Challenged? Be thankful for the giants in the land!

All of us at one time or another have self-doubt. We look at the challenge before us and wonder if we have what it takes to overcome. As leaders, we may look at the organization we lead and wonder if our people are up for the challenge and/or equipped to face it.

My business partner and I have coined a phrase to repeat when we face difficult challenges and/or long odds: “there are giants in the land”. This simple phrase serves to instantly remind us of the need to be strong and courageous when our emotions might otherwise get the best of us and diminish our capacity for change. It also serves to remind us  Please Continue Reading …

For Strength, Character and Resilience, just add Heat!

A leader’s life is filled with a barrage of external challenge of adversity, change and crisis, as well as with personal failures and lapses in judgment or will power. As leaders, we all want to finish well, but at times we may be tempted to quit.

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American author and Presidential advisor Napoleon Hill once said, “Character is to man what carbon is to steel.”
Steel is forged in fire. The evidence of resilience in any great leader will be forged in the fires of daily life, and it is the very heat of the challenge that forms the strength of character that makes us resilient. Though carbon is used for steel, it is also used for pencil lead. As such it is soft and smudges easily on paper. This would be our character, and our resilience, without the fire of challenge. Please Continue Reading …

The Uncertainty Principle; Practical advice for embracing mystery

Search “uncertain future” in Google and you will receive 56,000,000 results in .04 seconds. If you are feeling the negative affects of uncertainty in your emotions, take heart – others who also are feeling it surround you!

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Over the past few months, I’ve been working closely with many people experiencing the effects of uncertainty, and the price they (we) have been paying emotionally, mentally and even physically is significant. Some of these people are going through work-related uncertainty due to role changes and/or the possibility of dismissal because of corporate downsizing. Others are going through health-related uncertainty, such as the second round of cancer therapy or a battery of tests to determine the unknown cause of symptoms they are experiencing.

As I reflect on our collective wrestle with uncertainty, I find myself wondering:  Please Continue Reading …

Poverty, Prosperity or Peace

I have been engaged in several conversations of late wherein we have discussed the felt impacts of deep challenge. Some were under attack at work, others finding too much month at the end of the money, and still others longing for more meaningful impacts through what they do.

iStock_000016548494XSmallIn all of these situations I find myself remembering that there is a blend of BE-ing and DO-ing — unto BECOMING. Who we are and what we do will lead to what we become. Please Continue Reading …

Sustainable High Performance & Assumptions

Values are the foundation of culture. A healthy culture has healthy values…but furthermore is one wherein the behaviors, articulated statements – and assumptions – are in alignment.

Assumptions are the subconscious motives for the way we act. We can hold a value for something (example innovation), but our assumptions will lead us in differing directions on the same value.

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Unresolved Conflict – Unhealthy and costly…for ALL

“Unresolved conflict represents the largest reducible cost in many businesses, yet it remains largely unrecognized…Chronic unresolved conflict acts as a decisive factor in at least 50% of departures. Conflict accounts for up to 90% of involuntary departures, with the possible exception of staff reductions due to downsizing and restructuring.” (Dana, Daniel – Measuring the Financial Cost of Organizational Conflict)

Sure, establishing a healthy culture of workplace partnership, where trust and respect flow abundant, takes time and effort. Maybe some are not up for what it takes…maybe it doesn’t seem like it is worthwhile.

An unhealthy workplace is not a high performance workplace…the bottom line suffers due to extraordinary expenses of hiring, retraining, lost efficiency, customer relationships and much more.

The cost in the lives of people…who knows how great this could be to our society overall? I hope we are not naive enough to think that it all stays at the office…and doesn’t have any adverse affects in the lives of our marriages, kids, extended families…etc.

What would make the effort worthwhile?

Sustainable High Performance Formula

Here’s a logic stream for you to consider…

1. Sustainable high performance is 50% dependent on the team (the other half is sound strategy/Structure/process…which by the way are developed best through a healthy team)
2. Team performance is dependent on culture
3. Culture is leadership behaviour
4. Leadership behaviour is determined by values lived out

So, question: Can we really change anyone else…or if we focused on personal mastery, aligning our personal behaviours with positive values…would the rest follow?

The Value of Brevity

I received the following comment from Alan Weiss (Summit Consulting) in my email inbox this morning, and found it to be well worthy of a re-post. It’s crazy how zeal and insecurity can mix to have us overwhelm the people we work with…betraying the mission in the pursuit of the mission…

“This week’s focus point: Brevity isn’t merely the soul of wit (Hamlet). We seem obsessed with telling people everything we know rather than what they need to know (hence, all those boring undergraduate lectures). Keep two factors in mind in business: speed and brevity. The more quickly you help others, the more valuable you are. Of course, that entails the suppression of ego and a true focus on helping, and a strong self-esteem that doesn’t require that you continually prove how smart you are. Enough said.” (Alan Weiss)

Truth

Ahh…the age old question: “what is truth?”

I think we have messed with the definition so much that we don’t know the anser anymore. For instance…here is one version found as a definition within Merriam-Webster:

“a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true”

Crazy stuff. North is what north is. If we all stood in one room, spun around with eyes closed, and then pointed to north…we may decide to go with the marjority and vote that north was that direction. BUT our vote holds no dictate.

If we are all at different points on the planet, it would feel like we were maybe pointing in different directions, even though from our specific locations we are all pointing north.

Still…doesn’t affect TRUE north.

Truth (is what it is)…understanding / translation leads us to a belief…we form our values based on our conviction / belief…derived from our understanding…

Beliefs can hold us back…agreed. But truth sets us free. Truth gives us a common ground – beliefs based in truth therefore must also give us a common ground. Beliefs based in an improper translation of truth divide.

Values call us forward – to be sure…but values based in beliefs that are based in beliefs which are based in improper translation of truth….well…they can lead us to sincerely and passionately destroy whatever opposes…for values are beliefs that pack a wallop!

True north truth is essential – What’s Yours?

Honor-able?

“Do what is right, and deal with the consequences.”

I wonder if too often we look into the future to decide whether or not things will be favorable to us…enroute to making our decisions. Seeming sound and logical, this may not be right in all cases.

You have an opportunity to gain financially, and all you have to do is fudge the truth a bit. If you don’t fudge, you don’t know what will happen. Maybe you win, maybe you lose. The future looks uncertain, and who’s to know?

Or, someone you know is in a desperate situation. You have the ability to help. You can see where this will be a large challenge, you see that this may drag on for some time, and have no idea as to what a real exit looks like for you. There is no one else close by to help, and you see the veritable writing on the wall; they are going down. Do you leave them to “fate”, or do you engage?

There are hundreds, even thousands of scenarios that could be written here. The point is not so much in the detail of the situation as the principle of the decision. Do we look for what is right, or do we look for what benefits us in the end…the end being as far as we can see?

What truly benefits in the “final” end…further than we can presently “see”?

What do we respect most in others…(would we want someone to take advantage of or walk out on us?)…isn’t this what we would mostly likely desire to be as well?

Why not embrace the journey (along with the unkown detail of how it will all turn out) by simply determining to do what is right, and then dealing with whatever is to follow.