Thursday November 24, 2016 #847
“I’ll bet most of the companies that are in life-or-death battles got into that kind of trouble because they didn’t pay enough attention to developing their leaders.”
~Wayne Calloway, former Chairman, Pepsico, Inc.
Two points to express here: First, if you are a leader of leaders, what are you intentionally doing to ensure those leaders you manage are growing their capabilities and sharpening their existing skills that are most needed for today’s and tomorrow’s context and challenges? Second, what are you doing to challenge yourself on your own capabilities and what are you doing to build your agility and effectiveness? Constant, intentional development of yourself and your team members is your main role and responsibility. How would you rate yourself in this regard? What can you do to improve in this key area?
Tuesday November 22, 2016 #846
“To help others develop, start with yourself! When the boss acts like a little god and tells everyone else they need to improve, that behavior can be copied at every level of management. Every level then points out how the level below it needs to change. The end result: No one gets much better.”
In a time of exponential change, the one thing we struggle with is developing leaders capable of managing and leading in an ambiguous environment with an ever-changing context, with new technologies to master. And oh, by the way, the biggest struggle may be with our own capacity to change. As leaders, we must demonstrate our own curiosity through the quality of questions we ask, be transparent with our mistakes and shortcomings, and actively learn new capabilities and sharpen existing ones. By actively demonstrating your own desire and capacity to develop, you will inspire that behavior in those you lead. And so on, and so on. Start a revolution of self-awareness and self-development in your organization.
Thursday November 17, 2016 #845
“It’s easy to come up with new ideas; the hard part is letting go of what worked for you two years ago, but will soon be out of date.”
~Roger von Oech
As we are all working to find the best path through our ever-changing professional and personal lives, we are learning new technology tools, new philosophies of leadership and personal development, new political realities, and more. The challenge isn’t a lack of compelling ideas. The challenge is having the courage and strength of conviction to drop outdated tools and philosophies. Facts actually DO change and we need to be ready to move our understanding of the “truth” to allow for a rapidly changing context and the need to accept ambiguity. What do you need to let go of that will give you space for taking on new ideas? And are you learning from this experience so that you are ready to let go of what works today when tomorrow brings new information and changing dynamics? Try not to be scared or overwhelmed by this but rather view this new world with excitement and a determination to be a champion of today’s multi-level, ever-changing playing field.
Tuesday November 15, 2016 #844
“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.”
This is a time of exceptional change, of long-held assumptions and “facts” being upended, and of unending real-time information access and bombardment. Never have we known so much, have availability of even more data and inputs, and actually known so little. What are we as leaders to do? We can start by removing complexity and driving simplicity – and realize that the best people to do this are close to the action. It is about enabling “leadership” at the front line.
The beginning of the answer lies in giving up the no longer true ideal of the all-knowing dominant leader. Not even the most brilliant man or woman has the capacity to be fully up to speed on most, let alone all of the various factors that impact results today. Today’s leader must instead provide a clear vision of desired outcomes, build a culture of transparency, provide platforms for free-flowing information between all parts of their organization, and allow and even require decision making as close to the action as possible. Allow the front line to drive simplicity by giving them the context, the tools and the authority they need, and get out of their way.
This is a big change from traditional definitions of great leaders, but is a requirement for our “new normal”. I think I will be focusing a lot on this subject in future JAMs. Please join the discussion as I lead this community of JAMmers through dialogue with all of you!
Thursday November 3, 2016 #843
“No one ever achieved a goal by being interested in its achievement. One must be committed. In fact, in studying the source of people’s success, I’ve found that persistence overshadows even talent as the most valued and effective resource in creating and shaping the quality of life. Most people give up a maddening five feet from their goal!”
The literature is filled with examples of people who were motivated more by their ideals than on the actual achievement of a particular goal. Dig deep to understand what drives you and what defines your character. Determine what is worth fighting for and put yourself in situations where you can make a difference through your efforts. More than half the battle is determining what to fight for. It is in this personal understanding that you will find the energy and courage to persistently move forward despite obstacles and failures.
Tuesday November 1, 2016 #842
“To every man there comes in his lifetime that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing, unique to him and fitted to his talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour.”
~Sir Winston Churchill
It is important that you clearly know who or what is important to you, and what drives & energizes you. Reflecting on these things or people, focus on doing those things that prepare you to be ready for when the chances come to be there for those people and to make progress on issues that are important to you. What are those things that prepare you for those moments? For the most cherished people in your life, spend time with them. Seek to know them deeply by being curious and asking questions. For the most important issues, it is the same: Be curious. Learn as much as you can. Understand what it takes to make progress. And be ready for the chance to do something to lead a positive change for those people or issues. Never stop learning about what is important to you.
How ready are you?
Thursday October 27, 2016 #841
“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
When we study consistently successful entrepreneurs, inventors, and individuals and those who seem consistently happy or content with their lives, a common thread seems to be insatiable curiosity. The thirst for knowledge, new experiences, and figuring out “why” things are or happen seems to possess these individuals. I have been blessed to know and work with many such people and they never cease to inspire me to explore my own curiosities. I am convinced that this curiosity is what keeps me inspired and rarely bored. I hope the fact that you read these JAMs indicates you share this curiosity! As has often been said by others, the more I learn the more I realize how much I don’t know, and can never know. But I’ll keep learning and experiencing life for all my days. I hope you do too.
Tuesday October 25, 2016 #840
“Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.”
~Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
This is one of those occasional reminders I give you in this busy, challenging life, to remember to LIVE! It really is an amazing world we live in but it is so easy to get lost in the constant reminders of the small percentage of negative people and circumstances in your life. There are of course real challenges that we all face, but they are more than likely offset by thousands of small and not-so-small examples of people and circumstances we should be grateful for but often miss. By focusing on the positive, it will give you strength to tackle the many real issues that many face in terms of injustice, poverty, and illness. Open all your senses to the miracles all around you and LIVE your life with courage and curiosity.
Thursday October 20, 2016 #839
“In the deepest sense of the word, a friend is someone who sees more potential in you than you see in yourself, someone who helps you become the best version of yourself.”
We all need to be reminded from time to time that we are never as good nor as bad as we think we are. I hope you have someone in your life, as I do, who plays the role of objective yet compassionate observer ready to step in and throttle you when you need it. We need that person who ensures we don’t get overconfident or boastful, and who also never allows us to wallow in fear or self-pity. This is a true friend.
Reflect on who that person is in your life and take the time to thank them for helping you be the best you can be. And, reflect on who you are helping in that same way. It is a responsibility we all share to help each other be better than we would be on our own. Spend more of your time in this endeavor and none in tearing others down.
Tuesday October 18, 2016 #838
“May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.”
Long time JAMmer LK wrote to me with this lovely story which you may have seen before. She in turn had received it that day from her elderly father. Whether you have read this before or not, in a time of seemingly insurmountable challenges, it is an important reminder to pause and reflect with gratitude on the many blessings in our lives and in this world – a world with far more beauty and good than ugliness and evil, if we only open our eyes and see. Enjoy the story.
If you saw a recent front-page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider’s web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.
A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so badly off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.
When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.
May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.
I pass this on to you, my friend, in the same spirit.
I hope you’ll find that this little story which contains a big idea resonates with you.
If interested in learning more, here is an article explaining the full story:
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