The Right to Lead

The Right to Lead by John C. Maxwell captures the why, what, and how of leadership in a three hour read — it’s a phenomenal book for aspiring leaders.  And John Maxwell is my favourite author on leadership.

I love the book because it’s:

  1. Concise: straight to the point, yet dramatic that encourages you to read on.
  2. Clear: unlike some business books, it avoids jargons and keeps the language simple.  It’s an easy read.
  3. Inspiring: there’s a true story from a prominent leader supporting each point made in the book.

Here are some notes that I’ve taken from the book:

  • The key to becoming an effective leader is not to focus on making other people follow, but on making yourself the kind of person they want to follow
  • No one respects and follows mediocrity.  Leaders earn the right to lead.
  • Leaders face crucial moments when they must choose between gearing up or giving up.
  • He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he that loses courage loses all
  • Your vision must be bigger than you.  The greater it is, the more resources it will require.  The best leaders bring all of the resources in their world into play to accomplish something great.
  • To measure a leader, put a tape around his heart, not his head
  • If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?
  • and it goes on…

If you aspire to become a leader, I strongly encourage you to pick up this book.  You will find that it’s totally worth it.


Know what you stand for

A couple weeks ago, I had a great conversation with my mentor about leadership.  She is the SVP of a star company that has been around for over a decade now.  She told me, as a leader, you got to have all the fundamental stuff, such as listening skills.  But, to be a great leader, you have know what you stand for, and you cannot shy away from making it very clear to everybody.

It may sound pretty standard, but it’s actually quite hard to do.  For example, are you able to do what Steve Jobs did about Flash vs. HTML5?  He made it very clear that he is for HTML5, and he puts his words into actions by being an advocate himself and by blocking Flash-related stuff from the iPad/iPhone/iPod.

When you hear people disagreeing / agreeing with you, you’ll know that you have made yourself clear.

Being real!

What does it mean to be real?  Well, first of all, you have to know who you are in order to be real.

Where I came from

I came from an entrepreneurial family.  My grandpa started the first department store in Taiwan.  My uncle #1 started a commercial airline, my uncle #2 started a clean tech company, my granduncle is the Chairman of Taiwanese Business Association in China, and the list goes on.

Hence, when I was young, my playground was their boardrooms, and I truly enjoyed all the intense, aggressive discussions in there.

The lost Identity

When I started to work in the corporate world, I started to lose my identity.

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What not to do in 2010

2009 was a significant year.  Here is a partial list of events in 2009:

  1. History: Barack Obama – elected as the first African American President of the United States
  2. Politics: Bill Clinton, first former American President visiting North Korea, bringing 2 American citizens home
  3. Business: worst economy crisis since the Great Depression
  4. Technology: twitter becomes a major trend
  5. Others: Michael Jackson passed away right before his comeback concert

Lots happened in 2009.  However, if you think 2010 is going to be the same, then you will be mistaken.

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Ground Zero, New York City

December 21 2009, I visited Ground Zero Museum in New York City.  It was a heartbreaking experience, but also a humbling one because I could only find hope, respect, and love there.

If by default, we love and respect each other, what is it that has been setting us apart all the time?

— Misunderstanding.

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The 6th W

The conventional formula of getting things done is to answer the 5 Ws and 1 H: what, when, where, who, why, and how.  However, you will only get mediocre results if you follow this incomplete formula.

You need the 6th W to deliver extraordinary results: Wow!

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Preserving with courage and honor

Today, I went to watch the blind side, a true story about NFL freshman Michael Oher.  It’s a story about preserving through hardship with courage and honor.

Some people think if they close their eyes, bad things will just pass by.  Indeed, bad things will only get worse when they reopen their eyes.

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