Archive for February, 2016

Reigniting Your Leadership Mojo

February 23rd, 2016


“Renew your inspiration to run.
Try a new route, find a fresh path and re-energise your reason to run.”

For many of us the last few years have been BIG: Big personally and professionally; big politically, big economically, and big organizationally. Not only has it been characterized by high levels of volatility and uncertainty but also by the rapid pace at which we have had to navigate the path and the ever growing need to do more with less…. A LOT more with a LOT less.

For some it has provided incredible opportunities and seen new levels of success attained, but for others the huge momentum of these times has simply created nothing more than an overwhelming feeling of motion sickness. Whilst it hasn’t been all negative or detrimental, it has seen many leaders left with nothing more than a feeling of scraping through on empty fuel tanks and a lack of energy and enthusiasm to continue moving forward.

All too often as way of keeping up with the pace and developments of these times many have found themselves switching to autopilot mode. Whilst this mode of going through the motions may yield results in the short term it can have a significant impact in the long term on how we think, assess, make decisions and move forward with our roles as leaders and in our careers. It can leave us feeling disempowered and lacking control.

One of the key dangers of the business and leadership autopilot mode is assuming that the past will ensure the future. The reality is the knowledge and skills that have got us to where we are today are not necessarily going to take us to where we want to go tomorrow.  What will is our ability to embrace new understandings, new solutions and new mastery. AND we can’t do this without finding our leadership mojo.

So how do we blow out the cobwebs, switch out of autopilot mode and re-ignite our leadership mojo?

Greg Mckeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less looks at why highly successful capable people fail to breakthrough to the next level. His findings indicate that our success can all too often be the catalyst for failure. He suggests that in learning to apply more selective criteria to what we do and pursue we will regain control of our own choices, which in turn allows us to channel our time, energy and effort into making the highest possible contribution towards what really matters to us.

As way of helping you regain your career and leadership mojo I would encourage you to think about the 6 tips below and how you can best apply them:

  1. Disconnect to reconnect: In order to have focus we need to create space to focus. Taking time out to consider and evaluate what is truly important to us as leaders, the people who work for us and organizations is critical if we are to build both alignment, clarity and a sustainable forward momentum.
  2. Look up and out: All too often we are so busy with our task list we find ourselves always looking down and/or becoming buried in the detail. We miss the opportunities to observe, learn and be inspired by new thinking, new developments and new connections.
  3. Define what’s essential AND what is not: Understand what is absolutely essential and eliminate what is not. In doing so you will create time and space to invest in you, your people and your business.
  4. Set yourself a personal learning challenge: There is nothing like setting yourself a new challenge that opens up new understandings and new options. Achieving it also provides you with renewed energy, focus and momentum to move forward.
  5. Evaluate your network: Conduct an audit on your network: have you got the right people to support where you want to go or are you surrounded by people who are detracting you away from your path?
  6. Engage with purpose: All too often we engage in meetings, conversations and presentations as way of completing a task list rather than with open eyes, ears and minds. Learning to identify and engage in the right opportunities should be serving as an enabler that allows you to keep moving with energy, pace and determination.

No leader navigates their career and leadership pathway without conscious reflection and tweaking. To build and maintain your leadership mojo you need to invest in it. Invest in building it and protecting it. When you do, you will not only be rewarded with greater energy and enthusiasm but so too will your teams and the businesses that you lead.

Ask yourself: Is it time to flick the autopilot switch to off?

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

Margot Andersen

If you would like to know more about rebuilding your leadership mojo, please contact Margot on 0400 336 318.

Spotting Leadership Potential

February 16th, 2016


“When opportunity knocks, will you answer the door….AND hold it open for others?”

– John C Maxwell
‘Who me?’… ‘Are you sure?’…. ‘Gosh I don’t think I could ever do that?’

Thinking back over your career were you always aware of your leadership potential?

Or did someone see the possibility for you long before you did?

For many of us, we were fortunate enough to have someone – be it a former boss, colleague or mentor – who played an instrumental role in guiding and encouraging us along the path long before we believed it was possible for ourselves.

They were the leaders who pushed us to develop new skills, provided fresh opportunities that challenged us to think and act in different ways. They helped us raise not only the belief that we had in ourselves but what others had in us. They coached and advocated for us with the purpose of seeing us step up and into our potential.

In an era where we have heard much about the ‘war for talent’, spotting potential has become a critical factor in business success. Unfortunately spotting potential is far harder than simply measuring competence. It makes sense then those leaders who can not only identify potential but also foster and develop it will achieve more success both for themselves and the people they lead.

With statistics suggesting that as much as 70% of on the job learning occurs informally, it is imperative that leaders learn how to harness this potential through their own actions and the role that they play.  But how do you help someone embrace their potential when they can’t see it for themselves?  Below are five practical ways you can help people see what is possible and to share what you see in them.

  1. Tell Them! All too often we don’t create the time to have the conversation in a meaningful way. Set the meeting up with the sole purpose of telling them what you see in them, exploring how they feel about it and what they need to grow their own confidence and belief.
  2. Validate Your Case: Be prepared to tell them why you believe in their potential. Offer specific examples of what you have seen or heard and how that skill, attitude or attribute is a much-admired trait of successful leaders.
  3. Provide Challenge: Emerging leaders need to be developed. They need opportunities to expand their knowledge and skillsets, work with stakeholders at varying levels and operate at higher levels of responsibility. When individuals achieve things they didn’t previously think possible it expands their thinking and confidence to embrace further opportunities.
  4. Check in! Offer feedback and encouragement and don’t hesitate to offer constructive criticism as they take on new challenges. It is also important to make sure that what we see as their potential is aligned with what they want and they are experiencing not only higher levels of accomplishment but also fulfillment.
  5. Open Doors: True leaders open the doors of opportunity for others. Not just any door but ones that lead to growth, align skills and leverage strengths and ultimately build ownership.

Cultivating potential and opening doors for others is a win-win. Leaders who believe in and sponsor others help create success and momentum not only for the individual but also for themselves and the business they lead.

Not everyone will understand your belief in their potential or want to take up the opportunity, however if you are willing to call it many will respond with enthusiasm and gratitude.

So who can you encourage into leadership today?

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

Margot Andersen

If you would like to know more about spotting and building potential in your people, please contact Margot on 0400 336 318.

The Keys To Leadership Vitality

February 2nd, 2016


“Managing energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance. Performance is grounded in the skilful management of energy”

– Tony Schwartz
Most of us will have grown up all too familiar with the Energizer Bunny commercials where the drum playing, cheeky sunglass wearing pink rabbit outlasted all other toys because of the power source that the battery range offered. It’s energy, enthusiasm and endurance kept on delivering when all the other toys gradually lost their rhythm and ultimately ground to a halt.

Have you ever noticed how exceptional leaders who consistently deliver exceptional results personify the same traits? They not only seem to continue giving and delivering but they do it in a style that personifies confidence, fulfilment and passion.

Think about the leaders you have worked with who represent what it means to be ‘fully alive’. How did they influence you, inspire you, or make you feel? No doubt you just felt better for being around them – more confident, capable and energetic. These leaders tend to inspire you and have a way of breathing life and vitality into both people and projects. Conversely if you have ever worked with people who are constantly tired, stressed or drained of energy and enthusiasm they invariably leave you feeling like you’ve had the life sucked right out of you. You walk out of meetings feeling deflated, directionless and unmotivated. One group radiates vitality and the other drains it.

Business Vitality is often referred to as the degree to which an organisation is successful in the eyes of their customers, employees and shareholders. Measures of vitality will include client and employee retention, stock price, profits, revenue growth and operating costs. Often referred to as the ‘soft measures’ things such as public trust, innovation, collaboration, employee well-being and employee engagement are also critical. More and more organisations though are realising that these so-called ‘soft measures’ are better viewed as the critical measures. For it is these critical measures that determine and drive the hard measures.

The reality is when an organisation’s leaders and people are running on empty tanks, everything suffers. It is the loss of personal vitality that has a definable cost to the business and heavily impacts on both productivity and profitability. If we want to build and/or lead businesses rich in these things we need to start paying attention to the health and vitality of ourselves as leaders so that we can positively impact our people and our clients and customers.

As the speed at which we do business continues to accelerate and the market volatility and rate of change remains a constant, vitality is fast becoming recognised as a ‘must have’ leadership trait. In a climate where we as leaders are constantly being asked to do ‘more with less’  – less resources, less money and less people – we need to ensure that we know how to effectively manage our energy levels and not fall into the all too common trap of responding by simply working longer hours. ‘If I just do more, work harder things will improve and I will get through it’. When we don’t simply ‘get through it’ we start to question our capability, purpose and impact. AND our people notice it! It can all too easily become a viscous cycle that if we aren’t careful robs us; our people; and our businesses of vitality, essence and spirit.

Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, authors of The Power of Full Engagement, argue that managing energy and not time is the key to personal and business vitality. They detail how mobilizing our key sources of energy, balancing how we spend it with how renew it and the energy habits we create, is critical to our success. Their recommended practices below for renewing the four sources of energy with the aim of becoming more vital are well worth examining.


The Keys to Business Vitality

Leadership Vitality is about developing a critical life force that builds sustainable productivity and profitability. It starts with you! For those of us who are returning from a well-earned summer break I would encourage you consider how you can sustain this renewed sense of vitality; and for those who haven’t had a break, how you can preserve your energy tanks and build vitality credits. You and your business will thank you for it!

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

Margot Andersen

If you are looking for ways to build or elevate your leadership vitality in your career, please contact Margot on 0400 336 318.

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