The Cost of a Hardened Heart

An Important Conversation 

These days, there’s a lot of conversation in the workplace around the idea of hard skills vs. soft skills. Various camps adamantly defend the virtues of technical excellence or emotional intelligence, but the truth is, both are incredibly important.

In this article, however, we’re going to dive into a topic that, while impactful for the working world, it holds even greater influence over our lives as a whole. Let’s begin with a simple question to frame the conversation:

What if one of your goals for the year was to keep your heart from becoming hard?

Hard Hearts vs. Soft Hearts

Some people grow softer with age, enjoying the changes of seasons and rolling with the punches that inevitably appear in the everyday circumstances of life. They grow, adapt, and face the unknown with an intentional humility.

Other people grow more bitter and cynical. The pain of the last let down casts a shadow on the potential hope of the new. The heart becomes hard. The pain becomes seared in the memory so deeply that any potential new opportunity is mitigated.

To keep your heart softened is to believe the best in others – to fight for their highest possible good, no matter the outcome.

To keep your heart hardened is to do nothing intentional, but rather to just keep taking the hits and talking circles in your head about why this person should have done this, or why that opportunity should have played out differently, but didn’t.

The Cost of a Hardened Heart

The hardened heart becomes a protective shell that keeps the light out of the right areas and eventually suffocates the life that was once there. The hardening might protect for the short term, but it kills the soul in the long term.

To soften your heart means that you learn to become secure, confident, and humble so that you can actually learn to live again. The best way to do that is to deal with forgiveness, focus on others with consistency, and prioritize connecting with your values in a real way. 

The Choice is Yours

When we refuse to extend forgiveness, we tend to not receive it from others, not to mention the fact that we often struggle to find an ability to forgive ourselves. When we focus on ourselves more than others, we eventually find that life is lonelier with our own interests at the center, rather than investing in relationships and the good of others. And when we skim over the things that make us who we are and give life it’s meaning, we lose our compass and become a rudderless ship tossed about by the whims of life.

But a person with a softened heart garners greater influence.

A person with a hardened heart drives everyone away.

The choice is yours.

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how your heart affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

An Outdated Philosophy: “Us vs. Them”

Have you ever heard someone, maybe even yourself, say this:

“If they’re not for us, they’re against us?”

Many leaders love to adopt the philosophy of “us vs. them” to help define and solidify a sense of camaraderie and organizational identity. It also serves to reinforce – or coerce – loyalty and competition among employees by characterizing the tendency to question or operate differently as a form of betrayal. And though the coercion motive is mostly frowned upon, most people tend to believe there is some degree of truth in the “us vs. them” mentality.

What If…?

But what if we’re wrong? What if the “division for the sake of unity” tactic actually harms you and your business? Do you truly understand the ramifications of cultivating such a negatively-based competitive environment like this?

Here are few obvious repercussions:

  • A culture of paranoia
  • Posturing and intimidation as standard workplace behavior
  • Vindictive communication
  • Passive-aggressive behavior
  • Short-lists of “good” and “bad” that foster more rivalry than collaboration 
  • Hyper-competitive actions in the marketplace with loose moral standards
  • Slander and malice as everyday tactics
  • Disloyal culture

All these things affect people and the families they go home to every night: Stress increases. Productivity decreases. Conflict grows.

Blackballing every group or person whom you deem is not “for you,” and is therefore adamantly “against you,” is no way to live. Nor is it an effective way to do business. Last time I checked, there is little research to suggest a net-positive effect on productivity, culture, or competitive advantage when the workplace encourages burning bridges, fostering enmity, or adopting a cut-throat modus operandi. Ask Enron how that worked out for them. Better yet, watch the documentary “The Smartest Guys in the Room” and then determine whether you want to emulate such a culture.

Flip the Script

Instead, try flipping the philosophy to something resembling this:

“Anyone who is not against us, is (or could be) for us.”

This statement highlights only those who are obviously and notably against you, which for most of us would be a very small amount. It assumes, then, that unless it’s clear someone is actively working against you, then they are or have the potential to be for you. Such a change in approach fosters a mindset and strategy of growth, opportunity, and collaboration – the hallmarks of sustainable profitability and company culture.

Meanwhile, the alternative outdated philosophy puts the pressure on others to be notably for you in order to avoid condemnation as outright enemies.

In all fairness, it’s easy to slide into the habit of pressuring others to be over-the-top “for me” – as if they must become dedicated heralds of your business and no other, or else they are against you. 

Honest and regular evaluation of the competitive landscape is not only good, but healthy and essential. However, paranoid and vicious demands of “my way or the high way” shut down the benefits of varied perspectives and partnerships, whether inside or outside of your company. If others feel a heavy pressure to declare constant and unwavering support for each idea or decision you make, then you are endangering your business rather than helping it. 

Stop Burning Bridges

Though the following statement may vary based on situation (inside or outside the company, etc), a friend of GiANT once put it this way, “Relax. They are on our side. They want to do good things for others, let them. Don’t claim that only you can do that. They are obviously not against us so let them be.”

For many of you, we hope this blog post will serve as both a confession and a profession. A confession to perpetuating a philosophy that may actually be hindering you rather than serving you, and a profession of collaboration that will extend further and wider than you previously thought possible. Try to consider that everyone who is not obviously against you may actually be for you, or at least in concert with you, even if they bring a different perspective to what you do. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you, but rest assured that if you start viewing others as partners to be embraced rather than enemies to be eliminated, you will find more partners than traitors, and your business will grow stronger for it. 

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how the “us vs. them” mentality affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

Is Worry Affecting Your Leadership?

It was an early morning, dark with a glint of frost in the air. John was quietly packing up his briefcase for another week’s trek through the jungle maze of traffic on the way to his downtown office, careful to not wake up his family in the process.

The weekend had been more relaxing than normal. He and the kids had fun, yet the tension remained between John and his wife. The tension seemed like it had been around for years… and it had.

John grabbed a power bar and poured his cup of coffee into his favorite traveler’s coffee mug. He went through the mental checklist in his mind – keys (check), wallet (check), cellphone (got it), briefcase, and computer (check). He had everything he needed. As he stumbled through the dark house he opened the door to the garage and opened the garage door, hoping not to wake any of his family. The fact was that his family was used to the sound.

The morning routine was almost over as he weaved his way through the bikes and normal garage clutter and flung his bag in the car, while carefully placing his coffee in the holder. As he reached for the driver side door handle he realized he had forgotten to take his morning tonic.

As he maneuvered back through the tight garage fixtures and toward the kitchen cabinet, John reached in to pull out his bottle. With a habitual gulp John had taken his morning dose. His tonic didn’t make him feel better, it actually made him feel far worse. Yet it was his routine and it was just what he did.

Not All Routines Are Good

His tonic wasn’t a medicine, however, but rather more like a poison.

As John started up the car for his 56-minute commute he began his normal conversation with himself. Though the tonic didn’t really help him, he used it to rationalize how it helped him navigate the realities of life. Over those 50+ torturous minutes in the car, John would think about everything that was going wrong at work and what he needed to do. He would then shift to his marriage and his kids. He was careful not to miss one issue. His natural process would end with a visit to his dreams and wants, yet the tonic would cause him to think of how he would not be able to reach them. As he pulled into his downtown office parking garage he would think about the litany of expenses that pile up every month, including the daily parking cost, which only led to more frustration.

The crazy part about John’s life is that he continues taking his tonic every morning. In fact he started taking it before he went to bed too. His assistant would often see him take it mid-day as well. Everywhere he went he seemed to take more tonic as if it helped him. It was a coping mechanism, but it was actually killing him on the inside.

Why would John take a tonic that didn’t help him, but actually made him feel worse? Before we pile our judgment on John we need to understand that the majority of us take this same tonic most days of our lives. 

We All Struggle To Resist The Tonic

No, we don’t actually take a physical product, but we do consume it faithfully and we do it at almost the same times of the day as John – mornings, evenings, drive times, etc.

On the label of this “tonic” you can see a fuzzy word that seems harmless, but is really a form of poison. That word is called “worry” and it is one of the most dangerous things a leader can consume.

For John, his worry caused him physical problems like heartburn and ulcers. He even suffered cold sores several times a year when his tonic use spiked. His worry hurt his sleep – he rarely got 4-5 hours of pure sleep a night. You can imagine what it did to his emotions. He was a wreck on the inside. He began worrying about everything and that began hurting his relationships, especially the most the most important ones.

John’s “tonic” had horrible side effects that tended to affect those around him such as colleagues, friends, and his boss. His demeanor changed as worry began to make him bitter. altering his world for the worse.

That is what worry does.

To Worry Or Not To Worry, That Is The Question

Are you taking this tonic? Is worry ruining your life like it did John’s?

If so, it’s time to stop. Stop taking what is killing you. Whatever it takes to stop your mind from obsessing or fixating on pain, frustrations, and concerns, do it. Prudent people consider actions, consequences, and challenges, but those who give up control over their life and emotions to worry, ultimately give up the life inside that makes them who they are.

Worry leads to bitterness, indecision, and insecurity. It hinders a leader’s capacity and poisons the well of friendships and relationships.

Instead, try substituting worry with an invitation for the love, advice, and perspective of the friends, family, and colleagues around you. Try being intentional about creating regular time to process challenges, as well as to protect the time and activities you need to recharge. Sometimes keeping a handle on our emotions or nipping worry in the bud comes down to simply staying recharged and maintaining intentional perspective on the things that matter most to us.

In the end, we all struggle with the temptation to worry, despite the fact that it never does us any good. We think it gives us control, when in fact, it causes us to lose it. So bear in mind the side effects of worry and choose to take back control instead of downing the tonic.

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how worry affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

The Boomerang Effect: Be Interested Before Interesting

Developing Your “CORE”

At GiANT, we develop our tools from a combination of research and our own first hand experience in failure. We’re committed enough to finding better ways of doing things that we’ll gladly highlight our failures in an effort to help others avoid them and at least make different mistakes than we have made. Some of those shortcomings resulted in what we call the “CORE” framework. 

As with any athlete, your core (abs) plays a remarkably central role to one’s level of performance in any sport. People are no different when it comes to everyday life and leadership. We all have CORE capacities that must be mastered in order to perform at our peak ability and health. When we invest in these competencies, we become happier, healthier, and gain greater positive influence with those around us. 

Our personal and leadership CORE includes our Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Emotional Quotient (EQ), and our Personality Quotient (PQ). Most people have heard of IQ. Many people, though fewer than the first, have heard of EQ. As for PQ, we came up that one on our own! Essentially, each component boils down to a vital area of personal growth, whether in our technical competence and skills (IQ), our awareness of and connectivity with other people (EQ), or the self-awareness we develop around our own tendencies (PQ).

Want to listen to more about this subject? Check out our recent podcast episode:

The Boomerang Effect

One all-too-common tendency we often bump into in the PQ space (with a little overlap in EQ) involves what we call “The Boomerang Effect.” The Boomerang Effect is a conversational tendency in which we listen to what other people are saying and, rather than being interested in their story or perspective, we are more focused on being interesting and finding a way to bring the conversation back around to ourselves. 

Instead of showing interest by asking thoughtful questions and getting them to unpack more of what they’ve said, we go with the classic boomerang phrase, “Yeah, that reminds me of when I….” or “That reminds me of this circumstance…” It’s the classic “one-up” move where we subconsciously (or consciously) use the excuse of engagement as a means to brag on or talk about our own interests and accomplishments. 

The Problem: Desperate to be Interesting

Unfortunately, when the inevitable conclusion of a conversation is to always end up back with you, people start to pick up on the fact that whatever the other person says will be used as a stimulus to talk about yourself. The most frustrating part is that we typically think we’re practicing active listening, but instead of garnering respect and influence from true engagement and attentiveness, we’re actually eroding our influence by signalling a lack of respect for the people with whom we are talking.

Ironically, our desire to be interesting and to prove ourselves usually causes others to lose interest. To be clear, everyone is susceptible to The Boomerang Effect. And to some degree, we’ve all fallen into the trap at times. But we’ve also found that certain personality types tend to struggle with the habit more than others. ENTP’s and ENFP’s, for example, find themselves Boomeranging often until the issue surfaces and they finally confront the tendency. That’s because ENTP’s like to prove their competence while ENFP’s are natural storytellers who love to talk about their experiences. Both attempts at being interesting lend themselves towards frequent boomerang conversations.

As for how to address this tendency, we cover some practical strategies for maintaining situational awareness and connectivity with others in our book called “The 5 Gears.” The whole purpose of the book is to help people build influence with those in their life while connecting better and on a deeper level. Many of the strategies found there can effectively help you counter the boomerang temptation. But to provide you with some immediate examples and insight…

The Solution: Be Interested Before Interesting

The key is to be interested before trying to be interesting. And the foundation of being interested comes from tapping into either a natural or a cultivated sense of curiosity. Our founders, Steve Cockram and Jeremie Kubicek, even engaged in a sample roleplay exercise on their Liberator Podcast (Episode #2) in which Jeremie used his natural curiosity to maintain focus on being interested before interesting. Here’s an excerpt of how the role playing worked out: 

Jeremie Kubicek: So Steve, where are you from? Where’s your hometown?

Steve Cockram: Live just outside London.

Jeremie Kubicek:  So is that where you were born?

Steve Cockram:  Nope, I was born in a little place called Exeter in the SW of England. 

Jeremie Kubicek:  Exeter. You know I’ve heard of Exeter. Exeter city? 

Steve Cockram:  Yeah.

Jeremie Kubicek:  It has soccer, a football club right?

Steve Cockram:  The Grecians. Yep. My team. 

Jeremie Kubicek:  Is that your main team?

Steve Cockram:  Well, when I grew up in Exeter, to play in the playground you either supported Manchester United or Liverpool. In the 70’s, Liverpool was winning so I supported them and it’s been pretty depressing ever since. So I claim Liverpool and Exeter, one by birth and one by a league so I can watch something on television.

Processing the Example

So, in the exercise, Jeremie used his curiosity and naturally flowing questions to find out more about important personal information while also establishing a connection to something Steve is passionate about. From there, they can continue the conversation in a number of ways and build rapport, all without Jeremie bringing in a story of his own or bragging about an accomplishment to one-up Steve. 

For example, if Jeremie was really good at soccer growing up, he might have taken the excuse of engaging with an interest of Steve’s to boomerang back to bragging about a State Championship he won or school record he set back in high school. That would have been prioritizing being interesting before interested. But Jeremie resisted the temptation to make it about himself, and showed Steve that he was “for him” rather than himself.

But it’s not all extraverts who struggle with this issue. Some of you may be very shy and struggle to interact in that kind og social environment, which can lead to boomeranging back to what you know (yourself), or otherwise cause you to pull away and remain unable to truly engage and connect with others. That’s where learning how to ask good questions can become a powerful tool to improve your connectivity and self-awareness. Some questions to keep in your back pocket might be “What do you like to do for fun?” or “If you had a million dollars, what would you want to do with it?”

The Takeaway

All that being said, we could talk about IQ, EQ, PQ, and The Boomerang Effect all day, which we will certainly explore in greater depth with future posts, but for now there’s a few important points to take away from all this:

Rather than trying to tell others about your own interests, take the time to really hear what makes other people come alive. The key to mining out such life-giving elements comes down to respect and intent. As leaders and individuals, we have to go into conversations with a commitment to being “for others” rather than “for ourselves.” 

This is important not only for meaningful connection and building influence, but also for your reputation. So, in summary, cultivate respect, commit to positive intent, and embrace the depth relationships that will surely follow!

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how The Boomerang Effect or other PQ and EQ tendencies affect your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

S vs. N: Past, Present, & Future

S vs. N:  Past, Present, & Future

Our last post in the continuing “S vs. N” series on Jungian Typology and the GiANT Best Fit focused on one major question: “What is the biggest pitfall for each preference set?” In the end, we discovered that intuitives’ constant focus on the big picture, future vision often means they forget to pay attention to the smaller details in the present that could hinder their ability to get to the future. Sensors, on the other hand, while not ignorant of future possibilities, tend to become so focused on the details that they end up missing the forest for the trees, their wariness about the intangible uncertainty of the future making change difficult to embrace.

Here in our third post, we’re going to mine out more insights from the relationships between sensors and intuitives with the past, present, and future. We touched on this topic briefly through some of our conclusions in the last article, but I think you’ll find a deeper dive in this area to be fascinating, but also extremely practical in the effort to better understand yourself, your colleagues, and those who process the world a bit differently than you.

The Sensor’s Relationship with Change

Given the choice between living in and focusing on the past, the present, or the future, which do you think sensors would prefer?

If you said the present, then you would be correct. That one should be fairly easy since we’ve talked a great deal about the sensor’s ability to maintain great situational awareness and perceptiveness in the present where they can use their concrete experience, observations, and data to make informed decisions. Given such preferences, which do you think would be their second most preferred state: Past or Future?

Yep, it’s the past. That’s because, while not as accessible as the present, sensors can get hold of sensory data about the past. History can be read about, studied, analyzed, and prodded for information that brings meaning to the present moment. Concrete information is available.

The problem with the future is that there will never be any tangible, reliable, definitive data about it. It’s all guesswork and conjecture. Theory and predictions. One can attempt to gauge it through the lens of the past, but even then the future is a fickle thing. And if there’s anything sensors fear most, it’s the uncertainty of things that seem untethered to reliable understanding and information. This inability to taste, touch, see, hear, smell, or dependably analyze data about the future can even cause sensors to stay in jobs they don’t really like, or continue relationships that are unhealthy.

And if you ask them why they stay, it usually comes down to a fear of change. A fear that rocking the boat, even a less than ideal one, is preferable to stepping onto a distant shore inhabited by unknown dangers they can’t meet with preparation. Sensors find themselves stuck wondering, “But how do I know that change will be for the better? At least I know what I’m dealing with in this environment.” 

Why Intuitives Love Change

Intuitives, on the other hand, can often be found puzzled by the sensor’s resistance to change, wondering, “Why would anyone not change things?” With such a strong compulsion towards the future, intuitives are always wanting to live and move towards that future they envision for themselves, their businesses, and their world. They’re always standing on tiptoe asking how they can find a way to get to the horizon. As we’ve noted, that tendency can be dangerous, since they may trip over important details in the present, or fail to stop and smell the roses due to their relentless march onward to the promise of tomorrow.  

Intuitives obviously prefer to focus on the future, but what do you think that means for their second preference: Past or Present?

This may or may not come as a surprise to some, but intuitives generally rank the past as their second preference. Why? Because they can make sense of what happened back then. Intuitives like to sift through the patterns of the past in the hopes of finding one that will help them predict and reach the future they want to create. It becomes all about finding the hidden patterns and meanings behind things – events, people, movements, and eras. Such knowledge can equip them to shape and materialize the future they want.

The present, much to the contrary of sensors, seems largely dull to the intuitive. That’s usually due to the fact that they can’t really change the present. You can understand the past and change the future, but we’re all pretty much stuck in the present moment. An intuitive’s greatest appreciation for the present is to the extent that it allows them to move towards the future. It is a vehicle for change, though often isn’t the changed world they seek, thereby feeling like some sort of limbo for an impatient intuitive. 

But that’s what makes intuitives more comfortable with change. You can’t get to the future without actually moving into that reality, which requires change and theoretical planning. 

The Abstract vs. The Concrete

Due to the differences between a sensor’s and an intuitive’s preference for the past, present, and future, they tend to have a corresponding preference for either abstract or concrete forms of work, creativity, and thinking. 

For example, the intuitive’s love of the future often imbues them with a love for theoretical models. Most intuitives would rather conceptually build something than build it with their own hands. Consequently, it becomes a domino effect whereby Intuitives realize that their search for the meanings and patterns behind everything helps them build theoretical models that enable them to forecast the future so they can work towards it. That’s why many intuitives fit the mold of philosophers, writers, political leaders, and industry pioneers.

Sensors tend to be much more pragmatic and hands-on. They often prefer and enjoy building things they can feel. Sensors typically like to take things apart to figure out how they work. It’s why you will find sensors to be more methodical and process-oriented, often excelling in roles – whether managerial, technical, or legal – that focus on strong investigative and detail-management skills. 

Methodical Improvement vs. Radical Change

At the end of the day, sensors generally prefer the “tried-and-true,” seeking to begin with what’s already working and then making incremental, methodical improvements along the way.

Most intuitives, however, are uninterested in 3% improvement year over year, they want a 30% change. Instead of steady, step-by-step improvement, they love the idea of finding an entirely new way to do things that will bring about a radical new reality. 

Every sensor listening to the intuitive’s latest “game changer” of an idea is not so much impressed as they are thinking that there’s a reason no one’s done it before. As in, maybe a lot of people have actually tried it before, but they all died horribly, lost all their money, and left no records for us to find. 

What’s Up Next

That’s a bit dramatic in the sarcasm department, but you might be surprised by how accurate it can be with regard to the gulf that sometimes separates the sensors and intuitives when it comes to their comfort level with change.

That being said, in the posts to come we’ll be tackling tendencies of sequential vs. pattern processing, the “oughts and shoulds” of cultural pressure with regard to sensors vs. intuitives, as well as a bevy of leadership insights for each preference type to take away from this series.

Until next time!

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how your personality type affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

Responsive Leadership Breeds Respect

Responsive Leadership Breeds Respect

If you were to ask 100 leaders, “What is the most important quality in a colleague, employee, or boss?” you would probably get 100 different answers.

At GiANT, however, we have found the answer to be much simpler. Throughout our work around the world and dealing with all kinds of people, challenges, and cultures, a person’s effectiveness in the workplace (and at home) really comes down to whether you decide to be one of two types of people:

  1. A responsive person   
  1. A resistant person

Responsive vs. Resistant

How do you know whether someone is responsive or resistant? 

Watch their life. What happens when they make a mistake? Do they blame others, become defensive, or seek to make amends? Do they refuse to accept instruction, wisdom, and learning opportunities, or do they learn from their mistakes and take responsibility for failures?

Responsive people realize when they have made a mistake and seek forgiveness and reconciliation because they are secure in who they are. That security allows them to genuinely pursue what is best for them and for others, which means not being resistant to opportunities for personal growth.

Resistant people, however, either fail to see their shortfalls or try to make excuses for them as they blame other people, fearing a perception of weakness. This resistance ultimately comes from insecurity and a sense of self-preservation in which their very attempts to hold onto the facade they try to project, actually causes them to push people away and lose their trust and respect faster.

Why You Should Care

Have you ever seen a professional sports figure admit they made a mistake by raising their hand while saying, “my bad!” That is a responsive player who is humble enough to admit their mistakes in front of millions of people.

The resistant player points a finger at their teammate while chastising, “c’mon man!” He is turning to blame as a means of trying to cover up his mistakes. But everyone saw the replay, so now he has lost respect of those who witnessed pride getting in the way of healthy team esprit de corps.

Here’s the difference when it comes to leadership and life:

Responsive leaders gain respect over time.

Resistant leaders gain scorn over time.

Responsive leaders lose fear.

Resistant leaders lose respect.

Ultimately, when your insecurity causes you to create a persona of superiority and stubbornness, you will end up blaming, fighting, yelling, and cursing to protect your image of strength and infallibility. If left unchecked, this tendency will prove toxic to relationships, inhibit growth, and eventually burn bridges.

Unfortunately, the reality is that we all struggle with responsiveness from time to time, or even day-to-day. We might have days or periods of life where we slip into resistant style leadership and struggle to embrace the edifying humility of responsiveness. But that’s where intentional self-leadership plays a crucial role. Identifying our own resistance will help us choose responsiveness, influence, and respect over self-preservation. It helps us stand firm in refusing to let pride undermine our influence with others or inhibit our own personal growth.

Trading Up

The responsiveness vs. resistance concept may seem focused on intangible, attitude type issues, but a perceptive understanding of what responsive and resistant leadership looks like can translate into helpful insights about every day issues. For example:

  • If you want to hire the right people, look for responsive candidates.
  • If you want to understand why some people are filled with drama, look for a resistant attitude.
  • If you are struggling with your own frustrations or relationships, look inward and ask whether you are being resistant or responsive in your approach to life and work.

So let’s commit to trading up for more influence and less drama. Let’s choose confidence and humility rather than pride and self-preservation. For the sake of our family and our team, let’s choose to be responsive.

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how responsiveness affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

Engagement: How Do I Get My Employees to Care?

These days everyone seems to be preaching about the importance of employee engagement…and they should be. An overwhelming amount of research details the crucial role engagement plays in improving workplace morale, productivity, healthy culture, bottom line, retention, and more. The list goes on and on.

What is Engagement?

Of course, it’s all fine and good to understand engagement as a concept, but what does it mean to actively, intentionally cultivate engagement, and how do you do it?

For those trying to wrap your head around the idea, it may be helpful to think about generating engagement the same way you would think about romance. If a marriage engagement is a sign of future commitment for two people who have fallen in love, you need to think about how you can get your people to fall in love with their jobs and your organization. 

Tips for “Romancing” Your Employees

Tip #1 – Hiring

It all starts with the hiring process. As with any relationship, it’s helpful to understand what you are looking for in another person – their values, personality, style, goals, etc. So, build a profile for the personality types and attributes that best fit both your organizational culture and values, as well as the specific position for which each applicant applies. High functioning teams do not form overnight, nor do they magically occur by accident. You have to be intentional about identifying and seeking out the people you want on your team, then work hard to build the processes that attract and develop them.

Tip #2 – Onboarding

Second, create an onboarding process that highlights the mission, values, and vision of the company. Good onboarding involves a coordinated program of education, training, mentorship, and facilitating connection and trust between the new hire and current employees. Throughout all those elements, the mission, vision, and values should be reinforced regularly, but authentically. Simply repeating a list of values or a tagline won’t creating a lasting impression. That’s why sharing anecdotes and examples of values in action or the importance of the organization’s mission are important. It’s why letting the new hire spend time around other employees or mentors who genuinely live out the company ideals in their everyday life as well as their work. Finding tangible, emotionally impactful ways to connect these crucial organizational elements is the best way to ensure employees condition their daily decision-making lens in a manner consistent with work and an organization they can be proud to engage.

Tip #3 – Show & Tell

Third, show and tell each month. Tell the employees where you are going and then show them in a concrete way. Oftentimes employees forget about the vision because they get stuck in the mundane nature of their daily tasks. Maybe it’s conducting site visits to important projects to help employees see tangible results from their work or perhaps it involves engagement with programs your organization supports. You can also take time to update employees on mission progress and seek regular input on the future of the organization. Whatever the methods, consider how you can mark the things that make your company unique and worth loving, then give them real, meaningful experiences to drive the point home.

Tip #4 – Better Together

Fourth, take them with you. If you have an opportunity to speak, connect with a client, or talk on the phone with other employees, prospects, or anyone else, then take them with you. Be an example – apprentice them and show them your engagement. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a good example is worth a thousand training sessions. Don’t forget about the power of relational investment, it could very well prove your greatest weapon in fostering truly deep, committed engagement.

Tip #5 – Culture, Culture, Culture

Finally, never stop working on your culture. When you invest in your culture you remove the risk of having it all fall on you by equipping the culture itself to creates healthy engagement. Culture is contagious and so is belief in a common cause. Build your people up with the right ingredients and the right support, then see how far they’ll go to advance the mission they’ve bought into in your organization. 

Getting people to become engaged is the secret to success for many companies. Those who do it well will win in the end.

If you want to win and have fun doing it with authentic people who have your back, engagement is your answer and it’s worth the effort.

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how to cultivate greater employee engagement, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

The Key to Every Leadership Journey

The Key to Every Leadership Journey

The most important part of any leadership journey is the ongoing, never-ending process of self-awareness. For all the many books, articles, and experts who talk about it, self-awareness can be boiled down to two simple commitments.

  1. A commitment to understand how you’re wired, the tendencies that result from such wiring, and the impact those tendencies have on others.
  2. A commitment to change your negative tendencies in order to become the best person and leader you can be.

In other words, it’s a commitment to “Know Yourself to Lead Yourself.”

The Biggest Problem in Leadership

One of the biggest realizations we constantly run into is the fact that most people don’t know themselves. The more work we do around the globe engaging with leaders from all over, the more we realize that so many of us just don’t see it. We don’t see the broccoli in our teeth, so-to-speak. Without taking the time to fully identify our tendencies and evaluate their impact in our lives and on the people around us, we can never truly gain control of our own reality. We lose the ability to change our outcomes, and instead, remain captive to our tendencies and the paths they dictate for us.

That’s why we came up with a tool called “Know Yourself to Lead Yourself.” It’s a simple visual reminder of the process we can all implement every day to take stock of our tendencies and make steps towards changing them.

Self-Awareness: Know Yourself to Lead Yourself

Take a moment to think about what you do under pressure. What do you do when you get frustrated? What default actions or reactions do you tend to initiate when you’re embarrassed, or when you feel like someone is trying to control you?

Now think about the kinds of patterns those repeated reactions begin to create. The truth is, we are all wired by nature and conditioned by experience to develop a set of tendencies which, when indulged over time, develop into patterns of action. That includes other people’s actions too. When we consistently encounter a set of repeated behaviors or circumstances, we tend to subconsciously develop our own patterns of response.

Of course, those patterns of action will always come with a price tag: the consequences of our words, deeds, retorts, and responses. They shape who we are, how we think, how we interact, and the way other people learn to view and interact with us as a result.

All of those consequences ultimately conspire to create our current reality. So the question is, if the consequences of our action patterns are shaping our reality, then are we being intentional about the patterns we develop? Because if we’re unaware of the subtle tendencies that create those patterns, then we are forfeiting control of our own realities. By remaining unaware of our tendencies, and therefore being unintentional about the patterns we create, we are no longer the masters of our own destiny.

Be The Master of Your Own Destiny

Fortunately, we have a say in all this. We can choose to become intentional about knowing our own tendencies and commit to changing them. The answer is self-awareness. It’s committing to dive deep into your own wiring, learning to understand the knee-jerk reactions you have been conditioned to exhibit over the years, and choosing to know yourself so that you can lead yourself in the effort to create the reality you desire.

It’s not easy, but it is simple. Use the tool to develop the skill of self-awareness and I promise you will see the fruit of your hard work. The good news is, you don’t have to be defined by your tendencies. You have the power to shape your own reality. So step up, lean into it, and become the master of your own destiny.

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how self-awareness affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

Are You Stuck in 4th Gear? Diagnosing Task Addiction

There’s an old saying I’m sure you’ve heard:

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

 It’s safe to say all-work Jack is rarely accused of being the “fun” friend or the adventurous, life-of-the-party friend. If he’s not working on a deadline, he’s preparing for the next one as well as the next one after that one.

The All Too Familiar Scene

When he’s home, Jack’s wife and kids can’t get his attention very often because he’s always on to the next task. He’s surgically attached to his smartphone, and the last time he made eye contact during a conversation was when his phone was broken as he pleaded, wide-eyed, with the repair technician, “I can’t live without my phone – I’m going to lose my job. How long will it take to fix?!” 

But Jack’s an extreme case, right?

Surely, you’re not guilty of getting stuck in the same 4th Gear rut … or are you?

Take this quiz to find out.

4th Gear Quiz: Answer yes or no to the following questions. Be honest!

  1. You consistently start your day with email, and that means before getting to the office. In fact, it usually means before you have breakfast or see your kids off to school. Okay, let’s be real…for some of you it means you’re already halfway through the day’s emails before your feet hit the floor on your way out of bed…
  2. People notice you are obsessed with tasks.
  3. Achievement is the chief goal in your life.
  4. There are no boundaries on your time.
  5. You feel separation anxiety when you lose your Wi-Fi connection or can’t check email.
  6. You are constantly drained and never feel fully charged.
  7. It takes a lot of effort to get into connect mode (2nd Gear) or social mode (3rd Gear) with family and friends. Or maybe you “pretend” to connect by sitting with your spouse to watch tv, but end up mostly keeping an eye on your email.
  8. Your mind is always racing and you struggle to get consistent sleep.
  9. Your spouse, kids, and friends know tasks come first. They expect you to respond to invites with the classic, “I can’t go. I have to work.”
  10. You are physically present but intellectually and emotionally absent. (See number 7 above).
  11. There is a lot of activity, but no real sign of progress.

Tactics for Shifting Out of 4th Gear

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you might be stuck in task mode, or 4th Gear as we call it. What we’ve learned is that if you answer “yes” to one of these questions, chances are high that you will have said yes to more than one, and where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

There’s also hope, however. If you’re stuck in servitude to the daily grind of task mode, here are a few helpful tips to get healthy:

  • Replace email in the morning with something more inspirational — whatever helps you come alive. It could be reading, meditating, exercising, or starting the day with family breakfast.
  • Be proactive, not reactive. Don’t let someone else define your day in an email or phone call. Actively prioritize your day and goals rather than allowing every email to blow your schedule about like a flag in the wind.
  • Discipline yourself by turning off your phone, or leaving it behind, when you are off work or in a 2nd or 3rd gear environment. This will help you remain presented and connecting with those around you.
  • Teach your family the 5 Gears sign language so they can help you shift when they find you grinding gears and unable to transition out of the task (4th gear) or focus (5th gear) modes.

Ultimately, our advice is simple: don’t let work dominate your life. 

Learn to shift and be present with those in your life who matter most. A balanced life of meaningful investment in yourself, family/friends, team, organization, and community ultimately leads not just to a healthier, more joyful life, but also a more productive one. And that’s the goal that keeps you stuck in 4th gear in the first place, right? So why not give it a shot and try shifting gears for a change. We think you’ll like the results.

To learn about the 5 Gears, visit:

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how task addiction and the 5 Gears can affect your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

Greatest Pitfalls for Sensors and Intuitives

In the first post of our new series on Sensor (S) vs. Intuitive (N) Jungian personality preferences, we laid the groundwork for understanding sensors and intuitives, while also highlighting the core of what makes them tick. At the heart of every sensor is a yearning to understand the concrete facts and details of reality as we know it. They want to live in the moment, searching for the unvarnished truth and analyzing or experiencing it through tangible methods, rather than conjecture or theory. In short, the cry of every sensor heart is to “Tell me what is!”

Intuitives, on the other hand, come at the world from a totally different perspective. They long to know the possibilities of the future, explore the lofty ideals and grand visions that push the limits, and ultimately crave to understand the hidden meaning and patterns of things. Their greatest cry is “Tell me what could be!”

Here in our second post on the subject, we’ll explore greatest pitfall for each type. We’ll give particular attention to the various ways intuitives and sensors approach details, planning, and change, as well as how they view the past, present, and future.

A Sensor and an Intuitive Walk Into a Meeting…

Even if you’ve only been out in the working world for a year, you’ve probably walked into a meeting where two people with vastly different modes of operating find themselves locked in an argument that goes something like this:

Sensor: “You think we should do what?” 

Intuitive: “I don’t have the exact proof for why we have to do this, but I’ve just got a gut feeling it’s the right way to go.” 

Sensor (incredulous): “You were given five incredible senses and a mound of data to be able to analyze real information before making a decision like this, and you want to bet the farm on a gut feeling or a sixth sense that’s telling you it’s ‘just the right thing?’”

And…they’ll continue on in this manner for the rest of the meeting, each one appealing to either the exciting big picture with its revolutionary potential, or the need for hard facts, test trials, and proof.

That’s because Intuitives usually prefer to trust their sixth sense, even more so than the other five. As a result, you’ll often find that they’ve made big decisions about who they marry, where they live, or what they do, sometimes on nothing more than that intuitive gut feeling. Sensors, on the other hand, don’t count anything as justifiable unless the data supports it and that said data has gone through the right collection process and represents a comprehensive view of the situation to be decided. 

That’s not to say that intuitives don’t see or care about details, or that sensors are blind to the bigger picture possibilities. But it does mean that, when push comes to shove, sensors will typically miss the forest for the trees, while intuitives will often forget that the trees exist altogether in the face of being mesmerized by the beauty of the forest.

The Intuitive’s Greatest Pitfall: Why They Miss the Details

Intuitives generally want to be inspired by an idea before they take the planning process further. They want to be captivated by the possibilities of what could be, in order to determine whether the project or venture is worth the effort of pursuing. If the vision seems compelling enough, then they’ll find themselves ready to work their way backwards to meet the sensors in the forest of details and figure out the strategic way forward. Consequently, a great many intuitives miss important details in the present because they’re always, always looking towards the future. 

This can be anything as small as constantly overlooking the details of situational awareness because their heads are stuck in the clouds thinking of the next big idea or personal growth strategy, or it could result in an intuitive leader failing to pay attention to the day-to-day needs of his or her business due to a constant over-focus on the future they envision for the company. Vision, big picture strategy, and long-term planning are not bad. Those activities are actually very crucial business elements that should be consistently attended, which is what makes so many intuitives such great ideators. But when leaders become so caught up in the shiny veneer of the next new idea or a far-off future, they’ll trip over the needs of their employees, organizations, or families in the present.

Keeping criticism on the light side, there’s a joke about intuitives that goes, “most intuitives, when they were young, wrote a brilliant exam answer to the question they thought they were being asked because they read the first seven words and assumed they knew what the rest of the objective was.” Joking aside, the intuitive’s driving passion to always figure out the pattern or strategy behind the bigger objective often leads them to jump to conclusions. Not only can this prove to be an avoidable waste of time, it can prove costly when dealing with poorly thought-out corporate strategies and resource allocation. 

The Sensor’s Greatest Pitfall: Why They Miss the Bigger Picture

Sensors, meanwhile, love to stick with the detail. They will read every manual, search every product review, and make a pro/con list so long that it outpaces the amount of actual data collected on whatever potential new product or project they are researching. Only once they have exhausted their search for all relevant data available will they be satisfied with coming to a decision, no matter how insignificant or important that decision may be. 

As a result of this focus on details and the primacy of what is knowable, sensors often prefer to live and deal with issues in the present moment. That means they tend to be wary of the future and treat theory or conjecture with scorn. Sensors often wonder why anyone would resort to such undependable methods when they have five good senses and the benefit of past experience, data, or research with which to analyze the world.

Think about it. There’s nothing more sensory than right now. I can touch. I can taste. I can see. I can hear. I can smell. Consequently, Sensors tend to have a high degree of situational awareness – whether about the details of the present moment, noticing color, texture, environment, or things that change around them, or in regard to the pressures, needs, threats, and capacities of the business in which they operate. Sensors are constantly collecting data about the environments and situations around them, which is why they tend to catch the details Intuitives miss.

Unfortunately for the sensor, this focus on the knowable and the here-and-now makes the uncertain, future-oriented nature of change a very scary proposition. We cannot touch, taste, see, hear, or smell three months from now. We don’t know what outcomes the risk of changing how we view the world or operate the company might produce. To sensors, the past is a safe-haven, whereas the future is a threat. Given the lack of details guaranteed by the future, Sensors often have a hard time trusting the bigger picture of personal development or organizational change enough to step out and commit to it.

It’s Not All Bad News

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong to this preference set, or any of the other three. The key is self-awareness, and learning what your greatest potential pitfall might be as a Sensor or an Intuitive could save you a lot of time, frustration, and pain in the future. In our next installment of the “S vs. N” series, we’ll continue to unpack the real world applications of what it means to have a preference for one or another, and how it informs many of your strengths, weaknesses, and other tendencies.

This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how your personality affects your leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!

Source: GiANT

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