What is Your Human Condition?


C11-713225

We all share the human condition, and just as we are all unique individuals, so is our individual human condition. You have an opportunity, more so an obligation, to work with your own human condition with respect to your leadership of self and others.

Your human condition is shaped in two ways. First, it is shaped by the external experiences you have with your environment. Second it is shaped by your internal reactions to your environment, or the story you tell yourself about your experiences.

Discover Your Human Condition

To discover your particular human condition, first seek to understand what signals your environment is sending you. Are your colleagues supportive or punitive with their words and actions? What is the story they are telling you through their words and actions?

Second, ask yourself “what is the story that I am telling myself?” As you go about your day, be it a work day or a weekend, try to observe yourself and the messages that you send to yourself. If you are presenting to a client or team of people, what is your state of mind? Are you whispering to yourself that the meeting is going to be a success, or is there self doubt creeping in or dominating your thoughts? These external and internal perspectives help to share your human condition.

Discover Your Corporate Condition

By the way, the same internal / external human condition concept that applies to you as an individual, applies to your business entity. What is the story that your employees and leaders are telling themselves and each other about the company? This is your company’s internal story. Is that story supporting or inhibiting your ability to achieve your strategic intentions?

Your customers are telling stories too. They are shaping your corporate condition through the experiences they share with others and with your employees. Finally, what story are your employees telling your customers? The messages to your customers are your company’s external story.

Changing Your Human Condition

To work with or change your human condition, you must start with your internal story. You cannot directly change your external environment or other’s words and actions, but you can directly change the internal story you are telling yourself.

In my experience, the most impactful option to change your human condition is to change your own mindset. A highly valuable method for changing your mindset is meditation. Meditation leads to mindfulness which leads to a new way of seeing, feeling, and deciding about yourself and others.

Check Out What Harvard Says About Meditation and Strategy Implementation

Changing Your Corporate Condition

To lead your company, you need to start with yourself in the journey. By changing your internal story, you change other’s story about you and your role model the change required at the company level.

Developing new ways of seeing, feeling, and deciding is critical for strategy implementation, transformation, and leadership breakthrough because this new way of seeing, feeling, and deciding generates a new human condition to be shared by yourself, your employees, and your customers.

To learn more about how these concepts come together for corporate transformation, please visit http://www.businesschangeleader.com.

Are you achieving your higher self? A Simple Two Question Test.


EN_yeahachievement

Many years ago, my work shifted from a job to a career. In the recent years, my career became my vocation. Along this journey, my work / goals / objectives expanded beyond integrating processes and systems, to integrating people and teams, to now include helping others expand themselves so they may better achieve their own work / goals / objectives.

Along these lines, the question of “am I achieving my higher self” arose which I now answer on weekly basis in two simple questions:

  1. Am I getting things done?
  2. Am I leaving others with an experience where they want to get more things done with me?

I have to answer yes to both questions to possibly claim I am achieving my higher self.

Lots of people get things done, and they leave a trail of “broken glass” experiences in others like damaged self-confidence, career set backs, troubled relationships, joblessness, etc. We all know the types, they always deliver results “by any means necessary”. Perhaps there is a place in our world for people like this, but not around me.

This is why question #2 is so critical, and a great test of achieving one’s higher self.

When you are able to deliver results by getting things done, AND people enjoy the experience of working / being with you, you ignite others to achieve more and elevate your impact in the world.

Gamification of Change: 4 Principles


20130119-151135.jpgImagine one day you walk into your bosses office, and she tells you that she needs you to lead the newest and biggest change initiative in the company. It’s brand new, it’s sponsored by the CEO, the board is behind it, and there is no one better than you in the company to lead the team. All the opportunity you could hope for, along with all the risk!

Where would you start? Clearly this opportunity has many challenges including the validity of the strategy / initiative, funding, schedule, scope, politics, and adoption by the stakeholders. In this post, let’s focus on that last piece adoption.

In this new role, how will you win the hearts and minds of the employees so that they embrace the change and become devout evangelists not energy-sucking vampires? Let’s consider the use of gamification to increase adoption of the change. I propose that your change management efforts are ripe for Gamification.

Wikipedia defines gamification as “the use of game-thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts in order to engage users and solve problems. Gamification is used in applications and processes to improve user engagement, ROI, data quality, timeliness, and learning.”

Gamification has several attributes that make it perfect for your change management efforts.

It’s social. Change management efforts require thorough stakeholder analysis and comprehensive communication plans with well designed messages to address the stakeholders. All of these are required to make your initiative “become social” within your enterprise. With the advent of social media, you get a simplification of this work. Leverage social media capabilities in your change management efforts, and you are one step closer to gamifying your change.

It’s competitive. In social games there is a degree of winners and losers. A little healthy competition is frequently a good thing. However, within this context, the competition is less about “I win, you lose” and more about “We all are making progress against the goals of the initiative and racking up some points along the way!” Are you providing the opportunity for everyone to win a badge through your change? Does everyone get to accumulate points, extra rounds, extended time?

It’s rewarding. Everyone likes to win, why not give everyone a chance to cross the finish line a champion? When everyone wins a badge, a round, a race, or trophy they are a champion for a moment. After all, leading change, is not about everyone crossing the finish line at precisely the same time, it’s about building and sustaining momentum thereby moving your stakeholders closer and closer to the finish line. Reward them along the way! If it’s not clicking yet, give Foursquare a try to see if you can become the mayor of somewhere!

It’s fun! When is the last time you said to a colleague in work “Wow, that change project was a blast!! What an expereince!” Why not? Why don’t we aspire to the same experience you have playing Temple Run or Angry Birds. How might you and the team you are leading feel if their change project was just a little more like Temple Run? Let’s make it more fun for our stakeholders!

Maybe you are leading a large change initiative now as a change / project manager or sponsor. Take a bold step and consider “how can I gamify my change project?” Get on your favorite mobile device and play a game, see how you feel about it and imagine that feeling in your stakeholders. Then, try it and let me know how it goes!

20130119-151135.jpg

Tend to Your Goldfish


English: The fish bowl 日本語: 金魚鉢

As we turn over the calendar and enter the new year, many thoughts are focused on renewal. It is customary for our societies to set new goals and make new resolutions for the coming year. You may have already updated your goals or agreed your New Year’s resolution. Or perhaps, you have yet to finalize them. Either way, I hope you will allow some room for one more in 2013: Tend to your goldfish!

“The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health. Yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants it.” – Patrick Lencioni from The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything.

Metaphorically, think of your organizational health as the water in which the fish swim, where the fish are the employees and the water is the culture or organizational health of the company. If the quality of the water degrades, what happens to the quality of the fish? What needs to be done to maintain healthy water? How frequently do you need to tend to the water? The fish? What happens to the water when you add new fish? More fish? When do you need to get a new bowl?

Let’s extend the metaphor to our favorite topic of business change. Transformations that are big, bold, and daring compel the leadership team to be equally big, bold, and daring. Great achievements require great leaders! Now, take a deep breath. The good news is that every all-star, expert, or thought leader was a novice at some point in their life. The difference is that they found something and invested in it. I believe that we all have unique value to contribute to society, your company, family, community, etc. Within the context of a transformation, your call to action for 2013 could be to create your own single greatest advantage: organizational health by tending to the goldfish!

  • It is simple: Launch an employee engagement campaign in your office, department, or team. Ignite the fire and let it grow.
  • It is free: A smile, kindness, passion for our customers, honesty with ourselves, and being genuine don’t cost us anything.
  • Available to anyone who wants it: What you give out will be returned to you two times.

Your organizational health is in your hands. Don’t settle. Be a great leader every day, by growing a healthy organizational that benefits your customers, employees, and owners! In 2013, don’t ignore this. What can you do to grow a healthy organization for your company? How will you care and feed for the fish and the fish bowl?

Create Purpose. Create Relationships. Create Engagement.


Purpose.com Pumpkinfest

 

Each of us have experiences within the context of the video below. We all volunteer, give back to our communities, or do things simply because we enjoy them. Said another way, we live our lives with purpose.

 

Our shareholders have a purpose for investing in us. Our employees have a purpose for working with us. And, our customers have a purpose for buying from us.

 

With this in mind, we are called to create the purpose for our teams in order to shape our shareholder, employee, and customer value propositions. While creating a purpose in your organization has many desirable effects, I want to focus on the correlation of purpose to relationships to engagement.

 

By creating a purpose, we create an opportunity for our teams to build a relationship with the company on a professional, personal, and even an emotional level.

 

  • Professional – A fair exchange of value for money exists. Your skills and role are matched.
  • Personal – A sense of pride comes through, where the employer offers value beyond compensation to include things like learning, attractive experiences, and shared beliefs/culture.
  • Emotional – In these situations, you likely work with people whom you consider some of your closest friends. Said another way, you likely have shared experiences in your work life that reflect relationships and experiences similar to high school or college.

 

Through purpose, you plant the seed of employee engagement that can grow to bear the fruit of professional, personal, and emotional engagement. Of course, you need more than purpose (e.g. values, culture, etc.) for the fruit to ripen, but it all starts with purpose. In turn, engagement of your teams ultimately translates into great products and customer service, thus fulfilling the stakeholder, customer, and employee value propositions mentioned above.

 

What do you do to create an environment to work together with a purpose? Start with purpose, and invest in employee engagement to position your team to delivery the best possible products and services to your customers.

 

 

Words + Actions = Trust.


How do you create an environment of trust in your teams? Whether you have a new team or a team that has worked together for many years, how much time do you spend as a leader building trust?

20120707-130627.jpg

Trust should be a competitive differentiator in your team. Of course! Who would debate that statement? However, easier said than done.

Think about the last 3-4 years and the erosion of trust in our society. What feelings do these words arouse in you: Enron, Madoff, Martha Stewart, Financial Bailout?

Our opportunity as leaders of change is to create teams that inspire trust with our internal (employees, managers, colleagues) and external (customers, suppliers, partners) teammates. Try some of these ideas:

  • Create your opportunity for trust with words, then follow with action.
  • Choose to believe in your teammates and tell them that you do.
  • Model trust. Be trustworthy. Do as you say and say a you do.
  • Seek opportunities to create trust in individual, small team, and large team settings.
  • Bring teammates into your planning / actions / tasks. Let them put a fingerprint on the work of the team.
  • Delegate. Sharing responsibility with others demonstrates that you at a minimum, want to trust them.
  • Be candid and dispassionate. Honesty in communications without emotional interference can be a powerful leadership technique.
  • Have courage to be more trusting of others than they might be of you. Allow yourself to carefully demonstrate trust in others that might extend beyond your current relationship today.

To the extent that you can create a culture of trust within your teams you position your customers to consume that trust. Remember, being a customer of a company is a good mirror to what it is like to be an employee of that same company.

Are you a crow or an eagle?


Deutsch: Fänge eines Riesenseeadlers (Haliaeet...
Image via Wikipedia

Conflict in organizational change is a common happening. Its unavoidable, and its healthy when handled professionally. Recall from your experiences times when the conflict is brought to your desk or office. What was your reaction? What did your reaction say about you? How you deal with conflict is one of the most significant characteristics you demonstrate as a leader.

Consider the case of the crow and the eagle. The crow is a smaller bird with significant maneuverability. The eagle is a large bird with great physical strength.

The crow brings conflict to many in the world, certainly farmers and for the purposes of this discussion / analogy, eagles as well. How does the eagle react? It could use its greater strength to confront the crow and engage in the conflict. It could attempt to use its talons to crush the crow much like it does to catch fish from a river. Both of these are certainly viable methods of dealing with conflict, and they both communicate a demeanor about the eagle.

One other way the eagle can deal with the conflict is to rise above it. Due to this same physical strength, eagles have been spotted flying much higher in the air than a crow. Rising above the conflict, to an altitude where the crow cannot fly is an interesting method of dealing with the conflict. And it communicates a different demeanor than the direct aggressive frontal attack.

So, how do you deal with conflict? Are you the crow, bringing conflict into the situation or are you the eagle? As the eagle, do you engage your talons or your wings to soar over the conflict?

There are always times to use your talons to engage and times to use your wings to soar over the conflict. Knowing when and where to do either is a key to your success in dealing with conflict.