Breaking news here on my blog!

After a break away from writing, I have decided to resume my blogging from the first week in June 2018.

I very much look forward to re-engaging with my readers, old and new alike, as we move through the year.

A key focus of my writing will be on leadership and curiosity, as a precursor to the publication of my book in late 2018.

As always, I encourage all my readers to feedback comment and opinion, and to build a deeper relationship with me as we move forward together.

Thank you for your interest, encouragement and commitment.

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My unreserved apology to Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I Sutton

Every month, usually on the 23rd of the month, I publish a post on https://leadchangegroup.com/ under the Leadership section.

In February, I wrote a post on closing the ‘knowing and doing gap’ without adequately referencing the attributed authors of the concept, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I Sutton.

They first raised and explored the concept in their book, “The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action”.

I apologise unreservedly to both Jeffrey and Robert for my oversight.

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Three Enemies on the Journey Down the Left Side of the U

The following is an excerpt from The Essentials of Theory U by Otto Scharmer.

Why is the deeper territory of listening the road less traveled? Because it requires some intentional inner work to illuminate the blind spot, our interior condition. Connecting to our source of creativity at the bottom of the U requires crossing the three gates, or thresholds, as discussed. What makes this journey so difficult is that these gates tend to be guarded by three “enemies” (as I would say as an American) or three “inner voices of resistance” (as I would say as an European), each of which blocks the entrance to these deeper domains.

The first enemy blocks the gate to the open mind. Stanford University’s Michael Ray calls this the Voice of Judgment (VoJ). Every creativity technique starts with this instruction: Suspend your voice of judgment. It is the critical starting point because without it we shut down the creative power of the open mind.

The second enemy blocks the gate to the open heart. Let us call this the Voice of Cynicism (VoC)—that is, all emotional acts of distancing. What is at stake when we begin to access the open heart? We must be willing to put ourselves in a position of true openness and vulnerability toward another, which is the opposite of distancing.

The third enemy blocks the gate to the open will. This is the Voice of Fear (VoF). It seeks to prevent us from letting go of what we have and who we are. It can show up as a fear of losing things. Or a fear of being ostracized. Or a fear of death. And yet dealing with that voice of fear is at the heart of leadership today: to hold the space for letting go of the old and for letting come, or welcoming, the new.

When you trace the Indo-European root of the word “leadership,” you find *leith, meaning “to go forth,” “to cross the threshold,” or “to die.” Think about that: The root of the word leadership means “to die.” Sometimes when you need to let go it feels exactly like that: dying. But what we have learned over the past two decades is this: A subtle inner threshold must be crossed before something new can show up, before the “field of the future” can begin to manifest.

 

More about Otto Scharmer
Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at MIT and co-founder of the Presencing Institute. He chairs the MIT IDEAS program for cross-sector innovation that helps leaders from business, government, and civil society to innovate at the level of the whole system. He is the author of Theory U (translated into 20 languages) and co-author of Leading from the Emerging Future, which outlines eight acupuncture points of transforming capitalism. His latest book, The Essentials of Theory U: Core Principles and Applicationsilluminates the blind spot in leadership today and offers hands-on methods to help change makers overcome it through the process, principles, and practices of Theory U.

In 2015, he co-founded the MITx u.lab, a massive open online course for leading profound change that has since activated a global eco-system of societal and personal renewal involving more than 100,000 users from 185 countries. With his colleagues, he has delivered award-winning leadership development programs for corporate clients and co-facilitated innovation labs on reinventing education, health, business, government, and well-being.

 

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The Big Picture: Celebrate Impact

A guest post by Mark Miller

Why don’t we celebrate more? Because many of our organizations are led by Type A leaders who see this as a waste of time? Because we are short-staffed? Could it be our short-sightedness? Maybe it’s because we, as leaders, fail to understand the impact celebration can have on our people, our culture, and our performance. I would guess our shortcomings in this area could be a combination of these things.

I don’t think it’s worth the word count to belabour the problem. However, I do want to share my concern… our neglect in this arena has unintended consequences. When we fail to Celebrate Impact as it relates to our vision, we undervalue the vision itself. I’m not sure why we miss this so often as leaders.

What I am sure about is the impact of celebration. When leaders make time to celebrate, value is communicated – both of the accomplishment and the people. Celebration affirms achievement and validates effort. It can also help make the intangible tangible – an abstract goal becomes a concrete accomplishment; the trigger for this transformation… a celebration!

Top Talent wants to make a difference. When we Celebrate Impact, we communicate with them and the entire team: Your effort matters.

When leaders understand their unique position to empower, encourage, and resource their people toward a ‘bigger why’ the vision can be elevated and future results inspired.

One of the most powerful ways to celebrate impact is to share real stories of real people. Studies reveal that when workers understand their labour is connected to making someone’s life better, they are more likely to be engaged and give greater effort. When stories are constantly told and impact becomes a part of the expectation, the vision grows.

Your vision cannot only become a tremendous source of pride and motivation for your people, it can help draw potential like-minded employees to your organization. If you want to attract Top Talent, make it the norm to Celebrate Impact.

 

About Mark Miller

 Mark Miller began his Chick-fil-A career working as an hourly team member in 1977. In 1978, he joined the corporate staff working in the warehouse and mailroom. Since that time, Mark has steadily increased his value at Chick-fil-A and has provided leadership for Corporate Communications, Field Operations, and Quality and Customer Satisfaction.

Today, he serves as the Vice President of High-Performance Leadership. During his time with Chick-fil-A, annual sales have grown to over $9 billion. The company now has more than 2,300 restaurants in 47 states and the District of Columbia.

When not working to sell more chicken, Mark is actively encouraging and equipping leaders around the world. He has taught at numerous international organizations over the years on topics including leadership, creativity, team building, and more.

Mark began writing about a decade ago. He teamed up with Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager, to write The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do (2007). More recently, he released Chess Not Checkers (2015), and Leaders Made Here (2017). His latest is Talent Magnet: How to Attract and Keep the Best People (February 2018). Today, over 1 million copies of Mark’s books are in print in more than two dozen languages.

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Four Causes of Unproductive Meetings+What to Do About Them

This is a guest post by Dick Axelrod.

 

  1. Unclear Purpose

 

Meeting participants are unclear about the purpose of the meeting or what they want to accomplish. Before holding a meeting, ask yourself what you want to be different for yourself, the participants, and the organization as a result of holding this meeting. Make sure you share this purpose with the participants. If you are a meeting participant and don’t know or understand the purpose of the meeting ask, “What is the purpose of this meeting?” at the beginning of the meeting. Then ask yourself, “What can I contribute to making this meeting productive?”

 

  1. Unclear Roles

 

It is amazing to find out how many attend meetings where they don’t know why they are there or what is expected of them. We see many leaders who invite people to the meeting because they might provide a different perspective. However, these participants do not know that is what is expected of them. They attend the meeting not knowing why they are there and consequently feel the meeting is a waste of time.

 

  1. Decision-Makers Not Present

 

When the meeting participants are not empowered to make decisions, everyone feels their time is wasted. While participants may have fruitful discussions, they must then take their work product to the decision-makers who were not part of the discussion and who may not understand the reasons why recommendations are being made. This additional layer of bureaucracy wastes everyone’s time. Empowering meeting participants to make decisions or having decision-makers present will eliminate this added bureaucracy.

 

  1. Unclear Decision-Making Process

 

We have watched many groups flounder because the decision-making process is unclear. They don’t know whether they are being asked to learn about a decision that has already been made, provide the leader with feedback, or be part of the decision-making process. Clarifying the decision-making process prior to starting the discussion saves time and energy.

 

 

More about Dick Axelrod

 

Dick and his wife Emily Axelrod are pioneers in creating employee involvement programs to effect large-scale organization change and co-founded the Axelrod Group in 1981. Dick is also a lecturer in University of Chicago’s Masters in Threat and Response Management Program, and a faculty member in American University’s Masters in Organization Development program. Dick and Emily created the Conference Model®, an internationally recognized high-involvement change methodology.

 

Together, Emily and Dick are frequent keynote speakers and co-authors. Their latest book is Let’s Stop Meeting Like This: Tools to Save Time and Get More Done it outlines a flexible and adaptable system used to run truly productive meetings in all kinds of organizations―meetings where people create concrete plans, accomplish tasks, build connections, and move projects forward.

Originally published on dickaxe.cayenne.io

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Some Thoughts on a Philosophy of Virtual Reality

This post is written by my guest, Jeremy Kirshbaum.

At Institute for the Future we have been experimenting deeply in the frontiers of virtual reality journalism and immersive research environments. A lot of this happens by using small 3D scanners, like the Occipital Structure Sensor, to capture real-world objects and spaces, and then using game design software like Unity to embed them into an interactive world.

One thing that is immediately noticeable about the models is their incompleteness. Because of the limitations of the instruments, software and user, they are imperfect. They are very artistic, painterly, and ethereal.

Although it is tempting to look at this as a limitation, from an artistic perspective it can actually be an asset. It makes them very strange and beautiful and gives us a ready-made concept off of which to build…that these are not real, they are just dreams. In 5 years when I can walk into a room and get a photorealistic model on my cell phone in a couple of seconds, it will be harder to remember this time, when we were first waking up in the virtual world. The models in many ways remind me of the lived experience of remembering…with blurred outlines tugging at the corner of the mind, fighting to become meaningful.

As Merleau-Ponty, perhaps the greatest philosopher of perception once said,

“The phenomenological world is not the bringing to explicit expression of a pre-existing being, but the laying down of being. Philosophy is not the reflection of a pre-existing truth, but, like art, the act of bringing truth into being.”

I think that this “act of bringing truth into being” is something under intense interrogation right now, as it should be. At the center of this interrogation is journalism–an industry that purports to and attempts to convey the current truth. I think that what the new, immersive medium forces us into is a journalistic project that is also a philosophical and artistic project. We are lucky in that we are forced to ask and attempt to answer questions around authentic representation and truth in a new medium that have been laid to rest, or at least over-saturated, in the legacy media with which we are all familiar. Confronted with the inevitability of the structure sensor’s imperfect Gaze, we are forced to reflect more deeply on our own.

Of course Merleau-Ponty is not the only philosopher of perception, but his insights have specific relevance to immersive media because of his insistence on vision as an extension of the body…his inflexible dedication to the body as the “general medium for having a world.” As Leila Wilson at University of Chicago summarizes:

What distinguishes Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological investigations from those of other philosophers, such as Sartre and Heidegger, is his insistence on the body as the center of perception and the medium of consciousness. His study of vision as an extension of the corporal shows us that in order for consciousness to unfold into a part of the world—to exist as a flourishing—it must be embodied. To perceive the world and be shaped by it, one must be in and of its flesh. [emphasis added]

This conception of vision as an extension of the body is prescient in that it survives into a world of interactive vision, in which the movements of the individual fundamentally affect that which is seen. This is an aspect of the world, and even so of two dimensional media, but it is an intentional and designed facet of immersive electronic media.

Merleau-Ponty, in Eye and Mind, reserves a special place in civilization for the painter that he does not offer to the scientist. The scientist “manipulates things and gives up living in them,” and is restricted to activity “regulated by an experimental control that admits only the most ‘worked up’ phenomena, more likely produced by the apparatus than recorded by it.” This phrase has obvious implications for us using the structure sensor…whose models are partially a recording and partially a production. He points out that “…we cannot imagine how a mind would paint. It is by lending his body to the world that the artist transforms the world into paintings. To understand these transubstantiations we must go back to the working, actual body–not the body as a chunk of space or a bundle of functions but that body which is an intertwining of vision and movement.” [emphasis added]

I believe these insights have a direct implication for current virtual reality projects.

If we can admit that we are calling truth into being, as opposed to merely representing it, then we can allow ourselves to use the models as a medium for sculpture and navigation. In other words, in creating an embodied moment of truth for our participants, we may feel free to deviate significantly from our remembered/recorded visual truth. In other words…we can deliberate sacrifice imagined “accuracy” for the sake of the beautiful. This freedom comes from the bravery to describe our work as philosophical and artistic, and defend that framework equally against the primacy of the scientific.

Merleau-Ponty quotes Rodin, “It is the artist who is truthful, while the photograph lies; for, in reality, time never stops.”

Perhaps the problem with journalism, and often, with research in general, which is in danger of reawakening in even greater and more dangerous form in a world of advanced, intelligent simulation, is to work toward replicating the real world with precision instead of accuracy…to work toward, and first believe in, an imagined single truth. Again from Eye and Mind:

“The picture, the actor’s mimicry…these are not devices borrowed from the real world in order to refer to prosaic things which are absent. For the imaginary is much nearer to, and farther away from, the actual–nearer because it is in my body as a diagram of the life of the actual, with all its pulp and carnal obverse exposed to view for the first time…and the imaginary is much farther away from the actual because the painting is an analogue or likeness only according to the body.”

The ghostliness of the models is so appropriate for Merleau-Ponty, who often described us “haunting” the Other, and being haunted by them. Purportedly he was driven to philosophy by depression in childhood…the long-dead philosophers became his friends and family in place of real ones. What more perfect person to describe the bodily experience of a reality populated by dreams and ghosts?

I think that in mixed reality media, right now, we have an enormous opportunity to revel in the imperfections. Because they will be so much harder to detect in a few years, we have the opportunity (and perhaps the responsibility) to create simulacra that are self-aware of their impermanence. So that anyone who passes through them will say that they remember the world before it was so perfect and easy to see. It would be a great misstep to simply show them the circus-trick of creating an imperfect three dimensional mirror, and instead to leave them with the awe that they may be in the presence of a (inexpert, badly made, carried by inappropriate messengers such as ourselves, etc.) new art form, and way of “having a world.” If we were honest with ourselves, we might even start with metaphysics.

Quality, light, color, depth, which are there before us, are there only because they awaken an echo in our bodies, and because the body welcomes them!

 

About Jeremy Kirshbaum

Jeremy is a research manager at IFTF. He has a background in macroeconomic and currency theory, geopolitics, and international entrepreneurship. In addition to supporting the work of Distinguished Fellow Bob Johansen, Jeremy focuses on the future of logistics, distribution, and communications in “high delta markets” (formerly frontier markets), drawing on his entrepreneurial and professional experience in West Africa over the past four years. He is passionate about drawing divergent links between subjects, finding the links between creativity and quantitative analysis, and creating collaborations of mutual benefit between people of all kinds.

Please find more about Jeremy Kirshbaum at http://jjk.fyi/some-thoughts-on-a-philosophy-of-virtual-reality/

 

About Bob Johansen:

Bob Johansen is a distinguished fellow with the Institute for the Future in Silicon Valley. For more than 30 years, Bob has helped organizations around the world prepare for and shape the future, including corporations such as P&G, Walmart, McKinsey, United Rentals, and Syngenta, as well as major universities and nonprofits.

The author or co-author of ten books, Bob is a frequent keynote speaker. His best-selling book Get There Early: Sensing the Future to Compete in the Present was selected as one of the top business books of 2007. His latest book is The New Leadership Literacies: Thriving in a Future of Extreme Disruption and Distributed Everything discusses five new leadership literacies—combinations of disciplines, practices, and worldviews—that will be needed to thrive in a VUCA world of increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

 

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Welcome to the world of Servant Leadership!

This is a guest post from Art Barter.

The pigs are running the farm. So begins the story of Farmer Able. Everyone on his farm — people and animals alike — are downright downtrodden by him. He’s overbearing and compulsively obsessed with profits and productivity. He’s a typical top-down, power-based manager, forever tallying production numbers in his well-worn ledgers. But the more he pushes the hoofs and horns and humans, the more they dig in their heels. That is until one day when he hears a mysterious wind that whispers: “It’s not all about me.” Can he turn things around and begin attending to the needs of those on his farm, thus improving their attitudes and productivity?

The following is an excerpt from chapter 11 of Farmer Able.

SUNNY’S SORE

By the third day, Sunny had made her way out into the yard to catch some sun. This was one of her favorite pastimes, she felt on account of her name. Her dad found her sitting in a chair, her face soaking in the sun.

Despite her obvious screw-up, the farmer hadn’t been of a mind to bring up matters, considering her injury. He’d been waiting to address the issue of “responsible driving.” He began the conversation taking the tack of sympathy. “Your shoulder feeling better?” he asked.

“Better, but pretty sore still.”

“You just let it rest and heal. Won’t be needing to use it for awhile.”

“What’s that mean?”

“I’m just saying you won’t be using it for anything strenuous.”

“Like chores?” Sunny meant it as a joke, but the hard-minded taskmaster didn’t take it that way.

“For a time, but I figure you could be back at those in a week or so.”

“A week?! That’s ridiculous. I can’t hardly lift a spoon, let alone feed animals.”

“You don’t need to get all huffy.”

Harry the horse, who was in the side lot, couldn’t help but listen in on this exchange. Oh no, he thought. I wonder what the farmer whips her with?

“Dad, I was just in a car wreck.”

In a car wreck . . . or caused a car wreck?” There it was. You could sense the laces on the gloves being untied.

“The county is doing construction out on the 318. They didn’t mark it properly. It sprang up on me and I swerved.”

“Sunny, you weren’t paying attention. Don’t deny it.”

“My shoulder hurts. I don’t need a lecture.”

“I’m not lecturing. I’m telling you like it is. When that shoulder’s back to working, there’s going to be extra work for you. But you’ll have the time. There’s no way I’m giving you the keys back to go gallivanting around.”

The clouds were mounting. “You know Dad,” Sunny said. “You’re right. It wasn’t that the pylons were misplaced.” Sunny had tears starting to well up. For a moment, Farmer Able thought he’d gotten through to his daughter. “I wasn’t paying attention. But here’s something you don’t know. I was just following your lead.”

“What?”

“I got mad just like you.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You’re always bellowin’ around, slammin’ doors when you can’t handle things.”

“Don’t sass me.”

“Just the opposite, Dad. I think you and I, now that I’m stuck here, will have more quality time together. Of course, I don’t know why I think that would happen. You spend more time with the farm, the animals and those ledgers than you’d ever spend with me. You could say I’m not even equal to a horse, a cow or a chicken!”

“I have responsibilities,” the farmer fumed.

“And obviously I’m not one of them.” Then she blurted out, bursting into tears, “I got the lead in the play. Do you even know that? I guess it wouldn’t matter. You weren’t going to come anyway. You don’t show up for me.”

This caught Farmer Able off guard. His sobbing daughter suddenly reminded him of the little girl he remembered as a toddler who had bumped her knee.

Sunny’s honesty continued to come in raw and unchecked. “It took a lot to get that role.” “That is …” the farmer searched for the right word, “certainly somethin’.”

“Somethin’, huh?” Her ache came right up through her cynicism. “Somethin ‘brainless,’ right?”

The farmer’s words came back at him like a dull echo.

Sunny wasn’t finished. “Dad, what you said hurt so bad. I didn’t know what to do. I just did what I see you doing when you have pains you can’t handle. I got angry and lost control.”

This final blow knocked the wind out of the good farmer. Sunny hurried into the house, her tears overwhelming her.

Later that evening, Harry the horse would tell the other animals about the whole incident, ending with, “… then he just stood there, saying nothing.” There was a general, “serves him right” grumble that came up from most things hoofed and horned and certainly feathered. After all, the farmer “getting his comeuppance” was what most of the animals longed for. Yes sir, a thing whipped becomes a whipper indeed.

*****

Art Barter believes everyone can be great, because everyone can serve. To teach about the power of servant leadership, Art started in his own backyard by rebuilding the culture of the manufacturing company he bought, Datron World Communications.  Art took Datron’s traditional power-led model and turned it upside down and the result was the international radio manufacturer grew from a $10 million company to a $200 million company in six years. Fueled by his passion for servant leadership, Art created the Servant Leadership Institute (SLI).

To learn more about Art and his new Servant Leadership Journal, as well as his book on servant leadership, Farmer Able: A Fable About Servant Leadership Transforming Organizations And People From The Inside Out, endorsed by Stephen M.R. Covey, Ken Blanchard , and John C. Maxwell , visit www.servantleadershipinstitute.com

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What Makes a Great Public Sector Leader

In this guest post from my friend and colleague, Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant and Chief Executive of the Public Service Transformation Academy, he discusses what are the challenges facing the public sector; what advice he would give to leaders looking to improve; and, what makes a great public sector leader.

What are the challenges facing the public sector?

In the next two years, I fear some councils are going to be unable to set a balanced budget and go bust for the first time ever.

The next few years will bring population challenges – more and more people over 100, more digital native babies, more new immigrants and uncertainty over the skilled EU workforce. Expectations keep growing with technology change, demand change, and people wanting more, wanting it to be better and wanting it now. Meanwhile, devolution, directly elected Mayors, local health accountability and the possibility of true place-based leadership bring both a mandate and additional responsibility.

In all of this, leaders are expected to join up with organisations that operate with completely different drivers: performance, financial, professional, culture. And we can’t even join up internally – most large public services are like loose consortia, not single organisations.

What’s your advice for leaders looking to improve?

You need to focus less on how your limited funds can provide services and more on how the resources you have and can influence and achieve real outcomes.

Also, you need to admit you don’t have all the answers and work with people who might know a part of the answer. Ask powerful questions to understand what everyone is really motivated to achieve, while actively listening to those around you to learn their strengths and needs.

Furthermore, it is important to remember that every service is co-created with the citizen, so you need to bring citizens, customers and partners into the planning, designing and management of services.

The leaders who are really going to succeed need to create a management structure. An effective hierarchy is the most empowering structure yet discovered for large, complex organisations. They also need to enforce accountability across their workforce, overcoming any fears they may have of this making them unpopular.

Finally, you need to plan. If you don’t plan and predict the outcomes of your actions, you aren’t really learning.

What makes a great public sector leader?

Take responsibility for all the outcomes – including the organisational culture, the experience of all the people in your organisation and all the people in your community.

Look at demand for public services. We’re all worried about demand and seeking to control, or ‘manage’ demand is usually a dead-end street. Really facing the demand honestly and fully would be a great start. Behind every demand on public services is a need – something wrong in someone’s life that we can help fix.

All public service leaders – like all consultants, contact centres and doctors, should be trying to do themselves out of a job. Try to create a community that doesn’t need you anymore. It may never happen, but it is the right direction to move in.

The Public Service Transformation Academy is a social enterprise, led by public service consultants RedQuadrant, the Whitehall and Industry Group, and partner organisations who are thought leaders in commissioning. They design and deliver leadership programmes to build capacity to transform public services.

The challenges facing the UK public sector workforce will feature strongly at the Public Sector Show in June. Join more than 2000 professionals from local and central government and the wider public sector to hear key policy updates, learn from best practice case studies and identify new solutions for smarter and more efficient public services.

Benjamin, like me, values your engagement, and we both believe in conversations. So please leave any thoughts, comments or questions. We will be sure to respond.

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40 Leadership Lessons from the Freedom Trail

On the 31st August 2013, Lesley, my wife and soulmate, retired after 35 years teaching in secondary schools. Two days later, as planned, we set off for a magical celebratory holiday, taking in New York, California and Oregon. Our trip became known as the ‘Freedom Trail’.

While on the Freedom Trail, I journaled every day and ended each entry with a leadership moment/lesson.

 P1050114Leaders take the time to reflect, to pause, to listen and to plan

This morning we had a lazy morning, taking our time over breakfast and musing on what we should do on this rest day.

We ended up doing some washing, and a little bit of Social Media, while Les caught up on her travel blog.

P1050083We even made a start on our jigsaw for the week. Taking jigsaws is one of our regular travel habits if we know we will stay in any one place for a week or more. We do a jigsaw. It is a great joint activity, stimulates the mind, and gives us a lot of fun.

Towards mid-morning, we went for a walk around the lake, no not all of it! It has a shoreline of about seventy miles, so we did just a fraction of that. We found, wandering randomly off the lake shore, a mix of marshes, meadows, and forest trails.

As we strolled, we came across this bridge and saw the salmon spawning in the pool just above the bridge. Though the photograph needs close inspection, there were scores of fish, flashing and glistening in the sunlight. The river was teeming with life, and many people stopped to stare in wonder.

P1050131Late in the day, we drove around the lake from our accommodation to Emerald Bay. As the sun set is was so picturesque – calm, serene and beautiful!

I sat quietly with my soul mate and thought how blessed I was to be here in that moment with the person I love most in the world! Just sitting quietly, listening to the sounds of birds, the water lapping on the shore, and watching the slow, steady decline of the sun. It is a beautiful place and taking that time out meant so much to both of us, as we recharged for a busy day ahead. Our next day plan was for a long trip to Bodie and Mono Lake, and so our rest today was beautifully timed.

I later reflected on our day and recognised that leaders too need to take time out from ‘busyness’ to pause, refresh, and reflect. They also need to learn to listen, so that they hear at the moment, and act upon what they hear. My experience is much social dialogue is about waiting for a pause to say whatever it is one person wishes to speak next, irrespective of what the other party or parties in the conversation are saying.

I am known as a greater talker, speaker and conversationalist. However, those who know me very well, know that I am also a great listener. From listening, you learn much, and you add value to others from what you learn.

As always, I welcome your comments and dialogue. I also wish you an entertaining and enlightening experience of this series of posts.

Thank you for reading.

Leaders take the time to reflect, to pause, to listen and to plan!

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Do you need simple help with change? Try this now!

I’m posting late tonight after a very strenuous day interviewing clients in a change process, so this one is short and sweet!

Here’s a simple formula for helping you to reflect on and prepare for change!

D + G + FS > I

It stands for Dissatisfaction with the status quo; Clear goals for the future; and, known First Steps will be greater than or will overcome Inertia in your organisation.

Dissatisfaction

It is simple. If people are not dissatisfied with the status quo, they will not be energised to take the action that is needed to initiate change. So, take heed; work with your dissatisfied crew and build a critical mass for change.

Goals

Don’t set out on the journey though until you have clear goals for the future. Those, in other words, your compelling vision for what the future holds, are what will take your dissatisfied and turn them into energised and excited change champions.

First Steps

To reach your goals you need actions. So, a short set of first steps will swing momentum in your favour. Being able to articulate how you will begin to move forward is a must, especially for those placing their trust in you! So, have a plan, and implement it. Better still, check it out with your dissatisfied and co-create forward steps. That will engender greater buy-in and ownership, and, ultimately, better delivery of what you intend!

Inertia

All organisations suffer from inertia; just many don’t recognise it! The inertia may come poor leadership, over-targeted activity, or from simply the loss, individually or collectively, people or a team or organisation feel when a change occurs or looks likely. Having worked with young people for decades, I find adults particularly prone to this reaction.

Also, dissatisfaction with the status quo has often been a warning sign to me that inertia has set in!

However, remember, you need to engage all three stages to begin to battle inertia, whatever its source. Miss a step and you will find your ‘troops’ have deserted in mid-flow! Believe me; I know from hard-earned experience.

Take all three steps, and you will be amazed at how quickly things will pick up. Picking up momentum will enable you and the team to eventually overcome that inertia and move on to bigger and better things.

Where did I get this formula?

If you are interested in learning more about this change model and where it came from, I’d like to direct you to one of my favourite change commentators, Michael Fullan. His book, Leading in a Culture of Change, is one of my personal favourites. I like the denouement of his model – more good things will happen, less bad things will happen. Fullan’s model is not a change process that offers perfect solutions, but pragmatic, practical suggestions for taking a complicated process – change – and making it work. I recommend you read it, and maybe practice, as I do, what he teaches.

If you would like to find out more about how I can support you in advancing positive change for yourself, your team or your organisation, please just ask!

Ring 07958 765972 now for a free consultation or write to me at john@johnthurlbeck.co.uk for further details! I am always happy to listen and ready to help.

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