Are You Sabotaging Your Career?

Your are if you are giving presentations and speeches instead of Leadership Talks.

By Brent Filson - 4/2009

        My experience working with all ranks of functions of leaders
        world wide for the past 25 years teaches me that most leaders
        are screwing up their careers.
        On a daily basis, these leaders are getting the wrong results
        or the right results in the wrong ways. 
        Interestingly, they themselves are choosing to fail.  They're
        actively sabotaging their own careers.
        Leaders commit this sabotage for a simple reason: They make
        the fatal mistake of choosing to communicate with
        presentations and speeches -- not leadership talks.
        In terms of boosting one's career, the difference between the
        two methods of leadership communication is the difference
        between lightning and the lightning bug.
        Speeches/presentations primarily communicate information. 
        Leadership talks, on the other hand, not only communicate
        information, they do more: They establish a deep, human
        emotional connection with the audience.
        Why is the later connection necessary in leadership?
        Look at it this way: Leaders do nothing more important than
        get results.  There are generally two ways that leaders get
        results: They can order people to go from point A to point B;
        or they can have people WANT TO go from A to B. 
        Clearly, leaders who can instill "want to" in people, who
        motivate those people, are much more effective than leaders
        who can't or won't.
        And the best way to instill "want to" is not simply to relate
        to people as if they are information receptacles but to relate
        to them on a deep, human, emotional way.
        And you do it with leadership talks.
        Here are a few examples of leadership talks.
        When Churchill said, "We will fight on the beaches ... " That
        was a leadership talk.  
        When Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you
        ... " that was a leadership talk.
        When Reagan said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"  That
        was a leadership talk.
        You can come up with a lot of examples too.  Go back to those
        moments when the words of a leader inspired people to take
        ardent action, and you've probably put your finger on an
        authentic leadership talk.
        Mind you, I'm not just talking about great leaders of history.
        I'm also talking about the leaders in your organizations.
        After all, leaders speak 15 to 20 times a day: everything from
        formal speeches to informal chats.  When those interactions
        are leadership talks, not just speeches or presentations, the
        effectiveness of those leaders is dramatically increased.
        How do we put together leadership talks? It's not easy.
        Mastering leadership talks takes a rigorous application of
        many specific processes.  As Clement Atlee said of that great
        master of leadership talks, Winston Churchill, "Winston spent
        the best years of his life preparing his impromptu talks."
        Churchill, Kennedy, Reagan and others who were masters at
        giving leadership talks didn't actually call their
        communications "leadership talks", but they must have been
        conscious to some degree of the processes one must employ in
        putting a leadership talk together.
        Here's how to start.  If you plan to give a leadership talk,
        there are three questions you should ask.  If you answer "no"
        to any one of those questions, you can't give one.  You may be
        able to give a speech or presentation, but certainly not a
        leadership talk.
        Winston Churchill said, "We must face the facts or they'll
        stab us in the back."
        When you are trying to motivate people, the real facts are
        THEIR facts, their reality. 
        Their reality is composed of their needs.  In many cases,
        their needs have nothing to do with your

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Brent Filson
Brent Filson