Posts by Stephen

A Goal Is a Catalyst for Becoming More Than You Are Today

Posted by on Sep 24, 2013 in AdultLeader Practices, Leadership | 0 comments

We all want or need to achieve goals and results. Results are important for our organizations, our teams, and us. We could argue that our jobs, finances, opportunities, and satisfaction are all dependent on our effectiveness at getting results and accomplishing goals. Maybe what matters more than the result itself is who we, our teams, and our organizations need to become in order to achieve this result. What new skills and knowledge do we need? What relationships do we need to manage more effectively? What risks do we need to be willing to take? What do we need to do differently than we have ever done before in order to achieve this result or goal? Our focus on getting a result or accomplishing a goal is the catalyst for change, for becoming more of who we are capable of becoming as an individual, a team, and/or an organization. The more conscious we are about defining what the change needs to be or recognize what change occurred, the more leverage we have for sustainable change, growth, and success. 1. At the start of the process, we can define who we need to become along with defining the result or goal. This creates deeper meaning, defines our aspiration, and sets us on the path to the result or goal with more purpose and energy. 2. After we have accomplished the result or goal, we can debrief who we have become. This is an opportunity for acknowledgement and appreciation. We can also codify what has changed and define best practices for the future. 3. If we didn’t accomplish the result or goal, we can debrief what happened. What worked? What didn’t work? What do we need to do differently or focus on next time so we increase our likelihood of success? By observing and acknowledging the change and growth that has occurred, we can transform how we think about ourselves as individuals, teams and/or organizations. We can then take on new and bigger challenges with a firmer foundation and more confidence in our ability to successfully reach our goals and celebrate who we are becoming along the way. My best to you. Please feel free to send your comments and...

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An Understanding of Implicit Memory Has Real Implications for Self-Awareness in Leaders

Posted by on Sep 19, 2013 in AdultLeader, Executive Coaching, Leadership | 0 comments

Implicit memory is a type of memory in which previous experiences aid in the performance of a task without conscious awareness of these previous experiences. Schacter, D. L. (1987). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 13, 501-518. . We have all reacted unreasonably or unproductively and seen others do the same. An understanding of implicit memory has real implications for self-awareness in leaders. This understanding can help us manage our own behavior and help us avoid being sucked into reacting to someone else’s unreasonable behavior. “What’s crucial to understand about implicit memory — especially when it comes to our kids and their fears and frustrations–is that implicit memories cause us to form expectations about the way the world works, based on our previous experiences. Because neurons that fire together wire together, we create mental models based on what’s gone on in the past. This is because implicit memory creates something called “priming” in which the brain readies itself to respond in a certain way.” From Dr. Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., The Whole-Brain Child Our brain is designed to react based on previous and repeated experiences. We form mental models for making sense of the world based on implicit memory. We recognize these mental models as our beliefs, perceptions, habits, expectations, and assumptions. Implicit memory helps us run on automatic pilot and to react without thought. Sometimes this is great, like in an emergency, or when we are running late for work. Sometimes it is not so great, like when we find ourselves reacting unreasonably or unproductively (again). To develop as leaders, we need to increase our conscious awareness of the existence of the mental models we created from implicit memory so we can evaluate their effectiveness. Or just to realize they exist and are likely not helpful in the present moment.  Rather than react, we want to be better able to consciously choose to respond in order to get the results we want and be the leader and/or parent we want to be. This is about training our minds through our awareness to intervene and interrupt the reactions led by our brains. In my executive coaching, I use the Results Accelerator™  to help my clients expand awareness of their mental models, or systems (beliefs, perceptions, habits, expectations, and assumption), so they can more consciously and effectively choose how they will respond and lead. Leadership is not a position. It is the expression of our best and most capable selves. Leadership is a choice. My best to you. Please feel free to send your comments and...

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Leaders are Responsible for Constructing a Narrative That Inspires

Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 in Leadership | 0 comments

The senior leaders of an organization recently shared with me that they were facing a challenge in motivating themselves to engage with the changes that were happening in their industry. Through coaching, they came to realize that they did not have a narrative for themselves that allowed them to make sense of these changes in a positive way. The story they were telling themselves was frustrating and demoralizing. It prevented them from showing up as effective leaders. They began to create a new narrative that got them excited again. It helped them to remember what they loved about the work they did. It inspired them to recognize their role in making the decisions that were necessary to move their organization forward. This new story would help them help their people to make sense of the changes, to understand their roles in managing the changes, and to know that they had leaders who were energized to move the organization forward. I shared one of my favorites quotes with them to underline what they were doing by creating this new narrative. “As I considered the importance of language and how human beings interact with the world, it struck me that in many ways the development of language was like the discovery of fire – it was such an incredible primordial force. I had always thought that we used language to describe the world – now I was seeing that this is not the case. To the contrary, it is through language that we create the world, because it’s nothing until we describe it. And when we describe it, we create distinctions that govern our actions. To put it another way, we do not describe the world we see, but we see the world we describe…” found on page 178 in Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership written by Joseph Jaworski. They came to understand that they were replacing a narrative that would keep them stuck in the past with a narrative that could create a new future for them and their organization. Ask yourself… What is the narrative you are telling about your circumstances? Is it energizing and inspiring? If not, what is a new narrative that will move you, others, and/or your organization forward? What is the story of the future you want to create? You get to choose. Please feel free to send your comments and...

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Great Leadership Creates an Environment for Success

Posted by on Aug 30, 2013 in Leadership | 0 comments

I facilitated a session on leadership for a senior management team the other day. Here is some of what we talked about. Great leaders create an environment for success. We defined that environment it as one in which the members of an organization or team want to give of their best freely – ideas, energy, creativity, innovation. This list can go on to include any and all of the best qualities of our ideal colleagues and partners. What are some of the elements you might want to consider as you create your environment for success? • Respect for all human beings and as a starting point for all interactions • Consistency in the messages you send through your words and behavior. Are you managing your reactions and emotions? You are always conveying a message. • Positive Emotion can inspire you, others and your organization to change, to open to new possibilities, and to accomplish your desired results. Are you paying attention to your thoughts – beliefs, perceptions, expectations and assumptions? Your thoughts along with the emotion they create become your attitude. You get to choose your thoughts. • Focus is power. You get more of what you focus on. Focus on – What is working in your organization? What results do we want? What did she just do really well? What are you aspiring to create and/or to be known for? • Leveraging strengths as a foundation for addressing gaps and challenges. • Accountability. Commitment and job responsibilities matter. What are you doing to create and support accountability as a tool for growth and development? You may think that creating an environment for success is only for leaders of teams and organizations. It is also something you may want to do for yourself and those you care about. Ask yourself… 1. What strengths do you bring to creating an environment of success for you, others, and/or your organization? 2. What elements above are most challenging for you? 3. What one area would you like to focus on improving? What specifically will you do differently? What is a way for you to create some accountability for yourself? My best to you. Please feel free to send your comments and...

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Why Is It So Hard to Say No to the Boss?

Posted by on Aug 19, 2013 in AdultLeader, Executive Coaching | 0 comments

Because she’s the boss. If you say no, the boss might not like it. You might not get promoted. You might be fired. Your world might end. You might die. Perhaps this sounds a little irrational and extreme, but when I was willing to look closely at my own experience, I found it wasn’t so crazy after all. I am not talking about refusing to perform your job duties. I am suggesting that there may be times when you need to • say no or negotiate • express a contrary thought or idea. • manage a boundary between your personal life and work life I am talking about what adults may need to do as a matter of course to effectively manage their lives and careers. We forget that we were small versions of ourselves at one time, and depended on our parents for food, shelter, love and approval.  We depended on them for our very survival. If we said no or misbehaved, we were likely to be afraid that our survival was at risk.  Our parents were our first bosses. Our original family was the first organization we were a part of.  Our primary role in that organization was as an employee. Our parent(s) were the boss(es). Based on the specifics of our early experiences with authority, we came to certain conclusions about what we needed to be and do in order to survive and be successful. We practiced those thoughts and behaviors and they became a system. The system is made up of our beliefs, perceptions, habits, expectations and assumptions for relating to authority. I’ll use me as an example. My boss parent was angry and inconsistent. I never knew what I would encounter when I got home from school. I came to the conclusion that I needed to be very careful about what I shared and how I shared it. I needed to do whatever I could to make the boss happy. I learned that authority figures were to be feared and avoided. This became my system for relating to authority and was applied without realizing it when I engaged with a boss. I was a perfectionist and a workaholic. I was hesitant to say no or express my own thoughts and ideas if I thought they ran counter to what I thought the boss wanted. This was not a very successful or sustainable model for being a leader and a person with a life. This is where my AdultLeader came in. It is the self that realized that my system for relating to authority was not working to get me the results I wanted. I needed to develop a new system with new thoughts and behaviors in order to be a happier person and a more effective leader. 1. What is something you want to say no to, negotiate, or be or do differently with your boss or someone in authority? 2. How important on a scale of 1 to 10 is this to you? 3. What result do you think you will get if you are able to do this? Imagine what that would look and feel like for a minute 4. What will you as your AdultLeader do? My best to you. Please feel free to send your thoughts and...

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