Category: Leadership

Plato: Your Best Victory

Plato

“The first and best victory

is to conquer self.”

Plato

 

7 Best Practices for Life Leadership Continuum and 7 Areas of Life

Dyson Life Leadership Model 1987 Gold

Best-Self Leadership is the first best practice to plan and lead in life.

Joan Dunn donated to Life Leaders a box of books on leadership and professional development Stretch valued. A few folders enclosed included workbooks and handouts that he or we had presented for Life Leaders or other organizations over 25 years.

One of the sheets was from a presentation I invited Stretch to give on Best-Self Leadership, which he gave in 2015. He was trained in it at West Point and committed to it all the years I knew him. The sheet outlined his philosophy and plans to guide his life and to coach others. He listed motivational quotations, including Plato above, and a summary of concepts and covenants to which he was committed.

I thought you would want to know this as well as appreciate the wisdom of ancient Greek philosopher Plato. –David

Daily Questions to Inspire You

By Dr. David Dyson citing and remembering lessons learned from Col. Stretch Dunn

  1. Did I make someone a hero today?
  2. Would our Lord say, “well done my good and faithful servant…?”
  3. Would my mama be proud?

Col. Stretch Dunn (USA Retired) asked himself these three questions at the end of the day to help make sure he stayed on the right path. He spoke of them when mentoring others and at annual Life Leaders seminars designed to help people improve plans for life. He asked his wife, Joan, to help him be accountable to “be, know, and do” as his best-self.

Most years for two decades during the Life Leaders Plan for Life Seminar he shared his updated page of goals for the 7 Areas of Life so others might benefit from this annual ritual and to help “hold him accountable” privately for what he stated publicly. For actions he considered extra special, such as some of those that led him toward his three questions, he called them “rituals” because they took on even more significance than “habits.”

Joan helped me confirm the updated list of questions he was using at the end of his life. He had edited the list over time, adding the second question. He also believed in a concept called “The Harder Right” that he used on his list a decade or so earlier.

Professionalism Front CoverAfter the “911” attacks on America, when Stretch and I were writing Professionalism Under Stress (about common denominators of true professionalism in college, combat, corporate life…), he told me of “The Harder Right” and its roots for him at West Point.

The core message: take the ethical action even when our instincts tell us this option will be “harder” and we may “lose” short-term.

When we do the harder right, such as admit a mistake or take ownership for paying restitution even when we could “get away with it” we usually benefit instead of lose. Our integrity gets stronger and our trust with others gets stronger because they see us tell the truth and take fair action even when it’s “harder” to do so. Many citizens and corporations, even leaders in the public office tend to “distance themselves” or “protect themselves” from bad results. In case studies on major disasters, companies and individual leaders who admit the problems and take action to fix the problems with accountability usually lose profits short-term as they pay restitution though long-term gain market share and trust in the marketplace resulting in positive gains.

The United States Military Academy (West Point) believes in “The Harder Right” and include the term in the “Cadet Prayer.” This takes a stand and increases the chances of internalizing ethical action by making it a habit to cite the concept as part of the prayer.

West Point Cadet Prayer:

“Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong”

Why Questions of Assessment Help

Why should we assess our actions? A principle of leadership and management is, “what gets measured tends to gets repeated.” At the very least, if we have a target and internalize it we are more likely to aim and have a better chance of hitting “bulls eye.” Another principle of management science is to identify and do those practices that “increase probability ” for us to fulfill the mission.

Stretch wrote, reviewed, stated intent, and updated regularly his Goals for the 7 Areas of Life, his Big 3 Questions, and his Mission and Vision for Marriage with Joan. Because of these rituals, he was more likely to aim at and succeed at making others “heroes,” being a “good and faithful servant,” and making his “mama proud.”

Motivating question that may influence whether a person will take action on this article: Are goals like these or the people who would be affected important enough to you to make it worth a few minutes of your time daily to write a vision or questions and assess if you took action? 

One more step we can take to make plans, actions, and results better

Plan how we can answer the questions positively. If we are going to answer important questions, we can do better if we outline plans for our time and action aimed at creating positive answers. For each question, outline a goal and action to create desired results.

For example:

  1. Help someone: one idea is to keep on your calendar a daily appointment with yourself to call someone and offer to help. If like Stretch, you can ask, “How can I make you a hero?” or “What can I do for you, Sir?” Or, you can just do something for someone you believe is needed. [It’s good to confirm what we think adds values is actually valued by the person important to us.] Your action could mean either a one minute call or a longer block of time to add value for them by “lightening their load” through service or “encouraging their perseverance” on one of their resolutions.
  2. Be a good and faithful servant: part of the core of “faithful” is to identify and fulfill our callings, gifts, and talents. When we Pray. Listen. Act. Now. (PLAN) on our callings as well as our choices, we become better stewards of our faith.
  3. Do the harder right: for many, increased awareness of instincts when you feel pressure of possible embarrassment or other loss and how you believe your best-self should respond will improve behavior. Challenging “why” you do certain things can help you stop doing bad habits that may have been taught to you by well-intentioned adults or you may have adopted as habits from peers when immature. If never challenged, bad habits can live on even for well-intentioned adults. When you have a seemingly tough choice to make, imagining a special person “watching you” can help you do the harder right and form good habits until your personal integrity gets strong enough to guide you automatically.
  4. Make your mother (or someone else important) proud of you: as we plan intentions and assess actions, a partner or board can often inspire us to improve ourselves more so than the motivation for personal gain. In addition to parents, people often choose accountability partners, children, or other family members as sources of motivation.

Principles and Best Practices Supporting these Suggestions

My best practices for Best-Self Leadership 1-3, tested and taught since 1987:

  1. Lead Your Life
  2. Plan for Life
  3. Have an Impact. 

Dr. Stephen Covey’s Habits 1-3 in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

  1. “Be Proactive”
  2. “Begin with the end in mind”
  3. “First Things First.”

Both sets of practices and habits suggest we can do better if we decide to take action, envision desired results, let that vision inspire and guide goals and actions, and assess if we are having impact with priorities.

Personal Application Example

I took inspiration from Stretch, used his list, and adapted my own. I share it here in case two examples may serve you better:

  1. Did I help a person and an animal live better today?
  2. Did I improve my ability and attitude to help others?
  3. Did I Pray. Listen. Act. Now. (PLAN) for my callings and choices?
  4. Did I improve my plan for life?
  5. Did I live my priorities?
  6. Did I do my best joyously?
  7. Did I make my family proud?

Three questions are easier to internalize. Or, after you develop your seven you could summarize into your Big 3 to remember and share with others more readily.

Have an Impact

Stretch’s upbringing with parents Lieutenant General Carroll Dunn (USA Retired) and Retha Dunn, education at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point ’66), and training in the US Army influenced him greatly. He intentionally planned for and took action to live the core teachings of his parents and honor the “code” of West Point. He invited his wife, Joan, to give feedback on his stated “intent” and be an accountability partner for his actions.  If we do these things, we will come closer to “walking our talk.”

Question for those who want to walk our talk: are we planning for life, leading our lives, and living our priorities focused on the people and principles we say are most important?

Thanks Stretch for helping people to adopt ways to lead our lives closer to our best-selves.

_______

Stretch died unexpectedly this 2017. We honor our friendship and lessons learned with him by sharing positive principles and practices with you and those important to you. We invite you to subscribe or support if you value this article or the 7 Callings we serve.

To learn more of Stretch Dunn

To learn more of Life Leaders

To read more articles like this one or follow: DrDavid.blog

To recommend or request: David@LifeLeadersInstitute.org

Leadership and Empowerment Concepts and a Short Seminar

Dr. Ken Blanchard taught in “Situational Leadership” courses and books as well as  at our seminar in 1994 that we should choose different leadership approaches with people at different levels of “maturity” and we should even choose different leadership approaches with the same person–if maturity is high, “delegate,” though for a new role “tell.” He inspired part of the concept behind the Leadership and Empowerment Model I will share Thursday.

Coach Bear Bryant said he thought he was right “treating everyone the same” until he discovered later in his career his leadership should change based on the needs of each person.

Dr. Stephen Covey taught in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” at our seminar in 1993 and in his best-selling book that people should “Be Proactive” in learning and taking action to earn empowerment and “begin with the end in mind.”

Col. Stretch Dunn (USA Ret), my co-author in Professionalism Under Stress andPatriotism in Action, also believes true professionals develop character and competence in anticipation of “the call.” In chapter 2 of our first book,the second lesson for true professionals: earn empowerment rather than wait for it (state intent for action with the leader to boost feedback and cooperation.

Standing on the shoulders of these men and more, I believe this seminar is part of the core curriculum for best-self leadership. –David

 You are invited to

Life Leaders at Lunch

Earning and Delegating Empowerment

Presented by Dr. David Dyson

Host Melvin Carrington Smith, Sr. / Chair DeWayne Taylor

Thursday, March 26, 11:45-1
201 Office Park Circle /  3rd Floor Boardroom / Birmingham Area

Dyson Empowerment Model Gold

For info about attending or getting the workbook: Info@LifeLeaders.us

Life Leaders at Lunch

*New Lunch Time offering: Thursday, January 22

Goals for the 7 Areas of Life &

7 Steps to Set a Resolution

Designed and presented by Dr. David Dyson

founder of Life Leaders, co-author of Professionalism Under Stress with Col. Stretch Dunn, USA Ret; author of Presidential Priorities and Suggestions for Successful Living

More info: David@LifeLeadersInstitute.org

Hosted by Melvin Carrington Smith, Sr.

Melvin.Smith@me.com; (205)276-3333.

Melvin is a trustee of Life Leaders and retired from BellSouth and First Financial Group.

11:30-12          Registration; Networking and/or team meetings, get lunch

12-12:50          Seminar

1-1:15              Briefing on Life Leaders public seminars and programs for those interested

Professional Development Hour Document available for Members

Location: Birmingham, AL; 201 Office Park Drive; First Financial Group Training Room

(near Vulcan, Homewood, and Mountain Brook. From Highway 280, turn west between Regions and Wells Fargo; at the top of the hill, right; park near flag; stairs or external elevator to 3rd Floor; 1st left; (205)276-3333

Cost: $10 includes seminar and lunch. Reservation requested.

Reserve your lunch and space: reply with name to Info@LifeLeaders.us.

Life Leaders Members meeting January 15 to develop Plans

Important Meeting Thursday for Members, Prospective Members, and Interested Friends

Dear Prospective Members and Interested Friends of Life Leaders,

You are invited to participate in our first meeting of the year to review and improve purpose and plans this Thursday after work, January 15.

Life Leaders is hosting a meeting for members and interested friends at our regular location, 201 Office Park (3rd floor), hosted by Melvin Carrington Smith.

5:30-6 Arrive before 6 for fellowship and water or coffee.

6-7       We will summarize the mission, vision, and goals for Life Leaders, then hone in a bit more on a few programs that are priorities this quarter, and invite you to summarize your important goals for the year. Then, you can tell us how Life Leaders can help you most.

Agenda:

Host: Melvin Carrington Smith

Moderator: Stretch Dunn

Mission and Vision for the top 7 goals for Life Leaders: David Dyson

Life Leaders member and public seminars at lunch January – April: Melvin, David

Plan for School and Life/Freedom to Flourish: David

Veterans Making Comebacks: Oscar Waldheim

Web site and technology improvements you can use with Life Leaders: Kyle Crider

Your goals for the 7 areas of life (few minutes to jot your priorities): David, Melvin

Your preferences and suggestions for seminars, meetings, other this quarter: Melvin

Adjournment: Stretch

We rarely have meetings. This is our chance to improve our plans connected to you. And, if you care about advancing city and state, with niche programs for teachers and students as well as veterans making comebacks, we can find ways to do so together.

7:15-8 supper together at Tasiki’s (order food or drink as you wish—discuss your goals or just have fun).

Make your Reservation:

Reply to this email.

Note: we are testing an improved email and events management program with our members so our offerings to you are about to improve again.

Life Leaders has a niche purpose advancing planning for life and best-self leadership. You are important to our mission.

David, Stretch, Melvin

Radio Show with Lou Vickery

The Lou in the Morning Radio Show based in South Alabama and North Florida hosted me today to update his listeners on a few Life Leaders Programs:

Plan for School and Life: pilot classes we launched in three schools on Freedom, Character Traits, and Planning for School and Life.

Veterans Making Comebacks: helping veterans improve plans and personal leadership to improve self reliance and sustainability.

If these areas of service match your interests or goals, we invite you to learn more of our plan and tell us of yours.

David