I just finished reading “Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands” by Nancy Ortenberg. I must say I had high expectations for the book considering her leadership experience with Axis and her husbands success as an author, Pastor and teacher, and she exceeded those expectations.

She gives a practical, non-linear appraoch to leadrship which I appreciate since I have seen few situations where a step by step formula worked with leading people.

Below are some highlights I took from this book.

::::: UNLEASHING THE POWER OF RUBBER BANDS – Nancy Ortenberg :::::

Opportunities, challenges and a relationship make a powerful crucible for development.

The core of leadership is hope.

Great leaders think about vision a lot. But the problem is that most of us are thinking about it more than we are talking about it.

Vision is about stirring and provoking, reminding and Imagining.

We work to create an environment that inspires greatness.

A vision’s power lies in what it can tap into.

Leading an organization requires a collaborative discussion about vision, reality, and strategy.

The first job of a leader is to define reality – Max Dupree

The despairity between vision and reality establishes a gap. What fills that gap is strategy.
Strategy puts feet to the vision and breathes encouragement into an organization as it takes it’s first step towards the future.

Perhaps one of the most powerful things a leader can do is to deeply value the contributions of everyone in the organization.

Great leader push themselves to understand the unique and valuable contributions of everyone on the team.

Power is released in someone who knows he or she is being paid attention to.

Leaders determine whether something is a problem to be solved or a tension to be managed.

You will always have to manage the tension between infastructure and innovation, between structure and creativity.

Questions that lead to Defining Moments:
How do we recognize the signs of stagnation or decline, and do the work of leadership in reminding people what a great thing it is to work, to strive, to generate, and to build?

How do we learn to use the right touch and not to pile up relentless requirement for work that makes the soul weary?

How do we clarify that continual call for people to give their best in such a way that stimulates ideas and moves us to new levels?

How do we create an environment where everyone knows that no matter how great the past was, it will never compete with the future?

There is often an enormous disconnect between the vision of an organization and the events that make up the daily calendar pages of the organization’s leaders. While vision can be a defining moment in an organization, often day-to-day responsibilities seem to have no connection to the realization of that vision. This inevitably leads to discouragement for leaders, teams, and organizations.

Ask: Does this activity move us toward our vision?

Teamwork is a Strategy, not a slogan.

Leaders who take action and initiative to make sure the right people are in the right places engender trust. Those who don’t, create cynisism and mistrust.

Leadership is the promise of development.

Is the life you are inviting others into, the life youbare leading?

Good leadership is about developing a rhythm of life, not an equation.

The job of a leader is tobdevise creative, compelling, and repetitive ways to communicate the vision to the people. Vision is simply the motivation, and motivation implies doing something. What we are going to do and how – now that gets everyone in the game.

Leaders are only right about 50% of the time. – Max DePree

Good leaders teach their teams to think. One of the strongest responses a leader can use is: “I don’t know ; what do you think?”

You honor the dignity in another person, you do not bestow it. – Max DePree

Asking questions is one of the most important tasks of a leader.

Good leadership changes things. Relentlessly. Significantly. And after it celebrates the movement, it takes another look to see what might have been overlooked. Then good leadership goes at it again.

When the change on the outside of your organization is greater than the change on the inside of it, you are in trouble.

Change builds on the past. (What has led us up to today?)

Change lives in the reality of the present. (What are our strengths and weaknesses; failures and successes?)

Change sketches out a future.

3 levels of change: Reaction, adjustment, initiative.

When a culture is created where fear of failure is decreased, people are better able to quickly move beyond the understandable first reactions of embarrasment and disappointment, and lower their defenses enough so that new learning begins to occur. People rarely so their best or most creative work in an environment of fear.

Become a leader who shapes people and organizations through their mistakes by:
1) Start admiring your own.
2) autopsy the mistakes.

Teams that get along all of the time and never disagree ought to make you really nervous.

Conflict is a crucible for change.

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