Leadership Qualities: Innovating Transportation Solutions…

The Jackson 5 – I’ll Be There (1970)

Effective leaders know one of the biggest items in the budget is transportation – so getting workers to work and home, shipping valuable goods across the world, and preparing for whatever emergencies may happen  are top priorities for investments.

Imagine for a moment that it’s early morning and you have just begun preparations to head out for the day.  You barely have the kettle on before the phone rings and you hear your child saying, “Mom, I’ve been in an accident.  The ambulance is here and we are headed to the hospital.  I need you to get here as fast as you can.”  No matter what you had planned for the day, every thing gets shelved in order to get to your child in distress.  But, how are you going to get there?  How do you bridge the gap between your home and where your child is located?  What if they are across town, in another state or parish, or even in another country?

Transportation is more than just moving people and resources around by the five main modes which are: railways, roadways, airways, waterways and pipelines.  At the heart of it, is facilitating meaningful relationships and building a sense of community.  Some responses from persons may be: “I travel because I have to go and see my children and grandchildren.”  “I commute because I have to earn a living to provide for my young family.”  “I drive fast cars because I enjoy racing with my buddies.”  But, no matter the reason, people use different modes of transportation because it connects them to social and economic relationships.  

But, there are consequences to the choices that we make in how we travel around. A study of one of the world’s largest transportation systems shows that air quality is significantly affected by increases in nitrogen bearing gases.  It is estimated that for India,    

“more than 95% of the transport-related requirements of public and goods mobility are met by road and railways. In view of the ever-increasing needs of greater mobility, coupled with increasing economic prosperity, India has been witnessing sharp growth in transport sectors such as road and aviation for last couple of decades. The increase in transport fleets and their utilizations require enhanced amount of fuel consumption, resulting in increased emissions of nitrogen bearing gases such as nitrous oxide (N2O) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). In Indian urban ambient environment, quite often particulate matter and NOx have been found to breach the national ambient air quality standards” (Gurjar, Sahu, Nagpure, Sharma, Singh, & Bhattacharya, 2017; https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-811836-8.00029-X).  

Why are breaches in air quality standards a bad thing?  Well, air quality directly affects the health of the population.  And, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), confirms this trend.  On average, one in 12 people in the U.S. has asthma, or about 25 million people.  But it is rising.  From 2001 to 2011, the CDC says the number of Americans with asthma grew by 28 percent (CDC, 2013; https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/pdfs/asthma_facts_program_grantees.pdf).  Of greater concern is the fact that asthma rates are rising the fastest among black children (almost a 50 percent increase) from 2001 through 2009 (Healthline, 2013; https://www.healthline.com/health-news/children-allergies-and-asthma-on-the-rise-110813#1).  

Add to this fact that almost 60 percent of the asthma cases are allergic asthma triggered by environmental conditions from airborne pollen and dust to industrial chemicals, mold, urban pollution and climate change.  Symptoms include trouble breathing, coughing, and wheezing which are life-threatening in a severe attack ( Healthline, 2020; https://www.healthline.com/health/allergic-asthma/treatment-options-doctor#triggers).  

And, societies are paying a heavy price.  Estimates suggest “a mean cost per patient per year, including all asthmatics (intermittent, mild, moderate and severe asthma) in Europe is $USD 1,900, which seems lower than USA, estimated mean $USD 3,100” (Nunes, Pereira & Morais-Almeida, 2017; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5219738/).  

So, if we want to move around faster to keep our social and economic lives strong, then we have to understand how we got here, and what possibilities exist for the future.  How we got here is with a lot of innovation.  See the short video below.

History of transportation

So, we have to continue innovating from here.  And, there is good news, as cleaner fuels such as CNG and auto LPG are being used in road transport in smaller quantities as compared to conventional liquid fuels (Gurjar, Sahu, Nagpure, Sharma, Singh, & Bhattacharya, 2017).  Also, modelling techniques are being employed by shipping lines to determine the best combination of land and sea transportation (Gursoy, 2010).

In aviation, the industry’s second-largest airline, Delta, just announced that it will be carbon neutral by investing more than one billion US dollars over the next decade to make the industry sustainable for generations to come (Purdy, 2020; http://www.msn.com/en-xl/money/topstories/delta-says-it-will-spend-dollar1-billion-to-reduce-its-climate-footprint/ar-BB102SWl?MSCC=1581947076&ocid=spartandhp#image=BB102SWl_1|1).  

For more do your own research.  Also see Mitchell (2018) https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=related:EIqchCDuAPIJ:scholar.google.com/&scioq=Keisha+A.+Mitchell+2018&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5) .  For a little soul fuel, visit http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD .  

Leadership Qualities: The Power of Labeling …

5 Ways To Build A Winning Company Culture

Effective leaders know the power of labels, so they call for what they want.

Imagine entering a busy factory of a very successful company.  After greeting the staff member assigned to take you on a tour, you are taken to a sanitation area where gowns, caps and industrial cleaning detergents are set up.  Once appropriately covered, you are led through the maze of activity.  Not only are hands busy at work to ensure the quota is met for the day, but smiling heads look up as we pass each station.  Ever so often, we stop and ask questions about the process from the machine operator or we simply film the production process.  

As we continue the tour, I realize that my tour guide is not simply a ‘hand’ in the factory, he is a valuable resource.  Why?  He had started there as one of the regular factory staff.  However, his supervisor recognized his aptitude for working with the machines and solving any problems associated with them.  The appropriate training was arranged.  So, he now serves as the in-house mechanic to service the machines, ensuring that they operate at optimal level.

Do you know that 42% of employees do not feel that executives contribute to a positive organizational culture (TheExecuSearchGroup, 2017)?  The history of human resource management tells the power of labels used to describe the staff.  In contrast to my factory tour guide above, think for a moment about entering one of Henry Ford’s factories through a door labeled ‘hands’ entrance’ (Clegg, Kornberger & Pitsis, 2010, p. 299).  What would you expect on the inside?  

This label was born of Frederick Taylor’s use of “hands” in the early 1900s which symbolized “a headless and heartless worker who is easily replaceable, because all they contribute is manual dexterity, which is tightly trained and controlled” (Clegg, Kornberger & Pitsis, 2010, p. 299).  Later emerged the human relations movement and Elton Mayo’s work of the 1980s which emphasized feelings and emotions.  Here, we saw “workers as being human resources that can be systematically managed, trained, and exploited” (Clegg, Kornberger & Pitsis, 2010, p. 299).

So, how do you see your organization?  Is it a machine, or is it a vibrant culture, a living organism that thrives in its environment?  In the latter, workers and employers obtain benefits and each is seen as valuable to the other.  Abuse is quickly punished because it affects the entire organism.  

But, what happens when appropriate labels are forgotten and executives abuse their power?  Organizations (living organisms) and their people suffer dearly.  Take the on-going case of human resource abuses at the Google corporation and the resultant shake-up that is looming (Elias, 2020; http://www.msn.com/en-xl/money/topstories/googles-hr-head-to-step-down-amid-tension-among-employees/ar-BBZRniF?OCID=ems.display.welcomeexperience&MSCC=1581524947#image=BBOS3sz|1).  

Some of the distress signals at Google included,

“a November 2018 employee walk-out after employees learned the company had paid departing Android chief $90 million despite credible claims of sexual misconduct, … protests over the company’s plans to work with the Defense Department on artificial intelligence technology and a plan — since abandoned — to create a censored version of its search engine for China.

2019… an overhaul to how its human resources department responds to complaints. Instead of each person reporting to their own human resources contact in their organization and location, there’s essentially a ticketing queue, workers said” (Elias, 2020).

As we improve technology and automate systems, are we regressing from human relations with the heart of the worker in mind, to machines where the worker is simply a waiting case number?

Somehow, we have to find a way to rediscover the heart of the child in the middle of our existence.  Take a few minutes and watch the video below of coach Frank Martin distinguishing himself from being a parent, and the importance of life lessons established in childhood.

Frank Martin on Parents Coaching From the Stands

One approach to rediscovering the emotions and feelings of the worker is available in Black Gold: Developmental Pathways to Human Resource Development in Jamaica (Mitchell, 2015; https://www.amazon.com/Black-Gold-Mitchell-Keisha/dp/3659761052/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Black+Gold+by+Keisha+A.+Mitchell&qid=1581529133&sr=8-1) which locates the motivation to work in the way that we learned to play as children.  For more inspiring works, see http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD .  

Leadership Qualities: Laughter…

First Lady Michelle Obama Does Her Best Barack Impression

Telling a good joke is not only one of the best ways to break the ice, but it is an effective tool used by leaders to relax their team members and to increase productivity.

Imagine for a moment that you had a meeting set with the CEO of a major organization.  What’s the first thing that runs through your head as you prepare to make your presentation?  Well, you know that first impressions last.  So, you select your clothing carefully, shine your shoes and arrive on time, after triple checking that you have everything packed and ready to go. Right?

Then you get there.  You are greeted by the CEO and taken to the executive suite.  However, instead of a stiff upper lip approach, you are thrown off guard by a leader who cracks jokes with his employees, who makes light of himself and his weaknesses, and allows his team to do what he has engaged them to do.  Instead of being stressed about my presentation and how he will evaluate me, I relax and wait for the moments that I am given to present my issues and ask questions.  And, his humor was infections as I found the same lightheartedness in his staff as I toured their facilities.

Sometimes we think that leadership is so much about bearing responsibility, that we look for the stiff upper lip approach, rather than the humorous and engaging head.  Perhaps we can change some unhealthy patterns in our organizations as we consider the role that humor can play in leadership.

Humor is “The capacity to express or perceive what’s funny, … both a source of entertainment and a means of coping with difficult or awkward situations and stressful events. … humor can play an instrumental role in forming social bonds, releasing tension, or attracting a mate. Most important, humor is largely subjective.”

(Psychology Today, 2020).

 In a study of 230 musical directors, many revealed that “telling a joke or a funny anecdote was important. … The research … on humor and leadership suggests that we might be better off employing Michael McIntyre than Bill Gates” (Cronie, 2019; https://qz.com/work/1608688/learning-to-make-people-laugh-will-make-you-a-better-leader/).

Among the top ways suggested that humor can be beneficial at work are:

1. Creating unity – strengthens solidarity between colleagues and builds team spirit.

2. Fostering creativity –  One of the byproducts of combining odd ideas  increases creativity levels in groups, making teams more productive and innovative. So, you may be talking about the need for staff training and you make a joke about sipping Mai Tais or Pina Coladas on the beach in Ocho Rios. Suddenly the energy is shifted and team members may try to figure out how to combine the two events, or at least suggest a solution to the problem at hand.

3. Benefiting health – Enjoying a good laugh does more than just feel good.  Remember that Mary Poppins song, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, in a most delightful way” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftxnr28LDXc).   Well, laughter really does the heart good like medicine.

And, research has provided evidence to show that “Physically and mentally, humor is the opposite of stress. Laughter lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation, reduces muscle tension and pain, and boosts the immune system” (Corine, 2019).

4. Softening criticism – humor can deliver criticism in a lighthearted way. And, one of the most insidious vices that can ruin families, friendships, and once successful organizations is gossip.  So, how do you tell a gossip, to mind their own business in a diplomatic way.  Well, two reggae artists have done it in a little song that I will leave you with, simply titled, “Leave People Business Alone.”

Christopher Martin & Romain Virgo – Leave People Business Alone | Official Music Video

So, the next time that you are in doubt about what to do to break the tension, soften criticism, inject some energy, or let people know that you are in charge, try humor.  It is sure to produce the desired result in short order.  Scroll through one of my previous entries at https://crystalclearvisionblog.com/2018/05/05/the-joy-of-laughter-children-learn-what-they-live/ and visit http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD .  

Leadership Qualities: Establish Emergency Plans…

Massive Earthquake Strikes Caribbean, Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones Says Risk Of Tsunami Low

Effective leaders plan for the unexpected.

It’s easy to say, “That will never happen to me.”  It’s even easier to say it, if after years of almost happenned, it still has not happenned.  But, what if you get a double wake up call in one day?  Picture the scene of a busy hospital when an earthquake starts to be felt and everyone is forced out to the surrounding grounds for safety.  Then, picture all the medical personal already covered in face masks because of the suspected case of a new and deadly virus that they believe had arrived in a patient that very morning – the same virus that has been wreaking havoc in China – the Coronavirus.

Now, the circumstances have greatly changed. “That will never happen to me!” came knocking on the door if you happenned to be on the grounds of the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) yesterday morning, January 28, 2020.  

Thankfully, emergency plans were in place to quarantine the suspected case of Coronavirus.  Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when it was proved not to be here this time.  But, it was a test of the emergency plans and how effective they were in getting everyone in place and on target to secure the patient’s health, and more importantly to protect public safety.

The earthquake yesterday, was a far more serious threat as it gave rise to memories of the great 1907 earthquake that had completely destroyed Kingston (Gleaner, 2002; http://old.jamaica-gleaner.com/pages/history/story0017.html). It was that devastation that gave rise to changes in the building code, and subsequent review by the Bureau of Standards in 1999 (https://www.oas.org/cdmp/document/kma/seismic/kma5.htm).

Again, Emergency plans were tested, not just at the UHWI, but across the island as more than 20 students suffering from panic attacks and other heart conditions were rushed to the emergency room of the Savanna La Mar Hospital in Westmoreland at the opposite end of the island.  Also, there was serious damage reported to the structure of the Social Development Commission building in St. Elizabeth.  These were just a few that made the headlines (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2S3ol3cWkK0).  

But, communities all across Jamaica, and throughout the region including the Cayman Islands, Cuba, the Bahamas and the coast of Florida from (Tallahassee to Pensacola), were arrested by the movements experienced by shaking buildings and their contents swirling, tumbling, and/or crumbling (Charles, Flechas & Rabin, 2020; http://www.msn.com/en-xl/latinamerica/latinamerica-top-stories/powerful-caribbean-earthquake-shakes-buildings-in-jamaica-cuba-—-even-downtown-miami/ar-BBZq5VF?MSCC=1580316071&ocid=spartandhp).  

Since 2020 has begun, just 29 days old, there have been almost 9,900 quakes of magnitude 2 or greater as reported by Dr. Tom Pfeiffer, a private tour operator (https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/earthquakes/monthly/news/95198/Earthquake-report-world-wide-for-January-2020.html).  As at January 28, 2020, the strongest of the 10 strongest quakes was measured at 6.8 and it hit Turkey on January 24, 2020. The second strongest quake, measuring 6.3 magnitude, occurred in the Caribbean region, hitting Puerto Rico on January 7, 2020.  However, yesterday’s earthquake of 7.7 was the strongest so far for 2020, affecting the northern part of the Caribbean and stretching along Florida’s coastline.

And, on the health side, as of January 23, 2020, all 800 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in the world were all in China, as well as the 25 deaths that had occurred. 

Coronavirus: China combats ever-strengthening disease

By today, January 29, 2020:

“◆ The number of confirmed cases increased to 6,065 on Wednesday, according to the World Health Organization. The number on Tuesday was 4,515, according to China’s National Health Commission.

◆ Thailand has reported 14 cases of infection; Hong Kong has 10; the United States, Taiwan, Australia and Macau have five each; Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia each have reported four; Japan has seven; France has four; Canada has three; Vietnam has two; and Nepal, Cambodia, Germany and the United Arab Emirates each have one.

◆ Cases recorded in Taiwan, Germany, Vietnam and Japan involved patients who had not been to China. There have been no reported deaths outside China” (New York Times, January 29, 2020; https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/29/world/asia/coronavirus-china.html).

No doubt, leaders everywhere are assessing their emergency plans, activating old ones, creating new ones, and implementing management systems to manage expected aftershocks.

Do you realize that the same principle holds for our lives?  After years of never experiencing the far-fetched crisis, suddenly it hits our lives.  The unthinkable happens.  The unexpected is now expected.  And, the unfathomable becomes reasonable.  Don’t be caught without an emergency plan for 2020!  Anything can happen!  Everything is possible!  So, work with your team, be they co-workers, or just family and friends, to ensure that all is secure for your future.  Establish a plan that will account for everyone and create a holding pattern until the crisis is past.  

A few ideas include a buddy system at the office or at school, so that you meet your partner and take cover together.  If phone calls have to be made, establish a dialing sequence, so that each person gets notified quickly.  Place emergency plan diagrams in visible areas in your building. And, in case the communication systems fail, designate an assembly point where the group will gather and a fast account can be made of missing persons.

There is no time like the present. We can make it. We just have to plan for it. See “Finding Your Way Out” (https://crystalclearvisionblog.com/2017/09/14/finding-your-way-out/) and more at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD .  

Leadership Qualities: Reengineer Business Processes…

Dalilah Muhammad’s 400m Hurdles World Record | World Athletics Championships 2019 | Doha Moments

Like coaches, effective leaders know that competition is fought with more than just speed, they have to reengineer their outcomes by introducing strength and agility training.

Imagine that you’ve been plagued with the same problem for years.  At the start of every year the team members sit around the table looking to the Head for direction on what they should do.  In the past, you have observed the competition and designed projects to outlast them or to compete with them.  But, what if they have caught on to your game, and changed their strategy by placing obstacles in your way?  What do you do?  You must reengineer your business processes because the old ones no longer work in this new field of competition.

Business process reengineering can be thought of simply as an overhaul of the organisation’s management system in order to redirect them from failure to success.  Take a look at the short video below to understand more about how Michael Hammer’s engineering background led to the development of business process reengineering which ultimately improves effectiveness and efficiency.

Michael Hammer and Business Process Re-engineering

As you look at your processes, and you seek to become more effective and efficient, one of the most important things to remember is that change it is not welcome by most of the team.  However, if it becomes the only option left on the table and management supports it, then it will happen. Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe knows this well as his country is now in the headlines for gender advancement.  Only a few hours have past since the AFP posted the headline (January 22, 2020):

“First woman enters Japan’s submarine academy.”

In light of this announcement, consider that from time immemorial, the Japanese have always had their defense by sea. It is a

“maritime nation surrounded by oceans in every direction and has the world’s sixth longest coastline and the sixth largest exclusive economic zone.
Our trade requires stability of maritime security and an international order since Japan depends heavily on foreign resources, foreign food and overseas markets that rely on sea lanes of communication(SLOCs) for over 90% of its trade.”  

(Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, 2019; https://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/en/about/role/). 

Other sources reveal that the Imperial Japanese Navy was founded in 1868 and fought major wars up until 1945 when it surrendered in World War II, forcing it to be dissolved.  However, Japan immediately formed the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force which exists today.  The Japanese forces became the third largest navy in the world by 1920, behind the Royal Navy and the United States Navy (USN) (For more see Boxer, 1993; Dull, 2013; Evans & Peattie, 1997; Naoyuki, 2019; Stille, 2014). So, why in their long history and training programs, has it taken 152 years for a woman to be accommodated on a Japanese submarine?

The Self-Defense Forces is currently struggling to attract young talent, and even moreso for candidates to serve on submarines.  So, they are looking to women.  Historically, the navy has only allowed men on submarines due to the challenges involved in accommodating gender privacy concerns.  But in late 2018, they revised the rules after realizing that “gender-specific privacy needs” could be met without major submarine remodelling.  Now, the navy is saying that

“This is a part of our efforts for efficient use of human resources.”

(AFP, 2019; http://www.msn.com/en-xl/asia/asia-top-stories/first-woman-enters-japans-submarine-academy/ar-BBZd7qW?MSCC=1579707105&ocid=spartandhp#image=BBSzjPe|93) .

Across the world, other battles are taking place as nations grapple with affordable sources of clean energy (Brinson, no date).  So, Israel and Egypt have signed an agreement on natural gas, which they will later export to Europe.  See the photo by Desouki (2020) and the related caption below.

© Khaled Desouki/ AFP via Getty images
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz displays the signed agreement during the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), in Cairo, Egypt, on Jan. 16, 2020. Israel began pumping natural gas to Egypt for the first time on Jan. 15, 2020 under a $15 billion, 15-year deal to liquefy it and re-export it to Europe.   

   There is no time for delay.  Start reengineering your processes now so that you can jump all the hurdles in your race by the end of 2020.  See https://crystalclearvisionblog.com/2019/01/14/leadership-defining-the-organization-problem/ and visit http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD .  

Leadership Qualities: A Reason to Fight…

CREED Final Fight 2015 (3/3) DopeClips

Effective leaders find the reason to fight and motivate others with it.

No one ever said that achieving your goals was going to be easy.  Not when there are so many obstacles stacked against you and you have to keep navigating choppy waters, hilly terrain and surviving ambush from predators who already inhabit the space.  But, when you are in the middle of the fight of your life, you don’t want to hear platitudes that say, “Don’t worry. It’s going to be alright.”  You want a commander or a coach who will tell you to dig inside of yourself and find the courage and strength that you need to press on.

That’s exactly what Rocky and Adonis Creed did for each other as Adonis fought the greatest battle of his life to prove himself a man, to prove that he had purpose, and to fight for all those who needed to believe enough to fight again.  He told him,

“Bring back everything that’s ever hurt you, all the pain you have inside; everything that’s ever held you back, put it in both fists and I want you to drive it through his body.  And, I promise you, his head will fall.”

(From “CREED Final Fight 2015,” 2017, 1:38-1:49 mins.).

Motivation can be understood simply as our reason or desire for doing something.  But, take a closer look at psychologist, Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory.  You might be surprised to find out that motivation can be viewed in a progressive or expansive way, from the most basic physiological needs to the most complex mental needs of a sense of belonging and ultimately self-actualization.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

As we hit the middle of January 2020, we have to find the motivation to stick to our individual and collective goals for 2020.  We have to take small (and sometimes bigger) steps to accomplish what we desire for ourselves, for our cities and the world.  

I don’t know about you, but when we were growing up, we were told by our elders that the only place where “success” comes before “work,” is in the dictionary. It is still true today!  Be it at school or at work.  

And, effective business leaders know this.  They use the principles found in Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory to motivate their team to success.  Take a few minutes and watch the video below.  You will see that workers, once they have a job, will not simply work for pay.  They work for higher needs like increased responsibility, meaningful contribution, as well as achievement and recognition.  The progressive nature of motivation is seen through the fact that pay, working conditions and effective supervision and policies, although necessary, are not powerful enough to motivate individuals.  

Motivation Theory: Herzberg (Two-Factor Theory)

Success requires focus.  It requires a deep understanding of self and others.  So, it means that your greatest motivation will not be external (extrinsic) but internal (intrinsic).  Ask Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who made his life’s work trying to discover the cause of true happiness.  Faced with adversity in his childhood, he became a

“prisoner during World War II, and he witnessed the pain and suffering of the people around him during this time. As a result, he developed a curiosity about happiness and contentment.” 

(Oppland, 2019; https://positivepsychology.com/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi-father-of-flow/). 

As he strove to find the root of happiness and contentment, he searched the annals of art, philosophy, religion and finally stumbled upon psychology after attending a lecture by Carl Jung.  Now, we have his cumulative work in the concept of flow, which is a state “where self-consciousness is lost, one surrenders completely to the moment, and time means nothing (Csikszentmihalyi, 2013).”

Can I ask you a question? What makes you forget about time?  What captivates you and keeps your attention for hours, though difficult, you are completely at peace as you focus on the task at hand?  Find the answer to that question, and you will find your reason to fight for your life, and for others, throughout 2020.

Until next time, read more about motivation in previous Crystal Clear Vision by Dr. Keisha blogs: “Want to Improve Brain Function?  Get Up and Get Moving!” (https://crystalclearvisionblog.com/2017/07/13/want-to-improve-brain-function-get-up-and-get-moving/); and, “Leadership Qualities: Sustainable Growth through Proposing Incentives.”  (https://crystalclearvisionblog.com/2019/09/02/leadership-qualities-sustainable-growth-through-proposing-incentives/).  Also, visit http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD .  

Leadership Qualities: Doing Resolutions.

Do Not Set New Year Resolutions If You Want To Succeed! DO THIS INSTEAD

Effective leaders speak with their actions first and talk about resolutions later.

Human beings are so predictable!  So, the new year has rolled around and the yearly planners are taken out to set the resolutions for 2020. The list may look like this:

  1. Start an exercise program.
  2. Better time management
  3. Get married.
  4. Go on a cruise.
  5. Start a program of study.
  6. Quit smoking.
  7. Have a baby.
  8. Invest in stocks.
  9. Give more to charity in time and/or money.  
  10. Start a new business.

By definition, a resolution is simply, “A firm decision to do or not to do something” (Lexico, 2020; https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/resolution).  Collin’s Dictionary (2020) defines a New Year’s resolution more specifically as:

“a promise to yourself or decision to do something, esp to improve one’s behaviour or lifestyle in some way, during the year ahead.”


We know from research that 80% of new year’s resolutions fail within a few weeks!  So, no matter how bold the resolution is at the start of a new year, they are often forgotten by the end of February.  

So, instead of making resolutions, why not just get up and start doing them?  At least if you do them a couple times one week, and then a few more times the next week, and again the following week, the actions to fulfill the resolutions are already in-progress.  And, after several weeks of repetition in the same context, it is unlikely that you will forget it (Gardner et. al. ,2012; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505409/; Quora, 2018; https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/02/13/the-science-behind-adopting-new-habits-and-making-them-stick/#568a9bf043c7).  Instead, you will make some way to keep it going by some small action on a regular basis.

What’s even better is to get some help!  Having someone else involved as an accountability partner or a co-labourer makes it easier to meet the goals that we have set for oursleves and our team.

Consider the resolution to donate to charity.  Generally, people give to a cause that resonates with them.  So, celebrity, Kylie Jenner, decided to show her support for wildlife by donating to the Australian Fire Rescue effort because of the wildfires that have been burning since September 2019 destroying their habitat as well as destroying homes (Calvario, 2020; http://www.msn.com/en-xl/lifestyle/celebs/kylie-jenner-donates-dollar1-million-to-australia-fire-relief-after-receiving-backlash-for-wearing-fur-slippers/ar-BBYIMbG?MSCC=1578500856&ocid=spartandhp).  But, in her simple act of making a donation we discover that other celebrities have also given their support at varying levels.  Why is this important?  Because it shows growing support for a cause that is of interest to large communities.    

And, if you are a leader determined to make a change, expect backlash!  There will always be critics who do not understand what you do and who will have something negative to say.  Let it glide over you like water on a duck’s back.  Just keep pressing forward giving the world the best that you have to offer.  

So, stop thinking about it and just begin to do it!  The details will work themselves out and a more regular pattern will be established once you make the first step.  See more at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD . And, watch the powerful video of Steve Harvey’s personal journey when you have a little more time and see how his dream, his faith, his choices and his circumstances brought him to where he is today.

Steve Harvey’s Success journey | Jeremiah 29:11 I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord…

Leadership Qualities: Nothing but Grit.


Effective leaders demonstrate grit, carrying the burden of responsibility well, soldiering on when their team needs them the most.

What better way to encapsulate the power of finishing one year and starting a new one than to watch a championship game?

And, we had some amazing football games as we closed out 2019 that gave us more useful tools to battle 2020!  So, imagine that your team is up for the final game.  The buzz of excitement is high and everyone is gearing up for the final battle to win their hard fought road to the top.  But, just hours before the kick-off, the leader is struck with a family tragedy.  Steve Ensminger, LSU offensive coordinator, had to bear the loss of his daughter-in-law, Carley McCord, the 30-year-old sports broadcaster married to his son.  And, she died in a plane crash on her way to Atlanta to cover this semifinals match.   

Would Ensminger still coach the match? “There’s no question,”  responded LSU coach Ed Orgeron to SEC Network (White, 2019; https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2019/12/28/lsu-assistant-daughter-law-carley-mccord-killed-plane-crash/2764671001/).

And, despite the heartbreak among the family, the team, and the media fraternity, it was one of the greatest games in history (Bengel, 2019).  “Burrow finished completing 29-of-39 passes for 493 yards and a mind-numbing eight total touchdowns. As a team, the Tigers put together 692 yards of total offense”(https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/lsu-vs-oklahoma-every-stunning-record-joe-burrow-and-lsu-broke-in-the-peach-bowl-vs-oklahoma/).

LSU vs Oklahoma Highlights Playoff Semifinal – NCAAF 2019 (12/28/2019)

As we look ahead to 2020, we can take much from the grit exhibited by Ensminger, Burrows and all the players that stayed on task despite the heartbreaking tragedy of death.  Grit can be though of as, “a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state (a powerful motivation to achieve an objective).”

Other more commonly used words are: “Backbone, chutzpah, fortitude, guts, stick-to-it-iveness: All words that describe what separates brilliant slackers from the simply talented who excel through a passionate yet steady approach” (Packard, 2007; https://www.apa.org/monitor/nov07/grit ).

Research bears out the power of this little word and the difference it makes in the lives of effective leaders.  See a research by Angela Lee Duckworth, PhD, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 92, No. 6).  There is also a movie review of Unbroken by Paul Wong on the defiant power of the human spirit (2014; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282447816_The_positive_psychology_of_grit_The_defiant_power_of_the_human_spirit); seminal work by Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning; and more recent studies of University students by Kannangara et. al. (2018; https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01539/full).  

As you look ahead to the future, remember how much you have already faced behind you.  Let the strength that was forged in fire give you more grit that will refine you and keep you going to finish what you have started in the first 24 hours of 2020!  Scroll through the last year of Crystal Clear Vision blogs and discover more nuggets of wisdom that I have been packing into this leadership bag at https://crystalclearvisionblog.com/2019/10/21/leadership-qualities-celebrate-the-circle-of-life/ ; https://crystalclearvisionblog.com/2019/10/14/leadership-qualities-attitude-is-everything/ ; https://crystalclearvisionblog.com/2018/03/31/purpose/ ; and much more at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD .

Leadership Qualities: Inspiring Homegrown Solutions…

Tarrus Riley – She’s Royal | Official Music Video

Effective leaders honour those who they believe brought them their greatest joys and have stood with them through their deepest sorrows.

So imagine a husband who is just thrilled to have his wife, his family, and all the partnerships that they have forged over the years.  With growing excitement, he calls his closest friends and enlists the support of his children to surprise his wife.  With no more information received about the event or the venue, he sends his wife off to buy a dress for a special occassion.  Absolutely at a loss, and wondering what her husband is up to, she goes shopping to please her love.  Despite the almost revelations made by friends who were secretly called, and children who were out of the loop about their dad’s surprise, no one could have guessed that the lavish spread and the lovely decor was simply to appreciate his wife!

Holidays and special events bring out the best in people!   They allow us to see pass the obvious differences and to celebrate what makes us human.  One of my favourite movies that depicts this was filmed close to Rutgers University where I rode some of the trains some weekends to visit with family and friends. See if you don’t agree as you watch a few moments from the closing scene of Guess Who.

Guess Who 2005 Ending

Holidays also allow us the opportunity of cherishing loved ones that we have lost.  So, when I saw news of my dad’s countryside home recently, I pictured him laughing in delight at how far they’ve come since he sat in those schoolhouses of the 1950s in deep rural Jamaica.

No matter how difficult the task at hand, music always seems to make the day brighter and the work a little lighter.  So let this singing teacher, Elvy Soltau a Science teacher at Denbigh High School, encourage your heart to keep sowing into the lives of your charges wherever you may be.

Creative Teacher On A Mission To Make A Difference/JBNN

In this season, remember that there’s always more than meets the eye at first glance.  Why not make it fun and be open to new experiences. See more in Be Prepared and other offerings at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD .

Leadership Qualities: Delectable Homegrown Solutions…

Effective leaders innovate from personal experiences that hold special memories for them.   

It’s the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving.  Many people are travelling to be with family and friends, while others make preparations for hosting dinners – in homes, in banquet halls and homeless shelters.  So, imagine that the meal has been served and everyone’s tastebuds hold the enticing tastes of perfectly baked turkey with cranberry sauce, loads of stuffing, candied yams and crunchy salads with their favourite dressing ranging from Vidallia Onion and Thousand Island to Balsamic Vinegar and Rasberry.  After eating everyone is enjoy moments being together, making music and cherishing family and friends.  And, just when you think you cannot take another bite, dessert is served!  What’s on the table?  Pies!  Pies!  And, more pies!  Among the most covetted at this time are the warm apples pies, pecan pies, pumpkin pies and sweet potato pies.

But, imagine taking a holiday experience into everyday delectable bites at Walmart where there are everyday low prices.  That’s the sensation that was created by Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pies which were selling at the rate of one pie every second at Walmart stores during the Thanksgiving season of 2015 (Hirsch, 2015; https://www.dailypress.com/entertainment/dp-walmart-scrambles-to-restock-patti-labelles-sweet-potato-pies-20151118-story.html).  

Within 24 hours after James Wright posted the video of himself eating the now famous pie, Wal-Mart stock ran down to dangerously low levels.  To supply the demand, Kerry Robinson, vice president for bakery and deli at Wal-Mart, said that they put everything into the stores, including the Christmas stock.  Sales from the prior year had made Wal-Mart double their order from the previous year to supply the growing demand.  However, it was not enough and so they were wiped out before Thanksgiving (Hirsch, 2015).

And, people kept talking about the scrumptious goodness and bought Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pies.  

Steve Harvey tries Patti LaBelle’s pie! || STEVE HARVEY

And, the wonder of the joy of the season allows friends to gather in delight as Steve Harvey had to join the conversation and share the experience.  

But, what happens when people cannot get what they have grown to love?  That’s where innovative leadership takes over to give people what they want.  Which sometimes means sharing the ingredients and the process.  So, in 2018, Ms. Patti shared the recipe of the famous pie that she had adapted from a recipe she had cooked up with her best friend and hairstylist, Norma Gordon Harris (LaBelle, 2018; https://www.today.com/recipes/make-patti-labelles-sweet-potato-pie-recipe-home-t56966).  Served with a dollop of whipped cream, it’s scrumptious to the very last bite!

So, in the spirit of the season, here’s a little more sharing from my store with Be Prepared and more at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD .