Saturday, May 30, 2015

Rehumanising leadership and management

I reflected for hours the first time I read corporate anthropologist Michael Henderson's definition of culture.
He says Culture is;

“What it means to be human here.”  (‘Here’ being wherever you are referring to when talking about a culture.) 

Michael's definition for me is far more insightful than the typical definition "the way we do things around here." Being precedes doing.

You can read more from Michael here.

I realised that the key purpose of all my work with clients, online and in person, was all about rehumanising leadership and management.

I realised too the key difference between my work and the work of most leadership mentors. My work is about being, most others are focused on doing. Not a right or wrong situation, just how it is.

I've met a lot of business school graduate leaders. Most learned what to do, not how to be and so I was fascinated recently when I read 'Can Business Schools Humanize Leadership' by Gianpiero Petriglieri and Jennifer Petriglieri of INSEAD.

You can download their paper here.

The following paragraph in their paper inspired me to write a series of seven articles.

A World Economic Forum (2014) survey of nearly 2,000 experts from different fields and countries found 86% agreeing that one of the world’s most pressing issues is a crisis of leadership. Moreover, Edelman’s (2014) annual survey of public attitudes found that “CEOs and government leaders remain at the bottom of the list” of trusted figures (p. 6). The disconnect between leaders and others in organizations and the erosion of trust in leaders make leading and following harder in practice, a predicament that concerns anyone who claims to lead as much as those who profess to help develop leaders.

Rehumanising leadership and management part one addresses a very large problem in the world today that of fundamentalism, which I define as believing your way is the only way. It's not just political and religious leaders at fault here, it's business leaders too. You can read If you think you're always right, you're wrong here.

Rehumanising leadership and management part two addresses a second problem I encounter over and over in organisations, the poor communication skills of leaders and their unwillingness and/or inability to be candid. You can read 13 ways to be a remarkable communicator and connoisseur of candour here.

Rehumanising leadership and management part three gets to the heart of the matter about "What it means to be human here." It's all about character. You can read Where have all the characters gone? here.

Rehumanising leadership and management part four is all about decision making. At least half of the decisions made by business people are not the best decisions that could be made. You can read The right decisions by the right people at the right time for all the right reasons here.

Rehumanising leadership and management part five is all about ending the great dehumaniser - performance management systems. You can read Shifting from performance management to performance leadership here.

Rehumanising leadership and management part six is about 3 behaviours that will determine your being as a leader. You can read These three behaviours/attitudes show you're being a leader here.

Rehumanising leadership and management part seven is about the hallmark of remarkable workplaces - the majority of people feel valued, fulfilled, and loved. You can read Co-creating cultures where people feel valued, fulfilled and loved here. 

This final article in this series is also Module eleven in my Leadership Momentum Online Learning Program.

Until midnight AEST 31st May 2015 you can get full program, have 24/7 access for one year, plus participate in the group master-mind, Q & A and mentoring sessions that I conduct in camera online every first and third Monday's except January, all for just $27. Take up this offer here. Unlikely I will ever make such an offering ever again.

I look forward to seeing you on the inside.

Be remarkable.

Monday, May 18, 2015

If you think you're always right, you're wrong

This weeks sparkenation and the rehumanisation of leadership and management part 1.

The Federal Budget in Australia was released on Tuesday to much fruitless fanfare. There's now a whole lot of BS happening to try and sell it. The overwhelming view is that it's a pre-election budget, not what we actually need as a country.

The sellers, the naysayers, and those opposed all have one problem. They're think they're always right which means they're wrong because nobody is always right.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."

I would add, and to do what's best for the common-good even if that means taking on someone else's idea, or better still to reach a shared idea through much candid yet convivial debate and where everyone is prepared to let go their perceived need to be right.

Most political, religious, business, and educational leaders are intelligent people. The sad news is that only a tiny minority demonstrate it in their actions.

In remarkable workplaces reaching and maintaining a shared-view in 7 areas is what real leaders are masters at. How masterful are you?

If you think you're always right, you're wrong. Real leadership is all about the wisdom and the skill to let go of the need to be right and instead find a way forward together. How wise are you?

The tyranny of either/or as Collins and Porras called it is the sad side of humanity. Embracing both/and is what being truly human is all about. And it's not about compromise. It is about a co-promise.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The real work real leaders do

This weeks sparkenation.

This is a very insightful article by Tomorrow Today's Keith Coats. He says:

The ‘real work’ is to step back, to pause, to stop, to ask, to reflect, to review, to take some time. The real work is the exact work that most leaders will tell you they are too busy to do. The real work is to rethink, to challenge assumptions and to experiment, inherent in which is the risk of failure. The real work involves the willingness to disrupt one’s own viewpoint in order to find another way to see things.

I love too Keith's idea of having 'curiosity conversations'.

How well are you doing this work?

Be remarkable.

PS My in person and online Leadership Momentum Programs will help you to do this work well and much more. Find out how here.

More sparkenations here.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Podcasting is Making a Comeback

Podcasting for Personal ConnectionsIn 2005, the New Oxford American Dictionary defined "podcast" as its word of the year. But it's taken almost a decade for podcasts to finally gain momentum. And that's good news for you if you're an expert, because a podcast is the ideal way to share your expertise.

Briefly, a podcast is an audio newsletter. It's like an e-mail newsletter, except that instead of getting articles downloaded automatically into your in-box, you get audio programs downloaded automatically to your phone, tablet or computer. You choose what podcasts you subscribe to, and that's all you get.

I held high hopes for podcasting years ago, but nothing much happened. One of the reasons was the growth of online video, which leapfrogged audio as the multimedia medium of choice for many people. Podcasting didn't die, but it wasn't growing either.

Now podcasting is making a comeback - partly because of the success of the drama Serial in the USA, which propelled online audio back into the spotlight. According to Edison Research, almost half of America listened to a podcast in the last month, compared with about 20% in 2006.

Podcasting offers many benefits for us in business as well.

Audio is more personal than text.

I love writing, but I know many people don't. It can be difficult to get your ideas out of your head and into writing. Sure, you can hire somebody else to do the writing for you, but it can still feel like a struggle. Unless you do a lot of writing, it's not easy to connect with people in writing, and even more difficult to create a personal connection that feels like you're there in the same room speaking to them.

Audio solves this problem because they hear your voice. They know it's you (not some writer you hired), you speak in a conversational voice, and you don't have to follow all the rules of spelling and grammar. And yes, it can feel like you're there in the same room speaking to them.

Audio is faster than video.

It's faster to create, faster to edit, faster to produce, faster to download, and faster to consume (try playing a podcast at double-speed and you'll still be able to understand it). Most importantly, you can consume it while doing other things, like walking, driving, and exercising.

It's far more difficult to multi-task when watching video, so you have to dedicate time to it (which often means it doesn't happen at all). For example, I like presentations, but I rarely make time for watching the videos. Fortunately, TED now publishes an audio podcast, which means I can listen to them while multi-tasking. Some of the presentations are too visual for audio (so I can watch them later if I'm really interested), but most of them aren't.

Add podcasting to your content marketing mix.

As I said, I love writing (and reading), and many people love online video. So you shouldn't drop these altogether in favour of podcasting. I'm suggesting you add podcasting to your mix.

If you haven't yet subscribed to podcasts, do so. Subscribe to a few, listen to a few episodes of a few podcasts and get a feel for how podcasting works. You'll see the diversity of topics, a range of sound quality and recording quality, the mix of content and advertising, and so on.

Here are a few of my favourite business podcasts (Apple users search for them in iTunes; others just search Google):

  • Freakonomics Radio: from the authors of the best-selling book Freakonomics
  • HBR Ideacast: from Harvard Business Review
  • The Learning Revolution podcast: online learning, blended learning, and other ways of building skills and transferring knowledge
  • PreneurCast: an excellent podcast about entrepreneurship and business growth
  • RainToday: marketing and selling for professional services firms
  • Small Business Big Marketing: great Australian business podcast hosted by Tim Reid
  • TED Talks audio: the audio podcast for
  • The Advanced Selling podcast: Bill Caskey and Bryan Neale present excellent insights into selling

And of course I also invite you to subscribe to my two podcasts:

  • The I Matter Podcast: Leveraging the power of the individual for your career, your team and your organisation
  • Out of Office: Using the Internet for greater flexibility in your work life

Don't just be a listener, though - be a podcast publisher, and create a more personal connection with your clients, customers and network.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Change is not difficult or hard

This weeks sparkenation.

The cells in your body are dying and replacing themselves all the time. All change is like this. And as John Lennon famously observed

Change is normal part of life.

There's things we can change and things we can't. We can change our intentions, feelings, thoughts, and actions and behaviours anytime we choose to. All change is personal first. We cannot change other people's intentions, feelings, thoughts, actions or behaviours. We can inspire, influence and impact other people. We can allow other people to inspire, influence and impact us. Or not.

There's a plethora of stuff that says change is difficult or hard. I have a very different view. I think change is simple. What's often difficult or hard is making the decision to change.

What often makes our decision to change difficult is the feeling or expectation that others want us to change for their benefit.

A lot of people talk about change. What they really mean is everyone else changing and not them!

As a leader think about the following questions and then answer them with your actions.

Do you have expectations that other people should change and not you?

Are you co-creating an environment in your workplace where it is simple for people to make decisions to change themselves?

Does your management (policies, procedures, practices, processes, systems) mean it is simple for your people to bring their best to their work every day?

What will you do and who with when the answer is no to the previous question?

In your personal life as well as your business do you have clarity of what is and what can be and a strategy and execution plan to close the gap between the two that you're actioning daily?

There's a great little ebook here from John Kotter that will help you. The ebook is an update of Kotter's famous 8 steps to succeeding with change initiatives.

I love this from the ebook

Here's a post that will help you to remove barriers. It's the new normal in management.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

PS Get all my accumulated wisdom and help 12 families in need for just $27 during the month of May 2015. Offer includes my flagship Leadership Momentum online learning program plus
your ability to participate in the Q & A and mentoring sessions that I conduct in camera online every third Monday (except January). Take up this offer today by clicking on Joining options at Maverick Thinkers Studio