Saturday, May 18, 2013
If you seal your lips when you really should be speaking out,
If you don’t address the problem that everyone knows about,
If you notice failure but don’t acknowledge it,
If you let difficult truths remain unspoken,
If blind spots and self-deception go unchallenged,
If you allow yourself and others to ignore, suppress and distort information,
You may feel safe,
You may be able to avoid risk,
You may do as everyone is doing,
You may perceive communication to be constructive …
… but …
Whatever rational or irrational fears keep you from having candid conversations, a few things are certain. Dead certain:
à Problems that are not acknowledged do not get better on their own.
à Truths that are not spoken have an impact. The wrong kind.
à Critical information that is left out of the equation still adds up. To the wrong sum.
à Failing to elicit, hear, and act on critical feedback puts everyone and everything at risk.
à Organizational secrets distort information, practices, and relationships.
à An absence of courage and candid conversations jeopardizes you, your family, your team, and your organization.
Don’t be a conspirator to silence. Don’t contribute to destruction of transparency, creativity, effectiveness, and true respect.
The most positive, contagious, and productive state of mind is candor filled with compassion and humility. Yes, they do go together. Very well.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Three of the many sources of inspiration for me this past week:
1. This past Friday I heard Daniel Sediqqui speak at the Minnesota Career Development Association. I left his talk inspired and energized. Daniel spoke engagingly and with a great sense of humor about the ingredients for his success while ‘living the map’ and getting 50 jobs in 50 states (which he turned into a book): Adaptability, Persistence, Risk-Taking, Endurance, and Networking. You can see and hear him on YouTube at a TEDx talk.
2. Last week I read the book The Business of Belief by Tom Asacker, which is a topic and book very dear to my heart. It stresses the role and importance of your beliefs: your beliefs have an immense influence on what you see, how you interpret, and what you choose to do and thus create. Short chapters with high impact messages. That’s all I’m willing to give away.
3. A local leader in action: dedicated, skilled, positive, professionally caring, hard working, and fun. I’m talking about a Twin Cities middle school basketball coach, a young guy who is leading his team with conviction and candor – exactly the way I like it, but more importantly – exactly the way I think the best results are created.
Who and what inspires you?
What if you’d stop proving how smart you are
and start listening?
What if you’d stop commanding
and start asking questions?
What if you’d stop tripping over your ego
and start a journey of humility?
What if you’d stop the self-absorption train
and start focusing on others?
What if you’d stop controlling
and start letting go?
What if you’d stop worrying about ‘leadership presence’
and start working on ‘being present’?
Many teachers dislike the ‘what if…’ questions that students love to ask.
Our son has numerous stories about frustrations of teachers dealing with the never-ending stream of ‘what ifs’.
But it’s not all about stalling and distracting. And even if it were, shouldn’t we be stimulating youngsters to think beyond the framework they are handed - to think beyond the box? Shouldn’t we encourage independent, critical, out of the ordinary thinking?
What if a student would answer a question on a test with a much better question instead of providing the ‘correct’ answer?
What if we’d ‘what if’ each other regularly? In business settings and beyond.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
We make all kinds of excuses, sometimes very sophisticated ones. Excuses that even we believe in. We make excuses for not achieving our goals and for not making the changes we know we should or we say we want.
But the only valid excuse is a lack of focus, decision, discipline, dedication, determination, and change of direction.
This is perfectly human and certainly doesn’t always have to be negative. Let’s just call it what it is and not blame others or circumstances.
Focus you energy on answers and alternatives, not on excuses. It’s called accountability and honesty – it’s reality testing.