Character and Skills

A mentor of mine reminded me this week of something I’d heard before, but didn’t really understand until now.  He told me that one of the biggest threats to a leader is when their skills development outpaces their character development.  Quite frankly, the problems we’re seeing in corporate America (H-P, Converse Technology, etc.) is very likely a result of this chasm.  Think about it, no one would question the skill level of the executives at H-P.  But obviously we would question their character.

So how much time does the average leader spend on character development vs. skills development?  If the most recent headlines (Business Week Online) are to be believed, more time is spent on the skills side.  Isn’t funny how the thing that can wreck a life or career is the thing we ignore.  Some call it arrogance…I call it stupidity.  We’ve all been warned about what happens when character is left in the dust (see Enron, Citigroup or Adelphia).

You have a chance to turn the ship around by giving your character some attention-major attention.  Start by putting as much time into the development of your character as you would on skills.  For example, if you’re taking fifteen hours of classes at your local university to get your MBA, then give your character that much.  Believe me, their are churches, universities, books and more that can offer you the right material on character development.  Do it now!  You thank me for it later…

The world needs more leaders who are well balanced in their character and their skills.

The Love Affair

Ever thought about how much time you spend working?  Ever thought about how much of your identity is shaped by work?  Ultimately, I’m speaking to those that work eight or more hours per day in an organization (profit or non-profit).  Much has been written about the work place and all of the dysfunctional goings on.  But where should all of this land, in light of LIFE?

Some of you will spend thirty or more years working.  Your happy, your sad.  You get a promotion, you get fired.  As someone whose experienced all of those things, I can tell you that my life is not measured in large portion by work.  I am learning more and more each day that what matters is what is in my heart.  My life will be truly defined by that.  Even more importantly, will what’s in my heart “get out?”

Many of you are thinking that you can’t put time and focus on things of the heart.  If you’re reading this then you’ve been given the gift of life, therefore successs in the things of the heart is what you should be pursuing.

By the way, you’ll be more of a success in your work when you pursue being a success in the things of the heart.

Why the Past is Past

If you’re in the mode of trusting in your past successes, then beware!  It is a dangerous trap that many leaders small and large fall into.  For some reason, our past triumphs lead us to believe that the future is discovered by them.  In many ways this is not so.

The past is a time-frame of occurrence.  It was a place of experience and opportunity (if we were awake for it).  The only value in the past is to “connect the dots.”  We derive learning and encouragement from those “dots.”

Don’t be fooled, the future doesn’t care about your past…it was birthed by your experiences of yesterday.

Start today by realizing that the future is about forward movement.  You must make a conscious choice to look forward…it doesn’t happen naturally.  If you’re living an Epic Life, then you know this is true.