Find the key to the leadership code

Many business leaders are so busy “acquiring and protecting power” that they lose sight of what truly motivates people, leadership adviser Tony Baron told about 70 of San Diego’s top CEOs, sales experts and entrepeneurs at the quarterly meeting on Wednesday of the Sage Executive Group.
Baron, who has counseled organizations from the Ford Motor Co. to the U.S. Postal Service and business communities in the aftermath of the Columbine school shootings and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, said that a focus on profits misses what motivates people – and leads to greater business success. To lead, “communicate to the heart,” he said.
“Nothing changes a person’s life until it touches their heart,” he said with an admonition for executives with a hierarchical mindset that puts a premium on hate, fear and survival in an organization. Those are three of the four triggers of life, he said. The fourth – love – is the most important. “The only motivation that last long term is the motivation to love,” making the point that leadership is not about being a nice person, but a person who is seen as “a beacon of hope” in a workplace beset by change, uncertainty, institutional distrust and an digital revolution that has created a climate of “learned helplessness.”
Baron brings a background as a scholar, a corporate adviser and a theologian to his frequent appearances before business groups.  He currently serves as Director of Azusa Pacific University’s Graduate School of Theology in San Diego and as Scholar in Residence at the Center for Executive Excellence in Carlsbad. He is the author of “The Art of Servant Leadership,” and is working on a new book, “Unlocking the Leadership Code,” that was the title of his presentation.
He pointed out that the earliest meaning of leadership was to “guide a ship in the midst of a storm,”  and that the best leaders invest others in common cause by “maintaining a non-anxious presence,” by creating a “vision of stability in the midst of chaos and uncertainty.”
The best CEO is a “cultural architect,” inspiring “personal responsibility” in the workforce while maintaining “an inner compass” that leads to the true north of doing “the right thing, the right way with the right people.” That compass sustains the integrity essential to asking others to follow, and the professional strength to “excommunicate” when necessary to sustain the ethical and cultural foundation of the organization.
Ultimately, he said, “leadership is not for the sake of self but for the sake of others.”
— Chuck Buxton, Sage Executive Group

Great leaders offer equal respect to all

“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.” — Ronald Reagan
As we head into Academy Award season, talk about “The Butler” reminds me of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Though a Republican, he worked both sides of the aisle and accomplished accomplished a great deal. While the movie had a strong bias towards the Democratic presidents portrayed, it also highlighted the fact that Ronald and Nancy Reagan were the only people to invite The Butler and his wife to a state dinner. The movie showed how Reagan was the president who ensured that black butlers received the same compensation as their white counterparts. Reagan was a friend to everyone he met and led by example. My lesson learned from this great man is that leaders should treat everyone in all positions in the same manner and never abuse the power that comes with a leadership role.
WEEKLY WISDOM, Jerry Rollin, CEO of Sage Executive Group

Secret to success is humility

“When you become successful is when you should be especially wary you’re going to turn into an idiot.  There’s a lot of evidence to support that.” —Author Unknown
Success in life and business is both a blessing and a curse.  Sometimes our greatest successes are followed by failure. Perhaps we can become better leaders by ignoring our positive press clippings and remaining humble. During my athletic and business careers, I have observed some very successful athletes who have managed their egos and behaviors in positive ways. One athlete who comes to mind is Wayne Gretzky, whom I met when I was 24 years old and he was a fresh-faced rookie. Although he was one of the most highly touted athletes in Canada, to us he was just “one of the guys” and seemed completely unaware of his celebrity status.
In the recent past, I have had the pleasure and honor to meet several of my sports heroes. Trevor Hoffman and Drew Brees were cut from the same cloth. Both were raised by parents who taught them how to behave and deal effectively with those around them. Amazing success, status, and financial rewards have not changed who they are. The final person who deserves comment is the late, great Jerry Coleman. Although he was a war hero, baseball Hall of Fame member and award-winning broadcaster, he had the unique ability to make everyone he met feel special.
Instead of taking credit for their success, the CEOs I know attribute their success to other people. They don’t do this to avoid the limelight, but because they know that people are their most important assets and the foundation of a successful business.
WEEKLY WISDOM from Jerry Rollins, CEO/Chairman of Sage Executive Group

Set SMART goals for 2014

“The problem with New Year’s resolutions – and resolutions to ‘get in better shape’ in general, which are very amorphous – is that people try to adopt too many behavioral changes at once. It doesn’t work. I don’t care if you’re a world-class CEO. You’ll quit.” —Tim Ferriss
I am officially two full days into my New Years resolutions and I haven’t faltered yet. I would like to share some simple ideas that may help you in your efforts to achieve your resolutions in 2014.  First of all, set goals that are SMART:
Specific  — If your goal is twenty pounds of weight loss, set the more specific goal of two pounds per month.
Measurable — Using the above example, weigh yourself each week and track your progress on a chart.
Attainable — Look for little wins and, as you approach your target and become more confident, set tougher goals.
Realistic — If you haven’t exercised in 20 years, setting a goal to run a marathon in four months may be a stretch. Make sure you are realistic with your resolutions.
Timebound —  Set weekly, monthly and annual targets.
Last but not least, write down your goals and share them with family, friends or a personal coach. By creating a community, you will feel accountable to others.
Wishing you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!
WEEKLY WISDOM from Jerry Rollins, CEO/Chairman of Sage Executive Group
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Making the Most of a Second Chance

“There’s nothing as exciting as a comeback—seeing someone with dreams, watching them fail, and then getting a second chance.” —Rachel Griffiths
I was honored to address 27 high school graduates of the Urban Corps Charter School last week. I shared my life story to help them realize that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. Because of the dedicated teachers and staff at this organization, these young men and women were given a second chance at school, and many of them will be the first members of their families heading off to college. At a Sage Executive Group meeting this past Tuesday, I mentioned how eight of the students have received college scholarships this year and how it would be really special to give all 27 students a scholarship at their June 27, 2014 graduation. In the past several days, five of our generous Sage members have reached out to fund a scholarship. Now, nearly half the class will have scholarships. Only 14 students to go!
Urban Corps of San Diego is a San Diego-based nonprofit conservation corps that provides a high school education and green job training to young adults from ages 18 to 25. The majority of youth employed at Urban Corps did not succeed in a traditional high school setting and have little or no job training. Urban Corps offers them a second chance to go back to school and develop new skills, while contributing to the overall quality of life in the San Diego area. Their participation increases the connection these young people feel to their community, their environment  and to their own futures. When they care about all three, it benefits us all. Urban Corps is proud to have served more than 10,000 youth since 1989.
— Jerry Rollins, CEO of Sage Executive Group