Coaching Conversations

 Many employees are highly capable individuals who want to work—and be—smarter. They’re crying out for help. I hear about it all the time in the work I do ( www.moleadershipcoaching.com )  As a coach my passion is helping leaders create a coaching culture in which people are heard as they grow into their best selves including obviously their work selves.  It’s up to their leaders to learn how to ask the right questions and conduct truly engaging coaching conversations and train others to do the same. This is a skill set is teachable. I find leaders who experience coaching for themselves often seek to spread the impact throughout the organization.   The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution. ~   Bertrand Russell    Generations X  and  Y  have been making major organizational contributions, albeit with different expectations from their managers. They embrace personal development, while valuing freedom and independence. They want to work for leaders who will help them fulfill their career potential—mentors who can help them improve their thinking.  As these future leaders develop, they will move from managing themselves to managing others. Their leadership potential depends on their ability to change the way they think.  Regrettably, the organizations that employ them usually allocate few internal resources to help them through this shift. It’s time for leaders to learn how to train the next generation in higher-level decision-making.   What we think, we become. ~   Gautama Buddha   Some leadership experts have adopted  the “iceberg” model  to describe human performance. This metaphor suggests that some of our behaviors are visible, while most other behaviors, thoughts and feelings lurk below water.  Our work achievements are driven by how we think. Why, then, do leaders focus on what’s superficially visible when addressing employee performance? Evaluations rarely consider the factors that drive habits, nor do managers reflect on employees’ feelings or thoughts.  If we want people to think better, we must essentially let them do all the thinking.  David Rock , in his book  Quiet Leadership , suggests the following five-step process for establishing a coaching conversation that enables  self-directed learning :  1. Let the employee think through his specific issue. Avoid telling him what to do or giving advice. Ask questions about his thought process.  2. Keep him focused on solutions, not problems.  3. Challenge him to expand his thinking and stretch himself, instead of clinging to his comfort zone.  4. Focus on what he’s doing well so he can play to his strengths.  5. Make sure there are clear processes behind every conversation. To be truly helpful, a coaching conversation requires permission to ask questions and explore possibilities.  I would add a sixth that moves the organization forward.  6. Seek to explore specific next steps. Who can help and where will the best accountability be accessed?  Have you had a coaching conversation with your manager or your direct reports lately? Should you learn to coach those you lead? I'd love to hear from you. We all need trusted advisors that will reflect back on how we show up, push against our assumptions and thinking and be “for us” as we take our best next step.  I get coaching every month. I am a coaching advocate. Find your coach. Be your best version. Live life well!  There are many resources on coaching like books, blogs, webcasts and more. Let me know if I can assist by pointing you to resources that are best for you.  Just text my cell at 714-267-2818 or email me at  marc@mocoach4ldrs.com

Many employees are highly capable individuals who want to work—and be—smarter. They’re crying out for help. I hear about it all the time in the work I do (www.moleadershipcoaching.com)

As a coach my passion is helping leaders create a coaching culture in which people are heard as they grow into their best selves including obviously their work selves.

It’s up to their leaders to learn how to ask the right questions and conduct truly engaging coaching conversations and train others to do the same. This is a skill set is teachable. I find leaders who experience coaching for themselves often seek to spread the impact throughout the organization.

The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution. ~ Bertrand Russell

Generations X and Y have been making major organizational contributions, albeit with different expectations from their managers. They embrace personal development, while valuing freedom and independence. They want to work for leaders who will help them fulfill their career potential—mentors who can help them improve their thinking.

As these future leaders develop, they will move from managing themselves to managing others. Their leadership potential depends on their ability to change the way they think.

Regrettably, the organizations that employ them usually allocate few internal resources to help them through this shift. It’s time for leaders to learn how to train the next generation in higher-level decision-making.

What we think, we become. ~ Gautama Buddha

Some leadership experts have adopted the “iceberg” model to describe human performance. This metaphor suggests that some of our behaviors are visible, while most other behaviors, thoughts and feelings lurk below water.

Our work achievements are driven by how we think. Why, then, do leaders focus on what’s superficially visible when addressing employee performance? Evaluations rarely consider the factors that drive habits, nor do managers reflect on employees’ feelings or thoughts.

If we want people to think better, we must essentially let them do all the thinking. David Rock, in his book Quiet Leadership, suggests the following five-step process for establishing a coaching conversation that enables self-directed learning:

1. Let the employee think through his specific issue. Avoid telling him what to do or giving advice. Ask questions about his thought process.

2. Keep him focused on solutions, not problems.

3. Challenge him to expand his thinking and stretch himself, instead of clinging to his comfort zone.

4. Focus on what he’s doing well so he can play to his strengths.

5. Make sure there are clear processes behind every conversation. To be truly helpful, a coaching conversation requires permission to ask questions and explore possibilities.

I would add a sixth that moves the organization forward.

6. Seek to explore specific next steps. Who can help and where will the best accountability be accessed?

Have you had a coaching conversation with your manager or your direct reports lately? Should you learn to coach those you lead? I'd love to hear from you. We all need trusted advisors that will reflect back on how we show up, push against our assumptions and thinking and be “for us” as we take our best next step.

I get coaching every month. I am a coaching advocate. Find your coach. Be your best version. Live life well!

There are many resources on coaching like books, blogs, webcasts and more. Let me know if I can assist by pointing you to resources that are best for you.

Just text my cell at 714-267-2818 or email me at marc@mocoach4ldrs.com

Teaching Yourself and Others to Think

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Leadership practices need to keep up with the realities of organizational life. There’s an increasing gap between the way employees are managed and how they want to be managed.

One cannot teach a man anything. One can only enable him to learn from within himself. ~ Galileo Galilei

With so many employees being paid to think, leaders and managers should find ways to cultivate their staffs’ cerebral capabilities to boost workplace performance. But most leaders wouldn’t know where to start.

In the work I do coaching people (www.moleadershipcoaching.com), I hear complaints all the time about the frustration leaders have as they try to help boost performance. The process begins by improving the way knowledge workers process information—not telling them what to do or jumping in to solve their problems.

Countless surveys and headlines reinforce this revelation:

·       60 percent of workers are miserable.

·       74 percent aren’t engaged at work.

The solution is to create coaching environments that honor and challenge the individual. The challenge is the past has created “stinkin thinkin.”

It’s easy to see how we arrived at this sorry situation. A century ago, most people were paid for physical labor. The dominant management model was master/apprentice, with the master showing his employees how to perform their jobs.

The Industrial Age introduced systems. Process management became the dominant paradigm, with scientific analysis of linear systems for greater efficiency. Employees were trained to follow, unquestioningly, their bosses’ best-laid plans.

Over the last two decades, the most routine business tasks have been computerized or outsourced. As a result, today’s employees are increasingly hired to think. In 2015, 60 percent of employees were considered knowledge workers; for mid-level management and higher, the number is closer to 100 percent.

Modern leaders must increasingly shift their leadership styles to reflect the needs of a more educated labor force. Unfortunately, business schools have neglected to teach leaders and managers how to improve their knowledge workers’ thinking and decision-making skills.

Strengthening these abilities is critical, according to NeuroLeadership CEO David Rock, author of Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work.

“Yet we have not significantly reinvented our management models since the time Henry Ford hired a pair of hands and wished they’d left their brains behind,” he writes.

However, there is a revolution taking place. It is the coaching revolution. More leaders are getting coached and experiencing the impact.

The coaching process aligns so well with following Christ. The idea that reality is our friend. The idea that truth is good when delivered with love which creates the grace experience that builds hope, loyalty and community. Coaching changes lives.

What's it like in your work? I'd love to hear from you.

Building Your Life Plan

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If you haven’t already mapped out your life plan, take the first step now. Start with the foundation: your core values, purpose and life’s focus. List all of the realistic ways to achieve your ideal life. Break down these steps into short-term goals and make an action plan.

Write down your goals and action steps and convert them into graph form so you can track your progress. Share your Life Plan with the important people in your life.

One of the most effective ways to achieve your goals is to work with a coach (www.moleadershipcoaching.com)

 If you can’t do that, at least consider working with an accountability partner. Choose someone you trust and with whom you have a relationship based on honesty.

With your partner, you can brainstorm ideas, make plans and hold each other accountable. You can anticipate obstacles and make any adjustments. Make sure your partner challenges you to stretch enough so you grow and learn beyond what you would accomplish alone.

Most importantly, you should never give up, even if you run into formidable obstacles. You may have to adjust your plans but persevere. Remember perseverance is one of the character traits God points us towards regularly. Look at Romans 5:4, 2 Peter 1:6 and James 1:3. The last encouragement from James is that when our faith is tested perseverance is a product of our faith.

Keep up the faith. If you keep working towards your ultimate Life Plan objectives, over time you’ll get there.

Develop your grit – that ability to find what works no matter what. Grit is based on the profound belief that things may be difficult but not impossible. You only have to persist a little longer than most people to become a success. This doesn’t mean you can’t adjust your plans according to reality.

Of course, changing circumstances and desires mean any life plan will need to be amended over time. The goals you have in your 20s are considerably different from those in your 40s — and vastly different from those later in life.

Don’t let life just happen to you. Shape it into your ideal version — and have a nice life!

I’d love to hear if you’ve done a life plan and learn about how it helped you. Please leave a comment.

What’s been your experience as you face the challenge of creating a life plan? Most people say that it helps them to have someone walk with them and hold them accountable.

What about you?

Marc Ottestad leads MO Leadership Coaching – Connecting the DOTs of Your TRUE-Self, Your Work and Your God – through One to One coaching and peer team experience.

If now is the time to get unstuck, let’s connect. Here is my calendar for a complimentary coaching session. CLICK HERE or text at 714-267-2818

 

Practice Makes Perfect - Here's the Plan

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When working with a client (mocoach4ldrs.com)on personal development goals, I often suggest doing life plan. You can use a classic business strategic planning model to map out your life plan. Here are seven-steps to get you started.

1.      Purpose:
Identify your purpose (mission statement)
. Describe your life’s focus. If you’re young and just entering adulthood, this step may be challenging. Imagine you’re approaching the end of your life, and figure out what you’d tell people about a life well lived.

Your statement should reference your values and explore how you intend to spend your time at work, at home and in leisure pursuits. Outline the needs you intend to meet (community involvement is sometimes mentioned). Recognize that your mission statement will change over the years.

Seeking to connect your purpose with God’s purpose can be very rewarding. Often leaders miss the opportunity to see their purpose is about the people they work with and serve. This creates a whole dimension of impact that has eternal reverberations.

2.      Vision:
Establish a vision statement
. Describes your life at various points in the future. What happens when you live out your “purpose” well over time. This can be a most inspiring place to spend quality time exploring your mission and vision dynamically. What would happen in 3 years if we were excellent at the mission? How about 5 years? This process creates more clarity around both the mission and vision. What might God say about your vision? Is it big enough?

3.      Goals:
State the goals you must reach to achieve your mission.
Goals are general statements that (a) define what you need to accomplish and (b) cover major issues. While your vision is longer from a time perspective, goals may be mid-range (for example, 1 to 2 years into the future). Break them down into short-term steps, as well. Remember with goals less is more. What are the 3-5 goals that would be the best runway towards your mission and ultimately your vision?

4.      Strategies:
Identify strategies you must implement to reach each goal.
Your specific approaches will change as you engage in more robust strategic thinking—particularly as you closely examine external and internal environments. Aim for 1-2 strategies for each goal. Remember less is more! Keep strategies inside of 1 year and down to quarters.

5.      Action Plan:
Identify strategic action plans or goal objectives.
State the specific activities or objectives you must undertake to effectively implement each strategy in order to achieve each goal. Use clear language so you can assess whether objectives have been met. This area target is 2-3 action plans for each strategy. Here you are looking at your plan a quarter at a time. What goals need traction first? Pick a goal, declare the strategy and now action plans are using a monthly time target.

If you decide to work with a coach or accountability partner, include this as part of your action plan. Most experts agree that working with another person enhances successful goal achievement.

6.      Document:
Compile the mission, vision, strategies, goals and action plans into a Life Plan document.
This can be done as a written text or in chart or diagram form. Work to get your plan on one page. You don’t need 1000 words for description, keep it simple and engageable. You start with the “WHY” and use that in your Mission/Purpose as your “North Star.” Working the process downwards until you are looking at this quarter, month and week is where the power of planning takes place. Here you can focus on the next most important thing to do. Make a declaration for this week and quarter and watch it daily. You will be amazed at your progress. Write it down.

7.      Track Progress:
Monitor implementation of the plan; update it, as needed.
Regularly reflect on the extent to which goals are being met and whether action plans are being implemented. Use a spreadsheet or graph to monitor your progress, adjust your plan and remain challenged. Remember you can make changes as you go forward. There is no judgement. Reality is your friend.

8.      Get Help

Get light on what you are doing regularly. Schedule time with a friend, mentor or co-worker. Get a coach. Be accountable. Expand your thinking and possibilities.

What’s been your experience writing down and tracking your goals? Most people say that it helps them. What about you?

Marc Ottestad leads MO Leadership Coaching – Connecting the DOTs of Your TRUE-Self, Your Work and Your God – through One to One coaching and peer team experience.

If now is the time to get unstuck, let’s connect. Here is my calendar for a complimentary coaching session. CLICK HERE or text at 714-267-2818

Do you have a PLAN for your LIFE?

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When is the last time you sat down and mapped out a life plan for yourself? Perhaps you regularly update yours and discuss it frequently with your coach, friend, mentor or spouse. Chances are, however, you’ve never created a Life Plan.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” ~ Business philosopher Jim Rohn

If you’re not the one to map out your life, someone else will.

“Life is what happens to you when you’re making other plans,” according to John Lennon’s lyrics for “Beautiful Boy.”

Of course, you can listen to Woody Allen, who famously said: “Half of life is just showing up.” Per this philosophy, you get ahead simply by being present—a concept that certainly relieves a lot of pressure. It allows you to live in the moment, responding to what is rather than trying to shape your life. It also requires a hefty dose of passivity and abandonment of future possibilities. (Let it be, to quote Mr. Lennon again.)

But most of us want to influence the path our life takes to ensure we have enough freedom to express our strengths and talents. We want to control our own destiny when planning for our careers, partnerships and families.

As we head into a new year now is the perfect time to prepare for 2019 to be the best year ever. Experts generally agree that you cannot achieve your goals without a plan or road map. Given the unpredictability of love, work and the lottery, exactly how much of your life can you plan?

What does a life plan look like?

A Google search for life plan yields two billion results! Myriad life-planning experts and coaches  are advertising their services. But let’s simplify things and use a classic planning model you’ll likely recognize. It’s frequently used in business organizations and can easily be adapted for personal use.

One caveat before we start: Just because the plan is simply stated doesn’t imply it’s easy to implement. You must invest several hours of thought, and it may prove beneficial to discuss your ideas with a trusted mentor, coach, friends and family. It is in the exercising of dreams, desires, priorities and limitations that clarity arises.

Planning out your life, whether personal or career, is one of the things I work with clients on regularly. You can start by making a list of trusted people you can ask to help you with your life plan. You may know of someone or you’ll need to ask around for a referral to a professional coach with experience.

My coaching will always include your spiritual journey. What does God say about plans? He is very specific in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Can you imagine connecting with God and the plans He has for you?

Start making some notes about the things you value most, and the direction you’d most like your life to take. Visualize your life in 1, 3, 5, 10, 20 years later to help you clarify what you want. Each step of the way check-in with God! Ask Him to affirm your thoughts, add to them or move you in another direction.

In my next post, I’ll provide a 7-step process for making a life plan. Let me know what your experience has been with making a life plan.

It is time to plan for 2019. Make your declarations. Be accountable. Eliminate distractions. Call me at 714-267-2818 or CLICK HERE for my calendar to explore how executive coaching could get you going!


God and My Desires

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This is a season of life in which I am exploring my desires with God.

Is it OK to have desires?

Is it OK to proclaim what I want?

Do I even know what my desires are?

When I start to explore the idea of me, my desires, and God, I am reluctant. I hesitate. I am uncomfortable. I am surprised. I thought it would be easier to identify what my desires are in this season of life.

Of course, I know God knows my desires, but I am somewhat detached from them at this time.  Somewhere inside of me I think my desires are either not good or I am not worthy to have them.  I think I need to control such thoughts, such ideas. I think I should not have desires or rather not admit that I feel unworthy. I think that all my desires should be complete and fulfilled because I believe in Jesus.

When I say it out loud or write it down it seems so crazy.

Has my faith created a fear in me to explore my desires?

Have I abandoned my desires or just covered them up?

God declared for me and everyone that He will give me the desires of my heart!

Take a look at Psalm 37:4, Psalm 20:4 and Proverbs 3:5.

So why do I hesitate?

Many of my desires are impossible to fulfill. When I look back, I wanted a good homelife growing up that was safe and nurturing. I wanted grandparents. I wanted a mentor. I wanted to not be cross-eyed. I think my thinking about the past and the idea of my “desires” confuses me. Current desires for past events are impossible.

So, I look towards the future. If you know me, I live in the future. But my future hopes and dreams seems to disappoint when experienced in the now. The future is always so big, so hopeful, so promising. The experience of that future today, not so much.

There I am, dissatisfied.

But what about the present? What about those current desires that are so difficult to identify. I am thinking I have allowed myself to be fooled. I believe that God is in the present with me. I cannot be in the past of in the future. He is inviting me to share my current desires, to identify them with Him, to allow Him to touch them, grow them, to release them.

I want more of God and I think my desires are connected to an open dialog with God about them. Here I am Lord. I am in my final season. I want more of you and perhaps the best way for more of God is to converse with Him about my desires.  I want to dream bigger as in other worldly. Lord, I think you are inviting me into such a life. Thanks for the invitation Lord.

Me, God and my desires will be a good journey. I will release the past, hold the future lightly and be with God today. Remembering that I am His beloved and He wants my best. I will be courageous. God is for me, knows my desires and will help me to discover them with Him.

My thanks to Curt and Debbie Swindoll and Grafted Life Ministries. It is through their work that I have stepped into this journey: “A Call to Desire and Discern.” Here is the website for more information:

www.graftedlife.org

 

45,276 Tips to Stop Information Overload

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If you’re anything like the clients I work with www.coach4ldrs.com  you spend an inordinate amount of time sifting and sorting through information: research and reports, email and texts, online news, social media, voice mail, not to mention the face-to-face information that is shared in passing, in meetings and conferences.

I’ve been writing about this in recent posts. Here are more good tips to stop the avalanche of information that clogs up our workspace so we can concentrate on what really matters, the things that will bring in the best results.

5. Meditate on Jesus

The art of meditation provides a means for clearing the mind of chatter and stray thoughts. There is no doubt that we are subjected to an abundance of noise and information overload which is delivered with a perverted invitation to hurry, hurry, faster, faster! The famous quote from Carl Jung reminds us “Hurry is not of the Devil, it is the Devil. According to Christian teachings an antidote for the endless internal monologue that loops in our brains is mediating on God with God. When the overload moment hits use that as an invitation to connect with Jesus. It seems just like God to use what is challenging us to grow us.

6. Cut off the flow

How can you retool your life to consume less info, less frequently? Make it a habit to leave the radio off in your car when you drive to work and enjoy the silence. You don't need the TV on to repeat the news talk. Make it a rule never to surf the web, TV, or other “glowing rectangles” after 8 P.M. Another favorite idea it is use the Sabbath for a day of no “screens”. Might you take the challenge and cut off the flow?

7. Outsource solution finding

Find ways to outsource your decision making and solution finding to other people, so you don’t have to bathe in the info stream to the point that it scalds your mind.

8. Reduce your informational needs

You can survive on far less information than you realize. Do you really need to scan the CNN headlines every morning on your cell phone? What is that doing for your life? How is it making you a better person and moving you closer to your goals? Excise what you don’t need – and do regular audits.

One wise person put herself on an information diet for a year. At the end of December, she accessed all the top news stories for the year on the Time Magazines site. Like watching the highlights of a football game, she only wants to know the interesting parts.

Tips 9 through 45,276

[Deleted because you’ve gotten what you need out of this article and you don’t need to waste more time consuming information, even if it's about how to stop consuming information!]. What do you think? What other tips or best practices do you use? I’d love to hear from you (truly!) Send me an email marc@mocoach4ldrs.com or contact me via LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcottestadchristianceo/

 

 

3 Tips to STOP Information Overload

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3 Tips to Stop Information Overload

It's one of the most common complaints among working adults: "Stop the emails!" At least that's what I hear in the work I do coaching executives (coach4ldrs.com)  If work isn't stressful enough, we're drowning in information that doesn't stop coming. Now we are experiencing the technology gurus using text, oh my goodness.

Here are three good tips for stopping the avalanche of information that clogs up our workspace so we can concentrate on what really matters, the things that will bring in the best results.

1.      Leverage the “Pareto Principle ”  (AKA the 80:20 rule)

Author Timothy Ferriss (The 4-Hour Workweek) writes about the importance of the 80:20 rule, or the Pareto Principle. Essentially, this principle says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. Conversely, 80% of your problems result from 20% of your inputs.

 Let's apply this idea to the "info overload" problem. It’s almost certain that 80% of the information that comes into your life everyday is relatively useless. Get rid of that excess 80%. Focus on the 20% of information that genuinely adds to your life.

Do routine “80:20” audits of both your information and daily time usage to improve your productivity and clamp down on overload.

2.      Use Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s Law essentially states that work will expand or contract to take up the amount of time allotted for it. In The 4-Hour Workweek, Ferriss talks about Parkinson’s Law as a companion principle to the 80:20 principle. The idea is that you should give yourself hard to meet (but not impossible) deadlines throughout the day.

For instance, say you enjoy surfing the internet. But you don’t want to spend 3 hours a day lost mindlessly on the web. Set a timer – say 30 minutes. Then allow yourself to swim in the info-sea until the timer buzzes.

3.      Explore "Getting Things Done" – a productivity system

Productivity guru David Allen created the Getting Things Done (GTD) system to help info-overloaded people clear their slates and their minds. Essentially, Allen’s philosophy is to write down what’s on your mind – to collect your mind’s “open loops” in an objective format, such as a lengthy to-do list. In this way, your brain doesn’t have to “remember everything.” GTD is not a simple system to learn or use, but it contains many powerful ideas.

Whatever system you use, it's only as good as the results it brings you. If you continue to struggle with information overload, you may benefit from professional coaching services (coach4ldrs.com)

Many of my clients have had turn-around breakthroughs. You may not be able to see what a good coach can see.

Love to connect and hear how you handle the chaos of information overload.

Here is my cell 714-267-2818

 

How to STOP Information Overload

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How to Stop Information Overload

 How many times have you screamed to yourself: “There is too much information online! Make it stop! Argh!”

 According to a 2009 study conducted by the University of California, San Diego, Americans consume on average approximately 34 gigabytes of information a day. This translates to about 100,000 words of information in a single 24-hour period.

 Our culture, work and media celebrate our unfettered access to music, videogames, television, and websites. But overloading the human brain has negative consequences. Many people worry what this information gluttony is doing to their mental, physical and spiritual health. When we hear the word gluttony we often relegate our thinking to food or drink and yet the since of gluttony is really exemplified in this idea of information gluttony.

 Rates of repetitive stress disorders, such as computer-related eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome (from excess computer use), are rising, along with rates of Attention Deficit Disorder. Lack of focus is a common complaint. Lack of time is another. These are all obvious symptoms that should alert us to the possibility of a lack of connecting you Our Lord.

 An Internet search for things like “info overload cure,” reveals thousands of articles about what to do. Many of these articles have good advice. But there again, it's possible to get snowed under by an avalanche of information about information overload.

 So let’s boil down the actions you can take right now to simplify your life and clear your mind.

 Be Satisfied with Less

As the old cliché goes: “Perfect is the enemy of the good.” We often crave the "best" answer or path. But the sheer number of options paralyzes us. Sociologist Barry Schwartz details this phenomenon in depth in his book, The Paradox of Choice.  Another favorite is Less is More by Dale Burke.

Studies show that when you give people too many choices, they not only freeze up and have trouble deciding, but they also wind up less satisfied with what they choose. The more choices, the less satisfaction.

Perhaps the call is to simplicity. Explore Matthew 6:25-27

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink….

or how about not worrying about your next decision by overindulging with information?

Remember, any time you can limit your choices to get a “good enough” answer instead of a “best” answer, you'll be better off. This is connected to the leadership discipline of delegation.

As we think about “Less is more” we are reminded to start with the godly discipline in Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, it there is any excellence, if there is anything praiseworthy, think about these things.

Of course, as with all principles, caveats apply. If you want information about how to refinance your home, you would obviously want to consult with more than one or two sources. But, in general, err on the side of limiting choices instead of expanding options and most importantly invest in God’s guidance as your foundation. It will bring you peace and joy in all decisions including where to gain your next financing source.

How can you start making better choices in order to prioritize your work flow and connect with God? Sometimes – often times – the services of a professional coach can help. In the work I do coaching with clients (www.coach4ldrs.com)  people report more happiness and better results with less effort.

My coaching is about “Connecting You, Your Work & God”.

Here is my calendar to explore if now is the right time for you.  Click Here

Do You Understand the 5 Roles of Leadership?

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Are there universally shared leadership characteristics? Experts estimate that 50 to 85 percent of leadership characteristics are found in all effective leaders. The missing variables are personal situations and internal influences (drive, ambition, etc.).

You can improve your leadership abilities by focusing on the main characteristics that define those who succeed at leading others. (Last Blog)  The Leadership Code’s five-rule framework represents 60 to 70 percent of fundamentally effective leadership. While there may be variances in strategy, vision and individual job requirements, the rules are designed as a foundation for effective leadership across all industries.

Most people are naturally predisposed to excel in one or two of the five leadership roles:

1.      Strategist

2.      Executor

3.      Talent manager

4.       Human-capital developer

5.      Personal proficiency

Some are big-picture strategists and future-oriented, while others love getting things done or engaging people for high performance.

If you’re in a more senior role, you’ll need to branch out from your predisposed areas of excellence. You’ll be required to master all of the first four roles or surround yourself with people who can fill in the gaps for you.

The last role, personal proficiency, is the foundation for improving skills in the first four roles. Personal proficiency will help you become a more rounded leader. It is the only one that cannot be delegated, although having an executive coach (Coach4ldrs.com) can help you develop more rapidly.

At the heart of leadership effectiveness is the ability to continually learn and enhance your personal effectiveness. We are called to grow into the people God has called us to be!

You are not solely defined by what you do or know. In fact, there’s a lot you don’t know about yourself because everyone has limited vision and blind spots. We err in thinking. We jump to conclusions. We have poor communication habits that could definitely improve. Personal proficiency takes time, vigilance and help from others. Again, awareness is huge. Who helps you see reality?

Who you are as a leader has everything to do with how much you can accomplish with and through other people. In The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner cite three reasons why people follow someone:

1.      Integrity

2.      Competency

3.      Forward thinking


Leaders are learners, and their classroom is everywhere. We learn from our mistakes, successes, books, coworkers, bosses, friends and life itself. Leaders are passionate about their beliefs and interests, willing to examine them at every occasion.

Leaders know what matters to them. They inspire loyalty and goodwill in others because they  act with integrity and trust. They can be bold and courageous because they know what matters most. This helps them tolerate ambiguity, uncertainty and crises.

The Leadership Code provides four summary observations:

1.      All leaders must excel at personal proficiency. Without a foundation of trust and credibility, you cannot ask others to follow you.

2.      All leaders must have one towering strength. Most successful leaders excel in at least one of the other four core roles. Most are personally predisposed to one of the four areas (i.e., their signature strength).

3.      All leaders must be at least average in their weaker leadership domains.

4.      The higher you rise in an organization, the more you need to develop excellence in the remaining domains.

How can you use this framework for leadership effectiveness to improve your abilities? And, if you're not working yet with an executive coach (www.coach4ldrs.com) review my web pages to see if it makes sense for you in your current career path to explore this option. I'd love to hear from you.

Call or text me at 714-267-2818

My email is marc@mocoach4ldrs.com

Who, What and Why of Leadership

 How do these five rules for effective  leadership  from   The Leadership Code: 5 Rules to Lead By,     (Harvard Business Press, 2011)   Dave  Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman  fit in with other  leadership theories ? (See my previous posts here  Leaders Develop Others  and here  5 Golden Rules of Leadership Leadership  has evolved from the military models of centuries ago to contemporary theories of  scientific management ,  situational leadership ,  servant leadership  and other widely discussed  styles .  The primary principles of effective leadership nonetheless remain consistent. Without effective leadership skills, no one will follow you.  Here’s a look at some traditional leadership theories, based on the key questions journalists ask to uncover a story: who, what, when, where, why and how.   1.  Who  is a leader?  The image of a tall man in a dark suit, impeccably groomed, comes to mind. He is authoritative, with a firm handshake, warm smile and steady gaze. For a long time, leaders were sought for their physical traits: height, gender, heritage, education and speaking style. This approach proved to be based on false assumptions, but such prejudices still exist in the C-suites. Today, it’s called  executive presence . The criteria have changed (somewhat), but people are still influenced by looks.   2.  How  do leaders act?  Leadership has been defined by  behavioral style . There are six distinct leadership styles, according to  Daniel Goleman , Richard E. Boyatzis and Annie McKee, authors of     Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence  :  ·  Directive : Immediate compliance. Giving orders, or telling someone what to do.  ·  Visionary : Providing long-term direction and vision for employees. Inspiring action through personal and professional vision.  ·  Affiliative : Creating harmony among employees and between the manager and employees. Fostering a harmonious environment.  ·  Participative : Building commitment among employees and generating new ideas. Collaborating to achieve a goal.  ·  Pace-setting : Accomplishing tasks to high standards of excellence. Setting high standards that challenge the team to keep up.  ·  Coaching : Long-term professional development of employees. Determining how to help people address their strengths and challenges. Creating a development plan to help them achieve their potential.  In general, these styles define a leader by how he or she behaves. Do you “take charge” or “take care”? Leaders exhibit a preferred style, but the effective ones can be both soft and hard; they’re flexible in switching between managing tasks and caring about people.   3.  When  and  where  do leaders focus on the person or task?  This question relates to   situational leadership  . The appropriate leadership style depends on understanding situational context and specifics.   4.  What  do leaders know and do?  What are the key  leadership competencies ? What core body of knowledge, skills and values define successful leaders? In this leadership model, the focus is on both the situation and the business strategy.   5.  Why  does leadership matter?    Some leadership theorists have shifted away from competencies to focus on results. Leadership is about getting the right results in the right way. Leaders need to achieve a  balanced scorecard  of employee, customer, investor and organizational results to provide sustainable results.  Perhaps this has reminded you of MBA courses and leadership workshops you've sat through, or business books that have claimed to have the secret to unlock leadership magic. It's tempting to buy into yet again another fad-du-jour.  But if you want to seriously improve your leadership abilities, you can't read a book and simply start to apply new skills. Leadership is more about relationships and character. That can't be developed on your own. The beginning is self-awareness. One of the most effective ways to grow your self-awareness and leadership abilities is with an executive coach.  Is now the time to take the next step in your development?  I coach leaders seeking to maximize their potential. I know coaches of excellence with the same mission. My differentiator is the intentional anchoring of Jesus in the leadership growth journey.   Click here  to get on my calendar to see if MO Leadership Coaching is the right tool for you.

How do these five rules for effective leadership from The Leadership Code: 5 Rules to Lead By, (Harvard Business Press, 2011) Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman fit in with other leadership theories? (See my previous posts here Leaders Develop Others and here 5 Golden Rules of Leadership Leadership has evolved from the military models of centuries ago to contemporary theories of scientific management, situational leadership, servant leadership and other widely discussed styles.

The primary principles of effective leadership nonetheless remain consistent. Without effective leadership skills, no one will follow you.

Here’s a look at some traditional leadership theories, based on the key questions journalists ask to uncover a story: who, what, when, where, why and how.

1. Who is a leader? The image of a tall man in a dark suit, impeccably groomed, comes to mind. He is authoritative, with a firm handshake, warm smile and steady gaze. For a long time, leaders were sought for their physical traits: height, gender, heritage, education and speaking style. This approach proved to be based on false assumptions, but such prejudices still exist in the C-suites. Today, it’s called executive presence. The criteria have changed (somewhat), but people are still influenced by looks.

2. How do leaders act? Leadership has been defined by behavioral style. There are six distinct leadership styles, according to Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis and Annie McKee, authors of Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence:

· Directive: Immediate compliance. Giving orders, or telling someone what to do.

· Visionary: Providing long-term direction and vision for employees. Inspiring action through personal and professional vision.

· Affiliative: Creating harmony among employees and between the manager and employees. Fostering a harmonious environment.

· Participative: Building commitment among employees and generating new ideas. Collaborating to achieve a goal.

· Pace-setting: Accomplishing tasks to high standards of excellence. Setting high standards that challenge the team to keep up.

· Coaching: Long-term professional development of employees. Determining how to help people address their strengths and challenges. Creating a development plan to help them achieve their potential.

In general, these styles define a leader by how he or she behaves. Do you “take charge” or “take care”? Leaders exhibit a preferred style, but the effective ones can be both soft and hard; they’re flexible in switching between managing tasks and caring about people.

3. When and where do leaders focus on the person or task? This question relates to situational leadership. The appropriate leadership style depends on understanding situational context and specifics.

4. What do leaders know and do? What are the key leadership competencies? What core body of knowledge, skills and values define successful leaders? In this leadership model, the focus is on both the situation and the business strategy.

5. Why does leadership matter? Some leadership theorists have shifted away from competencies to focus on results. Leadership is about getting the right results in the right way. Leaders need to achieve a balanced scorecard of employee, customer, investor and organizational results to provide sustainable results.

Perhaps this has reminded you of MBA courses and leadership workshops you've sat through, or business books that have claimed to have the secret to unlock leadership magic. It's tempting to buy into yet again another fad-du-jour.

But if you want to seriously improve your leadership abilities, you can't read a book and simply start to apply new skills. Leadership is more about relationships and character. That can't be developed on your own. The beginning is self-awareness. One of the most effective ways to grow your self-awareness and leadership abilities is with an executive coach.

Is now the time to take the next step in your development?

I coach leaders seeking to maximize their potential. I know coaches of excellence with the same mission. My differentiator is the intentional anchoring of Jesus in the leadership growth journey.

Click here to get on my calendar to see if MO Leadership Coaching is the right tool for you.

Leaders Develop Others and Themselves

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I'm reviewing ideas in the book The Leadership Code: 5 Rules to Lead By,, (Harvard Business Press, 2011) Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman.

All leaders who want to be effective should function well as a strategist (shape the future), an executor (get things done), a talent manager (bring out the best in people), and as a human capitol developer (prepare for the next generation). And, as a foundation for these roles, an effective leader must excel at their own personal proficiency (they must invest in their own learning and development in order to lead others well).

In a previous post ( 5 Golden Rules – Part 1) I reviewed

Rule 1: Shape the future and

Rule 2: Make things happen. Here are rules 3, 4, and 5.

Rule 3: Engage today’s talent. As a talent manager, you’re in charge of optimizing teams’ performance. You must answer the question, “Who goes with us on our business journey?” You need to know how to identify, build and engage talent for immediate results.

How can you bring out the best in people? Do you know which skills are required and where to find talent in your organization? How can you best develop and engage people, guaranteeing that they turn in their best efforts?

When you excel at talent management, you generate personal, professional and organizational loyalty. Talent thrives when you provide nurturing and developmental opportunities. Part of this role of talent engagement and development easily connects to a Biblical worldview that to who much is given, much is expected.     Luke 12:48

Rule 4: Build the next generation.

As a human-capital developer, you’ll need to plan for the next generation. You must answer the question, “Who stays and sustains the organization for the next generation?” Just as talent managers ensure shorter-term results through people, human-capital developers make sure the organization has the longer-term competencies and people required for future strategic success.

This rule requires you to think in terms of building a workforce plan focused on future talent, developing that talent and helping employees envision their future careers within the company. You cannot overlook the fact that the organization will outlive any single individual.

Solid mentorship prepares the next generation to lead well. God offers the path towards wisdom and discernment. Titus 2:6-8 underscores the idea of teaching younger leaders the power of self-control.

Rule 5: Invest in yourself.

Leaders must model what they want others to master. Leading others ultimately begins with yourself. You cannot expect to influence followers unless you invest time and energy on your personal proficiency, individual strengths, self-awareness, and emotional and social intelligence. Leaders have the capacity and the responsibility to grow. The Bible directs leaders to stretch themselves by growth towards wisdom and discernment. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

Resources like Meyer-Briggs, DISC, The Enneagram and Strengthfinders are self-awareness tools that offer great growth opportunities. For leaders looking to move to the next level 360 assessments are a good investment.  Finally, if you’re not working with a mentor or executive coach (www.coach4ldrs.com) you’re missing out on one of the most effective ways to build your strengths and talents.

5 Golden Rules of Leadership

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I've been reading The Leadership Code: 5 Rules to Lead By, (Harvard Business Press, 2011) Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman. I like this book for many reasons, but especially because the authors do a good job of synthesizing leadership theories into a concise framework. Having a framework of the five major leadership functions makes it easier to tackle the job of getting better at leading people effectively.

I have been struck over the years by the silence I am surrounded by when I ask a leader to share their job description. Most leaders do work hard to help those they lead have clarity in their work by refining job descriptions for all. However seldom do leaders create their own.

All leaders have to function well as a strategist (shape the future), an executor (get things done), a talent manager (bring out the best in people), and as a human capitol developer (prepare for the next generation). As a foundation for these roles, an effective leader must excel at their own personal proficiency (they must invest in their own learning and development in order to lead others well). Here is a summary of the authors' ideas, put in the form of five "golden" rules:

Rule 1: Shape the future. As a strategist, you must answer the question “Where are we going?” for the people you lead. You not only envision the future, but help create it. You need to figure out where the organization must go to succeed, while pragmatically testing ideas against current resources and capabilities. Work with others to figure out how to move from the present to the desired future.

How informed are you about future trends, both inside and outside your field? How much time and attention do you allocate to future planning? How will you inspire your people with vision, purpose, mission and strategies? What does the Lord teach us about understanding the future?

Rule 2: Make things happen. As executors, leaders focus on the question, “How can we ensure we’ll reach our goals?” You must translate strategy into action. You’ll need to transform plans for change into measurable results by assigning accountability, knowing which decisions to manage and which to delegate, and ensuring that teams work together effectively.

This means keeping promises to multiple stakeholders. It also means ensuring that systems are in place for others to perform with the support and resources they need. Discipline is required. What does the Lord teach us about discipline? How can you help your people create their own high-performance results? Do you know when to step in or, conversely, step back?

I'm saving Rules 3-5 for my next post, but I'd love to hear from you about these two rules. Are you a person who focuses on the future, or who tries to become more forward-thinking? How adept are you at getting things done? Both areas are certainly important to being an effective leader and both can be improved by working with an executive coach.  (www.coach4ldrs.com)

A Godly Framework for Leadership

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Are leaders born or made? I could argue for both positions. In the work I do (coach4ldrs.com)  I've seen some naturally gifted leaders, and some who've simply worked hard and grown into excellence.

The real issue is that all leaders can improve. Whether you’re a seasoned executive or a high-potential team member, you can boost your performance in five crucial leadership areas. I've seen this happen. I've been working with high potential people who've made some amazing improvements through executive coaching. I see this in Jesus as our example as revealed in Luke 2:52 “and Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.

More than half a million business books deal with leadership acumen, but studying the most respected experts’ ideas reveals a consensus on the foremost functions required for effectiveness.

In The Leadership Code: 5 Rules to Lead By, (Harvard Business Press, 2011) Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman have synthesized current thinking on leadership and developed a framework that blends idealism with realism. They’ve distilled leadership into five core roles, regardless of one’s industry or business environment:

  1. Strategist—Leaders shape the future. (Psalm 37:23-24)

  2. Executor—Leaders make things happen. (2 Corinthians 8:11)

  3. Talent manager—Leaders engage today’s talent. (Matthew 5:16)

  4. Human-capital developer—Leaders build the next generation. (Deuteronomy 6:9)

  5. Personal proficiency—Leaders invest in their own development. (Colossians 1:9-10)

 Having a framework for the most essential leadership skills will help you avoid quick fixes and business-book fads. While the scope of leadership may seem overwhelming, these five golden rules provide much-needed focus.

Leaders must excel in many areas: innovative strategies, long-term customer relationships, quality execution, high-performing teams and accountability. They need to manage people, communicate well, engage and inspire others, exercise keen judgment and decision-making, excel at emotional and demonstrate ethical integrity. It’s easy to get lost if you pursue the wrong priorities.

With a clear and concise framework that covers the entire leadership landscape, you can concentrate on how to become more effective and determine the best ways to develop talent. The Leadership Code offers five pivotal rules that lay out how the game is played. Knowing them enables you to modify your behavior and ultimately succeed.

There's no doubt that people can grow and develop their leadership talent; I've seen it happen in the work I do as an executive coach (coach4ldrs.com).  But what's needed is focused, deliberate practice on the things that count, that really contribute to a leader being effective. These five areas pinpoint the most essential things to concentrate on.

In the next few blogs I will dig deeper into the 5 areas and then who leaders are and how they act that creates a commitment to follow. As always when I study leadership, I find secular writers presenting godly concepts that are received in the marketplace as new thinking and seldom is there a connection for most to God’s Word. That’s because people seldom look.

The reality is God designed people and leaders and offers His way as exemplified by the greatest leader of all time. The leader that changed the world, Jesus.

What do you think about these concepts? Do they encapsulate all of the areas required for a leader to be effective? I'd love to hear from you, leave a comment.

Blame or Praise? Leaders and Failure

 Admittedly, some mistakes are more blameworthy than others. As a manager, how do you make it safe for people to report and admit to mistakes?  Harvard management professor  Amy Edmondson  delineates a “spectrum of reasons for failure” in “ Strategies for Learning from Failure ” ( It is only $1.71 now on Amazon!! ), as summarized here:   Deviance : An individual chooses to violate a prescribed process or practice.   Inattention : An individual inadvertently deviates from specifications.   Lack of Ability : An individual doesn’t have the skills, conditions or training to execute a job.   Process Inadequacy : A competent individual adheres to a prescribed, but faulty or incomplete, process.   Task Challenge : An individual faces a task too difficult to be executed reliably every time.   Process Complexity : A process composed of many elements breaks down when it encounters novel interactions.   Uncertainty : A lack of clarity about future events causes people to take seemingly reasonable actions that produce undesired results.   Hypothesis Testing : An experiment conducted to prove that an idea or a design will succeed actually fails.   Exploratory Testing : An experiment conducted to expand knowledge and investigate a possibility leads to undesired results.  Notice how this spectrum progresses from mistakes that are blameworthy to those that could be considered praiseworthy. Imagine that, recognizing mistakes as praiseworthy. Is that the type of culture you are building?  How many of the failures in your business are truly blameworthy? Compare this to how many  are treated as blameworthy , and you’ll have a better understanding of why so many failures go unreported.  You cannot learn from your mistakes when the emphasis is on blaming. You cannot learn to become more resilient when your energy is tied up in assigning or avoiding blame.  Perhaps Procter & Gamble’s  A. G. Lafley  said it best in his   Harvard Business Review interview  : “I think I learned more from my failures than from my successes in all my years as a CEO. I think of my failures as a gift. Unless you view them that way, you won’t learn from failure, you won’t get better—and the company won’t get better.”  What about you? Do you learn more from failure or success? I'd love to hear from you, leave a comment.

Admittedly, some mistakes are more blameworthy than others. As a manager, how do you make it safe for people to report and admit to mistakes?

Harvard management professor Amy Edmondson delineates a “spectrum of reasons for failure” in “Strategies for Learning from Failure” (It is only $1.71 now on Amazon!!), as summarized here:

Deviance: An individual chooses to violate a prescribed process or practice.

Inattention: An individual inadvertently deviates from specifications.

Lack of Ability: An individual doesn’t have the skills, conditions or training to execute a job.

Process Inadequacy: A competent individual adheres to a prescribed, but faulty or incomplete, process.

Task Challenge: An individual faces a task too difficult to be executed reliably every time.

Process Complexity: A process composed of many elements breaks down when it encounters novel interactions.

Uncertainty: A lack of clarity about future events causes people to take seemingly reasonable actions that produce undesired results.

Hypothesis Testing: An experiment conducted to prove that an idea or a design will succeed actually fails.

Exploratory Testing: An experiment conducted to expand knowledge and investigate a possibility leads to undesired results.

Notice how this spectrum progresses from mistakes that are blameworthy to those that could be considered praiseworthy. Imagine that, recognizing mistakes as praiseworthy. Is that the type of culture you are building?

How many of the failures in your business are truly blameworthy? Compare this to how many are treated as blameworthy, and you’ll have a better understanding of why so many failures go unreported.

You cannot learn from your mistakes when the emphasis is on blaming. You cannot learn to become more resilient when your energy is tied up in assigning or avoiding blame.

Perhaps Procter & Gamble’s A. G. Lafley said it best in his Harvard Business Review interview: “I think I learned more from my failures than from my successes in all my years as a CEO. I think of my failures as a gift. Unless you view them that way, you won’t learn from failure, you won’t get better—and the company won’t get better.”

What about you? Do you learn more from failure or success? I'd love to hear from you, leave a comment.

Finding New Strategies for Bouncing Back

 When it comes to developing better  resilience  in the face of uncertainty and failures, both self-awareness and political awareness are key.  Whereas self-awareness helps you understand the messages you’re sending, political awareness helps you understand the messages others are receiving. It requires you to know how your organization defines, explains and assigns responsibility for failure, as well as how the system allows for remedial attempts.  When I'm coaching executives, ( coaching4ldrs.com ) we work a lot on developing personal awareness. Personal awareness involves finding the right way to approach mistakes within your organization and understanding your role. This process includes soul care. Taking time with God to explore where we fall short is the road to humility which often is the character trait necessary as a foundation for bouncing back.  Once you’ve become more aware of your failure response style (and your bad habits), you can move toward more open and adaptive behaviors.  Business consultants Ben Dattner and Robert Hogan suggest several effective steps in  “Can You Handle Failure?”  ( Harvard Business Review , April 2011).  Practice these strategies the next time mistakes and failures present challenges:    ·        Listen and communicate.  Most of us forget to gather enough feedback and information before reacting, especially when it comes to bad news. Never assume you know what others are thinking or that you understand them until you ask good questions.  ·        Reflect on both the situation and the   people.  We’re good at picking up patterns and making assumptions. Remember, however, that each situation is unique and has context.  ·        Think before you act.  You don’t have to respond immediately or impulsively. You can always make things worse by overreacting in a highly charged situation.  ·        Search for a lesson.  Look for nuance and context. Sometimes a colleague or a group is at fault, sometimes you are, and sometimes no one is to blame. Create and test hypotheses about why the failure occurred to prevent it from happening again.

When it comes to developing better resilience in the face of uncertainty and failures, both self-awareness and political awareness are key.

Whereas self-awareness helps you understand the messages you’re sending, political awareness helps you understand the messages others are receiving. It requires you to know how your organization defines, explains and assigns responsibility for failure, as well as how the system allows for remedial attempts.

When I'm coaching executives, (coaching4ldrs.com) we work a lot on developing personal awareness. Personal awareness involves finding the right way to approach mistakes within your organization and understanding your role. This process includes soul care. Taking time with God to explore where we fall short is the road to humility which often is the character trait necessary as a foundation for bouncing back.

Once you’ve become more aware of your failure response style (and your bad habits), you can move toward more open and adaptive behaviors.

Business consultants Ben Dattner and Robert Hogan suggest several effective steps in “Can You Handle Failure?” (Harvard Business Review, April 2011).

Practice these strategies the next time mistakes and failures present challenges:
 

·       Listen and communicate. Most of us forget to gather enough feedback and information before reacting, especially when it comes to bad news. Never assume you know what others are thinking or that you understand them until you ask good questions.

·       Reflect on both the situation and the people. We’re good at picking up patterns and making assumptions. Remember, however, that each situation is unique and has context.

·       Think before you act. You don’t have to respond immediately or impulsively. You can always make things worse by overreacting in a highly charged situation.

·       Search for a lesson. Look for nuance and context. Sometimes a colleague or a group is at fault, sometimes you are, and sometimes no one is to blame. Create and test hypotheses about why the failure occurred to prevent it from happening again.

How to Learn from Our Mistakes

 “ That which does not kill us makes us stronger .” ~  Friedrich Nietzsche   Failure is one of life’s most common traumas, yet people’s responses to it vary widely. Many managers have learned to reframe personal and departmental setbacks by stating: “There are no mistakes, only learning opportunities”—and it’s a great sentiment. In practice, however, their companies often continue to view failures in the most negative light.  Part of the problem lies in our natural tendency to blame. We perceive and react to failure inappropriately. How can we learn anything if our energy is tied up in either assigning or avoiding blame? Still others overreact with self-criticism, which leads to stagnation and fears of taking future risks.  One of the common things that come up frequently in my coaching sessions ( coaching4ldrs.com ) is dealing with mistakes and the excessive blaming that goes on in the work place.  In the 1930s, psychologist  Saul Rosenzweig  proposed three broad personality categories for how we experience anger and frustration:  1.       Extrapunitive : Prone to unfairly blame others  2.       Impunitive : Denies that failure has occurred or one’s own role in it  3.       Intropunitive : Judges self too harshly and imagines failures where none exist  Extrapunitive responses are common in the business world. Because of socialization and other gender influences, women are more likely to be intropunitive.  Fortunately, managers at all organizational levels can repair their flawed responses to failure. Business consultants Ben Dattner and Robert Hogan suggest several highly effective steps in  “Can You Handle Failure?”  ( Harvard Business Review , April 2011):   Cultivate Self-Awareness   First, identify which of the three blaming styles you use. (Note: They occur automatically and immediately, so they are unconscious emotional responses.)  1.      Do you look to blame others?  2.      Deny blame?  3.      Blame yourself?     It’s hard for us to see our own personalities clearly, let alone our flaws. It’s harder still to learn from our mistakes if we’re caught up in the blame game.  Next, take at least one self-assessment test to help broaden your view of your interaction style. Two popular assessments are the  Myers-Briggs Type Indicator  and the  Big Five Personality Test . (You can take a free version online at  personal.psu.edu/j5j/IPIP/ipipneo120.htm .)  Finally, work with a coach or mentor ( coaching4ldrs.com ) to improve your level of self-awareness. While it takes some time to shine a light on our attitudes with respect to failure and blame, each of us can benefit from such reflection and discussion.     For example, think about challenging events or jobs in your career, and consider how you handled them. What could you have done better? Ask trusted colleagues, mentors or coaches   marc@mocoach4ldrs.com )   to evaluate your reactions to, and explanations for, failures.  Pay close attention to the subtleties of how people respond to you in common workplace situations. Ask for informal feedback. If you’re in a managerial position, you may underestimate how what you say may be perceived as criticism, due to the hierarchical nature of your job.     What are your suggestions for improving self-awareness in the workplace? I'd love to hear from you, leave a comment.   

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Failure is one of life’s most common traumas, yet people’s responses to it vary widely. Many managers have learned to reframe personal and departmental setbacks by stating: “There are no mistakes, only learning opportunities”—and it’s a great sentiment. In practice, however, their companies often continue to view failures in the most negative light.

Part of the problem lies in our natural tendency to blame. We perceive and react to failure inappropriately. How can we learn anything if our energy is tied up in either assigning or avoiding blame? Still others overreact with self-criticism, which leads to stagnation and fears of taking future risks.

One of the common things that come up frequently in my coaching sessions (coaching4ldrs.com) is dealing with mistakes and the excessive blaming that goes on in the work place.

In the 1930s, psychologist Saul Rosenzweig proposed three broad personality categories for how we experience anger and frustration:

1.      Extrapunitive: Prone to unfairly blame others

2.      Impunitive: Denies that failure has occurred or one’s own role in it

3.      Intropunitive: Judges self too harshly and imagines failures where none exist

Extrapunitive responses are common in the business world. Because of socialization and other gender influences, women are more likely to be intropunitive.

Fortunately, managers at all organizational levels can repair their flawed responses to failure. Business consultants Ben Dattner and Robert Hogan suggest several highly effective steps in “Can You Handle Failure?” (Harvard Business Review, April 2011):

Cultivate Self-Awareness

First, identify which of the three blaming styles you use. (Note: They occur automatically and immediately, so they are unconscious emotional responses.)

1.      Do you look to blame others?

2.      Deny blame?

3.      Blame yourself?

It’s hard for us to see our own personalities clearly, let alone our flaws. It’s harder still to learn from our mistakes if we’re caught up in the blame game.

Next, take at least one self-assessment test to help broaden your view of your interaction style. Two popular assessments are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Big Five Personality Test. (You can take a free version online at personal.psu.edu/j5j/IPIP/ipipneo120.htm.)

Finally, work with a coach or mentor (coaching4ldrs.com) to improve your level of self-awareness. While it takes some time to shine a light on our attitudes with respect to failure and blame, each of us can benefit from such reflection and discussion.

 

For example, think about challenging events or jobs in your career, and consider how you handled them. What could you have done better? Ask trusted colleagues, mentors or coaches marc@mocoach4ldrs.com)  to evaluate your reactions to, and explanations for, failures.

Pay close attention to the subtleties of how people respond to you in common workplace situations. Ask for informal feedback. If you’re in a managerial position, you may underestimate how what you say may be perceived as criticism, due to the hierarchical nature of your job.

 

What are your suggestions for improving self-awareness in the workplace? I'd love to hear from you, leave a comment.

 

Bouncing Back with Optimism and Resilience

 What do you tell yourself when you goof? Did you know we have a default explanatory style? Leave it to the psychologists and social scientists to study this one!  Actually, people working with clients in a managing or coaching role ( coaching4ldrs.com ), as I do, hear how individuals explain what happens to them frequently enough to spot such patterns.  Research clearly demonstrates that people who are naturally resilient have an  optimistic explanatory style —that is, they explain adversity in optimistic terms to avoid falling into feelings of helplessness.  Those who refuse to give up  routinely interpret setbacks as temporary, local and changeable :  ·       “The problem will resolve quickly…”  ·       “It’s just this one situation…”  ·       “I can do something about it…”  In contrast, individuals who have a pessimistic explanatory style respond to failure differently. They habitually think setbacks are permanent, universal and immutable:  ·       “Things are never going to be any different...”  ·       “This always happens to me...”  ·       “I can’t change things, no matter what...”  The scientist who's studied this the most is University of Pennsylvania psychology professor  Martin P. Seligman . He believes most people can be immunized against the negative thinking habits that may tempt them to give up after failure. In fact, 30 years of research suggests that  we can learn to be optimistic and resilient —often by changing our explanatory style.  Seligman is currently testing this premise with the U.S. Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, a large-scale effort to make soldiers as psychologically fit as they are physically fit. One key component is the  Master Resilience Training  course for drill sergeants and other leaders, which emphasizes positive psychology, mental toughness, use of existing strengths and building strong relationships.  This military program will no doubt provide insights for civilians who wish to become more effective within their workplaces and organizations.  Resilience training may be able to prevent traumatic stress disorders for soldiers. I wonder what it can do for stressed out executives. Your comments welcome; what do you think?

What do you tell yourself when you goof? Did you know we have a default explanatory style? Leave it to the psychologists and social scientists to study this one!

Actually, people working with clients in a managing or coaching role (coaching4ldrs.com), as I do, hear how individuals explain what happens to them frequently enough to spot such patterns.

Research clearly demonstrates that people who are naturally resilient have an optimistic explanatory style—that is, they explain adversity in optimistic terms to avoid falling into feelings of helplessness.

Those who refuse to give up routinely interpret setbacks as temporary, local and changeable:

·       “The problem will resolve quickly…”

·       “It’s just this one situation…”

·       “I can do something about it…”

In contrast, individuals who have a pessimistic explanatory style respond to failure differently. They habitually think setbacks are permanent, universal and immutable:

·       “Things are never going to be any different...”

·       “This always happens to me...”

·       “I can’t change things, no matter what...”

The scientist who's studied this the most is University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Martin P. Seligman. He believes most people can be immunized against the negative thinking habits that may tempt them to give up after failure. In fact, 30 years of research suggests that we can learn to be optimistic and resilient—often by changing our explanatory style.

Seligman is currently testing this premise with the U.S. Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, a large-scale effort to make soldiers as psychologically fit as they are physically fit. One key component is the Master Resilience Training course for drill sergeants and other leaders, which emphasizes positive psychology, mental toughness, use of existing strengths and building strong relationships.

This military program will no doubt provide insights for civilians who wish to become more effective within their workplaces and organizations.

Resilience training may be able to prevent traumatic stress disorders for soldiers. I wonder what it can do for stressed out executives. Your comments welcome; what do you think?

The Art of Bouncing Back - Your Response to Failure

  How Do You Respond to Failure?    “Some of the most important and insightful learning is far more likely to come from failures than from success.”  ~ Former Procter & Gamble CEO  A.G. Lafley , interviewed in   Harvard Business Review (April 2011)    How we  respond to failures and bounce back  from our mistakes can make or break our careers. Resilience is a key to successful leadership. The wisdom of learning from failure is undeniable, yet individuals and organizations rarely seize opportunities to embrace these hard-earned lessons.  Harvard business professor  Rosabeth Moss Kanter  is unequivocal: “One difference between winners and losers is how they handle losing.” Even for the best companies and most accomplished professionals, long track records of success are inevitably marred by slips and fumbles.  Kanter has written many stories from business and sports about resilience in  Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streak Begin and End.    Our response to failure is often counterproductive: Behaviors become bad habits that set the stage for continued losses. Just as success creates positive momentum, failure can feed on itself. Add uncertainty and rapidly fluctuating economics to the mix, and one’s ability to find the right course is sorely tested.  Long-term winners and losers face the same ubiquitous problems, but they respond differently. Attitudes help determine whether problem-ridden businesses will ultimately recover.  Luckily, most of us can learn to become more resilient with training and coaching, visit my website at    coach4lrds.com     The Best of Times, the Worst of Times   Take the example of two typical MBA graduates in my coaching practice who were laid off from their positions during the recession. Both were distraught. Being fired provoked feelings of sadness, listlessness, indecisiveness and anxiety about the future.  For one, the mood was transient. Within two weeks he was telling himself, “It’s not my fault; it’s the economy. I’m good at what I do, and there’s a market for my skills.” He updated his resume and, after several failed attempts, finally landed a position.  The other spiraled further into hopelessness. “I got fired because I can’t perform well under pressure,” he lamented. “I’m not cut out for finance; the economy will take years to recover.” Even after the market improved, he was reluctant to apply for positions and feared rejection.  How these individuals handled failure illustrates opposite ends of the spectrum. Some people bounce back after a brief period of malaise and grow from their experiences. Others go from sadness to depression to crippling fear of failure—and in business, inertia and fear of risk invite collapse.  A great resource for understanding how our minds work as illustrated by the above example is   Mindset   by Carol Dweck Ph.D. This work clarifies the power of our brains and how to develop disciplines and our ability to manage our thinking. When we discipline our mind we increase our ability to get where we desire to go!  The Bible is full or guidance with regards to our mindset. Paul’s guidance in to the Philippians encourages readers: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Phil 4:8. Throughout the Bible we are admonished to disciple our minds while remembering God wants our best even when we cannot see the best or even the good.  Author and pastor  John Maxwell  writes on the idea of mindset in his book  Failing Forward . This work encourages readers towards an understanding that failing is our friend. He helps his audience learn that how we perceive our failing is teachable and learnable.  Especially in these uncertain times when your next failure may be just around the corner, it's worth spending some time with your coach ( marc@mo coach4ldrs.com   )     to learn how you can become more resilient. Ask me about this if you're interested in learning how…

How Do You Respond to Failure?

“Some of the most important and insightful learning is far more likely to come from failures than from success.” ~ Former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley, interviewed in Harvard Business Review (April 2011)

How we respond to failures and bounce back from our mistakes can make or break our careers. Resilience is a key to successful leadership. The wisdom of learning from failure is undeniable, yet individuals and organizations rarely seize opportunities to embrace these hard-earned lessons.

Harvard business professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter is unequivocal: “One difference between winners and losers is how they handle losing.” Even for the best companies and most accomplished professionals, long track records of success are inevitably marred by slips and fumbles.

Kanter has written many stories from business and sports about resilience in Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streak Begin and End. 

Our response to failure is often counterproductive: Behaviors become bad habits that set the stage for continued losses. Just as success creates positive momentum, failure can feed on itself. Add uncertainty and rapidly fluctuating economics to the mix, and one’s ability to find the right course is sorely tested.

Long-term winners and losers face the same ubiquitous problems, but they respond differently. Attitudes help determine whether problem-ridden businesses will ultimately recover.

Luckily, most of us can learn to become more resilient with training and coaching, visit my website at  coach4lrds.com

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

Take the example of two typical MBA graduates in my coaching practice who were laid off from their positions during the recession. Both were distraught. Being fired provoked feelings of sadness, listlessness, indecisiveness and anxiety about the future.

For one, the mood was transient. Within two weeks he was telling himself, “It’s not my fault; it’s the economy. I’m good at what I do, and there’s a market for my skills.” He updated his resume and, after several failed attempts, finally landed a position.

The other spiraled further into hopelessness. “I got fired because I can’t perform well under pressure,” he lamented. “I’m not cut out for finance; the economy will take years to recover.” Even after the market improved, he was reluctant to apply for positions and feared rejection.

How these individuals handled failure illustrates opposite ends of the spectrum. Some people bounce back after a brief period of malaise and grow from their experiences. Others go from sadness to depression to crippling fear of failure—and in business, inertia and fear of risk invite collapse.

A great resource for understanding how our minds work as illustrated by the above example is Mindset by Carol Dweck Ph.D. This work clarifies the power of our brains and how to develop disciplines and our ability to manage our thinking. When we discipline our mind we increase our ability to get where we desire to go!

The Bible is full or guidance with regards to our mindset. Paul’s guidance in to the Philippians encourages readers: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Phil 4:8. Throughout the Bible we are admonished to disciple our minds while remembering God wants our best even when we cannot see the best or even the good.

Author and pastor John Maxwell writes on the idea of mindset in his book Failing Forward. This work encourages readers towards an understanding that failing is our friend. He helps his audience learn that how we perceive our failing is teachable and learnable.

Especially in these uncertain times when your next failure may be just around the corner, it's worth spending some time with your coach (marc@mocoach4ldrs.com) to learn how you can become more resilient. Ask me about this if you're interested in learning how…

The Bridge to What Matters Most

  The Bridge to What Matters    Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.  ~  Helen Keller   Great leaders like  Martin Luther King Jr . and  Walt Disney  always communicated their “why”—the reasons they acted, why they cared and their future hopes. Great business leaders follow suit:  ·        Herb Kelleher , founder of Southwest Airlines, believed air travel should be fun and accessible to everyone.  ·       Apple’s  Steve Wozniak  thought everyone should have a computer and, along with  Steve Jobs , set out to challenge established corporations’ status quo.  ·       Wal-Mart's  Sam Walton  believed all people should have access to low-cost goods.  ·       Starbucks’  Howard Schultz  wanted to create social experiences in cafés resembling those in Italy.  Once company leaders have identified and clearly articulated what they stand for, it’s up to you to build a bridge between the business’ purpose and your own values:  ·       In what way can you make a difference through company products and services?  ·       How can you express what truly matters in the work you do?  ·       In what ways can you make a difference in the world through the people you work for and with?   Making a Difference   When you share your greater cause and higher purpose, listeners filter the message and decide to trust you (or not). When listeners’ values and purpose resonate with your own, they are primed to become followers who will favorably perceive subsequent messages.  You cannot gain a foothold in someone’s brain by leading with  what  you want them to do. You must first communicate  why  it’s important.  Strive to be like the leaders who never lose sight of  why  they do what they do and  why  people should care. Only then will you inspire your people to attain sustainable success.   Leaders are the stewards of organizational energy. They recruit, direct, channel, renew, focus and invest energy from all the individual contributors in the service of the corporate mission. The energy of each individual contributor in the corporation must be actively recruited. This requires aligning individual and organizational purpose.  ~ Authors James Loehr and Tony Schwartz,   The Power of Full Engagement    I challenge you to think long and hard about both your personal sense of purpose, and your organization's purpose where you work. Do you see ways of aligning them?  It certainly takes work to think through these concepts. The reward is a self-renewing source of energy for you and your team. The invitation into the spiritual realm takes the thinking to a whole new level.  Embrace the challenge of finding your pathway to energy and renewing the enthusiasm you probably felt in the early days on the job. If you struggle with finding purpose, I suggest getting a good coach who can help you find more fulfillment and meaning in how you spend your days.  Let me know if I can help.   

The Bridge to What Matters

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. ~ Helen Keller

Great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Walt Disney always communicated their “why”—the reasons they acted, why they cared and their future hopes. Great business leaders follow suit:

·       Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, believed air travel should be fun and accessible to everyone.

·       Apple’s Steve Wozniak thought everyone should have a computer and, along with Steve Jobs, set out to challenge established corporations’ status quo.

·       Wal-Mart's Sam Walton believed all people should have access to low-cost goods.

·       Starbucks’ Howard Schultz wanted to create social experiences in cafés resembling those in Italy.

Once company leaders have identified and clearly articulated what they stand for, it’s up to you to build a bridge between the business’ purpose and your own values:

·       In what way can you make a difference through company products and services?

·       How can you express what truly matters in the work you do?

·       In what ways can you make a difference in the world through the people you work for and with?

Making a Difference

When you share your greater cause and higher purpose, listeners filter the message and decide to trust you (or not). When listeners’ values and purpose resonate with your own, they are primed to become followers who will favorably perceive subsequent messages.

You cannot gain a foothold in someone’s brain by leading with what you want them to do. You must first communicate why it’s important.

Strive to be like the leaders who never lose sight of why they do what they do and why people should care. Only then will you inspire your people to attain sustainable success.

Leaders are the stewards of organizational energy. They recruit, direct, channel, renew, focus and invest energy from all the individual contributors in the service of the corporate mission. The energy of each individual contributor in the corporation must be actively recruited. This requires aligning individual and organizational purpose. ~ Authors James Loehr and Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement

I challenge you to think long and hard about both your personal sense of purpose, and your organization's purpose where you work. Do you see ways of aligning them?

It certainly takes work to think through these concepts. The reward is a self-renewing source of energy for you and your team. The invitation into the spiritual realm takes the thinking to a whole new level.

Embrace the challenge of finding your pathway to energy and renewing the enthusiasm you probably felt in the early days on the job. If you struggle with finding purpose, I suggest getting a good coach who can help you find more fulfillment and meaning in how you spend your days.

Let me know if I can help.