In today’s demanding business environment (cost pressures, flatter organizations, more direct reports, “speed to market” as a competitive advantage, etc.) you have limited opportunity to devote time and energy to your own development. Most leaders struggle to meet all of the responsibilities of their positions and are too busy and too stressed to step back and learn from their experiences – or to implement changes that establish best practices. The one thing that is in no one’s best interest is for you, as a leader, to forsake your own learning and development – no matter what level you may be. In the current environment, Executive Coaching is one sure-fire way you can continue to develop your executive-level skills, as well as address your developmental and growth needs (which impacts the entire organization), while continuing to run your organization on a day to day basis. Continue Reading…
Archives For Taking Responsibility
We hear about vision, mission statements and values often enough, but why are they so important? Similar to Alice unsuccessfully trying to open the door to Wonderland, you must have the right keys to shape your company’s culture and reflect what you stand for. They are the essence of your identity as an organization – your principles, beliefs, philosophies… and how you do business. Woven into the fabric of its culture, every work environment should strive to encourage positive values and discourage negative influences that affect behavior and outcomes. We all possess a moral compass, defined via our values, which directs how we treat others and conduct ourselves. As an organization, this can be a powerful tool to shape culture. Ultimately, it does not come back to the company, but its people…
Arguably self-awareness and integrity are an important subset of values, but self-awareness and the pursuit of the truth are so important that they should be on every company’s list of values. If integrity is best described by C.S. Lewis as “doing the right thing, even when nobody is watching,” having the ability to be completely honest about your own strengths, weaknesses, and biases is critical. In developing an authentic, sustainable culture this applies not only to the leadership team, but to every single employee. Self-awareness and integrity are easy to lose… and hard to win back. When cultures are failing there are root causes that must be identified, but that can rarely be fixed quickly – and certainly not by policy and procedural changes. During challenging times, leaders tend want to drink from the blue bottle and — ta da! – see that the company culture is fixed. Unfortunately, building, evolving and transforming cultures takes both time and hard work.
Here are 6 core “keys” that will help you to build toward an amazing organizational culture:
Of all the amazing experiences I have been so fortunate to have, across many different boundaries and borders, one of my very favorites is the unique opportunity I had to walk with lions in Zimbabwe. While canoeing down the river Sabi (avoiding the hippos) was exciting, going on an elephant safari proved adventurous, swimming in The Devil’s Pool at the top of Victoria Falls was amazing and staying in the historic, luxurious Victoria Falls Hotel was, well… historic and luxurious, nothing compares to walking with lions. Many of you probably think I must be crazy – who wants to walk with wild lions? But this was a fascinating opportunity that offered many insights – and besides, how many chances do you get to walk with lions?
As I watched the lions approach, with only a walking stick in my hand and a pre-brief on lion behavior in my head, I wondered how I would engage these powerful creatures and what I could learn from them…
Here is just a bit of what I was reminded of through my encounter with the lions:
As those of you who read my posts frequently know, I travel internationally a lot and I truly love experiencing other cultures and different ways of life! This past spring I had the opportunity to return to Turkey for pleasure instead of business… Here is what I was thinking about:
I returned to a city with an ever-evolving modern character that is still, at its core, bound by tradition. As I was observing the frenzy of activity going on around me in the only city in the world that resides on two continents, I began to think (once again) about how there are unique leadership lessons in every environment. It is easy to overlook the reminders that abound and think to yourself, “what can I learn from a country that has been riddled with unrest, struggles with human rights issues and is in a constant state of flux?” Yes, these things are true… but it does not negate the fact that Turkey is a beautiful country with beautiful people and there are some important reminders (lessons) that impact how we interact with people as leaders and how our views, as leaders, affect those around us. I have found that often, a change in scenery offers a valuable change in perspective. Here are just a few of the things that came to my mind as I experienced, once again, one of the most amazing cities in the world:
- Business and personal relationships do not have to be mutually exclusive…
Living and visiting countries all over the world on a regular basis throughout most of my life, I remain very aware of how unique one location is from another. However, it also reminds me that despite the differences, there are some core foundations that we should all observe and deploy. In the western culture, we tend to believe that work and life are separate. However in Istanbul, where East meets West, business and personal relationships are heavily intertwined. The diversity and complexity of individuals is shaped not only by their culture, but through relationships that are consistently valued and continually evolve throughout a lifetime. As I attend client meetings that are focused solely on getting know one another better, I am always reminded how the Turkish people, in general, only do business with people they know, like and respect. In Turkey, business will only materialize if effective personal relationships are built. This is not only important in the moment, but throughout a lifetime. Later, as I made a visit to the world famous Spice Bazaar, I was reminded once again how relationships can thread through our lives – both as people and leaders – as I stopped to chat with a shopkeeper and was invited in… not just for a sale, but to build a relationship. We chatted for twenty minutes, shared some delicious apple tea (a hospitality must in Turkey), and exchanged contact information. On my next visit will I stop in and purchase from Iskandar? Of course, but I will also recommend this particular shopkeeper to anyone I know visiting Istanbul! As leaders, it seems to me that we could be infinitely more effective if we slowed down (both in our personal and professional lives), borrowed a page from the Turkish playbook, and took the time to get to know our colleagues on a more personal level – facilitating an extensive and priceless network of not only colleagues, but friends, that will benefit us for a lifetime.
Last week I discussed how self-esteem affects you as a leader, but what about how your self-esteem provides the mechanism for you to help others? Self-esteem is essential to your ability engage and maintain meaningful, respectful working relationships – self-esteem holds you accountable to how you interact and work with others and keeps you centered, as a leader. As you engage in building comprehensive self-esteem across your organization, others will notice and will find great encouragement and respect in your commitment to building the foundation of your organization.
Well, I have to say… it’s been a rough week.
Mistakes happen. I am a firm believer that one key to strong leadership is the willingness to be accountable and take responsibility for those mistakes. Good leaders do this even if they contribute to only a small percentage of the situation. They do this even if the blame lies beyond their control. Why? Because the buck has to stop somewhere… and it should be with the leader.
So when mistakes happen, what should you do as a responsible leader?
The answer: Apologize and try to make amends. Whether the mistake affects your internal, external or potential customers, you must take action quickly to make things right.
Well, I’ve had to pull a page from my own playbook this week. We, at Luminosity Global and The Global LABB, have had a series of unfortunate events that caused our clients to be frustrated and inconvenienced. In response to these “events”, I would like to offer the following: