Monthly Archives: February 2010

Achieving Your Vision

Be prepared to go in the wrong direction to get to you ultimate goal.

The path to achieve vision is rarely straight. Sometimes it may be that we may appear to go in different directions to avoid obstacles, but it is important to keep the big picture.

Imagine, for a moment, that you wish to travel to the town hall in the next city. You are sitting at your desk in an office somewhere.  Is it possible to travel in a direct straight line to the destination? at some stage you will need to move in the opposite direction because the door of your office might not face the right way, you may have to walk to your car, or a bus stop. The roads might wind around hills and valleys and even have to make detours.

So it is in achieving great goals. to build a tall building you need to first dig a deep hole.

Don’t be discouraged when it appears you are going the wrong way, check your map, your business plans, blue prints, vision documents or strategic plans. and see the big picture of what you have set as a vision.

Take time out every now and then to get your bearings, check your plans, and keep moving onwards.

Sometimes achieving your vision means going backwards.

(If you are not sure what your vision is then read Unlocking Your Vision.)

Paul S Allen

Let Your Yes Mean Yes

If actions speak louder than words, why is there an overwhelming silence? So many words can be spoken, so much hype and passion can fill the air but when that all fades does your “yes” still mean “yes”?

When you say “yes” what do you really mean?…  

  • “No”
  • “I have heard you”
  • “I have listened and understood” (but no action)
  • “I have listened and will consider” (but no immediate action)
  • “Yes.”  (I commit to a course of action) 

The one who says “yes” and does not do what they have agreed to do is worse than the one who says “no”.

The right words may be spoken but unless right actions are taken they are all pointless. So let your “yes” mean “yes”, an equally let your “no” mean “no”

Paul S Allen

Stategic Leadership

Strategic Leadership…

…Is Servant Leadership

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural

feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.

Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.”

(Greenleaf, 1977, p. 27).

Key aspects of significant leadership.

  • The role of a servant leader is not just to have followers but to see the potential of others realized.
  • The one who follows such a leader is released to be more than the leader is.
  • Succession is the aim.
  • Significance not just success.
  • Ego can be an enemy of leadership.

Joseph Jaworski said in his book Synchronicity the inner path of leadership that

“I kept denying my destiny because of my insecurity”.

(Jaworski, 1996, p. 74).

I would take this further and say that you can deny the destiny of others and the organisation because of your insecurity, because the desire to retain the “power” or control yourself stops you from releasing others to be greater than you.

It is only when we are secure with our own being that we are truly free to lead others by releasing them into their destiny.

Leadership for me is all about the next generation.

Passing the Baton

The race we run is a relay not an individual sprint, we run as a team passing the baton from one person to another. When someone else is running we are either getting ready to run or we are cheering others on to the next change or the finishing line.

“Do not seek to follow the footsteps of men of old. Seek what they sought!”

(Greenleaf, 2002, quotes… Basho, p. 235).

I am a good guitarist and band leader. For me to release the potential in others I first must see it in them. Train them, give them a chance and mentor them, then get off the stage so that they can do it, and cheer them on as they do.

“The best way to develop responsibility in others is to give them responsibility.”

(Blanchard, Oncken, & Burrows, 2004, p. 73).

Examples of leadership styles

  • The Dictator… “Do as I say”
  • The Insecure Leader… “I must hold onto control”
  • The Reluctant Leader… “I lead because no one else will.”
  • The Systems Manager… Process not people matter
  • The People Manager… People not process matter
  • The Visionary Leader… “I’ll show you the destination”
  • The Servant Leader… Release the potential of others to achieve great things

The key to significant leadership is that you have a heart for others and that you are prepared to do what it takes to aid others to be all they can be.

Paul S Allen



Blanchard, K., Oncken, W., Burrows, H. (2004) The one minute manager meets the monkey London: Harper Collins Publishers.

Greenleaf, R. (1977, 1991 & 2002). Servant leadership (25th anniversary edition): A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness Mahwah New Jersey: Paulist Press.

Jaworski, J. (1996). Synchronicity the inner path of leadership. San Francisco: Barrett-Koehler.

Permission or Forgiveness?

I have often heard the statement… “Forgiveness is easier to ask for than permission” … this is seen as a “fun” way to excuse getting your own way, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

This is just an excuse for insubordination and/or disobedience. It shows that there is no regard or respect for due process, structure or authority. If used at a senior level it shows that there is complete disregard of accountability or transparency and the organisation itself. It is time to stop making excuses for poor systems and leadership.

Why not set up systems to deal with emergency or urgent decisions before they are needed to be made, and put a documentary system in place so that if questioned or audited the organisation will still keep its integrity and reputation.

Paul S Allen


Is absolute freedom a good thing if in the process of its outworking it leads you into your own, or indeed others, demise or harm?

If you have absolute freedom there are choices to make; to do good or to do evil or to do nothing; to choose life or death; to create or destroy; to show compassion or indifference or malice.

The use of freedom has both positive and negative consequences based on the decisions made. if I choose to walk one path I cannot simultaneously walk another. The choice is always to the exclusion of the other and due to the constant of time it is always a one way path. (It may have options later to change the path).

Understand that freedom can lead to destructive consequences, the question needs to be asked do we want this absolute freedom? Or, do we only want a limited freedom with defined boundaries defined for us? If the later is the case who should define those boundaries? Who defines what harm is?

We say we want to be free, but do we really if it means we, or others, can be harmed in the process?

If we want freedom for ourselves we must allow others to be free also, but the consequences of your freedom may have an effect on limiting the freedom of others.

The concept of freedom is appealing to all, but the application of that freedom in our fallible and human world is full of complications that ego, no matter how good intended, will always desire more for one to the detriment of another.

Freedom is self-limiting and laws of the universe do have an effect. I cannot go left and right at the same time (and live), I cannot under my own power break the law of gravity, I cannot travel through time to change past decisions.

So what is and how do we deal with this freedom that all of us from time to time say or demand we must have?


Paul S Allen

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