I was priviledged to attend a small gathering to listen to Ken Blanchard and then join him for lunch this week thanks to Alberto Cabezas (co-founder of Claction online marketing) and the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation. Ken Blanchard is the author of “The One Minute Manager” a simple but brilliant story about management that has sold over 13 million copies worldwide.
Ken’s talk covered a whole range of stories from his life. He is clearly a keen observer of life and people. After some wonderful stories from his life, Ken said “well I suppose you would like to know what the role of a Leader in the current uncertain times might be?”.
Ken said that there are three parts to leading well in uncertain times:
- Be a Bearer of Hope (Focus attention on the good stuff)
- Treat people as Business Partners (If you are losing sleep over the numbers, make sure everybody is losing sleep over the numbers)
- Have a Servant Leadership heart (who’s in charge? customer or supervisor? – it should be the customer at the top of the pyramid)
I listened to Ken going through the roles of a leader, the type of behaviours that a leader can carry through…
My question to Ken was what happens when, as a leader, you wake up one morning and think “I’m tired. I’ve been a bearer of hope, I’ve pushed, I’ve communicated… but today I’m tired… it’s somebody else’s turn to push today… to be the motor today. What do you recommend? What do you do to keep strong as a leader?”
Ken’s answer was “Solitude. Begin the day slowly”.
In my case, the alarm goes off, I jump up head downstairs, put coffee on, cereal in a bowl, TV on, check email and messages on my Iphone… and straight into the problems and crisis of the day.
When Ken’s alarm clock goes off in the morning, he wakes up. He sits on the side of his bed with his hands, palms down, resting on his legs. He takes a few minutes to listen to what thoughts are passing through his head, what worries him, what his body is telling him. After 10 minutes of listening to himself, he turns his hands over, palms up, and reflects on what he wants to be grateful for at the end of the day. The hustle of the bustle of the day still takes its toll, but starting the day slowly gives him the strength to do what he knows is right.
(This morning I had big plans to start the day slowly, but hit snooze and ended up in a rush… tomorrow for sure I will get my slow start)