25 October 2017

5 THINGS ALL LEADERS MUST DO AT THE END OF THE DAY

The end of the business day is the most anticipated time of day. Everyone, including leaders, looks forward to the end of the day. However, as a Leader while it may be tempting to get up and leave, things are not as simple. All leaders should have an end of day routine that focuses on planning for tomorrow, preparation all the time, and addressing issues of the day. The end of day routine must become a habit for the leader to succeed. Success will come in the form of being a great leader and in turn creating greater leaders.

Plan for tomorrow and the next day (and the next)

As a leader, the most essential skill to master is time management. Once mastered the world is your oyster and success is your pearl. However, every leader must begin long before they can master anything. Therefore, working and working through planning and preparation on a daily basis means one thing your proficiency and mastery will increase. Therefore, start with pen and paper. Put down in writing tomorrow’s plan of action including those involved as well as, materials or items you will need to achieve success. By putting your plan in writing, you have now made it real. Having a tangible plan a leader has a point of reference by which to launch more actions and activities, thus on to bigger and better things.

Recognize Others

Do not let the sunset without reaching out and recognizing those individuals that deserve that recognition. Of course, you should always recognize individuals the moment they do something extraordinary; however, it does not hurt to recognize those individuals one more time. At the end of the day, those recognized should get another congratulatory handshake, pat on the back and a Thank You big enough to take home and share with family and friends. Taking the recognition home is a great morale booster especially for those employees that find themselves feeling like the management and leadership does not even know they exist. As a leader, it is your job to create new leaders. Without recognition, they will never know if they are on the right track to becoming the leaders you are creating. Give them something to go on, something to build on.

Address Workplace Issues

Just like not allowing employee recognition to go unnoticed, the same applies to those annoying workplace issues. Leaving unresolved issues for tomorrow is not an idea any leader should entertain. Quite the opposite, when the unresolved issues involved personnel matters there is not time to waste or delay. There should be no exception when it comes to addressing personnel matters, the sooner the better. Any delay will create stress, increase any animosity, contribute to confusion, and most of all, taint the memory of those involved in the issue(s). By addressing issues immediately, everyone involved can close out today and start with a clean slate, tomorrow.

Take No Work Home

Taking work home is something that is best left for the kids. Homework is usually something that teachers use as a tool for memory and understanding by either writing spelling words or working math problems. For the rest of us, bringing work home is not something that should be considered an option. It is not to say that homework is wrong, it is that if it can be avoided or postponed until the next workday it should. There will be those times you will be tempted to bring work home but do not do it. There has to be a demarcation, a line, in the sand per se but a leader has to know when to close the book on work for the day and pick it back up tomorrow. Then again, if you have to, absolutely have to, then stay a little late and finish what has to be finished, otherwise get home, your family awaits.

Say Goodbye To Everyone

At the end of the day, a leader should try to say goodbye to his/her employees. This is not to say that you should make them wait at the door for permission to leave but you should at least wish them a great evening, say goodbye and say Thank you. While saying goodbye, make certain you are not taking roll or writing down at what time people are leaving. That is now what saying goodbye to everyone is about. What saying Goodbye to everyone is about is ensuring your staff members know you appreciate them and their participation in making your organization better.
Once an individual makes it to a position that allows him or her the opportunity to lead others, as well as manage and supervise others a completely new set of rules are bestowed on that leader. With those rules come responsibilities. Those responsibilities are key to remaining a leader. Remaining a leader is hard work, which is why creating new daily habits to accompany those new rules will ensure that your tenure as a leader remains solid.



Thank you,
David Guerra

I invite you to follow me on Twitter: @daveguerra • visit my website: www.daveguerra.com

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23 October 2017

12 QUESTIONS LEADERS MUST ASK THEMSELVES EVERY DAY!

A Leader that makes it a habit to follow daily procedures is a leader that knows where he wants to go. However, the type of habit will get a leader faster or not at all. Make it a habit of asking and answering the following twelve questions every day. They are not difficult questions to answer, either you did or did not, a simple yes or no will suffice. If you are not already asking and answer one or more, if not all then, then it is time to start. Remember, to be honest with yourself.

1. DID I GREET EVERYONE TODAY?

The late LTG Hal Moore (US Army) author of “We Were Soldiers Once…And Young” once said, “I will be the first one on the battlefield, and I will be the last one to step foot off the battlefield.” A leader in the modern workplace is not about who wears the coolest J’s or who can ride the most Ubers to work, or who drinks the most wine on the clock. A leader is more than that. A leader must be the first person in the door at the morning and the last one to leave. Someone has to turn out the lights. If you can and you should find a way to do so, stand by the door and greet your guest, in this case your staff. Shake their hands. Say “Good morning”, wish them a “Great Day”, and always call them by their name.

2. DID I SPEND ONE-ON-ONE TIME WITH MY STAFF TODAY?

One-on-one time is critical to not only building deeper lasting relationships but also the understanding between the leader and followers allow stronger bonds to form. Seek out those one-on-one times with every staff member. Obviously, the bigger the organization the more difficult it is it to get to do the one-on-one with every member of the company. Set aside some time every day to meet with some of your staff until you have met with everyone. Then start all over again.

3. DID I HAVE BRIEF AND EFFECTIVE MEETINGS TODAY?

Meetings are the necessary evil of the modern workplace. The “meeting” needs an overhaul. Luckily, there is a small revolution taking charge and taking over when it comes to meetings. The revolution directly attacks the effectiveness of meetings and their length. Keep them brief and most of all keep them on point. If at all, avoid them especially when all that needs to be disseminated can be done in an email.

4. DID I PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO MY STAFF?

Are you telling them how you feel about them? Are you providing the information they need to make themselves better at what they do? Do not criticize but give true and honest feedback. Good or Bad feedback is a thousand times better than no feedback. Feedback makes the change happen. Feedback is the starting point of new and innovative change. Change from feedback means you (and them) are on the right track to building something different from the starting point of where the feedback originated.

5. DID I BACKUP MY STAFF?

When there are issues that involving external stakeholders never throw your staff under the bus. Even if it is blatant that the staff member is at fault. Your job as a leader is to lead both sides and come to a rational conclusion without leaving your staff member(s) hanging out to dry. Deal with them after the situation has been defused. Your followers want to know you got their back even when they are wrong.

6. DID I TRAIN MY STAFF ON SOMETHING NEW TODAY?

Every day is an opportunity to learn something new. Train them on something new, especially if what you are training is outside of your sector/market. Who knows it might inspire them to do something new and innovating for your organization. Training also shows your staff that you care enough about them and their future with or without the organization. Daily training opportunities shows your followers that self-improvement is a continuous process and ignoring it is not an option.

7. DID I EAT LUNCH WITH MY STAFF TODAY?

Eating lunch with your staff members is a great idea. It helps tear down walls and helps create solid foundations. It is also time away from the front lines to help those staff members decompress while sharing what is causing the stress. Again, if the company is too big then schedule lunch with everyone a few at a time until you have had lunch with everyone then start over again.

8. DID I DELEGATE MORE THAN I MICROMANAGED?

I find it difficult to believe that ALL leaders, before they became leaders, wanted to be micromanaged. Seriously, if people wanted to be micromanaged they do NOT deserve even considering expanding their career to include a leadership position. Micromanaging means no one is trusted. Micromanaging means you are NOT being an effective manager and most of all, NOT a trusting leader. Stop it, if you are doing it.

9. DID I COUNSEL STAFF THAT NEEDS A LITTLE EXTRA GUIDANCE?

There will always be problems. There will be problems with your staff. No organization is immune and if it has not happened to your company please know it is not a matter of if but when. It will happen and when it does, you must be prepared to counsel those individuals that you are leading. Remember, a leader is many things including a counselor. However, there will be issues that will be out of your league, do not attempt to go at it by yourself but guide those staff members to someone trained to handle such issues. If they come to you that means they trust you. Do not let them down.

10. DID I ADDRESS IMPROPER WORKPLACE BEHAVIOR BEFORE IT GOT OUT OF HAND?

The sooner the better. Unfortunately, too many managers hope any and all problems will address themselves. Usually, they do especially when people realize they are adults and recognize that any improper behavior is not tolerated in the workplace. However, there are those that will push the envelope until the behavior cannot be reined in. A leader will address issues in the workplace immediately with direct intent and the sooner the better.

11. DID I MAKE IT FUN FOR EVERYONE?

FUN is the number one thing everyone wants. So, make the workplace fun! Just because work has to done does not mean it cannot be fun. If you looked around, you would be hard pressed to find a policy and procedure manual that says “NO FUN IN THIS WORKPLACE”. Look in your own company’s rulebook and if you find the “NO FUN IN THE WORKPLACE” clause then you are exempt from answering this question. Otherwise, you have your challenge right in front of you. How much fun can you make it?

12. DID I SAY GOODBYE TO EVERYONE?

When it comes time to say “Goodbye” at the end of the workday, it behooves you to go and say Goodbye to each employee and do so by name. Shake their hand and Thank them for being here today. When you do that, make certain you are doing so without any judgment, sarcasm, or anything like that in the tone of your voice. Be authentic by wishing them a good evening. Of course, there will be incidents, circumstances and situations where you cannot be the last one out the door but do not make it a habit. Remember, be the first one on the battlefield, and be the last one to step foot off the battlefield.

Thank you,
David Guerra

I invite you to follow me on Twitter: @daveguerra • visit my website: www.daveguerra.com

To order your copy of Great To Follow: Amazon paperback / Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble paperback
To order your copy of The Walking LeaderAmazon Paperback / Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble

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04 October 2017

The Conversation Demands Dialogue To Make Change Stick

The national conversation has been going in many directions and that’s great. I truly believe that conversation should go in all directions. There should be conversation about every topic that affects everyone not just for this group or that group or that group over there but for everyone as a whole.

The conversation, the conversation must be a two-way dialogue.

A dialogue, information going out information coming in. It’s not a monologue. Many people want the only word to come from their monologue. Many people are demanding changes through the monologue. Unfortunately, that is not the way change works.

For those that do not know what it is, monologue is “a long and typically tedious speech by one person during a conversation.” As an example, monologue is what those late-night talk show hosts do for the first five minutes of the show, they tell jokes, try to make a point or two and some even try to they try to influence the viewers. That’s a monologue.

What else is a monologue? In school, the teacher stands at the front of the classroom teaching, telling you things, showing you new things. That's a monologue, however, that's not how change happens. In the classroom, monologue is how you learn and that while is considered change it is not the social change groups are demanding. Real Social Change happens through dialogue. Creating two-way conversations and working things out together is how change is made.

Dialogue is how you create change. Dialogue is how you make change that is sustainable. That is how you make change that is going to last for a long, long time. However, when every group decides to have an attitude of "it's my point and no other point matters" that is why we have problems. That's why we're in the situation we are in. This applies to any situation. That is why we're there or here.

Whether it is because of natural disasters, man-made disasters, other people's problems, or whatever the reason we are in that situation because of conversation not being a dialogue. All it takes for two people, two sides to want to talk, work things out and make things happen.

Remember, change is good just as change is bad because it won't last. It will not last if it is coming from one side. It is a one-sided conversation. It has got to be agreed upon by both sides or all sides for change to work. Everyone has to agree and if no one wants to work to be part of everyone then you've got nothing. When you have nothing then nothing is ever going to change.

Of course, you can sit there and spew all the monologue you want but if there is no dialogue nothing is going to happen. Count on it!

So stand up, speak up, join the conversation and make real change happen.

Thank you,
David Guerra

I invite you to follow me on Twitter: @daveguerra • visit my website: www.daveguerra.com

To order your copy of Great To Follow: Amazon paperback / Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble paperback
To order your copy of The Walking LeaderAmazon Paperback / Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble

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22 September 2017

Leadership, Communication, and Feedback

Today, I was asked the following question, "What are the three most important things for any organization to succeed?"

For most people the obvious answers are money, product and customers. Great answers but not the answers I gave.

I answered, "Leadership, Communication, and Feedback."

Leadership.

Great leadership at the begets Greater leadership at the mid-level and when that happens from the top down, the front-lines can only be a place where magic happens. I say this because if an organization has Great Leaders at the top, Greater Leaders at the mid-level then it should comes as no surprise that those on the front-line want to do better than those above them. That is because the corporate culture does not demand it, it inspires it.

Communication.

Communication is based on dialogue. Dialogue among all members of the organization. Monologue has a place in every organization yet in limited quantities. Communication is necessary when it comes to organizational success. The success occurs when the entire organization (top down) encourages and expects open communication. Failing to deliver that expectation then the organization gets what it deserves. What it gets is NOT a great organization. Avoiding this fate is easy, so long as everyone buys into wanting to and communicating to every stakeholder in and out of the organization. Yes, it is that simple.

Feedback.

Everyone in the organization must demand, expect, solicit, and most of all, ACCEPT feedback. A corporate culture that actually expects complete and honest feedback is one that values the input of everyone not just from those at the top. Unfortunately, for far too long the ONLY feedback available came in the form of the Annual Performance Review, a top down cluster of unwarranted, useless feel good words and a very INACCURATE picture of what was truly going on. The 360° degree Feedback has to come from ALL directions; top-down, bottom-up, sideways, laterally, inside-out, and outside-in. Seriously, for all this to work FEEDBACK must come from all directions and go in all directions.

Sure you can have all the financing you need, just the right product and all the customers you could ever want but without Leadership, Communication, and Feedback what do you have? You got nothing. If you think I am wrong then prove me wrong.


Thank you,
David Guerra

I invite you to follow me on Twitter: @daveguerra • visit my website: www.daveguerra.com

To order your copy of Great To Follow: Amazon paperback / Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble paperback
To order your copy of The Walking LeaderAmazon Paperback / Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble

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07 September 2017

DACA is a Wake-up Call for LEADERS!

Change. Change is coming. Change is here and Leaders what are you doing about it?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has recently been rescinded by the administration of President Trump. However, the implementation of the end of the program was delayed six months to give the U.S. Congress time to come up with a solution for those previously eligible for DACA.

There are three groups of DACA individuals that are directly affected: children (under 18), those over 18 but still in school (i.e., college), and those over 18 and in the work place.
There is not much leaders can do for those under 18, as they are still under the responsibility of their parents. However, I want to focus on those individuals that are part of the workforce. Those that are gainfully employed (with or without a college degree or two) and are paying taxes are the ones I want to talk about.

The question I hear is how is their citizenship status my problem?

As a leader, it becomes your problem because what are you doing to address the potential loss of the individual(s) from your organization?
  1. Are you encouraging them to do what it takes to become US Citizens?
  2. Are you giving them time off to address their specific needs to citizenship?
  3. Are you prepared to support any issues that may arise during this period of uncertainty?
  4. Should the worst case scenario occur, what is your plan to continue to support/assist the employee?
  5. After the worst case scenario, are you prepared to fill the vacant position(s)?
Of course, the greater conversation becomes one of us versus them. Us being the citizens and them the "illegals" the ones that are NOT doing anything to help their case (i.e., apply for citizenship). This conversation can be polarizing in any organization. However, if the conversation becomes ugly, then there are bigger problems in your organization and addressing those problems must take priority.

Why does this conversation have to take priority?

It takes priority because as history tells us time and time again, no one can fight and win a two front war without giving attention to one front at a time. In this case, addressing the internal issues of the organization helps with the buy-in of all members of that organization. A leader that is not afraid to address the difficult conversations is a leader that will have little to no resistance once he or she steps up to face the problem head on. Failing to address the problem serves to show only one thing: the leader is not a leader.

There is nothing more that differentiates a Real Leader than from your average run of the mill figurehead than when it comes time to deal with real issues. A Real Leader will step up and deal directly with the issues. A figurehead, will, at best, pass the buck and refuse to step up. Refusing to step up and deal with the issues an organization cannot grow, cannot get better.

Why The Wake-Up Call?

I am not going to get into the politics of the DACA issue any more than I already have. However, this issue is NOT magically going to go away. This issue will be around for a while and addressing what is addressable now is better than waiting for it to grow, fester, and become out of control. Wasting time and letting any situation get out of control, goes without saying but it is bad for business. A leader's job is not to destroy business but to make business.

Of course, organizations all over the world face issues greater and lesser than the one that is currently facing the US. The need for everyone to work together and work with a REAL LEADER at the helm is the ONLY way for a leader and those that follow him to overcome the fallout from this issue and any future issues. One thing that is certain: there will be more future issues.

Thank you for your time,
David G. Guerra, M.B.A.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter: @daveguerra • visit my website: www.daveguerra.com

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17 August 2017

Amazon's Alexa and The New WALKING LEADER Skill

By now, you have seen the Amazon Alexa commercials.

If you haven't then let me share the following: Alexa "is an intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon, made popular by the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Echo Dot devices developed by Amazon Lab126. It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, and other real time information, such as news. Alexa can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation system."1

Sounds pretty cool. You talk to a small device and it talks back. Heck, it even tells you a joke, if you ask it to. Folks, it is official, we are living in the future.

I have been intrigued with the Alexa IPA (intelligent personal assistant) since it first came out, then appeared on my Kindle Fire and then it was on my Amazon Fire TV Stick. I was hooked. I was beyond hooked, I was mesmerized. Here is the perfect opportunity to be part of an emerging technology. VOICE.

So what did I do to be part of this emerging technology?

During the recent Amazon Prime Day the Echo Dot was available at a price that was too hard to resist.

While I was waiting for my very own Echo Dot to arrive, I brainstormed and came up with a couple of ideas. However, I wanted to proof of concept as well as making certain that I was not in over my head when it came to creating a new Alexa skill.

Doing my homework, I discovered there are approximately 15,000 Skills (and climbing) so why not add one more to the list of skills? That's what I did.

What I did is put my daily audio,  the Walking Leader podcast, Going Beyond The Grind-Going Beyond The Hustle (Facebook video)  and the Amazon Skill development tool to get all that put together. A few days later, the approval email came in from Amazon and here is the link for  you to get my new Amazon Alexa Skill: Walking Leader Flash Briefing.

Now I am even more hooked. You can be too. Looking back, I was not in over my head. It was actually quite easy to create the "Flash Briefing". What I am saying is you can create your own. All you need is an account on the Amazon Developer Platform. If you have an account on Amazon then you already have an account on the Amazon Developer platform. You are going to need a few things the most important is having a audio content that resides (is stored) on SSL enabled web-hosting service.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the "standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral."2

How do you know if you have an SSL enable web-hosting service? Simple, when people go to you website do they see HTTPS:// or HTTP://? If the see HTTPS then you are good to go. If not, then contact your web hosting provider to get the SSL added. Be warned, the SSL might cost you to install. However, once you have the SSL in place you are well on your way to having your Alexa Skill ready for the world.

If you have a message you want to share with the world, then give it a shot. Now is the time to get in on this new emerging technology. I am excited to be part of all this and I know you will be, as well.


Thank you,
David Guerra

I invite you to follow me on Twitter: @daveguerra • visit my website: www.daveguerra.com

To order your copy of Great To Follow: Amazon paperback / Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble paperback
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13 June 2017

Now that the Golden State Warriors Won, Let’s Talk about Teams by David Guerra

“Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors for winning the 2017 NBA Championship. Congratulations for creating the beginning of the end of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.”

That is most certainly one of the headlines you will be reading in the coming days. Delivering congratulations to a team then singling out one player and his team. One loss of a series of games and everyone is ready to throw in the towel for this individual, stellar NBA player. They are also ready to throw in the towel for his team. His entire team.

What does this all mean? It means that all over, LeBron James is recognized as the one individual that is the heart, soul and glue of the Cleveland Cavaliers. How can that be? How can it be that outsiders see this as the LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers instead of “The Cleveland Cavaliers”?

It is so easy for people to drive a wedge between a player and his team. The media is no help, they have all but exalted the most honorable and most high “King James” as they like to call him. Yet, what about the team? Do they call the Cavaliers something like “King James and his court”? You had better believe they do. They do so much that when the team does not do well you can almost hear the teaser commercials call it “King James and his court jesters”.

Seriously, not even James believes that nonsense or does he? While he has been quoted as saying, “There is a lot of pressure put on me, but I don't put a lot of pressure on myself. I feel if I play my game, it will take care of itself.” However, when has he been heard saying or asking not to be called “King James”?

James is a very good player. He does what he can to distinguish himself on the basketball playing court. There is no argument there. However, what about the team. It takes a great team to end the NBA Playoffs year after year. It takes a greater team to enter the NBA finals but the greatest team for the season is the one that wins the NBA Championship.

That last paragraph NEVER mentions an individual. It mentions teams. To be great players of the game and the sport you have to be bigger that the game. This means having to be more than the sum of all your teammates. That is why the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls will always remain great teams (no matter the Win-Loss record). It takes a team to make great teams. When one individual is elevated to a position above his own team, then is the team truly great?

To be great team and great team members, the individuals must believe in the team and the team must believe in ALL the individuals to make the team great. From game one to game 82, the team must work together as one cohesive unit with each member of that team doing his part. Eighty-two games later, if they worked and worked with one mission and vision, they enter the play offs. They advance as a team. They move forward building their legacy by being a team. One day, history will look back on that team and its legacy and with a little luck it will call that team GREAT. Then and only then will history decide which individual or individuals were great. Until then, this is still a game played by a TEAM and as a TEAM!

Thank you,
David Guerra

I invite you to follow me on Twitter: @daveguerra • visit my website: www.daveguerra.com

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