Archive for March, 2018

The Keys Of Consistency

March 26th, 2018

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently” – Tony Robbins

We all know that true success does not occur overnight. Behind it sits volumes of effort, belief and action demonstrated consistently over time. Invariably it has meant navigating a sometimes bumpy road that may have seen us fall a couple of times and demanded we get back up, dust ourselves off and go again. Underpinning much of our success though is the sum of the small daily, weekly, monthly decisions and actions we have adopted.

Whether it has been a commitment to up-skill to maintain relevance; time taken to create and foster purposeful professional networks; or the building of habits that push us out of our comfort zone and extend our learning; the consistency of our actions (or lack there of) has played a major role in where we find ourselves today.

In a time where our ability to navigate change and demonstrate true career resiliency, never have these ‘little things’ counted for so much. These small actions over time compound positively or negatively much like they do in a bank account. Lots of small proactive decisions add up in a positive way like regular savings into a bank account; where as complacency and bad decisions are like small debits eating away at your value over time.

In talking with business leaders I often hear that it is not the big things that keep them awake at night but the little things. Why? Because they know that over time these little ‘things’ have the power to become the big things by eroding efficiencies, outcomes and relationships. It is exactly the same with our careers – if we aren’t careful, failure to action the ‘little’ things will prevent us from reaching our potential and desired levels of success.

Nothing is more frustrating than inconsistency. No doubt many of us are able to recall colleagues and team members who have severely limited their opportunities due to an inability to consistently perform or behave. Where one week they seem to be producing record results and the next they are eroding any progress, momentum or value originally created. Or where they are technically brilliant at what they do but cause so much disruption amongst their team that the overall results are compromised because no one wants to work with them or you going forward.

Whilst the idea of consistency is fairly simple the ability to execute it is often not. More often than not it is due to one of the following three things:

  • Impatience – We want the results NOW! (Think of all those diet and exercise regimes that we have all invariably embarked upon!)
  • Belief – If we don’t believe in what we are doing the only thing that we are most likely to be consistent in is avoidance.
  • Value – Failure to see the benefits of the amount of effort invested.

Consistency is definitely achievable for us all but it does take practice, focus and discipline. Understanding what it is that you do and why is critical but so to is understanding how consistency creates high value and longevity in your career. I would encourage you to take a moment to consider the following career benefits:

  • Consistency establishes belief: The thoughts and actions that we take on a daily and/or regular basis do shape our own self-belief and the belief that others have in us. Not only is it a powerful force for motivating and building trust in others but it also serves as a powerful model for the standards we rise and fall to.
  • Consistency creates relevance: Your customers, clients, organisations and team members are all looking to you as a reliable and informed source of information and service. To remain informed we need to be relevant. What are the latest developments in your industries, your areas of expertise or your regions? Is your level of knowledge and it’s applicability empowering or depowering you and what you do?
  • Consistency allows for measurement: To build meaningful and successful steps of progression we need to understand what it is that is actually working – or not working. What are the results of your consistent efforts, actions and strategies – good or bad? Our ability to measure, assess and realign are crucial skills in our ever-changing world.
  • Consistency creates accountability: Accountability is a critical requirement in high performance and values aligned cultures. Being consistently accountable – in the good and the bad times – is what will set you apart as the consummate professional.
  • Consistency builds stability: Not only does it build stability but it also builds sustainability. When people know what you stand for and where they stand with you, it provides the framework for them to perform at their optimal level.
  • Consistency establishes your reputation: Your track record is your reputation. Building that track record on one that is defined by consistent performance, respectful behaviours and high value relationships is fundamental to both your current and future success.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts below.

Margot

Leading Others To Shine

March 20th, 2018

‘People who shine from within don’t need the spotlight’ – Anon

We all know that the best leaders bring out the best in their people. Be it sporting leaders, cultural and community leaders or organizational leaders, they all somehow seem to possess the keys to unlocking the ‘shine’ in those who are fortunate enough to work with and for them.

In today’s rapidly changing world, this commitment to unlocking the shine in others has never been so great. Why? Because when individuals shine, they maximize not only their performance and efficiency but also their fulfillment, commitment and influence. When we have a whole team that shines we maximize organisational performance and by default our own capability and leadership potential.

All to often we hear about the need for more leaders but really what we need is more leadership. Leadership is most powerful when used as a verb and not merely a noun. It’s true effectiveness lies in the every day actions we take to grow capability, create options, problem solve and inspire others to achieve more.

Edward Hallowell, author of Shine: Using Brain Science To Get The Best From Your People notes that “All people want to work hard and will work hard, given the right job and the right conditions, because it feels supremely good to excel. Deep within us all beats a primal desire to contribute something of value to this world and to stand out as a positive person in the eyes of others. Great leaders and managers make this happen.”

Like a puzzle we therefore need to firstly make sure that we have the right people, in the right place at the right time. This can be easier said than done, especially when you have a change in business direction that requires new and different roles and a loyal workforce that has become comfortable in what and how they do things. Failing to address these changes though is like death by a thousand paper cuts that slowly bleeds away all elements of success, fulfillment and potential at both an individual and organisational level. As Edward Hallowell notes, it is only when people are in the right jobs that their brains light up.

So what can we as leaders do to create opportunities for others to shine? Consider the following 6 steps:

  • Get clear on your business/team goals:In order to create opportunities for those in our team, we need to crystal clear on what it is we need to do, the timeframes and why.
  • Know your own strengths and those of your team: Understanding your strengths (and blind spots) allows you to operate with not only a higher degree of productivity but also bravery and curiosity. When you and your team are able to be honest and transparent about what you do well, you will attract opportunities that capitalize on your individual and collective talents and passions.
  • Align talents with opportunities: Complete the jigsaw – match individual talents with business opportunities. It is only when we do that the best in each individual will be bought to light.
  • Build connection: It is important that individuals build connection between what they do and why as well as with whom they do it. Identifying and building this connection is of paramount importance if we are to building lasting success. Great leaders create a connection to what is possible: too many people in our workforce are disconnected with themselves and what they do because they no can longer see or believe what is possible.
  • Create a ‘psychologically safe’ workplace: If we are to commit to growth and innovation we need to create workplaces that allow us to explore, ideate and become curious without the fear of retribution or penalty. It is only when feel safe that we are prepared to take the risk to try new things!
  • Recognise valuable contribution: Creating a culture that recognizes valuable contributions, motivates others to strive for greatness and peak performance. Creating a culture that helps people to shine is a catalyst for future success.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

Margot Andersen

Developing Your Leadership Care Factor

March 13th, 2018

“People don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care” – John C Maxwell

When leaders don’t care they don’t lead. They don’t hold the interests of their team, their clients or their business. Essentially, they fail to hold anything more than a title.

Yet all too often when we talk about caring leadership it is associated with soft actions that lack strength, character and conviction. Interestingly enough though it is a lack of care that is so often the key source of frustration in the people that we work with, the business we work for or the quality of customer service we receive. How many times have we felt the slow rise of anger and disempowerment in having to deal with people who just simply don’t seem to care?

When people care about what they do, they care about the impact it has on their own lives and also on those around them. They believe that what they do matters and they operate from a strong sense of purpose. When they care about who they do this with, they are strongly invested in being a part of high performing team and demonstrate a higher degree of ownership. When you combine the two not only is it where the real sense of ‘magic’ exists but people are more productive and fulfilled.

So what are the attributes of caring leadership and how do we recognise it? I believe that there are six key things leaders care enough to do – consistently – that demonstrate their care factor:

  1. Care Enough To Engage: Engage with purpose, focus and intent. To do this we need to really ‘show up’ and be present. All too often leaders today find themselves caught rushing from meeting to meeting ticking off conversations as nothing more than agenda items. However to really impact individuals and outcomes we need to ensure that we are well prepared, ready to meaningfully engage and are free from distraction when the critical moments call for it. 
  1. Care Enough To Provide Feedback: High performing individuals and teams thrive on feedback. Nobody likes to feel as though they are navigating things blindfolded and we all inherently like to know how our contribution is valued and having an impact. Leaders who master the art of giving (and receiving) constructive and on-purpose feedback demonstrate care and interest in both individuals and outcomes. 
  1. Care Enough To Question and Confront: One of the most challenging aspects of a leaders role can be learning how to have the ‘hard conversations’. Many of us have borne witness to occasions where issues have been ignored or slow to be addressed with disastrous results. When we fail to understand and confront the issues at hand we not only compromise short and long term results but also relationships. Learning how to constructively question and confront behaviours and thinking is not just about resolving issues it is also about ensuring that standards, expectations and values are effectively communicated. 
  1. Care Enough To Create and Protect: A key part of a leaders role is to enable success. This means creating and protecting environments and cultures that are rich in trust, engagement and capability. To do this we need to ensure that we have the right people in the right place at the right time. We need to know how to advocate for our people, clear the roadblocks and consciously protect the standards, reputations and relationships that we have. 
  1. Care Enough To Navigate Change: We all know that change is a part of life and one that we can’t avoid. Learning how to navigate this confidently and embrace the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) that comes with change is not something that comes naturally. Effective leaders are able to not only navigate this pathway themselves but lead others through it so that they feel safe and considered. 
  1. Care Enough To Take The Lead: At all times and in all circumstances: though the good and bad times. Leading isn’t always easy and often we find ourselves leading through circumstances that were not of our making or under our influence. A preparedness to step up, take action, make decisions, risk being wrong and influence outcomes are all traits of caring leadership that are in high demand in today’s business world.

Developing a strong care factor as a leader is imperative if we are to achieve true career success. For it is only when we care about what we do and who we do it with that we will enjoy a strong sense of purpose and reward.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts below.

Margot Andersen

 

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