Pause Before You Plan

pause before you plan

 

This is a lovely moment. The darkest day of the darkest week of the year in the northern hemisphere.

It is the moment before the balance shifts and light begins to overtake darkness.

On the winter solstice, the rhythm of the sun pauses as it changes direction from decrease to increase.

If we pay attention, we, too, can’t help but pause.

This darkest day of the darkest week beckons us to pause.

What does any great athlete do before they…

…. dive into the water

…. throw the discus

…. grab the rings

They pause.

What are they thinking about?

Nothing — absolutely nothing.

Shabbat means stop, cease. That’s what this week beckons us . . . → Read More: Pause Before You Plan

First Engage Yourself: 7 Ways to Increase Your Own Engagement and Satisfaction

It’s been over 10 years since the dismal results of the Gallup employee engagement study were first reported by Marcus Buckingham. Since then, the term “employee engagement” has become common place. With such a strong focus on its importance and over a decade to address the issues, it would be reasonable to expect improvement.

But the news is not good. The results of The 2012 Towers Watson Global Workforce Study indicate that 43% of the global workforce is either detached or actively disengaged.

If you are a manager, these numbers should alarm you. Perhaps you’ve had discussions about it or even tried to do something.

But before you focus further on your employees, it’s a good idea to take a step back and . . . → Read More: First Engage Yourself: 7 Ways to Increase Your Own Engagement and Satisfaction

Are You Creating Our Future or Just Trying to Survive?

This summer I was fortunate to attend the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, the publisher of the book I co-authored with Ken Blanchard Full Steam Ahead! Unleash the Power of Vision. The mission of Berrett-Koehler is “to create a world that works for all.”

Some of the most respected thought-leaders in the field of leadership and social change shared their vision for the future – Ken Blanchard, Margaret Wheatley, Peter Block, BJ Gallagher, Richard Leider, John Perkins, and Brian Tracy to name a few. Some of the speakers were inspiring, others thought-provoking and some were challenging.

Yet each of them demanded that we step outside our comfort zone and look at a bigger picture – to take responsibility for making a contribution . . . → Read More: Are You Creating Our Future or Just Trying to Survive?

7 Ways to ReWire Your Brain and Become a Better Leader

Over the last few decades, studies in neuroscience have shown that we can actually physically rewire our brains. We can change the “default network” we were born with, the one that ensured the survival of our primitive ancestors who lived in a very different world.

Our “fight-flight” reaction and strong memory for painful experiences are hardwired from birth. Our brains detect negative information faster than positive information and are drawn to bad news. This hardwiring is further reinforced as we grow up because our negative experiences leave an indelible trace in our brain. The brain continues to learn and change itself throughout our life.

The good news is we are capable of over-riding our primitive reactions that don’t serve us well, and creating new . . . → Read More: 7 Ways to ReWire Your Brain and Become a Better Leader

It’s Easier to Give Than to Receive, But Not Necessarily Better

How many times have you heard, “It’s better to give than receive?” It’s so ingrained in our culture, we don’t even question it.

If you are in a leadership role, chances are you believe this wholeheartedly. Which means you also probably believe you should

always be competent,

never make mistakes,

and always be strong.

And likely you believe you should only receive when you have something to give in exchange.

One problem with this attitude is that when you are in a situation where you don’t have a choice and must receive, you are likely to feel

…humiliated

…incompetent

…stupid

because it challenges your self-image.

It is easier to give than to receive, . . . → Read More: It’s Easier to Give Than to Receive, But Not Necessarily Better

3 Activities to (re)Discover Your Vision

In my last post, Dig Below Your Dreams to Discover Your Vision, I discussed why it is important to re-connect with your dreams. If you’re not clear about what you really want, you are likely to set goals that will not be truly satisfying once accomplished.

We need to dig below the surface because as we grow older our dreams often go underground.

These activities can help you re-resurface some nuggets to create a vision for what you truly desire.

For each of these activities, consider one of these questions, but don’t try to answer with your rational mind. Getting in touch with what’s below the surface requires relaxation of your normal thinking, judging mind. Suspend your internal critic and allow your thoughts to arise, . . . → Read More: 3 Activities to (re)Discover Your Vision

Dig Below Your Dreams to Discover Your Vision

Your vision arises from your hopes and dreams. If you’re not clear about what you really want, you are likely to set goals that will not be truly satisfying once accomplished.

Look below the surface to find the roots of your dreams. You might find that what you thought you wanted is actually a symbol of what you truly desire.

Chris said he dreamed of owning a Porsche. Being a “high potential” in the company, he was well on his way to achieving his goal.

In response to questions like “If you had that, then what would you have?” and “Why do you really want that?” Chris responded,

“We didn’t have much money when I was growing up. My dad left when I was really . . . → Read More: Dig Below Your Dreams to Discover Your Vision

8 Leadership Skills Essential for Success in the Future

I don’t need a crystal ball to see what will be required of leaders in the future. All I need to do is look around.

Most of the companies I work with these days are multi-national. They are expanding, becoming larger and more complex as they seek to establish a presence in new markets.

These changes require some new sets of leadership skills. I believe these skills will soon be required of leaders in all types of organizations. Driven by technology, our interconnection and inter-dependence as individuals, as companies, and as countries are expanding exponentially.

I do need a crystal ball to see if leaders will adopt these skills – because some of them require significant shifts.

1. Painting a very clear picture of where . . . → Read More: 8 Leadership Skills Essential for Success in the Future

If Your Vision Is Only About Yourself, You Are Too Narrowly Focused

If your vision is only about yourself, you are too narrowly focused.

If you take only from your environment and contribute nothing in return, you are harming that which supports you. In fact, that’s the definition of a parasite. And ultimately you are harming yourself.

Your vision needs to include the larger context in which you exist – your community. Strengthening your community makes you stronger.

My friend and colleague Hank van der Merwe, author of the powerful new book Live on Purpose, reminded me of the importance of this principle. Hank lives is Johannesburg, South Africa where “only 500,000 of the 1.5 million children starting school will end up sitting for their final year exams. Of these, less than 70% will meet the minimum . . . → Read More: If Your Vision Is Only About Yourself, You Are Too Narrowly Focused