I think that leaders will see some correlation to how things may/may not work within organizations through my experience. I believe the processes work at both micro and macro level and we can learn from any experience...not matter how small. The real "a-ha" moments for me were the last two in the process.
It seems odd to me that the accepted "process" for life is that we work for 40+ years doing some job with great plans for when we can finally retire and enjoy ourselves. It appears that reaching retirement age is viewed the same way as someone in prison would view being paroled...we are finally FREE!
There is a definitive difference between a complicated and complex issue. As leaders we must be able to quickly discern what we are facing in order to address it appropriately. There is real danger in mis-categorizing so it is necessary we have a process we can leverage in these situations. Having a sense making process is critical not only for ourselves but it is also something we must teach to others as we always want to ensure our teams are continually learning and growing.
Ever wonder why it so hard for people to complete projects or tasks you delegate to them? Do they seem to be confused or off-track? Do they fail to make adequate progress or even seem to be working on a completely different project? Have you ever considered that it might be you? As Pogo said in the comics years ago..."We have met the enemy and it is us". If you would like to have some objective feedback about your delegation skills, feel free to take this quick quiz.
Leader, writer, speaker, thinker, golfer, strategist, procrastinator, runner, hiker, decorator, gardener, boater...the list could go on and on. We should take great care to never label ourselves, label others, or accept labels from others. Labeling is one of the most dangerous things we do to ourselves because they immediately limit us. Note than I am not differentiating between "good" or "bad" labels because they are all bad.
I can't say there are many times when I disagree with the founders of our country but I do take exception with the concept of "pursuing happiness". In fact, I think this particular phrase from the Declaration of Independence has been twisted and abused and used as a justification/excuse for actions that are mis-aligned with our goals as a society.
Hate and anger have never led to any constructive advancement in the history of civilization. With that in mind, here are some things to consider:
The reality is that we don’t like people who disagree with us. Especially when they are in the minority so we simply assume they are wrong. But at what cost?
I read Sinek’s book several years ago and found myself enthralled with the concept of “my why”. I have likely spent hours of mental time and energy trying to come up with up with a concise and simple way to communicate this and never really settled in on anything meaningful.
We struggle each day against the system.
We identify areas of opportunity that we want to change or modify in regards to ourselves, our family, those who work with us, and the system overall.
We want to be better.
We want more.
We imagine we are in control...and unfortunately we are...just in a very different way.
We are not in control of our brains and the sooner we accept this, the better off we will be. Our brains have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years with a singular purpose and that is to keep us safe. We like to think that we are use our brains and that because we are self-aware, we make conscious decisions about our lives...but that it really far from true.
This is one of the most overlooked and underdeveloped talents of a leader because it is about doing less. If you are not creating space for both yourself and others, you are robbing all involved of opportunities for growth.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Einstein nailed it! In leadership development we tend to make things much more challenging than they need to be when it comes to the skills required for success.
Let's stop it!
There is absolutely nothing that will impact the direction of a company more than the behaviors of its leaders. If you are a leader in your organization then focus almost exclusively on your own behavior if you wish to see change in those around you.
A few weeks ago I was talking with Jim Vaive, Six Seconds North America Regional Network Co-Director, about people and life. We get together from time to time to wax philosophical and solve the worlds problems...at least in our minds.
Save to say we often fight one to save the other but is that necessary? How hard would it be to feed both? Is this possible? If so, how?
We all have our own bullshit. These are the stories we tell ourselves that are simply not True (capital T) but are true to us (lower-case t). This head trash steals our power and makes us play small.
We don't use these terms often enough in our daily work lives. We continue to think that we are "all business" and focus on using military and sports mentalities because they offer us the opportunity to avoid the emotional impact of our actions.
Our world is V.U.C.A (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) and there is nothing we can do that will change that. What we must do is develop a style of leading that enables us to successfully achieve our personal, professional, and organizational goals. We must abandon traditional concepts that align with command and control and embrace a style that is both agile and adaptable if we have any hope thriving in the future.
So much of what I see from business leaders each day I liken to driving using only the rear-view mirror. There is so much time spent reviewing all types of lagging indicators or addressing sundry "fires" in terms of employee or client challenges that it leads to a real focus (and habit) of constantly looking at what has happened instead of what's going to happen.
Do you know what innovation, growth, progress and success all have in common? The precursor to all of them is FAILURE.
There is absolutely no way to achieve sustainable success without failure. We can certainly get lucky a few times and fall into success without failing but that is not tenable.
Purpose matters in our lives.
The main reason your strategy sucks is because YOU CREATED IT IN A VACUUM (called your office and/or conference room).
I am amazed at the number of business leaders who can't tell me any details about their industry or their competitors. For some reason it appears that strategy is now only an internal conversation about the companies strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Are we crazy enough to believe that if we right something down and work really hard that we can make it happen?!?
Overall, I think intelligence is over-rated when it comes to leading a business venture. As a society, we like to tout intelligence as a means to measure someone's overall value. I would argue that it can actually become a liability if you are not paying attention.
"This is ten percent luck
Twenty percent skill
Fifteen percent concentrated power of will
Five percent pleasure
Fifty percent pain"
We die a little every day at the hands of our bad habits. I don't mean this in a judgmental way because you have to decide if a habit is indeed "bad". My meaning of a bad habit is something that keeps us from achieving a goal that we have set for ourselves. Our habits present themselves in the form of things we do (or don't do) each day which could also be called our activities. These activities represent our efforts and as Aristotle said, "Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit"
So here is how this normally plays out:
Archimedes was a Greek mathematician who was credited with saying,“Give me a place to stand, and a lever long enough, and I will move the world. ” This led to the concept of "The Archimedean Point" which is defined as "a hypothetical vantage point from which an observer can objectively perceive the subject of inquiry, with a view of totality."
I believe there are a small percentage of people out there who are pragmatic malcontents. I have no empirical evidence but guess that we represent less than 5% of the total population.