Remarkable Leadership with Kevin

Kevin Eikenberry
Chief Potential Officer
The Kevin Eikenberry Group

Kevin Eikenberry is a world renowned leadership expert, a two-time bestselling author, speaker, consultant, trainer, coach, leader, learner, husband and father (not necessarily in that order). He is the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a leadership and learning consulting company that has been helping organizations, teams and individuals reach their potential since 1993. Kevin’s specialties include leadership, teams and teamwork, organizational culture, facilitating change, organizational learning and more. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies, small firms, universities, government agencies, hospitals, and more. His client list includes the American Red Cross, A & W Canada, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, John Deere, Purdue University, Sears Canada, Shell, Southwest Airlines, the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Mint, Verizon and many more.

Kevin writes two email-based publications: Unleashing Your Remarkable Potential, a weekly publication read by more than 22,000 worldwide, to assist organizations and individuals in turning their potential into desired results; and Leadership Updates, sent several times each week. In addition, his Leadership and Learning Blog has been recognized on several occasions as one of the best leadership blogs in the world.

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It is almost that time of year. It’s about time to start setting your goals for next year. I know it might not be time quite yet, but chances are it is coming. My advice today may be a bit controversial or challenge your assumptions. Are you ready? Don’t set goals. Am I serious? Kinda …

We all want to pay the mortgage, eat and live comfortably; but is money the only or most important reason we go to work? As a leader it is important to think about this question from two perspectives, so let’s do each of them now.

I mean no disrespect here, but my bet is, based on my experience and observation, that you don’t completely finish your projects. The lack of completion comes on two levels. You give up before the finish line, and you put the finish line at the wrong place.

The truth is there is probably as much training available on project management as there is on any leadership topic or skill I could ever write about here. Of course that doesn’t guarantee that we are all getting better at it. In fact, my observation is that even with all of that training, experience and knowledge, most organizations aren’t getting much better at delivering projects on time and on budget.

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the famous “I Have a Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As I watched the speech again several times to write that piece on communication, I was struck by another, perhaps less obvious lesson.

It’s been a few weeks since I have mowed a lawn. When you have a soon to be college senior doing his internship but living at home, the job gets delegated. I was thinking this morning that I will be mowing again in the coming weeks — and how I go about mowing my lawn. If I don’t say so myself, I am an expert at mowing lawns — I’ve been pushing and riding lawnmowers since I was about 8 years old. I’ve mowed many different yards, and my yard in Indianapolis hundreds of times.

Leadership Learning — two words that I believe belong together. My company blog is called Leadership and Learning with KevinWe call our business a Leadership Learning Consulting company. We train, coach and consult with leaders around the world. And in my bestselling book Remarkable Leadership, the first leadership competency I talk about is a Continual Learner. In my view, you can’t be an effective leader unless you are willing to be a continual learner. The work is too complex and too important to assume we ever have it figured out completely. The best leaders know this and act accordingly.

39 years ago today, I, along with 60 other campers at Camp Brethren Heights in central Michigan, were ushered into a room with a small black and white television to watch history — President Richard Nixon was going to announce his resignation. At 12, I knew enough to know this was a historic event, but I certainly couldn’t grasp the reasons why the president had gotten to that point.

Achievers who are at the highest level have several things in common. Today I want to talk about one of those traits — one that when practiced as a leader has a multiplier effect. Let me start with some examples.

Last week, I wrote about some of the challenges that keep us from delegating important work to others (and why John Wayne was part of the problem). Once you get past these challenges, there is really good news … you are freed up to do what you were really hired to do. When you aren’t trying to “do it all,” when you have empowered and delegated successfully to others, you can do the more important work of leadership — work that won’t likely get done otherwise.