Investing in Self is “Others” Focused

Many leaders consider leadership to be more of a team sport played with others than an individual exercise. While successfully leading individuals across your organization is unarguably essential to high performance, I want you to stop and think for a minute…

In the leadership equation, who is the most important person to lead in your organization?

Investing in Others

We’ve all heard the expression; “You need to put your oxygen mask on first.” This is critical on an airplane. Without oxygen, it would only be a matter of seconds before one loses consciousness and rendered unable to help yourself or others around you.

Our reality, whether in the air or in the boardroom of our organizations is the same; we can only lead and serve at the highest levels when we are healthy, self-aware and learning to lead ourselves first.

I discovered this truth first hand. After years of studying various leadership styles I was asked a profoundly powerful question. The question was, “have you ever thought of what it is like to be on the other side of you?” This question stopped me in my tracks and has set me on an exciting journey to discover what’s behind a leader worth following.

From my experience and from my years of studying leadership principles and practices, it is well understood that the most difficult person to lead is oneself. When I see simply through my own lens of reality, I miss out on the bigger scope of what is happening around me.

When we start asking ourselves tough questions, like the one mentioned previously, we grow and discover a deeper sense of our leadership core. The better we know ourselves the better we are able lead others and progress toward the quest of becoming a liberating leader.

Join our Liberating Leader Tour at one of four stops across the country. The co-architects of GiANT Worldwide will equip you with proven, practical leadership tools and insights you will be able to use the moment you leave.

During our time together we will be learning about how to make your leadership come alive, improving your connectivity, knowing yourself to lead yourself, understanding your core voice, and more. You will be given the tools and resources to help you lead yourself and others you serve across your organization.

If you are a leader, there is no better time than NOW to become the influencer you were called to be. Come be inspired and challenged to grow. Our mission is to come along side you to assist:

  • Becoming a Leader Worth Following
  • Building Leaders Worth Following
  • Leading Healthy Organizations Everyone Wants to Work For.

Registration information can be found on the Tour’s page or you can go directly to We look forward to seeing you in a few weeks.

A Forgotten Prerequisite In Developing Leaders

Do you have more leaders than you know what to do with?

What a problem that would be, however most leaders we engage with are inviting us to come alongside to serve them because in actual fact their leadership bench is not stacked with people ready to play at the level you need them to.

walkway of airport

You want to see more initiative, more people in the right seat on the bus, more people understanding that influence is not about title, that they can contribute from wherever they are.

We agree, but let’s back it up for a minute.

For you to have people who can lead others, they must be able to lead themselves. We champion the importance of knowing yourself to lead yourself because it really does all start there.

I believe this is a forgotten prerequisite in developing leaders; It’s what The Leadership Pipeline would describe as the passage from leading yourself to leading others, one which most people are not prepared for. Tendencies to overpower, micromanage, and doing rather than delegating are beginner errors. This happens because leaders don’t know their own tendencies and they are not clear on what they need to do in the new phase.

2 Questions

  1. What are the character and competencies you want to see in people before they move from leading themselves to leading others. Here are four transitions by way of example:
    • ….from solo-peformance to team performance.
    • …from having credibility to using that credibility to build great relationships.
    • …from being coached to coaching others.
    • …from complaining about problems to someone else to initiating problem solving.
  2. Do you have a clear leadership pipeline? The benefits of a clear process that everyone inside your organization is aware of and can rally around are significant.

I was in a conversation the other day with an employee who started a job at a company that highly values healthy culture and promoting from within. They hadn’t been there for too long when a manager approached them and said; “Here’s what we see in you, the track we see you on, and the timeframe you can expect.”

This compelling clarity helped them know where they stood and what they could look forward to. This company gets it! Spending time observing and expanding capacity of your employees when they are not leading others will accelerate the pace of readiness for leading others with quality.

Help them to know themselves so they can lead themselves and succesfully transition to leading others effectively. To be crystal clear; This does not just happen, you must be intentional! We would love to help.

Knowing The 5 Essentials of Leadership

Happy New Year!

In the U.S., Labor Day Weekend generally signifies the culmination of summer and the commencement of another school year. I would like to offer a heartfelt solute to the educational professionals who serve our school children across approximately 140,000 educational institutions spanning the United States.

Most of us hold vivid memories of our school experience but possibly have forgotten the return of hundreds of hours of facts, data, and academic information reasoned as essential back in the day. What was deemed important then, was perhaps interesting, but most of our true learning appeared via genuine application as the realm of reality was introduced post-diploma.

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. – Albert Einstein

Learning Essentials

Recently, I had the occasion of attending a community roundtable event with a number university student leaders. The conversation concentrated around the insights of these third and forth year collegians had in terms of their preparation for university learning and their suggestions for improving the college preparatory experiences. Here is a sampling of some of the suggestions shared during this engaging exchange:

  • Provide Computer Science (Coding) Exploration
  • Build Capacity for Speed Reading and Study Skills
  • Teach Time Management Techniques
  • Emphasize Habits for Physical and Mental/Emotional Wellness
  • Expand Opportunities to Work with Diverse Personalities and Communication Styles
  • Teach Money Management Skills
  • Encourage Entrepreneurial Skills
  • Provide Career Exploration/Internships

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. – Benjamin Franklin

Leadership Essentials

Applied and real life experience combine to create the secret sauce for authentic learning. This is equally true in the land of leadership, power, and influence. Every day, organizational leaders are given opportunities to empower or protect, to serve or control, to liberate or dominate. At the heart of every leader is the crosswalk of power between serving one’s self or service toward others.

Knowing The 5 Essentials of Leadership

  1. Knowing Yourself to Lead Yourself – Understanding the core of your skills/knowledge, connectivity and personal self-awareness
  2. Knowing Your Team to Lead Your Team – Knowing your unique voice of influence and that of your team as well as the skills needed to maximize the collection of these voices to successfully leverage change and high performance
  3. Knowing Your Social Tendencies – Awareness of your primary tendencies of pushing (asserting my views first) or pulling (drawing out and active listening) and acknowledging best use of each of these positions when engaging team
  4. Knowing Your Gears of Connection – Intentionality in the healthy engagement across the gears of personal rest, family, social, and full work mode
  5. Knowing Your Kryptonite – Awareness of how you become under extreme pressure and heightened stress.

Healthy culture is the essence of healthy leadership. Healthy culture is the lifeblood of successful organizational performance. Therefore, healthy leadership IS essential.

Building ongoing leadership capacity is foundational in becoming leaders worth following. Securing the basic competencies in the core academic disciplines are essential for building life-long learning potential. In the same way, developing leadership literacy is vital for maximizing one’s influence in life, leadership, and service.

Are you interested in maximizing your leadership potential? Do you strive to fight for the highest possible good in the lives of those you lead? Do you desire to equip leaders worth following and create enduring organizational culture that attracts the finest talent? Consider starting a Leadership Academy (click to learn more) through GiANT Worldwide to increase the number of secure leaders across your organization, while raising capacity and accelerating amazingly healthy culture.

Enrolling Humble, Hungry and Smart Learners Today!

What Do Successful Leaders Do?

We are in the midst of a huge cultural shift.

In the video below, Steve Cockram, co-founder of GiANT Worldwide, discusses how our culture and the world of business is shifting and what successful leaders must do in the new world. This video describes the essence of what GiANT is apprenticing leaders to do in programs like the Executive Core.

If you are going to differentiate yourself in the 21st century, you are going to need more skills than purely the credentials you carry.

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Vito Love

On a recent trip to Bayeux, France, I had the pleasure of staying at the Hotel Le Bayeux and meeting a liberating leader, the hotel’s general manager, Vito.

On the morning we were checking out and set to depart for our next destination, we were alerted that a rail workers strike had cancelled our train to Paris as well as most trains throughout France.

Getting to Paris that day was critical and missing our connection there would have severely delayed our trip.

Upon learning of our situation, Vito invited us to have a complimentary coffee in the hotel’s restaurant while he dedicated the next two hours of his time to pursuing a solution to get us to Paris while also juggling everyday managerial tasks.

Vito called transfer and taxi companies leaving messages and negotiating deals, checked for any other rail possibilities, and finally lined up a rental car that would fit my family of five. It would have been impossible for me to have made any of those calls due to the language barrier alone! Knowing that the rental facility was approximately a 10 minute drive across town, Vito grabbed his personal car keys and in a very matter of fact manner told me to “Come On”. He proceeded to drive me to the rental facility so that I could secure the car.

The outstanding fact in this story was that we had already checked out of the hotel and paid our bill in full before Vito went to work on finding my family a solution.

The transaction was over and Vito had nothing more financially to gain.

At GiANT, we define love as “fighting for the highest possible good in the life of another”. Vito modeled a high degree of love that Sunday morning in Bayeux. Here’s to great liberators like Vito across the world.

My questions for leaders today:

  • How are you showing love in your workplace today?
  • Are you fighting for the highest possible good in the lives of your customers and team members?

One Thing Every Leader Must Do

Have you ever been in a position where you know you need to grow, but you’re not quite sure how? What does “becoming a better leader” look like? What do great leaders do?

When it comes down to it, “great leaders” make things grow, and as a result, they grow themselves. For this reason, I think leadership is akin to farming.

My brother-in-law is a crop consultant (who knew that existed?) and has built his professional life around helping farmers protect their territory from unwanted danger and helping them grow their crops as efficiently as possible. If there is an issue with the soil, the crops will suffer. If there are pests that are devouring parts of the field, the yield will be lower at harvest time. If the crops aren’t being watered sufficiently, they will die.

Farmers are very clear on two things:

  1. They know exactly where their territory is and what’s in it.
  2. They want their crops to be healthy and flourishing.

Can you see the parallel between this and leadership?

What Great Leaders Do

Leadership comes with a territory. This territory, or field, has been entrusted to the leader and it’s up to the leaders to guard their territory from unwanted danger and to invest in growing it to become as healthy as possible.

So what do great leaders do?

Great leaders tend their field.

Leading others comes with a significant level of responsibility and opportunity to influence.

I want you to think about your own life right now. Let’s dig deeper into understanding your current role as a leader and what needs to happen for growth to occur.

Define Your Field

Your field is your domain. This is everything from your responsibilities to your roles and relationships. Think holistically about what is in your field.

  1. What roles are in your field? (Ex: Manager, Husband, Father, Small Group Leader)
  2. What relationships are in your field? (Ex: My team members, my boss, my wife, my kids, my neighbors, etc.)
  3. Are there any other responsibilities that are in your territory that are important for you to keep in mind?

Grow Your FieldTend Your Field

  1. Looking at your field, how healthy would you say it is? Is it green, lush and growing? Is it “so-so”, but needs some work? Is it dying or dead?
  2. What is needed for you to grow your field from where it is now to where you want it to be?
  3. What do your key relationships need from you right now? What about your roles?
  4. What do you need to prune?

Use these questions to get you started. Honestly assess your current reality and make a plan to take ownership of your field, protect it from harm and begin growing it.

It’s not going to be easy because it goes beyond you and requires you to sacrifice for the sake of others.

The reward of tending your field and investing the time, money and energy into growing it will be well worth it.


What Do Healthy Leaders Do?

When it comes to defining the essence of a “healthy leader”, one could list thousands of qualities. Indeed, this subject is as deep as it is wide. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to find a group of characteristics to strive for in the process of becoming a healthy leader.

Dr. Joseph Hill, founder of Live Lead Serve, has gathered 10 characteristics he believes every healthy leader possesses and I wanted to share them with you:

10 Characteristics of Healthy Leaders

  1. Healthy Leaders Are Spiritually And Emotionally Whole
  2. Healthy Leaders Are Dedicated To The Health of Others
  3. Healthy Leaders Represent The Character and Mission of Their Organization, But Are Also Capable Of Objectivity
  4. Healthy Leaders Understand The Organization As A Social System
  5. Healthy Leaders Provide A Calming Presence And Emotionally Well-Differentiated Leadership
  6. Healthy Leaders Plan
  7. Healthy Leaders Embrace The Wisdom of Deliberation
  8. Healthy Leaders Are Never Too Old To Learn
  9. Healthy Leaders Know What To Pay Attention To
  10. Healthy Leaders Enlist Followers In Change

**Visit Live Lead Serve to read more about each characteristic.

Leading well is a remarkable challenge for every single person. Knowing what it looks like to lead well is a step in the right direction of growth and progress.

Now it’s time for you to take action.

Three Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. What is the next area of growth for you as leader?
  2. What needs to be removed from your life to help you grow?
  3. What needs to be added?

Priorities for Navigating Change

Change can be overwhelming, even for the most change inclined among us. In the midst of turbulent change, we can experience confusion, doubt, and fear alongside the thrilling hope of what the future may bring. Our capacity gets stretched and we step carefully ensuring that we are considering all perspectives, people, and possibilities for the most effective way forward.

What are your priorities when navigating change?

Visionary leadership and skilled management are essential for sure. A knowledge of organizational culture and the readiness of people to engage the process are also vital. Too often people assume everyone is ready to engage.

Clarity and Conversations are my top two priorities when navigating change.


Am I keeping the main thing, the main thing?

One change typically impacts a number of other areas and people within an organization. It is easy to get ADD when seeking to influence one area. Sometimes it is necessary to address tangential areas, but many times the priority is to stay focused. Go back to the drawing board and ask; What was the original goal? Is the change process we are initiating actually addressing that role or did we get sidetracked? Are we headed into unnecessary areas?


Am I verbally moving things forward toward closure and traction?

For intentional change to take place, conversations are of the utmost importance. Change starts with someone initiating a conversation to frame the issues and boundaries of what needs to take shape. Conversations then continue toward aligning people for the greatest effectiveness. An understanding of what unique voice each person you are getting input from helps you discern and filter as you lead the charge. We love serving leaders to understand the different voices that exist in an organization so that you can know your team to lead your team with even greater results.

Hope is an anchor for your heart in the midst of whatever change you are experiencing, so we speak hope to you today.

What are your priorities when navigating change?

3 Reasons To Consider Participating in Exec Core

When you physically work on your Core, you strengthen your entire body. Strong, healthy muscles at the center serve your entire being. The same is true for your leadership muscles at the Core.

We have been working for over 12 years to build something for leaders that help them grow at the highest levels while benefitting their teams and organizations. It is called the Executive Core and our next cohort launches June 23 in Atlanta, GA. We meet 4 times per year (once per quarter), then twice per month via video conference with an additional 1:1 meeting if desired per month. We gather in groups of 8 and we hope to have 4 to 6 groups at the June start.

There are 3 reasons you should consider joining.

1. If you are willing you could grow deeper as a leader than you have ever grown to date

At the Exec Core we focus deeply on Knowing Yourself to Lead Yourself. We have designed a process for you to look at yourself in a mirror to see what it is like to be on the other side of you. The growth program is designed to affect you at work, home, and in your very view of yourself.

2. You will learn tools, language and processes that make you more effective for the rest of your life

We have created memorable tools, comprehensive leadership language and unbelievably practical processes that will affect every culture you are in and benefit those you lead.

3. You will learn how to multiply people and organizations to accelerate health on all those around you

The exec core doesn’t mess around with cheesy leadership programs. We have built an apprenticeship process that raises the capacity of the people by connecting to 90% of an organization. Simply put, we have created a way for leaders to learn how to multiply influence not just add more books to their shelf.

“But I am not an Executive,” you might say. The Exec Core is for people leading people or divisions or organizations. We have entrepreneurs, government leaders, church leaders, some corporate execs, but mostly people who are humble and hungry and willing to grow at levels never before.

Would you be willing to take a look at it? Go to and see what others are saying about it. If it isn’t for you then you may know someone that wants to go to the next level with something that truly works. Pass it on to those you know.

Our mission is to help leaders become leaders worth following while leading companies everyone wants to work for. It is a noble mission as we are simply tired of leaders being for themselves rather than for others.

Will you help us?

If you or someone you know may be interested, simply reply to this email or send an email to

It’s Your Question to Answer

Harvard educated philosopher Jacob Needleman made the following incisive observation:

We start with the paradox that there have been countless, ingenious technological innovations for the last 200 years designed to save us time. Somehow the result is that nobody has anytime left. That’s why I call time the new poverty. We are a time poor society. We have lots of things, maybe lots of money, but lots of time? No.

Please Listen

We genuinely care about you and your wellbeing. If you are frenzied, working from sun up to sun down, and neglecting your most important relationships, you need to change. We could seriously start a Time Alcoholics Anonymous. Some people have a visceral reaction to the idea of slowing down the rpm’s of their heart and mind It’s not possible; too many deliverables, too much at stake.

We know it can be different.

The best research says that when leaders and organizations hold the two values of competing for new market space alongside investment in human capital so teams work together in a healthy way organizational effectiveness is higher and value is created.

We apprentice leaders to reset the tempo of their lives to be smooth, rhythmic, and repeatable. We lead you to think through how managing your priorities will allow you to experience the gift of time as it is intended. We are just about ready to launch our next Executive Core process (click to learn more) and would love to help you and learn from you.

Can it be different?

We say yes. Only you can answer that question and how you answer may have big implications as you hit the half way mark in 2014.