Mike is the Chief Instigator of the Lead Change Group and co-author with 20 other Lead Change Instigators, of The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution… One Person At A Time. He’s also VP of Operations for a network services provider based in Oklahoma. His mission: Elevate Purpose, Mobilize People. He’s passionate about energizing motivated people to make a positive difference.
Why does the world need a work revolution?
Our greatest potential lies on the other side of our best effort. And our best effort is reserved for the projects and jobs that give us life — they energize us and use our sustainable gifts and strengths. The industrial revolution tempted us with wealth to trade our energy for stuff. Now that we have tons of stuff, we don’t have the life we truly desire. A workplace revolution is the only way to upset the power structure and the inertia of today’s workplace with one that encourages people to do their best and get life in return.
How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way?
The Lead Change Group exists to provide an avenue for people to get started. Often all of the obstacles to workplace revolution are simply perceived. The Internet gives us a medium to share our ideas and connect with people all over the globe who are doing something about an issue. In the Lead Change Group, you don’t have to be “somebody.” Lead Change is an every-person-as-leader organization. We promote what we call character-based leadership, which is leading from who you are and not your power or position. Lead Change removes any excuse you might have and challenges each person to step up and start leading.
Why do you do what you do?
It gives me life. My goal is to elevate purpose and mobilize people. (Or is that the other way around?) I enjoy helping people be the change they’d like to see in the world. Maybe that’s in your job, or in your community or your family.
If you think something is keeping you from modeling the change you’d like to see, drop me a line. I’m sure we can think of something you can do to change your world for the better. Often our obstacles are inside us. When we stop being our obstacles, we can do great things.
What kind of art do you like and why?
I love it when people connect and create. Team-generated solutions that elevate people and mobilize purpose. I also love it when people I know connect and create something that has never existed before. I love books and ideas, and I also love classic rock music and paintings that show the best of people.
What is one thing your company does that makes your culture unique and or different?
In the Lead Change Group I try to always make the answer to any question “Yes!” As the Chief Instigator of a leadership community, I believe your greatest ideas challenge you to action. Many times we want someone else to implement our ideas. We’re looking for a “someone” or a “they” to fix something or change something. We are much more powerful than we can imagine when we simply decide to do something. Once we’ve done something, we can always do the next thing. Doing anything creates momentum. So if you have an idea, I’m not your resource, you are. But I can help you say “Yes!”
What’s one discipline / industry totally different from your own that inspires you? How does that impact your work?
I guess it’s the military. Armies are extremely useful in times of war. When the goal is clear, everything about the military is aligned with the objective: win the war. I wish more organizations found the single, highest purpose for their being and then attacked that purpose with the passion and commitment of the military. Our highest purpose galvanizes us to give our best energy and accomplish our greatest achievements.
What’s one tangible and concrete technique other organizations should use if they want to create a more human and/or meaningful place to work?
We should plan to let our people screw up. When people try to do something noble and great for an organization, they need the freedom to fail. We need to accept the idea that people are going to screw up and as long as their motives are good, and it’s not a repeat offense, go for it! Unlike the military above, if people aren’t going to die, let’s try it?
What is one surprising thing we should know about you?
At about age 30, out of career frustration, I decided to invest a few months in understanding the Bible and seeing if it was really applicable for living. As a result, I became a follower of Jesus Christ and most of what I now believe about how things work is based on the teaching of the Bible. I’m a new person as a result of that single change and I enjoy getting to make a positive difference in the world.
What do you do for fun?
I love to connect with people. It sounds silly, but I enjoy writing about making a difference and connecting with people and helping them make a positive difference. If I can’t do that, I’ll spend time with my wife, kids and grandkids or play some golf.
What is “required reading” or “required viewing” for people who want to understand what makes you tick?
My two most self-descriptive posts are War With Apathy and War On Apathy Continues. One of my favorite books is, If You Want To Walk On Water, You Have To Get Out Of The Boat by John Ortberg.
Where in the world are you?