This morning I came across another blog post on The Center For Social Leadership. This one happens to be by Oliver DeMille who recently co-authored the book Leadershift with Orrin Woodward. Think about the info talked about here… You may be frightfully shocked because a lot of this info isn’t being broadcast by main -stream media. Here it is as follows:
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Posted: 14 Feb 2013 02:00 AM PST
By Oliver DeMille
In the push for more gun control and changes to our national immigration policy, a few very important things have been mostly left out of the news in recent weeks.
They have been mentioned, yes, but not emphasized.
And these items deserve to be seriously considered by all Americans.
First, economic figures came out last week showing that the U.S. economy actually shrank during the last quarter of 2012—with negative growth in the U.S. GDP. The Administration waived this off as hardly newsworthy, a mere blip in many months of growth, but for those who closely watch the economy this is a serious concern. Recession hurts us all.
Second, a poll last week showed that 53% of American citizens consider the federal government a threat in their lives.[i] This is very different from an approval rating. In fact, this is extreme. A majority of Americans now see Washington as a threat. This is a big deal, because a nation that doesn’t trust its government is going to become increasingly dysfunctional—and solutions are going to be more difficult in such an environment.
Third, a new article argues that Congress and some federal Executive-Branch agencies are prone to political corruption[ii]—especially from well-funded special interest groups. The article concluded with concern that it is probably only wishful thinking to hope we can ever return to being governed according to clear, known, accepted principles instead of bureaucratic complexities. Government now is just too big.
Fourth, as a corollary of item three, the complexity brought on by the sheer size of the federal apparatus has created the same level of bureaucratic technicality at the state and many local levels of government. Even our towns, cities and counties now tend to operate in the complicated style of federal agencies, where simplicity is suspect and byzantine rules apply to things that should be easy and straightforward. Locales are often funded from Washington and find that their otherwise uncomplicated systems must be complex in order to interface with federal offices and programs. The World Economic Forum ranked the United States 76 th in free economic burdens on business growth.
Fifth, many modern governments are now in the business of creating new “rights,” telling people that they need these “rights,” and then finding that the government can’t afford to fund these “rights.”[iii] This causes government to grow even more, in the desperate attempt to fund newly-established “rights” by consistently increasing taxes. Note that such “rights” aren’t inalienable, but rather established by governments. Among these “rights” are health care, unemployment income, and the pursuit of money for a growing number of consumer wants.
Sixth, the U.S. infrastructure of roads, bridges, electric grids and drinking-water systems will cost $2 trillion to bring up to first-world standards.[iv] This at a time the government can hardly afford its current liabilities.
In short, government policies are slowing or reversing our economic growth, the people don’t trust their government, the government just keeps growing and growing, costs are increasing, and government is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to manage at all levels.
This same bundle of policies—along with massive involvement in foreign wars—brought down many of the empires of history, including the Roman, Ottoman and British.
Perhaps the six items outlined above haven’t led the news cycle simply because they aren’t really anything new.
Most regular Americans probably already knew about these trends—at least at a gut level—before they were officially announced.
Still, these are in many ways the big news of 2013.
This is the new environment in which we live, and all of these trends are making freedom less likely to flourish in the months, years and decade ahead.
Government is simply too big right now, and as it continues to increase in size many more such problems will naturally arise.
[i] See discussion on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, February 3,
[ii] Richard A. Epstein, “The Perilous Position of the Rule of Law and the Administrative State,” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Winter 2013, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 5-19.
[iii] See, for example, ibid, pp. 10-12.
[iv] See Fareed Zakaria, “Can America Be Fixed?” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2013, p. 28.
Oliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.
He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.
Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.
Today we are faced with many challenges as most of you know… lack of leadership, poor economy, lack of morals, and an uninformed public.
I was told growing up that there were a couple of things not to talk about in conversation: religion and politics. Ask yourself where has that gotten our nation? We need to talk about these things in our communities if we are to turn this nation back around and get it back on its feet. You can’t ignore the elephant in the room any longer. The American people are starting to see the effects of that lack of morals and poor leadership.
This morning I was reading a blog on The Center For Social Leadership website by best-selling author, leadership guru, Orrin Woodward. In it he talked about meritocracy and how America became prosperous. Here it is as follows: (Enjoy)
Middle Class Squeeze Part II America and the Entrepreneur
Posted: 12 Feb 2013 02:00 AM PST
By Orrin Woodward
Building a Real Meritocracy
The working middle class dreams of an actual meritocracy, where performance is rewarded regardless of race, creed, or color.
The American ideals were birthed as a level playing field, rewarding people based upon their contributions, not their social status or credentials.
The American Dream promised: Do a little, receive a little; do a lot, receive a lot – just like my experience in competitive sports.
May the best man or woman or team win, based upon performance.
No class system, no special deals, just an opportunity to win based upon one’s results.
However, this system is not what the power-elites desire.
According to Nathaniel Branden, the late power-elite Bennett Cerf was quoted as saying, “You have to throw welfare programs at people – like throwing meat to a pack of wolves–even if the programs don’t accomplish their alleged purpose and even if they’re morally wrong.”
When Branden asked why, Cerf meekly replied, “Because otherwise they’ll kill you. The masses. They hate intelligence. They’re envious of ability. They resent wealth. You’ve got to throw them something, so they’ll let us live.”
Unfortunately, Cerf’s description is closer to America’s reality than the American Dream of a true meritocracy.
When a modern leader brings up meritocracy, there are nearly always two main reactions.
On one hand is the group who gets excited and thankful, realizing that they have an opportunity to win based upon their own efforts and results.
On the other hand is the group who gets upset and bitter, realizing they will no longer be able to hide from the scoreboard of life, since they will be exposed by their lack of effort and results.
On a personal note, I was involved in community building for 5 1/2 years with little to show for it, but I never blamed anyone else.
In fact, in a true free enterprise environment, a person loses only when he begins blaming someone else for his lack of results.
Refuse to play the blame game.
Instead focus on continuous improvement to win based upon merit.
Who Wants to Play King of the Mountain?
Regardless of the rhetoric of either side, meritocracy is simply the only system that is fair for all people.
Indeed, meritocracy ensures that everyone is given an equal opportunity and playing field.
Imagine playing a game of King of the Mountain where everyone has a right to enter the game and battle their way to the mountaintop.
New participants join the game with the goal of running to the top and knocking off the current King of the Mountain.
This is an analogy of a true free enterprise system.
Anyone can enter and compete, but if you don’t perform, don’t come crying to mommy.
People can enter as individuals or teams, but no group gets a special deal.
The King today may be knocked off tomorrow by better ideas, strategy, and people.
The referee (government) is supposed to be neutral (justice), ensuring everyone plays the games by the rules.
Imagine the travesty that would occur if the current King of the Mountain bought off the referees, forcing all new participants to carry a 50 pound bag on their back (extra regulations).
Even if the King has to carry the bag also, it’s much easier to be on top with 50 pounds than to run up a mountain side with it.
The more government rigs the game, the less free enterprise flourishes and the more a class society results.
Western Civilization is at a crossroads because Big Banks and Big Business do not like to lose and believe they are “too big to fail.”
They have rigged the game to ensure that the “idle rich” stay on top, while the rest of us run around wondering why no one seems to knock Kings of the Mountain anymore.
Big Government must stop playing the biased referee and return to the neutral umpire that it’s supposed to be.
Either this will change, or the West, as we know it, will die.
Vacancies on New Mountains Only
One might be wondering how Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. made it to the top of the mountain.
In truth, nearly all of the new big league entrepreneurs made it to the top of new mountains without pre-established hierarchies of bureaucratic corporations already on the mountaintop.
In other words, since most of the old mountains are now closed by the unethical partnership of Big Business and Big Government, the only opportunities for hungry entrepreneurs are to innovate into the new fields where the mountaintops are still vacant.
Innovation and competition are fantastic on the new mountains, but imagine how much more innovation would occur if Western Society opened up all its mountaintops, like a true free enterprise system should and competitive sports does?
For example, can one see how perturbed the established energy companies would be if some crazy innovator developed a way to convert water into workable energy?
Do you think the established order would support the new innovator or attempt to quash his or her ideas because trillions of dollars are on the line?
Regretfully, squashing the new entrepreneur is too frequently the modus operandi in Western economics.
Everyone in society, except the few with the special deals, are hurt by the current state of affairs.
Simply put, without entrepreneurial innovation, an economy stagnates and declines; freedom is a prerequisite for entrepreneurial innovation.
Challenge and Response
What if leadership communities, groups of people who educate themselves and others on historic leadership and liberty principles, joined together and formed free communities for real change?
In my book, RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, I talk about Arnold Toynbee and his thesis of “Challenge and Response.”
We are going through one of these critical periods where the West has serious challenges to respond to and it takes leaders to respond.
Throughout the history of the West, citizen leaders have stood up to tyranny whenever the need arose to right the wrongs.
Today’s issues demand courageous leaders who will respond similarly, standing up and fixing them, doing what is right because it is right.
In 1979, Henry Ford II, in a Chicago Business School Conference, shared, “I sometimes suspect that many American capitalists actually distrust the market as much as capitalism’s enemies do. There are whole industries today that prefer to escape the market’s disciplines. Such businessmen only encourage those who seek reform through the government, who seek greater regulation of business and greater governmental control over the private sector. But solutions like those are alien to our national experience, and American capitalism has a duty to fight them.”
See the challenge?
Even the industrial icons recognize the problem.
Is America finally ready to respond?
Isn’t it time for a LeaderShift?
I recently came across an article in a magazine that I thought was spot on to achieve true leadership. It starts with self-development. Without that someone is just managing. When someone falls into management mode things can get stressful… business doesn’t grow as fast as you would like, lack of loyalty, lack of buy-in and cooperation from constituents. The article was written by Glenn Gutek – a consultant for professional workplace improvement. I hope that you can take something from this article and use in your personal life as well as your work environment as i did. Hope you enjoy!
Great Leadership Starts With Leading an Organization of One
All leadership begins with “self leadership.” Before a leader can aspire to lead a thriving enterprise, he must first master leading an organization of one.
Tom and Susan are partners in the same firm and produce at a very high level. Over the past five years, Susan has not only outpaced Tom but also many of her senior partners. What is most surprising about Susan’s performance is that her ascent to excellence was slow in coming, and Tom was very reluctant to open the doors of partnership to Susan after her lackluster performance during her initial years in the firm.
Out of curiosity, Tom summoned the courage to investigate the root causes of Susan’s consistent growth. What Tom observed and discovered was that Susan had an incredible ability to do what needed to be done when it needed to be done. She seemed to respond appropriately to the right opportunities and dismiss the less-relevant distractions. Tom shared with his partners that Susan “leads herself with discipline and precision.”
What made an impression for Tom were the practices Susan engaged in to help her have a sense of what needed to be done. A leader engages in certain practices or disciplines to produce that result when required. Self leadership employs intentional action in advance to ensure the right action happens when necessary.
Although some people are more naturally disciplined than others, for those who struggle with discipline, it can help to create the structures that promote greater “professional will.” To begin, consider the following five disciplines of self leadership:
1. Control Time
The most basic expression of self-discipline is controlling your time in such a way that you are focused on your “highest and best” use. Your leadership effectiveness is limited when you allow others to set too much of the agenda and spend your time on the trails of rabbits. There is a wealth of material available to assist with time management, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel; however, there are some practices you can intentionally engage in that will promote a greater ability to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done:
- Time Blocking: Predetermine blocks of time allocated for your most important activities.
- Landing the Plane: Do not allow meetings and conversations to extend beyond the appropriate time limit.
- Time Cop: Give your assistant or colleague some authority to assist you in executing your calendar.
- Power Sprints: Protect one-hour blocks of uninterrupted time to execute your most complex work.
2. Fuel Energy
Leadership is an energy-intensive endeavor. One of the primary reasons why leaders often sweep unsolved problems under the carpet is a lack of energy. It is imperative to sustain the appropriate levels of energy to intercept entropy at its earliest stages.
The disciplines most commonly associated with fueling energy often involve diet, exercise, and sleep habits. Beyond these practices, build into your schedule opportunities to engage in things that put wind in your sails. What are the activities that energize you and ignite your curiosity and passion? Below are some practices that you may want to be sure your calendar allows time to proactively pursue:
- Reading, which helps you think bigger thoughts
- Travel, which helps you see a bigger world
- Networking, which helps you learn from other businesses
3. Temper Emotions
So much business literature will reference the all-important aspect of “passion.” There is no argument that passion is essential to effective leadership; passion is the natural reservoir of energy that propels a leader forward in the face of adversity. However, at times it is critical to practice the discipline of being “dispassionate.”
The discipline of being dispassionate allows a leader to protect the environment from becoming toxic and avoid engaging in the wrong battles. A leader should fuel his energy by investing in his passion but also keep things from running off the rails by not pouring gas on a volatile situation. Below are few techniques that you can practice in advance to promote appropriate dispassion:
- Ask questions.
- Define the problem.
- Spend more time on solutions.
- Take deep breaths before speaking.
4. Focus Words
Just about every teenager wanting a driver’s license has most likely read a copy of the book, Rules of the Road. Unfortunately, once we graduate from grade school, there are no qualifying tests to ensure we have a license to speak. The most commonly used tool in the arsenal of a leader is his words. Far too often we lack the right words at the right time. Why wouldn’t the wise leader make time to practice the discipline of focusing his words for the greatest amount of impact?
The discipline of crafting or outlining scripts for crucial situations will assist in making sure that the words that flow from your mouth achieve the purpose of the right words at exactly the right time. Being prepared in advance with a script or outline, such as the following, is a wonderful exercise in self leadership:
- Vision: A brief outline that calibrates key players on the vision of the organization
- Conflict: A brief outline that defuses hostility and allow people to work the problem
- Correction: A brief outline that identifies problem behavior and promotes improvement
5. Use Power
The fifth important discipline that must be an ongoing practice for a leader is disciplining power, particularly as it relates to knowing where the source of authority comes from. Are you building your power base from the positional role in the organization or your credibility with the people you lead?
As the industrial revolution comes to a close and we give birth to the “personal age,” it is becoming clear that the authority of a leader rests in the relationships he forms with the people he leads. The risk most often encountered when influencing people where there is a personal relationship is not maintaining the authority to exercise power. One practice that can assist in maintaining authority is identifying those with whom you need to come out from behind the desk and those with whom you must stay behind the desk:
- Out from behind the desk: Individuals with the maturity to be clear on your authority
- Stay behind the desk: Individuals who need you to maintain your position of authority
All leadership begins with self leadership. Practice the disciplines in each of the five areas of self leadership and you will find you possess an uncanny ability to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.
To be successful in today’s society, Community is the key. To create and to maintain a strong community, one must watch out for certain pitfalls. I will attempt to convey some of the pitfalls to avoid and some keys to maintain a strong community.
The other day while going through some older notes that I had taken at a LIFE Leadership Convention, I came across a page that I titled “15 Things that Shred Teams” that was based on a talk that LIFE Founder Orrin Woodward had given on building Compensated Communities. [Orrin is #6 on the list of world ranked Leadership Gurus, has written many best-selling books, and was awarded by the IAB with the #1 Leadership award last year!! Definitely the kind of guy to get leadership information from…]. I hadn’t looked over those notes for a while and thought that they were a very helpful reminder in not only Compensated Communities, but ANY type of community, whether it be a church, work, social group, military, political, or even in your own home. First I will go over the 15 things that Orrin says will shred a community and then I will cover the things to combat those areas to maintain a strong community, based on other information that I have accumulated over the years.
- Self-Pity – Someone who has self pity lowers morale for a group.
- Temper – People don’t like to be around someone with an unpredictable attitude. Always feels like walking on egg shells.
- Resentment – Disappointed, doesn’t like change.
- Jealousy/Envy – Can’t be happy for other’s achievements.
- Pride – Someone who thinks they know it all. (all that and a bag of chips, as the saying goes)
- Selfishness – Win/No Win in human relations. Not concerned about he well-being of the other parties involved in the proposal.
- Fear – Accumulates over time. Disables people mentally.
- Blaming – No responsibility.
- Greed – Concerned only of themselves and their personal state of affairs.
- Groan – Constantly complaining. Sucks life out of a conversation or a room for that matter.
- Hate – Turns into poison. Sours the heart and builds walls.
- Cheat – Lack of integrity. Cuts corners.
- Cursing – Foul mouth. Detracts from leadership or following.
- Criticism – Finding fault in others.
- Doubt – Second guesses goals or dreams. Limits themselves.
These things can turn any relationship or community sour if they are not confronted soon enough. The following is just a list of things that I believe combat these things, based on my notes from other leadership talks:
- Grateful – Be grateful for what you have, because you have been blessed beyond measure!
- Smile – Someone can’t be angry and have a temper for long with a smile on their face. Another thing that can help here is positive input. (motivational/leadership cds, books, or other positive association) “What goes in, must come out”
- Acknowledgement – Realize there is a problem and that you are in control of the actions of the outcome. Then get your heart in the right place.
- Edify – Congratulate others achievements in front of them and behind their backs. (the only time gossip is ok.) Realize that you can get where they are if you just do what they did.
- Humility – Be humble and know that there is a lot more to learn. There is always room for improvement. I believe there was only 1 Perfect human.
- Generous – Win/Win or no deal. Become a giver. Do what we know we should do but so few do.
- Courage/Action – Step out against your fears because they are really only “false evidence appearing real”
- Responsibility – Take personal responsibility for a situation. Once you take responsibility you can fix the problem. If you pass the buck you are basically giving up control. As the saying goes when you point your finger at someone there are 4 pointing back at you.
- Giving – Give more and again get your heart where it should be.
- Thankful – Give thanks for what you have. It could be a lot worse. If everyone threw their problems into a bucket and picked someone elses they would likely ask for theirs back soon.
- Love – Be a compassionate, merciful person. That is what we were created to do. Love is not a noun, it’s something that we DO.
- Character – Have integrity. Don’t cut corners. Develop yourself.
- Uplifting – Don’t say bad stuff about things or other people. Uplift them. Encourage.
- Self-Seek – Search yourself for faults. There is always room for improvement. A relative of mine once said, “Don’t worry about your neighbors stoop, when there is snow on your own.”
- Believe – Have faith that things will work out. When you start believing, truly believing, that you will achieve something, your mind will start taking the correct steps to get you to whatever you are chasing down.
I, myself am constantly working on these areas and will continue to, because there really is always room for improvement. I am on a leadership journey with the LIFE Community, and all of the materials offered through the LIFE Business helps a person fix the chosen areas that he/she wants to improve on in the 8 F’s of LIFE: Faith, Family, Friends, Fitness, Finance, Following, Freedom, and Fun. I pray that you are able to take something from this post and begin applying in your own life.