A Recent Post Featured Today Over At XPastor.org | 14 Leadership Lessons

XPastorSeveral weeks ago, I wrote a blog post 14 Practical Leadership Lessons I Have Learned From Being An Orchestra Conductor.

This post has gained considerable attention and traffic since that time. It’s my #1 most-read blog post to date.

Dr. David Fletcher, founder of XPastor.org, happened to read the article at that time and asked me if he could use it on his site.

So, this morning, that particular post has gone live. You can check it out and re-read my article here at XPastor: 14 Leadership Lessons … 

Thanks to David and his team for utilizing my post!

“Second Chair” Leadership | How To Lead Well In A Secondary Leadership Role

Photo by randomcuriousity

Photo by randomcuriousity

Uniquely Qualified

I’ve been somebody’s “#2 guy” for the majority of my career. I’ve been someone’s Commander Riker to their Captain Picard for almost 20 years. And, yes, I realize I’m dating myself with this analogy. Star Trek: The Next Generation was one of my favorite TV shows from the early 1990s.

My first major experience in a secondary role came during my high school and college days. During this time, I often had the privilege of playing second trumpet to strong first trumpet player personalities. In fact, I was so good at being a second trumpet player in college that I gained the attention of a hot-shot doctoral candidate who ended up forming a brass quintet down in South Florida. He enjoyed my attention to detail in following his lead, so he asked me to move down to Florida to play in his quintet.

My second and current major experience in the number two role includes holding the role of associate music minister. I’ve had the opportunity to hold two positions at two large churches under the leadership of two strong music ministers.

As a result of these experiences, I’ve learned a lot about secondary leadership roles.

Why Is The Second Chair So Special?

The number two position is unique because it requires a continuous leadership dance. There are times when you have zero authority. You are doing everything your boss wants, no questions asked.

Then, there may be times when the boss is out of commission (vacations, health problems, etc.) and you assume full authority. You call all the shots. You make the difficult decisions [Just think: Captain Picard is turned into a Borg and Commander Riker now becomes Captain Riker].

During the majority of the time, though, there is a give and take of leadership. Your boss may hand off the baton for you to lead, and then he may reel you back in and take the baton from you. Your leadership role may vary depending on project circumstances.

For those of us as second chair leaders, though, the consistent, daily action is a continuous evaluation of our leadership position. We are always asking ourselves the question, “are we currently in a position of leadership or are we supposed to be following right now?”

5 Thoughts On Playing Second Chair

  1. Always praise your boss. Publicly and privately, say nothing but great stuff about your boss. You may or may not always agree with everything he says and does. That’s okay and it really doesn’t matter. He’s the boss and you play a supporting role to him. Give him the respect that he deserves.
  2. Understand how to “ride in the boss’s wake.” This is difficult to explain if you’ve never truly led in a secondary role. If you’re a musician, then you will probably understand what I’m about to write here. When I play second trumpet to a strong first trumpet player, I’m constantly following their lead. I’m listening for their volume, pitch, articulations, phrasing, and more. I’m attempting to match and complement how they are performing. And, I do something similar in following the leadership of my bosses. I’m always asking myself, “how can I match and complement their performance?”
  3. Ask the right questions in the right way. There will be times when you don’t agree with your boss’s leadership or decisions. Depending on the situation and circumstances, you may or may not feel the need to “put yourself out there” to discuss disagreements. But, whenever you do feel the need to talk through a decision, always be sure to do this respectfully, behind closed doors.
  4. Always defer to your boss’s leadership, unless you have been clearly handed the leadership baton. In the leadership dance, if you’re not exactly sure who is in charge at a particular point in time, then always submit to your boss.
  5. When you have been handed the leadership baton, don’t be afraid to lead with excellence. Just because you’re now in the head leadership position doesn’t mean that your leadership needs to be inferior to your boss’s leadership. In fact, I’ve always attempted to make sure there was a zero perceptible dip in excellence, quality, or leadership ability when handed the baton. The mission of the organization must continue with excellence, whoever is in charge.

Questions: How about you? Do you play a secondary leadership role? Can you relate to my thoughts and personal experience? Do you have any thoughts to add to my list?

5 Strategies To Develop Your Volunteer Teams

Photo by mtsofan

Photo by mtsofan

Volunteer Development

In a normal work environment, employees are routinely and strategically developed in their professional growth. While most employees typically understand the necessity for their own proactive, self-motivated development, I’m not quite as confident that volunteers always have the same view of their individual role within an organization. Of course, volunteer development is strictly based on the type of task that needs to be performed.

For example, if you’re volunteering to feed the homeless at a soup kitchen, then a minimum of training is required (i.e. stand here and scoop these potatoes onto each plate). If you’re volunteering to teach a 5th grade boys Sunday School class at church, then I can see the potential for training in the areas of teaching, discipline, classroom management, and so on. Every volunteer position will vary in difficulty and training required to accomplish the task.

I believe the majority of volunteers show up to fill a spot. They can see and understand that there is a need. Then, they step up to meet the perceived need. I’m not always sure, though, that they understand the training and development necessary to perform their role.

If you are a leader of volunteers, then you need to passionately guide volunteers in their personal growth and development. Here are some strategies I have found useful in leading my volunteer groups.

5 Strategies For Your Volunteer Development Arsenal

  1. Model Superstardom: if you want your volunteer group to perform at an amazingly high level, then your own personal performance has to be at the extreme high-end of your own expectations. The groups that you lead will not typically rise past your own level and ability as the leader. If you desire for them to be superstars, then you need to be a superstar performer yourself, first. “You can’t lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself. “ – Gene Mauch
  2. The 5-Minute Motivational Speech: no, this isn’t shades of Matt Foley (“… living in a van, down by the river” stuff). This is actually a quasi-newer addition for me in my development arsenal. So far, I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from my volunteers. They view it as spiritual devotional at the beginning of our time together. I actually view it as a way to teach and motivate my volunteers each week. Either way you view it, though, it works well as a connecting and teaching opportunity.
  3. Print and digital newsletter: for 16 years, I have done several motivational activities within the context of print media. For my own volunteer organization, we utilize a print newsletter and digital pdf version that we email out each week. Within each publication, I typically utilize these two articles to subtly and consistently develop my team. The Quote of the Week: at the top my weekly newsletter, I attempt to include a motivational and encouraging quote. You know you’ve hit a home run on a quote when members take that quote and put it up on Facebook after reading it! Note from Larry (or Note from the Leader): in this section of the newsletter, I always try to be an encourager of their successes and grateful for their commitment to the mission and vision.
  4. Workshops: whenever possible, we schedule small workshops to assist in the development of our volunteers. We occasionally will also go off site for larger workshops and conferences.
  5. Books: there have been a few occasions when I have utilized short books with smaller groups of leaders. Books are always great tools to learn and grow, even in the context of a small group. You can read through them together and have group discussions regarding what you’re learning.

Questions: Are you a leader of volunteers? Do you use any of these five strategies and have they been effective with your teams? What other strategies have you utilized and how effective have they been?

14 Practical Leadership Lessons I Have Learned From Being An Orchestra Director

Photo by nasa hq photo

Photo by nasa hq photo

The Life And Leadership Of An Orchestra Director

I think everybody has a certain perception of symphony orchestra directors, especially the top-end professionals. People probably view them as suave, sophisticated, jet-setters who have a pretty cushy job (yeah, sure, that’s me!).

While that may be true for a small minority of the top professionals, in my experience, being an orchestra director has awesome rewards as well as very unique challenges. This is particularly true of those of us conductors who lead volunteer orchestras. The musicians in our orchestras can walk whenever they feel like it. As music directors, we either lead them well or they will bail on us, guaranteed.

Over the last 16 years of leading volunteer orchestras (as well as from being a trumpet player under a bunch of great and horrible conductors), I’ve learned several valuable leadership lessons that apply not only to directing orchestras but also really to leading any organization.

14 Leadership Lessons From Orchestra Conducting

  1. Clarify the mission and vision. Every group is energized by its own unique vision and mission. If your group is not clear on what their mission is, then the organization will break down over time. As the leader, be sure the mission is clear in your own mind, first. Then, find creative ways to communicate the team’s mission on a regular basis.
  2. Model the organization’s values. Let me give you an example here. One of the values that I regularly discuss with my orchestra is excellence. If I preach excellence each week with my orchestra, but then come into rehearsals and worship services unprepared to direct them, I am essentially a hypocrite. I need to practice what I preach. Whatever values your organization upholds, be sure that you model those values for your followers.
  3. Communicate clearly and consistently. As a conductor, I have to be extremely clear with my baton, hands, and verbal instructions in order to communicate exactly how I need my orchestra to perform. My personal leadership pet peeve is communication. There are a lot of bad communicators out there, that’s for sure. I believe all leaders need to be obsessed with the flow of clear communication between them and their followers. Without good, secure, clear lines of communication, the team will break down over time. Communicate a clear, consistent message through phone, email, social networks, text messaging, newsletters, and personal talks with your team.
  4. Set high expectations. “High expectations are the key to everything.” – Sam Walton. The groups you lead will rise (or fall) to the level of your expectations. Make sure you are crystal clear in the expectations you have for yourself as well as for those you lead. If your people believe in your leadership, then they will do whatever they can to rise to your desired level of expectation.
  5. Be prepared to lead. Anytime you’re out front leading your team in a meeting, a project, or any event, be sure you have your act together. Prepare heavily on the front end before meetings or events, so that things flow well on the back-end. Come prepared to lead your team in order for your team to be inspired to follow you.
  6. Focus your best energy on leading your leaders. The most effective leaders understand this key principle. Spend the majority of your time leading and developing your leaders. Your team will achieve more long-term when all the leaders are leading at their highest potential.
  7. Be respectful of your team. Gone are the days of the tyrant director on the podium. Stomping around and yelling at your followers just doesn’t fly anymore. They will stop following you. You must lead your team as a group of (mostly) equals. You just happen to be the one who has been placed in the position of leading the team.
  8. Prioritize the work flow. As you analyze the work projects that need to be accomplished, be sure that your team understands the priority assigned to each task. Have them focus the majority of their best time and energy into those tasks that are the highest priority.
  9. Prepare the work environment. Your team will have physical, tangible equipment needs at some level. Make sure your team has everything they need to do the work you are asking them to do. Have everything set-up in the right manner, ready to be put to its best use.
  10. Quality practice leads to excellent performance. Musicians understand this concept better than anyone. The better my practice time flows, the better my performance will go. Work hard for excellence in the private practice room, in order for your public performance to match that same level of excellence.
  11. Be an encourager. “A good director creates an environment, which gives the actor the encouragement to fly.” – Kevin Bacon. Your group is going to climb higher, faster based on the amount of encouragement that you give them individually and corporately. I’m not talking fake encouragement, either. When you catch them doing awesome stuff (and you will), then give them a bunch of high-fives and pats on the back. Your followers will appreciate the sincere encouragement you give them.
  12. Praise publicly. Criticize privately. I’ve learned this leadership lesson the hard way, mostly in reverse, though! Here’s what I mean. Several years back, one of the leaders in my orchestra went on a critical rant during a rehearsal in front of the entire orchestra about something I did that he didn’t like. It really threw me off-balance the rest of the evening. The next day, I set-up a time to have lunch with this individual. When we met for lunch a few days later, I shared with him this principle. I simply and politely asked him that when he had a specific problem with my leadership, if we could meet privately to discuss the issue. I didn’t think our rehearsal time was the best time to “air our grievances.” Thankfully, we have never had another issue, since!
  13. Celebrate the victories. Honestly, I always struggle with this one. I’m the type of leader that has the tendency to move on to the next project as soon as possible. Take time to publicly “bask in the glory” of a job well done with your team.
  14. Quietly analyze the defeats. While victories should be celebrated publicly, your team’s defeats should be analyzed privately. Meet with the various leaders of your team to determine why you failed and how the failure can be corrected. Turn your team’s immediate failures into learning and growth opportunities for future wins.

Questions: Of these 14 leadership lessons, which ones do you personally embrace? Which ones are new concepts for you? What leadership lessons have you learned and developed in your specific career field? Feel free to leave a comment and share with this community.

7 Tips To Successfully Motivate Volunteers In Your Organization

Photo by Mark Brannan

Photo by Mark Brannan

Motivating Volunteers Is My Life’s Work

For the last sixteen years, my primary job role has been engaging a small, unique sub-set of volunteers – the volunteer church orchestra.

In my professional opinion, this particular position has a number of unique layers of challenging volunteer motivation. Not only do I have the incredible responsibility to motivate them to show up for rehearsals and worship services, but I also have the privilege of developing them, musically. I must take a group made up of mostly “weekend warrior” musicians and strategically motivate them to grow in their musical abilities.

So, over the last sixteen years, here is the “toolbox” I have developed, mostly through trial and error, to engage and motivate my volunteers to not only show up, but to also become better musicians.

7 Tips To Motivate Your Volunteers

  1. Get personal. If you develop a personal connection with your volunteers, then there is a greater likelihood that they will stay with your organization, long-term. You must know the names of your volunteers. Knowing the names of their spouses and kids is a major bonus and will endear you to your volunteers. Also, you need to “walk around the room.” There is something very special about a leader of any organization who arrives early and stays late just to connect with those he is leading.
  2. Mail them hand-written cards. You should regularly thank your volunteers via spoken word and email communication. This is a given. What will set you apart from others, though, is mailing them hand-written thank you, birthday, and anniversary cards. Why is this so effective? Because hardly anybody does it anymore; it’s too much work for a lot of people. Your volunteers will truly appreciate that you took additional time out of your busy schedule to provide that personal touch.
  3. Honor their time. You need to have a schedule and stick to it 99% of the time. If you ask your volunteers to be present at a specific time, then you need to start on time. If you give them an end time, then you need to end on time. Yes, there will be special circumstances when you may need to flex your start and end times, but make that a rare exception and not the rule. With our ever increasingly busy lives, people appreciate those who can stay on a firm schedule.
  4. Be prepared. Organize their work, whatever it is. You as the leader need to have your own “ducks in a row” as well. Your volunteers will greatly appreciate all of their work resources being organized and accessible as soon as they arrive to volunteer for you.
  5. Communicate the mission. Have you ever heard about the psychology study that included asking people to dig ditches, fill them back in, and ever-increasing monetary compensation for them showing back up the next day to do the exact same task? This supposed psychology study found that people who were hired to dig ditches for half a day and then directed to fill them back in the second half of the day, were less likely to return to work the next day, even if their pay was increased. Why is this? People need to know that their work matters and has some greater overall purpose. As you lead your volunteers, you must communicate the mission of your organization on a regular basis. Say it verbally. Write it down in your thank you cards. Place it prominently in your newsletters. The more your volunteers hear the mission and connect with it, the greater the likelihood that they will keep showing up to volunteer.
  6. Admit when you mess up. In my opinion, the worst leaders are the ones who can never admit they made a mistake. That’s plain dumb. We’re human beings and we all make mistakes. Your volunteers will appreciate you more if you just confess it and ask for forgiveness. Being stubborn about your failings will send your volunteers out the back door, over time.
  7. Celebrate! Every time your volunteer organization moves successfully through a project or special event, you should celebrate. Throw a little party of some type in order to pause, reflect, as well as say to your group, “Yea! We did it!” Too many times, we just blast on through to the next project and ask our people, “what have you done for me lately?” This is probably not the best way to retain your volunteers. Figure out creative, meaningful ways to celebrate your victories and at the same time show appreciation to your volunteers.

Questions: Are you a leader of a mostly volunteer organization? What do you think of these 7 specific tips? Which ones do you use to motivate your volunteers? Do you have any additional tips in your toolbox? Feel free to share your ideas with the community by leaving us a comment below.

What’s Your “Why,” And Why Haven’t You Discovered It Yet?

Photo by Cea.

Photo by Cea.

The Best TED Talk Ever

Have you ever heard of a guy named Simon Sinek who has this little TED Talk video called “How Great Leaders Inspire Action?” I believe this is the most viewed TED talk to date. In my humble opinion, it’s also the best TED talk I’ve ever seen.

This guy gets it. This guy understands what inspires people to accomplish amazing things in their lives.

Before reading and further, I would encourage you to watch the TED Talk YouTube video link I have embedded into this post.

The Golden Circle

As part of Simon’s research into how great leaders inspire action, he codified the concept of “The Golden Circle.” The Golden Circle is simply a diagram of 3 concentric circles. The outside circle is labeled “What.” The second circle is labeled “How.” And, finally, the inner circle is labeled “Why.”

Photo by Gavin Llewellyn

Photo by Gavin Llewellyn

Simon believes that most people and organizations work from the outside in. They start with “what,” then move on to “how,” and then many times they never even move on to “why.” Most people’s “why” is fuzzy to them anyway. As a result, they aren’t as successful as they possibly could be.

In this video, Simon Sinek lays out the supposition that individuals who achieve great things as well as attract a passionate following start from inside The Golden Circle, and then work their way outward.

They start with their “why,” then move to “how,” and finally “what.”

3 Examples Of Powerful “Whys”

In Simon’s talk, he gives us three primary examples to support this Golden Circle concept: Apple, Inc., the Wright Brothers, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Apple, Inc. has a cult-like following because they “think differently.” The company’s mantra is to challenge the status quo. Their following is attracted to the company’s “why.” Apple just happens to build great computers, software, and peripherals as an expression of their ultimate “why.”
  • The Wright Brothers had a dream to figure out how to build a flying machine. They didn’t have a lot of money or additional resources. They mostly used equipment from their bicycle shop in Dayton, OH. What they had, though, was an incredible passion to figure out how to accomplish this flying thing. Their “why” was stronger and bigger than the others who were trying to accomplish manned, powered flight around that same time period in 1903.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. He had a long-term vision of a country that had a completely integrated society of both blacks and whites living and working together. People of all colors were attracted to his vision. The peaceful march on Washington, D.C. in 1963 and eventual end of segregation were the direct result of his “why.”

Who Cares? Why is “Why” So Important?

Why is “why” so important? From the standpoint of The Golden Circle, the “Why” of any individual or organization is the driving, passionate, motivating force to accomplish any great movement.

So, what’s your why? Do you even have a why? Do you have a vision bigger than yourself, that it keeps you motivated in your career, business, and life?

If you don’t have a great, motivating “why” for your life, don’t worry. You still have time. Spend some quality time meditating and journaling about what you’re passionate about. Attempt to pinpoint what gets you out of bed in the morning. What motivates you (or has the potential to motivate you) to live your best life and accomplish great stuff along the way?

7 Keys To Establish A Culture Of Excellence

Photo by Quasimondo

Photo by Quasimondo

The Priority Of Excellence

When I consider great people, organizations, and companies that exist today, I am impressed with their commitment to excellence. They have a passionate desire and drive to put excellent work out into the world.

Apple, Inc. creates beautiful products that challenge the status quo. Fox News is communicating fair and balanced news in a powerful way. Andy Stanley is “communicating for change” in the world of preaching, teaching, and writing. Michael Hyatt is creating a Platform empire!

The work that these people and companies create didn’t happen by accident, either. Their work has been the best of the best. They have been committed to a path of excellence in all that they do.

Because of that commitment to excellence, they are at the top of their field.

7 Keys To Excellence

As I look at excellent companies, organizations, and people, I observe seven keys to excellence that are practiced religiously:

  1. Excellence is a decision. Excellence doesn’t happen by accident. Excellent people and organizations have made conscious decisions that they will put excellence into everything they do.
  2. Excellence requires strong leadership. If you want to establish a culture of excellence, then you must recruit and train excellent leaders. The best organizations don’t just have one strong head leader. There is at least one additional layer (and usually more) of quality leaders that are heralding the vision of the CEO.
  3. Excellence is communicated regularly in a variety of ways. Try putting excellence quotes in your blogs and newsletters. Pepper everyday conversations with thoughts on excellence. Establish a culture where excellence is expected at every level – from the bathroom to the board room!
  4. Excellence requires enthusiastic energy! People are drawn to energy. If you and your team are energized by what you do, then people will follow you. They will buy into you. They will be peak performers for you. They will give you excellent work.
  5. Excellence is hard work. Achieving excellence in anything won’t be easy. You’re going to have to put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into all that you do. The more hard work you can put in on the front end, the bigger the payoff for you and your organization on the back-end.
  6. Excellence is detailed oriented. If you desire to achieve excellence, then you’re going to have to take out the magnifying glass and really dig into the details of your projects, products, and organizational structure.
  7. Excellence in anything must be practiced consistently over time. You can’t have a “one and done” seminar on excellence. You must constantly communicate and practice excellence in everything you do. You must become a quasi-religious zealot and inspire everyone in your sphere of influence toward this subjective destination of excellence every day.

Other Keys To Excellence?

How about you? Are you an excellent person? Are you a leader within an excellent organization? What do you think of my list of seven keys to excellence? Do you have additional keys that you would like to share?

If so, please leave me a comment below. Thanks!

How Do You Define Excellence For Yourself Or Organization?

Photo by Chandra Marsono

Photo by Chandra Marsono

Excellence Is Subjective

Excellence is a moving target. Depending on the time of day, our physical health, how rested we are, as well as a number of different factors, we will perform at varying levels of excellence.

Also, depending on how well we have prepared ourselves as well as the people around us, this will determine how excellent we can perform in a given task or project.

Typically, though, we end up measuring our excellence through the prism of a model or mentor. Let me give you two examples from my world.

Models And Mentors

For many years now, I have conducted volunteer church orchestras. Whenever my musicians need to learn a new piece of music, I normally play them a very clean, solid demo recording of this new music. This gives them a “standard” from which to learn the song. My orchestra now has a “benchmark” for which to strive for to play the song with excellence.

Now, will my volunteer orchestra ever hit the demo recording level of musical excellence? No, probably not, but at least they understand how a particular song should sound. They get the sound of it in their musical ear, and they will do what they need to do to try to reach that same level of excellence. Even though they probably won’t reach the same level of excellence as the model, they are at least inspired to a higher level as a result of having a model to compare their playing ability to.

Let me give you another example.

Photo by apgroner

Photo by apgroner

As an orchestra conductor, I have had a number of excellent teachers, mentors, and role models. I have learned a tremendous amount about conducting from all of them. I have practiced really hard to become at least as good of a conducting musician as they are. They have served as a benchmark of excellence for me. They have pushed me to at least their level and beyond.

A really cool thing happens though, when you start moving beyond demos, models, mentors, and benchmarks. You and your organization start blazing a new trail of excellence in whatever you do. You become the standard everyone else is trying to reach!

Best In The World (or pretty darn close)

The ultimate goal for you as an individual or as an organization should be to become the best in the world. Why settle for third or fourth place? If you believe that you have the capacity to become the best in your area of expertise, why not go for it?

As you strive to become best in the world, be on the lookout for those who have already established themselves as best in the world. Hold them up as your standard of excellence.

Then, see if you can meet and surpass their level of excellence. Look for unique ways you can differentiate your level of excellence from theirs. Take your personal or organizational excellence up to the next level so that you can stand out from the crowd. Move into the arena of best in the world and watch others follow your leadership.

It’s a cool place to be. Go for it and see what happens!

Do You Take Personal Responsibility For Excellence?

Photo by Jasleen Kaur

“If each of us would only sweep our own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.” – Mother Teresa

Personal Responsibility Has Disappeared

We live in a world where people want to pass the buck and assign blame on others. We see it in our families, our churches, our communities, and our government. We all play the blame game, but in the end, nothing is fixed. No great accomplishment can be achieved.

Why is this? Why can’t people stop blaming each other and start leading? It’s hard to diagnose. Maybe it’s a societal trend. Perhaps those of us in any type of leadership role have done a poor job of teaching this concept to those we lead.

It would seem that today’s leaders have created a culture that says ” … just trust me. I’ll take care of you.” Long gone is the philosophy of President Kennedy who said at the end of his inaugural address in 1961:

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own. In these turbulent times we currently find ourselves, now is the time, though, for a rebirth of personal responsibility.

Areas To Assume Personal Responsibility

There are many areas in which we can assume personal responsibility, but first, we must begin in the center and work outward.

You. You are the “center” of your world. If you are not assuming personal responsibility for living an excellent life, then how can you expect to lead others on that journey? Lead yourself first. Others will follow your example.

Once we have become self-disciplined and are pursuing personal excellence, then we can begin moving outside of ourselves and influencing others to do the same. The closer these other people are to us, the better. Start with your spouse and children, then move on to your close friends, those you may lead in the workplace, and acquaintances within your community.

As your influence grows with those around you, you may even see your sphere of influence expand out regionally, nationally, or even worldwide! Just remember that the possibility of a larger range of influence only comes when you are growing personally in this area.

Are You Pursuing Excellence?

How about you? Are you pursuing excellence in a mediocre world? Have you taken personal responsibility to lead a life of excellence? Are you attempting to lead others in this area? Are you starting with your immediate close circle of family and radiating outward into the rest of your world?

If we desire to have an impact in the world, we have to first start small and work our way outward. You can only inspire others when you are on the relentless path of excellence yourself.

As we prepare to enter a New Year in a few weeks, let’s all be committed to the relentless pursuit of excellence. Let’s make an impact in ourselves, families, communities, nation, and the entire world!