Tuesday, March 27, 2012

30 Mileposts on the Roadmap of Life

“Begin with the end in mind.”
- Stephen Covey

I had the privilege of attending a retirement celebration for the CEO of a not-for-profit retirement community where I serve on one of their management boards. He gave a short speech during the event and as I was listening, it struck me that the list he laid out had application as more than merely workplace aphorisms; that at its core it was a roadmap to a well lived life. I’ve edited a few of the items to enhance their universality. With permission, here is your roadmap:

1. Embrace opportunity. At times you have to step out of the way and let things happen.

2. Don’t jump to conclusions. Always give people the benefit of the doubt.

3. Act with fairness and respect. Require that of others.

4. Listen with an open mind. Listen a lot; talk a little.

5. Sometimes people simply want to be heard, even if things don’t go their way.

6. On any subject, there are always people who know more than you (they may even be close by).

7. You don’t always have to be right in order to lead effectively.

8. Rarely is the CEO 100% right.

9. Admit it when you’re wrong, or if someone has a better way.

10. Empowerment is critical in an effective organization.

11. Micromanagement is insulting and deadly.

12. Participation of the leader has symbolic impacts – be careful with that.

13. We are all equals. Only talents and assignments vary.

14. Recognize and honor talent.

15. Much of what you do sets precedents in memory, ethics and records – that’s why having and following established policies is important.

16. During difficult times, remember that “this too shall pass.”

17. Your life clock is ticking at work also. At a full-time job, you live at least ¼ of your life there. Think and act according to how good you want that ¼ to be.

18. Anger weakens you. Remember that any anger you feel is generated by you, and not thrust on you by others. Curb it.

19. Trust is fragile – slowly established, and quickly torn down.

20. You can’t please everyone. Show respect to those you can’t please.

21. There is business strength in diversity and a variety of compatible styles.

22. Try to learn something from all people and situations.

23. Don’t burn bridges. Sometimes you find yourself crossing back over.

24. Truth is powerful and essential. If you always tell the truth, it isn’t difficult to remember what you said.

25. If you always speak with truth and respect, you don’t have to worry about who heard or talked about it.

26. Never underestimate what you can do if you really try.

27. Think before you speak. Words don’t go backwards.

28. Effective leadership requires the respect of those led.

29. Fame is fleeting. Doing the right thing endures.

30. All leaders have their time. Step down when that time is up.

30 ideas © 2012 R. Tomlinson

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