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Giving Thanks – Good for Your Health

November 24, 2014

Monster thank you I’ll guess that most of you have heard of the old song “Accentuate the Positive.” First published and performed in 1944, the message is as relevant today as it was then. Staying positive is linked with gratitude, and so as we approach Thanksgiving, I want to talk about the notion that being grateful is actually good for your health. Being grateful has been linked to reduced stress, improved physical health and better psychological health.

According to University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons in an article on Webmd.com: “’Grateful people—those who perceive gratitude as a permanent trait rather than a temporary state of mind—have an edge on the not-so-grateful when it comes to health…’ It’s no secret that stress can make us sick, particularly when we can’t cope with it. It’s linked to several leading causes of death, including heart disease and cancer, and claims responsibility for up to 90 percent of all doctor visits. Gratitude, it turns out, can help us better manage stress. ‘Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress,’ Emmons says.”

If you think of your stress on a scale from one to ten, what is your average daily stress level? Is your stress affecting your health? Would you like to change that by developing a gratitude practice?

So, let’s do an experiment. Choose a time when you have two to three minutes to close your eyes, sit quietly, and let your mind roam to a time in your life when you were completely happy. Let yourself feel this happiness and absence of negative feelings. Enjoy this feeling for a few minutes then think about what you are most grateful for in your life now.

Now select a regular interval to revisit this feeling of joy and gratitude. It could be a “conscious coffee/tea break” in which—rather than refilling an actual mug—you take a couple of minutes to refill and revisit this feeling of joy. Or, create another one. The objective is to build a routine to rid your body of negative chemicals that build up from stress and to release positive ones. The more often you get rid of the negative, the better. Our goal is to create a habit of gratitude.

Since it takes approximately twenty-one days to build a habit, are you willing to continue this practice for the next twenty-one days? If you are in the U.S. and reading this post around our Thanksgiving holiday, twenty-one days will take you through much of December— one of the most stressful months of the year for many of us.

At a minimum, try the gratitude practice when you wake in the morning and when you go to bed at night. This way, you will start and end your day on a positive note. Listen to the song—it’s simple and you might even use it as a prompt to remind of the good things in your life. Whistle it when you’re feeling stressed to put everything in perspective.

Most of us have many reasons for gratitude even during our most challenging days. By building this routine you will strengthen your ability to navigate the challenging days.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

photo credit: www.flickr.com AForestFrolic

Resilience – Creating an “I’ll do that” Culture

November 17, 2014

CJTF-HOAThis post is written by a guest blogger Brent Barkett Account Manager, Mountain Region at Cardinal Health, Capital MBA student, and former US Marine.

November 10 being the Marine Corps Birthday and November 11 being Veteran’s Day I decided it was the perfect time to expound on resilience and how it is key to emerging successful in our changing market place across all industries.

Why should leaders hire, promote, teach, and help identify resilience as a key characteristic of success and aptitude?

Change is constant for better or worse. Organizations change, cultures change, finance changes, customers change, how we market changes, our True North changes etc…Resilience is one of the basic skills that allows us to meet these changes and turns them to success.

I was speaking with a group of Veterans the other day on what makes them successful and what makes veterans successful in general. During the discussion a common theme emerged and we all had a good laugh when someone called it out to our attention. “The problem is we all think we can accomplish any task…and we are probably right”. Just hearing this should be a win for the military. The armed forces produce a spirit and mindset that convinces an individual that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to…seriously. It is the one characteristic that sets aside, in our minds, Veterans from Civilians. So why do recruiters and managers look at this as almost a negative when it is mentioned in the context of hiring value? I asked a lot of questions regarding this to some managers and HR folks and when you really get down to it, it’s too broad and not tangible on paper. It almost sounds silly.

To the lay person hearing someone, who may not appear to have a certain background on paper say “I can do this” in reference to a job or task sounds like desperation or lunacy. But to someone who was been trained and forged to act and think this way, to adapt and overcome countless obstacles, contradicting orders, uncertainty, low budgets-no budgets, and lack of support on a daily basis it sounds normal and expected.

When I was serving in Iraq we experienced a period of time without a communications operator to coordinate a 56 man platoon to include the equipment, frequencies, call signs, etc. that are needed as part of routine communications effort. No worries, Private Jones jumped in and within a few days he was running our communications and servicing the equipment. How? We were faced with adversity and a motivated young man jumped at the opportunity to provide his resilience as a skill set (he was not a radio operator). He sought the information from a nearby group of radio operators. He had them run him through a crash course in radio operation and implementation. Now the good of the platoon could persevere. He bet on himself and knew that all the pieces were out there somewhere. He just had to put it all together. Why not him? After all, he was taught that there was nothing he couldn’t accomplish. It was not his aptitude to learn radio operation that made him successful, it was his resilience. His mind set was not “I could learn the radio” it was “I can learn the operation, I will do my best, and I will do it in a short period of time”.

Situational AnalysisBack to the original question, why should managers focus on hiring and seeking those with reserves of resilience? Let’s break down the indicators and alignment of Resilient Organizations and see if we can’t answer this question. Let’s start with this diagramthat helps us create alignment between individuals, culture and systems. Implicit in this diagram is that expectation that systems are aligned with one another and that those systems are aligned with the overall mission.

At the foundation we identify the basic accomplishments that need to happen to overcome change and be successful. We need to pass or leverage knowledge throughout the organization. If marketing catches a big trend shift the whole corporation needs to follow the trend to better serve the customer and introduce products and values accordingly. We all need to think horizontally not vertically. Breaking down silos…this is business cliché 101. Organizations need to unite and align with their purpose to overcome external changes to mirror internal positive change. We need to be aware of the situation, have creativity, be proactive, make a decision based on little knowledge, partner with subject matter experts and use internal resources. We need to inject resilience into the overall system. There are a few elements of resilient systems that stand out. The culture and the leaders must value resilience. Then, the systems need to be structured in a way that people are encouraged rather than penalized when acting with resilience. That can mean employees are encouraged to find balance and healthy lives and it can also mean the systems they use to do their jobs can be changed to meet the organizational changes.

Even without formal business training Private Jones walked through this diagram focusing on what needs to be done. He sought training on his own from internal subject matter experts, he was pro-active, thinking horizontally, he got creative, formed partnerships, and most importantly he brought the motivation to accomplish this. What else was missing? Managerial road blocks? As his Sergeant I didn’t stop him from running with this. I stepped aside and put my trust in his fidelity and resilience.

Why should managers hire and develop resiliency? Instead of having a “That’s not my job” mentality or culture in the work force, imagine how you can out rebound your competition, gain leverage in accounts, and decrease your down time response in service by having an “I’ll do it” culture? As a manager and leadership team are you equipped with the skills and tools to teach, train, and develop resiliency? Have you measured your own resilience and do you consider yourself a resilient person. Resilience is not something you are born with. You must be trained in the thought and cultured to mentally adapt and overcome. If you are not one to push your comfort zones or try your boundaries then perhaps you could enjoy some resiliency training.

As a leader and manager if you are looking at your work force and scratching your head as to why changing is so difficult, why no one wants to step in and take on a roll, if there is a lack of resilience in your organization it may start at the top. Leaders should have the pulse of the culture. Does it feel like your business is lashed tight and can turn on a dime? Do you feel that if the market were to shift right now that you could overcome adversity with your cultural toughness?

In a previous post I spoke to Strategic Disengagement and Transformation Leadership. These all have to do with change. However, as a leader and as a company it will do no good to simply find the new course and direct that the culture must change to it…we need agents of change internally. These internal agents or shining stars are most likely the most resilient men and women you have when you size up their values.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com US Marine Corps

Four Recommendations to Deal with Challenging Situations

November 10, 2014

North Star cc Tom BlackwellA leader’s effectiveness is often measured by her/his ability to deal with challenging situations on the fly in a competent and efficient manner. Most people can deal with challenge when given time to prepare and plot a strategy, but what about when time is limited, emotions are running high, and you are asked to do something difficult, or you’re are facing an unfamiliar and uncomfortable situation?

In the past week, I worked with two people who faced difficult situations. One got an opportunity to do something he expressed a deep desire to do, yet instead of going forward he withdrew and returned to something more comfortable without stretching his capacity. He missed a great opportunity and may have damaged his career —something that is still to be determined. I would call this a leadership failure—and it is one that could linger him in unanticipated ways through future interactions with those who were involved.

The second was a client recently promoted to a significant leadership role. She is facing new challenges on a daily basis that may have far-reaching impact. I consider hers the success story. She has developed a series of strategies to navigate the increased level of complexity. Key among these strategies is a high degree of self-awareness. She is able to identify her anxiety quickly and use one of these or other strategies:

1. Make the smallest decision required at the time and gather information to test your hypothesis and approach. With quickly changing situations leaders can make small decisions quickly and let constituents know they are invited to give input going forward. This speeds the process and allows those not consulted during the decision process are invited to give input during the testing phase. I often talk about this using phrases like: My hypothesis is that xxx is the best path forward and we are going to test it. I invite your input as we go forward so we can refine this approach.

2. Pay attention to inner stress points and areas of resistance. When we are in new roles we are asked to do things differently and our inner compass has not yet tuned to the new role. We are recalibrating and still we got where we are by having solid judgment. It is important to balance looking to our inner guidance and allowing ourselves to refine that process as we also look externally to others for guidance.

3. Develop the inner and outer skills to deal with conflict. When we face challenge, many people either strike out or withdraw. Neither of these approaches works. When striking out others feel attacked and when withdrawing they feel abandoned. So the question is how do you recognize when you are acting in one of these modes; then, how do you create an alternate and more effective path forward?

4. Use the managing negative thinking process to manage thinking as you face challenges that cause anxiety (see 4 minute video). Self-awareness is indispensable. As leaders we think that taking the time to reflect and develop self-awareness is a luxury we do not have time for. Yet without self-awareness, we can let anxiety go unchecked for too long. When unchecked, anxiety can have several negative outcomes from acting less rationally than we should to working continually with a high level of stress that can cause physical illness. By developing self-awareness to acknowledge feeling stressed, and practicing these or other practices to manage the stress, we can function effectively when things do not go as we had planned.

The mark of a brilliant leader is not how effectively he/she manages the daily business but rather how he deals with the extraordinary challenges. One misstep during a critical event can undo a reputation built on years of steady performance. As our environment and organizations are changing at an ever increasing rate, the number of unexpected changes will increase and our need to build skills to navigate them will become a much greater differentiator between mediocre and exceptional leaders. Which will you be? What are you doing to build your skills? Being truly exceptional requires ongoing practice – are you dedicating the necessary time to practice?

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Tom Blackwell

Building Support Routines – Four Questions

November 3, 2014

Resilience during holidaysNovember is when we begin to notice holiday decorations in every store we enter. Despite the wonderful times that the season brings, most of us feel pressured by the constraints of time and money. As a result, we often go through the holidays tired, grumpy, and waiting for it all to be over. It’s helpful to have a plan to navigate these murky waters. As we approach this unique time of year, I wanted to write a few posts on building resilience—something most of us need to attend to even more during the holidays.

By our definition, resilience is staying flexible and focused during times of stress or change. It is important to build personal resilience habits, as well as and create a routine within your organization and family that also supports resilience. Today’s post will talk about creating a practice of resilience supported by your family and friends.

Rick came home from a particularly difficult day at work in which he received some negative news about an upcoming project he wanted to lead. He found out that someone else would be taking this role. This news left him feeling less secure about his future. He felt angry and worried. During his drive home he continued to rehash over and over in his head what he might have done differently to produce a different outcome. How did they come to this decision? Was his job at risk? Did they have something bigger in mind for him? How was he viewed by the decision makers? Was there any corrective action he should be taking?

Rick’s ability to bounce back from this crushing news will depend not only on his personal practices, but also on his families’ resilience routines.

I define family very broadly as a personal support system outside of work. This could be family of origin, people with whom we live, or people who live separately, our friends, and provide emotional support as we sometimes wish family would.

Here are four questions to ask yourself when building a resilience plan:

  1. Is maintaining my personal resilience a priority for me?
  2. Am I willing to build daily routines that support my resilience and get rid of habits that put my resilience at risk?
  3. Does my family value my resilience and our resilience?
  4. What do we do together that builds our ability to navigate challenge?

In talking with colleagues about resilience and support, one of them shared her favorite practices. She recently relocated and lives far from her best friends and support community. She has initiated a practice of “tele-cocktails” where she schedules Skype dates to share key events with her closest friends. She attends birthday parties this way and has even been known to make dinner with friends— sharing menus and dining together via Skype. While being in the same room to discuss the day would be her preference, she has found a creative alternative that has enriched her life and left her feeling highly supported during her physical move.

What routines are you building that support your resilience?

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Deep Shot Photography

Six Ways to Manage Negative Thinking

October 27, 2014

In building resilience, one of the key skills is learning to manage negative thinking. Research suggests that five minutes of negative thinking can cause of to six hours of physiological negative impact. To mitigate this impact, managing negative thinking is a key skill. Think of a time you found yourself distracted by your thoughts rather than focusing on what is happening? Think of a time you imagined the worse about a situation or person and continued to think about this for the course of the day. How did this negative thinking impact you over the day?

The following 4 minute video provides a simple six step process to help you manage your negative thinking thereby improving your productivity and reducing the impacts of stress on your body and your work.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Four Steps Increase Your Ability To Navigate Change

September 22, 2014

Navigating Change Alice and the White RabbitI am collaborating on a chapter in a book about leadership 2050 and at the same time watching several colleagues and friends who are facing significant changes in their personal and professional lives. Interestingly, according to Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” So, how are you dealing with the change in your life? In your organization? What can you do to improve your capacity?

So what do you do when you begin to feel like Alice in Wonderland – you are Alice and you have fallen down the rabbit hole or through the looking glass and nothing make sense? When we do things that worked for us in the past, we find that they no longer work as we expected, and we do not know what will work. Basically, we just want to have the uncertainty and sense of anxiety or unease go away. For me, I want to DO something to make it stop.

I am working with a colleague who has recently made a dramatic change in her personal life and at the same time she learned last week that her job is changing significantly as her company announced a major reorganization. Her job will change, and it is possible that she will be unemployed in 6-12 months. She happens to be a beacon of resilience and positive attitude even during the most challenging of times. She may be genetically blessed on some level but on another level, she has developed really strong skills at responding to change. These skills did not happen on accident but rather she has consciously focused on developing this capacity just like she is conscious of learning other professional skills.

To build your resilience, we encourage you to take the free on-line resilience assessment to determine where to focus your energy right now. Here are four recommendations on building resilience:

  1. Attend to your physical health. During times of stress it is easy to fall into habits that are less healthy such as eating comfort food, lightening up on workouts, or having an extra drink on a tough day
  2. Focus on your self-talk. Pay particular attention to when you allow your inner voice to run on overdrive telling you what is wrong with you. If you do not have a gratitude practice, this is a good time to consider one. Do an experiment – when you are feeling down, think of one or two things you are grateful for. Even better, call someone you care about and tell them how much you care about them. Since our self-talk is connected to our feeling of wellbeing, it is important to manage it aggressively.
  3. Reconnect with your sense of purpose. What is most important to you? How does your daily work and daily life help you make an impact on the world? This could be something big or it could be small acts of kindness and being a good friend. By remembering that we make a difference and focusing on that difference, it is easier to put our setbacks in perspective and remember how we have overcome many of them over the course of our lives.
  4. Connect with supportive friends (and disconnect from unsupportive people). We all need someone to listen. Most of us probably are better at listening to others than asking others to listen to us; so chances are your friends will be happy to reciprocate when you reach out and ask for a supportive conversation.

Change is challenging, especially when the change is something we did not chose. For me, managing my emotions and inner conversations are the toughest. When I am under stress, my emotions can be out of balance, and what I feel is often much worse than the objective reality of the situation. I encourage you to take the assessment and take 1 small step today and tomorrow and the next day to build and maintain your resilience. If you are in a great place, these steps become part of a strong routine; if you are struggling with your own change, it will help you to build yourself up while you navigate challenge.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Loren Javier

How Accurate Is Our Measurement of Leadership and Leadership Traning?

September 17, 2014

Measuring LeadershipThis post is written by a guest blogger Brent Barkett Account Manager, Mountain Region at Cardinal Health, Capital MBA student, and former US Marine.

Are companies measuring to the standard of their leadership performance? For leadership training?

Like most of you, I’ve had the opportunity to experience many forms of leadership training, team building, and fostering of professional development.  Since the Great Recession in 2008, and its fall-out, why have companies not improved in their leadership more?

According to a study done by the Ethics Resource Center in 2012 (Ferrell et al) comparing an earlier study done in 2009, many metrics remain the same. For example: Discrimination, Abusive Behavior, Conflicts of Interest, Health and Safety Violations, Stealing, Sexual Harassment, and Disengagement levels have all remained the same if not elevated slightly. How are we ensuring the lessons “learned” during the Recession aren’t lost on the next generation? Every leader speaks of disengagement and turnover, but what are the real follow through actions to curb it?

Additionally, when we look at a leader’s ability to implement transformative change, studies like those conducted by McKinsey Consulting along with many others suggest that change efforts fail between 60-85% of the time depending on the study. These numbers have also not increased significantly over the last decade or more. In a time when leaders are increasingly expected to drive change, their results indicate that the training and development focused on driving transformation are not increasing their rate of success.

In the military there was a phrase “Inspect what you expect”. I think supervising and inspecting the standards that we set or expect may be falling short. Once we send our future leaders through company sponsored courses are we following up to see if the time and money for these lessons has been properly ingrained and carried out? As higher level (Director, VP, SVP, etc…) leadership how are you measuring mid-level management (the hinge pin of small unit success) to the standards you expect? I think we would all love to believe that managers and leadership should be above reproach but perhaps the data may tell a different tale?

We may also be looking at incomplete measures. If we send our leaders to training then they return to organizations that do not allow them to use their new skills, the training may be fine and the leaders may be learning. We may have created a situation that causes leaders to be even more frustrated – they learn that there is a better way but they do not get to do it because it “is not how we do things around here”

How do we get around this? Many companies make it mandatory for all leadership positions to submit or adhere to certain goals throughout the year as part of the compensation plan. Are these goals consistent with the leadership teachings that are company provided? Are these goals parallel with the standards or company credo that adorn or hang on the walls of your conference rooms? Are companies changing their systems and cultures in ways that allow their leaders to use their new knowledge to drive success?

I was having a chat with a peer that I had worked with previously. It was around the time of their Voice of the Employee Survey (VOE). Anyone who has ever taken these surveys knows they are about as secret as the launch of a new iPhone. I asked how he felt about them and his response hit a nerve. There were only four direct reports to his manager in the region. He was proud that he lied on each VOE survey so as not to rock the boat. His team always grumbled about the leadership and had misgivings to the contribution management made to the teams’ overall goal. He couldn’t say this, as he felt certain that if four less than beaming survey results surfaced in reference to one leader, the dissent would be met with retribution. The cycle of sub-par leadership would continue. Many people being promoted to a management/leadership position have probably all been in a similar position prior to the promotion. Once promoted, how do we measure the nuance, intangibles, and true leadership styles? Performance to quota? Turnover ratio? In correlation to the data above at the Ethics Resource Center it seems that no matter how we measure, it may include too many false positives. How do you find a comprehensive approach to measurement that is also cost and time effective?

On a different but related topic, how do we get around the “Peter Principal” of people getting promoted who do not have the right skills for the role? Many companies still promote the subject matter expert to leadership roles without providing management or leadership training. It is not surprising with this approach that instead of producing better leaders we keep making more of the same? When I was in the Marines they had a separate option that included high anonymity. If there was anything that didn’t seem right or any qualms you could Request Mast. You could go right to the top leadership, in private, and express your thoughts. Most corporations have a direct hotline to HR but who knows how that information is disseminated and who hears it.  Why is this powerful? Everyone knows it exists and in many cases it acts as a deterrent for mismanagement and fostering a transparent and inviting work place. If people do not know how their information will be used and if they cannot trust with certainty that it will remain anonymous, the risk of expressing concern is too high.

I ask three questions when I stand in front of groups. 1) Raise your hand if you have ever had a less than stellar boss. 2) How many people here have been promoted to management level and beyond? 3) If I asked the first question to all of your reports…how many do you think would raise their hand as you had?

It’s great that companies provide such amazing opportunity for development and we need to take it to another level and measure the stakeholders and future leaders to the standard we expect the training and opportunities to produce. We also need to measure the organization’s ability to adapt so our newly trained managers and leaders are able to implement what they are learning. If not…I’m sure we all enjoy more of the same.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Organizational Vibrancy and the Agreements that Drive It

September 16, 2014

Vibrancy This post is written by Dani Robbins, guest blogger and co-author of the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Nonprofit Executives.

Many nonprofits operate on a model of scarcity. There’s often not enough money, staff or stuff and many decisions get made through the lens of cost. What if there was another way?

Maureen Metcalf, leadership expert and co-author of the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and workbook series, which includes our book the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Nonprofit Executives, recently invited me to a Vibrancy Workshop facilitated by Jim Ritchie-Dunham from the Institute for Strategic Clarity. Maureen only invites me to transformational trainings so I was delighted to accept!

Jim started out talking about environments that are difficult, which the group defined as situations in which we don’t feel valued, in workplaces that don’t allow us to be our full selves, working for or with people that don’t allow us to thrive, or even think for ourselves. He contrasted (I just had a flash back to my HS English class) that with environments that do; workplaces where we’re excited to be, doing work that we find meaningful, surrounded by people who value our input.

How do you feel when thinking about those two environments?

Put your hands out. Using your hands as a scale, I want you to consider your left hand the difficult situations and your right hands to be the supportive environments. Raise the hand that reflects how you spend much of your time.

Is your left hand higher that your right? Jim would tell you that is because of agreements you, consciously or unconsciously, made.  If you change the agreements, you change the experience, which changes the outcome.

I can hear you out there shaking your head and saying, “I didn’t agree to that.” Some of us agree with our feet, which stay firmly planted where they are, despite our unhappiness. Some of us agree with our words. Some of us with our work, that is disengaged and below what we could do, if we were only supported the way we should. And some of us take our marbles and find another, more vibrant place to be.

Jim said that places in which we can thrive and people with whom we do thrive are described in words of light: Vibrant. Brilliant. Sunny. Bright.

Lack of Vibrancy is the price of not bringing out the best in everyone. When we do that, everyone loses. Vibrant is a long way away from the situation you were thinking about when you raised your left hand. How do we get to vibrant from darkness?

First question: Is the situation you’re in what you believe is the best situation for you?

No?

What does the next level look like?

First stop: find people and situations that are positive deviants. It means exactly what you think: people who are succeeding (positive) despite not following the rules (deviants).

None of us want to be average, right? We know someone in some organization somewhere who is breaking all the rules and, somehow, still excelling at everything they do.

Jim then said something that I loved. He said if you can see it – figuratively or actually – you can become it.  You have to step into the potential.

Abundance is the idea that if: they can, you can, and we all can. It’s creative collaboration. Change the agreement; change the experience; change the outcome.

Life doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. I don’t have to lose for you to win. You’re not competing against me anyway. You’re competing against yourself, or you should be.

We are all responsible for our own work. If we agree to that, hold people to those agreements and set up our organizations accordingly, we would be vibrant and our organizations and our world would be abundant!

This description is just a taste of a comprehensive framework to help us evaluate our agreements and create more vibrant organizations for ourselves, our colleagues, teams and clients. Vibrant organizations have happier people who produce significantly better results.

I found this material fascinating and am using it regularly as I notice what agreements are driving my actions. I am also using it with my clients. Because I now understand that I can change the agreement; change the experience; change the outcome.  And so can you.

It is simple, obvious even – and also very powerful.

If you are interested in learning more about what this can look like, take a look at this 20 minute video about Thorlo, a vibrant company. Who would guess that one of our positive deviants is a sock company that does all of its manufacturing in the US, pays its staff well above average for similar work in the same field  and is also highly profitable? Thorlo deviates from the expectation that producing off shore is required. They have a work environment that is different than most people get to experience. They are an example of positive deviants and they are thriving!

If you are interested in learning more, please visit www.harmonicvibrancy.com or contact us.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com – Bruce McKay

Franklin University Leadership Symposium

September 13, 2014

Title: Franklin University Leadership Symposium
Location: Columbus Convention Center
Link out: Click here
Description: The Symposium’s intent is to act as a catalyst for organizations and individuals to launch and sustain long term commitment toward developing leadership skills and leaders within the Central Ohio region. Maureen will be speaking in the Leader track on innovating your leadership.
Start Time: 7:30
Date: 2014-09-25
End Time: 16:00

Embed Innovation Systematically Part 3, Reflection Questions – Eric’s Story

August 27, 2014

Ziglar Success I’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. Congratulations! We have arrived at the final step in innovative leadership development. In this post, we will cover the second set of reflection questions to strengthen your understanding of embedding innovation systematically into your lifestyle. My answers are in italics for you to use as a reference to further understand the questions.

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Congratulations! This has been the final post in the innovative leadership development series for college students! Remember, innovative leadership and personal development are lifestyles. Once you have developed one skill/behavior to an ideal capacity, you must continue to focus on more areas to develop in order to strengthen your arsenal of skills as a person. Feel free to revisit my posts, or purchase the Innovative Leadership Workbook for College Students coming out in late 2014. Good luck!

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Celestine Chua