THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - Y

THE LANGUAGE OF LEADERSHIP - Y

 Image: Red River College - CA

Image: Red River College - CA

Two three letter words is what I offer today.

Yes & You.

Saying “yes” to the challenges offered to you, saying “yes” to the opportunities to stretch you and saying “yes” when you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable is what you do to build your leadership.

I know if I had said “No” when I had said “Yes”, I wouldn’t have the leadership capability, wisdom and confidence which I had today.

In a world which is way too busy and the new ‘yes’, is a confident ‘no’, people are missing valuable experiences in life.

For women in particular, it’s saying “yes” to that leadership position in the company even though you believe you only have NINETY PERCENT  of the requirements!

Leadership isn’t about you. Whilst it’s important to focus on your leadership communication, ensuring you understand the accountability and responsibility of being a leader; leadership is about others.

As a leader, your practice of leadership is serving others. You have the goal of bringing people along with you, enabling and engaging people to feel that they belong and add value to the workplace.

You should be saying “Yes Louise”, you’re right!

STOP DEFERRING YOUR LIFE PLAN

Stop Deferring Your Life Plan

I’ve been sleeping with Tim Ferriss for several years.

His book, ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ has laid on my husband’s bedside table and as I wake, it’s what I see first. During the occasional dust and polish, I’ve held him, intrigued with what my husband has done with his new found knowledge … and yes, I’m still waiting!

Sadly, Tim left my bedroom and on Sunday evening as I searched my bookshelf for my ninth book, we were reunited and he’s been back in the bedroom all week!

It now makes sense, that those in my network circles have also slept with Tim: the mention of Virtual Assistants, Automation, and precision time-management are immediate clues of those who’ve had an affair to remember.

Allowing Tim into your life will crank open your mind to the ‘new rich’ paradigm which I know many of you will scoff at, but pushing beyond that, you’ll discover BIG opportunities lying between the sheets.

I see three reasons to grab hold of, The 4-Hour Workweek:

·        If you want to reduce your busyness in your workplace and in life

·        If you live to work, and

·        If you’re wanting to connect with the entrepreneurial spirit lurking in our DNA.

In my world, it’s easy to be negligent of my faults, ineffective habits, and practices which don’t add value to my clients let alone to my financial statement. So, by reading this book, I connected with the critical message – be accountable for your performance so that you can live a happy life.

How do you influence happiness in your business?

I would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t nudge you enough to ponder the possibilities which Tim’s book offers; it oozes innovation and creative thinking and most importantly if encourages people to spend time working at what they love doing and be at their best, feeling that they’re achieving their self-worth.

How’s your self-worth? Feeling happy with life?

So, here’s a few insights from ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’:

Be reflective – determine your life purpose; the current journey towards your purpose and answer this question – If today was the last day of your life, would you be doing what you have planned for the day?

Tackle boredom – being the opposite of happiness – map out the parts of your life which aren’t creating happiness and determine what you need to change; in other words, break the status quo.

Plan for the now – write down what you want to do, when you want to complete it by and in particular, the cost (Tim measures everything) – then determine how you can achieve that plan now – Yep, put your 20-year-old mindset on and consider what you don’t need, be minimalistic and work out a way to do it.

Experiment with mini-retirements - rather than plan the big trip in fifteen years when you retire from this life, calculate how you can do part of it within the next six months. Consider working while you travel, influence the decision makers in your life to work enable you work remotely and live your life now.

Note: This book was written approximately ten years ago – and in that time people have taken this traveling idea on board and many people are working remotely and numerous organizations are great enablers.

Say “No” - and get good at it. This is your training to eliminate the need to meet people face to face or even reduce the evil email flow. Be polite and eloquent with your refusals, however, determine the value or need of having to use your time in the presence of others. I’m sure the meeting minimisation is a no brainer for some, and a challenge for others. It’s a habit to break.

Explore being smart – given the technology and services at our disposal, we should all be smart. Cost your time and determine who else could do it for you at a cheaper rate. Explore automation – as a friend recently said: “if I do the same thing twice, it’s my trigger to automate the process.” Very wise words. The simplest example is automating email replies to educate your clients, colleagues, and community.

Finally, the phrase which grabbed my absolute attention: people defer their life plan. People wait their life out. I often hear "when" proceeding their goal statements. Here’s hoping that this read will push people to do things now.

We can all take Tim to bed and learn a few ideas, practices or just be amused at his many life adventures.  Or, jump onto his web site – www.fourhourworkweek.com

ARE YOU UNCONSCIOUSLY BIASED?

ARE YOU UNCONSCIOUSLY BIASED?

Yes, I admit that I am guilty. Guilty of a few things and now I realise that I have a particular unconscious bias.

My awareness of this bias has recently unfolded whilst reading my fifth book. And I am in shock as I pride myself as being immersed in all new world behaviours, practices and activities.

What about you. Are you guilty?

Try this 10 second test: If you see a man with his baby in a pram in a café, with no other adult, what’s your immediate thought/reaction/assumption?

What’s your answer?

My immediate assumption was: Oh! How lucky is that woman to have a partner who takes their child out for an hour to give her a break.

After delving into Annabel Crabb’s book, The Wife Drought, I feel as if I’ve been slapped in the face and put in my place: I was expecting to have a good laugh, given my fan following of her ABC and iView productions; and whilst there was a good dusting of humour, I was surprised with the volume of common sense and clarity about the wives and lives of men and women over the past decades.

 This week's book review.

This week's book review.

I immersed into reflection, pondering leadership, leaders and their authority and realise that too many businesses are still stuck in the 50s. Few admit that they have a workforce which has constructed systems supporting men and women and in particular their families (think children & grandparents/seniors).

The drought in question is the support which women don’t receive when they are in the office or at home. We wives tend to unconsciously take on the roles of: meals, social arrangements, nursing sick kids, child arrangements if travelling, house cleaning etc.

I blame many men!

OK, I’ve said it. I don’t think I’ve met many men (straight men) who get it. A few who don’t behave badly (consciously) and realise that women aren’t just looking for equality, they expect a fair go in this modern world which can actually cater for it.

Sadly some blame lies with us women too. Being a member of an average Australian family, I often unconsciously take on the housewife role; regardless of running my own business and working around two kids; I frequently allow or I suppose even encourage my husband to behave that he has a housewife*.

Who needs to read and make sense of The Wife Drought?

Leaders, Human Resource/People Focused folk, Business owners and anyone who is responsible for men and women.

You will want to read this book to heighten your awareness of your possible unconscious bias – which is preventing more women filling the seats which too many men occupy.

This book isn’t a man bashing read, however it alerts us to the root cause and symptoms which then identify the solution: we need more men to join by supporting women, changing their approach, being a “wife” too and normalising the fact that men and women need to work at this problem.

So, what do we need to do?

·        Like the Norwegians, whose government policies are focused on family and health (and it appears happiness), we need to change the attitude so in our workspace that being ‘busy’ doesn’t equate to effectiveness and success.

·        So many Australians are still conditioned to thinking that men work and women care– we’re still following Dorothy Carnegie’s manual on being a good housewife – a shift in mindsets is required and leaders need to role-model and talk about the necessary change.

·        We know women can perform effectively in these roles, however leadership hasn’t been activated to make necessary changes including support, understanding and role modelling to make it easier, not an uphill journey. 

·        We still worry about untested assumptions, inhibiting our desire to do what we want –it’s still a juggle and a struggle – let’s talk loudly and get some businesses to show us how it can be done.

·        And women, take off those aprons and have a good talk to those husbands – set some new standards and agreements on how you want life to operate.

·        Finally, for those of you who are doing the right things, please share. Let others know and provide feedback to those in your industry who don’t.

I’m concerned that we still have some mindsets which are stuck in the ‘50s – women need to keep an eye on the pork chops rather than be in the workplace. We need to reframe our thinking, role model what we expect, bust assumptions and experiment with new practices.

We've moved on from this scene!

On a side note, The Wife Drought is my current Book Club read. We’ll be guzzling our champagne and munching on canapes whilst we pull this book apart. One third of our group are wives/mothers, one third are wives and one third are motherless/partnerless women. There hasn’t been a murmur in our Facebook page about the book – I’m eager to hear how the book was absorbed by the other two groups of women – do they experience the drought too?

*Sorry Honey - if you read this … you’re an exception – you do far more than most men I know. You’d be out the door if you didn’t!!!!

Let's connect to work on those assumptions and attitudes and focus on the leadership necessary to make your workplace one which people talk about being focused on what's important.

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learnings and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!

SILENCE: FRIEND OR FOE?

An annoying habit of too many parents is the act of answering questions directed at their children. In particular, the parents who's children are old enough and capable to respond.

Likewise, leaders fall into this habit when they ask their team a question in a meeting and SILENCE falls heavy and the leader assumes the role of answering.

In both these cases we are either experiencing someone who is too accommodating or prefers the sound of their own voice. 

Whilst many leaders are following and leading the movements of collaboration, inclusiveness and mindfulness, many are not! 

We still have leaders (of adults and children) failing to provide breathing, thinking and silence spaces enabling people to build their responses and answers.

When coaching, the skill of silence can be very challenging to practise. Knowing the answer is IMMINENT, takes experience to just listen, creating the space for a thoughtful response.  

 

  It's something we all experience however it takes the experienced to make it a common practice.

It's something we all experience however it takes the experienced to make it a common practice.

Silence should be your friend not your enemy.

Use silence to:

CUT TO THE CHASE -  when seeking an answer, ask the question and zip your lips. Let the other person think and be accountable for their role in the conversation

STOP THE BUSYNESS - sit for five minutes and do nothing, listen to nothing and think of nothing - it clears your head and allows you to then start to focus on what is most important

FIND A SOLUTION - often it's the quiet people who have the ideas however the noisy folk take up too much space to enable the solution to be heard

REFLECT- often the answer is held in our past. Taking time to reflect on past experiences guides us what to do or not do

ENGAGE - whilst this may sound strange, your role as a leader is to listen more than talk. Others will respect you for listening to them.

There are many powerful benefits of befriending silence. It's a tool for all leaders to hear more clearly and provide space for people to find their answer. 

There is one other benefit I have learnt from practising silence - being in tune with my body. I aim to attend the occasional yoga class and it's taken many years to see the value of lying in an awkward position in silence. I am so in tune with my body ... we are now at peace with each other - I suppose you could say we are friends!

Ready for change?

With Australian Politics under the spotlight, we can and should use this opportunity to contemplate the potential of this 'swift activity' occurring in our life.

Is there any possibility that you could be spilled in your role, organisation, friendship - any relationship?

Have you experienced a drastic change which occurred within hours?  Of course you have: resignations, redundancies, relationship break-ups, project cancellations, pregnancies (!) and the list continues.

The lesson here is, we should always be ready for change. Some folk could see the spill coming in the political arena - up in the stalls of the grandstand they observe and commentate.

However, how often do we ask our commentators to give us feedback and seek advice given what they see us doing and not doing?

My advice is the need to plan.

Plan to make mistakes; plan for failure; plan for successes; plan for spills in our life.

If we carry on as we do, with limited planning we'll be taken by surprise and on the back foot. 

People who have current plans will have a 2nd and 3rd approach up their sleeve.

We're finalising our Ultimate Planning Workshop - maybe we should invite some of the Federal Polititians! 

 

Do you celebrate Hump Day?

  IT'S HUMP DAY! 

The day which we strive to survive in order to see the weekend on the horizon.

We sometimes celebrate it (any excuse to have a wine during the week!) - especially if it's been a tough few days. 

Whilst I enjoy my week of work, I do look forward to Friday night and my weekend. We celebrate the week @ 5pm with champagne & chips, reviewing what was great and plan out the weekend.

What I want to differentiate is that some folk whinge, whine or worry about their week and on the weekend do the same about the following week! I'm not saying they are negative folk, they are expressing their unhappiness about their current state of being.

I offer you a tool which you can use with those who you hear being unhappy about their work/life.  It's a conversation model which opens the opportunity to discuss how to make decisions, choices, changes, when faced with a crossroad in life.

 The Crossroads Model - The Grove Consulting Firm, SF, USA

The Crossroads Model - The Grove Consulting Firm, SF, USA

It can be completed individually but we all know that we 'put off' these types of activities. So, if you can take the lead and do it together, you would be really helping both of you.

If this helps you or a colleague then our Driving Your Life program is a vehicle to make decisions in life. We use numerous reflective and conversation tools to choose the right road to take. 

Connect with me to learn about our program

Which shape are you?

On Sunday I was clearing out the kid's 'toy cupboard' (aka dumping ground) and discovered the 'Shape-O'. You know, the Classic Tupperware item which contains 10 shapes (can you name them all?) which have a corresponding shaped hole. Funnily enough, my kids never took a liking to it, yet, two shapes are missing! I need a 3D printer to create the missing pieces.

Anyway, it was a coincidence when I challenged a group of project team leaders this week to prepare their strategy story, incorporating a model of questions to answer, to consider how they would connect with their audience (their team members) and do deliver this in 2 minutes.

They jumped to the challenge and used the metaphor of matching their talented project team members (shapes) who design solutions to problems (shaped holes) and they drew a picture of the Shape-O. They explained to the team that they were the talented creators and shapers of the strategy solutions for their clients.

 Drawn by my talented workshop participants.

Drawn by my talented workshop participants.

It resonated with everyone - captivating our attention and imagination. However, what grabbed my attention was the message that we need everyone to realise that we are all different (shapes) , and for many we're still looking for the righ place (hole) that needs our solution (talents, strengths etc..)

The question is, which shape are you? How do you describe your personality, your strengths, your character - WHAT differentiates you from others?

 

 Shape-O - one of my kids toys found in the 'toy cupboard'.

Shape-O - one of my kids toys found in the 'toy cupboard'.

I think I'm the star shape. I enjoy helping/challenging people to find their inner stardom, to feel confident like super stars and I enjoy the superstar treatment as well!

 I'm a Star shape!

I'm a Star shape!

Let me know which shape you are - using a photo or drawing!

And, if you need some help with becoming a Star or discovering your shape - give me a call, email me, tweet me or contact me via my website.