life balance Nov 27, 2023

When I lead team discussions, one of the first things we do is a check-in. The intention behind this is to have each individual check-in with their thoughts and feelings. Most teams can do so fairly quickly once they’re learned how to locate the sensations in their body and how to distinguish between feelings and thoughts.

However, every once in a while, the team will drift into an interesting pattern, and the check-ins begin to sound like this:

“I’m really busy. We have a lot going on.”

“Yeah, we’ve all been busy. There’s a lot to do.”

“This past week has been really busy and I feel it. ”

If you’re annoyed just reading this, imagine how it feels to listen to it repeatedly.

What this phrase, “I’m really busy” is cloaking is complaining. It sounds better to say “I’m busy,” than it does to outright complain like a victim. It’s sounds better to be the hero of the mini-drama of...

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blog leadership Nov 15, 2023

Here’s an interesting question that I am asked on occasion: “Do I need to be at this whole training?”

It isn’t necessarily an inappropriate question; however, it does have some implications.

I imagine that one reason that leaders ask this question is that on more than one occasion they have been invited to meetings via a group invite, and they aren’t even sure why they are being invited.

In the spirit of not wanting to exclude anyone or wanting to make sure their boss’s boss is fully informed, group invites are deployed without restraint – the more people the better!

The result is a large group of people not replying to the invite, or worse, showing up at a meeting that they don’t feel they needed to attend in the first place.

Thus, the amount of time spent in the meeting isn’t worth the return, given that busy managers and supervisors have enough on their plates already.

But back to the original question: “Do I need to be...

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blog leadership Nov 13, 2023

Clayton M. Christensen wrote a seminal article in the Harvard Business Review in 2010 titled ‘How Will You Measure Your Life?’ In this article, he discusses three questions that he poses to his students. The first two of these questions address our common concerns of wanting to be happy in our career and with our family. It is the third question, however, that may surprise you: “How will I stay out of jail?”

This question makes sense once you read on to learn that 32 people in his Rhoades scholar class spent time in prison. In addition, many “corporate scandals” have occurred in the past 10 years. Ironically, a recent search regarding white collar crime and executive scandals revealed that staying out of jail itself wasn’t necessarily that difficult, but staying under the radar is increasingly difficult. Committing different versions of fraud seems to be relatively common with one of the most recent headlines being the investigation and...

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blog leadership Nov 13, 2023

I work with many leaders who are interested in knowing what their purpose is, or what I like to call their zone of genius. The zone of genius can be defined as that thing that you do or your way of “being” that provides the greatest levels of productivity with the least amount of effort.

The issue for most leaders to overcome, however, is the way that we keep ourselves from knowing our zone of genius. We do this mainly by attaching ourselves to following key beliefs:

  1. Work has to be hard. How did the words “hard” and “work” ever get linked together in the first place? Either way, if it isn’t hard, then clearly you’re doing it wrong.
  2. Paid work that falls in line with your zone of genius doesn’t exist. In other words, either you live to work or you work to live. Additionally, most people have a limiting belief of, “How dare you!” How dare you have a life in which you feel at ease and full of passion doing and being...
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blog leadership Nov 13, 2023

There is a major gap that I see occurring within organizations that I call The Leadership Gap.

This isn’t the gap that occurs between a person making the jump from being a front-line contributor to a leadership role — although that gap certainly exists. No, this is the gap between companies that develop future leaders and those that hope for the best from future leaders.

In 2015, The World Economic Forum identified the gap in leadership as the third challenge to be addressed, and 86% of respondents to their survey agreed that there was a leadership crisis. Furthermore, according to consulting group Brandon Hall, it is estimated that 71 % of leaders already in their role aren’t even prepared to lead organizations in the future.

Often organizations think about succession planning; however, there is a gaping hole within this practice. The term is used to describe the planning that occurs to replace “old leaders who may be retiring, leaving, or dying,” but...

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blog leadership Nov 13, 2023

Have you noticed how we can give ourselves too many too many’s? It’s as if we can’t stop creating more work and more things to consider and more things to do and more things to complete. And then, we gather them all and cram them into a box labeled “urgent and important.”

Steven Covey describes this phenomenon in his 1998 classic, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. And it remains just as relevant today.

So what is this phenomenon that seems to overtake our lives and our work?

First, we believe that we are missing out on something that is somehow better than what we have now. In other words, “the now” isn’t good enough and “the future” will be better. Add to that the belief that the past was better than what we realized, which makes us long for the good ‘ole days.

On our quest to greatness, we can never get it all done, so we operate from a constant state of not measuring up; we live in a world of always...

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blog leadership Nov 13, 2023

So you climbed that mythical corporate ladder and now you have the promotion you’ve always wanted. You’ve got a team and plenty of responsibility. You also have a certain sense of achievement and accomplishment.

But you’re realizing that what you don’t have is a life.

Of course, work and life aren’t actually separate; work, and our role at work, is part of our life.

But it’s very easy to get sucked into the addictive nature of our work and put all of our energy in that direction. There is an entire body of research on workaholism that suggests that work can become our “drug” of choice.

Allow me to elaborate on this idea of the addictive nature of work:

For some leaders, work is the one place where they feel a sense of control and power. This can be very enticing because it feels good and because we all want to feel autonomous.

I’ve had more than one executive tell me that when they are at work almost everyone listens to them, but...

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blog relationships Nov 13, 2023

When it comes to success in business, we often focus on the external things that we feel will lead us there. There are things like strategy, budgets, tactics, goals, an emphasis on service, etc. that can take the business in the right direction. And while all of these things are necessary for accomplishing a great deal of work and may even lead to financial success, it’s a wonder that we still find ourselves not quite as happy as we would have liked.

And there is a very good reason that we find ourselves unfulfilled despite our material success: Leaders often ignore the key relationships that they need for true success; the relationship to the self, to time, to money, to friendship and to the unknown.

How leaders relate to these five dynamics of life drives their intention and motivation, and thus the outcome of their actions.

Our identities, time, money, friendship, and the unknown can be related to from either trust or fear. And for the most part, we often don’t...

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blog leadership Nov 13, 2023

In my travels in leadership, there is often an issue with leaders being focused on business results while many of their direct reports and individual contributors aren’t necessarily that interested in talking about the “numbers.” So much so, that any talk of the monthly metrics or quarterly reports is often seen as a means of manipulation and borderline obscene.

But the one thing that I remind leaders of time and again is that it is never really about the numbers; it’s about the behaviors that create the numbers.

What leaders often fail to recognize as they are reviewing their goals and reporting the numbers is that once that number is put up on the screen, the only conversation really needed is what behaviors contributed to the success or not, and what needs to be learned and embraced to move forward.

Beyond that, further discussion of a number is truly a waste of time. And the next step after that is to engage the team fully on what behaviors need to be...

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blog leadership Nov 13, 2023

Recently, I had a leader reach out to me to discuss his current career path. He was very committed to knowing what he needed to do to stand out and get his next promotion. Naturally, we discussed the conversation he had had with his CEO. They had discussed projects that he could become involved in; however, he wasn’t sure that those projects would actually get him promoted.

This is one of the issues I encounter regularly when people are interested in getting their next promotion. They want a checklist solution and lose sight of the purpose behind taking on more responsibility and working on those “extra” projects. While completing a big project that’s important to the boss is a great way to demonstrate competence and might ultimately get you promoted, it isn’t the actual point of doing the work.

The way to earn that next promotion is to learn as much as you can and help as much as you can, period. This is what brings value to the business, to the team,...

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