Dr Derrick Noble On Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Uncertain &…

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Dr Derrick Noble On Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Uncertain & Turbulent Times

A crisis leader must be optimistic. One of my favorite quotes comes from the late Robert Schuller. He was famous for having said, “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” So yes, let’s take a moment to mourn, moan and groan. But as soon as we get that out of our system, suit up and boot up: we’ve got a battle to fight and win. And quitting is not an option. In fact, the only way we fail is if we quit.” An optimistic leader figuratively places crowns above the heads of their team members, and then dares them to grow tall enough to wear them.

As part of our series about the “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times”, we had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Derrick Noble.

Dr. Derrick Noble is an award-winning TEDx speaker, speech coach, and trainer. As “America’s #1 Leadership Authority,” he helps business leaders, speakers, and members of governmental agencies improve their leadership and communication skills, including clients like the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Forestry Service, Dept. of Energy, and City of Los Angeles. He’s one of only 12 Black entrepreneurs admitted into the Greater LA African American Chamber of Commerce’s Business Evolution Program and has been featured in the LA Business Journal as an influential African American business leader. He serves as featured Leadership Expert for BizTV, a national broadcast network for entrepreneurs and business owners. Recently he released his first book, Leadership Launch: Essential Skills for New Leaders, featuring a foreword by Civil Rights icon Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals, an original member of the Little Rock Nine.

Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Well, my leadership journey began in student government — specifically student council — back in 5th grade. My principal, Mr. Lionel Ward, encouraged me to run despite my speech impediment. I had a really bad stutter and lisp, and I was very self-conscious. I think Mr. Ward encouraged me to run for student council because he knew it might give me the confidence I desperately needed, and that it might draw me out of my shell. He was absolutely correct.

I was later elected Student Body President of Little Rock Central High School and was elected Arkansas Boys State Governor just before my senior year. My oath of office at Boys State was administered by then-Governor Bill Clinton.

After graduating from Little Rock Central High School, I earned my B.A. Degree in English, with a double minor in speech communication and psychology. I later earned both my Master’s and Doctoral degrees in the fields of education and curriculum design.

I gave leadership to various non-profit organizations over the years. I gained a reputation for revitalizing dying organizations, sparking financial and numerical growth within each; so much so that other leaders and other organizations around the country began asking me to show them how to achieve similar success. And with that, my career as a leadership consultant was born. I finally struck out on my own and I have been a full-time, self-employed leadership consultant, coach, and keynote speaker ever since.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I was just sharing this story with one of my executive leadership coaching clients the other day. I was sharing with her about how to give and receive constructive criticism, and I remembered a story of my very first position as the head of a non-profit organization. I was in my 20s, and I was within my first three months on the job. An older lady who had been with the organization for many years and, as she so eloquently put it, had seen leaders come and go — said to me, “Ya know, I just don’t like you very much.” My immediate response was, “Well Lady, I don’t like you either. So what? Get out of my office and don’t come back until you have something more helpful to say.” From then on, we avoided each other like the plague.

I laugh about it now, because my response was rather emotional and knee-jerk in tone. Of course, as I shared with my coaching client, what I should have done was say, “Well, thank you for letting me know. I respect your honesty. Could you give me some specific things I’m doing that you disapprove of and offer suggestions for improvement?” The first rule of receiving constructive criticism — though it can be argued that her comment was anything but constructive — is to stay in control of your emotions. I learned that lesson over time, and she was the one who indirectly taught it to me. From that encounter, I developed a definition of professionalism that I have been privileged to share around the world, literally. It is as follows: a professional is someone who knows how to deal with a jerk without becoming one.

You know what makes this story even funnier? Years later, on the day that I left, that same lady came to me and said, “You were the best thing that ever happened to us. We’re finally stable, steadily growing, and financially solvent after years of uncertainty. You did more for us than we ever did for you. May I have a hug?”

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Without hesitation, that person was my principal I mentioned earlier, the late Mr. Lionel Ward. I dedicated my new book, Leadership Launch, to him. Because of my speech impediment and my all-around nerdiness, I was often teased and even bullied. Time and again, instead of going to recess, I would hide in the library where I would read books instead of subject myself to the often-unsupervised playground. One day, while hiding in the library, Mr. Ward — the new principal whom I had not yet met face to face — caught me, and demanded to know why I was in the library alone at a table in the corner instead of enjoying recess. After I stuttered my way through an explanation, he complimented on being so polite and on being such a voracious reader.

The very next day, he called me into his office, informed me that I was going to be reading the afternoon announcements over the intercom to the entire student body, and refused to take no for an answer. His words struck me then, and they still do after all of these years. He said, “Don’t you dare tell me you can’t read the announcements. You are more than your stutter — you’re my best reader.” Then he handed me a piece of paper with all of the announcements typed on it. He smiled and said, “You’re on in five minutes.”

I stuttered my way through reading the announcements that day, with Mr. Ward standing above me, smiling at me and giving me the thumbs-up the entire time. He made me the official daily afternoon announcement reader, and from that day forward I became less and less self-conscious of my speech impediment. And now here I am — the kid who couldn’t talk now talks for a living. Imagine that. Thanks, Mr. Ward.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose-driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your organization started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?

My organization’s purpose when it started is the same today: leadership is a skill that can be taught, learned and improved upon. Therefore, it is my mission to turn leaders from all walks of life into superstars by helping them to master three essential skills:

  1. Focusing on the right details so that they can get immediate wins under their belts, thus creating great momentum;
  2. Reducing their leadership learning curve so that they can become more effective more quickly; and
  3. Successfully managing the inevitable stress that accompanies leadership so that they can have longevity and enjoy the journey more.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?

When the COVID pandemic hit, the bottom fell out of the speaking/training/coaching industry. In-person events were canceled; expected paydays were lost; and many similar organizations folded their tents in bankruptcy. I decided that wasn’t an option for my consulting firm, so we pivoted from in-person events to 100% virtual training events.

I invested time and money (from my personal bank account) into learning and mastering every virtual format for information delivery: from Skype to Go-To-Meetings to Microsoft Teams to Zoom — and my business actually grew during the pandemic. As a matter of fact, we brought in more revenue during the pandemic than we had prior to the pandemic. Even today, many of my clients want a hybrid of in-person and virtual training. Currently, my largest contract is 80% virtual training/coaching and 20% in-person training/coaching. Of course, those percentages may change over time.

The point is that difficulty is often an opportunity in disguise. It’s all about the mindset with which you approach any type of challenge you may face.

Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges? What sustains your drive?

Of course I did. Who hasn’t? At the same time, I will also say that any thought of giving up has always been short-lived and fleeting. Whenever I have contemplated quitting, I have asked myself what I consider to be a most simple question: “And if I DO quit right now, what is my alternative?” Once I ask that, it becomes clear to me that quitting is not an option. Too many people have sacrificed and invested so much in me over the years; to quit would mean disappointing them. Honestly, that is what sustains my drive.

*I imagine the look that would be on my mother’s face, if she were still living. As poor as we were growing up, she spent money she really couldn’t afford to spend so that I would have a set of encyclopedias at home to read, because she knew that I loved to read. She is also the one who told me that one day I would overcome my stutter and be able to speak in front of large crowds just like my idol, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

*I think about Mr. Ward, who told me that I was more than my stutter and that I would be a great leader one day.

*I think of my adoptive mother, Melba Pattillo Beals — one of the original members of the Little Rock 9, the students who integrated my high school back in 1957 — who was quite literally attacked and beaten just so that I could have the opportunity for a quality education.

*I think of Governor Bill Clinton, who once said about me at a school-wide assembly at Central High School after I introduced him onstage, “You all don’t ever put me on program after Derrick again. I heard him at Boys State just a few months ago when I gave him the oath of office and he delivered his inaugural address. He’s such a phenomenal speaker. I hate to have to follow him.”

*I have had leaders, CEOs, and employees around the world tell me how my speaking or teaching or training or coaching has helped them to become people they never imagined they could be.

Whenever I’m tempted to quit, I picture those faces and say to myself, “I can’t let them down. I’ve got to find a way to make this work.” And I always do.

I’m an author and I believe that books have the power to change lives. Do you have a book in your life that impacted you and inspired you to be an effective leader? Can you share a story?

You may be surprised to hear this, but the book that has most greatly impacted my approach to leadership — and my life in general — is a book that was not written expressly for leaders. In fact, it was not even written about leadership, per se. Sidney Poitier’s book The Measure Of A Man is probably the one book that has shaped me more than any other, except perhaps The Bible.

I was in my late 20s when The Measure Of A Man was first published, and my life has never been the same. The way Mr. Poitier described his struggles was awe-inspiring. From a childhood of abject poverty in The Bahamas, to wanting to be an actor as a young adult but not even being able to read, to taking a job as a janitor at The American Negro Theatre in Harlem, New York just so he could learn how to act — he modeled for me the tenacity to never despise one’s humble beginnings.

Then, his willingness to turn down roles that he felt would embarrass and degrade Black people, and the dignity and pride that he brought to every role he played. With all due respect to actors who came before him like Stepin’ Fetchit and Mantan Moreland, Mr. Poitier decided that he would never play roles like the ones for which those men were famous because he wouldn’t be able to look his parents in their eyes if he had.

I approach leadership with that same mindset: never say, “I can’t” and never be less than the person you know yourself to be, deep down inside. At the end of the day, you have to be able to look yourself in the mirror and say, “I know I’m not perfect, but I’m proud of the person I see staring back at me.”

What would you say is the most critical role of a leader during challenging times?

During challenging times, it is most important that leaders honestly communicate in three ways:

  1. Idealistically;
  2. Realistically; and
  3. Optimistically.

To begin with, an effective crisis leader understands that their attitude can make or break their followers. So the first thing a crisis leader must be is idealistic. In other words, despite the difficult times the organization is facing, the leader must keep the people mindful of the way things should be and the deeper purpose for which the organization exists. “Yes, things are bad right now, but we must remember who we are and refuse to let the negative circumstances turn us into negative people. Never lose sight of our purpose and our ultimate goals.” Those are what keep you from losing it during tough times.

Next, a crisis leader must be realistic. People know things are bad, so sugarcoating that fact or denying that fact is counterproductive. Never ever say, “Things are not really as tough as you might think.” Instead, say, “It’s bad. It’s really bad. And here are the things we are going to have to do differently as a result.”

For example, when the COVID pandemic hit, I didn’t say, “Hey, this COVID thing is no big deal; you’ll see. The sun will come out tomorrow. Keep a stiff upper lip, blah blah blah.” Instead, I said, “Hey, this is a global health crisis, and it’s pretty bad. People are getting sick and dying. Businesses like ours are going bankrupt. The world as we know it will never be the same again. Get ready for a new normal. Now, in order for us not to get swept away like others, here is what we need to do differently.” That not only kept us afloat, but it helped us thrive and become even more financially strong — in the midst of a world crisis. That was not an accidental result — it was deliberate result.

Finally, a crisis leader must be optimistic. One of my favorite quotes comes from the late Robert Schuller. He was famous for having said, “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” So yes, let’s take a moment to mourn, moan and groan. But as soon as we get that out of our system, suit up and boot up: we’ve got a battle to fight and win. And quitting is not an option. In fact, the only way we fail is if we quit.” An optimistic leader figuratively places crowns above the heads of their team members, and then dares them to grow tall enough to wear them.

When the future seems so uncertain, what is the best way to boost morale? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate and engage their team?

Leaders often ask me, “How do you motivate an unmotivated workforce? We have people who are just collecting a paycheck. They’re really just phoning it in, so to speak. How do you get people really motivated and excited about their work?” And the answer is, you’ve got to connect them to the higher purpose or the deeper purpose, if you will, of their job. In other words, you have to help them to understand the “why” behind what they do. If they don’t have a good, strong reason why they do what they do, if they don’t have a compelling reason why their job is important, they’re probably not going to do their job well or with much enthusiasm. Nothing will motivate your team more than helping them to understand the true purpose of their job.

In my book, “Leadership Launch” I tell a true story of a training session I once led for all of the school cafeteria workers in a school district in Northern California. They were basically unmotivated and had a reputation for being mean to the students and staff — at each school! So, the school board hired my firm to come do a day-long training with them. The full story is rather involved and it’s in the book, so I’ll give a very condensed version of the story. In just one day, we turned a group of unmotivated food service workers into a group that eventually started coming to work early, and even demanded that the district create a free breakfast program for poor students — and not one of the workers asked for a raise!

They were willing to come early, stay later, and even cook an extra meal after just one day of training with my firm. No, I’m not a magician. What we did for them was help connect them to their deeper purpose. Their job was more than slapping square pizza, mashed potatoes and corn on cafeteria trays: they were nourishing the next generation of world leaders! It took all day to get them to see that, but once they did…

What is the best way to communicate difficult news to one’s team and customers?

Immediately and honestly. Again, I refer you to my previous answer about being idealistic, realistic, and optimistic. Tell them how things should be, how they really are, and what you’re going to do to make sure things don’t fall apart completely. People are much more resilient than we give them credit for being. It’s not that they never expect mistakes or problems. What they don’t like is when there’s a problem and they know there’s a problem but we fail to admit to them that there’s a problem.

How can a leader make plans when the future is so unpredictable?

One of my professors in graduate school, Dr. Knight, told us something one day that I have never forgotten. She said, “Hope for the best; plan for the worst.” I’m sure that quote is not original to her, but she was the first person from whom I heard it.

How do you make plans when the future is unpredictable? First of all, embrace the fact that you’re headed into uncharted territory. The fact that you do not see the final step does not mean you should become stuck on the staircase. Move slowly perhaps, but also move deliberately. Just because I can’t see the answer clearly in front of me does not mean an answer does not exist.

Plus, unpredictability gives us the opportunity — and dare I say the boldness — to take a risk and try something new. Since we don’t know how any of this may turn out, why not try something we’ve never tried before? It just might work.

Also, unpredictability requires a leader to lean on their team more than ever. This is not the time for Lone Ranger leaders. The fact that you are the leader does not mean that you have to solve problems by yourself in isolation. When things are the most unpredictable is exactly when you need to gather your team members and say, “Hey gang, we’ve got some possible turbulence up ahead. How do you think we should handle this moment?”

I am a firm believer that the answer to any problem is in that particular room on that particular day. Gather your team, present them with all the facts that you have, and tell them, “The answer to our problem is in this room right now. So, let’s hear it. Let’s brainstorm.” You’ll be surprised just how high your team can rise when you trust them to do so.

Is there a “number one principle” that can help guide a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times?

Never forget your “why.” The best example I can give comes from the world of professional basketball. Years ago, the Chicago Bulls were coached by the great Phil Jackson and led on the court by the immortal Michael Jordan. Coach Jackson recalled that one year The Bulls had gotten off to a shaky start. Some of the team members were not getting along with one another, and tensions were rising during practices. There were even a few fistfights. Sometimes, the discord spilled out of practice and into the games. And Phil Jackson said that, when things were getting really turbulent, he came to practice wearing each of his many championship rings. He then flashed them in the faces of his athletes and said, “Don’t forget: this is what this season is all about.” He said he wore those rings all day every day as visual reminder to his team. By keeping the goal of winning another championship ever in front of them, he was able to get them out of their funk and into history — they won yet another championship that year. The lesson is simple: nothing guides you through turbulent times like constantly reminding yourself of why you’re doing what you do.

One of my clients is one of the nation’s largest providers of early childcare services. As is the case with many organizations, they have their share of internal issues and discord, much like the Chicago Bulls did; and that’s normal. But if unchecked, that discord can destroy an organization. So, at the large group session during their most recent annual retreat, I asked them about the big “why” of their organization. “Whom do you serve, and why do they need you?” Almost to a person, the answer was “We are here to work together and provide these families with a jump start on educational success and hope for a brighter future.” And just like Coach Jackson did for his team, I reminded my clients, “The goal is a brighter future for these families. You can’t afford the forget that.”

So if there is a number one principle that will guide a company through turbulent times, I believe it is “Remember your why, and remind yourselves of it whenever things get testy.”

Can you share 3 or 4 of the most common mistakes you have seen other businesses make during difficult times? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?

Whenever we operate based upon fear, mistakes are inevitable. Though crises are serious, overreacting often creates bigger problems than the crisis itself. A few of the biggest mistakes organizations make during turbulent times are:

1. Immediately cutting staff or downsizing. While on the surface this may look like a great idea during lean times or difficult times, it almost always creates more fear amongst the workforce. This move indicates to the workforce that the organization will sacrifice its people in order to save itself. That lack of security affects job performance and morale in ways that perhaps will never be reversed.

2. Failing to ask, “How can we pivot during this crisis and possibly reinvent ourselves?” A crisis in the marketplace may be a great opportunity to emerge as bigger and better. For example, there was a major chain of bookstores that went out of business and blamed its demise on the rise of Amazon. The CEO said, “Why would people want to come into a brick and mortar bookstore when Amazon has made it so easy to shop for books without even leaving home? There’s no way we can compete with that.” What a missed opportunity! Perhaps some better questions would have been:

a) What does the rise of Amazon tell us about how the marketplace for bookselling is changing? How can we adapt to this change?

b) What can we give the public at brick and mortar stores that an electronic bookstore like Amazon cannot possibly give them? The personal touch? A coffee and snack shop? An atmosphere where people can physically connect with friends?

c) How can we replicate Amazon’s model and still keep our own distinctive identity and flair?

3. Under-communicating instead of over-communicating. In uncertain times, people need to see and hear more of their leadership, not less. For example, if staff meetings normally occur once per month, then crisis time requires we switch to weekly meetings. Always remember, workforces often match the energy of the leadership. If the leader can demonstrate calm confidence during a crisis, it helps the workforce to be a little less anxious. Leadership should work hard at being even more visible and more vocal during turbulent times. Under-communicating feeds the rumor mill: “What’s going on? Why isn’t anyone telling us anything? What are they hiding?” Over-communicating creates an air of transparency, which helps to foster trust and confidence.

4. Failing to understand how people’s mindsets change during crisis situations.

As a result of COVID, people were traumatized. Many people had family members whose health had been impacted by COVID, and many even had family members to die. The pandemic left millions without employment and without a sense of security. People were confined to their houses and cut-off from friends and family, which created levels of anxiety and depression previously unseen. So much misinformation was being given that people didn’t know whom to trust. All of those elements created layers of complexity that only wise, forward-thinking businesses responded to correctly; and the correct way to respond was with unusually high levels of empathy and understanding towards the public.

Wise businesses went out of their way to reassure a panicking public that they understood the angst and worry that their customers (and even their employees) were experiencing, and made it very clear what they were doing to keep everyone as safe and informed as was possible. In addition, organizations that could provide online/digital services were at a distinct advantage, as the public was forced to be extra cautious as a result of a global health crisis the likes of which had not previously seen.

Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should do to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times? Please share a story or an example for each.

1. Constantly remind your people of the big “why.” This helps them stay focused and avoid becoming distracted from the ultimate purpose of the organization. I spoke earlier about that group of cafeteria workers for the school district. They had lost sight of what was really important. For them, their job description had simply been “Slap a slice of square pizza, some mashed potatoes and some corn on a tray and shove it at these little hooligans.” After reminding them of why their jobs were so important — that they were in fact providing nourishment for the next generation of leaders so that those students could focus and learn — they started yelling less, the kids were no longer traumatized by the “mean ladies in the hairnets”, and the school district started a breakfast program specifically for students from low-income families. A 180 degree change, all because they were reminded of the “why” behind their positions.

2. Be a model of calm control for your team during a crisis. If you panic, your people panic even more. So learn to communicate in a calm, controlled manner even in the worst of crises. There’s a story I love to tell of a private cruise ship that happened upon some extremely rough seas. As the passengers began to panic, one of them announced that he would go to the bridge of the ship to ask the captain about how much danger they were in. But as he entered the bridge, he saw the captain calmly steering the ship with a big smile on his face. The passenger then returned to where his fellow passengers were gathered. They immediately began to frantically question him about his visit with the captain. He responded, “I didn’t talk to the captain at all. I didn’t have to. I saw him, and he was calm, smiling, and steering the ship. If the captain isn’t worried, we probably shouldn’t be either.”

3. Take the time to get your facts straight before you communicate anything to your team. In my opinion, one of the most damaging effects of the COVID pandemic was, initially, all of the contradictory and sometimes even false information that was spread by leaders of organizations throughout the world — even some governmental leaders. Though I believe many of them meant well, the plethora of misinformation that later had to be rescinded or corrected created an air of distrust and even disdain for leadership. In crisis times, it is much better to do some serious research with trusted sources and then tell your team, “Look, we don’t have all of the facts yet, but here’s what we do know…” rather than to give them information that has yet to be vetted. That leads us to number 4:

4. Over-communicate rather than under-communicate. When people on your team are unclear about what’s happening in the organization or to the organization, it can be scary for them. Every piece of news or gossip they hear causes them to worry and question. When you fail to communicate openly and frequently, it intensifies the fear.

Here, I must repeat what I said earlier: “…in uncertain times, people need to see and hear more of their leadership, not less. For example, if staff meetings normally occur once per month, then crisis time requires we switch to weekly meetings. Under-communicating feeds the rumor mill: ‘What’s going on? Why isn’t anyone telling us anything? What are they hiding?’ Over-communicating creates an air of transparency, which helps to foster trust and confidence.”

5. Learn and practice healthy ways to deal with the stress that turbulent times can cause. Far too many leaders handle stress in some destructive ways — they either overeat or they starve themselves; they drink caffeine in unhealthy doses; they turn to alcohol or drugs (both prescription and illegal); and so on. While I have never taken the alcohol or drug route — I’ve never even tried them, nor have I ever wanted to — my vice was sugar. A bag of chocolate chip cookies would be a meal to me, topped off with a bowl or two of sugary breakfast cereal.

Just having stress can negatively affect you. We cannot lead others properly if we do not first take care of ourselves adequately. So, in addition to seeing a licensed therapist who can provide for you a safe space to share your feelings, thoughts, and fears, I recommend that you find or rediscover a hobby and regularly enjoy it. What do you enjoy doing for relaxation? Do you like to go fishing? Do you like to cook? Do you enjoy bowling? How about sewing or knitting? Whatever it is, find it or rediscover it and start doing it on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter what your hobby is, if you enjoy it, and it makes you happy or brings you peace.

Maybe you’re like me, and you enjoy music, especially live music venues. I have been a huge fan of jazz since I was a fourth grader. I took up playing both the baritone horn and the valve trombone in concert band, marching band, and jazz band throughout my school years. I even used to sneak into jazz clubs as a teenager and sit in with various acts. I listen to and perform jazz as my stress reliever. Find your hobby and enjoy it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

That would probably be a poem I heard the Rev. Jesse Jackson recite when I was a teenager. I immediately committed it to memory, because it resonated with me as worthy of adoption as my life’s mantra, though I certainly didn’t use that description at that age. It is attributed to Daisy Rinehart, and it goes:

I’m tired of sailing my little boat far inside the harbor bar.

I want to go out where the big ships float; out in the deep where the great ones are.

And should my frail craft prove too slight for waves that sweep those billows o’er,

I’d rather go down in the stirring fight than drowse to death at the sheltered shore.

I could stay here all day explaining what that poem means to me, so I’ll try my best to keep this brief. I remember that I started crying when I heard Rev. Jackson quote that poem. I had always enjoyed poetry since childhood, but this one resonated in a way that I had never experienced. Basically, it spoke to me to never be satisfied with small dreams; it spoke to me that I too could be a “big ship”, and that being such had little to do with money, fame, or prestige.

I know lots of wealthy people who are unhappy and who fail to make a permanent, positive impact upon the world. I wanted to be different. As a child, I had been picked on and bullied for having been different, but this poem encouraged me to embrace my different-ness and see it as the gift that it is. That third line of the poem communicated to me that problems, difficulties, and turbulence would inevitably come into my life, posing as thunderous waves attempting to sink me.

But that final line — which by the way is the one that created the torrent of tears as I heard it — let me know that giving up would never be an option for me in life. If I were to ever go down, it would be bravely with brandished sword rather than having lived a safe life filled with what-ifs, unasked questions, undreamt dreams, and untapped potential. It resonated with me then and it resonates with me still.

How can our readers further follow your work?

I just released my new book, entitled Leadership Launch: Essential Skills For New Leaders. It quickly became the #1 bestselling new business book in the nation. It is available on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, on my website, and in bookstores around the world, in both paperback and eBook formats, with an audiobook version set to be released within the next few months. And, if you happen to go to a bookstore and it’s sold out, they can order it for you.

Please connect with me via social media as well. Look for Dr. Derrick Noble on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube. On TikTok, I’m DrNobleSpeaks. Please follow my work, watch my leadership videos, and also obtain your copy of the book by following any of these links:






Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

Dr Derrick Noble On Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Uncertain &… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.