Building Resilient Leaders – Part 2

Fulfill Life Purpose While Living Your Values

Having a strong sense of life purposeand aligning your activities with that purpose creates a strong foundation for wellbeing.  Emotional intelligence accounts for 85-90% of the difference between outstanding leaders and their more average peers. Emotional intelligence is a major factor in accomplishing life purpose.  Key areas of focus:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

I have been working with several clients using the Enneagram to develop more insight about their personalities.  This tool helped one client identify why she is struggling in her leadership role.  She is focused on achieving (an overdone strength).  Her need to achieve overshadows her ability to work well with others.  When she became more aware of this quality, she began taking more time to work with her team members, remembering to slow down and take a few minutes to talk to them as people that she actually likes.  The team has responded very well.  Over the past year of using this awareness practice, she has seen her team productivity improve and her relationship with the team members improve.  Over this time, the entire team is more engaged and productive.

Keys to purpose and emotional resilience: Have a clear life purpose, develop skills in self-management, and appreciate and work with your emotions regularly.

Harness the Power of Connection

The ability to interact with other people with awareness, empathy, and skillfulness and to experience closeness is vital in building resilience.  Keys to connection: invest time in key relationships and build the necessary skills to relate with others such as communication and empathy. Interpersonal skills include the ability to interact with other people with awareness, empathy, and skillfulness.  Ideally, using interpersonal skills translates to empathic understanding to engage the strengths and energy of business relationships, at every level within the organization, as well as with customers and suppliers.

Accoding to Gallup “Those without a best friend in the workplace have just a 1 in 12 chance of being engaged.  Social relationships at work have also been shown to boost employee retention, safety, work quality and customer engagement.”  This research represents a significant shift in views of friendships at work and the importance of developing strong connections, yet the research is clear – investing the time in connection improves our work and our work environment.

I will be speaking at the ASQ Conference as the keynote speaker about Building Leadership Resilience.  If you are interested, please click the link.

Photocredit:  Power of connection David Boyle

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Building Resilient Leaders – Part 1

In leadership terms, we define Resilience as the ability to adapt in the face of multiple changes while continuing to persevere toward strategic goals.  In our very dynamic work environment, we as leaders must build resilience in ourselves as well as in our employees.

As a leader, you actually become different based on the changing environment.  Most people, after a period of adjustment, bounce back to their previous level of happiness no matter what happens to them.  There are also several studies that support the idea that after a period of adjustment, people return to their prior level of happiness.

Think about someone you have worked with that you respected but they did not navigate challenge well.  It may have been tough to watch but not much you could do about it.  Here is a story of one of my clients.

I worked with a very talented leader who had some issues with resilience.  Under pressure he tended to get angry and controlling because he did not have a system to manage the stress.  He became short with his staff and caused them to become disengaged because they felt unsupported.  He would obsess about what others had done and get defensive.  He was becoming unhappy in her job – more unhappy than was reasonable based on her situation.  As we worked together, over time, he developed stronger coping skills and  has a much greater capacity to manage the same level of stress.  Some of the things he did were: start a reflection process while driving home from work, become aware of and manage his self talk – remembering that his boss really is on his side.  All of these activities contributed to improved physical health and also greatly improved her ability to motivate her team and produce higher quality work and enjoy working with their leader again. He also developed a much stronger relationship with the senior leadership team.

We break resilience into four primary categories:

  • Maintain Physical Wellbeing
  • Direct Mental Perspective
  • Fulfill Life Purpose While Living Your Values
  • Harness the Power of Connection

All of these categories are interlinked, none of them can be ignored for long-term resilience.  An example, tt is hard to think clearly if you are physically unhealthy and so on.  As you think of yourself as a leader, it is important to remember that maintaining personal resilience is as important as building other business or organizational skills.  In my coaching practice I often hear that leaders are too busy to take care of themselves.  I fully understand the delicate balancing act we all play and yet, building and maintaining resilience are quite important to your success.  One of the biggest challenges for leaders is balancing the time requirements for competing commitments.  Resilience is yet another one of those.  The good news is, as we improve our resilience, we will think more clearly and have a more positive impact with our interactions with others.  We will impact measures such as employee engagement, so an investment in resilience will likely drive improvements in your effectiveness as a leader.

Maintain Physical Wellbeing

According to Gallup, “Those with high physical wellbeing simply have more energy to get more done in less time.  They are more likely to be in a good mood, thus boosting the engagement of their colleagues and customers.”  This category is one we often best understand and yet give limited focus to.  Some basic elements include:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise 6 days per week
  • Eat well
  • Limit caffeine
  • Eliminate nicotine
  • Meditate & relax
  • Take time in nature

One of the key goals in maintaining physical wellbeing is managing the amount and impact of stress.  Key to body resilience: Build daily routines that help your body recover from stress

Directing Mental Perspective

Mental perspective of resilience is based on our attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions rather than knowledge.  Negative and inflexible thinking prevents the ability to see the big picture and to find creative and alternative routes toward a goal.  The key to mental resilience: Question assumptions, attitudes and beliefs, and actively manage your thinking consistently.

Dr. Susan Kobasa’s research findings published in 1988 on AT&T executives indicated three major factors distinguish people who display stress hardiness and resilience:

  • Attitude toward CHALLENGE is positive
  • Believing that you have CONTROL over your own life
  • COMMITMENT to a belief that gives experience meaning and value

Read about Fulfill Life Purpose While Living Your Values and Harness the Power of Connection in our next post.

 I will be speaking at the ASQ Conference as the keynote speaker about Building Leadership Resilience.  If you are interested, please click the link.

If you are interested in learning more about resilience, or building your resilience, take our resilience assessment, attend a resilience class, attend the ASQ conference or contact a coach.

Photo credit:  Positive Attitude:  Auntie K

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Mike Sayre – Leading with Purpose

In our ongoing series of blog posts about Inspirational Leaders, this post features Mike Sayre talking to a Capital University MBA class. Mike’s sense of vision and professional integrity has long provided a role model for many in the community. He is a regular speaker in my MBA class sharing his experiences with these emerging executives. Following is an excerpt from his inspirational presentation in his own words:

I only have one major point to make tonight…if you want people to follow your lead in and out of turbulent times, you need to lead consistently and decisively no matter what your business or the economy throws at you, and that all starts with tying why you work to why you live and your own personal purpose in life.

In March of 2006, I was asked to step up from my CFO role and take a bigger role in the company as its CEO, working arm and arm with the founder and chairman to develop and implement a new strategy for profitable growth. This was my first CEO job. And for all of my 25+ years of leadership experience starting and growing companies, I was not totally prepared for my new role! Somebody else had always been the CEO! Well, I learned an awful lot over those four years, in and out of turbulent times, while we achieved record earnings, expanded our operations into Europe and Asia and built a high performance organization highly acclaimed by some of the largest electronics manufacturing companies in the world!

Why was I unprepared and what did I do to successfully lead the organization in these unprecedented achievements for PDSi? I began to get it when my executive coach back in 2006, told me “You can’t lead others if you can’t lead yourself.” Then he pushed me, kicking and screaming, into writing my deepest feelings, thoughts and beliefs all out.  In several 2-6 hour intervals over a couple of months, I wrote, unfettered by form and content, about why I lived and why I worked…pages and pages, streaming thought processes that no one will ever read. This was for me and no one else and I gained clarity about my personal purpose I never had before.

Weeks after, I was asked about a mission and vision for the company. So I used the clarity that had come from my writings and to develop a simple philosophy card. The card spelled out a mission to improve the lives of our shareholders, customers, associates, suppliers and communities in which we live, a vision to be the best in the business at developing collaborative technology solutions for leading technology companies, and operating guidelines based on the Golden Rule of treating others like we would like to be treated. This process of writing it all out and then organizing and reducing it all down to fit on a small card absolutely aligned my work and my life and gave me a sense of my own personal purpose I never had before.

My basic DNA did not change! However, my level of understanding and passion about why I lived and worked, how we should work together and with others, giving back to the community and the importance of the alignment between my life and my work (a lot less balancing!) became very clear.

That understanding and passion made me ever more fully committed to my life and to my work as part of my life. I immediately empowered myself to prioritize work and family time, events and challenges as time and events in my life without trying to constantly “balance” between my work and my life! Sometimes work gets more time than family and sometimes family gets more time than work…it depends on what’s going on, but I look at it all as my life, not my life and then separately my work.

Another advantage of the card was that I/we could use it as a tool for consistent communications and decision-making. “Treating others like we’d like to be treated” had a way of making very difficult decisions much easier and quicker, taking less of a toll on the rest of my life.

So if you’ve never done it before, set aside meaningful time (ASAP) and fully answer in writing the following questions, without concern for form and content (just write and spend some time on it…):

  • Why do you live? Then keep asking yourself why you gave that answer and continue writing your answers in great detail (a minimum of 5 “whys”) until you get to the real core of your beliefs and motivations.
  • Why do you work? Same process with the minimum 5 “whys.”

Then, if you can’t tie why you are living to why you are working today, figure out how you get those two more in alignment! Give your life and your work more meaning and collapse them into one co-mingled set of priorities and challenges, rather than constantly striving to “balance” between them…be committed to BOTH and prioritize accordingly.

Do you have a personal purpose statement?  Our leadership coaches are available to help you explore your purpose and principles.  This is often the fist step in our leadership coaching process.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Gratitude Improves Performance and Resilience

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday to remind us that a gratitude practice can be very powerful tool for improving health and well being as well as mental clarity.  This practice is so beneficial it is part of my daily practice, just like healthy eating.  It is an important part of building resilience.

Advanced research at theInstitute of HeartMath and elsewhere has provided evidence that gratitude is not simply a nice sentiment or feeling. Sustained feelings of gratitude have real benefits, including the following:

  • Biochemical changes – Favorable changes in the body’s biochemistry include improved hormonal balance and an increase in production of DHEA, the “anti-aging hormone.”
  • Increased positivity – Daily gratitude exercises can bring about a greater level of positive feelings, according to researchers from the University of Miami and the University of California, Davis who studied this process in 157 individuals over 13 days.
  • Boost to the immune system– The IgA antibody, which serves as the first line of defense against pathogens, increases in the body.
  • Emotional “compound interest” – The accumulated effect of sustained appreciation and gratitude is that these feelings, and coherence, are easier to recreate with continued practice. This is because experiencing an emotion reinforces the neural pathways of that particular emotion as it excites the brain, heart and nervous system. The downside is that you also can reinforce negative emotions.

TheInstitute of HeartMath is helping more people experience the benefits of the sincere feelings Thanksgiving celebrates by providing the following helpful appreciation exercise:

  • Instructions: Take a few short appreciation breaks during the day. During each break take one or two minutes to breathe deeply through the area of the heart. While doing so, try to hold a sincere feeling of appreciation in your heart area. This can be appreciation for a family member, friend who helped you with something or even a wonderful vacation, etc.
  • Why it works: The exercise of activating a positive feeling like appreciation literally shifts our physiology, helping to balance our heart rhythms and nervous system, and creates more coherence between the heart, brain and rest of the body.

The Heartmath Institute provides tools to measure the physiological impact of gratitude on your body.  I have used the emWave Personal Stress Reliever tool for two years now and have found it to be very helpful in monitoring my heart and stress level.

Gratitude is a simple and effective practice and the benefits are real and attainable.  It creates a healthier, happier and more fulfilling state of being for anyone who takes a few moments to feel and reflect on it. 

Photo credit:  libookperson

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Qualities of Successful Leaders – World Business Forum Synopsis

I was invited to participate in the World Business Forum 2010 as a guest blogger.  The World Business Forum responds to what is happening in the world now in these critical areas. Whether it’s the global financial markets, social media, heanth care or the future of globalization, they provide the very latest thinking directly from those who are setting the agenda. According to Burson Marsteller, World Business Forum is ranked #1 in the US within Best Global Forums.

I wrote about several of the presentations from key executives and thought leaders.   I wanted to summarize what I heard about the field of leadership based on their comments along with my work in the field of senior leader development.

As our world becomes increasingly interconnected and the pace continues to accelerate, leaders must change what they think and do to meet these increased demands.  In recent years, we are often left reeling from scandals in all areas of society.  Truly great leaders quietly identify their core values and consistently act in a manner that is aligned with those values.  To  make this type of action possible, leaders must not only understand their personal values, they must also make a personal commitment to follow them at any cost.  Additionally, they make time to stop and reflect on where they are meeting these standards and where they can improve.

Internal Thought Process Observable Leadership Behavior
Understand what they stand for – core values and beliefs Take action based on their core values
Believe that performance is improved based on internal examination as well as external measures Make time to reflect on how their actions met their personal and professional standards and goals
Feel passion and clear personal vision and believe it will drive successful action Lead by setting vision and inspiring rather than command and control
Committed to learning and growing personally and organizationally (humility) – realizing they do not have all the answers Demonstrate curiosity – actively gather information and use it to refine direction to improve effectiveness
Recognize the organization is more successful when the smartest people come together in a supportive environment Hire the most talented people
Committed to putting greater good ahead of self Focus actions on accomplishing the strategic goals rather than on personal gain

Businesses and non-profits need great leaders now more than any other time in history.  By having a clear view of what is required to be a successful leader, we can improve ourselves and also identify who we want to work for and with.

Photo credit: Krupp

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Gallup Research Connecting Wellbeing and Organizational Success Makes the Business Case for Companies to support 2 by 2012 Initiative Biking to Work in Columbus, Ohio

I just met with Doug Morgan, a prominent attorney with Hahn Loeser and avid cyclist in Columbus, Ohio.  He is leading an initiative, 2 By 2010, to promote employees cycling to work 2 days/month or 10% of their time.  Doug is a board member of  Consider Biking, a non-profit committed to making Central Ohio increasingly safe, accessible, and friendly to bicycle transportation.  Thier target is to have 100 company CEOs sign the pledge to support this initiative in their company and deliver these results in 2012. I pulled research from the recent Gallup work connecting employee wellbeing to company success.  Here are some of the wellness benefits of this initiative for our local businesses:

Gallup Wellbeing Category Description of Financial Impact on Business from The Economics of Wellbeing by Tom Rath and Jim Harter from Gallup Press Benefits of Promoting Cycling for your company
Career Wellbeing: how you occupy your time – or simply liking what you do every day The average annual disease burden cost for people who are thriving is $723, compared to $1,488 for people who are struggling/suffering – a per person difference of $765. Based on these figures, those who are struggling/suffering realize two times higher new medical costs due to disease burden (2008-2009) compared to those who are thriving. As a business owner who shares the cost of health insurance, employees who bike to work are more likely to thrive because of increased physical exercise and reduced stress as a result of biking.
Social Wellbeing: having strong relationships and love in your life People who have high quality friendships on the job are seven times as likely to be engaged in their work. Employees who cycle are able to cycle together and interact while biking unlike employees who leave at the same time and drive cars next to one another – thus creating opportunity to promote social wellbeing.
Financial Wellbeing: effectively managing your economic life Financial security has nearly three times the impact of income alone on employees’ overall wellbeing. Just 6% of employees strongly agree that their company does something to help them manage their finances more effectively. Cycling reduces commuting cost in the areas of gas usage, physical wear on car, and increases physical wellbeing thus reducing medical costs.
Physical Wellbeing: having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis In general, estimates show that as much as three-fourths of all costs in the US healthcare system might be due to conditions that are preventable or within our control. Lack of exercise is one of the biggest challenges we have today. Biking offers great exercise.
Community Wellbeing: the sense of engagement you have with the area where you live When we surveyed more than 23,000 people, we found that nearly 9 in 10 report ” getting an emotional boost” from doing kind things for others. There is a direct impact on the environment that results from increasing biking and reducing driving in the way of carbon emissions.

These five domains provide a way to look at overall wellbeing for an organization through a different lens.  Making a single change like promoting biking to work can make an impact for many employees in overall wellbeing and thus improve the organization’s overall health.  Gallup studies include the impact of wellbeing on several key business success indicators including:  turnover, safety, direct measures of productivity, customer engagement and profit.

My company is signing the commitment to bike to work 2 days per month.  You can do the same and get the added benefit of improved wellbeing.

We work with clients to develop resilience and one of the four key elements to developing and maintaining personal and organizational resilience is physical wellbeing.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Carlos Brito from World Business Forum 2010 The Power of “Dream, People, Culture”

Carlos Brito talked to the World Business Forum about – Building a Performance Culture.   Better than you: How to Building a Cohesive Team of High Achievers.  Carlos is the CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev. During 5 mergers and acquisitions we continually asked: why is it that our performance is better than these other companies.  We found the “Dream People culture”.  This is not about theory – it is about practicing what we believe in.

1.  Dream – have a big dream, stretch and be credible.  Define big by we know 70-80% of how to get there.   Inspire, align and drive commitment.  Set the bar higher.  Anchor everything in the dream.

2.  People make companies great.

  • Great companies are formed by great people.
  • Great companies hire the best people,
  • Great people attract more of the same.  Poor performers attract more of the same.
  • Great people with the right training and opportunities get better and so do we when we work with them.
  • Great people like meritocracy – they want feedback so they can continue to improve.
  • As a leader you must be the coach – spend time with the people – this is everyone’s job!

3.  Culture of Ownership – owners make better decisions because it is their company and they are committed for the long term.   Need to worry about both short term and long term.  Long term thinkers do not take short cuts – it takes time and patience to succeed.

As the CEO, I talk about every time I meet with people.  This is what we are all about.  It is what brought us here to be at the top of our industry.  It is my job to make sure everyone knows this.

Brito’s discussion is consistent with those of Collins and Welsh.  While he talks about his experience through his own lens there are several commonalities:

  • Leaders build the organization by setting a vision
  • They invest in people through hiring, development and processes that give feedback to encourage employees to improve.   They put the right people in the right jobs.
  • They have processes to face brutal facts in their performance (using meritocracy – evaluating people and recognizing the best).
  • The use discipline and rigor in their daily business created by a culture of ownership.

As I listen to these speakers talk about their research and their experiences, I hear similar themes.  As our world changes, leadership is critical to business success and while we may use different words and models, there are very strong common themes coming from research and from experience.  What are you doing as a leader to evaluate personal and organizational leadership to ensure your success?

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Thanksgiving and Gratefulness

I am making this post on Thanksgiving Day 2009 so I want to talk about gratefulness and the role it plays in my professional life. It is an important part of my personal and leadership practice (practice – something I continue to do because it is never complete), By thinking about what I am grateful for when I wake in the morning, when I go to sleep in the evening, and during the day; I improve my ability to put the daily challenges in perspective. I can not remove challenges from my life but I can meet them with grace. By showing grace during the difficult times, I improve my emotional intelligence and improve ability to lead others effectively.

As a leader, people look to me to set the tone for how we work. I often struggle to manage all of the tasks at hand and still make time to take care of my self. This simple practice allows me to quickly “reboot” when I face a challenging situation.
“Gratefulness enables us to find peace in all circumstances by freeing us from resentment. As long as we are merely thankful, we give thanks for what we perceive to be beneficial, yet we retain the lurking fear that something harmful may come our way instead. To be grateful is more. It is our courageous trust that life itself – kind or harsh, happy or sad – is good, if only we receive it as gift. The gift is the opportunity either to fully accept or to change what the moment brings. The moment we trust in this truth, we are at peace.” From http://www.gratefulness.org/. Consider subscribing to the daily gratefulness email.
We believe the act of being grateful is one powerful and simple practice associated with later stages of leadership development. It provides the individual an opportunity to reflect on the good in their lives even when what is happening in the moment may be very challenging.
A few basic recommendations:

  • At the end of each day take 5 minutes to review what you are grateful for,
  • Take 5 minutes to write what you are grateful at the beginning or end of the day,
  • Take a minute to think about what you appreciate about a person before you enter a challenging conversation with him/her,
  • Tell your family and friends what you appreciate when they do something you like – be very specific. An example from my life this week: Carlene, when you walked my dog on last minute notice I was so grateful. My plans changed at the last minute and I found myself distracted and thinking about my dogs sitting at home. Your letting them out allowed me to focus on my work and stop feeling guilty.

The act of gratefulness seems so simple yet many of us do not make it a daily practice. It is free, quick, easy and available to absolutely everyone who wishes to practice it. So, as we enter the holiday season and bring 2009 to a close, I encourage you to consider what you are grateful for, especially if this was a challenging year.

I want to share a partial list of what I am grateful for today:

  • faith that sustains me and helps me keep all of life in perspective – successes and challenges,
  • friends who support, challenge and encourage me,
  • family who has always believed in me no matter how silly I was (and continue to be),
  • clients- I am really fortunate to work with amazing clients who are using leadership development programs to make a major impact on the world,
  • graduate students who work diligently to become more effective transformational leaders,
  • pets, Sabina and Beau the dogs and Boone the cat,
  • challenging and rewarding work – I really love what I do,
  • amazing colleagues – I am really fortunate to work with very talented change management consultants and alliance partners,
  • physical and emotional health,
  • non-profit board work – I am very fortunate to have the resources, skills and energy to give back to the community,
  • network of talented people across the globe who shape my perspective and make me a better person,
  • great neighbors – I live in a community of caring people who support and encourage one another,
  • earth and natural resources – that gives us what we need to survive including: food, shelter, and beauty,
  • artists – they make our world more beautiful and meaningful,
  • philosophers, researchers, and scientists who make our lives richer, more productive, and philosophically deeper.

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we at Metcalf & Associates would like to express our gratitude to all of our clients, colleagues, and friends for all you have done to make us successful. We trust this holiday season and coming year will find your lives filled with reasons to be filled with gratefulness.
Photocredit: alicepopkorn

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

By Maureen Metcalf at Innovative Leadership Institute.

Managing in Uncharted Territory – Rule #4 – Build a Strong Network

In our exploration of Leading in Uncharted Territory, Rule #4 is build a strong network of people outside your organization to share ideas and collaborate – connect with the rock stars. The research tells us that Level 5 Leaders are the most effective at leading transformation. You may want to include people who meet these criteria  in your network and actively seek their thoughts when making significant transformation decisions.  When I thought about this blog post, I was initially focused on who should be in a strong network. After a challenging week I am thinking about who should NOT be in your network.  So, as I think about who I look to for guidance, I realize I have a 2 tier approach, people I trust and people I find interesting. Following is the list of criteria for people I trust – the precious jewels of my life:Diamond by Jevetson

* People whose judgment I trust without question
* People with expertise I do not have – different industries, different perspectives
* People who take time and to share their perspective and explore differing points of view
* People who are willing to be honest and direct when confronted with differing views – demonstrate a high degree of emotional intelligence
* People who I want to form alliance with long term because of our common business interests and strong reputation

I could summarize the people I trust category by saying, if they see an issue differently than I do, I will stop and ask why to consider if there is something I missed. I would consider looking at an issue or decision differently based on their input. I continue to learn from these people – I do not always agree or change my direction but I certainly learn.

The second category is people I find interesting. They may be nice, interesting and talented but I do not look to them to help shape my point of view. I love being around people who are different than I am – I learn a great deal from them about various subjects. My challenge comes if I mistake interesting for trusted adviser.

Examples From Real Life:

The short story about a friend and person I considered a trusted adviser but no longer do. We met regularly and I considered listened to his point of view which often differed from mine. I enjoyed hanging out with him because he was interesting. I learned over time and through intense interactions that I needed to see him as an interesting person and not spend time continually questioning my point of view because we differed. Why did I change my position:

* I found that I continually asked if his point of view helped me be better at what I did?
* Were his comments helpful for me to identify things I missed?
* Did the time we spent together make me noticeably better?

Because the answer to all of these questions was no, I made a conscious effort to change how we interacted. I still found him interesting but I stopped looking to him to help me expand my thinking and instead just enjoyed listening to his perspective on the world.

To give a balanced perspective, here is the story of someone I do consider an absolute jewel of an adviser and friend. I had a conversation with a very trusted colleague this week, Hugh Cathey from Columbus-Partners. He has been an ongoing trusted adviser and I cherish the time we spend together. Some of the characteristics that differentiate Hugh are: a long string of successful ventures, respectful and thoughtful response when he differs, expressing a genuine care and hope for my success, among others. I do not reach out often because he is quite busy and I consider myself fortunate for all the time we spend together. It is Hugh and people like Hugh, who help me be more than I could ever be solo.

Beyond networking, I also form more formal alliances with some of my most trusted colleagues. An informal alliance I am participating in includes InterKannections in Japan along with ICM Consulting in Canada. These companies and others recommended in this blog are among the best in our field. We share similar frameworks and approaches to consulting and to life. We learn from one another and all offer better solutions for our investment of time in this relationship. We all use the “Level 5” framework in conjunction with the integral framework. We have taken our relationship to a different level in because we are forming a structured alliance. This is most interesting because as smaller businesses, we want to offer full solutions to our clients and scale when they need additional support from us. Having a common frame of reference is very helpful as we do not need to spend much time setting the context and clarifying what we are talking about. We also build upon one another’s wisdom and success.

We are located in several countries and even different continents. They are great at what they do and share their insight gracefully. We have a trusting partnership where we work together. I find it interesting that barriers we had in the past seem less relevant in this situation. We communicate by Skype regularly and meet live when possible.

So my questions to myself and to you are: Are you cultivating those precious jewels who can give you insight because of their experience or world view? How can you expand these relationships and form new structures that benefit all members of the group? Are you eliminating people whose judgment you do not respect?

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

by Maureen Metcalf of Innovative Leadership Institute.

Rule 1: Build Emotional Intelligence

Rule1 According to Daniel Goleman, “Emotional competence made the crucial difference between mediocre leaders and the best. On average, close to 90 percent of their success in leadership was attributable to emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is often defined as, “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions” by Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer (1990).   To enhance your emotional intelligence you may consider investing time doing the following:

1. Quiet reflection which can range from traditional meditation, prayer, chanting through a walk in the woods.
2. Self care including being mindful of healthy eating and getting sufficient sleep as often as possible.
3. Exercising regularly is a great way to maintain our energy level and also “burn off” the negative chemicals that are released into our bodies when we feel stressed
4. Cultivating friendships with people who offer support and kindness and give us an opportunity to give back. Friendship with pets counts – walk a dog or pet a cat until it purrs.
5. Being grateful. Remember 5 things we are grateful for every day. This seems so simple yet this simple act can shift our perspective. When we feel bad – remember those who have less.
6. Taking the perspective of the other when in conflict with another person, imagine what they may feel. I find that when I look through their eyes, the world may look different than I imagined from my vantage point.
7. Serving others often makes us feel our best – even if very small for someone else. Some days I may only have time to give a smile and that may be enough to improve my day and theirs.

Please share recommendations that work for you and your success stories.

Please visit our website for information about our coaching services and case studies that show how our clients have succeeded using our leadership practices.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

-Maureen Metcalf at Innovative Leadership Institute.