Archives For inspiration

Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.

~ Jim Rohn

Many people, often senior leaders, feel as if they’re adrift in the world – not sure what their ultimate purpose or legacy might be. They work hard, they get the promotions, and advance somewhat successfully through life from day to day, but they don’t seem to get anywhere worthwhile – anywhere that is self-fulfilling.  One critical reason this happens is because they typically haven’t spent enough time thinking about what they want from life  – and they haven’t set their coordinates for success!

Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Unless you clearly define exactly what you want and understand why you want it the first place, your odds of success are significantly diminished.

Here are some broad guidelines to help you not only to set effective, achievable goals, but also to keep the focus on the why:

  • Make each goal a positive statement – Express your goals positively – “Execute this initiative to my highest standards, while remaining on schedule and 10% under budget” is a much better goal than “Don’t fail to execute this initiative.”
  • Be precise: Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. This provides a mechanism to know exactly when the goal is achieved, and you can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
  • Set clear priorities – When there is more than one goal, give each a priority. This will help you to avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed by having too much to focus on at any one time – while also directing your attention to the most important priorities.
  • Clear, purposeful steps that are taken along the way will guide you to where you want to be. Your big, scary  audacious goal may take a year (or significantly more), however shorter – daily, weekly or monthly – excursions will help you to stay on course and focused in the right direction.
  • Keep tactical goals small – Keep the low-level goals that you’re working towards small and achievable. If a goal is too big, it may seem that you are not making adequate progress. Keeping goals incremental, marked as milestones, provides the means to keep you motivated – not to mention more opportunity for reward.
  • Set performance goals, not outcome goals – Set goals within your control as often as possible. It can be discouraging to fail for reasons beyond your control. If you base your goals on personal performance, then you maintain control over the achievement of your goals, and draw personal satisfaction from your successes.

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Re:Create…Yourself

April 11, 2011 — 7 Comments

Last week I was at a conference that happened to be on a Caribbean cruise  – what a great experience!  The main purpose of the cruise was to re:create – to realize the creativity each of us has within. There was time built in to actually enjoy the cruise, but more importantly to ponder our own creativity and discover how to continuously re:create ourselves.  There were several very wise speakers – Mike Hyatt, Randy Elrod, Ken Davis, and Pete Wilson – each with their individual area of expertise and focus. They each caused me to stop and think in very different ways, and I really appreciated the opportunity to be reminded that, as a leader, I am creative and need to  continuously broaden my thinking in different ways.

Often people think, as leaders, that we are not creative.  Fortunately, that is a myth. Creativity is problem solving: just as a painter sees a beautiful scene and recognizes it needs to be painted so others can enjoy it, a leader sees unmet needs and brings resolution to those challenges in creative ways. If we were not creative we would not have the capacity to lead effectively – constantly providing guidance and direction to others that may have little in common with us, deriving new policies and processes that will evolve our domain, or creating new business models that will evolutionize our organizations or industries in unforseen ways. You may not paint, take incredible photographs, write songs or beautiful prose – however, if you are out there making a difference in peoples lives and trying to change your world, chances are… (yes, I will say it!) you are creative.  If you are not doing these things, perhaps you should consider the opportunity you have missed – and re:create!

How do you constantly Re:create to impact your world?

Please engage the discussion and let us know how you are creative in your leadership role. Feel free to contact me at  Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.comor by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back soon for the next post on Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.

This post is about you – as an organizational leader. Lifelong learning is a critical component of our personal and professional growth that we often seem to forget as we rise through the ranks. Unfortunately, as most of us become more senior within the organization, there is an undeniable challenge we face – facilitating our own ongoing growth and development. It becomes more and more difficult to identify growth opportunities, training, relevant readings, etc. and to deny the pull to remain stagnant – focusing on what we already know vs. the potential we have to know more. Perhaps most importantly, there is often a stealth sense of false complacency that emerges as a result of past success. However, the reality is that with the frequency and scale of change in global organizations, the leader that is not continually growing and changing with the environment may very well find that  s/he has been left behind at the last jumping off point.

Ultimately, you are responsible for your own personal development…and reaching your potential.  Many leaders let the business take priority over reaching their potential, or wait for the company to assume ownership of their development. Is this really what is most beneficial for you, and by default, the organizaion?  As leaders, it is easy to forget that it is far more effective to stretch ourselves, and thereby our organizations, than it is to settle for the status quo.  But how do you continually push yourself to think harder and go further? You can employ any number of self-help philosophies, but the reality is that you will probably not follow through – and if you do, they will typically not generate the results you hoped they would.

Finding and engaging a good mentor may be a critical success factor you are missing. Mentoring is a process about enabling and supporting your personal and professional growth. Organizational life can sometimes feel like climbing up the side of a mountain – as we struggle up the steep parts we are breathless, challenged, single-minded, and in need of support and sustenance. There may even be some moves we can not make without being tied to a partner. Mentoring can help with your changes in altitude, and enable you to get to higher ground – where you just may be able to see things from a different perspective. You will be able to see the mountains in the distance and new ways forward that were just not visible from your position below. Your mentor should facilitate a process that leads you to consider different perspectives, new ways of thinking, and deeper self-knowledge.

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The cry for effective leadership in global organizations is both urgent and widespread. Organizations are challenged to identify and leverage global leadership competence in order to succeed across boundaries and borders, while technical competence and organizational experience are no longer adequate selection criteria for key global positions.

Increasingly the most crucial leadership characteristics identified are relationship competence and openness to new perspectives. These are challenging to develop in leaders because they derive from interpersonal characteristics and require sustained behavioral change. Typically, organizations have selected or promoted leaders for global roles based on technical expertise and organizational commitment, which has, historically, resulted in unsatisfying results. The unintended negative consequences have often been well-publicized and costly – premature terminations, disappointing global performance, as well as reduced organizational morale, cohesion and performance.

Leading across boundaries and borders requires specific interpersonal attitudes and skills, in addition to technical expertise and organizational knowledge. It is absolutely critical that we provide leaders with the right tools and skillsets to succeed in an ever-changing, complex global environment. One key element of this preparation is making sure leaders understand and have the ability to create relationships of trust by developing keen insight and respect for differences, while also connecting across cultures in a meaningful way.

Last week I posted commentary on what I consider the “Psychological Acumen” necessary for global leadership.  This week we will look at the third component: Social Acumen and its corresponding subsets:

Social Acumen: Intercultural communication skills; the ability to align, motivate and inspire people;  networking and building trust relationships globally; the desire for continuous interpersonal growth.

  • Team Building: Can the executive build alignment despite differences in function, geography and culture? Is there the ability to communicate a consistent vision and inspire team coordinated action across diverse environments? Can s/he keep the teams focused and motivated?
  • Intercultural Orientation: Is there an ability to engage and connect with people from different backgrounds, functions, and cultures?
  • Personal Impact: Is there the ability to build alliances and business partnerships? Can the executive bring together diverse viewpoints, drive consensus, and maintain credibility across cultures? Is there the capability to successfully infuse the local management team with the corporate (global) vision and culture to effectively institutionalize the local market?
  • Diplomacy: Can the executive hear both what is said and what is not said?  Can s/he ease into conversations with diverse participants? Is there a propensity to ask rather than answer? Is there skill in building networks with diverse cultural connection points?

Global companies today may deploy international processes and operations, yet they must understand that above all people drive those processes and operations. If people across boundaries and borders are not bought into the global leader on an interpersonal level, critical goals are not likely to be achieved  – at least not with any level of effectiveness or efficiency. Companies must find innovative ways to generate competitive advantage, and again, this can only be achieved through people – thus the criticality of social acumen.

The continued expansion of the global enterprise across diverse cultures and geographies, as well as the necessary integration of diverse, and often geographically separated, teams into the perspectives, strengths and results of the global operation requires that leaders acquire the social acumen that is critical to global success. The competitive context in which we all live does not permit us to leave any talent underutilized – all global leaders must acquire and embed global leadership competence into everyday actions and behaviors. If we can partner with our leaders to develop intellectual, psychological, and social acumen, there is an immense opportunity to both positively impact peoples lives and drive strong, consistent global results!

What are you doing to develop social acumen as a critical business skill in your global organization?

Please feel free to contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next week for the next installation of Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders.

We all know that a keen comprehension of organizational politics is absolutely essential for leadership to maneuver the company towards its’ goals. Leaders use political leverage to promote their organizational interests, as well as personal interests occasionally. As an Extreme Global Leader you know that in order to realize a game-changing future, you will need more than just a great gameplan – you must master the political chessboard. A critical component to organizational success is sponsorship and stakeholder engagement. If a leader engages support from above, laterally, and below, s/he is likely to succeed. This equates to political influence – and to influence others requires building relationships of trust and persuading others to follow. That is what politics is about.

Leaders need to quickly identify those likely to support them and build strong coalitions aligning individual needs with organizational goals, in such a way that fulfillment of collective goals results in automatic fulfillment of individual needs at the same time. Leaders must realize that organizational politics is a function of culture, as well as an indication of trust levels in the organization, and will always serve both individual and organizational agendas.

In order to master the political chessboard, Extreme Global Leaders need to take a strategic approach to politics and should employ the following, as appropriate:

  1. Spend time with opponents: Most of us spend time with our allies, who we trust and who agree with us… when the people we have the most to learn from are our opponents.
  2. Never take anything personally: If it is not personal it is far easier to maintain focus on what we are trying to achieve. It is our choice whether or not we will personalize things that happen.
  3. Constantly reframe: It is natural to assume that it is “all about us” – the alternative is to recognize that much of politics is about people working to get things done within a diverse community of interests.
  4. Leverage the power dynamic: Recognize that power can come in several forms: legitimate, referent, reward, expert, and coercive power. Much of politics is based on power – who’s got it and how you can use it to your advantage.
  5. Build on mutually beneficial interlocking relationships: The better you are at networking, the better you will be at organizational politics.
  6. Focus on interests, not positions: In the interest of finding common ground, care about people’s interests and ask more questions. Why is this person interested in …? What is s/he trying to achieve? How can you help? How do interests align?

Leaders need to inspire people to act by creating clarity and unity of purpose and build synergies through organizational values. We can leverage political skills to manipulate others… or to influence them to achieve more than they ever thought possible – which one will accomplish more and move the organization forward faster?

Have you mastered the political chessboard?

You can contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next Thursday for the next installation  of Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders.