SanYoud 07-03-023





Mark Sanborn

Doubleday, 2006, 102 pp., ISBN 0-385-51747-5


Sanborn is a motivational speaker and the president of Sanborn Associates, an idea studio for leadership development.  He uses simple stories to illustrate fundamental motivational principles and business truths.  Being easy to read makes the book no less useful.


“You don’t need a title to be a leader in life.  And the simple fact of having a title won’t make you a leader.  …everyone has the opportunity to lead, every day.” 

Leadership is positive influence.  (Introduction)


Characteristics of leaders.  Leaders:

·        “Believe they can positively shape their lives and careers.

·        Lead through their relationships with people, as opposed to their control over people.

·        Collaborate rather than control.

·        Persuade others to contribute, rather than order them to.

·        Get others to follow them out of respect and commitment rather than fear and compliance.” (Introduction)


“The bottom line is, influence and inspiration come from the person, not the position.” (7)  “The desire to influence the world around us is what real leadership is all about.” (11)


“…fame is based on what we get in life, but true greatness is based on what we give in life.  It is contribution through action.” (14)


“Genuine leaders make things better not just for themselves but for others, whether or not their contribution results in financial reward or popular recognition.” (16)


ROI = Relationships, Outcomes, and Improvements (18)


“Customer service is about doing what you are supposed to do to help a customer.  When you act as a leader, you go above and beyond the call of duty.” (18)


All leadership begins with self-mastery.  “You can’t lead others until you can first lead yourself.”  [I wish that could be stated differently. I can’t help but see in my mind a dog leading himself by chasing his tail, a rather counterproductive image. dlm]  “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Gandhi) (28)


“How do you live life?  As an obligation, or as an opportunity?” (29)


“Genuine, authentic leadership infuses meaning into your life, because you know that your efforts count and that you are serving the needs of others as well as your own.” (31)


“We must constantly refresh ourselves by gathering new information and thinking critically about the information we receive.”  “Great leaders tend to be great thinkers.” (32)


“One of the quickest ways to burn out is to stop doing what you enjoy.  The more successful you are, the greater the risk that you’ll move into a position that will take you away from doing those things you’re really good at doing and really like to do.”  (34)


Ways to motivate ourselves: (34-36)

1.      Make time to reflect

2.      Remember to dream

3.      Mirror those who are successful around you

4.      Retreat to advance

5.      Mentor someone else

6.      Enjoy the journey

7.      Live like a victor, not a victim

8.      Search for the pony [You’ll have to read the story yourself. dlm]


Reading outside your area of expertise, or outside your comfort zone, can stimulate your thinking.” ‘Occasionally read different publications or take a ‘field trip’ to visit businesses you’ve never been to before.” (38)  “Record your insights.” (39)


Bill had trouble finding a squirrel-proof bird feeder.  The store manager told him the squirrels, with their pea-sized brains, spent a whole lot more time trying to get to the food than he spent trying to keep them out.  Focus and determination win over brains every time! (41)


“The goal of anyone who wants to act as a leader is to move beyond the perpetual distractions we face and focus on what really matters.” (44)  Use an agenda.  Visualize your goals and write ‘to dos’ that move you toward completion. Plan to do things of significance and strategically pursue them. (45)  Identify your most valuable and profitable activities. (49)


“The biggest difference between people who manage others, versus people who lead others, is how they develop those under them….” (50)  “Leadership is power with people, not over people.” (51)  “I’ve found that those who aspire to lead (or lead better) learn to build people up, encourage them, and make them into heroes.” (52)


“To get others to follow you requires character, competence, connection – what I call the 3 Cs.” (53)


“When we act effectively as leaders, those around us bond with us … because of their relationships with us.  But that kind of emotional connection can only occur when you are genuinely concerned about others.” (55)


“Most attempts to motivate others are based on assumptions.  Managers think they know what motivates another person.  But they rarely do the work of finding out if their assumptions are true.” (56)


“You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself.” (58, quoting Harvey Firestone)


“To act like a leader, celebrate the success of those around and under you as if it were your own.  Express your appreciation regularly.” (59)


“Communicating isn’t the objective….  The objective is understanding.” (61)


“When people know you are interested in their best interests, and in helping them meet their needs, they will trust you.  It’s human nature.  And that genuine interest in helping others and making a positive difference is the essence of leadership.”  (64)


“Stories are the coat pegs of the mind.  They are where people hang their ideas.” (66)


“One of the biggest obstacles to effective communication is discounting another’s point of view.” (68)


“Intent without action is daydreaming.  People who act as leaders couple their beliefs to their behavior.  They get results.” (71)


“Big plans can be derailed by tiny details.  Break big tasks into smaller ‘to do’s.  A great way to create momentum is by completing as many little things as quickly as possible.  You will begin to see noticeable progress toward your ultimate goal.  To create an effective plan, ask:]

What needs to be done?

Why are we doing this?

Who is responsible for each task?

When will things happen?

Fill those four buckets with the necessary details to create a comprehensive and practical plan.” (75-6)


“Do the best at whatever you’re already doing—but always keep searching for better practices.  Today’s best practice is next year’s discarded fad.” (77)


“…we can’t give to others without being affected positively ourselves.  And this is the secret of giving: When you make the world better for others, you make the world better for yourself.  …giving—being of service—can be the most overlooked aspect of leadership….” (88)


“People who act as leaders, whether they have a title or not, in some measure serve as merchants of hope.”  “They have the ability to focus on what’s right and on overcoming what’s wrong.” (98)


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