6. Live in wonder. Wonder why, and prize “Why not?” as your favorite question. Be insatiably curious, and question everything.
7. There are some things you don’t take liberty with no matter how innovative you are when you lead. For instance, to have integrity means to tell the truth. To be ethical is to do the right thing. These are not fuzzy concepts.
8. Believe that beauty exists in everything and in everyone, and then go about finding it. You’ll be amazed how little you have to invent and much is waiting to be displayed.
9. Actively reject pessimism and be an optimist. Say you have zero tolerance for negativity and self-fulfilling prophecies of doubt, and mean it.
10. Champion change. As the saying goes, those who do what they’ve always done, will get what they’ve always gotten. The only things they do get more of are apathy, complacency, and boredom.
11. Be a lifelong learner, and be a fanatic about it. Surround yourself with mentors and people smarter than you. Seek to be continually inspired by something, learning what your triggers are.
12. Care for and about people. Compassion and empathy become you, and keep you ever-connected to your humanity. People will choose you to lead them.


Attitude – Leads to a Field of Dreams

Laura Novakowski  -  Jun 27, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

In the movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Cosner heard a voice whisper – “If you build it, they will come.”

More than a decade ago I was sitting in one of our numerous corporate meetings rehashing cutbacks, shrinking reimbursement and quality challenges and my mind started to wander.  “Why does every meeting have to be this way?” heart and soul seem to be shouting.  Suddenly, I heard a voice  whisper – build CASTLES – “Create Attitudes and Strategies Tapping Limitless Energy for Success.” 

Grabbing a napkin on the table in front of me – I scribbled these words down and passed it over to a colleague and dear friend.  She smiled indulgently and asked “So?” I answered without hesitation, “This is the focus on my company.”

Leaving the meeting, I gathered up reports, notes and my napkin.  Back in the office, I filled and tossed papers, somehow the napkin made it into my top drawer.  Moving up in the organization, I now was much more focused on working with building attitudes for success.  Sometimes it happened, sometimes it didn’t.  A great organization just not the place for me.

Several years and countless meetings later, I left that organization and opened my own business.  My vision and  focus were on creating those attitudes and strategies tapping limitless energy for success.  I just wanted to build CASTLES.

Fortunately, I have been blessed with a family and friends that supported positive thinking.  The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale has been one of the mainstays of my library.  My company’s name – Positive Power Strategies, Inc. is a constant affirmation of using a positive mental attitude.

The secret for me is in the belief that every person, every business, every community is an opportunity to build CASTLES.  With each client and company that I am engaged, I have the opportunity to discover wonderful creativity and opportunities that can be tapped leading to limitless energy and success. Together we discover tools and techniques that translate into action and extraordinary results.  I have the honor and privilege to share obstacles and opportunities, dreams and goals with so many people.  People whom given the time, tools and assistance with clarifying their vision and discovering their talents have the capacity to build their own amazing CASTLES.

My secret is an attitude that I am  building it and they will come.

Where is your field of dreams?  What would you like to build so that they will come?

The Power of Strategy – Design a Masterpiece

Laura Novakowski  -  May 30, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

“What do you want to achieve or avoid?  The answers to this question are objectives. How will you go about achieving your desired results? The answer to this you can call strategy.”

William E. Rothschild

William E. Rothschild is a former executive from General Electric. In his role as Corporate Strategist, he created the first “market driven Corporate Strategy.”  Using this approach, according to Rothschild, GE for the last two decades has consistently had been described as having “the best inventors, the best strategic planners, and the best results.”

Whether we are planning a trip to the market, a vacation, a day at work…, we are always has to quote Stephen Covey “an end in mind.”  Now that “end” may be to fill the refrigerator, plan for vacation, deliver the product or service. While that certainly gives us some kind of results, are they the best results? Are you exhilarated with the results you’re getting? Can you see the value of identifying the results you want and then filling in the picture, rather than the other way around?

One of the greatest strategists of all times was Michelangelo. He depicts a highly focused professional who valued quality and achieved amazing results. When Michelangelo worked, he clearly used strategic thinking and planning.  When asked how he could carve such beautiful statues, his reply was, “it’s already in there.” He saw the results prior to even lifting his tools to work.   He wasn’t just banging away at some granite to up with such great masterpieces as Moses, David or the Pieta, he used purpose, thought and planning.

Let’s imagine this great artist’s process. First, he saw the granite.  He considered form, structure, faults and strengths. Slowly a vision and mission came to mind and Michelangelo could start planning his approach to achieve his results.   Next, he determined what was critical to creating his product.  What tools did he required? Where would he do the work? Who might assist him (moving granite might take some help)? What would it cost in time, money and energy? Yet, he still had not raised a chisel, for if he did, I’m sure that would have altered his results.

After he thought about his overall strategy, vision, mission and critical results, he next set goals.  Goals that were results focused,  motivating and achievable. He knew exactly what he wanted and then he started his action plan – the hair, the eyes, the nose, the beard…  All predetermined actions which embraced his values of beauty and perfection. Michelangelo envisioned beauty, integrity, passion, courage, commitment to high standards with incredible details. The results – a masterpiece!

The people, in my experience that are the most successful, the most energized, the most fulfilled, are the people who know their personal and professional vision. Why not strive for a masterpiece in your life? At the end of everyday, how powerful it can be see everyone generate a wonderful piece of art, a rewarding service or an outstanding, quality product. Engage a strategy that will help you to see and then design your masterpieces too!

The Power of Service

Laura Novakowski  -  May 16, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Life can get tough, really tough.  Pay checks don’t stretch as far. Invests have turned to dust. People, that thought they would be retiring, are looking at postponing their retirement or finding a second job.  Others who have joined the growing ranks of the unemployed are struggling to find an income after their unemployment benefits run out. Panic sets in and fear becomes immobilizing. How can we turn around the panic and keep moving forward.

John Adams, the 2nd Vice President of the United States, wrote back in the 18th century, “If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind, whom should we serve?” In these words, I think that President Adams was giving a call to action. Adams was motivating, inspiring, commanding that we be in service to mankind!

“How can I serve mankind, when I can barely keep my company afloat, meet payroll, pay the vendors, expand services, continue services?” one might ask. Or is the better question,  “How can one not serve mankind, when some can barely put food on the table, receive health care, access transportation to find a job, let alone keep the job?”  

I am not talking about service that is enabling, debilitating and or demeaning because one has more and must take care of some one that has less. I am suggesting that we actively seek opportunities to serve others in meaningful, mutually beneficial ways. That we approach each day as an opportunity to discover someone, some organization, some community that has little or big challenges and offer service little respect, integrity, compassion and humility.

Okay,” one agrees that service is important. “How do I begin? Where do I go to find opportunities to offer my services? How can I be sure that my services will be appreciated or accepted?”

One pre-requisite that I have made for myself is to go into the service with an attitude that I will also be receiving something in return. This return won’t be money. It will be some much more and it always is.

In service to others, I keep in mind that everyone – I mean everyone – has value and a contribution to make.  I learned very humbling lesson more thank once.

In one experience, I volunteered to work with women in low income housing.  I was working as an executive in a health system and decided that I needed to offer my services and expertise to one of our community service programs.  I showed up dressed in a business suit and heels – just a tad overdressed for the occasion.  I intended to “teach” them about self esteem and a better way to live by sharing some “tips and tools.”

There were about 20 women and several small children in the community room.   I had been speaking at these women for about ten minutes when one woman stood up and she interrupted me.  “I may not have a car, nice clothes or a fancy job, but I do know how to a thing or two about taking care of my family.” She continued, “I have two modes of transportation – my two feet.  I have 9 people that I am responsible for and I have four part time jobs.  We may not have a lot, but there’s food on the table, a roof over our heads and I love all of my family and I don’t need someone to make me feel like I am not doing a good job. Let’s get that straight right up front.”

Talk about a humbling experience.  I apologized and asked them what they would like to talk about.  You see, I forgot to ask them about themselves – I made some terrible assumptions.  Fortunately, one of those courageous, intelligent, talented women was willing to stand up for the others and her. She was not willing to waste her time, but she was willing to invest it. It turned the experience around and I am fortunate to have a relationship with many of these women for more than a decade.  They have taught me economy, time management, resourcefulness, courage and so much more.

Another experience, I was distributing some food to a center for the homeless and mentally challenged.  I was in a hurry as usual, but there was a cluster of men outside of the building just leaning against the wall.  One man, surrounded by his bags and a shopping cart, stopped me and said. “You look like you could use a hug today.”  He grabbed me and hugged me tight! At first, I was rather shocked. Then suddenly, I realized he was right, the day had been hectic and I was doing a duty not enjoying the service.  He made my day.

I do hope that I have caused you to think of the power of service in a slightly different manner.  Take a moment and write down one service that you can perform today. And write down what you received in return.

The service _______________________________________

What I received in return ___________________________________________________




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