Breaking Free – January 2011 – The Virtuous Cycle


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Your Virtuous Cycle

January 2011


Happy New Year!! I hope you enjoyed a break over the holiday season. I know that I did.


As I thought about the newsletters for the upcoming year and thought about you, I concluded that helping you take your leadership abilities to the next level might add a great deal of value to your life both personally and professionally.


As we start the New Year, many people reflect upon the past. Some realize that the last year may have been much like Bill Murray experienced in the movie “Groundhog Day”. Many folks realize that there hasn’t been much difference from one year to the next.


Well, if this is you, I’d like to help you change all that. Ok, even if it isn’t you, I know that you will find value from this.


In Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great (c) 2001, he talks about the difference between Level 5 leaders who create great companies and teams and Level 4 leaders who create good companies and teams. Mr. Collins lists a number of traits but when you look at it, I believe it boils down to:

  • Level 4 leaders focus on the what and how (extrinsic)
  • Level 5 leaders focus on the why and who (intrinsic)

In Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, he talks about using extrinsic rewards for motivation and why the carrot and stick approach no longer works. Oh, sure it did work in the industrial age when workers were needed primarily for their hands and feet. However, in the information age, workers are needed for their brains and minds. Brains and minds aren’t only fed with extrinsic rewards. Mr. Pink give us the M.A.P. for intrinsic motivation: mastery, autonomy and purpose.


In the book, Multipliers, Liz Wiseman and Greg Mckeown discuss how the best leaders are able to make everyone around them smarter by intrinsically valuing the people they lead.


Over the last 5 years, my coaching practice has focused exclusively on teaching leaders these “latest discoveries” and taken many clients to the next level of leadership in their businesses, careers, and also their personal lives.


As evidenced by these latest business books (and many others that I haven’t listed here), you can break out of the vicious cycle and start a virtuous cycle focused on creating and adding value… real, true, intrinsic value (as well as the systemic and extrinsic value that you already create). Focusing on the intrinsic will allow you to exponentially grow your leadership abilities.


So, in this newsletter, I want to give you a few tips for doing just that. While doing is important, being is infinitely more valuable. Are you seeing your team members as “human doings” or “human beings”? Do you see “doers of tasks” or human beings with talents? To help you see the people, become a “Talent Scout”.

  1. Make a list of 10-20 people that you work with, live with, play with, or interact with on a regular basis.
  2. Makes notes on what these folks do easily or well. What are the things that these people do effortlessly? How do they add value?
  3. Test out or confirm your hypotheses. Observe these people using their talents.
  4. Ask them about their talents and see if they are aware of them. Maybe ask if they’ve always been good at their talent.
  5. Work it. Help these people to use their greatest talents and strengths. When interacting with them, play to and acknowledge these strengths. Make a list of areas where you might be able to help them to accentuate their natural abilities.

Talent Scouts look to help people use their talents to add value to the world. By doing this you will also multiply your value in the world. By teaching others to do this, you will exponentially increase the value in the world and turn a vicious cycle into a virtuous one.



Traci is currently booking her speaking engagements for 2011. She books on a first come-first serve basis.


If you or your organization are interested in booking her, please use the “Send Us an Email” link at the bottom of this column.


PMI Charleston’s

Seminar at Sea

Jan 11-17, 2011


PMI Dallas Dinner Meeting

February 10, 2011


“Leadership is about vision. But leadership is equally about creating a climate where the truth is heard and the brutal facts confronted. There’s a huge difference between the opportunity to “have your say” and the opportunity to be heard. The good-to-great leaders understood this distinction, creating a culture wherein people had a tremendous opportunity to be heard and, ultimately, for the truth to be heard.”

– Jim Colllins

in Good to Great


“The science shows that the secret to high performance isn’t our biological drive or our reward-and-punishment drive but our third drive—our deep-seated desire to direct our own lives, to extend and expand our abilities, and to live a life of purpose.”

– Daniel Pink

in Drive


“Intrinsic motivation is of great importance for all economic activities. It is inconceivable that people are motivated solely or even mainly by external incentives.”

– Bruno Frey


“I have become convinced that the biggest leadership challenge of our times is not insufficient resources per se, but rather our inability to access the most valuable resources at our disposal.”

– Liz Wiseman

in Multipliers