LeadershipNow 140: October 2009 Compilation
Here are a selection of tweets from October 2009:
Newswire: Our Leadership Today
What is the Real Work of Leading?Rules of Thumb. He has compiled 52 practical and wise fundamentals of life well lived and work well done.
For a taste, consider Rule #41: If you want to be a real leader, first get real about leadership. Getting real about leadership involves four things: how leaders are, what leaders do, how leaders act, and what leaders leave behind them.
How Leaders Are. Leaders are both confident and modest, they’re authentic and they are good listeners. He quotes Ron Heifetz, “Too many leaders die with their mouths open.” He adds, “Leaders who need to talk all the time create companies where people simply stop listening.”
What Leaders Do. Leaders are coaches. They attract and grow talent. They lead by example. Maintaining high standards themselves, they challenge people to do their best work. “After a real leader has moved on, the people who worked for him or her always say, ‘I learned more and did more than I ever thought I could.’”
How Leaders Act. Real leaders guide. They don’t dictate. “Real leaders create an agenda, offer criteria, and describe a strategy to take the company ahead.” And they learn from their mistakes.
What Leaders Leave Behind. Leaders leave behind “a passion for the business, a love of the company, and the commitment to leave it healthier and stronger than he or she found it.” They leave a team of great leaders. They articulate sound values and instill them into the culture of the business. And perhaps most importantly, they make more leaders. “The real leader is the one who makes more leaders at all levels of the organization. Leaders practice leadership to cultivate more leaders.”
Leading Views: Assume the Guests Point of ViewImagineer John Hench shares in his book Designing Disney, Walt Disney's approach to people:
"To design most effectively for our guests, we learned that we had to observe them up close, waiting in lines with them, going on rides with them, eating with them. Walt insisted on this by saying, ‘You guys get down there at least twice a month. For God’s sake, don’t eat off the lot. Stay there…lunch with the guests…talk to them.’ This was new to us; as filmmakers, we were used to sitting in our sweatboxes at the studio, passing judgment on our work without knowing how the public might actually respond to it. Going out into the park taught us how guests were being treated and how they responded to sensory information, what worked and what didn’t, what their needs were and how we could meet them in entertaining ways. We paid attention to guests’ patterns of movement and the ways in which they expressed their emotions. We got an idea of what was going on in their minds. Disney Imagineers prefer such an experiential process of gathering information from our guests to focus groups or surveys. When designers see guests in their natural states of behavior, they gain a better understanding of the space and time guests need in a story environment.
Walt had the idea that guests could feel perfection.”
As Frank Gehry writes in the forward, "when you’ve got a love for people, you want them to have experiences that make them think differently when they leave."
That's management by wandering around.
Save the World and Still Be Home For DinnerSave the World and Still Be Home For Dinner by Will Marré shows how can we can both live life on our terms and do something that matters for others, how we can both find financial security and live life as a personal adventure, how we can both make radical changes in life and keep the relationships and things we most value. "After all," Marre says, "Isn't that what we all want? To save the world and still be home for dinner?"
In a thought provoking interview, Will Marré speaks to Vision about about leadership, organizations, changes in the corporate world, personal contentment, and quality relationships.
“The critical issue of leadership today is moral intent. If we get people who are very effective at being leaders, who don’t have worthwhile moral intent, we get what we got.”
“Self interest is not a sufficient motive to create valued innovation. In other words, big innovation.”
Many large organizations, “become protected around their financial well-being and they start to look at everything in terms of financial risk and so it thwarts true innovation.”
“It all comes down to the quality of intimacy in our relationships. In other words, there’s no success that compensates for a lack of that high quality intimate relationship with at least one other if not several other human beings. We don’t get that without making an effort. We don’t get that by being stupid about relationships.”
“If you imagine the very best thing you can do … and what might be really good is being the best mother you can be this afternoon or the best father you can be tonight. Sometimes the best way to change the world is to change a diaper. In other words, there are moments of truth everyday – many times – and if we step in do the best thing we can imagine doing in those moments of truth, then we will set up a chain of life that is self-reinforcing, self-motivating, self-fulfilling.”
Don't Bring It To WorkWhen people walk through your door in the morning, they don’t leave their problems behind. And that creates problems at work. Problems at home create, at the very least, distractions in the workplace. Many safety issues have been linked to preoccupied employees. The failure to deal with issues that are brought to work can result in high turnover, poor productivity, low morale and poor communication.
What you bring to work is not only your problems but the behavioral patterns that, in many cases, caused them. In Don’t Bring it to Work, Sylvia Lafair says that much of what you bring to work are patterns of behavior that are driven by the roles we learned in our families as children. And when the going gets tough, the tough frequently revert to old family patterns.
Lafair describes the 13 most common destructive patterns in the workplace — including the super-achiever, the rebel, the procrastinator, the clown, the persecutor, the victim, the rescuer, the drama queen or king, the martyr, the pleaser, the avoider, the denier, the splitter — and explains how they got that way, and how to tell (a Pattern Aware Quiz is included) if any of this baggage from your own background is weighing down your career.
The action step is not to break your patterns but to transform them; to become a “better, more developed, more fulfilled version of the person you already are.” For instance:
From Super-Achiever to Creative Collaborator
From Rebel to Community Builder
From Procrastinator to Realizer
From Clown to Humorist
From Persecutor to Visionary
From Victim to Explorer
From Rescuer to Mentor
From Drama Queen or King to Storyteller
From Martyr to Integrator
From Pleaser to Truth Teller
From Avoider to Initiator
From Denier to Trust Builder
From Splitter to Peacemaker
So the Rebel might sound like, “Can you believe he was so demeaning to her at the meeting? I’m going to tell her to get back at him by complaining to HR.” But the Community Builder would say, “In my old pattern, I would have loved to stir things up; however, it’s a waste of time, so I’ll talk to him privately about my concerns.”
“We like to think we are rational leaders,” writes Lafair. “Yet the fact is that we don’t always tailor our actions to the actual demands of a situation. Instead, we fall back on old ways of responding that are emotionally laden and sometimes horrendously counterproductive.” If you’re looking to deal with your old defensive behavior patterns and capitalize on your inner strengths, Don’t Bring it to Work would be a good place to start.
An abbreviated version of the Pattern Aware Quiz can be found online.
Leading Views: Leadership Isn't a RewardTom Peters reminds us that leadership shouldn’t be a reward or a title bestowed as a way of saying thanks. Unfortunately it isn’t confined to business and government. We see it in organizations of all types and most regrettably in schools where it reinforces the wrong concept of what it means to be a leader. Peters told an audience:
"Only in the stupid world of business and government, do we promote the best accountant to the head of the accounting department, the best salesman to the head of the sales department, the best trainer to the head of the training department. You don’t do that in sports, right?!
"The definition of most of our coaches at the professional level is that they were second rate or marginal players who were brilliant students of the game and people. That is, they were good at leading. What are leaders good at doing? Leading."
Can You Motivate Everyone?
In Motivate Like a CEO, author Suzanne Bates reminds us that “you can inspire people to discover their own motivation. If you communicate effectively and connect people with purpose, they will feel the spark that motivates them.”
Additionally, she writes, “By consistently communicating purpose with passion, you attract the right people with the right talent, skills, and motivation. The right people come into your orbit; those who aren’t right will move on.”
At the same time, Bates does offer a caution. Throwing your hands up and acting on the assumption that you cannot motivate everyone can actually damage motivation further. This assumption was “true in boom times, when organizations were bloated and some people you hired were marginal. Those days are over. Now that companies have downsized and are arguably leaner and meaner with the best talent, this is a damaging assumption. It is a leader’s responsibility to motivate employees. It’s time to stop blaming employees, and start looking to leaders to ignite the spark.”
5 Leadership Lessons: Fierce Leadership
Fierce Leadership by Susan Scott is a remarkable leadership book for its candor and practicality. She gets to the heart of many relationship issues that prevent us from really connecting with others and limit our performance.
Though the title may seem provocative, the term fierce refers to the type of leadership that engages and connects with people at a deep level. The fierce leaders’ most valuable currency is relationships and emotional capital. Scott writes, “Everywhere, people are hungry to connect, to be seen and known as the unique individuals they are, and this has an immediate and powerful impact on how we design business strategies and market our products and services and ultimately on whether our businesses succeed or fail. Yet much business communication is still stuck in the information age. Too often we treat our conversations and our relationships as we do our e-mails—one way, directive, quick, clipped, efficient.”
Scott suggests another approach to some widely accepted "best practices" moving for instance, from 360 Anonymous Feedback — to 365 Face-to-Face Feedback. The goal here is to have “open, honest, face-to-face conversations, 365 days a year, with the people central to your success and happiness…. When we stay current with one another, our formal performance reviews will contain few, if any, surprises.”
Some leadership lessons:
A careful conversation is a failed conversation because it merely postpones the conversation that wants and needs to take place.
What argument am I waging? Are you waging? What are we trying to be right about? The question is not whether our beliefs are right or wrong. We can tell the stories, point to the evidence, build an impressive case. You’re right! Who could possibly argue with the facts? The question is, how are your beliefs working for you?
John Doerr said, “The moment of truth is when you ask, ‘Are these the people I want to be in trouble with for the next five, ten, fifteen years of my life?’ Because as you build a business, one thing’s for sure: You’ll get in trouble.”
In meetings, people stubbornly cling to their ideas (sometimes at length!) in an attempt to impress others with the brilliance of their thinking. Their goal is to influence. It does not occur to them that an equally valid goal would be to be influenced, to have their own learning provoked. Nothing new emerges, because individuals are focused on being right rather than on making the best possible decisions for the organization.
The culture is not some nebulous and mysterious force out there somewhere. You are the culture. I am the culture. And each of us shapes that culture each time we walk into a room, pick up the phone, send an e-mail. Fierce leaders know that they influence the culture one conversation at a time, responding honestly or guardedly when asked what they think.
First Look: Leadership Books for October 2009Here's a look at some of the best leadership books to be released in October.
Lead Your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up by John Baldoni
The Upside of Turbulence: Seizing Opportunity in an Uncertain World by Donald Sull
Your Next Move: The Leader's Guide to Successfully Navigating Major Career Transitions by Michael Watkins
Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
The Unforced Error: Why Some Managers Get Promoted While Others Get Eliminated by Jeffrey A. Krames
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