Thank you for inspiring me to document musings and learnings from the field of leadership, team performance and conscious change. I trust you'll find the exercises, resources and insights useful whether you are a leader, team player, coach/consultant or change agent.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Flourishing in 2013

Martin Segliman, a positive psychology guru, has shifted his work from happiness to flourishing. He invites us to go for lasting well-being (for all) instead of temporary boosts of pleasure (for me). Flourishing is about growth, learning and service to life regardless of circumstance. The elements of his model include:
  • Positive emotions (of which happiness and life satisfaction are all aspects): Feeling joy, exuberance, love, passion, etc.
  • Engagement: Being in flow
  • Relationships: Experiencing interconnectedness
  • Meaning: Contributing to something greater than self
  • Achievement: Accomplishing 
Try out some of his exercises if the idea of thriving (instead of just surviving) calls you:
  • Do a random act of kindness 
  • Write down what you accomplish each day and why it is meaningful
  • Use your signature strengths* as a human being to tackle unpleasant tasks
  • Apply 2.9:1 positive to negative comment ratio (at work) and 5:1 (at home)
*To learn more about signature strengths check out the book Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being

To learn more about flourishing check out this tube video

Monday, December 24, 2012

Formula for Change

Gleicher's Change Formula D X V X F  > R asserts, “Three factors must be present for meaningful change to take place. These factors are D= Dissatisfaction with how things are now. V= Vision of what is possible. F= First, concrete steps that can be taken towards the vision. 

If the product of these three factors is greater than R= Resistance, then change is possible. Because D, V, and F are multiplied if any one is absent or low, then it will be harder to overcome resistance to change."

To test it out consider a significant change that lasted on your team, in your leadership or with your organization.
  • What was irritating you? What wasn't working anymore?
  • What was your desired future state? What did success look like, sound like, feel like? How did the aspiration benefit all?
  • What was first? What baby steps did you take physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? How was each action aligned with the dream?
  • What did you notice about the creative tension between the dissatisfaction, desire and action and resistance as you progressed?
If the formula worked, apply what you learned in another category.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Communication is a key indicator of high performance on teams. If you have the courage to say what needs to be said in service to a team goal or agreement, take the time to verify your communication. Was what you verbalized heard? Was the meaning of your words captured? Did the receiver pick up the entire message?

Listening is different than hearing so it's important to check for understanding. Try the following and notice what happens with your impact at work:
  • May I check my communication...? 
  • What did you hear me say?
  • Just so we are aligned, may I check out what you interpreted?"
  • To help me be sure I communicated clearly would you let me know what you heard?
  • Since it was hard for me to say that, would you share what you picked up?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

"In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”  - Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love

Thanks to Marcy of www.coachingtoys.com for the quote.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Coaching Pays Off

If you watched the US Open Tennis final my bet is you were in awe. I was rooting for Murray because he was close to the top but never quite there. He had the talent and drive but something was missing. Then he hired a new coach (Ivan Lendl) and it payed off. He won his first major!

It makes me wonder why in business we don't invest more in coaching. I've had a coach for years and without her I wouldn't be able to do the work I do in the way I do it (or have the life I have).

Is it because coaching in business seems less tangible?  Is it that the ROI isn't as obvious? Is the need for coaching perceived as a weakness or a "performance problem"? Is it because not all coaches are good? Is it scary to go for mastery? It seems to be the first thing cut when budgets tighten, yet is it the very thing that can build capacity and passion for work during tough times.

Leadership and team effectiveness have a direct correlation to business success. Whatever game you are playing, find a good coach. It will payoff if you are willing to practice!

If you need some inspiration, Click here for US Open Final Highlights 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Paying Attention To Culture

If culture is the glue that holds people together and can generate or thwart performance, we need to pay more attention to its often invisible power.

Culture is the essence or spirit of a team, department or organization. It is a specific collection of values, norms, fears, beliefs, assumptions, rules & meanings (spoken/unspoken, written/unwritten, formal/informal) that intentionally or unintentionally influence behavior and results delivery.

Katzenbach provides some insight in his HBR article “Culture Change That Sticks” http://hbr.org/2012/07/cultural-change-that-sticks/ar/1 He recommends we:
  1. Match Strategy and Culture – Does the DNA of your organization align with your current value proposition?
  2. Focus on a few critical behavior shifts – What three (not 25) behaviors most reflect your mission, vision and values?
  3. Honor (and validate) the strengths of your existing culture- What makes you unique and differentiates the way employees believe, feel, think, act?
  4. Utilize and integrate formal and informal interventions – Are formal mechanisms (reporting structures, decision rules, comp/benefits and company events, etc.) aligned with informal practices (leadership modeling, cross-functional networks, manager/employee connections, storytelling, etc.)
  5. Measure and monitor cultural evolution. Make it easy to notice when culture is helping or hindering performance by checking in on it. What do you feel in the office, hear on the phone (underneath the words), observe in interactions and sense in communications? 
Thanks Natarsha for the resource!