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.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Quotes to Ponder

I'm sharing some quotes that struck a chord with me this week...How do they resonate with you?

"There is no such thing as a wrong note," said jazz pianist Art Tatum. "It all depends on how you resolve it." Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis had a similar philosophy. "It's not the note you play that's the wrong note," he said. "It's the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong."

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity said, "Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.  And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

"The meaning of life is not a fact to be discovered, but a choice that you make about the way you live." --Hilda Berstein, South African activist

"Conversation is the vehicle for change. We test our ideas. We hear our own voice in concert with another." --Terry Tempest Williams

"Champions keep playing until they get it right." --Billie Jean King

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Problem, Dilemma or Mystery?

We've learned it's important to distinguish between a problem and a dilemma.

A problem has a beginning and end, invites many possible solutions and can be resolved. Those with the problem often have the answer. A dilemma is an ongoing paradox that needs a strategy. It acknowledges a polar tension between two opposing yet important criteria. Those with dilemmas need to align around ways to meet dual, never-ending needs such as improve quality/reduce cost, enhance safety/maximize speed or increase productivity/minimize stress.

However, what about mystery? In reading The Boss column from The NY Times Business Section, the Executive Director of WhyHunger shares a learning from the teachings of Gabriel Marcel, a French Philosopher. "There are problems and there is mystery. You can get your head around a problem eventually but you can't control a mystery. You can only live it."

Consider your current challenges. Which ones are problems to solve, dilemmas to strategize or mysteries to experience?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Teamwork is a Strategic Decision!

Patrick Lencioni has shifted from talking about team dysfunction to the strategic advantage of team work. This approach is more inviting and the strength of his position is one I share. He states, "Team work is not a virtue it is a choice. It is a strategic decision not a default."
Like anything of value, teaming takes work and (dare I say it) sacrifice. In sports it's a given. Millions of dollars are invested in cutting edge strategy, nutrition, exercise, assessment, psychology, coaching, recruiting, medicine and daily practice. In business we still throw groups of people together and say, "go win the game" neglecting to provide the vision, support, training and scoreboard necessary to sustain high performance. Why?

Do we really believe a team is greater than the sum of its parts? Are we overwhelmed by all the books on the topic? Are we tired of team building that generates smiles but not numbers? Do we expect to win without practice? Are we demotivated by outdated performance management systems? Do we believe collaboration takes more time? Do we expect our leaders to drive performance? Are we reliant on fear-based strategies that seem to work? Do we want ease at the expense of results?  Have we lost a common cause? Are we hypnotized by our never-ending to do list?

If you want the benefits of stellar team performance (innovation, higher profit margins, better customer loyalty, lower health care costs, happier employees) what are you willing to invest? How much time, energy, attention and money are you willing to give to cultivate it? Lencioni asserts "teamwork is the last competitive advantage in business." What do you think?

Here is a 1 minute video http://www.tablegroup.com/pat/?tab=pov (click on "Pat on Teamwork") to ponder.

Our Strategic Team Alignment Programs explore team myths, measure success and provide a roadmap to accelerate synergy. Yes it is possible!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Vulnerability Weakness or Strength?

If you believe vulnerability is a weakness (many do), think again. Brene Brown, has been researching vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame for over 10 years. She's found that vulnerability is actually a measurement of courage. 

Vulnerability is being responsive, open, authentic and connected to our humanity. It is not a popular word in business. However, if vulnerability is "the birthplace of creativity, innovation and change" isn't it worth exploring?

To what degree do you:
  • Show up the same at work and at home
  • Believe you are good enough
  • Go for progress (instead of perfection)
  • Celebrate your imperfections
  • Converse without technology between you
  • Ask for help
  • Laugh at your foibles
  • Tell the truth
  • Look people in the eye
  • Witness discomfort (instead of numbing)
  • Take risks 
  • Learn from failures (instead of burying mistakes) 
  • Step out (instead of hiding)
  • Apologize
  • Forgive 
  • Embrace uncertainty
  • Allow yourself to be seen
  • Notice how the universe supports and inspires you
  • Spread kindness
Brown believes shame is one reason we fear vulnerability. Shame distorts the very connection and power we already have. In her Ted Talks (see below for links) she differentiates between shame and guilt. Shame = I am bad. Guilt = I did something bad. Shame is highly correlated to addiction, depression, violence, aggression, eating disorders and bullying. 

What if shame is a lie and vulnerability is a good thing for your career? your leadership? your team?