NOTE: The May blog posts will not be updated this month, but check back soon for new updates.
- Navigating the Future
The ability to navigate the unknown is a vital skill for any leader in an organization. However, it has become characteristic in the last few years that companies, of any size, focus on short term goals not a long future. That said, companies that encourage leaders to regularly take a break from short term performance and envision the future surpass their competition. These organizations know that it takes courage to set the compass to territories that are not known well by senior staff or line management. When the supporting teams see both boldness and courage from their leaders, it also gives them faith that they will be supported through market difficulties and the journey to the future.
Leaders are molded through practiced skill, continued flexibility, and perpetual modification. Andrew Graham, CEO of Forum Corp, has stated, “If you do not see these signs in yourself, fear not. It is all about getting yourself in a better frame of mind and looking at the bigger picture to get you over the neurological hurdles that hold you back from being a great and bold leader.”
Scanning the horizon is leadership guidance at its best. It is the exploration of the future; and, how to get there. From their analysis, they develop calculated blueprints identifying the connections between desired outcomes and how to measure their progress along the way. After the initial blueprinting stage, they integrate employees’ viewpoints to nurture ownership in getting to the new horizon.
What elements do leaders use to look to the horizon or when navigating the future? Try any of these concepts:
- This type of leader views the unknown as having many paths to possibilities; and are essentially curious. You see them unafraid to explore, to question, to speculate; and encourage others to also model these behaviors.
- They know there may be complications on the road to the future, but they don’t magnify the new difficulties into something larger than they are. Magnification of problems has become a hallmark of TV shows and the news. Remember how much eggs were maligned in previous years? There are no trophies for excessive worry and angst. They identify the skills and strengths that are required for problem solving, enlisting other key people where needed.
- They give themselves time to practice ‘critical thinking’ about the challenges or risks that are ahead. They gather and assess pertinent information, test the information against relevant criteria and any new standards that may have come into place. And they are humble enough to listen carefully to the experts they have chosen to work with towards ultimate success.
- Is Your Intuition Trying to Help Guide You?
Your intuition is associated with the right side of the brain which is responsible for creativity, imagination, musical and artistic aptitude, and emotions.
Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung also believed that intuition is a powerful force, stating that, “Intuition gives outlook and insight; it revels in the garden of magical possibilities.”
Self-awareness is not the same as intuition. Most of us deny or ignore our deep feelings of intuition, when it could be niggling in your brain as intuition. What we call “gut feelings” or ” intuition” are those that have been formed by your experiences from the past. It may take some time to trust yourself on making decisions or actions using intuition. Some areas to help you use past experiences and not just rationalize decisions using intuition could be:
- Silence your mind. Question, “How do I feel about this decision?”
- Focus on the sensations that cause you to question the current path of things
- Explore whether fear is fueling you; and,
- Don’t allow social pressure to bias you
This is particularly important in recognizing what is important to you, knowing what you want and how you feel in different situations. Gut feelings can identify your true intentions in a situation. If you feel pleased, satisfied, or content with a decision, it is a good indication that your decision coincided with your true intention. However, if you start to resent, or feel uneasy in a situation, you probably did not go with your intuition.Continue reading →
- Become a Change Agent
Whatever industry, profession, community, or culture you are from, we’re certain you have encountered a ‘change agent’ at some time. What is a change agent? A change agent is a person, regardless of age or gender, that lives in the future, is passionate about a purpose or cause; and, can motivate others to believe in and commit to the work of that belief. Change agents usually disagree with current circumstances or maintain the status quo of any situation. These people never seem to run out of energy, even when they encounter resistance against their vision of what the future could be.
Change agents are often in the public view such as Cesar Chavez. Cesar was a self-taught rhetorical genius that inspired Latino idealists to organize themselves into the farm workers’ movement. He called on his people to “Make a solemn promise: to enjoy our rightful part of the riches of this land, to throw off the yoke of being considered agricultural slaves. We are free men, and we demand justice.”
How do change agents motivate others? They use any of the following methods:
- Change agents explain the ‘why’ of their belief. Each change agent has definite beliefs of why the future could be different or better, even if their vision seems colossal in scope. They are able to describe their belief in heartfelt language that all listeners can understand. They appeal to the common denominator of everyone’s life, a place to call home, the love of family, clean drinkable water or even freedom from neighborhood violence. As stated by C. Otto Schamer, “Connect to the deeper forces of change by opening your heart.”
- Change agents convey their vision in ‘loving service’. They are able to demonstrate their vision as a wholehearted offering, not sacrifice, but fulfillment. Then, others recognize this as an outreach of love and enlist into something that is serving a truth for humanity.
- Change agents deliver their vision in multiple formats. They use professional groups to transport their message to larger audiences; and, often use blogs, or Webcasts to reach those that they may not see on a daily basis. Change agents understand that not everyone will understand their message the first time they hear it. The vision or future change may have to be rephrased so that every ‘gets it’ on their own terms
- Return to Your Values
We recently worked with a public relations company that had several departures from senior staff. The Founders stated that those that left said ‘these are not my people now’. They felt that they and the current teams did not hold the same core values.
What are core values? We are all complex beings holding a various set of values or ‘iron truths. If think you represent only a finite set of personal significances or iron truths that cannot be violated, consider where your deep views rest: Patriotic Convictions, Importance of grandparents and relatives, Intellectual growth, financial ethics, Respect for others, Moral worldview, and Reverence for any higher source. Core values are not characteristics such as, kind, loyal, or boldness. They are the principles that are worth living or dying for.
For businesses, it has become customary for companies to also declare value statements, because values guide solution creation. People will have to act on their instincts guided by their personal values. And the quality of a person’s performance in their job will be driven by their own unique personal values. These values will influence a person’s work judgments, priorities, and risk of initiative taking. Personal, and company, core values with inspiring power include:
- You and those you associate with savor the good things recognizing things for which we are grateful and appreciate them by all.
- You and others are compassionate not judgmental. Instead, it is an open state, curiousness and interested in what is happening in and around your thoughts, feelings and actions. Sometimes you have to go ‘find your people’.
- Folks Leave Bad Bosses
Isn’t it alarming those talented employees will leave successful companies even if they have comprehensive benefits, the latest technology to perform their job, or excellent salaries? So even with the economy being tight for job opportunities, why is it that the most talented and top performers leave? The reasons can be many and varied, but review the areas below for employee disquiet and possible response about bad bosses:
A company composed of first promoted or immature leaders will find some basic characteristics that can impact all workers. These unseasoned leaders can demonstrate a lack of follow through, a sense of overconfidence in their skills, ignore employee issues they view as trivial, think emotional intelligence is a waste of time, or rely on technology to communicate with others rather than in person.
Rush to fill empty slots.
Often times, employers will want to fill open positions as quickly as possible, thinking they are avoiding any productivity lapses. Consequently, overqualified employees are placed in positions that do not challenge them and experience extreme boredom. On the reverse side, under skilled staff are slotted into positions that require an accelerated delivery of expertise and find they cannot be successful. Your Action: Both recruiters and hiring managers must agree on the specifics of the position, have a screening process or interview team for initial interviews; and then, only proceed with those qualified candidates that demonstrate an interest in being part of the organization.
Insufficient onboarding program
Orientation programs are not the same as onboarding. Integration into a company culture is not an easy task and sometimes requires 60-90 days of on-the-job attendance. As companies hire experienced talent, they presume that their strong technical and functional competence will help them align within the organization, as well as, the ‘unwritten’ rules of the organization, the invisible networks that influence how goals are really achieved. Not so.
Overly rigid culture
One of the major career breakers that are largely ignored today for new hires, staff and executives alike, is the awareness and integration into a company culture. Countless transitioning executives find the challenge of trying to understand a new culture to be confusing and frustrating. Culture cannot be demanded, ‘We will have an excellent culture!” An over rigid culture or strict hierarchy that does not encourage innovation will certainly cause the creative talent to depart.
Meager Acknowledgement and Recognition
Frequently, new leaders can’t express ‘thank you’ viewing it as a personal weakness or an encouragement to their staff to slack off. No appreciation increases for the staff when they know their leader is unable to verbally state gratitude. You will hear statements such as, ‘They should know how to do their job, or They ought to know what is required!’ And, when only stars are acknowledged, not the supporting teams behind them, resentment will begin to set in place. When given the chance, almost all employees will surprise you with magnificent performance when a genuine act of gratitude is expressed.
Inadequate Professional Development
Creating career paths that are well communicated and understood by employees is not something most companies do well. Again, the departures will say it was due to a bad boss.Continue reading →