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Entries in leadership (31)


Good Credo For A Ringmaster

 I have a blind faith in the policy that quality, tempered with good judgment and showmanship,
will win out against all odds.
-Walt Disney

As you go through leading the "performance" of your day, what difference would it make if you based your actions on:

  • Quality
  • Good judgment
  • Showmanship

You might just get more standing ovations.


The Ringmaster Named Dave

I will never forget a training program with a group of school administrators and school district leaders in California. They were a dynamic, engaging group and I tremendously enjoyed my time with them. I also had the unique opportunity to see a fantastic ringmaster in action.

I arrived early to set up for the meeting and was met by "Dave" the facilities manager. He greeted me at the door, ushered me into the meeting room and immediately began asking me what I needed to get set up. No matter what I asked, Dave either had it available or quickly contacted someone to take care of it. When he finished with me, he moved to the food service area and guided the group as they set up for breakfast. Next, it was time to greet the participants. He was everywhere!

Once the program started, I noticed that Dave would stop by from time to time, checking on things and making changes as needed. Always upbeat, he left a wake of smiles as he scurried around taking care of things.

The most telling moment about Dave came when I talked with him after the program. I thanked him for doing such an outstanding job taking care of all of us. His response, "This is my school, and whatever happens here is a reflection of me." Dave gets a HUGE standing ovation from me and countless others in that school system. I left that meeting having learned much.

Who could you observe today that could teach you something about being a better ringmaster of your circus?


Want to build better ringmasters in your workplace. Let's make it happen!


A Tip For Leaders (Ringmasters)

Susan Arnold was the first woman to head a global business unit at Proctor and Gamble. In an interview about her success, she made an amazing statement. She said, "Leaders who don't set priorities can burn out their organizations."

What a powerful statement. In Juggling Elephants terms we would say that keeping the performers busy but not focusing on purpose will diminish the success of the circus. Performers need to know the "why" behind the "what." As the Ringmaster, it's your job to know the reason for the arrangement of the lineup and to communicate it to the performers.

How well do the performers in your circus know the priorities driving their acts? What can you do today to make sure you don't burn them out?


To help your leaders better manage ALL they have to juggle, click here.


Managing or Leading As The Ringmaster

An age-old discussion has been about the difference between management and leadership. John Kottter, author of Leading Change and an expert on organizational change, probably best defined the two when he said, Management is about coping with complexity. Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change.

With that distinction in mind, where are you spending most of your mental time in your "rings" at work? Efficiency and effectiveness are needed for an organization to run smoothly. A constant focus on getting better results is also needed to stay relevant in today's workplace.

Our tendency when we are juggling elephants is to focus on management-take care of the crises, work through the problems and get things back on track. Today, try spending a little more time asking yourself, "How could we do things better as a department, organization or family?" You may find that those answers take care of some of the "management overload" you are experiencing now.


Being A Wreckless Ringmaster

Susan Arnold was the first person to lead a global business unit at Proctor and Gamble. In an interview she made a powerful statement: Leaders who don't set priorities can burn out their organization.

When I read her statement I got the picture of a ringmaster running wildly around the rings, shoving one act into a ring only to pull it a few minutes later because they think another one will work better. They just keep performers moving in and out of the rings and rarely take time to discuss the "Why" behind the "What." Performers aren't working at their best, and the audience is certainly not pleased with what they are seeing.

If you are a leader or manager, take this test to see how you're doing communicating what's important to your team. Imagine that a complete stranger were to ask each employee to list the top three priorities they see of the organization-and how their current work correlates with it. What would the results tell you?