"Courage is the most important of all the virtues,
because it allows us to practice the others with integrity."
- Maya Angelou
Last week, my friend moved her 92-year-old mother into a seniors home. This was, as you can imagine, a huge moment for the entire family. The day after the move, my friend showed me a picture of her mother sitting on a sofa in her new room. Mom was wearing a red sweater and sat with a nice straight back, smiling gamely for the camera. She’s a pretty woman. But her most defining characteristic in that moment was the look of quiet determination on her face.
And I thought, what a lovely gift my friend’s mom has been given – the opportunity to be brave, even at this time in her life.
And she took it.
Somewhat traumatized by the move, my friend and her sister visited their m...
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How did we all get onto this notion that leaders must be the single supreme creative force behind their organizations? Was it Steve Jobs? Henry Ford? Cornelius Vanderbilt?
Let’s give it a rethink shall we?
Co-creation isn’t about rolling up our sleeves and leading a team of creative people. It’s about creating an environment where co-creation happens around us, in spite of us and occasionally, through us. It’s about eliminating the separation of planning and doing.
This of course, requires us to grapple with our needs for certainty and significance. We like the certainty of knowing we’re in charge and we attach ourselves to the notion that because we’re in charge, things will unfold as we want them to. And, we like the significance of being the person with all the answers and all the authorit...
There’s a big difference between a stuck leader and an Unstuck Leader. You can read all about it here, but the crux of it is this: a stuck leader operates from an ego-system (as in me, me, me) and an Unstuck Leader operates from an eco-system (as in we, we, we). And as a result, Unstuck Leaders are far more effective, especially in the long-term, than stuck leaders (obvs).
Below, I’m going to show you the five steps to becoming an Unstuck Leader.
But first, a warning.
All this Unstuck Leader stuff sounds awesome, but it’s also really, really hard. And uncomfortable. And at times, exhausting. And that’s why the most important type of management for the Unstuck Leader is self-management. That is to say, it’s impossible to become the kind of person who does the things an Unstuck Leader does unle...
Bob’s a vision guy. He believes his personal brand of visionary leadership is imperative to his company’s continued health and success. He is fiercely loyal to and protective of his team and has fostered an “us against the world” mentality when dealing with suppliers, regulators and sometimes, even customers. He’s a great problem solver who reacts quickly and decisively during a crisis, and there are lots of crises to react to. Though he has set targets, created a clear reporting structure and put operating policies and procedures in place, he often handles things on his own because he doesn’t want his team to know that at times, the company has been in danger of going under. He gives great, constructive feedback at annual reviews. He’s a relentless competitor who is d...
If you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you probably know that Unstuck Leadership isn’t a specific form of action, or a title or even a state of being. It’s a practice. Just as we might have a meditation practice or a professional practice, or perhaps a spiritual practice, the practice of Unstuck Leadership puts us in a constant state of learning and improvement.
Our practice won’t make us perfect. We’ll get things wrong from time to time. God knows I’ve gotten it wrong many times. But with each mistake or glitch or imperfection, we learn and commit to doing better next time. And that commitment requires us to say yes. Yes to growth. Yes to change. Yes to responsibility. Yes to our true selves, and yes to what is emerging within us and around us.
It's no secret that the world is changing at an unprecedented pace. From blockchain to artificial intelligence, robotics to 3-D Printing, there’s lots to be excited about.
At the same time, climate change, political upheaval and economic disruption threaten to upend the world as we know it. There's lots to be uncertain about. And the trouble with uncertainty is that it leads to fear. And fear puts us in a contractive, reactive, entrenched state. We become stuck. And that ain’t good.
Stuckness leads to reduced adaptability and competitiveness, decreased employee engagement and effectiveness, less ability to attract great talent, and of course, decreased creativity, productivity and profit.
Above all, it leads to creating results and situations that no one wants.
We’ve all worked with Bob, Chris and Tina. Some of us have been Bob, Chris and Tina, perhaps at a low point in our careers. They’re not bad people. You just haven’t figured out how to talk to them. Here’s how.
6 Steps to Influential Communication
Believe it or not the first step is not to hurl a load of facts and data at Bob, Chris and Tina. Smart people love to do this. Threatened, insecure people hate having it done to them. Instead, discover what’s driving them. What do they want? To hit their quarterly number? To look good in front of the boss with minimal effort? To send their kids to private school with this year’s annual bonus?...
Yes, yes, you’ve been taught since elementary school that team players are good. They’re great. Everyone should try to be a team player.
And to that I say, nope, nope, nope.
There’s nothing worse than a team player. In fact, I’m quite certain team players are ruining the world. Allow me to explain. In my experience, there’s two kinds of team players. And they both suck.
1. The Self-Designated Team Player
These are typically the unmotivated, non-courageous employees to go-along to get-along. How many times have you heard this in the office: “Yeah, I knew it was a bad idea, but I supported it because I’m a team player”. You see them a lot in political office, corporate boardrooms and pitchfork toting mobs.
Doing stupid things because everyone else is doing them...