Here’s what’s been on our minds lately … This is where we post occasional thoughts, observations, photos and ideas that we find relevant and connected to our work.
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Taking time to step away from the long list of tasks, demands, and meetings in order to breathe, and be present to yourself, is one of the most important acts of a leader. It’s both an act of self-care and an act for others. Leaders, by nature, have responsibility for others: their clients, associates, stakeholders, families and communities. Leaders must also care for themselves in order to be at their best. You may have read about this and know it cognitively, yet do you know it in your heart? In your body? In your soul?
It’s that time of year, March Madness, where many of us watch the college teams battle it out in the NCAA basketball tournament. What I love about this season is seeing close games where talented athletes deliver incredible levels of performance, both individually and collectively. What’s almost as interesting is the breakdowns that happen and how coaches engage when teams don’t live up to their full capabilities.
Leaders I work with have big jobs, big mandates and big challenges. They also have very little time to think in big ways, yet all feel the need to transform some part of their organization. Each one of my clients is smart, hard-working, skillful and experienced. However, they lack something essential to their ability to lead their organizations to the next stage: time to reflect, intuit and discern new insights.
While diversity and inclusion are not new topics, they have seen renewed focus given the #MeToo and #Timesup movements. Recently, I’ve seen leaders working to get better results within their organizations with respect to diversity and inclusion. This is not just the politically correct thing to do. Studies have shown that inclusivity, diversity and engagement equate positively to productivity, profitability, quality, employee commitment, and retention, as well as to innovation and creativity. In fact, a recent report states that “companies have increasingly begun to regard inclusion and diversity as a source of competitive advantage, and specifically as a key enabler of growth.”
Do you find yourself feeling blocked at times with seemingly no way forward? Or perhaps you find you are repeating old patterns that you didn’t realize were keeping you in neutral? Recently, like some of my clients, I found myself stuck in how I was seeing my business situation…. I couldn’t see anything but a block to what I wanted. Then, as I started becoming curious, working the issue from different perspectives, I realized, “Wow, I am not stuck, my thinking is stuck!” That was the insight I needed to start to think differently, attack the problem from a new perspective. The result? I now am energized, focused, and making changes that will get me to the outcome I want.
In the work I do with leaders, teams and organizations, a constant challenge – regardless of the industry or issue – is around keeping pace with change on an individual and collective level. Bob Anderson, author of Mastering Leadership, speaks to this point when he discusses the correlation between business results and leadership effectiveness. Bob states, “The pace of development for leaders must exceed or match the pace of change in business conditions.” Do you agree? Think back through your career and note how your development was keeping pace. What do you notice? Were you actively changing to match business conditions?