It’s Your Question to Answer

Harvard educated philosopher Jacob Needleman made the following incisive observation:

We start with the paradox that there have been countless, ingenious technological innovations for the last 200 years designed to save us time. Somehow the result is that nobody has anytime left. That’s why I call time the new poverty. We are a time poor society. We have lots of things, maybe lots of money, but lots of time? No.

Please Listen

We genuinely care about you and your wellbeing. If you are frenzied, working from sun up to sun down, and neglecting your most important relationships, you need to change. We could seriously start a Time Alcoholics Anonymous. Some people have a visceral reaction to the idea of slowing down the rpm’s of their heart and mind It’s not possible; too many deliverables, too much at stake.

We know it can be different.

The best research says that when leaders and organizations hold the two values of competing for new market space alongside investment in human capital so teams work together in a healthy way organizational effectiveness is higher and value is created.

We apprentice leaders to reset the tempo of their lives to be smooth, rhythmic, and repeatable. We lead you to think through how managing your priorities will allow you to experience the gift of time as it is intended. We are just about ready to launch our next Executive Core process (click to learn more) and would love to help you and learn from you.

Can it be different?

We say yes. Only you can answer that question and how you answer may have big implications as you hit the half way mark in 2014.

What’s Next? 3 Questions for Leaders Today

In my pursuit to grow and raise up Leaders Worth Following, something simply outstanding occurs with a select number of people in each group.

Upon completion of a workshop/program, I always have a few team members approach me and ask “What’s Next?”. It’s at this point, I know that these individuals are what GiANT calls “Humble, Hungry, and Smart.” They are taking personal responsibility for their own leadership journey by being eager to grow and develop themselves. They are not relying on their leadership team to assign them a class or give them a book to read. They are seeking out opportunities to grow and learn more about themselves so they can excel at leading others in the future.

These team members have potential for growth and will increase your company’s reach and impact on others.

Often, simply the act of delegating a task to an individual who is “Humble, Hungry, and Smart” is all it takes to ignite leadership development. Invest in these people and you’ll find not only will they grow, you and your organization will grow as well.

My Questions for Leaders Today:

  1. Is your awareness level turned up?
  2. Are you watching and listening for these “Hungry, Humble, and Smart” people in your organization?
  3. Is your limited coaching time focused on these individuals?

Who Are Your Top 5?

Bottom line: I had the coolest experience a couple of weeks ago.

I love seeing people take initiative. I’m the let’s make something happen not wait for something to happen kind of guy.

I had set up an appointment to meet with a young entrepreneur to hear what he was up to these days. I had been impressed with his discipline and demeanor from our brief interactions. His story was marked by an unusual amount of focus and a work hard ethic that included pitching a tent in the back of his pickup truck to work off site for a short season of life to save money. Better him then us, I know. He shared with me one of the quotes that shaped his life;

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” –  Jim Rohn

He then proceeded to tell me how he has five areas of his life where he is committed to being invested in (business acumen, spiritual, finance, personal, and leadership). He then said, “You’re my leadership guy. I want to learn from you, and what it will look like is 30 minutes every month, one month face-to-face and the next month by phone or SKYPE is fine.”

One of the purposes of my meeting with him was to invite him to be invested in more intentionally so it was already a yes, but it was now a whole new level of yes!This type of discipline, focus, and initiative will take you places.

So I have to ask you…

Are you as hungry as my new friend Tyce?

Who are the top five people you spend time with?

Seek More Than Advice

Seek more than advice.

I once needed advice on a new business that I had started. At the time, I thought I was only looking for a sounding board. I didn’t really want to admit that I could use some help. Nevertheless, I asked someone I trusted who had the character, competence, and chemistry to give me one hour over a cup of coffee. My expectation was for him to listen to my plan and tell me what to do and what not to do.

That was it!

I am very lucky he had different expectations. Our one hour meeting turned into a year of hour-long meetings every couple weeks. He helped me understand the unconscious tendencies that impeded my leadership. Here are three examples:

  • If I’m not careful, my leadership style runs the risk of creating a culture of entitlement. Taking care of people is natural to me, but I have to work to make sure I also bring the appropriate degree of challenge to others around me.
  • I have a tendency to ignore quirks in others that annoy me. Ignoring these behaviors means they tend to repeat themselves until I become contentious. This compromises the development in others and risks relationship.
  • I could not stand (ok still can’t stand) the guardian voice that picks apart my ideas. However, that is the exact voice that builds the systems and structure to see a plan to completion.

The point is, I had many unconscious tendencies that impeded my growth. By the way, we all do. I’m just lucky that the voice I found went deeper than strategy and didn’t care if it hurt my pride.

Everyone needs a guide. Don’t look for someone who validates you. Look for someone who challenges you. Discuss more than just business details. Trash your pride and admit your weakness.

Ask him or her what it’s like to be on the other side of you. This is the question all of our leaders in the Executive CORE are forced to ask early on because until you know the answer, you will not know where to start growing as a leader.

Say It or Do Something Else?

By reading this post, you will be challenged to do two things:

  1. Don’t avoid tough situations that require you to “challenge” others
  2. Be willing to spend the amount of time needed to foster growth

I recently received an e-mail after wrapping up a 1-to-1 session in which the participant was thankful for the encouragement I gave them to give directive feedback to their team members.

A task had been given to the team, but the deliverable that came back didn’t meet the standard necessary to move it forward. The leader was faced with the choice of fixing the product themselves because they had the knowledge and skills to do so or to go back to the team with direction and time to train them on how to better fulfill these kind of tasks moving forward. This is a common scenario when delegation and empowerment are present.

There will always be a need for training and walking with others to improve. As we processed this learning opportunity, the need to clearly communicate the correctives and train the team seemed to be the clearest option and the best one for the team and the longer term health of the organization. Does it take more time? Sure it does. The apprenticeship process always will, but it is worth it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on an issue this situation raises. It’s our belief at GiANT that the best thing to do all the time is to go to the source: To not delay the tough conversation, but to communicate challenge and give feedback that individuals need to move forward with.

Tony Morgan had some great thoughts related to this in describing the top 5 reasons why your performance evaluation system doesn’t work (read it here).

One of the reasons he suggested was delaying the tough conversations. When we do so, we invest minutes, hours, days, and sometimes weeks of emotional energy unnecessarily.

Do you tend to “say it” or do something else?

Leadership and Influence…It is All About Relationships

True influence is the everyday commerce of leadership.

Once you get out of the transactional loop, you are free to enjoy the relationships of life that come with influence. Relationships then become the norm, not the exception.

Is there such a thing as a perfect relationship? “No,” you may argue, “nothing can be perfect.” While I agree with you, I will tell you that I believe it is possible to form strong bonds even in a world of greed, power, and corruption. These powerful relationships exist in business and in communities. How does this occur?

Once you free yourself by letting go of your own wants and needs and focusing on serving others, your vantage point changes. You will be free to serve and give without fear of losing. You will see other people’s needs as joyful opportunities for service. It is possible to have empowering relationships in all aspects of life.

Influence Model

The influence model is a tool that can be used to help leaders move from mediocrity to a life of lasting impact. The model is built, established, and run on trust.

Influence requires commitment. This is precisely why most people do not have much impact: it costs something. In fact, every influential person in my life has sacrificed either time, energy, or effort to influence me.

Leaders do not fully control their influence. Yet living a life of impact means that influence is possible all of the time.

P.S.

Have you heard about the Executive CORE yet? The next group begins this June and I would love for you to consider joining us for a year of immense growth for you, your family and your organization. You can learn more by visiting the Executive CORE website. Thank you!

 

The Big Two

There are two crucial traits that must be built into every leader in every organization in order to achieve lasting success. These two traits should be in the cross-hairs of leaders worldwide.

One is Capacity. The other is Capability.

An organization that is weak in these two areas is as deficient as a person with low iron and calcium. Without Capacity and Capability, leaders are consistently susceptible to every leadership sickness imaginable.

The Big Two

Capacity

Capacity is the ability to not only multi-task tactics and roles, but also to HANDLE sufficiently the demands of reality with that role and leadership. Capacity is what allows a person to handle high levels of stress and perform when things are not how they should be.

Raising the levels of leadership falls squarely on the shoulders of the capacity of a person. If you raise the capacity, you can more easily raise the level of a particular leader. Conversely, if you look at leaders who have not made it, you can tie that directly to their capacity levels.

Capability

Capability is the flip side. To raise a person’s capabilities gives the leader stability to handle capacity. It is often times that the increased capabilities lead to increased capacity.

Let’s begin to address the “how to’s” of increasing these two characteristics. To do so it begins with you. It’s always that way, isn’t it? It should be anyway. Read more

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.

One of the reasons for conflict and misunderstanding in organizational life is in regard to the decision-making flow. There are a number of approaches you can take to decision-making, one of the skills of leadership being knowing when to apply which approach.

Some of us have tendencies to make decisions in isolation and come off the mountain-top with the vision for the next year. Those of us who tend to do that miss out on engaging the many people who may have perspectives and voices that would contribute significantly to the process. Others of us are so consensus oriented that we make very few decisions and our process orientation keeps us moving at snails pace.

Here are 4 decision-making approaches that will help you think through where your team or organization is at currently and what might need to happen (source: The Psychology of Decision Making).

The Rational Approach

This approach operates on the assumption that all members of an organization are working together to achieve one goal and presumes that those involved in decision making have access to all information needed and will engage an orderly, rational process to seek what will ultimately prove to be the best pathway of moving forward.

The Emotional Approach

Although the thinking aspect of decision-making has dominated most of the research for the past 50 years, decision making involves aspects of emotionality such as mood, regret and disappointment, and feelings associated with risk. Emotionality can be a significant, sometimes subconscious factor in decision-making.

The Political Approach

The political approach views organizations as a house of a complex variety of individuals and interest groups. As a result, organizations are seen as having multiple, conflicting goals that make bargaining toward mutual benefit an essential component of this approach.

The Garbage Can Model

Those employing the garbage can model view organizations as inconsistent and in need of someone to sift through the random elements (garbage), identifying problems and answers to the messes of the chaos that exists in organizational life. Proponents of this approach would tell you to embrace the mess, you might just find some treasure buried in all that rubble.

What is your approach to decision-making and what insights have you picked up that have helped engage people in the process?

Lead Yourself First

It is impossible to lead others with any longevity or excellence without first leading yourself.

Influence from a title will only last so long.

People will not follow leaders who do not lead themselves.

Lead Yourself First

What does that mean? It means that whatever you expect of your team you must first expect of yourself.

Sadly, it’s something that is difficult for many leaders today. Why? I think it has to do with positional power. Perks usually lead to complacency and complacency leads to self-absorbed leadership.

To avoid these trappings, I must lead myself first and do so by: Read more

Free Guide: Developing Your Leadership Tempo

Leadership is difficult.

As a leader, you are tasked with growing the business, developing your team, and balancing your life outside of work along the way. For the overwhelming majority of people, getting into a consistent routine is very difficult.

One of our foundational tools at GiANT Worldwide is called “Tempo, Balance, Focus”. We use it to challenge leaders to develop a way of living and leading that makes them more effective, more fulfilled, and expands their overall influence.

For those of you who have been following the blog for a while now, you know that each month we release a free resource for you to use by yourself and with your team. If you haven’t already done so, take a look at our previous resources by visiting the Resources page. On there you will find a New Year’s planning guide, 5 Questions Effective Leaders Cannot Ignore, and a GiANT Guide to Leading with Love.

Free Resource: Developing Your Leadership Tempo

The resource for April takes a deeper look into the issue of “Tempo” as it relates to leadership. This guide will walk you through a simple process of identifying what your ideal tempo looks like for your year, each month, each week and each day.

Leaders who are able to find the right rhythm and routine are the ones who are most influential.

To view and download this resource, simply click below to join our email list. After that, we’ll send you a copy for free. You’ll also receive new resources as they become available.

Developing Your Leadership Tempo

Click here to Download: Developing Your Leadership Tempo