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How Leaders Make Decisions – Emotionally Intelligent Judgment Calls

How Leaders Make Decisions – Emotionally Intelligent Judgment Calls

“Sustainable leaders know that in serving others as opposed to treating employees as servants is the key to better business results, greater team involvement and happier followers.” - Dr. Maynard Brusman, San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coach

I recently spoke with the CEO of a San Francisco Bay Area company regarding providing executive coaching and leadership development for their senior executives. She asked some very insightful questions to determine fit. She specifically wanted to know how I worked with different personality styles, and my methods for facilitating changes in thinking and behavior.

The CEO and I spoke about my emotional intelligence-based approach to coaching, and my belief that possessing a psychological understanding of human behavior based on neuroscience is important for coaching executives. We also spoke of the need for her organization to create a culture where innovation and creativity flourishes. As part of that effort, leaders would need to examine how they make important business decisions.

The CEO is interested in collaborating with me to help create a socially intelligent corporate culture based on openness and respect. We further discussed how company leaders could become more resilient by working with a seasoned executive coach.

Decision-Making

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman wrote a fascinating book “Thinking Fast and Slow”, and won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work in behavioral economics. Just as Steve Jobs who was not in the music industry revolutionized it, the non-economist Kahneman has revolutionized behavioral economics thinking.

The basis thesis of the book is simple. In judging the world around us, we use two mental systems: Fast and Slow. The Fast system (System 1) is mostly unconscious and makes snap judgments based on our past experiences and emotions. When we use this system we are as likely to be wrong as right. The Slow system (System 2) is rational, conscious and slow. They work together to provide us a view of the world around us and influence our thoughts and behavior. Unfortunately the two systems are incompatible, but shape how we make decisions and our judgment calls.

System 1 is fast, but easily swayed by emotions and can be as easily be wrong as be right. We are on autopilot with this system. System 1 is intuitive and controls an amazing array of behavior. System 2 is conscious, rational and careful but slow. It's distracted and hard to engage. These two systems together provide a backdrop for our cognitive biases and achievements.

This book serves as an antidote to Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller book “Blink”. Although Gladwell never says that snap judgments are infallible and cannot lead to wrong decisions, many readers got that impression. Gladwell's theory of cognition in “Blink” has become widely misinterpreted as a hymn to the hunch. While Kahneman does show how "fast thinking" can lead to sound judgments, he also notes how they can lead us astray.

Judgment: Making Great Calls

What is the fundamental essence of leadership? Is it the ability to make consistently good judgment calls?

Realistically, leaders are remembered for their best and worst judgment calls, especially when the stakes are high, information is limited and the correct call is far from obvious.

In the face of ambiguity, uncertainty and conflicting demands, the quality of a leader’s judgment determines the entire organization’s fate.

That’s why leadership experts Noel M. Tichy and Warren G. Bennis claim judgment is the essence of leadership. In their popular book, Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls (Portfolio, 2007), they write: “With good judgment, little else matters. Without it, nothing else matters.”

Judgment has rarely been discussed in academic or popular publications. Until now, it has been a fairly murky concept. Many assume it’s an inborn trait, but Tichy and Bennis prove it’s a skill that can be developed, refined and nurtured throughout an organization.

In their book, they assert that what really matters is not how many calls a leader gets right, or even the percentage of correct judgment calls. What truly matters is the actual number of important calls he or she gets right.

Effective leaders not only make better calls, but they’re able to pinpoint the make-or-break decisions and get most of them right.

Who Gets It Right?

The framework Tichy and Bennis lay out in their book is simple and clear. But making good judgment calls when it counts is complicated. To better understand judgment, they examine the good, the bad and the ugly calls of well-known CEOs in leading organizations:

  • Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, whose decision to grow his company through research and development transformed GE into the world’s premier technology company.
  • Joel Klein, chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, who made tough calls about teachers, students and parents, while turning around a troubled school system.
  • Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing, whose strategic judgment helped him reinvigorate his company and restore a culture of trust and respect.
  • The late Gen. Wayne Downing, who found an unexpected opportunity amid crisis when he led the Special Operations raid to capture Manuel Noriega.
  • A.G. Lafley, CEO of Procter & Gamble, who bet $57 billion to purchase Gillette and reinvent his company.
  • Brad Anderson, CEO of Best Buy, who made the call to commit totally to a customer-centric strategy and led his people to execute it successfully.

The authors are clear: There is no one-size-fits-all way to make a judgment call. If all patients were the same, physicians could take a cookie-cutter approach to care, instead of relying on the science and art required of their profession. The same holds true for business: Every organization has distinct problems, people and solutions.

Rationality Doesn’t Always Win

Judgment and decision-making are first beginning to appear in better business schools’ curricula, but we don’t yet know enough to fully understand how good judgment occurs.

In 1957, Herbert Simon laid the groundwork on the limits of rationality when he attacked classic economics and game theory. His work demonstrated the need to take into account the real world’s messiness and irrationality when making decisions.

Psychologist and Nobel Prize Laureate Daniel Kahneman gets credit for digging the grave of rational-choice theories for writing: “Research indicates that people are myopic in their decisions, may lack skill in predicting their future tastes, and can be led to erroneous choices by fallible memory and incorrect evaluations of past experiences.”

Neuroscientists’ research also provides proof that, more often than we realize, our brains are influenced by subconscious emotional reactions from their more primitive centers. We’re not in control of our rationality and reasoning as much as we’d like to think.

Nevertheless, Tichy and Bennis use their extensive experience in working with major organizations’ CEOs to extract some basic frameworks for the process of making good judgment calls.

A Framework for Leadership Judgment

Above all, a judgment call should not be viewed as a single-point-in-time event. At some juncture, leaders do make the call, but this is only one moment in the middle of the judgment process.

The process begins when leaders recognize the need for a decision. They consequently frame and name the issue, align people and continue through successful execution. Leaders are said to have “good judgment” when they repeatedly make calls that turn out well, largely because they’ve mastered a complex, constantly morphing process that unfolds in several dimensions.

There are three phases to the process:

  1. Time: This includes what happens before the leader makes the decision, framing and naming the issue, what the leader does during the moment of the call, and what he/she must oversee to ensure the call produces the right results.
  2. Domains: The three critical domains are judgments about people, strategy and leadership during crises.
  3. Constituencies: Leaders make judgment calls in relation to those around them. Relationships are crucial sources of information, and they must be managed during all phases of the process to achieve a successful outcome. Leaders must  use their knowledge of self, social networking, the organization and the decision’s context.

Three Judgment Domains

People: Leaders cannot set sound direction and strategy for their enterprises or deal with crises without smart judgment calls about the people on their teams. This is definitely the most complex domain. Sound judgments about people require leaders to:

  1. Anticipate the need for key personnel changes
  2. Specify leadership requirements with an eye toward the future — not the rearview mirror
  3. Mobilize and align the social network to support the right call
  4. Make the process transparent so it can be deemed fair
  5. Make it happen
  6. Provide continuous support to achieve success

Strategy: When the current strategic road fails to lead to success, the leader must find a new path. The quality and viability of a strategic judgment call is a function of:

  • The leader’s ability to look over the horizon and frame the right question
  • The people with whom he/she chooses to interact

Crisis: During a crisis, leaders must have clear values and know their ultimate goals. Crises handled poorly can lead to an institution’s demise.

The Process of Making Judgment Calls

In all three domains, good judgment calls always involve a process that starts with recognizing the need for the call, with steps that facilitate effective execution.

  1. The Preparation Phase:This phase includes sensing and identifying the need for a judgment call, framing and naming the judgment call, and mobilizing and aligning the right people. While these steps may seem obvious, many factors can contribute to faulty framing and naming, which can result in a bad judgment call. It’s important to allow “redo moments” and continually adjust to get it right.
  2. The Call Phase (Making the Judgment Call):There’s a moment when leaders make the call, based on their views of the time horizon and the sufficiency of people’s input and involvement.
  3. The Execution/Action Phase: Once a clear call is made, execution is a critical part of the process. Resources, people, capital, information and technology must be mobilized to make it happen. During this phase, feedback loops allow for adjustments.

Unlike decision-making, judgment is a continuous process, from inception to execution.During all three phases, there are moments when adjustments can be made (“redo” loops). With feedback and continually adjusting parameters, calls can be revised to maximize results.

When it comes to judgment, the only measures of success are results and outcomes.

Resources and Constituencies

The quality of leaders’ judgment depends on their ability to marshal resources and interact well with appropriate constituencies. Four types of knowledge are necessary for making judgment calls:

  1. Self -Knowledge:Leaders who exercise good judgment calls are able to listen, reframe their thinking and give up old paradigms.
  2. Social-Network Knowledge:Leadership is a team sport. There must be alignment of the leader’s team, the organization and critical stakeholders to create the ongoing capacity for good judgment calls. This is why cultivating solid relationships is crucial.
  3. Organization Knowledge:Good leaders work hard to continuously enhance the team, organization and stakeholder capacity at all levels to make judgment calls.
  4. Stakeholder Knowledge:Good leaders engage customers, suppliers, the community and boards in generating knowledge to support better judgments.

Leaders’ Storylines: Teachable Points of View

How a leader works the judgment process depends to a great extent on who he/she is. Winning leaders — the ones who continually make the best judgment calls — have clear mental frameworks to guide their thinking. They tell visionary stories about how the world works and how they envision results. They energize and enroll people through stories.

Winning leaders are teachers, and they teach by telling stories. They develop a teachable point of view: valuable knowledge and experiences that convey ideas and values to energize others.

This teachable point of view is most valuable when it’s weaved into a storyline for the organization’s future success. As a living story, it helps the leader make the judgment call and makes the story become reality because it enlists and energizes others.

Winning story lines address three areas:

  1. Where are we now?
  2. Where are we going? (The inspirational storyline boosts the motivation for change and defines the goal.)
  3. How are we going to get there?

The storyline is never complete, and it’s always being modified by the leader’s judgments. But without a solid storyline, the leader’s judgments are disconnected acts that may not mean anything on an emotional level. That’s why storylines are necessary to motivate and energize the organization so everyone can move forward and make things happen.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to change bad habits? Authentic leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a sustainable future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “How do I make decisions and judgment calls?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their transformational high performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you increase awareness of how you make decisions and judgments calls. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company..

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping  Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

 

 

 

Categories: 

How Leaders Change Bad Habits – Emotionally Intelligent Leadership

Change Your Bad Habits 

“We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.”

-
Management expertPeter Drucker, as quoted by Marshall Goldsmith in What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

I recently spoke with the CEO of a San Francisco Bay Area company regarding providing executive coaching and leadership development for their senior executives. She asked some very insightful questions to determine fit. She specifically wanted to know how I worked with different personality styles, and my methods for facilitating changes in thinking and behavior.

The CEO and I spoke about my emotional intelligence-based approach to coaching, and my belief that possessing a psychological understanding of human behavior based on neuroscience is important for coaching executives. We also spoke of the need for her organization to create a culture where innovation and creativity flourishes. As part of that effort, leaders would need to change some of their bad habits.

The CEO is interested in collaborating with me to help create a socially intelligent corporate culture based on openness and respect. We further discussed how company leaders could become more resilient by working with a seasoned executive coach.

The Power of Habit

In his thought provoking book “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, tackles an important reality head on. That is, people succeed when they identify patterns that shape their lives--and learn how to change them. This idea--that you can indeed change your habits--draws on recent research in experimental psychology, neurology, and applied psychology.

Duhigg looks at the habits of individuals, how habits operate in the brain, howcompanies use them, and how retailers use habits to manipulate buying habits. The author's main contention is that "you have the freedom and responsibility" to remake your habits. He says "the most addicted alcoholics can become sober. The most dysfunctional companies can transform themselves. A high school dropout can become a successful manager."

"The Habit Loop" explains exactly what a habit is. According to the author, habits make up 40% of our daily routine.  The process within our brains is a three-step loop.  First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which behavior to use. Second, there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is the reward.

Stop it!

Almost all of us delude ourselves about our workplace achievements, status and contributions. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can certainly mislead us when we are told we need to change.

It can be challenging for high-level executives to improve their interpersonal skills. We tend to believe the habits that have helped us rack up achievements in the past will continue to foster success in the future. But as the title of his recent book asserts, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, according to executive coach Marshall Goldsmith.

The more frequently you are promoted to higher levels of executive responsibility, the more important your interpersonal relationship skills are to your success—and the more challenging it is to change bad habits.

It’s natural for successful people to believe that what contributed to their past accomplishments will continue to work for them. They also assume that they can—and will—succeed, no matter what. “Just give me a goal, and let the games begin!” they think to themselves.

But when it comes to changing the way we interact with our peers and direct reports, we often fail to recognize the steps required for ongoing results. Part of this stems from healthy denial, while part may be sheer ignorance. Only when confronted with performance or promotional issues do we open our minds and take action to change bad habits. This usually triggers emotional hot buttons of self-interest.

Four Hot Buttons of Change

Four common values motivate people to change:

1.    Money

2.    Power

3.    Status

4.    Popularity

These are the standard payoffs for success. Having achieved many of these goals, high-level executives focus on leaving a legacy, becoming an inspired role model or creating a great company as their motivation to change. But the hot buttons of self-interest remain embedded.

Discovering What’s Wrong

Identifying the bad leadership habits you’ve accumulated over your career is a task that requires astute investigation, usually through a 360-degree assessment and interviews. When gathering and giving feedback, the interviewer must be sensitive, providing reassurances of confidentiality. Usually, an experienced executive coach will deliver such feedback in a way that prevents you from becoming defensive. This allows you to hear it without taking a huge ego hit.

Ask anyone who works about bosses, and you’ll hear ready recollections of the two types they’ve worked for: the ones they’ve loved and the ones they couldn’t wait to escape. When asked for a list of defining qualities, most people identify the following attributes:

 

                            Good Boss

 

 

Bad Boss

Great listener

Blank wall

Encourager

Doubter

Communicator

Secretive

Courageous

Intimidating

Sense of humor

Bad temper

Shows empathy

Self-centered

Decisive

Indecisive

Takes responsibility

Blames

Humble

Arrogant

Shares authority

Mistrusts

According to Social Intelligence author Daniel Goleman, work groups in dozens of countries, across all professions, will produce similar lists. The best bosses are those who are trustworthy, empathic and who connect with us. They make us feel calm, appreciated and inspired.

The worst bosses are distant, difficult and arrogant. They make us feel uneasy, at best, and resentful, at worst.

Understanding the defining qualities of bad bosses doesn’t really explain how their subordinates developed their perceptions. It often takes several faulty interactions to establish a perception. It may be glaringly obvious that a boss is arrogant; more often, however, impressions build up over time, based on unintended and misaligned interactions.

Habits That Hold You Back

Before we can discuss how to deal with counterproductive behaviors, we must identify the most common problem areas. This special breed of flaws centers on how we interact with other people.

Please note: We’re not talking about deficiencies in skill or intelligence. By the time you are promoted to a high level of responsibility in your organization, you’ve already demonstrated sufficient competencies and office smarts.

The most common bad leadership habits aren’t personality flaws, either—although it may sometimes appear so. Remedying them doesn’t require medication or therapy.

What we are really dealing with here are challenges in interpersonal behavior—the egregious annoyances that make the workplace substantially more noxious than necessary. These faults do not occur in isolation; they involve one person interacting with another.

Goldsmith compiled the following list of negative habits after years of working with top executives in Fortune 500 companies. Some of the qualities cited are subtle, while others are glaringly obvious. Often, they may not appear to be harmful on the surface; in reality, they’re bona fide detriments.

  1. Winning too much. The need to win at all costs and in all situations—when it matters and even when it doesn’t, when it’s totally beside the point.
  2. Adding too much value. The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.
  3. Passing judgment. The need to rate others and impose our standards on them.
  4. Making destructive comments. Theneedless sarcasm and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.
  5. Starting with “no,” “but” or “however.”The overuse of these negative qualifiers, which secretly convey to everyone, “I’m right. You’re wrong.”
  6. Telling the world how smart we are. The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.
  7. Speaking when angry. Using emotional volatility as a management tool.
  8. Negativity (“Let me explain why that won’t work.”).The need to share our negative thoughts, even when we haven’t been asked to do so.
  9. Withholding information.The refusal to share information so we can maintain an advantage over others.
  10. Failing to give proper recognition. The inability to praise and reward.
  11. Claiming credit we do not deserve.The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.
  12. Making excuses. The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people will excuse us for it.
  13. Clinging to the past. The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.
  14. Playing favorites. Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.
  15. Refusing to express regret. The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong or recognize how our actions affect others.
  16. Not listening.The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for our colleagues.
  17. Failing to express gratitude.The most basic form of bad manners.
  18. Punishing the messenger. The misguided need to attack the innocent who, usually, are only trying to help us.
  19. Passing the buck. The need to blame everyone but ourselves.
  20. An excessive need to be “me.”Exalting our faults as virtues, simply because they embody who we are.

This is a scary group of bad behaviors, according to Goldsmith. Luckily, most people exhibit only one or two simultaneously.

The other good news?

These bad habits are easy to break. The cure for failing to express gratitude is remembering to say “thank you.” For not apologizing, it’s learning to say, “I’m sorry. I’ll do better next time.” For punishing the messenger, it’s imagining how you would want to be treated under similar circumstances. For not listening, it’s keeping your mouth shut and your ears open.

Making such changes is not difficult. Most people lose sight of the many daily opportunities to correct these behaviors.

Information Compulsion

Study these 20 bad habits, and you’ll see that half are rooted in information compulsion. Most of us have an overwhelming need to tell others something they don’t know, even when it’s not in their best interest. When we add value, pass judgment, announce that we “already knew that” or explain “why that won’t work,” we are compulsively sharing information.

Likewise, when we fail to give recognition, claim credit we don’t deserve, refuse to apologize or neglect to express our gratitude, we are withholding information. Sharing and withholding information are two sides of the same coin.

Emotions

Other bad habits are rooted in emotion, causing a different kind of compulsion. When we get angry, play favorites or punish the messenger, we are succumbing to emotion.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing or withholding information or emotion. In fact, it’s often necessary to withhold them. It’s therefore vital to consider whether information-sharing is appropriate.

Appropriate information encompasses anything that unequivocally helps another person. Communication becomes inappropriate when we go too far or risk hurting someone. When sharing information or emotion, ask yourself: Is this appropriate? How much should I share? These two questions serve as the guidelines for anything you do or say.

How to Change a Bad Habit

If you recognize yourself on the list of 20 bad habits, you can do something about it. Fortunately, it’s easier to stop doing something than to undergo a major personality transformation.

But the road to change is paved with difficulties. It’s hard to let go of firmly ingrained behaviors. Furthermore, even though you may make some progress, it’s challenging to change the perceptions of others who have become so used to your bad behaviors that they may not even notice your efforts to improve for quite a long time.

One way to facilitate on-the-job change is to ask for help from a select group of peers. Here are some additional guidelines.

  1. Get good information about what needs to change. A 360-degree feedback assessment is usually an effective means of determining how others perceive you. A qualified, experienced executive coach can help you obtain accurate feedback from your peers, bosses and direct reports.
  2. Once you’ve identified a bad habit you would like to change, work with your executive coach to implement a plan of action. Get involved with a small group of colleagues with whom you can work to make improvements.
  3. Apologize to people for your behavior, ask them to let go of the past, and tell them you are going to stop engaging in the bad habit. Ask them to let you know how you are doing, and when you fail or succeed.
  4. Listen to their input, and thank them for helping you. Arrange follow-ups with them after a predetermined time interval.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to change bad habits? Authentic leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a sustainable future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Do I need to change some bad habits to grow as a leader?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their transformational high performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you increase awareness of bad habits. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping  Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

Categories: 

How Leaders Can Change Bad Habits - Stop it!

“We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.”

- Management expert Peter Drucker, as quoted by Marshall Goldsmith in What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

I recently spoke with the CEO of a San Francisco Bay Area company regarding providing executive coaching and leadership development for their senior executives. She asked some very insightful questions to determine fit. She specifically wanted to know how I worked with different personality styles, and my methods for facilitating changes in thinking and behavior.

The CEO and I spoke about my emotional intelligence-based approach to coaching, and my belief that possessing a psychological understanding of human behavior based on neuroscience is important for coaching executives. We also spoke of the need for her organization to create a culture where innovation and creativity flourishes. As part of that effort, leaders would need to change some of their bad habits.

The CEO is interested in collaborating with me to help create a socially intelligent corporate culture based on openness and respect. We further discussed how company leaders can benefit by working with a seasoned executive coach.

The Power of Habit

In his thought provoking book “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, tackles an important reality head on. That is, people succeed when they identify patterns that shape their lives--and learn how to change them. This idea--that you can indeed change your habits--draws on recent research in experimental psychology, neurology, and applied psychology.

Duhigg looks at the habits of individuals, how habits operate in the brain, howcompanies use them, and how retailers use habits to manipulate buying habits. The author's main contention is that "you have the freedom and responsibility" to remake your habits. He says "the most addicted alcoholics can become sober. The most dysfunctional companies can transform themselves. A high school dropout can become a successful manager."

"The Habit Loop" explains exactly what a habit is. According to the author, habits make up 40% of our daily routine.  The process within our brains is a three-step loop.  First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which behavior to use. Second, there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is the reward.

Stop it!

Almost all of us delude ourselves about our workplace achievements, status and contributions. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can certainly mislead us when we are told we need to change.

It can be challenging for high-level executives to improve their interpersonal skills. We tend to believe the habits that have helped us rack up achievements in the past will continue to foster success in the future. But as the title of his recent book asserts, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, according to executive coach Marshall Goldsmith.

The more frequently you are promoted to higher levels of executive responsibility, the more important your interpersonal relationship skills are to your success—and the more challenging it is to change bad habits.

It’s natural for successful people to believe that what contributed to their past accomplishments will continue to work for them. They also assume that they can—and will—succeed, no matter what. “Just give me a goal, and let the games begin!” they think to themselves.

But when it comes to changing the way we interact with our peers and direct reports, we often fail to recognize the steps required for ongoing results. Part of this stems from healthy denial, while part may be sheer ignorance. Only when confronted with performance or promotional issues do we open our minds and take action to change bad habits. This usually triggers emotional hot buttons of self-interest.

Four Hot Buttons of Change

Four common values motivate people to change:

1.  Money

2.  Power

3.  Status

4.  Popularity

These are the standard payoffs for success. Having achieved many of these goals, high-level executives focus on leaving a legacy, becoming an inspired role model or creating a great company as their motivation to change. But the hot buttons of self-interest remain embedded.

Discovering What’s Wrong

Identifying the bad leadership habits you’ve accumulated over your career is a task that requires astute investigation, usually through a 360-degree assessment and interviews. When gathering and giving feedback, the interviewer must be sensitive, providing reassurances of confidentiality. Usually, an experienced executive coach will deliver such feedback in a way that prevents you from becoming defensive. This allows you to hear it without taking a huge ego hit.

Ask anyone who works about bosses, and you’ll hear ready recollections of the two types they’ve worked for: the ones they’ve loved and the ones they couldn’t wait to escape. When asked for a list of defining qualities, most people identify the following attributes:

                            Good Boss

 

Bad Boss

Great listener

Blank wall

Encourager

Doubter

Communicator

Secretive

Courageous

Intimidating

Sense of humor

Bad temper

Shows empathy

Self-centered

Decisive

Indecisive

Takes responsibility

Blames

Humble

Arrogant

Shares authority

Mistrusts

According to Social Intelligence author Daniel Goleman, work groups in dozens of countries, across all professions, will produce similar lists. The best bosses are those who are trustworthy, empathic and who connect with us. They make us feel calm, appreciated and inspired.

The worst bosses are distant, difficult and arrogant. They make us feel uneasy, at best, and resentful, at worst.

Understanding the defining qualities of bad bosses doesn’t really explain how their subordinates developed their perceptions. It often takes several faulty interactions to establish a perception. It may be glaringly obvious that a boss is arrogant; more often, however, impressions build up over time, based on unintended and misaligned interactions.

Habits That Hold You Back

Before we can discuss how to deal with counterproductive behaviors, we must identify the most common problem areas. This special breed of flaws centers on how we interact with other people.

Please note: We’re not talking about deficiencies in skill or intelligence. By the time you are promoted to a high level of responsibility in your organization, you’ve already demonstrated sufficient competencies and office smarts.

The most common bad leadership habits aren’t personality flaws, either—although it may sometimes appear so.  Remedying them doesn’t require medication or therapy.

What we are really dealing with here are challenges in interpersonal behavior—the egregious annoyances that make the workplace substantially more noxious than necessary. These faults do not occur in isolation; they involve one person interacting with another.

Goldsmith compiled the following list of negative habits after years of working with top executives in Fortune 500 companies. Some of the qualities cited are subtle, while others are glaringly obvious. Often, they may not appear to be harmful on the surface; in reality, they’re bona fide detriments.

  1. Winning too much. The need to win at all costs and in all situations—when it matters and even when it doesn’t, when it’s totally beside the point.
  2. Adding too much value. The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.
  3. Passing judgment. The need to rate others and impose our standards on them.
  4. Making destructive comments. Theneedless sarcasm and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.
  5. Starting with “no,” “but” or “however.”The overuse of these negative qualifiers, which secretly convey to everyone, “I’m right. You’re wrong.”
  6. Telling the world how smart we are. The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.
  7. Speaking when angry. Using emotional volatility as a management tool.
  8. Negativity (“Let me explain why that won’t work.”).The need to share our negative thoughts, even when we haven’t been asked to do so.
  9. Withholding information.The refusal to share information so we can maintain an advantage over others.
  10. Failing to give proper recognition. The inability to praise and reward.
  11. Claiming credit we do not deserve.The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.
  12. Making excuses. The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people will excuse us for it.
  13. Clinging to the past. The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.
  14. Playing favorites. Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.
  15. Refusing to express regret. The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong or recognize how our actions affect others.
  16. Not listening.The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for our colleagues.
  17. Failing to express gratitude.The most basic form of bad manners.
  18. Punishing the messenger. The misguided need to attack the innocent who, usually, are only trying to help us.
  19. Passing the buck. The need to blame everyone but ourselves.
  20. An excessive need to be “me.”Exalting our faults as virtues, simply because they embody who we are.

This is a scary group of bad behaviors, according to Goldsmith.  Luckily, most people exhibit only one or two simultaneously.

The other good news?

These bad habits are easy to break.The cure for failing to express gratitude is remembering to say “thank you.” For not apologizing, it’s learning to say, “I’m sorry. I’ll do better next time.” For punishing the messenger, it’s imagining how you would want to be treated under similar circumstances. For not listening, it’s keeping your mouth shut and your ears open.

Making such changes is not difficult. Most people lose sight of the many daily opportunities to correct these behaviors.

Information Compulsion

Study these 20 bad habits, and you’ll see that half are rooted in information compulsion. Most of us have an overwhelming need to tell others something they don’t know, even when it’s not in their best interest. When we add value, pass judgment, announce that we “already knew that” or explain “why that won’t work,” we are compulsively sharing information.

Likewise, when we fail to give recognition, claim credit we don’t deserve, refuse to apologize or neglect to express our gratitude, we are withholding information. Sharing and withholding information are two sides of the same coin.

Emotions

Other bad habits are rooted in emotion, causing a different kind of compulsion. When we get angry, play favorites or punish the messenger, we are succumbing to emotion.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing or withholding information or emotion. In fact, it’s often necessary to withhold them. It’s therefore vital to consider whether information-sharing is appropriate.

Appropriate information encompasses anything that unequivocally helps another person. Communication becomes inappropriate when we go too far or risk hurting someone. When sharing information or emotion, ask yourself: Is this appropriate? How much should I share? These two questions serve as the guidelines for anything you do or say.

How to Change a Bad Habit

If you recognize yourself on the list of 20 bad habits, you can do something about it. Fortunately, it’s easier to stop doing something than to undergo a major personality transformation.

But the road to change is paved with difficulties. It’s hard to let go of firmly ingrained behaviors. Furthermore, even though you may make some progress, it’s challenging to change the perceptions of others who have become so used to your bad behaviors that they may not even notice your efforts to improve for quite a long time.

One way to facilitate on-the-job change is to ask for help from a select group of peers. Here are some additional guidelines.

  1. Get good information about what needs to change. A 360-degree feedback assessment is usually an effective means of determining how others perceive you. A qualified, experienced executive coach can help you obtain accurate feedback from your peers, bosses and direct reports.
  2. Once you’ve identified a bad habit you would like to change, work with your executive coach to implement a plan of action. Get involved with a small group of colleagues with whom you can work to make improvements.
  3. Apologize to people for your behavior, ask them to let go of the past, and tell them you are going to stop engaging in the bad habit. Ask them to let you know how you are doing, and when you fail or succeed.
  4. Listen to their input, and thank them for helping you. Arrange follow-ups with them after a predetermined time interval.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to change bad habits? Authentic leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a sustainable future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Do I need to change some bad habits to grow as a leader?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their transformational high performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you increase awareness of bad habits. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping  Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

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http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

Categories: 

Rudeness at Work

The Rampant Rise of Rudeness

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
- Steve Jobs US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Over the last 14 years, thousands of workers have been polled on how they’re treated on the job—and a whopping 98% have reported experiencing uncivil behavior. In 2011, half said they were treated rudely at least once a week, up from 25% in 1998.

These startling facts were published in “The Price of Incivility”, a January-February 2013 Harvard Business Review article by Professors Christine Porath and Christine Pearson.

After polling 800 managers and employees in 17 industries, Porath and Pearson learned how people’s reactions play out. Among workers who have been on the receiving end of incivility:

  • 48% intentionally decreased their work effort.
  • 47% intentionally decreased the time spent at work.
  • 38% intentionally decreased the quality of their work.
  • 80% lost work time worrying about the incident.
  • 63% lost work time avoiding the offender.
  • 66% said their performance declined.
  • 78% said their commitment to the organization declined.
  • 12% said they left their job because of the uncivil treatment.
  • 25% admitted to taking their frustration out on customers.

Rudeness Realities

Rudeness, whether verbal or behavioral, greatly contributes to deteriorating team spirit and poor performance.

Joel H. Neuman, director of the Center for Applied Management at the State University of New York at New Paltz, cites several common examples:

  • Talking about someone behind his or her back
  • Interrupting others when they’re speaking or working
  • Flaunting status or authority; acting in a condescending manner
  • Belittling someone’s opinion to others
  • Being late to meetings; failing to return phone calls or respond to memos
  • Giving others the silent treatment
  • Insults, yelling and shouting
  • Verbal forms of sexual harassment
  • Staring, dirty looks or other negative eye contact

While it’s truly overbearing to work for a boss who barks orders and belittles employees, most rude behaviors occur between coworkers. The more subtle and malicious forms of rudeness include gossiping, backstabbing, spreading rumors and sabotaging others’ work.

Poor Team Spirit

Simply witnessing incivility has negative consequences.

In one experiment, people who had observed poor behavior performed 20% worse on word puzzles. Witnesses to incivility were less likely than others to help out, even when a colleague had no apparent connection to the uncivil act.

Lower Creativity

People are 30% less creative when they’re treated rudely, according to an experiment conducted by Amir Erez, a University of Florida management professor. Subjects produced 25% fewer ideas, and their suggestions tended to be less original.

Rudeness Repels Customers

Consumers are uncomfortable when exposed to rudeness, whether it’s waiters berating busboys or managers criticizing store clerks. Disrespectful behavior causes many patrons to walk out without making a purchase.

In one experiment, half of the participants witnessed a bank representative publicly reprimanding a peer for incorrectly handling credit-card information. Only 20% of those who saw the encounter said they would use the bank’s services in the future (compared with 80% of customers who didn’t see the interaction.

Managing Rudeness Is Expensive

HR professionals say that just one incident can soak up weeks of attention and effort. According to a study conducted by Accountemps and reported in Fortune, managers and executives at Fortune 1000 firms spend 13% of their work time, or 7 weeks a year, mending employee relationships and dealing with incivility’s aftermath. Costs soar, of course, when consultants or attorneys must be brought in to help settle a situation.

The Leadership Solution

Leaders must be aware of the company’s culture: Does it consciously or unconsciously allow for bad behavior? It’s the manager’s job to set limits on work behavior, enforce standards and policies, and deal with difficult employees in a positive way (early, so negative feelings cannot fester).

Examine your organizational culture by checking with the human resources department for complaints of unfair treatment or stress and disability claims. Look for patterns within a department.  Rudeness and workplace incivility can be responses to frustration, fear and uncertainty in high-stress work organizations.  

What Leaders Can Do

The two main strategies for reducing rudeness are relatively straightforward:

  1. Stay physically and mentally healthy.
  2. Model the right behavior.

Identify strategies that boost your energy level. Take stock of your purpose, passions and positive strengths to become more robust and resilient. Common habits that improve resilience include regular exercise, eating well and getting enough rest. It’s also essential to develop supportive relationships and outside interests.

Incorporate the following strategies to foster civility:  

  • Manage Your Own Behavior. Leaders set the tone, so be aware of your actions and how others perceive you. What you say and do is weighted and easily magnified. Model good behavior (actions and words). In one survey, 25% of managers who admitted to behaving badly said their leaders and role models were rude.
  • Express Appreciation. People need to know they’re valued. Be alert for what they do right, and let them know you’ve noticed their hard work and progress.
  • Recognize Small Achievements.Making progress on meaningful work is the most energizing and motivating event an information worker can experience, note Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer in TheProgress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work(Harvard Business Review Press, 2011). Effective leaders acknowledge even small improvements on a regular basis.
  • Establish a Positive Culture. Employees with a positive mood are 31% more productive, sell 37% more and are 300% more creative, notes business consultant Shawn Achor in “Positive Intelligence(Harvard Business Review, February 2012.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to inspire a collaborative vision? Sustainable leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Does our company culture consciously or unconsciously allow for bad behavior?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their transformational high performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you leaders must be aware of the company’s culture that consciously or unconsciously allows for bad behavior. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping  Innovative Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Strategic Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

Categories: 

Vision Mission and Values Statements

Vision Mission and Values Statements

I recently spoke with the VP of Human Resources of a San Francisco Bay Area company regarding providing executive coaching for the company CEO. She asked some very insightful questions to determine fit. She specifically wanted to know how I worked with different personality styles, and my methods for initiating changes in thinking and behavior.

The VP of HR and I spoke about my approach to coaching, and my belief that possessing a psychological understanding of human behavior based on neuroscience and business acumen are important competencies for coaching executives. We also spoke of the need for her organization to create a culture where innovation and creativity flourishes.

The VP of HR is interested in partnering with me in helping create a collaborative and emotionally intelligent corporate culture based on openness and respect. We further discussed how company executives can benefit by working with a seasoned cognitive executive coach.

Vision Mission and Values

After getting to know my new client, I saw a significant disconnect between their stated vision, mission and values and their actual implementation of same. I also observed that the CEO saw the vision more closely as the purpose of the organization, whereas one of the senior vice presidents viewed the vision as a desired future state. We discussed my facilitating a company leadership retreat to create more clarity around their vision and mission.

Vision, mission and values are certainly important for a company to define and on which to build their strategy and operations. If they are not well articulated or, even worse, ignored, then you have an obligation to open up this discussion with your client. It is surprising how many organizations either do not fully develop these parts of their operating basis or let them get out of date. The first thing to be sure of is how your client defines these and sees their value as a foundation of your specific work.

A "vision" is the definition of the state of nature for the organization some time in the future. It can define either the external view of the world as a result of the organization's activities or the internal state of the organization. An explicit vision provides a clear picture everyone has of progress being made. Its ultimate purpose is to create a sense of shared purpose, motivation, and drive to achieve between the organization and its employees. Its resonant impact should be reflected in the way the board governs, the way the executive manages, and the way people work.

A "mission" describes why the organization exists. It describes its fundamental purpose and core business for the benefit of its stakeholders and society as whole. Focused on the present, it emphasizes what the company currently is and not what it is striving to become. Missions are usually stable, may be similar to that of other organizations, and are frequently at odds with actual activities because succeeding generations of managers have lost the feeling of the original mission.

"Values" are the organization's key guiding principles, fundamental beliefs and expected behaviors. Values help to create a cohesive corporate culture and are critical to supporting the organization's mission and ensuring that its vision is ultimately achieved. They are the basis for decision-making as well as program design, and adherence to them requires continuous reinforcement.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to articulate the company’s vision, mission and values? Visionary leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more sustainable future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself as a leader is “Do we have clearly articulated vision, mission and values statements?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their transformational high performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you gain clarity on your mission, vision and values. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping  Innovative Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Strategic Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

 

Categories: 

The Secret of Success – 17 Success Principles

The Secret of Success – 17 Success Principles

“Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit.That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.”
Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Napoleon Hill is considered one of the greatest writers on success. His ideas are as helpful today as they were 100 years ago. His 17 Principles of Personal Achievementare examples of his belief that “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”

  • Develop Definiteness of Purpose
  • Establish a Mastermind Alliance
  • Use Applied Faith
  • Go the Extra Mile
  • Assemble an Attractive Personality
  • Create Personal Intiative
  • Build a Positive Mental Attitude
  • Burning Desire & Enthusiasm
  • Enforce Self-Discipline
  • Think Accurately
  • Control Your Attention
  • Inspire Teamwork
  • Learn from Adversity & Defeat
  • Cultivate Creative Vision
  • Maintain Sound Health
  • Budget Your Time & Money
  • Develop Positive Habits

Napolean Hill refused to accept that success was the domain of luck or background or the gods, and wanted to provide a concrete plan for success that depended entirely on us. Think and Grow Richis a distillation of the success secrets of hundreds of America's most successful men (not many female tycoons in the 1930s), beginning with his patron, steel baron Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie had given Hill letters of introduction to the likes of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and FW Woolworth, and he would spend 20 years synthesizing their experience and insights.

Money and the spirit

Near the end of Think and Grow Rich, Hill admits that the main reason he wrote it was “the fact that millions of men and women are paralyzed by the fear of poverty." This was in the America of the 1930s, still scarred by the Depression, when most people were focused on avoiding poverty rather than getting rich. That Hill's book did not stop at poverty avoidance, but dared to be about becoming fabulously rich, may have forever classified it in some minds as a greed manual, but this is precisely what gave it its huge attraction.

The link between spiritual values and making money is something non-Americans may find difficult to take seriously or even comprehend, yet it is the very expression of American morality. Wealth creation is a product of mind, combining reasoning, imagination and tenacity. Hill understood that uniqueness, expressed in a refined idea or product, would always eventually meet with monetary reward.

The concept that all earned riches and achievement comes from the mind is commonplace now - it is the basis of the knowledge society/information age. Yet in 1937 Hill was already talking about 'brain capital' and the marketing of one's self as a provider of non-physical services. The sage-like qualities of the book are encapsulated in its title: 'Think and grow rich' is effectively the motto, not of Hill's, but of our era.

Desire

Hill relates the story of Edwin C Barnes, who arrived on Thomas Edison's doorstep one day and announced that he was going to be the inventor's business partner. He was given a minor job, but chose not to see himself as just another cog in the Edison business wheel, imagining himself as the inventor's silent partner. This he eventually did become. Barnes intuitively knew the success secret of willingness to burn all bridges, ensuring there is no retreat to a former, mediocre life. Definiteness of purpose always yields results, and Hill includes a six-step method, developed by Andrew Carnegie, for turning 'white-hot desires' into reality.

Hill counsels never to worry if others think your ideas are crazy. Marconi's friends took him to a mental hospital for believing that he could send `messages through the air' (he invented radio). Hill's famous statement is: 'What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve', but his great insight is that no more effort is required to aim high in life than to accept an existence of misery and lack.

Infinite intelligence

A defining feature of this classic is its respect for the ineffable, being possibly the first of this century's prosperity classics to suggest that mental attunement with `Infinite Intelligence' (the Universe, or God) is the source of wealth. Hill realized that consciousness was not confined to the brain; rather, the brain was an element of the great unified Mind. Therefore, to be open to this larger mind was to have access to all knowledge, power and creativity.

He mentions Edison's retreats to his basement where, in the absence of sound and light, he would simply 'receive' his ideas. A person receptive to this realm is likened to a pilot flying high above where normal people work and play. Such vision allows them to see beyond the strictures of regular space and time.

The subconscious and our connection to Infinite Intelligence

Hill illustrates the concept of Infinite Intelligence through analogy to a radio receiver. Just as we can receive important messages if we are tuned in, thoughts we hold about ourselves are effectively beamed out to the world through the subconscious, boomeranging back as our 'circumstances'. By understanding that our experiences matter only because of how we perceive them, and becoming the master of our own thoughts, we can control what filters into our subconscious. It becomes a better reflection of what we actually desire, and 'broadcasts' to the infinite realm clear messages of those desires.

Since all thought tends to find its physical equivalent, we create the right conditions for manifesting our desires. This is why it is important to write down the exact figure of how much money we want to possess. This amount, once entrenched in our subconscious, is removed from the conscious mind and its doubts, and helps to shape our actions and decisions towards its realization.

The concept extends to prayer. Most people give up on prayer because it doesn't work for them, but Hill believed this to be essentially a failure of method. Whatever we seek through prayer has slim chances of eventuating if it is just a heartfelt wish, muttered through the conscious mind. What we desire cannot remain at this level - it must become part of our unconscious being, almost existing outside of us, for it to really have effect.

Summary

Think  and Grow Richcovers faith, persistence, decision, procrastination and creating a mastermind of people around you. The book goes beyond money. He makes an effort at the outset to define 'rich' in terms of quality friendships, family harmony, good work relationships and spiritual peace. Further, he warns us not to rely on position or force of authority, remarking that most great leaders began as excellent followers and that we have to learn how to serve before we can achieve.

Hill's central idea, that the source of wealth is non-material, is yet to be fully appreciated - we still tend to worry about our level of education or amount of capital more than about intangible assets such as persistence, vision, and the ability to tap into the Infinite and shape the subconscious.Successful people are shy of attributing their wealth or influence to such 'spiritual' abilities, but Hill knew their importance.

TIP:

Read more about each principle at Success.com. Pick one or two principles to work and act on each month.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
- Steve Jobs US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to inspire a collaborative vision? Sustainable leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Do I believe that I can achieve what the mind conceives?" Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their transformational peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you achieve success. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping  Innovative Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Strategic Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

Categories: 

The Magic of Mentoring

The Magic of Mentoring

When people think of mentoring, they often associate it with an older executive who counsels a promising newbie. The senior leader advises the junior employee on his career, navigating office politics and what’s needed to get ahead.

But mentoring has dramatically changed over the last few decades.

In “Demystifying Mentoring,”a February 2011 Harvard Business Review blog post, Contributing Editor Amy Gallo identifies four common mentoring myths:

Myth #1: Mentoring is a formal long-term relationship. Because the business world moves fast and people frequently change jobs, a long-term advisory relationship may be unrealistic. Mentoring can be a 1-hour session; it needn’t be an official 6-month assignment.

Instead of focusing on the long term, think of mentoring as a tool you can access when you need it. Of course, advice and guidance may be more relevant if they come from someone who knows you and understands your goals. But you still need to build relationships so you have connections in place when you require advice. In some instances, you may wish to consult people who don’t know you as well, but can offer a fresh perspective.

Myth #2: You have to find one perfect mentor. It’s actually quite rare these days for people to get through their careers with only one mentor. In fact, many people have several esteemed advisors. Seeking a variety of perspectives on a crucial issue may be warranted.

Myth #3: Mentoring is just for junior-level employees. Many people assume they need a mentor only when starting their careers. In reality, professionals at every developmental stage can benefit from a mentoring relationship. You may be surprised to find that reverse mentoring often occurs (a senior manager, for example, learns technology skills from a junior employee).

Myth #4: Experienced professionals mentor out of the goodness of their hearts. It can be an honor to be asked to mentor someone, but the relationship is about more than respect for a trailblazer. Mentoring should be useful to both parties. Think about what you can offer a potential mentor:

  • Can you provide a unique perspective on his role in the organization?
  • Do you bring valuable outside information that can help your mentor in her job?

While not a direct barter, you may be able to offer your prospective mentor a promise of future assistance.

Do’s and Don’ts

Mentoring can take many forms,but your goal is to find the right kind of advice, from the right person, at the right time.

Gallo offers the following guidelines in her Harvard Business Review article:

Do:

  • Build a cadre of people you can turn to for advice when you need it
  • Nurture relationships with people whose perspectives you respect
  • Think of mentoring as both a long- and short-term arrangement

Don’t:

  • Assume that your success or experience precludes your need for a mentor
  • Rely on one person to help guide your career
  • Expect to receive mentoring without providing anything in return

Encouraging Reciprocity

“Fundamentally, mentoring is about growing—mentors growing with protégés, protégés growing with mentors.”~ Chip R. Bell and Marshall Goldsmith, Managers as Mentors, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Third Edition, 2013

An effective mentoring relationship can be best described as a mutual search for wisdom. It’s grounded in a true partnership that thrives on reciprocal facilitation of learning.

Such reciprocity requires the mentor to surrender power differences to build rapport and trust. Learning cannot occur with fear in the room.

Bell and Goldsmith encourage the “SAGE” approach to forming the foundation for an effective mentorship:

S = Surrendering. Power, authority and command (or the protégé’s perception of these traits in a mentor) can doom the dialogue necessary for learning.

A = Accepting. Strive for a safe relationship. The protégé must trust the mentor to provide an environment that encourages risk and experimentation.

G = Gifting. A mentor should supply advice, feedback and/or focus. This stage is actually the most delicate. If the mentor has failed to pave the way for Surrendering and Accepting, the  protégé may ignore, undervalue, resist or reject the gift of knowledge.

E = Extending. A mentor must help the protégé apply information to real-life experiences so self-directed learning may occur. Creative teaching tools include role-playing, feedback and storytelling.

Quick Tips for Mentors and Protégés

The quality of your mentoring relationship will determine its ultimate success. Each partner must accept responsibility for making it work. When something isn’t gelling, be sure to communicate your concerns. When expectations are met, let go and move on.

Bell and Goldsmith offer some fundamental tips in Managers as Mentors:

For Being a Great Protégé:

  • Select a mentor who can help you be the best you can be—not the one who can ease you into a promotion.
  • You can sometimes learn more from people who are different from you.
  • Clarify your goals and expectations for the mentoring relationship, and communicate them in your first meeting.
  • Be yourself. Be willing to take risks with new skills and ideas.
  • When given feedback, listen well and say thank you.

For Being a Great Mentor:

  • Mentoring is a partnership to help your protégé learn. It’s not about being an expert or authority.
  • Don’t instruct; foster discovery. Ask powerful questions instead of giving smart answers.
  • Be authentic, open and sincere. Establish a comfortable and safe environment.
  • Act more like a friend than a boss.
  • Be curious and attentive.
  • Give feedback with a strong focus on the future, not the past.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Effective mentoring is essential for leadership development. Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who want to be effective mentors? Mentors tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to collaboratively grow others and help create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Do I provide mentoring in the spirit of a mutual search for wisdom?” Sustainable organizations provide mentoring as part of their coaching and mentoring culture.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you become a more effective mentor. You can becomea leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders. Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
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How to Make Great Leadership Decisions

How to Make Great Leadership Decisions

The normal state of your mind is that you have intuitive feelings and opinions about almost everything that comes your way.~ Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize laureate in economics

I recently spoke with the VP of Human Resources of a San Francisco Bay Area company regarding providing executive coaching and leadership development for the company CEO. She asked some very insightful questions to determine fit. She specifically wanted to know how I worked with different personality styles, and my methods for initiating changes in thinking and behavior that support resonant leadership.

The VP of HR and I spoke about my approach to coaching, and my belief that possessing a psychological understanding of human behavior based on the latest neuroscience research is an important competency for coaching executives. We also spoke of the need for her organization to create a sustainable culture where innovation flourishes.

The VP of HR is interested in partnering with me in helping company executives improve their emotional intelligence and decision-making skills. We further discussed how high performing company executives can benefit by working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership development expert.

Age is such a high price to pay for maturity. -- Tom Stoppard

Great Leadership Decisions

We are quick to pass judgment and make snap decisions. The smarter and more educated we are, the more overconfident we are about our conclusions.

Humanity doesn’t have a good track record for decision-making. Businesses are even more notorious for failed product launches, mergers and acquisitions.

Clearly, our brains are flawed when it comes to making sound choices. We are easily biased, prone to influence from emotions and at times irrational without conscious awareness.

Researchers have long studied failed business decisions to identify common stumbling blocks. Given that we’re more irrational than we’d like to believe, how can we improve the quality of our leadership decisions?

Decisions: Based on Analysis or Process?

Leaders often carefully analyze numbers to make important decisions:

  • Should we launch a new product or service?
  • Should we change our organizational structure?
  • Should we expand to a new country?
  • Should we acquire another firm?

They also consider intuitive decision processes:

  • Discussion of uncertainties
  • Inclusion of contrary perspectives
  • nterviewing a range of people with other ideas
  • Exploration of alternative ideas

Business professor Dan Lovallo and consultant Olivier Sibony tracked more than 2,200 business decisions over five years to determine how they were made: analysis or process (“The Case for Behavioral Strategy,” McKinsey Quarterly, March 2010).

After examining outcomes (revenues, profits and market share), they found that “process mattered more than analysis—by a factor of six.”

“Superb analysis is useless,” they concluded, “unless the decision process gives it a fair hearing.”

Yet, many business leaders are skeptical about the value of a decision process over hard-number analyses. The research is nonetheless clear: A better decision process substantially improves results and associated financial returns.

Avoiding Errors

Each of us can learn to recognize faulty thinking that contributes to decision errors:

  • Confirmation bias — A tendency to favor information that confirms our existing beliefs
  • The status-quo trap — An irrational preference for the current state of affairs. The current baseline serves as a reference point, and any deviation is perceived as a loss.
  • Loss aversion — A tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains. Some studies suggest losses are psychologically twice as powerful as gains.
  • Sunk-costs fallacy — When people make decisions about a current situation based on what they have already invested
  • Planning fallacy — Estimating and forecasting errors occur when an optimism bias influences decisions and forecasts in policy, planning and management. Leaders tend to underestimate costs and overestimate completion times.

Awareness of biases is necessary, but it won’t necessarily prevent problems. It’s hard to correct for errors with only simple awareness. Most of us over-rely on data to support our decisions, without realizing that we unconsciously select facts and figures that confirm our preexisting ideas and opinions.

One of the most popular decision-making processes is the pros-and-cons list, which requires us to weigh opposing points of views. It makes sense, and it’s easy to use. But over the last 40 years, psychology researchers have identified thinking biases that doom this decision-making model. There are more productive processes for making good decisions.

The WRAP Process

Professors Chip and Dan Heath propose the “WRAP Process” in Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (Random House Digital, Inc., 2013):

1.  W= Widen Your Options: When confronted with a decision, we have a tendency to define it within a narrow frame. Should we do this…or not? This way…or that way? Instead, we should substitute “and” for “or.” Narrow framing creates missed options and opportunities.

2.  R= Reality-Test Your Assumptions: When analyzing options, you gather information (both pro and con). But it’s hard to escape confirmation biases that unconsciously draw you to selecting self-serving information.

3.  A= Attain Distance before Deciding: You probably pride yourself on your ability to sift through data and be decisive, but no one is immune from emotional influences. Feelings can drive you to make wrong decisions unless you gain some distance.

4.  P= Prepare to Be Wrong: Once we make a decision, we look for confirming evidence that we’re right. Most of us are overconfident about how the future will unfold. But no one is immune from forecasting errors and the planning fallacy. We can help ensure success by preparing to be wrong.

Organizations can avoid decision errors by requiring leaders and managers to use checklists, while fostering a culture where people watch out for one another. Team members should be taught to guard against biases and develop a sophisticated awareness of decision-making obstacles.

Every organization is essentially a factory that manufactures judgments and decisions. It must therefore work to ensure the quality of its “products” at every developmental stage, to include:

  • Framing of the problem to be solved
  • Collection of relevant information
  • Consideration of alternative points of view
  • Reflection, forecasting and pre-mortem reviews

Leaders will make better choices when they trust the decision-making process and their critics to be informed and fair, and when their decision is judged by how it was made — not only by how it turned out.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders?Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders? Sustainable leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more compelling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Do our company leaders make great leadership decisions?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their leadership development programs.

Working with a seasoned cognitive executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help innovative leaders make great leadership decisions for a sustainable future. You can become a resonant leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping  Companies Assess, Select, Coach and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Talent Management; Leadership Development; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

Subscribe to Working ResourcesFREE E-mail Newsletter:
http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard’s Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com
E-mail: mbrusman@workingresources.com
Voice: 415-546-1252

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

Categories: 

4 Timeless Qualities Of Strategic Leaders

Being a marketing leader in today's economy reminds me of my first solo cross country flight in 1988: even when I think I'm totally in control, bad things can happen.

I prepared one week in advance for this adventure from Stratford, Connecticut to Concord, New Hampshire. I had all of my sectional charts clearly marked, and the forecast was clear blue skies and calm air. As I crossed the invisible aerial border from Connecticut to Massachusetts, something strange happened.

I was headed for an airport--but it wasn't the Concord airport. In fact, it had two runways. It took me several seconds to realize it was Manchester airport, a military base. Visions of armed military guards greeting me and my Cessna 152 were scary. Even though I had meticulously prepared for this day, my plans were almost thwarted.

As the role of marketing continues to evolve at breakneck speed, do you ever feel like you are no longer the captain of your own journey? These are trying times--especially for B2B marketers--and our traditional flight plans need revisions.

Here's how I define a strategic marketing leader, and their attributes.

In general, a top marketing leader is someone who influences the hearts and minds of others to improve their conditions. And because information is moving at record speed and crossing organizational hierarchies, different approaches to leadership are emerging. After advising marketing and sales executives for over 15 years, I still cannot find the perfect marketing leadership model, but I can identify four timeless qualities of a strategic leader:

1. Articulate. Twitter is our ally. It has forced many of us to become more succinct and clear with our language.

Bestselling author and consultant Alan Weiss says that "Language controls the discussion; discussion controls the relationships, and relationships control the business." This is the number one differentiators between a practitioner and a strategic leader.

2. Accepting. Accept yourself, warts and all. Laugh at your blind spots. Accept what you can change and what you cannot. Acceptance makes it much easier to choose your response to the chaos surrounding us. The greatest leaders I have met have their own ritual to foster acceptance and compassion for themselves and others. While flying from New York to San Diego, I had the privilege of sitting next to Joseph Hoar, the U.S. General who served under Colin Powell in Somalia and Middle East. He told me that "every day, no matter what, I take time to reflect."

He is one of the most accepting, peaceful leaders I have ever met. Personally, I foster acceptance when I turn down the noise, walk away from my computer, and spend time in nature or meditate.

3. Aggregation. A strategic marketing leader spots trends in disparate places, and sees patterns to better understand the big picture. I find my greatest inspiration and new ideas by spending time with clients and people outside of my industry. When I spent a day touring Zappos, the online retailer in Henderson, Nevada, I walked the halls with CEO Tony Hsieh. He saw many years ago that building another online shoe store was not sustainable. Creating a "wow" customer service company was. He sold the company to Amazon, and today they continue to thrive--even though their parent company recently launched a similar website.

4. Adaptable. I've been a business author and columnist for 14 years, and will never forget a conference I attended which featured the late Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I was told prior to the conference I would never get time with Stephen. Then, at the last moment, the L.A. Times reporter cancelled and a spot opened up. I had just seven minutes to prepare for a fifteen minute interview. I silently panicked. When I told him I was unprepared, he offered me an oatmeal cookie. We were off and running. It was the best 35 minute interview I can remember. I was proud of myself for living "in the moment." From that day forward, I realized that momentum happens when I accept that perfect is the enemy of done.

Nike CEO Mark Parker was recently quoted in Fast Company as saying "Companies and people tend to look at chaos as an obstacle, a hurdle. We look at it as an opportunity: Get on the offense." Now is the time to consider buying weaker competitors, entering new markets, launch new programs and processes, and optimize your marketing and sales teams.

Those are the fundamentals of strategic leadership in a chaotic world. The next time you are flying towards your destination, don't be afraid to take a sharp right turn.


Related Posts:

Why Marketers Need to Channel Captain Kirk
Meditating on Growth Challenges

The Power of Silence

[Image: Flickr user Jim Sher]

This post originally appeared in FastCompany

Categories: 

Wisdom 2.0's Compassionate, Chaos-Reducing Brand Of Leadership

Where can you go to meet a Tibetan nun, the CEOs of Ford and LinkedIn, an acclaimed mindfulness teacher, and an African drummer--all in one event? Wisdom 2.0. Behind the curtain of this four-day utopian festival are dozens of important takeaways for any business leader.

This conference began four years ago when author and conference host, Soren Gordhamer, raised this question: How can mindfulness and technology peacefully co-exist in a metrics-driven, impersonal Web world?
 
I attended Gordhamer's fourth annual gathering in San Francisco with 1,700 other personal development junkies (full disclosure: Wisdom 2.0 gave me a free ride for the event). I arrived in search of insights that would help my clients and readers, most of whom are high achieving, innovative, tech-savvy, exhausted leaders. In my recent CMO survey, the majority of them told me that they struggle with managing their personal effectiveness and leading their teams.
 
Speakers came from a broad variety of backgrounds, but they expressed some common experiences. Their insights will help you mindfully modify strategic plans, contemplate acquisitions, reorganize your teams, and pursue new market opportunities:
 
1. Applying intellect to solve every problem and spark innovation is no longer sufficient. As Jon Kabat-Zinn said, "Thinking can be incredibly tyrannizing, such as creating anticipation anxiety. We get plenty of training in thinking, but not in awareness." His three decades of mindfulness teachings, books, and research have made dramatic strides in reducing stress for millions.
 
2. We have not yet reached equilibrium in how we apply technology to improve people's lives. MIT professor, author and psychologist Sherry Turkle shared some sobering examples. She has witnessed many mothers breastfeeding while texting--shutting down a critical human connection with their baby. Parents allow their children to use smartphones and electronic games during mealtimes, eradicating important social interaction and conversations.
 
3. Innovative companies need to take purpose-related discussions seriously. Making money generating double digit growth are shallow and unsustainable goals. LinkedIn's CEO Jeff Weiner illustrated this beautifully. "Our purpose at LinkedIn is to create economic opportunity for people. If we do it right, then revenue growth will naturally happen. This is very well aligned with managing compassionately." Weiner's organization now serves over 200 million members and has 26 offices.
 
4. Great leaders consistently create white space to reflect and rest. Padmasree Warrior, Cisco Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, spent 19 years working on increasing her meditation time from two minutes to twenty minutes daily. She dedicates her weekends to family, haiku and painting. She said these activities help her maintain the big picture and a broader understanding of humanity.
 
5. Business as usual is no longer an option. Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post and investor in Heart Math, a promising mobile stress reduction app, believes that "Our world has become unmanageable. We go from crisis to crisis. Many of our challenges, such as sequestration and the fiscal cliff, are manufactured. Many people with very high IQs are making very bad decisions. What's missing is wisdom."
 
Are your investments and processes living in the Industrial Age and contributing to chaos, or alleviating stress in people's lives?
 
Gordhamer also took this concept seriously when he designed Wisdom 2.0’s agenda. Instead of packing the days with endless lectures, tight coffee breaks, and keynote speakers, his planners provided long lunch times, small "tribe" special interest discussions, and myriad yoga and meditation sessions. Meeting planners could learn from his model.
 
It is time to prioritize and promulgate healthy living, mindfulness and compassion in our organizations. We need to tap into a higher source of insight to achieve great things in today's chaotic world.
 
See you on the mat.
 
Image: Flickr user Giuseppe Lotito]
 
This post originally appeared in FastCompany. Copyright 2013, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.
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