“Your mind is like a parachute: If it isn’t open, it doesn’t work.”
~ Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut
Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, July 20th, 1969.
It all began with the open mind and huge vision of one man.
On May 25, 1961, President John F Kennedy told Congress that the US “should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”
On July 20th, 1969, that vision was realised.
This came only 20 days after the first time any NASA mission had taken someone out of the earth’s atmosphere, and then only for a 15 minute sub-orbital flight.
JFK, however, had the vision to restore confidence in his country that had been dented by the space race and cold war with Russia. He believed that this lunary goal could play a key role in building on the ability of Americans to innovate and achieve. The lunar landing was a massive vision and one that took 400,000 people to achieve, but many historians now look back on it as leading an epochal shift for the USA in the 1960s.
Now you may say you are not JFK, but I challenge you to be your own JFK. (more…)
Recently I had a check-in call with a long-time contact who is a shooting star rising up in one of the world’s top financial institutions. This individual is someone I know will be a model of #OpenLeadership for decades to come, they absolutely model the attributes of being Hungry, Humble, Brave and Open that are essential to leading now and into our future. This young leader absolutely gets the power of putting people first in a business, and their business is currently investing in them by having them work out of any formal target-driven role for several years as they shift around areas of the global business learning as they go.
I also am working with a client a quarter-century into their career who is about to take a brave leap out of the world of driving to corporate targets as short terms as monthly and often weekly, week in and week out. They have recognised the untapped opportunity for businesses to focus so much more on their people, not just in funding L&D and other programmes, but truly and deeply investing in people as more leaders see that this is where their unerring focus needs to be.
In my own three decades in business, I absolutely see that organisations that truly believe in, trust in and invest in their people are those that do and will thrive into the future.
Those are some thoughts, and I also love the quote from Chelsea Warr:
“You are only as good as your people and you are the greatest asset we have. You are our high-performance system.”
Managing your energy is as important as managing your time and money.
So, I sit here at 7pm on Thursday to write the daily blog for Friday at 8am, feeling quite tired after a really active day full of a variety of meetings.
As I am about to write, I get an email reply from someone I’d messaged about a meeting with them for next week that I thought I had confirmed but didn’t see in my diary. They had replied to say that my wonderful EA, Katie, had noted to them that my diary was a little packed that day and that, as it was the day before I go away on a trip, they agreed together to move the call to after that trip.
Perfect timing as a reminder to manage my energy.
If Katie had only focussed on managing my time, she would have put that meeting in the diary, but as she has a higher context of managing my energy, not my time, she didn’t.
Katie’s key role for me is to manage my diary. With that context of managing energy and not time, we took time from the outset and on an ongoing basis for her to understand what works for me in terms of when what and how many meetings to book for me so that I can always have the energy and the right kind of energy for the people I am meeting and talking to.
Hey, I often coach leaders on managing their own energy for their optimum performance and wellbeing, so I do always do the same for myself.
So, today I give thanks to Katie for managing my energy through her awareness and understanding, also for bringing me a reminder that sometimes we don’t know what we need, we need other to see it for us. We can’t see the goldfish bowl we are swimming in!
With all of this pointed out to me, and with it being 7pm at night as I write this, that’s it for today’s post, I’m tired, I need to recharge for tomorrow.
I work one on one with leaders around the world to create alignment for groups and individuals.
On the #BeMoreYou page of this site, the “How I Work” section of that page outlines how I work 1:1 with leaders around the world.
What that page doesn’t mention is that I also love to work with boards and leadership teams whenever they need to come together for a longer meeting (anything from half a day to two or more days) to create alignment for taking their business or organisation forwards.
I’m mentioning this today as yesterday I posted “Can you do what you love?“, noting that, over the last week, I’ve done just that, facilitating two-day meetings in Canada for two organisations, one a multi-billion dollar business, one a charity. Both are growing fast and are at pivotal and transformative stages.
So, my website highlights my 1:1 work, and at the same time, I love to work with groups.
Today, some thoughts on the poem “Drawing one voice out of two separate strings” by Rilke, and how it relates to changing paradigms of leadership.
Today’s post comes from one of my usual wide-ranging conversations with my brilliant friend Bruce Peters. Our general theme was, as it often is, about how to support organisations and leaders to play to their strengths in a way that is, in Bruce’s words, “Beyond Teal” or in mine, about #OpenLeadership. As my home page puts it:
“Command-and-control leadership is losing its grip. A new way of thinking is emerging: leadership that embraces change as constant, encourages individual thought, relies on intuition more than data, fluidity more than hierarchy, trust more than fear, and the common good more than profit.”
Today, an inspiring poem that inspires and gives food for thought on how any leader, any organisation, can inspire and draw the most from every person within it. (more…)
Leading from Purpose is a golden opportunity to bring out the best in your people.
“There is a natural pull for executives, even CEOs, to be managers rather than leaders. They can become so focused on profit that they cannot generate profit because they cannot release the human commitment that lies dormant in the organization. The workforce does not flourish or exceed expectations.
This blindness is your opportunity. If you dedicate yourself to learning how to imbue an organization with purpose, your chances of succeeding at every level go up. You will be able to do what many CEOs cannot do.”
I strongly believe in remote working. However, today let me take it a level further. For now let’s call it “WorkAnywhere”, as the idea of remote working still implies a paradigm where there is a central point of focus for a business, an office or “head office”.
We don’t need that paradigm anymore, it does not serve our thinking and so our practices. Technology has shrunk the world and enabled many of us to be able to work almost anywhere, anytime and with even more effectiveness than if we had to travel to an office or even place our focus around such a place. That said, I also believe that it is a “both/and” conversation, that often we miss the huge value of creating and building meaningful relationships by being “offline”, by being face to face with people.
So, to me, there are wonderful lessons in the book “Remote” that I will touch on later, yet my core message is that many of us can consciously operate a “WorkAnywhere” model, going beyond the idea that we can work remotely from a central office or HQ.
For us to WorkAnywhere, we then leverage both the power of remote working with online tools as well as recognising the power of actually being in the same room as people and so investing in that time (and travel to do so) as a core element of WorkAnywhere life.
Today, then, I’ll tell my own quarter-century long story of how I have evolved to my own WorkAnywhere model.
In that, I’ll share some of what I have learned along the way to support that work model, including some thoughts on the book “Remote” and the lessons from the huge success Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson have had in building and running their remote business (that itself offers remote tools for collaboration).
I have been focussed for many years on the overlaps between coaching sports and coaching individuals and business. I am privileged to count as a dear friend one of the swimming worlds all-time great coaches, Ian Armiger (who shared this article me too).
I’ve learned as much or more from top sports coaches about human behaviour as any business or leadership thinker, speaker, consultant or coach.
So many nuggets in this powerful article, but one that truly stands out from me and is so, so relevant to all forms of coaching, mentoring, management, leadership:
“As a coach, start connecting with the players, even if they’re as young as six. Don’t tell and yell — ask.” ~ Wayne Goldsmith
He then goes on to explain that most coaches spend 70% of their time commentating and otherwise being unconstructive, only 30% being of true value. Oh, and that a calm coach is far more valuable than one who yells.
Enjoy the article and I hope you take at least two or three things from it you can apply yourself in your life, work, family. If you are a sports coach, perhaps you too can learn specifics from Wayne Goldsmith too.
Oh, and as to family, the final part of the article talks about swim parents not allowing their children to take self-responsibility for what they need and need to do. How often do we do that as leaders and managers too? Allow your people, your kids, your community to step up rather than you jump in to fix things. You may be powerfully amazed at what happens.
So, enjoy the article, the bold type parts are my contributions to highlight certain sections. I give you just one here:
“Creativity comes from difference. Being able to see different connections. Constantly rejecting what is and looking at what could be.”
That article puts forward that it is time for a new triple bottom line, one that creates:
“a “Righteous Flywheel”, where the unerring focus on Purpose+People+Planet as drivers allows the corporation to make Profits, which mean it can then focus more on Purpose+People+Planet and so make more Profit, and so on in a “virtuous circle”.”
It also links to three further articles, each with a case study of a company of scale that has lived this and proven that it creates the righteous flywheel.
At the time of writing, I noted that I’d love to create a graphic to represent this. Well, with the creative skills of Martha Rowe (who has done all the graphic and web design for me for some time), now we have one here. Thank you Martha!
Put as a formula:
Purpose + People + Planet = Profit
However, the formula looks like an endgame of profit, whereas the flywheel graphic highlights that it is a cycle.
I’d love to talk to you about this, and to get more examples of companies operating in this way!
The #BeMoreYou page on this site is there to help leaders assess if I am the right person to support them and if they are the right person too. Words like bravery and transformation are peppered through the site, and this phrase from the page is apposite to today’s post: “My commitment is that our work together will facilitate the greatest possible impact for you, your business, and the world.”.
In my work, many of my clients over the years have been leaders of large organisations and they bring me in to support them with transformational change, to amplify their own already high impact, to put an even greater dent in the universe, so to speak.
Today I’ll share an excerpt from a recent article on transformational change I found valuable in an understanding of just what it takes to move from idea to execution of transformation.
In this, I’ll also distil some of my thoughts around the themes in the article, including how you can create a conversation around “dropping pebbles” to create an effective strategy to effect “complex contagion” and so real transformation throughout the organisation. (more…)
A story today around one of my favourite leadership phrases:
A leader is someone other choose to follow
The picture above is of quite the unattractive muddy pond, huh?
Now imagine you are a squad of young soldiers on army training. It is cold, wet, you’ve been out in the field for days. You are exhausted, tired, hungry. All you want to do is get back to base, shower, get into dry clothes, eat and get warm.
You and the other squads in the company have been marching back to base when you are brought to this place with a series of ponds, one for each squad.
The 20-year-old officer cadet in charge of your squad has just been told that, before you get to go home, a surprise. The squad must complete what is typically called a “command task”, to get each of them across the pond, using what seems like far too little equipment (a few planks, a little rope, some empty barrels).
He explains it to the group, and clearly, nobody has the first idea about how to cross the pond, The officer cadet is very “green”, he also has no idea what to do, but the key thing he observes is a bunch of unmotivated men who are simply thinking “I don’t want to fall into that muddy pond and get cold and wet”.
He could work out what to do himself and then give orders to complete the task, yet with the exhaustion and demotivation he sees, he immediately and instinctively an opportunity for leadership rather than management.
In order to make failure possible, you first have to try, to commit, to go where it may scare or even terrify you, to be vulnerable, to say “this might not work” and do it anyway.
Very recently I was disappointed to witness this first hand in someone. They were presented with a real opportunity, yet my sense is that it felt too scary to them to try, so instead, they creating a rationale for them to choose to back away and shut down. Rather than risk failure, they chose not to commit, to make the effort, to try.
By making the choice not to try, as Cate Campbell notes (see letter below) that person “let the fear of failure destroy the possibility of success”. We all have our own journey to go on, our own choices to make, and reflecting on that experience, today I’ll riff on this with lessons from two leaders. (more…)
Between October 2017 and June 2018, I published weekly posts of three Movies with Meaning. The full list of movies over that time is featured here. Since June 2018 I have chosen to publish a post about movies only as the spirit takes me.
As I write this post today, it comes from having just received a message from a friend that inspires me to write about this movie, Life is Beautiful, or as the Italian title goes, La vita è bella. (more…)
People are my library, my daily writing a way to discover what’s in it: ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little fun. As your humble librarian, I invite you to subscribe to check out a digest of daily emails emailed twice each week. No late fees, ever.