Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Pastor Will Johns on seeing the world through the lens of gratitude:

“Gratitude is a lens that changes the perception of everything in your life. Your world will be transformed. You will begin to see good things you’ve never noticed before. You will begin to feel joy for things in your life you knew were good but never fully appreciated. You will be able to count your blessings even during difficult circumstances. Gratitude will affect your essential perspective of and attitude toward life. And it will bring you the happiness you have been seeking your entire life. However, it doesn’t happen naturally.”

Source: Everything is Better Than You Think: How Gratitude Can Transform Your Life

II.

Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton on how the best leaders know how people contribute and actively look for reasons to express gratitude:

“It is about seeing good things happening and then expressing heartfelt appreciation for the right behaviors. On the flip side, managers who lack gratitude suffer, first and foremost, from a problem of cognition—a failure to perceive how hard their people are trying to do good work—and, if they’re encountering problems, what they are. These ungrateful leaders suffer from information deficit.”

Source: Leading with Gratitude: Eight Leadership Practices for Extraordinary Business Results

* * *

Look for these ideas every Thursday on the Leading Blog. Find more ideas on the LeadingThoughts index.

* * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.

 

Explore More

Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Read more: leadershipnow.com

Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:

I.

Entrepreneur and investor Sam Altman on the importance of value:

“All companies that grow really big do so in only one way: people recommend the product or service to other people.
What this means is that if you want to be a great company some day, you have to eventually build something so good that people will recommend it to their friends—in fact, so good that they want to be the first one to recommend it to their friends for the implied good taste. No growth hack, brilliant marketing idea, or sales team can save you long term if you don’t have a sufficiently good product.”

Source: The Only Way to Grow Huge

II.

East Rock Capital co-founder Graham Duncan on taking responsibility for your life:

“One great portfolio manager I know told the story of being driven somewhere by an analyst on a rainy night when a truck swerved and almost ran them off the road. ‘Why is stuff like this always happening to me?’ the analyst instinctively responded. But to the portfolio manager, that response reflected a terrible mindset, whether on the road or in the market: a sense that the world is acting on you as opposed to your acting on the world. It is a mindset that is hard to change. But from what I’ve seen, great investors don’t have it. Instead, they’ve come to understand which factors in the market they can control and which factors they cannot.”

Source: The Playing Field

* * *

Look for these ideas every Thursday on the Leading Blog. Find more ideas on the LeadingThoughts index.

* * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.

 

Explore More

Leading Thoughts Whats New in Leadership Books

Read more: leadershipnow.com

twitter

twitter Here are a selection of tweets from March 2020 that you don’t want to miss:

VIDEO: Series of 1-min videos on fear, connectedness, resilience and more from @JohnBaldoni
Rethinking Managing and Leading in Real-Time by @ArtPetty
Leadership Insight: How to Spot Fear by @KateNasser
The Power of a Strong Leadership Foundation by @DougConant
How to Find Thanks and Gratitude by @JesseLynStoner
How to Capture What You’re Learning From This Crisis Now via @LetsGrowLeaders
What Makes a Community Resilient? via @StanfordGSB
Five Strategies to Challenge Negative Thoughts by @ShirzadPQ via @StanfordGSB
You’re Only as Good as the Company You Keep by @FSonnenberg
Slack CEO’s Rise: From Games to a Workplace Communications Heavyweight via @StanfordGSB
Leadership by What Example? from @wallybock
How to Be A Great Leader When Crisis Hits by @LollyDaskal
Seth Godin Hates Being Organized by @danshipper Don’t ask: am I organized enough? Instead, you might ask: Am I shipping work in sufficient quality and quantity to cause the changes I seek to make?
Hard Startups Few recruiting messages are as powerful as “the world needs this, it won’t happen any time soon if we don’t do it, and we are much less likely to succeed if you don’t join.”
When in Doubt, Leaders Should Ask Questions by @natkarel via @INSEADKnowledge
Self-Awareness and Leadership: The Ins and Outs via @DDIworld
How to Make No-good, Useless Performance Feedback Helpful by @davidmdye
Pandemics Reveal Leadership Character from @JohnBaldoni
How to Recover From a Terrible Mistake by @Judy_Sims
READ, Caveat emptor, CEO by @TedKinni A short list of questions can help leaders avoid the potentially harmful consequences of flawed management studies.
Encouragement Required by @LeadToday Steve Keating
Organizational Change: Only the People Can Save the Organization by @BobQuinnUofM
Boss’s Tip of the Week: Act Consistently from @wallybock
101 Ways to Create a More Satisfying and Fulfilling Life by @AlliPolin
Want Employees to Own Their Career Development? Try These 2 Things by @Julie_WG
VIDEO: John Baldoni on Building Your Self-Awareness via @YouTube
How To Release The Grip of Backwards Thinking by @WScottCochrane
Your New Executive Transitions are (Probably) Going to Fail by @MattPaese via @DDIworld
The dangers of “workism” by @JoshLevs via @stratandbiz
Jack Welch: For a time, the most valuable CEO on earth by @geoffcolvin

See more on twitter Twitter.

* * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.

 

Explore More

The Motive How to Find Your Edge

Read more: leadershipnow.com

Eat Slep Work Repeat

SSTRESS is a given in our lives. Not all of it is bad. For most of us it comes and goes, but for about 25% of us, it is a severe and constant reality according to one NPR/Harvard study. Many are experiencing anxiety leading to burnout at increasingly higher rates.

There is something we can do to put joy back into our work. To that end, Bruce Daisley, a former VP at Twitter, offers 30 hacks for bringing joy to your job in Eat Sleep Work Repeat.

Daisley draws on insights from a range of researcher and experts to identify three themes for creating happier work environments:

Recharge

Twelve simple hacks to restore energy, enthusiasm, and creativity. The fundamental problem is that we simply aren’t practicing behaviors that recharge us. And it shows. Several suggestions include:

Try Going for a Walking Meeting. When we get our blood pumping through our bodies, there is evidence to suggest that walking rather than sitting will clear our heads and increase our creativity by up to 60%.

Eliminate Hurry Sickness. Constant business doesn’t equal achieving more. Calibrate urgency. “On the next occasion, you find yourself asking for something urgently, ask yourself whether you really do need it ASAP. If you can make some things less urgent, you’re being more honest with yourself and helping to create a better working environment for everyone else.” Take time to reflect.

Turn Off Your Notifications and Have a Digital Sabbath. Set up microboundaries to make technology work for you. Avoid weekend e-mails and work. Cal Newport says, “The modern work environment is actively hostile to Deep Work. I think the way that we’re approaching knowledge work we’re going to look back at in maybe fifteen years from now and say hat was disastrously unproductive.” We don’t know how to use the technology we have.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is “better than any other performance-enhancing intervention.” If you think you need to burn the midnight oil to get more done, consider that “you’re more likely to get where you need to be after eight hours sleep.”

Sync

Eight strategies that will bring trust and connection to your team, enhancing your powers of collaboration and building your collective intelligence. Several of the ways to improve team culture:

Move the Coffee Machine. The secret to building Sync is to get people talking together. Help people come together by design.

Create a Social Meeting. People experience Sync best in social situations. “Social time turns out to be deeply critical to team performance, often accounting for more than 50 percent of positive changes in communication patterns.”

Laugh. “The looseness of thought that laughter provokes triggers our creative juices, encouraging free association of ideas.” A lack of laughter may signal that something is wrong on the team.

Know when to Leave People Alone. Getting a team involved in a project too soon can be counterproductive. But we all need feedback and discussion to perform better. So there is a balance. “Sync is about people working together in harmony—but no amount of Sync will change the power of individuals applying gray matter to difficult problems alone. Creativity is about thinking and then discussion—a team in Sync will make sure it’s doing both.”

Buzz

Ten ways to get your team to a “buzz” state—a sense of engagement and positive energy. Positive Affect (our inclination to experience the world in a positive way) + Psychological Safety = Buzz. How can we bring Buzz into our workplace?

Frame Work as a Problem You’re Solving. If we frame the challenge as a problem we all need to solve, we learn faster and together. “Frame the work as a learning problem, not as an execution problem,” and “introduce a clear sense of uncertainty into the room.”

Focus on the Issue, Not the People. If you provide incentives to cooperate, employees will share information and train others, but if you pit people against one another, they will naturally think only of themselves. It comes as no surprise that “workplaces that put too much emphasis on individual performance find themselves achieving worse results.” Again, there is a balance. “Remove the personal element and encourage people to focus on the work at hand than the individuals involved.”

Replace Presenting with Reading. While awkward at first, consider beginning each meeting by reading a document prepared for subsequent discussion. It can level the playing field. “Teams that have a more equal distribution of communication tend to have higher collective intelligence because you’re hearing from everybody, we’re getting information and input, and effort from everybody is they’re all contributing.” Successful teams are good at reading the nonverbal responses of others and adapting their behavior accordingly.

Relax. “One reason why Buzz so often seems to be beyond our grasp is that we’re not good at being ourselves.” A good sense of humor goes a long way to create positive affect and psychological safety. “Researchers found that “those who laughed together were significantly more likely to share intimate details with one another, and to be closer to their real selves, than those in a nonlaughing control group.”

While it’s true that for the vast majority of us, we can’t make these ideas company-wide policy, or control every demand placed upon us, we resort far too easily to blaming our circumstances on our company. We can do a lot for ourselves by approaching what we do differently. With a little personal responsibility and resourcefulness, most of these helpful hacks are within our grasp. Even a few of them would go a long way to improving our disposition.

* * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.

* * *

 

Explore More

Deep Work Positive Leadership

Read more: leadershipnow.com

The Best Mentor You Can Find is Up to You

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.”— Benjamin Disraeli

WHEN I WAS a young Army lieutenant, I met with my Assignment (Personnel) Officer, Major Tom Montgomery in Washington D.C. on my way to Germany in the summer of 1977. I never expected that he would become my first true mentor.

There was no contractual agreement or even a discussion about such a relationship, and through all these years, I’ve never mentioned the word “mentor” to him. But, throughout our relationship, our conversations have given me volumes of knowledge about leadership and a host of other topics.

I saw in him a leadership style similar to my own, just more seasoned. I wanted to learn as much as I could from him and use similar techniques as my own leadership responsibilities grew. He helped me get certain jobs and I worked directly for him once. We remain great friends to this day.

Receiving mentorship is a vital element in learning about leadership… and being a mentor is a responsibility of all great leaders.

I believe there are four types of mentors: assigned, self-appointed, sought-after, and what I call “virtual.” I have experienced all four. The first three are rather self-evident in terms of what they mean. What I’ve found the most valuable, however, is this last one, virtual.

What do I mean?

Virtual mentorship is something you do on your own. You simply pay attention to all of the people around you and learn from them. This can apply to both your professional and personal life. Pay attention to what others do or say that is particularly smart or good, then adopt it as your own habit. Notice also when a leader does something incredibly dumb or harmful to others, then put that in your leadership reservoir as well, so that you will never do the same. We’ve all seen good and bad behavior and said to ourselves: “If I ever get into that position, I hope I behave—or do not behave—like that.”

Think of your life as a journey carrying a backpack, and observed behaviors are rocks you find along the path. Pick up both the good and bad—the good for future use and the bad to remind you not to repeat what those rocks represent. I’ve got plenty of rocks in my backpack—of both kinds—that I’ve picked up along my life’s journey. All great leaders learn something from those they encounter along their journey.

It’s also a good practice to acknowledge those who provided meaningful lessons. I regularly cite those who taught me something that I now use myself. I also store away lessons that I want to avoid from leaders who I don’t want to emulate, though I generally refrain from naming them.

Perhaps one of the greatest periods during which I learned from others was my time in the Pentagon in the late 1990s. My 23 years of service to that point had been exclusively within Army ranks, with no duty served in another military branch. But in 1996, when I became a new brigadier general, I was assigned to the Joint Staff in the Pentagon.

I served during this time with a number of great military leaders who influenced me. Lieutenant General Pete Pace (later Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) was the J3 of the Joint Staff. I had to brief him each morning. My immediate supervisor was first Major General John Van Alstyne, then later Rear Admiral Tim Keating (who eventually became the Pacific Command Commander and Northern Command Commander as a 4-star admiral). Brigadier General Jim Conway (later Commandant of the Marine Corps) was a fellow 1-star and Colonel David Petraeus was the Executive Officer for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hugh Shelton.

Lieutenant Colonel Terry “Guts” Robling served there as well and would later become my boss as a three-star general when he commanded Marine Corps Forces Pacific and I was his civilian Executive Director. That was a particularly interesting relationship, as he was a lieutenant colonel when I was a brigadier general in 1996. While he didn’t report to me, we knew each other and occasionally worked together. Seventeen years later, I reported to him.

I remember our first discussion in his office in 2013, where I made clear that while we had a different relationship in the Pentagon, I was perfectly fine working for him. I remember him saying he was, as well. He was very comfortable in his own skin. We got along great in the two years of his command tenure and remain good friends to this day.

Good leaders don’t patent their behaviors; they willingly pass them on. I have borrowed many leadership techniques—perhaps most of them—from others who freely gave them up, and from some who didn’t even know I took them. Let your greatest legacy be that you pass on the best-of-breed leadership traits you’ve learned from others.

I freely pass on mine. Many are in my new book, Leadership: The Art of Inspiring People to Be Their Best.

* * *Leading Forum
Major General (Retired) Craig Whelden is the author of the international best selling book, Leadership: The Art of Inspiring People to Be Their Best. This is an extract from Chapter Three: “Are You My Mentor?” Learn more about Craig, his book, and speaking opportunities at www.craigwhelden.com

* * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.

* * *

 

Explore More

Colin Powell Never Stop Learning

Read more: leadershipnow.com

Nincompoopery

NINCOMPOOPERY is the crazy stuff we do (or don’t do) that drives our customers crazy and makes life difficult for employees and keeps organizations from getting what they want.

There are nincompoops, and there is nincompoopery. But when an organization is driving people crazy, it’s a nincompoopery problem. Usually, the organization knows what’s wrong; it’s just that nobody has the courage to overcome the tradition, the inertia, or the apathy to fix it. And so, it persists.

John Brandt writes in Nincompoopery: Why Customers Hate You—and How to Fix It, that the good news is that there is a plan to fix it and you already know enough to get started.

Most organizations are rife with Nincompoopery, which deadens the souls of their employees (including, sometimes you and me) and lead them (us) to act like nincompoops. To wit, we get stuck in old ways of doing things; we convince ourselves that change would be impossible because nobody could fix such a nincompoopish company anyway; or we fret that even if we tried to lead a change, none of the nincompoops to whom we report or work with would listen. Really, human beings are endlessly inventive in thinking of reasons why not to change ourselves, our companies, and our fates—in other words, we’re really good at remaining nitwits and stuck in Nincompoopery.

So, you need a plan and some good politics by managing relationships, providing safety and meaning in order to make the changes out of nincompoopery. Brandt offers a plan organized around three simple strategies: innovation, talent, and process.

Innovation

Innovation is not always the game-changing products that change a culture. Customers think differently about value. Innovation should revolve around “How can we make our customers’ lives simpler, happier, less stressed, and more productive, by removing or solving multiple issues with a single solution?”

Talent

“Leading companies recruit for smarts, diligence, and caring.” Character matters. “The only way that we create a difference at any individual customer’s moment of truth is by the investment we make in talent, training, and culture. That difference, for good or bad, will determine our bottom lines for years to come. If you hire right, train right and get out of their way, your employees will deliver.

Process

With god process in place, you can reap the benefits of the time, effort, and money you’ve invested in innovation and talent. Look at your company through your customer’s eyes. How do you create customer value? What are you good at, and what are you terrible at? Your customers know. Brandt says excel, improve, and fix—or kill. Start with what you are terrible at and fix it or kill it because it is driving customers away.

With a little bit of strategic thinking and a whole bunch of empathy for customers and employees, you can lead change and eliminate nincompoopery.

* * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.

* * *

 

Explore More

Amish Businesses Herb Kelleher Best Lesson

Read more: leadershipnow.com