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9 minutes | 2 years ago
OS 117: 5 Top Challenges for Today's Leaders
Top Challenges for Today’s Leader Leadership is a general topic that people understand in different ways; in fact people have contrasting and conflicting perceptions of how leaders should behave and what leaders should do. Therefore, there are many gaps between theory and effective performance for leaders. Over the past 31 years in working with leadership in many types of organizations doing different kinds of work and leading different sizes of groups, I have observed these 5 things that are my vision of why many leaders don't make the progress that they are capable of and don't’ get into a stride of continuous improvement that propels them into the place they deserve. So, consequently leaders are over stressed with too many demands on their time, have lower performing teams than expected, and earn less income than possible. Here are my thoughts as to why these leadership gaps and ways to address each one: 1) Not Understanding True Leadership: We have had leadership bad models and have been taught things that aren’t working today, and may have never worked. The “Boss” or autocratic leader is a thing of the past. Many people in positions of authority use power of position as the leverage to get people to perform. If we truly have a team of competent people, then it’s crucial to let them perform, as they are capable. Telling people what to do isn’t the answer to getting the best results, unless the leader only wants to be around to boss people all the time and do nothing else. This doesn’t develop capacity for anyone and wastes the energy, time and talent of the leader. True leadership in my world is Transformational Leadership where the leader is the influencer, visionary, and empowering agent for others to perform. Leaders lead. Others do. Whoever taught us that we should be willing to do anything we ask others do to most likely didn’t mean that we had to actually do it. If so, why have others anyway? 2) Not Being Vulnerable: Fear of being wrong comes from the misconception that leaders must have all the right answers. It’s more important for leaders to ask good questions and empower others to have the right answers. Saying, “I don’t have the answer” is a true way of being vulnerable. One strength of leadership is being vulnerable by letting other know we don’t have the answers and that we don’t have all the skills. We lead by example and not by bluffing. When we bluff, then people intuitively know it, so we lose credibility. Being authentic is a top trait of the Transformational Leader. In face, we should have a team of people with contrasting skills to ours and people who fill in the gaps of our competencies. What a novel thought, eh? 3) Not Understanding the Value of Relationships: Leadership is based on relationship. Always work on relationships with those in your charge. This is misunderstood by many as having to be “friends” with employees. No, that not the only choice. And it does not mean that the leader must make decisions so that people will like them. The inverse is true. Make principle based decisions so people will respect you. Value and respect people over results, then they become more focused on results along with you. Leadership is relationships. Communication is also enhanced through good relationships. 4) Not Understanding How to Manage Self: Writer Richard Rohr says that, “Transformed people transform people.” He also says, “Wounded people wound people.” Not managing self is a start of building a dysfunctional team. If the leader is anxious, then the team is anxious. If the leader is dishonest, then the team is dishonest. You get the idea. Having a value driven, principle-based personal practice is key to high functioning as a leader of others. The team is a reflection of the leader. Not having a high level of self-awareness and self-control is going to drive results that are not desirable. Murray Bowen’s theory of leadership is based on “Differentiation of Self.” It’s critical to manage self to be a high functioning leader. 5) Not Having a Plan:Chasing the “shiny object” is what entrepreneurs are accused of doing. That scenario is not limited to entrepreneurs, however. I’m surprised as to how many leaders are leading without a plan. This is a form of control due to insecurity. If others are dependent on the leader for action directions, then the leader is always in control. This is a system that greatly limits activity and is dependent on one person. With a written plan, everyone knows what to do and when to do it and can function at an optimum level. The leader then guides the process. Reversing these dysfunctions is moving from “Push” leadership to “Pull” leadership. The musical conductor pulls music out of the ensemble by letting others perform up to their highest standard. This is no different in the workplace.
7 minutes | 2 years ago
OS 116: Complexity vs Simplicity
Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.- Albert Einstein There are at least 200 working days a year. If you commit to doing a simple marketing item just once each day, at the end of the year you've built a mountain.- Seth Godin* Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.- Steve Jobs Complexity to Simplicity: The Transformational Leader Creates Clarity Our world already has too many choices. I can remember when we only had the telephone to contact people. In fact, when we needed to call long distance, we needed to have the operator place the call. It was a big deal when we could dial 1 to make a long distance call. Then we got FAX machines. We could send documents over phone lines. This saved sending packages by special delivery mail. Then, the next big deal was email! This was an amazing breakthrough allowing us to communicate with people around the globe. Then came pagers. Then we got cell phones. Then came texting. We kept adding things and not taking away anything. More is not better. We are bombarded each day with so many messages that it's difficult to discern what's important. We live in a mostly over-stimulated world. In music masterworks, some of the most profound moments are those with complete silence or a passage that's pianissimo, following a loud, dramatic passage. There's unique power in the quiet times and the times of silence. It's in silent, quiet times that the presence of God is most felt, not in noisy praise sessions. It’s the leader’s duty and delight to pay attention to what’s happening and how it happens and separate the noise from the essential messages. It’s the leader's job to make the complex simple. This is not a simple task. Cutting through the noise and confusion takes focus, concentration, and a lot of effort. Like the Jobs quote above points out, it’s hard work making things simple. When I was a young piano student, I heard Van Cliburn play a solo concert in Atlanta, Georgia. I was so impressed that he made playing the piano seem easy. It appeared easy because he had practiced. He had done the hard work. He had prepared in order to release his creative energy in performance. Mozart’s music is seemly simple, however it’s so transparent that every note is exposed. It’s delicacy in motion. It’s difficult, not in playing lots of notes, but in precision. Paderewski was known to have said that playing Mozart was simple for the student and very difficult for the teacher. In other words, the simple is difficult. We want to hide behind complexity as leaders to protect our deficiencies, our insecurities, and our lack of knowledge. Leadership is identifying our gaps. Leadership is asking questions and not knowing all the answers. Leadership is about integrity, honesty, and open communications. We get things done and we know how things get done. If we don’t know, we find out how. When the musical conductor prepares for a rehearsal, they spend 2 to 3 hours preparing for each hour of rehearsal. There’s no substitute for preparation. To get to simple takes work. It takes lots of work. The complexity of leadership is in being able to make things simple so others can follow. We want stimulation. * http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/09/the-simple-power-of-one-a-day.html
5 minutes | 2 years ago
OS 115: Choosing Vs. Not Choosing
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” ― Robert Frost Choices are very important in leadership. Making the wrong choice costs money and potentially damages the organization. The burden is on the leader for making effective and wise choices. Not making a decision is a choice. Sometimes, paralyzed by the gravity of the choice, leaders stall and can’t decide. Not making a choice is certainly a choice. What’s the impact of the decision on the organization? What’s the impact of the decision on relationships? What’s the impact of the decision on revenue…customer satisfaction…client engagement…stakeholder involvement…? Asking these questions before making a decision helps leaders recognize the consequences of the decision. Maybe asking those questions before not making a choice would be good, as well. Making wise, informed choices is the duty and delight of the leader. Making poor choices can cost a lot more and, certainly, waiting to make a decision increases the cost or impact of the problem to the culture or to profit as the situation gets worse. The most difficult of choices typically centers on people issues, such as when to terminate the employee, when to give a salary increase, when to correct their behavior, when to challenge a nonparticipating board member, etc. Each of these scenarios causes leaders to shy away from confronting controversial issues. Pay the upfront cost and deal with the situation as soon as practical. That might be before you get the chance to confront someone on an issue. Waiting only complicates things and provides an opportunity for the conflict, if that’s the issue, to get worse. A small matter becomes nuclear over time. Delegate action items so you can free up your schedule and your mind to think effectively about complex leadership decisions. To decide or not…that’s the question.
9 minutes | 2 years ago
OS 114: Being Emotional versus Logical Thinking
The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause. - Gustav Mahler Thinking versus Feeling is Transformational Leadership Leaders lead. The question is…do we lead with our brains or with our hearts? In my studies in Bowen Family Systems, a profound paradigm for leadership by managing and differentiating self, I have discovered a better way to make difficult decisions. The way is to define guiding principles for self and for the organization we lead, and utilize those principles for making good decisions. This leadership perspective is crucial. Bowen defines “Basic Self” as following those principles. When the leader makes decisions for other reasons, like to please others, Bowen defines that as “Pseudo Self.” The bottom line for me is that when I make a decision to please someone else, I’m not serving myself or my vision. Ultimately, the person whom we attempt to please will lose respect for us and completely negate the reason we thought was good for making that decision in the first place. Many leaders lead with their heart and are considered compassionate and caring. Principled leaders who utilize rational thinking and think in systems, are sometimes regarded by feelers as uncaring and insensitive. The latter is not generally true. Making effective decisions in line with principles brings value to everyone and, ultimately, those critics will respect the leader once the results are self-evident. Leadership perspective is the key. To counter the feelings of being uncaring and insensitive and maybe inflexible, here are some tactics to consider that are Transformational Leadership basics: Define Your Ultimate Vision: Know exactly where you want to end up, and write it in compelling language expressed in present tense. Define it as having already happened. Share the vision with anyone in your space who cares about you or your organization, and with those who will benefit from accomplishing that vision. Check for alignment with the vision with key stakeholders and collaborators. Write Down Core Values: Yes, I have blogged about values being useless. That’s true if the values are the final product. Values are the first step in defining the cultural norms. Values are static statements. That’s fine. Just don’t think that these static statements are going to create value just because they have been created. Moving forward, use these values to create Guiding Principles, and build out the goals without violating those values. Create Guiding Principles: Guiding Principles are statements that provide guidelines for making effective decisions, both for the leader individually and for the organization as a culture. When you go to a Disney park, it’s very clear that each employee you come across is operating within the company principles…you are the guest and they entertain you. Write separate principles for yourself on how to manage self and how to make thinking decisions. Create a separate, but compatible, set of principles for the organization in collaboration with those in the organization who will support, protect, and teach them to others. Check my post on Guiding Principlesfor more information. Review and Update Principles Regularly: Once written, the principles must then be activated and applied in every decision. To ensure that this happens, develop a routine for evaluating the principles and revising them as necessary. If you hold weekly meetings, review one principle each week and evaluate how effectively the group is following that principle, and review if the principle still reflects the culture, values, and goals of the organization. Revise and recommit, if necessary, but not for convenience. Holding to principles might be difficult for a previously undisciplined culture. Keep the culture active by constantly keeping the principles in everybody’s mind. A high-performing culture is a culture of discipline led by a leader of discipline. The transformational leader models what they want reflected in the culture.
7 minutes | 2 years ago
OS 113: Excellence vs Mediocracy
Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected. - Steve Jobs As a musical conductor, I understand that concert goers want excellence every time we perform…every time. We are only as good as our last performance. Performance is a skill, as well as an art. It’s not striving for perfection. It’s maintaining excellence in standards. Musicians do what business teams don’t do. We rehearse for every performance. The best musical groups constantly rehearse creating what’s called “ensemble.” That’s a higher level of functioning that only the best performers can achieve. It can’t be directed. The conductor inspires excellence. The ensemble is a reflection of the skill and influence of the conductor. The leader of a business or social-benefit organization inspires excellence and creates a culture of high performance that reflects the passion and skill of the leader. It a synergy reflected and a new Architecture of Engagement TM. All of these strategies are based on the leader seeking excellence in all systems and outcomes and not accepting mediocrity. Unfortunately, the standard is not high in many organizations. The leader blames the existing system and the people, when, in fact, the leader is in a place to change those systems and influence how systems and people work. Excellence is a habit that needs cultivation and inspiration. If we want to change others in the culture we lead, then it’s important to change ourselves. When we change, others in the group adapt. If we don’t accept mediocrity, then we have set the new standard. Here are a few resources for you to explore how excellence is reflected through visionary leadership: Berny Dohrmann, Redemption: The Cooperation Revolution. Berny is the founder of CEO Space where Cooperative Capitalism is taught and practiced. It’s the new standard that will replace the Competitive Capitalism of the Carnegie, Ford, and Rockefeller era. Seth Godin, This is Seth’s Blog. Seth talks about why labor unions were formed and goes on to challenge unions to work for excellence in performance by not stressing the mediocre. Marva Dawn, Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down. This was written several years ago about how churches were dumbing down worship to attract the “Young.” After thirty years, those mainland denominations have lost many members due to this dumbing down. Her first chapter is about how education has also dumbed down over the decades. Alfie Kohn, The Schools Our Children Deserve. This is another challenge to the traditions of dumbing down education through standardized testing. Alfie classifies standardized testing as a form of ethnic cleansing of the culture. The U.S. leads the world in prisons and prisoners incarcerated. Could this be one result of our systems? Today, we are growing a new breed of leader with integrity in their DNA and excellence as their passion. I’m a Boomer and my generation has created this mess. I’m seeing that Millennials are changing the game. Is your passion excellence or do you settle for mediocrity? Hugh Ballou The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM Subscribe to The Transformational Leadership Strategist by Email (c) 2019 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.
6 minutes | 2 years ago
OS 112: Equality VS Excellence in Diversity
“I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.” ― Mahatma Gandhi We hear lots of noise in conversations and in the media about striving for equality of gender, nationality, and race - equal opportunity - equal rights - equal pay, etc. Recently in Blacksburg, Virginia, in a session called “Dialogue on Race,” a young African-American presenter used the phrase “Diversity of Excellence” in his presentation. That phrase made so much sense to me. I have adopted the idea and reversed the words to get “Excellence of Diversity.” The media make up sound bites and promote phrases to get attention and ultimately to get ratings and make money. We all get sucked into this diatribe of mediocrity. We are driven to the bottom…the lowest common denominator…the drivel of sameness. I say to women leaders, “Why do you want to be equal with men when, in fact, you are better? You offer a different paradigm for leadership and a fresh perspective. You have a skill set that is different. Why not claim your excellence and move to the top rather than attempting to be equal?” Most agree and react as if they feel empowered. I repeat this question to minority groups and get the same response. In a society where we have dumbed down our educational system with standardized testing and set the bar to the lowest point in striving for equality, we are teaching each other that mediocrity is the norm. In an address to educators, I heard Alfie Kohn* describe standardized testing as an “Ethnic cleansing of the society.” In Marva Dawn’s book, Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down, the first chapter is the history of how education has been dumbed down over the years. She then describes how churches have dumbed down to attract new members when, in fact, the mainline denominations are now losing members at an alarming rate. We have clergy working as consultants, teaching pastors what to do as a simple formula for success, rather than reaching out of the broken paradigm and getting wisdom from a different source. We have no clearly written guiding principles for personal empowerment in leadership for our organizations. My guiding principle is to strive for excellence through diversity and let the best people do the best work. Do we get stuck because we are threatened by the excellence of someone who doesn’t look like us? What’s your opinion? * The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools, Alfie Kohn
7 minutes | 2 years ago
OS 111: Leaders, Set Your Standard of Excellence
Leaders, Set Your Standard of Excellence You must have control of the authorship of your own destiny. The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand. - Irene C. Kassorla One of the most common problems I encounter, when working with leaders to build results and create effective teams, is described in the statement, "My people just don't do what I need them to do." I suggest that this problem comes from the leader, not from the team. Leadership is defining the desired outcomes, and then making those outcomes become reality. Leadership is a skill and a system. When a leader defines the vision and then sets specific goals to achieve that vision, it's important to leave a place for team members to create their strategies for their work. It is limiting for team members when a leader not only defines the outcomes, but also defines all the steps to get there. You have a worthy vision and have created powerful goals that will drive processes toward achieving that vision. Create systems where team members can create the steps to success - the action plan. Once each team member can contribute a process step, they move from being interested in the vision to owning the vision. When developing the action plan, encourage the team to define the standards of excellence - the critical success factors. Define what success looks like and how it will be measured. If you create a sloppy procedure for this process, then you are creating a less-than-excellent organization. Inspire excellence. Define the goal, move forward by creating a process to define all the steps to achieve that goal, put the steps into a sequence, and then let the team members divide up the responsibility for managing those process steps. Be focused in your process. Allow each member to contribute. Assign responsibilities and deadlines. Shift the accountability from you, the leader, to the team, in a culture of peer-to-peer accountability. The biggest killer of excellence is the boring, unproductive meeting! Rehearse excellence by creating effective systems. Effective meetings empower and encourage high functioning in team performance. The finest musical ensembles rehearse for every performance. Change the misquoted phrase, "Practice makes perfect," to the correct quote, "Perfect practice makes perfect performance." Rehearse for success. Build the DNA of high performance into every system in the organization you lead. TIP: Plan the outcomes at the planning meeting. Plan the process to get to the outcomes. Define the process and outcomes at the beginning of the meeting. Keep the group on task. Excellence in planning leads to excellent results. Hugh BallouThe Transformational Leadership Strategist Subscribe to The Transformational Leadership Strategist by Email (c) 2018 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.
5 minutes | 2 years ago
OS 110: Running and Leadership - Accountability
Hidden Goals Don't Work 5th of 5 Set your goal. Share your goal. Accountability is energy. We think that being accountable to someone might bring us criticism if we fail. We don't want to look bad. We don't want anyone to judge us poorly. When we set a goal and share that goal with someone, it might be frightening. What if the person laughs at our goal? This is a statement of our intentions. This is typically a bold statement of accomplishment. How will we feel if we get push-back from someone we respect and someone we want to see us in a favorable light? There are two sides to accountability: We commit to someone and become vulnerable to that person. If we fall short of our stated goal, then we risk criticism. This is the risk side of accountability that motivates us to succeed. We commit to someone and they become our partner in accomplishing our plan. We don't need to ask. We can't expect this cooperation. They know what we intend, so they know how to provide support. Accountability is a major component to leadership success. Accountability is a major component to running success. No person can help me reach my running goals. Everyone can help me reach my business and life goals. Write your goals. Share your goals. Start taking action immediately. Keep a journal. Share your success. Let the world bring you energy. Celebrate! (My running goal for this month is 40 miles - posted on my social sites.)
8 minutes | 2 years ago
OS 109: Running and Leadership - Focus
Focus on the Outcome 4th of 5 Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. - Thomas Edison You want to quit. Focus on success. Do not quit. This simple concept is very difficult. Along the trail, there are many opportunities to quit - don't quit. On the pathway to success, there are many opportunities to quit - don't quit. Focus on the benefit, and not on the problem.
5 minutes | 2 years ago
OS 108: Running and Leadership - Getting Fit
If I miss a day of practice, I know it. If I miss two days, my manager knows it. If I miss three days, my audience knows it. - André Previn Running to Be Fit 3rd of 5 The first rule is to set your goal. Then begin at once preparing for success. Rehearse for success in everything you do - you are forming good habits that will influence your success and your life. I set my goal on finishing a half marathon. My mind believes it. My body is not capable of achieving it, so I must train daily to be able to succeed. Goals are worthless without an plan of action. Actions are consistent activities moving toward your goal. Fitness happens one day at a time over time. Start now. Don't give up until you succeed. What you become on the way to achieving the goal is better than the goal itself. Start now.
4 minutes | 2 years ago
OS 106: Running and Leadership - Goals
Setting Goals is the Key to Success 2nd of 5 At the root of all success is a vision and intention. We must learn to set achievable goals. I lead teams. I lead meetings. I teach leaders to lead. I can see the end result, because I have defined it clearly. I set a goal to be in shape. I have expressed the goal in terms of running a certain distance in a certain amount of time. I can't accomplish that goal without the following: The belief that I will succeed... A description of what it looks like when I have succeeded... A long-term vision... Short-term goals... A weekly schedule... A daily plan of action... That works for my work, as well as for my running. What about your work? What about your life? Goals are SMART! S = Specific M = Measurable A = Accountable R = Realistic T = Timed Note to the frantic and weary: The "A" for accountable provides the traction that makes goals work. Check out my Podcast 32: Setting Powerful Goals That Work Hugh Ballou The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM Subscribe to The Transformational Leadership Strategist by Email (c) 2018 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.
9 minutes | 2 years ago
OS 106: Running and Leadership - Commitment
Commitment is everything. I decided to begin training for a 5K road race when I was 48 years old. I had trouble running from one driveway to the next one. This was a major change in my life, however, I was committed to succeed. Two years later, I had finished over 50 5K races and was training for a half marathon. My commitment was to, #1 not finish last, and #2 to finish without stopping. I accomplished that goal with every race. I am really bad at this, however, running is a discipline in my life that is important. When I run, I feel better, have more energy, and get more accomplished each day. Running is also my quiet time when I can think and work out problems. Yesterday, while running, I decided to relaunch this series about the connection between running and leadership. For the next 5 days, I will post 5 blogs with ideas for leadership. First, you do not need to have a big team to feel that you are a leader. My simple qualifying points to be considered a leader are as follows: You are a leader if... ...you get things done ...you know how things get done ...you influence other people Here are some thoughts that work for running (or any type of exercise) and leadership. Commit to a goal, make a schedule and follow it Follow the plan, even on days when you don't want to Starting is the key to finishing, but not the whole answer - you have to finish Don't quit - you can make it You don't have to be first If you keep it up, eventually you will get a second wind and finish with a flare When you finish, the sense of accomplishment will empower your day Set your own pace and don't let others tell you that it's not good When I ran my last half marathon, I was almost 65, so I came up with the list below about being an older runner. Being older is no longer an excuse to not try. You can tell that you are an older runner when: In the first mile, your body tells you that you should be home in bed. Your excuse for not being in the lead of the race is that being behind the pace car will make you feel “exhausted.” In the second mile, your body tells you that you should be home in bed. You think you won the race, because you ran longer than anyone else. In the sixth mile, your body tells you that you should be home in bed. The race walkers pass you by, saying “Good job, sir.” (sir is the clue) A runner passes by, saying that he would be running faster, except for the knee transplants. In the eighth mile, your body tells you that you should be home in bed. Your running doesn’t really make you live longer – it just makes life seem longer. Everyone shouts your name, cheering you on, and you think it’s because you are famous in your old age – until you realize that your name is printed on your racing bib. It’s the cheapest form of entertainment you can think of. You run because it’s your only chance to hear heavy breathing again. In the last mile of the race, your body tells you that you should be home in bed. Many of the excuses I hear for not trying are dumber than the list above, but people tell them to me as if the reasons make good sense. What's your reason for not trying?
8 minutes | 3 years ago
OS 105: Tradition vs Change
I have been traveling around the country presenting Nonprofit Leadership Excellence Workshops. In many instances, I’m asked what to do when a board, or members in general, are resistant to change. The phrase, “We’ve never done it that way before!” is often repeated. Change is a fearful thought if other changes in life are too stressful. Change is not an option when there is no understanding of the value of the change. Change for the sake of change is a generator of confusion. However, the only constant in life is that there is change. We are all getting older every day. We change without even trying. Having said those things about change, let me point out that understanding history and tradition are important to the continuity of work within any organization. When working with lay leaders in the church, I find that many of them are not aware of the denominational traditions and theology that have shaped our worship, our programs, and our work in the community. We are informed by learning about the past. We don’t, however, need to live in the past. It is the leader’s duty and delight to observe what’s happening and how it happens, and to respond in a thoughtful way by engaging members in conversation about desired results. Have we defined the desired outcomes from our work and programs, or are we just running on autopilot without thinking about what or why? In Seth Godin's blog post, “Because it has always been this way," he points out that making a change means that we are responsible for the results. I’d like to point out that if we don’t make a change, we are likewise responsible for the results as the leader. Not making a decision is a choice. Leaders ask good questions and listen carefully to the answers. Here are some to ask yourself and your team: Are we (Am I) bound by tradition? What are the consequences of staying with the status quo? What are the different results we desire and what changes will lead us in the appropriate direction? What are the risks on both sides - making a change and not making any change? Sleep on the answers. Hugh Ballou The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM Subscribe to The Transformational Leadership Strategist by Email (c) 2018 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.
9 minutes | 3 years ago
OS 104: Script Vs. Story
Reverse Paradigms - Script vs. Story CEO Space SNAP: Super Networking Accelerated Potential The SNAP is a great networking tool created by Berny Dohrman and Bob Proctor 25 years ago to empower people to connect with more people in less time. It's basically a modified elevator speech, in that it's short, precise, to the point, and powerful. Within the highly refined and specific culture of CEO Space, it's a way for other participants to know how to help you, refer you, or respond in some other way to filling the gaps in your process of developing your enterprise. Presenting the SNAP is also rehearsal. It's an opportunity to rehearse a presentation over and over and test the response in real time. The desired response is for others to give you a "See Me" card with their contact information and a note on how they can help with your request. The system is good, although the skill of the participants is not always consistent. A SNAP is a presentation. Leaders are influencers. Presenting is influence. We influence others to respond to our call-to-action. We MUST define WHAT we want people to do with highly specific and compelling language. The basic flaw is that we recite a script rather than tell a story. People respond to a story if they see themselves as involved in the story or its emotion. Storytelling is an art as well as a skill. The skill improves with rehearsal. The story improves with the artistry of presentation. A leader is first and foremost a person of influence. We must first define the following in order to be a successful influencer: Who We Want to Influence: Define your target market or you risk not having any market. El Mondo is everybody which equates to nobody. Pick your niche and pitch that niche. What We Want Them To Do: The weakest part of the SNAPs that I hear is the call-to-action. We MUST tell the listener what we want them to do. It's that simple, however simple is complex to create. Have your coach help with this one. Why They Should Care: As Simon Sinek shares in his book, Start with Why, nobody will care about the what until they know why. This is a critical paradigm to master and, again, a complex one to create.Our Passion: Be in touch with your passion for what you are presenting. Keep the image of your passion in your spirit and it will be present in your story. Words don't fully influence without injection of your passion. The Relationship: Communication is facilitated by relationship. Be aware that you have and are in relationship with the person to whom you are presenting. If you don't care about them, then why should they care about you? If you aren't getting the desired response, then look at yourself. Are you reciting an ineffective script or are you skillfully presenting by using the artistry of storytelling? By the way, the best stories are short. Hugh Ballou The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM Subscribe to The Transformational Leadership Strategist by Email (c) 2018 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.
4 minutes | 3 years ago
OS 103: Changing Self vs Changing Others
I constantly hear leaders complaining about others in the culture that they lead and focusing on how to change the behaviors of others in order to change the outcomes. The leadership methodologies that I support and champion are Transformational Leadership and Bowen Family Systems. The synergy in those two separate methodologies is about the leader changing self. In Bowen Systems, when the leader changes, others in the culture respond. In Transformational Leadership, the leader sets the bar and models what they want to see in others. When the musical conductor does not get the intended results, he or she looks into the mirror for the answer. If the orchestra or choir respects the conductor, then they perform as the conductor intends. If the conductor is not respected, the ensemble performs exactly as the conductor directs. In the military, if the platoon does not respect the platoon leader, that leader is likely to get shot in the back in combat. How many leaders in organizations get shot in the back on a regular basis…and they don’t even realize that it’s happened? The first priority for the Transformational Leader is to transform themselves. Organizational transformation then follows. By the way, it's time to start that transformation if it’s not already underway.
11 minutes | 3 years ago
OS 102: Leadership Skill of Discernment
Leadership Skill of Discernment The culture of compromise is often accepted as the price of mass. But in fact, this is the crowded road to popular acceptance, and it works far less often than the compromisers believe it will. - Seth Godin* Ours is a world where we are saturated with information, which we are expected to absorb and respond to, often instantly. Not only must we respond, but the expectation is that we will make decisions with wisdom, with justice, with compassion and with a whole array of other values. - Loretto Gettemeier, D.C.** Making the Best Decisions A big part of leadership is decision making. I advocate for not making decisions in a vacuum. Leadership is establishing a culture of excellence. Leadership is building a team of leaders. Leadership is a collaboration building synergy. Despite all of those things I've said about leadership and collaboration, the leader is ultimately responsible for the decisions. Discernment is a key leadership skill. Having written guiding principles is essential for the leader to have discernment in making effective decisions. There should be guiding principles for the leader personally and guiding principles for the organization, the team, the board, for any group or person working and making decisions. These principles provide a lens for viewing the issues and for guiding the decisions. As the second quote above points out, we have lots of data coming at us rapidly. This only complicates our decision making process. Therefore, I have created these 3 principles for anchoring myself for making the best decisions: 1. Perspective: This is the most difficult of the three. We have so many things coming at us, it’s important to get away from the tyranny of the urgent to understand the consequences of each decision. One great tool is the 4 quadrants taught by Stephen Covey. The 4 quadrants are: Urgent and Critical; Urgent and Not Critical; Not Urgent and Critical; and Not Urgent and Not Critical. Planning our work helps to keep us in the Not Urgent and Critical quadrant. Unfortunately, we spend too much time in the Urgent and Critical quadrant wasting time and energy by losing the choice of the best timing to make the decision. There are sliding priorities that are not predictable, so careful planning allows us to accommodate those sliding priorities. Otherwise, we are so driven by the urgent that was left until the last minute, we compromise both the new priority and that which was left undone. This creates stress. 2. Emotion: Managing stress is so critical for leaders. Moving from principle #1 above to this one shows how connected our work is. When one element is out of balance, the entire body of work is influenced…usually in a negative way. Managing self is the principal leadership mandate. Managing self means managing anxiety. There are various ways to manage anxiety, so learn and apply the method that works for you. If the leader is anxious, then the team is anxious. Being anxious puts our thinking into feeling. Making emotional decisions typically blocks rational thinking. Have a process for making decisions that points to rational thinking by you and your team. 3. Process: Having perspective and being balanced emotionally means that you can follow the process you have created for growing the enterprise you lead. Thinking in systems means establishing a process for yourself and your team. Here are my process steps: o Create and Utilize Guiding Principles: We define core values and feel good about them, and then they are simply a memory. Take those values and create guiding principles for yourself and the organization you lead. Use them for every decision. o Define Group Process: Define the level of decision making for each team member. Learn to delegate and create follow-up methods for accountability. Don’t delegate and forget until the deadline. Set up check-in points for mentoring and course correcting. o Ask for Team Input for Decisions: You will discover that you might have missed some detail that will create a problem. You might find that someone has a useful suggestion that you had not considered. Getting input does not mean that the leader must do what others say. It’s a way for getting buy-in and clarity. Set boundaries for what you will and will not accept. Make decisions based on principles rather than wanting people to like you. It’s better to be respected than liked. o Be Flexible: Sometimes we choose a pathway that doesn’t work, even with all the work to be sure that it’s the best choice. Stop when it’s evident that the decision is not good and address it with your team. Being transparent is a good leadership trait. Being human is better than being perfect. Define a process and continually work on self. Leadership and communication are both based on relationship. * Seth Godin's blog post, The Difference Between Mass and Banality ** From “Vincentian Discernment and Decision making”
10 minutes | 3 years ago
OS 101: Doing Less and Getting More Done
Good leadership consists of doing less and being more. - John Heider* I constantly hear from leaders that they are doing too much. I respond by asking how they contributed to the situation. The first response to that question is a puzzled look. It’s a revelation that we actually cause problems as leaders. It is a very sobering fact that we set up problems. Many of those problems are set up by the leader’s over-activity - talking too much, over functioning, defining all the solutions, and telling others what to do. We have learned from others that these are things leaders do. We have been taught the wrong things. I specialize in reverse paradigms. John Heider (quoted above) talks about reverse polarities in his book. Here are some reverse strategies to consider: Talk less and listen more - Over-talking is easy to do. After all, the leader owns the vision and knows more than anyone else, right? Wrong! Once a leader said to me that they were always right. I responded, suggesting that it was more important that the members of the team be right. Too much talking is a sign that the leader is anxious and blocks input from others who might have the right ideas. Observing and listening are primary leadership skills. Doing less and getting more done is empowered by not talking, and listening more. Ask good questions and listen to the answers - Many leaders perceive that they must have all the answers. I disagree. Leaders must ask good questions. That’s the first part. The second part is to listen carefully to the answers. It’s amazing what you can learn by listening if you take away the need to be right and the need to respond to those answers. Listen. Leave some silence. Then respond, if appropriate. Doing less and getting more done is empowered with good questions and intentional, active listening. Observe and respond - Leaders listen to the words from others. Watching how people respond is very informative. Research tells us that only 7% of a communication is in the words. Observe what’s happening and observe how things happen. The musical conductor guides the music making and does not make the music. Reacting is a negative energy. Responding comes with discernment. Watch, think, listen, and then respond. Many times a response is actually not necessary. Having good people and getting out of their way is a good leadership skill. Doing less and getting more done mostly happens when the leader observes. Function less and empower others to function more – Over functioning is a leadership disease. More leaders have it than not. The reciprocity to over functioning is under functioning. The musical conductor draws out the music from the ensemble. Leaders let others function. Doing things for others, making all the decisions, planning all the action steps, and telling others how to think, bring negative energy and animosity. Doing less and getting more done means doing less. Really! This is also a barrier to income. Coach others to solve problems - This is the same theme. Don’t solve the problems. Ask others what they would do to solve the problem. This is not giving up leadership authority. This is inviting others to think. This is giving team members the permission to participate. Micromanaging is telling others how to do things. Coaching is leading others in learning how to do things better. This includes learning to solve problems. If the leader solves all the problems, then the team is dependent on the leader. Effective leaders lead others into higher functioning. Doing less and getting more done is facilitated by coaching others to be better leaders. A good routine for leaders is the daily assessment. Schedule a time at the end of each day to reflect on the day’s activities. Take notes on what went well and what needs changing. Learn from yourself. If others are not producing up to expectations, then look in the mirror and see what to change about yourself. Organizational transformation begins with the leader’s transformation.
9 minutes | 3 years ago
OS 100: Reverse Paradigms, Obstacles vs Opportunities
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. - Henry Ford So, it’s not going as you planned? You are doing too much and your team is accomplishing too little. The work is more intense and the income is down. It’s difficult to see anything but obstacles. It might be time to reframe those obstacles and attempt to define a way forward. Those obstacles can become opportunities if you can rethink strategy. It’s also time to rethink your own skill set, as well. To transform an organization or to transform a team, it’s important to begin that transformation with yourself. Basically, none of us can see our own blind spots - hence, that name. Let’s do a situation analysis... Analysis: Are the perceived obstacles really obstacles, or it is your mindset? Are you defining the problem accurately? Are you attempting to solve a problem before understanding what caused the problem? Is the market telling you that your concept needs to change? Are you too tied up with your own idea to admit that it’s flawed? Is the obstacle the idea or the strategy (the vision or the tactics)? Is the obstacle defining the limit to your ability? Is it time to work on your own self-awareness and team management? Let’s look at a basic problem-solving model. It works as follows: 1. Clearly define the problem (obstacle) and get feedback from your team - be very sure that you have defined the correct problem. Many times, leaders solve problems that are not problems. What is the obstacle keeping you from success, and is it clearly and accurately defined? 2. Identify ALL the parts of the problem setting up or causing the obstacle. Make a comprehensive list of everything that impacts the situation. This is the largest set of data. It’s important to do this activity with the team members - after everyone has agreed on #1 to ensure that everyone sees the problem the same way. If the group is not comfortable with the word “Problem,” consider using the topic header of “Pieces of the Puzzle.” 3. Group the items created in #2. (I use storyboards and half sheets of letter-sized paper to create separate idea cards to place on a board sprayed with repositionable spray mount.) If you can, group (cluster) the cards together by topic or subject to get an idea of what you are really dealing with. This sets up defining a way forward and helps to gain clarity of the accuracy of your perceptions. 4. List all potential solutions. Just list them without priority. Next, see if some of these ideas can be combined for strength or create a sequence of steps. In this process, you will gain perspective and be able to see opportunities emerge. 5. Create the final solution or sequence of steps to the solution. Get consensus from the group and set accountability mechanisms for the process going forward. What I have defined is a process for separating feelings/emotions and moving to thinking. Many times, our emotions color our decisions and we can’t make accurate judgments. Approach problems calmly and directly. Look at the facts and leave emotions aside. Anxiety spreads to everyone in any group. As identified in the quote from Henry Ford, we see obstacles when we take our eyes off our goals. However, ignoring problems creates obstacles that can be threatening to our success. As the leader, you set the standard…obstacles are really opportunities in disguise.
9 minutes | 3 years ago
OS 98: Reverse Paradigms, Controlling vs. Collaboration
One of the biggest traps I experience with clients is that leadership is a term not universally understood and that leaders don’t know how to lead. We have been taught that leaders must have all the right answers and know what to do. That paradigm sets leaders up for problems. No one person knows every right answer or every right tactic. We have teams to fill in our gaps. The trick is to know how to create and sustain a collaborative culture. This defines Transformational Leadership. In order to define the culture, it’s important to define ourselves as leaders and note how we function. Below is a list comparing controlling leaders with collaborative leaders. Controlling Leader: Uses power of position Keeps control of information Top-down decision making Is “always right” Dictates Solves problems at executive level and informs others Creates “silos” of independent work Depends on a “rules”-based culture for limiting activities Attacks and blames people Uses the annual review to criticize Collaborating Leader: Uses power of influence Shares information openly with team Co-creation of decisions Ensures that others are right Listens to input Uses collective wisdom of team in problem-solving process Allows and promotes independent and interdependent work Promotes a principles-based culture for expanding effective cooperation Addresses the facts and issues directly Creates ongoing evaluations with opportunities for coaching and mentoring The principles and behaviors of the leader define the culture and set the standard for the team. Here are positive steps in creating a collaborative culture: 1. Claim Your Leadership Style: If you claim Transformational Leadership as your style of leadership, then your work is to create and empower leaders on teams and to create a culture of high performance. This means learning how the behavior of the leader impacts the behavior of the culture. 2. Create Collaborative Systems: Be good at defining the vision, goals, and specific outcomes in time. Be specific. Create the goal, and then create the action plan with the team. You still get to modify and approve it. If the team collaborates on creating the action plan, then they own it and they will create an accountability process within the team as peer-to-peer accountability. 3. Establish an Evaluation Process: Create the action plan with the team with tasks, responsible person, and the deadline. Set up weekly team sessions as “flash meetings” to check on the week’s deliverables and to define the next week’s deliverables. This is your opportunity to coach members of the team and to define where individuals need extra coaching from you. 4. Ask for Input: Effective leaders ask good questions and listen carefully to the responses. This does not give away the power of making decisions or define weakness in leadership. This defines strength in leadership. 5. Hire a Leadership Coach: I do this myself and I provide this service for others. In order to function on a high level, I have coaches who challenge me. I hold myself accountable by committing to others and creating collaborative action plans. I continue to work on myself and grow skills and my growing awareness of myself. Leaders change the behavior of others in any group emotional system by changing themselves. Organizational transformation begins with the leader.
8 minutes | 3 years ago
OS: 98 Reverse Paradigms, Responding vs. Reacting
Responding vs. Reacting We want to identify and solve problems instantly, when, in fact, we are not really sure what the problem really is. Our reaction is to solve problems and to move ahead, rather than creating a process to respond. Responding is a thinking state, while reacting is an emotional state. Making emotional decisions is the default of an ineffective leader. Making thoughtful decisions is the decision of an effective leader. As responsible leaders, we get to choose. What’s your choice? Yes, there is a difference. Is been said that the difference in reacting and responding is about 10 seconds. Our normal animal behavior is to react to defend ourselves. The learned response is from our developed cortex brain. We must learn to override our instincts to react by thoughtful and intentional strategies for responding to whatever comment or situation that has prompted our attention. Reacting is following another person’s lead, it’s not leading. Taking charge of the situation is leading. The leader defines the culture, the terms of engagement and the anxiety level by their thinking. Reacting is typically not a thinking interaction. Leaders often make a situation worse by reacting. Here’s a short list of the reverse paradigms: Reacting Reptilian Brain Emotional Defensive Instinct Conditioned Immediate Irresponsible Walls Fear Based Victim Mentality Competitive Avoidance Wounded Responding Cortex Brain Thoughtful Engaging Conscious Choice Choice Delayed Responsible Boundaries Relationship Based Self Control Mentality Cooperative Encounter Healthy Being an enlightened and effective leader is not what we are born with. We learn leadership skills. Much of what we have learned is causing us problems and its time unlearn those things and replace them with what works.
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