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Express Yourself

Have you ever stopped saying what you were thinking because you thought it might be silly? What seems profound now may seem trivial later -- but express it anyway. If you don't express what you're feeling who will? -- Doug Smith What have you learned today?

Stay Positive, Focused, and Curious

Are you curious? Do you dig a little deeper to find out what's really going on when things seem odd? Do you keep a positive focus on your goals? High performance leaders stay positive, focused, and curious. What does that mean to you? What do you as a leader do to stay positive? What keeps you focused? What does that look like? Why is it important for a leader to stay curious? Could you prove to a detective that you have a long record of curiosity? What is your proof? -- Doug Smith

Anticipate Change

Did you see that last change coming? Does change sneak up on you, scaring your pants off? Or, do you look for it? The more we anticipate change the less it is likely to upset our plans. Centered leaders base their plans on constant change. Centered leaders create processes that endure change, that flow with change, that support change. The paradox is that the only true stability comes from staying fully adaptive to change. How do you anticipate which changes will effect your plans?  How do you create a team that expects and drives constant change? What are the benefits to moving quickly with change? -- Doug Smith

Centered Leaders Feel a Calling

Centered leaders feel a calling for the work they bring to the world. It's more than a duty; more than a job. The sense of mission that leads to completion and satisfaction drives centered leaders as they work.  Centered leaders optimize their work by working on their calling. What's your calling? Are you working on it everyday? What will you do today? -- Doug Smith

Scan the Future

Have you scanned your future today? High performance leaders frequently scan the environment for change opportunities. Individually, keeping informed of rapid changes, cultural shifts, and trends as well as collectively holding deeper conversations sometimes in the form of a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. High performance leaders are always aware of what looms just down the road. They move with what they can influence, and prepare for what they can not control. As a leader, you'd probably rather not be surprised --to avoid the unexpected takes preparation. What's going on in your world that will effect your business? Are you paying attention to YOUR future?  What trends do you see developing in your field of work/play? What will you do to change the nature of your game? -- Doug Smith

Overcoming Constraints

High performance leaders co-create solutions that overcome constraints. As a leader, do you know what the constraints are? Can you pinpoint the largest and highest impact constraint? What stands in the way of success? Who can help you co-create solutions that will overcome overpower and overhaul these constraints? In order to optimize your results it takes a careful look at details currently slow or impede the results that you want. Often, eliminating a constraint opens the flood gates of success much faster than building a brand new process or path. -- Doug Smith

What's Your Biggest Problem?

Do you really understand your biggest problem? What are you doing to solve it? Who else can you ask for help? Understanding is a critical first step to solving difficult problems. Moving too fast can lead to solving the wrong problem and complicating (or even over-simplifying) your situation.  Take the time to understand your biggest problem, and then seek the help you need. What is your biggest problem? -- Doug Smith

No Permanent Solutions Hurt People

Problems are often solved temporarily. Permanent solutions are hard to find, because there are so many factors to consider. People, for instance. If you solve a problem, yet hurt some one in the process (physically, mentally, or financially) you haven't really solved the problem -- you've just pushed it to a more dangerous level. There are NO permanent solutions that hurt people. If it hurts someone, the solution is a problem in itself. Are you considering everyone in your problem solving? Are your solutions injury-free? --Doug Smith

Back In Time?

Do you ever daydream about the past? How you would have done some things differently? If you could go back in time would you be the same person you are today? Of course, we can't go back in time, but we can learn from it. Things that we would change point in directions we might want to consider for now. People we might have offended may still be waiting for our amends. Opportunities we may have squandered might still be there -- or might beckon us toward new opportunities we have been missing. We don't need to regret what we missed. There's so much good that's still ahead of us. What have you learned from your past experiences? -- Doug Smith

Goals Don't Respond to Excuses

Where would you be if it weren't for your excuses? Could it be that you would have achieved more? Could it be that some of those elusive goals would not have been so elusive? There's no sense in pointing fingers. I know I've dropped a few excuses when lifting the weight would have been more effective. Let's just agree not to make any more excuses, OK? Goals don't respond to excuses. It takes our actions. It takes our persistence. It takes our courage and creativity. But not excuses. We'll all go farther without those silly things, don't you think? -- Douglas Brent Smith

Creative Focus: Figure/Ground

A learning activity from the program "Developing Creativity" Purpose : Make a point by clearly creating a collage with a figure (point of focus) and a ground (background). Build a sense of artistic perspective. Practice shifting fields to create flexibility and possibilities. Arts concept : Figure/Ground Materials : Magazines, paper, glue, scissors, pictures. Process: In art, the concept of figure/ground refers to a way of looking at a piece so that part of the picture is the main focal point while the rest is the field or background. In some famous optical illusion pieces the figure andP field can shift creating the se nse of illusion. Here’s what to do: 1. Gather a set of collage materials. 2. Cut shapes and pictures as you think about a theme. (your theme could be your topic or part of your program/event topic, or the participants could select one such as building relationships, solving problems, leading effectively, staying positive, devel

Creative Problem Solving: Certainties

A creative problem solving activity. Purpose: Create deep conversations around perceived truths. Materials:  Talking stick or microphone. Seating:  Circle Process: As we travel thru life we learn a few things. Things we were once certain about change and feel less certain. Things we did not believe or know emerge as our new truth. Do you believe in lasting truth? Do you hold a few beliefs that you feel will stand the test of time? Follow the CLUES for Success guidelines and when it is your turn, share 3 to 5 beliefs that you think are certain. Options: To prime the pump, share some “certainties” from others in short phrases or quotes. Some  examples: (Doug’s list) • The truth will always bubble to the top. • God is love. • Everything is personal. • Nothing is ever off-the-record. Expand: A. Use recording equipment to create a visual record of people providing their wisdom. As a group, edit and produce a film. B. Play with figure/ground con