leadership incorporated blog

September 20, 2010

Inspired to Succeed: Growth Mode

Having a full plate is a wonderful thing.

Especially these days when so many businesses are struggling. I’m having the great good fortune to work with organizations in rapid growth mode — and to head an organization in rapid growth mode!

Growth has its challenges. For example, the sense that you’ve been cloned and are in seven distinct places right this very minute. The gift of growth is that it gives you the opportunity (and incentive) to reprioritize and simplify.
One of the ways I’m responding is by cutting back these Inspired to Succeed entries to twice a month. From now on, I’ll be sending them the 1st and 3rd weeks of each month…and see how that goes.

How about you? What can you simplify to make more room in your work and life for the things you want to create?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Look at what you’re putting up with first. I noticed that there were some technology issues that looked like minutes each time but are really sucking hours out of my week. I’m focusing on replacing those things that aren’t working as well as I need them to.

2. Delegate. What are you doing that you could pass off to someone else? Come on, there must be something!

3. Go with what’s working, lose what isn’t. Pay attention to where you’re getting the results you want to see, and where you aren’t. Dump what’s not working. It might seem obvious, but I notice that many of us continue to do things out of habit that have outlived their usefulness — and we didn’t even notice!

4. Focus on one thing at a time. We’ve become addicted to multitasking. But the effort to do everything at once actually makes us do everything slower. Put your focus fully on what you’re doing now, complete it (to whatever stage is right for the moment). Sometimes it only takes a minute or two. Only then shift your attention to something else. You’ll get more done faster and better — and with less stress.

5. Set clear boundaries. For yourself and others. Give yourself a certain amount of time to complete a job (we tend to fill whatever amount of time there is!) Give yourself a fixed time for responding to emails or answering phone calls. Tell people how long you have to talk or meet and stick by it, graciously, of course.

Note: If you’re not in growth mode yet, these ideas may just help you create it!

Got other ideas? Please share them by commenting or emailing.

See you in October!

September 13, 2010

Inspired To Succeed: 5 Things You Can Do To Stop Infighting, Backstabbing, Bickering and Obstructionism

Imagine you are on the leadership team of a great organization.

Perhaps that organization is approaching major change (and really, what organization isn’t tackling change now?!) It could be the exit of a strong leader, a change in the structure or ownership of the organization, a shift in the business model. At first it looks like everyone is going to rise to the occasion, but then politics threaten to tear the organization apart.

This isn’t hypothetical. It happens to many organizations each year. And although major change creates the conditions that are ripe for politics — bickering, backstabbing and obstructionism can threaten the productivity, and  the viability, of any organization.

Have you ever been in this kind of situation? What did you do? Trying to change what’s become an embedded culture of politics can seem impossible. Yet, if you’re in a position of influence, you can refocus the team for success.

Here are 5 strong requests you can make to help get a self-destructing organization back on track.

Request #1: Take personal feelings out of it. Get everyone, including yourself, to look at where you may have a personal agenda or personal hurt feelings and have the maturity to put those aside.

Request #2: Look at the inevitable outcomes if you continue on this path. It’s not hard to project what will happen if infighting and politics continue. But people lose sight in the emotion of the moment. Walking through the natural progression of the path you are on can be an excellent wake-up call.

Request #3: Reconnect with what’s at stake. What is the purpose of this organization? What will be gained if it fulfills? What will be lost if it doesn’t?

Request #4:  Remember, amend and agree to the values of the organization. What does this organization stand for? Do we need to add or change any values that will help us to stay on track? Which behaviors and principles will support our success? And which will not?

Request #5: Anyone, including yourself, who can’t put the interests of the organization ahead of your own, needs to be confronted (as kindly as possible) and agree to either correct the situation or step down.

Have the courage to ask this of the leadership team and if the people are mature and honest enough you may turn it all around, refocus, and breathe new life into the mission.

Finally — and really first — if you ‘re a leader in an organization that you care about, no matter how old or healthy you are, make a succession plan. If you don’t know experts who can help you with this, get in touch. I know some great knowledgeable people to direct you to.

September 5, 2010

Inspired to Succeed: A Powerful Tool for Successful Change

Filed under: Uncategorized — inspiredtosucceed @ 8:09 pm

Show of hands: Who’d like to bend change to your will?

Who wouldn’t, right?

Here’s what I notice as I’m working with clients in education, health care, manufacturing, the law, media, sales, and technology. We are all always in a state of change. And the rate of that change is accelerating.

And many of us feel change is having its way with us. Does this describe you?

Most of us tend to see the change that is happening as if we are outside it. We distance ourselves from it. Some of us fight every change with all our strength. Some of us resist some change some of the time, without even knowing we’re doing so.

We want to control change, but the change is bigger than we are. Today, I’d like to offer you a model that can help you to bend the change that is happening in your work and life in the directions you’d like to see it go.

The first step in mastering change is to SEE it. One tool for doing this is visualizing a metaphor for the change. Some people may see the change happening to them as a mountain to be climbed, a maze to be navigated or a tangled mass of wires to be sorted and separated. Any metaphor that rings true will do. Now see your metaphor in stages. For example, if your metaphor is a marathon, you might identify that the stages are choosing which marathon to run, learning the course, training and preparation, getting started, maintaining a steady pace, dealing with obstacles, finishing, and what comes next. See how the path to your goal fits with the metaphor you’ve chosen.

The second step is to ALIGN with the change. If you look at the metaphor you have created, rather than seeing it abstractly from the outside, step into the picture. Identify where you are now within the metaphor. (The contemplation stage IS a stage!) Act as if the change is already a reality and all you have to do is follow the path. Monitor your progress as you go.

Next. From the perspective of accepting the change and being inside it you are in a better place to SHAPE the change. A tool that I’ve been using to do this is something I call Change SculptingTM. I work with my clients (and prospective clients) to sketch out their picture of success at a specific point in time in the future. Then we begin to build from where they are now. We look at the challenges in the space between now and then. By seeing the entire picture as malleable clay, we can sculpt the change, planning ways to effectively work around the obstacles in the direction of their picture of success.

The last component is to EVALUATE. Simply continue to monitor your progress in terms of your metaphor and adapt the change  as you go.

If you are a member of the senior leadership team of an organization, I will be happy to walk you through this process. Just shoot me an email at sr@leadershipincorporated.com.

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