Dr. Gerry Bell on Leadership, Listening, Happiness and Peak Performance
June 17, 2010 · Print This Article
Session 1, Dr. Gerry Bell
EO/MIT Entrepreneurial Masters Program
Year Two, June 17, 2010
I’m in Boston for a few days attending year two of the EO/MIT Entrepreneur Masters Program. Our first presenter this morning is Dr. Gerry Bell of my hometown Chapel Hill, NC from the Bell Leadership Institute. Here are the notes from the session.
The 6 Laws of listening:
- You can’t listen and work at the same time.
- You can’t listen and think at the same time.
- There is no such thing as multitasking.
- Everyone knows exactly when you stopped listening.
- You can’t fake listening. You can’t pretend to listen. You can’t fool people.
- People only tell you the truth when they think you’re capable of hearing it.
You can’t afford to live your life on the surface. Listen and you will go deeper.
When you’re listening, ask questions to clarify what people are saying and elicit additional information.
If you find you’re uninterested and eyes are glazing over, ask a clarifying question.
A good tool to get people to open up a bit is to say, “Can you tell me more about that?”
There’s a thousand pieces to the puzzle of most meaningful conversations. A lot of times the real meaning to why someone is saying what they are to you cannot be determined in level I.
Class comment: Active listening is foreplay for a woman.
Playback what people are saying to you when talking about deep or important issues.
Never say, “well I disagree with you.”It just throws down the gauntlet and won’t lead to positive results. (’Yes and’ them instead of ‘No, but’ them)
Listening is the essential skill to build an understanding of people.
You can learn to listen better.
Living With Authenticity
There is no other way to live than living with authenticity.
You live longer when you’re authentic and you’re profoundly happier.
We experience stress when we behave differently than we are.
People say “I’m going to start being myself when this happens.” Don’t miss life while you’re living it.
As yourself if you’re going to listen to this person, or not. Make a black or white decision. Don’t half listen. Either 100% listen or delay the conversation.
Say, “I’d love to see you, I’ve got a deadline. Let’s discuss this at XX time.” Be pleasant, look at them, smile, and move on and then come back to it when you can focus.
Whenever you go to talk to someone, ask them if this is a good time.
Live authentic, open, and clear.
Emails/texts should only be used for surface level communications (level 1). The more personal it is, the more important it is to talk in person or at least by phone.
You have to guard your time as much as your money.
Skills Needed to Make Money
- Technical Skills/Specialty Skills
- Commitment: Ability to commit yourself with deep 100% focus on what you’re doing
- Interpersonal & Leadership Skills
Commitment is built by loving the work you do and being able to enter flow. The worst thing that could happen to you is to wake up and not love going to work. Make sure you’re doing things you love to do for your profession. Make sure you wake up and are so excited you can’t stand it.
Your personality dictates how you lead. You better be great in people skills to build a successful organization. Invest in yourself to build yourself. The smartest decision in someone’s life is to build themselves. Work on your people skills before you have kids as your kids will inherit your personality weaknesses. Your childrens life will be better if you invest in yourself. Your business will do better if people like you. People do business with people they like.
Warren Buffet has made $50B and his conclusion was ‘invest in yourself.’ He said ‘take communication courses.’
The best leaders are outstanding with people. The worst leaders are not good with people.
Living a Great Life
Boredom will make you crazy. You should never never never never retire. If you retire to go play you are likely to have the most unhappy period of your life. A lot of people sell their business to recover their happiness. Don’t do that, change your business. To have a great life you have to be exhilarated about getting up.
You have to create your life so every day you wake up you love life. Don’t ‘make a lot of money so that you can have your life back later.’ You can actually make more money by focusing on doing what you love to do, because you’ll be passionate about it.
Dr. Bell studies peak performance in a complex life. It is possible and is looking at examples of how to do it to stay at prime.
Don’t overwork as then you’ll burn out and want to quit.
When were you most engaged? What caused this?
When were you least engaged? What caused this?
You cannot produce better than when you are in prime. Performance comes on a bell curve. You are best at 100mph, not 200mph.
You have a significant increase of illness when you work too hard. Hiatal hernia, heart disease. You have significant increase of destroying your relationships with spouse, kids, parents. You become flat and you dislike what you do. You’re unhappy. The happiest time is when you’re at prime. You can’t have more fun and have a greater impact on humanity when you’re at prime.
If you’re going 115mph you become grumpy, irritable, impatient, and don’t sleep well. You die early.
It’s hard to contribute to humankind if you’re dead.
If you love it, working long hours is not bad. If you don’t love it and your strained, it is bad.
Don’t work like a dog until you’re 50 and then wake up and have no health, no spouse, no family.
Every day you wake up your goal should be to have the best day you’ve ever lived.
Do great work every day.
We’re in the 21st century of understanding science and in the 1st century of understanding people. The secret to make the world a better place is to have great leaders who build businesses who provide jobs who are worthy of human life and someone can go home and buy food for their children, and have shelter, and educate them.
When you go through the slums of Sao Paolo or Somalia, the only solution will be if people who are entrepreneurs build businesses so people can have jobs.
Great leaders build great companies. Average leaders build average companies. Poor leaders destroy companies.
The 7 Causes of Happiness or Unhappiness
Do you like yourself or not? You have to like yourself to be happy. If you don’t like yourself, money is irrelevant. Invest in yourself and helping your children become effective, achieving, happy people.
- Loving Relationships
You don’t have to be married, but you have to have the ability to love. If you can’t love you’re missing one of the joys of life. This is a genetic need of human species.
The biggest single mistake people make is to throw away their health and abuse themselves. Be as good at mastering your health as your business. You can’t make the world a better place if you’re not here. The average human body is designed to live to 100. 70% of life expectancy is lifestyle, not genetics. Do you love being alive? If you do, you should set a goal to be alive as long as you can. Don’t throw away your health and then at 60 try to start over. Set a goal to live to 100. Do you want to see your grandkids? We are thoroughbreds in the Kentucky Derby and we need to train to be able to perform.
Can be the greatest joy or greatest pain. Make sure you’re working on what you love doing.
It’s not how much you have, it’s how you see it. Do not make your childrens’ lives easy with your money. Rather teach them skills to solve their own problems. Make sure your child has a job by age 11. Work ethic is ingrained by age 12. We got to be successful because we learned to work early.
- Spirituality and Community
Feeling of giving back and contributing to the world. When you leave the world leaving it better off than when you.
You should have as much fun as humanly possible without destroying your work, family, marriage. You normally drink as much as you don’t like yourself. Drinking dulls your senses.
Develop Your Six Core Compentencies on Being a Great Leader
- The Entrepreneur
Initiator, developer, seeks and finds opportunities, seeks success and achievements, positive can-do attitude, high goal setter
- The Competitor
Assertive, honest, faces problems squarely, raises the bar, rises to the challenge, makes the tough decisions well
- The Producer
Focus on getting things done, organized, takes leadership, does it now and gets it done, a finisher, streamlines work, maintains focus and priorities, highly disciplined
- The Stabilizer
Recovers quickly from mistakes and failures, has confidence, cool under pressure, calm, balances priorities and time, paces self, careful
- The Team Builder
Good listener, giving, supportive, builds teamwork, gives love and affective easily, mixes easily with others
- The Creator
Innovative, flexible, fun, good sense of humor, strategic thinker, adapts easily to change
Manage Around and Reduce Your Six Extreme Personality Pattens
- The Performer
Overly ambitious, takes too many risks, prpmises more than can delivery, manipulates people for own success, over extends self and others
- The Attacker
Too critical, fault finding, disrespectful, too aggressive, argumentative, rude and abrupt, destroys teams, destroys relationships, makes people afraid of you
- The Commander
Domineering, rigid, controlling, inflexible, overly analytical, micromanager
- The Avoider
Too cautious, avoids risks, does not take initiative, is afraid to fail, too detail oriented
- The Pleaser
Too nice, allows others to take advantage, smooths over conflicts, backs down from competition, too agreeable, won’t fire anyone
- The Drifter
Disorganized, messy, impulsive, starts things and doesn’t finish, short attention span. If this is you, build your ‘Producer’
Make your goal to be every person you see, when you’re done seeing them, they feel better. Be open and caring toward people. Everyone you see and talk to wants to be talked to. Don’t be cold, critical, or hostile.
Dr. Gerald D. Bell, founder and CEO of Bell Leadership Institute, is a leading consultant to major business organizations throughout the world. He is also an award-winning professor, rated by Forbes Magazine as a “Don’t Miss,” at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Dr. Bell’s cross-industry experience and in-depth expertise have earned him a reputation as one of the most sought-after keynote speakers and effective resources on leadership in the United States and abroad. [Full Bio]