ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition — November 2003

In This Issue

Corporate Culture and Survival
In A Nutshell
Proven Strategies on Service and Life
Leading Wholeheartedly: A Quality Approach
Respectful Confrontation for Superior Results

Features

Articles in Brief
The Help Desk
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Book Nook

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November 2003 News For A Change — Home Page

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Leading Wholeheartedly: A Quality Approach

Getting the Best by Having the Courage to be the Best

“God grant me the courage to be fully myself.”
—Buckminster Fuller

The word courage comes from the French word “coeur” or heart. Literally, finding your courage is to find your heart. To excel in life, whether as an individual, team, or organization, requires the full engagement of seven acts of courage, acts leading to living and leading wholeheartedly. What kind of “heart” am I talking about? The courage to dream; to listen to the dreams, aspirations, and hopes of others; and then to express it in a framework that captures the best of what we wish to create. This becomes the “vision” for which we aim and how we measure our actions. The courage to express a vision creates future pull, drawing us into the very best of what we have to offer.

Yet, the courage to dream and then express it is only the first step. We need the courage to see our current reality: the good and the not so good, the strengths as well as the weaknesses. Without a clear understanding of where we stand, we have no realistic framework for moving forward. Only after we know where we want to go and have assessed where we currently stand can we make use of the next five acts of courage required to excel in life and in leading others.

If we know where we want to go and clearly see where we currently stand, then the next five acts will involve how we get there. We have to develop the courage to confront others respectfully if we are to successfully challenge those around us to step up to a higher level of working, relating, and living. Nothing can happen unless we can find our voice in the moment and speak up in order to challenge.

Yet, if we can confront others but lack the courage to be confronted, we send a mixed message. “I can confront but will not let anyone confront me.” Only when we have the heart to really listen to criticism in order to learn and increase overall effectiveness can we really model integrity in our dealings with others. Without integrity, there can be no excellence in the way we work or live.

The next three acts of courage help us tap the full power of the heart in creating excellence. We need to practice the courage to learn and grow with a willingness to look awkward as we learn new skills, step into ambiguity, and give up the addiction to being “right.”

We also need the courage to be vulnerable, to let others know how much we need them in order to
create something extraordinary. The courage to be vulnerable is to be open to life, to others, and to possibility. It is a state of dynamic humility.

Finally, if we are to create lasting excellence, we need to find the courage to act, to put our money where our mouth is. The courage to act is where the rubber meets the road and means putting it on the line. Without it, the other acts of courage come to naught.

Creating excellence can only occur in the context of all seven dynamic acts of courage. How is your courage quotient? Are you ready to excel?

ROBERT EARL (DUSTY) STAUB II is a nationally known author with two books in print and is the founder and CEO of Staub Leadership Consultants. He facilitates leadership development programs for individuals and organizations and is based in Greensboro, NC. E-mail your questions to questions@staubleadership.com or call 336-282-0282.

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