Mastering a skill takes years, whether it is teaching, becoming a great leader, a parent or world-class speaker. Like the Bamboo Farmer that I reference in my speeches and my first book Water The Bamboo the key to mastery lies in one’s ability to be focused and disciplined for years.
This year I have noticed an interesting pattern. When clients request a keynote presentation, I ask which speech they want me to deliver--one focused on Water The Bamboo, Unleashing the Potential of Teams and Individuals or What’s Going Well? The Question that Changes Everything?
It’s been about a 50–50 split.
I developed a keynote and a half day workshop around the What’s Going Well mindset. Below is a short video that gives you a flavor of the new book and keynote.
Imagine after years of planting, tending and weeding, the bamboo is only a few inches away from breaking the surface of the soil, soon sprouting 90 feet in 60 days. The impatient farmer walks away while the Bamboo Farmer faithfully waters one more day.
In Water The Bamboo, my book on leadership and teamwork, I encourage Bamboo Farmers to create a Bamboo Circle. A Bamboo Circle is made up of interconnected relationships that help a Bamboo Farmer reach their goals.
In my book Water The Bamboo®: Unleashing Teams and Individuals I encourage both individuals and teams to identify and water their bamboo (vision). It takes four to five years of watering for Giant Timber Bamboo to grow over 90 feet in 60 days.
Whether it's a failed project, a co-worker conflict, or an unexpected layoff, everyone faces a setback at some point in their career. These unfortunate events can derail your plans and hinder your morale and productivity—but only if you let them.
A lot of my work with leaders and teams is centered around how to increase and sustain employee engagement. When people first begin their jobs, they are typically fully engaged, but this initial enthusiasm eventually fades into "what's next?" or thinking the bamboo grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
In the last blog, I shared 5 tips on becoming more assertive. Here are 5 more keys to assist you on your journey to being a more assertive leader.
Now that the hype has died down, the Olympics (and Paralympics) seem like a distant memory. Imagine making the medal podium and a few weeks later hardly anyone remembers your name. Was the 15 minutes of fame worth it? Most Olympians have trained from a very young age to reach that pinnacle in their sport — talk about Watering The Bamboo!
Imagine trying to water your bamboo with a bucket that has holes in it or one that has no bottom. A leaky bucket is one that lets in negativity, worry, doubt and gossip—all of which are drains on your enthusiasm and energy. Bamboo farmers must keep their buckets full of fresh water, and to do that you must fix your leaks!
When a person or a team sets a goal to do something extraordinary (aka your Bamboo Dream), whether that goal is to go to the moon, win a gold medal, or change an entire industry, critics, killjoys, and naysayers come out of the woodwork saying things such as: You are crazy. That will never work. Why are you wasting your time? What makes you think you are so special?
How many bricks does it take to complete a patio? The same amount it takes to start building a patio. Answer: ONE! This is the approach I took when I wrote my book Water The Bamboo — "one page at a time" — besides, you can only water one bucket at a time. You must focus on one brick at a time to finish. However, if you are like most people, you start more patios than you finish. I think it's okay to not finish from time to time but one should address this if it becomes a pattern.
In speaking engagements I use humor to inspire and engage my audiences. (Little known fact, I have performed stand-up comedy shows.) However, lately I have noticed there are days I am not laughing enough. Research shows kids laugh up to 415 times a day while adults laugh only 15 times. This year one of my goals is to laugh more. Besides, why should the kids have all the fun?
I spend a lot of time reading books and articles on leadership, peak performance, and innovation to help my clients reach their strategic goals. In my book Water The Bamboo® I encourage leaders and teams to identify their Bamboo Dream (vision) and to faithfully water it for five years before it grows 90 feet in 60 days. The watering (effort) is essential to success.
As a former Division I college basketball player, I'm always excited this time of year as practices get under way. It is like the holiday season: new shoes, new teammates, and a new season. Even though it has been years since I have played in a competitive basketball game, it gets me fired up about the season of my current life and business. In honor of the season I think it is only appropriate to make a special tribute to one of the game's all-time greatest coaches, the late John Wooden.
As the great American “philosopher” Mike Tyson once said after he was told that a boxing challenger had a plan to defeat him, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” I am not a Mike Tyson fan but no matter what you think about him, he had at least one moment of genius.
When giant timber bamboo grows it sheds the outer layer. The shedding allows for growth. In order for you to grow into the leader you want to be, you must shed. For leadership growth you need to answer this question: What am I holding on to that might be holding me back from becoming the leader I can be?
After a presentation, many people come up to me and say something like, “That was great, you are so gifted” or “You are a natural on stage.” While I appreciate the compliment, it does undervalue all the hard work I have put into my craft.
In life, as with in Bamboo Farming, there are no guarantees. If your harvest is less than you desired for the year, appreciate what success you did have, recognize those who contributed to it, and learn from the lessons provided in the experience.
Once you have planted your bamboo (your vision), your focus must be on the watering and nurturing. Of course everyone wants the bamboo to grow right away but it is really about the nurturing.