Posts Tagged ‘direction’

The Key to Leadership Vitality

November 6th, 2019

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

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

With the holiday season on the very near horizon, a perfect opportunity presents itself to pause and take stock of both our own energy and vitality, and the effect – positive, negative or neutral – that it has on our teams and colleagues.

The lead up to the end of the calendar year is often one of the busiest, which means it is crucial to preserve energy, and to ensure that precious vitality isn’t swallowed up by the intensity of pre-holiday deadlines. With a new year on the horizon, maintaining your vitality and energy now is also a key step in preparing for a successful start to the new year.

We can begin this process of self-reflection by thinking of the leaders you have worked with who represent what it means to be ‘fully alive’ and brimming with vitality. 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 are the leaders who 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.

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.

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.

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. This trait become even more pronounced in times of high intensity within organisations – and at this time of year in particular. 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.

Leadership vitality is about developing a critical life force that builds sustainable productivity and profitability. It starts with you. As the year draws to a close, I would encourage you consider how you can preserve your energy tanks to build vitality credits and how you can also begin to renew your sense of vitality over the break. You and your business will thank you for it.

Do you feel you are generating vitality as a leader? What do you notice when you feel your most energised within your business?

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Building Career Relevance

September 26th, 2018

‘Don’t count the days, make the days count.’ – Mohammed Ali

Over the last decade we have seen an unprecedented number of businesses pay the price of failing to remain relevant. Industries have been shaken up by creative disruption like never before; there is an increasing global competition for talent; a move towards flatter structures and the traditional concept of job security has almost entirely disappeared.

Failing to adapt is costly. The stories behind organisations such as Kodak, Dell and Blockbuster should serve as a timely reminder on the importance of relevance. Just as these businesses paid the ultimate price of losing not only market position but also their place in it, we too can face the same situation with our own careers if we fail to remain relevant with our own knowledge and skills and our teams, organization and industry.

With the majority of professionals working harder and smarter, as well as being more broadly skilled than at any other point in their professions it would be fair to assume that we are more strongly positioned to manage our careers than ever before. However with ever-increasing volatility on nearly all fronts – politically economically and in business – and technology advances occurring almost daily, individuals can face enormous challenges to remain relevant to the world around them. But these challenges can also provide enormous opportunity if we learn how to navigate them.

In their book The Start Up of You, Hoffman & Casnocha suggest that if we are to build long-term career success, individuals need to consider themselves as entrepreneurs and their careers as a start up business. As they note, ‘the skills that start-ups require are the very skills that professionals need in order to advance their careers: nimbleness, personal investment, strong networks and intelligent risk taking.”

It takes effort and energy to be relevant. Effort to invest in and apply the knowledge and skills required to do the job; and energy to connect and engage with others – to ask the right questions to find out what their thinking, understand their needs and offer meaningful support. As leaders, not only do we need to ensure that we remain relevant with our own careers but we need to support others do so as well. We need to genuinely connect with the needs of our people and help them align their careers with the ambitions of the organisation and industry they operate in.

So how do we best equip ourselves for career success and build relevance in what we do today and for the future? I would encourage you to consider the following six points:

Be ready for change: Change is here to stay! According to the Future Works Skills 2020 Report nearly one third of the workforce will be employed on a casual basis. Global connectivity, ‘smart machines’ – which will see a higher degree of automation in some roles and the complete redundancy of others – and new media are just some of the drivers that are reshaping the way think about work, what constitutes it and the skills we will require to be productive contributors to the future.

Understand your value: Understand what you need to ensure that you can act and react with nimbleness and agility. Ask yourself the following questions:
• Who uses my work and what they need most?
• What business outcomes drive my work?
• What is the cost of my work?
• What impacts the way I do my work and how has that recently changed?
• What are the opportunities to grow and scale what I do?
• How can I better help others in their role?

Become the expert: Invest in honing your knowledge and skills. Investigate key industry trends and challenges; recent business success stories and know who the key influencers and thought leaders are and why. Individuals who manage their own learning and development in partnership with their organisation are much more attractive to future employers and strongly positioned to remain in control of their own career and future opportunities.

Build a strategic network: Evaluate the strength of your current network and understand what support they offer Have you got the right people to support where you want to go or are you surrounded by people who are distracting you from your path. Invest in strengthening your professional support through the building of relevant alliances and ensuring that there is a diverse mix.

Challenge yourself: For many of us some of our richest experiences and greatest achievements have come from stepping outside our comfort zone. Pushing the boundaries and taking ‘intelligent risks’ brings new knowledge, new networks, new opportunities and lessons that sustain us well after the experience has ended. It also invariably generates energy and engagement in what we do.

Engage: Clarity comes through engagement. We need to take action to drive our career forward and engage through those around us so that we understand what ideas, projects and businesses are being discussed, celebrated and challenged.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

The Power of Leverage

July 5th, 2016

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“Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand,
and I can move the Earth”

– Archimedes
Failing to leverage what we currently have is costly. All too often it costs us time, opportunity and ultimately our ability to maximize our own success and fulfillment. In a time, where we are constantly being asked to do more with less; respond nimbly and confidently to large scale change; and get ready for greater levels of disruption, knowing how to best leverage our knowledge, experience and networks is vital.

Essentially leverage allows us to take what we have and make it go much further. It is gained by knowing what levers we have to pull in order to elevate our current standing.  As leaders all have levers and ‘tools’ in our own career, business and network that we can pull on to help us gain ground. The key is working out exactly what they are and how to best pull on them and when.

Ritchie Norton, founder of Global Consulting Circle, a corporate growth consultancy says that ‘attempting to succeed without embracing the tools immediately available for your success is no less absurd than trying to row a boat using only your hands or trying to unscrew a screw using nothing more than your fingernail’.

Ultimately not embracing the tools at hand impedes our growth. As business leaders our most valuable ‘tool’ is our people. How we tap into the talents, motivations and capabilities of our people is our ultimate challenge. We need to ensure that we have the right people, in the right place at the right time if both organizational and individual growth is to be realized. As businesses continue to face the challenge of navigating increasing complexity, speed to market and global reach this is no easy feat and requires both alignment and connection to strategy and people.

As individuals we need to ensure that we have an accurate view of what our own knowledge and ‘tools’ are and what we need to invest in to ensure that we continue to remain relevant and aligned with the organisations that we work for. It is learning how to master the constant dance of ‘zig and zag’ as we too navigate rapidly changing workforces and markets.

So what can you use today as way of leverage in your career? I would encourage you to consider the following six points:

  1. The business of you: In order to effectively leverage your experience you need to be crystal clear on where your core skills, strengths, achievements lie and most importantly how they are regarded. Just as a business owner is responsible for the management of their business assets, you are responsible for the management of your career assets.
  2. Position: Know what your position affords you as way of influence and also how to best position yourself as way of building it to enhance your professional regard and that of your team, peers and networks.
  3. Strategic alliances and networks: Consider the knowledge and talents of those within your networks and also the opportunities and potential that could be afforded through collaborating with others.
  4. Current opportunity: All too often it is the ‘next big thing’ that distracts us when really what we need to do is focus on nailing the opportunity we currently have. The reality is it is what we do today really counts! It has the power to consolidate and propel us forward or backwards based on what and how we deliver.
  5. Digital footprint: Whilst our digital profiles are often used to validate who are and our previous history, there is an enormous opportunity to use it to position ourselves as industry experts and the businesses that we work for as market leaders. Offering enormous influence it is essential that we learn how to proactively create and use it so that we remain in control of how we are positioned and regarded.
  6. Investments: Time, money and effort are all resources that we need to ensure we are investing wisely in.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I making the most efficient use of my own time and that of others? Do I need to delegate/ assume ownership of certain areas?
  • Are there any educational qualifications, short courses, networks or coaching programs that I can invest in to help me operate more effectively?
  • Have I go the right structure in place to maximize the knowledge, talents and skills of my team or do I need to invest some time and effort to review?

The key to leverage is in knowing what we have in our own tool kit as way of supporting both our own opportunities and those around us. Our preparedness to reach out to others in a genuine and purposeful manner when we are in need and conversely to give to others when they also do so will allow us to truly leverage our capabilities and future successes as well as those of the people we lead.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

Margot Andersen

If you would like to explore ways to leverage your career and the capability of your team, please contact Margot on 0400 336 318.

Creating Relevant Careers

June 28th, 2016

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“Don’t count the days, make the days count”
– Mohammed Ali
[vcex_divider style=”solid” icon_color=”#000000″ icon_size=”14px” margin_top=”20px” margin_bottom=”20px”][vcex_spacing size=”10px”]Over the last decade we have seen an unprecedented number of businesses pay the price of failing to remain relevant. Industries have been shaken up by creative disruption like never before; there is an increasing global competition for talent; a move towards flatter structures and the traditional concept of job security has almost entirely disappeared.

Failing to adapt is costly. The stories behind organisations such as Kodak, Dell and Blockbuster should serve as a timely reminder on the importance of relevance. Just as these businesses paid the ultimate price of losing not only market position but also their place in it, we too can face the same situation with our own careers if we fail to remain relevant with our own knowledge and skills and our teams, organization and industry.

With the majority of professionals working harder and smarter, as well as being more broadly skilled than at any other point in their professions it would be fair to assume that we are more strongly positioned to manage our careers than ever before. However with ever-increasing volatility on nearly all fronts – politically economically and in business – and technology advances occurring almost daily, individuals can face enormous challenges to remain relevant to the world around them. But these challenges can also provide enormous opportunity if we learn how to navigate them.

In their book The Start Up of You, Hoffman & Casnocha suggest that if we are to build long-term career success, individuals need to consider themselves as entrepreneurs and their careers as a start up business. As they note, ‘the skills that start-ups require are the very skills that professionals need in order to advance their careers: nimbleness, personal investment, strong networks and intelligent risk taking.”

It takes effort and energy to be relevant. Effort to invest in and apply the knowledge and skills required to do the job; and energy to connect and engage with others – to ask the right questions to find out what their thinking, understand their needs and offer meaningful support. As leaders, not only do we need to ensure that we remain relevant with our own careers but we need to support others do so as well. We need to genuinely connect with the needs of our people and help them align their careers with the ambitions of the organisation and industry they operate in.

So how do we best equip ourselves for career success and build relevance in what we do today and for the future? I would encourage you to consider the following six points:

Be ready for change: Change is here to stay! According to the Future Works Skills 2020 Report nearly one third of the workforce will be employed on a casual basis. Global connectivity, ‘smart machines’ – which will see a higher degree of automation in some roles and the complete redundancy of others – and new media are just some of the drivers that are reshaping the way think about work, what constitutes it and the skills we will require to be productive contributors to the future.

Understand your value: Understand what you need to ensure that you can act and react with nimbleness and agility. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who uses my work and what they need most?
  • What business outcomes drive my work?
  • What is the cost of my work?
  • What impacts the way I do my work and how has that recently changed?
  • What are the opportunities to grow and scale what I do?
  • How can I better help others in their role?

Become the expert: Invest in honing your knowledge and skills. Investigate key industry trends and challenges; recent business success stories and know who the key influencers and thought leaders are and why. Individuals who manage their own learning and development in partnership with their organisation are much more attractive to future employers and strongly positioned to remain in control of their own career and future opportunities.

Build a strategic network: Evaluate the strength of your current network and understand what support they offer Have you got the right people to support where you want to go or are you surrounded by people who are distracting you from your path. Invest in strengthening your professional support through the building of relevant alliances and ensuring that there is a diverse mix.

Challenge yourself: For many of us some of our richest experiences and greatest achievements have come from stepping outside our comfort zone. Pushing the boundaries and taking ‘intelligent risks’ brings new knowledge, new networks, new opportunities and lessons that sustain us well after the experience has ended. It also invariably generates energy and engagement in what we do.

Engage: Clarity comes through engagement. We need to take action to drive our career forward and engage through those around us so that we understand what ideas, projects and businesses are being discussed, celebrated and challenged.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

Margot Anderson

If you would like to explore ways to build your career and leadership relevance, please contact Margot on 0400 336 318.

The Importance of TODAY

March 29th, 2016

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“Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.”
– Napoleon Hill
How often are we torn between the memories of yesterday and the unknown of tomorrow? Whilst our abilities to look up and out, forward and back are vitally important to our success, there is a real danger in not focusing our efforts and energies on where we are at TODAY. Not only does it see us risking future opportunities but it can also leave us feeling very impatient and dissatisfied with where we are at in our careers and what knowledge, experience and expertise we currently have.

As John C Maxwell notes, most of us look at our days in the wrong way: we exaggerate yesterday, we overestimate tomorrow and we underestimate today! The reality is it is what we do today that really counts! It has the power to consolidate, repair and move forward on our previous day’s works whilst also setting up our next steps and future directions. It also enables us to feel a sense of control, purpose and satisfaction in what we do and the building blocks we are creating.

In working with many senior business leaders there is an ever-emerging struggle that many face in balancing future focused, visionary thinking – in a market that feels like it is changing faster than the speed of light – with the reality of where we are at today. We all need goals and we all need a vision for where we are heading that we believe in. BUT, failing to recognise the opportunity and associated responsibilities we have right now – this minute – is self limiting, career damaging and risky business practice.

As leaders our role is to help our people navigate the journey from today to future ‘what is possible’ states of play.  We can’t effectively do that without getting clear on where we are currently at and what knowledge, skills and relationships we need to focus on to prepare us to move forward. Forming an accurate view of where our skills and value lies allows us to make decisions about what we can immediately do, calmly and on purpose. It helps take the emotions out of the process and avoids the risk of impulsive shortsighted decisions.

In what I have often referred to as Career Currency, I believe that there are four key areas that each of us should individually assess. In doing so it will help us make practical informed career decisions about the actions we can take today to invest and improve the value of our currency. I would encourage you to think about the value of your currency in light of the following areas:

  • Performance: How is my performance regarded, evidenced and valued in my current role? Consider elements such as: ability, output, motivation, consistency, ambition and attitude.
  • Potential: How am I demonstrating and communicating my potential? Consider elements such as: past and future learning, growth, ambition and desire.
  • Relationships: What is the strength and health of my professional relationships? Consider both internal and external relationships and elements such as effort, influence and collaboration.
  • Personality: How is my personality contributing to or hindering my success? Consider elements such as communication, EQ, resilience, intent and behaviour.

Your ability to accurately assess the strength of these four currency attributes not only provides you with an insight into what your career value is but most importantly it can help you determine what actions you can take today to invest in your future opportunities -either internally or externally. Furthermore the clarity you gain about yourself will help you identify the right opportunities that recognise your value and compliment your style.

Loss of direction, purpose and motivation all dramatically affect the value of your career currency and present some of the greatest career dangers. At a time when businesses are more focused than ever on efficiency and cost management, establishing a firm appreciation of where you are at today and what you can do today to maximise your opportunities has never been more important. Not only does it help you build a strong sense of ownership and empowerment but also clarity and confidence about your career direction.

As leaders we need to not only ensure that we are taking daily action to maximise our current opportunities but also helping the people that we lead to do the same. For it is when we do that, we as individuals and the businesses we lead will achieve new levels of success.

So what actions are you taking TODAY to move you and your team forward?

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

Margot Andersen

If you would like to know more about building your currency in your career TODAY, please contact Margot on 0400 336 318.

Why Generating Hope Matters

March 14th, 2016

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“A leader is a dealer in hope”
Napolean
Recently I was listening to a radio broadcast about the struggles many of our teachers and educators are currently facing. I was particularly interested in one head teacher’s story where she spoke about the challenges that she was navigating with her staff. As a newly appointed leader and working in what was regarded as an extremely impoverished and challenging school, the issues she was encountering bore a common thread: a distinct loss of hope that had permeated not only the children’s worlds but also that of their teachers.

As she noted, her challenge was to not only generate hope in her students but also in those who were responsible for their educational journey. She was acutely aware that if she didn’t start to make some significant changes in her staff’s attitudes and beliefs she would have very limited impact on the children in her school.

Unfortunately her story all too often reflects the challenges that many of our business leaders encounter today, particularly in the current climate where organisations face high levels of uncertainty and ever increasing demands to innovate and constantly do more with less. How do we generate hope in our business leaders and managers for the future? Failing to generate hope – or more bluntly abandoning hope – has dire consequences including at the very least a loss of morale, engagement and productivity.

Dr Lopez, a professor at the University of Kansas School of Business defines hope as the energy and ideas that drive people to change their circumstances. Hope therefore has the power to make bad times temporary. Without hope there is no belief, no direction, no goals, no motivation and no opportunity to create a better situation.  As Dr Lopez highlights, hope keeps us in the game. It keeps us interacting, focused and moving in a direction that makes sense for our own welfare, the welfare of others and the welfare of an organisation. His research suggests that employees with high levels of hope not only show up for work more but are 14% more productive. They are more creative at problem solving and more flexible, adaptable and resilient. They score higher in satisfaction, self-esteem and happiness.

Without hope we simply give up and ‘check out’ which is dangerous for us as leaders and the businesses we lead. It is important to note that hope is more than merely ‘wishing’ for a better situation. As leaders it requires us to inspire belief in others and to actively engage them in the future success of our organisations. In his book The Psychology of Hope: How You Can Get From Here To There, Rick Snyder suggests a practical framework that focuses on goal directed thinking and developing confidence and capacity to find pathways to achieve them. It is a discipline approach and one that can be learned. I would encourage you to consider some of the following strategies suggested to increase our abilities to be more hopeful:

  1. Set meaningful and realistic goals: To avoid generating ‘false hope’ we need to make sure that the goals we set hold real value and are clearly aligned / visible to the outcomes we are trying to achieve.
  2. Set goals that excite & energize: Understand that goals built on intrinsic drivers are far more rewarding rather than ones ‘imposed’. By tapping into the motivators and drivers of our people we are more likely to generate an energy and momentum to drive outcomes.
  3. Develop a ‘pathways thinking’ mindset: Understanding that there are several paths that can lead to success is important to prevent us becoming focused on the blockages that will invariably arise. Recognize if new learning is required or who else can help with moving forward. Learning how to pivot and identify alternative options is cortical to building hope.
  4. Surround yourself with hopeful people: Hope is just as contagious as negativity. Check who (and what) you are listening to including what we are watching and reading.
  5. Practice ‘nexting’: This term created by Lopez describes the practice of discussing the NEXT thing you are looking forward to. By surrounding ourselves with other hopeful people and sharing our stories and why we are excited about it and how we are going to do it or overcome the challenges we continue to make deposits into our hope bank account.
  6. Be careful of the stories you tell yourself: As with so many things we try to do, all too often we are own worst enemy. Watch your self-talk to make sure that it is positive and reflects a succeeding mindset.

Inspiring hope in others is critical for ALL leaders. Not only does it serve a fundamental business purpose it also significantly impacts us personally by supporting growth and success regardless of our situation today.

As leaders today consider how you are helping your people to believe:

  1. The future will be better than the present
  2. I have the power to make it happen
  3. There is more than one path to achieving my goal
  4. No path is free of obstacles

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

Margot Andersen

If you would like to know more about building hope in your career and for your team, please contact Margot on 0400 336 318.

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