3 Leadership Lessons from Tony Robbins and My Grandmother by Veronica Brejan

Feb 21, 11 3 Leadership Lessons from Tony Robbins and My Grandmother by Veronica Brejan

Posted by in Guest blog posts

What could Tony Robbins and my grandmother have in common?…apparently nothing but still, they are both people whose personal example, determination and authenticity touched my life. Tony Robbins is an American guy whom many refer to using big words like „guru”, „outstanding psychologist”, „great motivational speaker and author” and so on. What made me start reading his books however, was not his fame, but his story. It was the rags to riches story of a young janitor who, at 21, was obese, lonely and poor. It was then that he decided to change his life and boy did he change it! He ended up a counselor for American presidents, great sports-people, members of royal families and all sorts of other celebrities. And then there’s my granny – a plain country woman who worked the land all her life, in the old communist colectivist system. She was orphaned of both parents when she was just a few years old. She didn’t choose to change her life, like Tony Robbins, but instead chose to live it simply, with determination and dignity. Ever since I started working in corporations she could never understand what exactly I was doing for a living. “Training and Development Coordinator” didn’t hold much meaning for her. What really mattered for my grandmother was the joy she saw in my eyes whenever I talked about work. Although these two figures are thousands of miles away both physically and mentally, somehow they both reached the conclusion that happiness is not about what we have, but about how we live our lives. And these are 3 healthy leadership lessons they taught me: Never mistake desire for decision! Tony Robbins wrote in his book „Awaken the giant within”, that modern people have started replacing good old fashioned decisions with fancy wish lists. We often hear around us things like “I’d love to have a more interesting job”, “I wish I could work for a company that truly values employees”, “I wish I could reach my target”,...

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7 Deadly Sins of Managers

Feb 01, 11 7 Deadly Sins of Managers

Posted by in Books, Business, Leadership

Victor got hired in a corporation while he was still studying and he stayed with the company after graduation. He’s young, energetic, ambitious and considered a rising star by his company. It’s been a few years now, in which Victor worked very hard and became one of the best professionals in his area of expertise. Everyone acknowledges his experience and it’s not seldom that colleagues in other departments ask for his advice. So a promotion was just a matter of time. It came naturally and wondered no one. Victor was appointed manager of a team of 10 people and it was the start of a new era for him… In his book, “The Accidental Manager”, Gary Topchik tells the story of managers who, like Victor, were promoted on account of their technical expertise. Topchick calls them “accidental managers” because, even though they received the promotion as a reward for their contribution to the company, hardly anyone made sure they fully understood what their new role entailed, beyond the salary raise and the status boost. Too often companies are superficial in treating the profound implications such a change in role has both for the manager involved, Victor in our case, for his future team and ultimately for the company. Thus it’s easy for Victor to fall into the trap of believing that his new position is just an “upgrade” on his old one and that nothing much will change in his work. What is he likely to do in this case? He might easily commit one of the 7 deadly sins of “accidental managers”. 1. Keep on doing what he did before Victor keeps on doing what he knows best – relies on his technical expertise and spends most of his time on tasks and personal objectives instead of developing his team. The result? Victor is overwhelmed by the huge volume of work and his team is de-motivated and frustrated by his apparent lack of involvement; people lack direction and results are slow to come. 2. Becomes...

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Einstein’s Mad-Men and the Dangerous Trip Down the Decision Pyramid

Einstein reportedly said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. By this definition many of us might qualify as insane in one or another compartment of our lives. So why is it so hard to turn around when we find ourselves on the wrong path in life? This question and the idea for this post came to me from one of my readers, Dana, who wrote in a comment on my previous post on “Authenticity” about the layers of “fears” which prevent us from being ourselves. She said that, like peeling an onion, we must first rid ourselves of these layers and then, step by step, find our own unique voice and identity.  This nice “onion” metaphor made me think of other layers we need to shed in order to find our true selves and gather the courage to turn around when our personal or professional road turns out to be a dead end. Some of you may remember another post I wrote about a month ago on “cognitive dissonance”. I was describing this mechanism that makes us basically lie to ourselves in order to feel better about our “not so right” thoughts or actions. Now I’ll take this idea a step further and tell you the story of how cognitive dissonance may get us trapped in a vicious cycle of bad decisions and turn us into Einstein’s “mad-man”, who keeps on doing the same old thing and hopes, against all odds, that the result will be different. Imagine decision making like a pyramid, where the tip is the initial moment when we make a decision – “although I love painting and I’d really like to make a profession out of it, I’ll follow my parents’ advice and go to Economic School to get a degree, since art isn’t really profitable”. Once we’ve made a decision in discordance with our inner beliefs we’ve taken one step down the pyramid. Cognitive dissonance kicks in...

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