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board meetings is a challenge many CEO’s
face and one that Alex has helped many leaders
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issues at board meetings, keeping competing
interests in perspective, and aligning boards
with company missions. This photo recently
appeared in a feature article on managing and
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THREE TIPS FOR BECOMING INDISPENSABLE 2009
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BY ALEX B. RAMSEY
There are many ways to “become indispensable.” Entire books cover this
subject. The following tips are intended to provide you with food for
thought. These are long-term strategies and states of mind, not quick
• Improve your communication
What does “improve” mean, in this case? Well, when it comes to leaders, I
especially am referring to your ability to speak in public. Whether it is
me or someone else, get a coach. Unfortunately, there is no book, no video
tape anywhere in the market that will make a difference. Just as with
improving your golf game, you need a live person to work with you, so it
is true with your speaking.
You also need someone from outside your organization. People inside have
too much of an agenda to trust, nor are they likely to have the expertise
No matter how great you are, have some humility and get a specialist. This
one is way too important.
• Read with insatiable curiosity a wide variety of subjects
The late, great Charlie Tremendous Jones used to say, “The only difference
between you now and one year ago is the people you have met and the books
Books change your world. They rock your reality. They teach in ways that
deepen your understanding of almost everything.
Although we all love to read stuff we easily enjoy, the real kicker here
is to read things that are a stretch. In other words, read a variety of
things. I’m reading an archeological book about ancient Greek oracles at
Delphi, a famous journalist’s experiences in Iraq, a book on cleansing the
liver and gall bladder, the novel that was the Mann Booker prize winner,
and the list goes one. Frankly, I learned more about Bangalore and the
call centers in India from White Tiger than I ever have learned from any
other source. It was an unexpected wellspring of knowledge and
information. Not easy, emotionally, but valuable.
• Develop the habit of appreciation
How many times today did you say “thank you,” and mean it? If you haven’t
said it 10 times, something’s off. Put a note on your desk, on your
computer, or anywhere else you might see it to remind yourself.
Dozens of people every single day are making your life better in thousands
of different ways.
Be present enough to appreciate them.