Archive for leadership

At Leadercast a few years ago, I fielded a very timely question.

During lunch, a young man asked,

“How does a good leader handle layoffs? Especially when they need to lay off a good and valued employee?”

Here’s what I believe:

First, I don’t think a leader should ask others to make sacrifices until he’s made some himself. So I’d examine other company expenses to see what could be sacrificed instead. So many executives, when faced with the need to cut costs, will sacrifice employees ahead of their own corporate perks. Instead of looking at the big picture, they see only their OWN picture.

But if an organization is only as strong as its weakest link, then leaders should do everything they can to avoid removing a STRONG link. A good employee is simply too valuable to let go without exhausting other options.

I do the same when hiring. I’ve always believed that if you find a good potential employee, you do whatever you can to get them on the team – even if it means creating a position or changing the budget. I once even gave up my own budgeted salary for a year in order to hire the leader I wanted to run one of my companies.

You may not be able to sacrifice your salary to keep an employee, but if they’re truly valuable, you certainly should be willing to give up the box seats at the baseball stadium, or use of the corporate jet, or your company-paid gym membership.

And after all the budget-busting, if you still need to lay good people off, then make it your goal to help them find a new position. Tell them you will be their #1 advocate. Offer to be a reference in their job hunt. Network on their behalf. Write the recommendation letter and/or make the phone call to the potential employer. Do whatever you can to ease their transition.

Finally, ask if you can remain friends even if they can no longer be on your staff. Who knows what the future may bring? Besides, as a leader, your goal should be to add value to the people you lead. When good employees leave and take a new position, it might offer them better opportunities than what you could have provided.

 Originally posted May 20, 2009

Have you ever been a part of a team that doesn’t seem to get anything accomplished? Where the team may work and work, but nothing actually gets done? If so, you’ve probably been on a team that lacked vision.

Vision works like a rudder on a ship. Without it, the ship may travel a distance, but not necessarily in the right direction. With it, the ship reaches the destination by the shortest route possible.

Vision determines the direction of the team.

Champion basketball coach Pat Riley once said, “Teamwork requires that everyone’s efforts flow in a single direction. Feelings of significance happen when a team’s energy takes on a life of its own.”

With vision, a team has energy, and team members feel like they’re doing something of value. So if you’re the leader of a team, how do you impart vision to your people?

You transfer the vision both emotionally and logically.

What is needed to emotionally transfer a vision?

  1. Credibility. People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. Your people need to know that you can be trusted.
  2. Passion. Team members will not be excited about a vision that the leader doesn’t care about. They need to see and feel your passion before they embrace it.
  3. Relationship. How well do your teammates know you? How well do you know them? People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
  4. Timing. For a vision to connect, its timing needs to be right. The right decision at the wrong time is still the wrong decision.
  5. Felt need. This is relatively easy, because we all need to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Revealing how your vision meets that need can lead to emotional buy-in.

What is needed to logically transfer a vision?

  1. A realistic understanding of the situation today. A firm grasp on reality gives your vision a starting point, and makes team members more willing to partner in achieving it.
  2. An experienced team. How familiar are team members with the specific problem? The more they’ve dealt with similar situations, the more confident they’ll be in their ability to tackle this challenge. Make it your goal to show them how their previous experience has prepared them.
  3. A sound strategy. Do you have a game plan that you can articulate clearly and succinctly? Team members need to know where they’re going before they can fully accept the responsibility for getting there.
  4. Acceptance of responsibility by the leader(s). Do you embrace your role in achieving the vision? Are you willing to be held accountable? People need to know that you’ll do your part.
  5. Celebration of each victory. A big vision is filled with many small goals. Celebrating victories in those areas helps team members track their progress and find the motivation to continue on the journey.
  6. Evaluation of each defeat. When the team misses a goal, it’s important to acknowledge that and communicate how the team can do better moving forward.

Great vision precedes great achievement. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, a leader of troops during World War II, wrote that “every single soldier must know, before he goes into battle, how the little battle he is to fight fits into the larger picture, and how the success of his fighting will influence the battle as a whole.” People on your team need to know why they’re fighting. This helps them buy in emotionally and logically, so that they can work together with you to achieve victory.

Categories : leadership, teamwork, vision
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Did you miss my live call last week?

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Last Monday, I shared about an exciting opportunity. I invited you to join me on a live call that evening on the subject of Transformational Leadership. Did you take part?

Over 10,000 people did join me. But I don’t want anyone to miss out. So if you weren’t able to be on the call (or even if you were and just want to hear it again), I’m making available a recording of the entire event! I hope it speaks to you where you are and encourages you to become a Transformational Leader — making a difference in your community, country, and world. Just click on the link below to learn more. I hope this adds value to you so that you can turn around and add value to others.


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Amazing opportunity — TONIGHT!

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What an incredible start to this week. This morning, we began the EQUIP World Relay, which I wrote about last week here on my blog. I’m so excited about this initiative and the blessing we hope it will be to the people of Guatemala and around the world. Click over to last week’s post for details and opportunities to learn more and get involved.

To keep up with the Relay as they travel from Atlanta, GA, to Guatemala City, Guatemala, you can find them online at and on Twitter at @EQUIPWorldRelay. Follow for updates, pictures, and inspiring stories from the journey.

BUT BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE TODAY, I want to let you know about something wonderful that is happening tonight:

March 4, 8:00-10:00 pm Eastern Time (GMT-5)

Tonight, in partnership with my John Maxwell Team, I’m hosting a special two-hour live call, in which I’d love to have you participate. At 8:00 pm (20:00) ET, I’ll join you live, sharing a lesson on what it means to be a Transformational Leader. You’ll learn what it takes to transform the world around you, along with more about our current goals for making a difference in Guatemala and beyond. And at the end, we’ll have a special live Question and Answer session.

For more information on the call, and to sign up,
just visit

After you register, you’ll receive all the details on how you can participate in the two-hour call tonight, including an option to listen online.

I hope you’ll join me. I believe that together, with a commitment to transformational leadership, we can make a difference in our communities, our countries, and our world. I can’t wait to share the vision with you tonight.


Adding Value.

That’s what I set out to do every day with my blog and social media. It’s why I speak to thousands of people every year. It’s my reason for writing every one of my books. There is nothing I enjoy more than adding value to people – through my communication, giving them something they can take away and use to grow and make a difference.

My organizations are built around this idea, too. And one that’s doing a lot to add value in the world is my nonprofit, EQUIP. Earlier this month, I traveled to Guatemala with EQUIP to launch a new emphasis on Global Transformation. The trip was amazing, with thousands of leaders, pastors, influencers, and activists hearing this message of Transformational Leadership. 

This week, EQUIP is launching the world’s biggest relay to continue this emphasis on global transformation, one country, one community, at a time. The EQUIP World Relay™ is starting by  calling attention to the needs and opportunities for transformation that exist in the country of Guatemala. So beginning March 4, for 100 days, we will walk from Atlanta, Georgia, to Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Our Goals:

  • Bring together 5 million prayer partners.
  • Raise $1,000,000 for global transformation.
  • Equip and train leaders in the 7 key streams of influence in any society (Business, Government, Education, Media, Entertainment, Church and Family)
  • Highlight Guatemala and the work being done there by influential leaders
  • Rally communities everywhere to join us in the EQUIP World Relay™

If you would like to learn more about this wonderful effort, please click below. I’m excited about the ways the EQUIP World Relay™ will add value to an entire nation and launch an initiative for Global Transformation among leaders worldwide.

EQUIP World Relay