Passion…Purpose…Process. A Relentless Commitment to Something Meaningful

Passion…Purpose…Process

When I come across a company who clearly knows who they are and why they are in business, I always take notice. After a little bit of research, I placed my first order with Farmdrop in order to experience their organic farm fresh offerings.

I was not disappointed by the quality and service. More importantly, as I unpacked my groceries (delivered right to my door when they said they would) I noticed a small newspaper in the bottom of one of the paper bags. It was the Spring 2020 edition of the Farmdrop news. This newspaper was full of great articles and recipes. I came across an article called, “The Books Behind our Mission”.  I was drawn into the story and the passion and purpose described by their founder; Ben Pugh.

After working for over 30 years to assist companies to find meaning, purpose, and passion and to develop their leaders within that alignment, I believe there is now reason to be optimistic.  Ben clearly knows why he does what he does and how it brings value to all of the stakeholders, including a larger community, touched by their work, even if they don’t know it.  This is only one example of a company doing good things.

From farmer to my home I could feel and see the commitment to biodiversity, reduction in plastic use, ethical farming, support to growers and the larger community in which they operate.  Many of you who know our work, have seen us use the water droplet symbol in our marketing. This is because our goal is to have a ripple effect of positive impact and meaning to everyone we come in contact with. Farmdrop is having a ripple effect for sure and I am pleased to say they now have a new and very happy customer.

Companies who find new footing,  as Covid-19 settles in, are going to be organizations with a clear passion, purpose and process. They look at everything they do and ensure it connects back and integrates. Everything from values, behaviours, practices, structure, and most importantly the human connection to all of their contributors. The company footprint will truly matter to them. They will be eager to understand the ripple effect that occurs when employees, customers and the larger community interact with them. They will be able to clearly articulate that ripple effect and will be optimistic that there are positive ripples they will never know about.

If you and your company are struggling to find your footing, as you re-enter the workplace, know that you are not alone and that transformation takes time, commitment and a willingness to embrace change wholeheartedly. Grace and ease should be words that resonate.

Start with Passion, look to Purpose and then define Process. Be clear, be concise and then link everything initiative back to your 3 P’s.

The Bounty of Life

As someone who has spent the last 30 years working with corporate leaders globally in understanding the broader spectrum of our world beyond the boundaries of turnover and ROI I was taken by the recent LinkedIn Article, posted by Serious Lynx entitled, “Harvesting Your Personal Network”. https://seriouslynx.com/a-different-kind-of-summer-trip/   Our goal has always been to stretch leaders thinking beyond what they could have imagined.

I have made many interesting choices over the years as I have searched, experimented and incorporated a unique balance of brain-science and heart-centered approach to our work. This often included trying new things and stepping way outside my comfort zone. One of those new things was becoming a vegetarian and then vegan for many years. With my continuous focus on being intentional and deliberate in all choices, thoughts and emotions, changing my diet was just one more thing to become very intentional about.

So, when I read the article, I was immediately drawn into a reflection on the continuous changes we are going to see over the coming years as a result of this global pandemic. Many of us have had the chance to reflect, slow down and consider what is really important in our lives. People reconnected with family and children in a way they had not done for some time. We all began to cook in our own kitchens again and mealtime became an important family ritual once more. The idea of not being able to get the amazing bounty of fruits and vegetables from the fields and into our homes felt very heavy. This is not just a UK problem but will be a concern in many developed countries where we have relied on foreign workers to do this task each season.  Each identified new change as a result of our present situation will need to be looked at with curiosity, creativity, compassion, love and ingenuity.

During the first week of the pandemic lock downs some said to me, “I don’t understand the craziness around buying toilet paper. Toilet paper will be the last of our concerns if we can’t get food, we need to focus on what really matters. In fact, we won’t need any toilet paper if the food chain is drastically impacted”. I laughed and yet at the same time felt a sense of realism and ground awareness of the truth.

I wondered how business could assist in filling our fields and orchards with young people who could have a completely new experience, doing something meaningful and important. Yes, this is a really big change and completely unexpected, but it is now upon us. This is just one of many changes we all will face as our world adjusts to each new opportunity that Covid-19 presents.

I would love to hear your ideas how business could support this initiative. Let’s make a long list and then see how we could support in solving this important challenge. With a looming global recession how could business support young people in getting the work experience they want and need while also keeping our food chain moving along smoothly.

The Rising Consciousness Level

 

We are an evolving species, so what does this mean for business?

It is hard to ignore the rising level of consciousness around the world. A focus on things that truly matter, a Z Generation that is vocal, committed and unwavering and a 2020 virus that slowed even the busiest people down.

We have had a unique opportunity to truly reflect, consider and make choice over the past 4 months. What I notice is that the rising consciousness that we have seen with the leaders we work with, was now more visible amongst a larger network. In other words, as people slowed downed, they connected more with themselves, and their direct family.  People also began to consider what really matters to them.

There is a renewed focus on the environment, inclusion, true diversity, balance, grace and ease. People are asking themselves some hard questions about what really matters to them and their families. As a result, corporations must take a hard look at their practices, culture, structure and the working ecosystem. The words that come to mind are, flexible, fluid, flatter, open, transparent, adaptable, less structured, humble, with a focus on connection.

At the core of the successful future business will be purpose, passion and values that are demonstrated clearly through behaviour.

Normal??

What is normal? We hear over and over again, “returning to normal” or “the new normal”. I believe that the questions are always more important than the answers. So, it dawned on me, what is normal?  Who decides what is normal?

Is normal a predetermined set of rules or norms imposed by society, business, church, community, government, and family? Do most of us simply succumb to normal without a lot of thought? What is considered normal in one community may not be considered normal in another community. So, what is normal, I wonder?

I find myself reflecting on the term paradox. What was true yesterday may not be true today. What was true today may not be true tomorrow. So why do we get stuck in the so-called normal or today’s truth. Science would tell us that our brains are seeking certainty in order to feel a sense of calm and balance. However, if we seek certainty from our outer world it means there must be standard norms, that we can look to, in order to feel a sense of safety or security.

If we had a clear sense of inner certainty, would the outer world and its norms have less impact on us?  Would you be in a better position to create your own norms and determine your own set of truths.

As I speak with leaders in a variety of sectors and countries one thing seems clear and that is there is no real normal and that things are reinventing themselves in new ways every single day.  How can we become truly adaptable and yet still feel a sense of certainty? The only answer that appears to me is that certainty must come from the inside. We must create a sense of internal peace and balance regardless of the outer world and its condition. I’m not suggesting that we turn a blind eye or stick our head in the sand but I am suggesting that as the world unfolds and paradox becomes our new awareness we will need to turn inward and seek our own truth, our own normal, and empower ourselves to make decisions that are heart centred and simply feel right.

Purpose Driven…Values Based Organizational Culture

Many organizations have been forced to reflect on their organizational culture, purpose and values as they navigate through these very difficult times.  While some are saying, “when things get back to normal” …others are saying, “how can we prepare for a future that is completely unknown and what are the opportunities that lie ahead”. 

In speaking with clients in Canada, USA and Europe there is a wide range of views on what the future might look like, but one thing seems to be bubbling up to the top over and over again. There is a sense that things will never be the same again and that Purpose, Values and a True Passion for what we do and why we do it is going to be at the forefront for organizations that move through Covid and well beyond. There is a sense that creating a meaningful reason for people to engage in work that is well beyond money will be critical.  Through this crisis employees, vendors and customers have experienced the best of organizational culture and the worst and everything in between. How an employer has navigated through the crisis says a lot about the organization, their values and their approach to those that have been contributing to their success.

The conversation around Purpose, Passion and Values has been near and dear to us for many years. We have seen first-hand how employees will engage in something that they believe in for an employer who actually lives each and every day from a place of clearly articulated behaviours that align with values and purpose. The word behaviour is rarely used in the workplace unless it comes up in a conversation around poor behaviour or unwanted behaviour. Rarely do employers understand and measure behaviour that is clearly aligned with purpose, and values.

There is a simple and yet highly effective way to understand this correlation.

Values…drive behaviour..

Behaviour drives culture…

Culture drives performance!

This is not a difficult concept but one that is rarely given the attention it needs and deserves. Now more than ever, we need to roll up our sleeves and get very clear about who we are and how we act, react and engage with employees, vendors, customers, and our community at large. This will become the ongoing work for companies of the future that thrive post Covid and for many years to come.

Transforming Culture …Transforming Results

Transformation is the only thing that keeps us moving forward, evolving and growing personally and professionally. Corporate stagnation is the route to slowed growth and in the worst cases complete irrelevancy.

Progressive organizations are always exploring, seeking new opportunities and have a deep understanding of the importance of innovation and transformation. If you look at the 100-year-old corporations that are still around you will find companies that knew when and how to transform and reinvent themselves.  The old heritage companies that did not do this are no longer in existence or are slowly losing their place in the market.

Transformation has never been as important as it is today. Everything around us is changing at the speed of light and so organizations need to take a close look at their corporate culture and ask the really hard questions around sustainability, retention of talent and most importantly attraction of future intellect and our younger generations.

If we think the Millennials have been challenging to assimilate, we haven’t seen anything yet. The generation coming right behind them will push the boundaries even more. Balance, connection, alignment, ease, grace, integrity and sustainability will the theme of the next generation. We need to be careful not to immediately go to judgement as these words do not mean lower productivity, lower engagement or lack of interest. In fact, in most cases they mean something quite the opposite.  This new generation want to be challenged intellectually, they want to work hard and contribute in a meaningful way. However, they also have a clear understanding of the type of environment they want to work in. They don’t believe that you need to work yourself to death or make tons of money in order to be fulfilled.  Happiness is paramount to them and the leading indicator of success is in fact their personal happiness. This is not a bad thing as research is clear, positive energy and a person’s happiness is the route to better decision making, learning and innovation.

Taking a close look at how you prepare your organization for the New World Leadership Environment is critical. Transforming culture, to one that will attract and retain talent and keep productivity and performance at the forefront is something that we all need to be embracing right now. Moving from older energy culture to new energy culture does not have to be difficult or expensive. It does, however, require a clear strategy.

Leaders Demonstrate (Live) Values….

Values Dictate Behaviour….

Behaviour Creates Culture

Culture Predicts Performance

Creating a New World LeadershipTM environment is one of the best and most effective ways to transform culture and create amazing results. The right leadership strategy creates a workplace where every contributor can share ideas, be innovative and on the lookout for new opportunity and/or product lines in a safe and trusting environment.

What’s Your Leadership Strategy? How are you preparing for the future?  We would love to start a conversation and learn from our community the different ways you are transforming culture.

Curiouser and Curiouser – As a Leader are you engaging your curiosity to build a Culture of Accountability with your team?

 

When Alice fell down the rabbit hole, she set off on an adventure, that would lead her to make this statement. With each new discovery, and the more curious that she became, the more curious and stranger Wonderland seemed to her.

She did more than step out of her comfort zone and did more than ask standard questions to get basic information, and the dialogue of Lewis Carroll’s classic is anything but straightforward. How often as leaders, do we miss opportunities to explore and grow with our team, and with our organization because our questions are looking for ‘just the facts’ rather than exploring the potential thought-provoking richness of the answers?

I am not suggesting that we stop looking for facts, data, and evidence-based approaches to support successful organizational growth, nor engaging in a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at the next staff meeting. However, I invite you to consider how increasing your curiosity within your leadership role can be a place of untapped personal and organizational growth.

Within New World LeadershipTM we begin by learning about ourselves, so we may better learn about, and work with, others. We ask ourselves hard and heartfelt questions. Our first layer of curiosity is to explore why we do what we do. What are our driving forces? How do they manifest in our beliefs, behaviours, actions, and interactions? Conversations that occur between leaders in our sessions reveal that often people with similar motivations act on them differently, or those who are behaving similarly are doing so for very different reasons, and likely getting different results. We come to realize that things we recognize in others may instead be our own projections: places, where we think we don’t need to ask a question, can instead become our greatest locations for unintended misunderstanding.

By starting with ourselves, and sharing this exploration in curiosity, the transformation begins. We examine how we currently lead ourselves, and then move to discover how this informs our engagement of curiosity in relationship to others. We investigate, and challenge, the very questions, and contexts, we use in these relationships, to see if we really are getting the answers and engagement needed for success and a culture of personal accountability.

Curiosity and vulnerability are sources of growth and accountability in Transformational Leadership.

A recent project with a client to create an engaged and accountable corporate culture is taking their leadership, and their organization, on an enlightening journey. The leadership team are living and embodying the curiosity which they explored in their Transformational Leadership process. Knowing that culture is created based on how beliefs, behaviours, and actions are embodied by leadership, and wanting to ensure that engagement and shared values are part of this new collective culture of accountability, these leaders are finding themselves asking new questions and in new ways. They are reflecting on past engagement practices and challenging themselves with new ones in a process that balances structure and measurable tasks and goals, with organic curiosity, and adaptation to responses, to ensure the value of the questions and richness of response, and outcomes.

Their leadership is recognizing places where old energy practices, formats, tools, and expectations cannot provide them the answers, or the corporate culture, that they strive to create.

They are engaged in a process of curiosity, about themselves, and their organization from the frontlines to the C-Suite. Having recognized that even with their shared values as a leadership team, there is diversity in their driving forces and methods for getting results. They know that similar diversity exists throughout their organization. They are using their curiosity to learn more about that diversity and how to best engage their entire team in a process of culture creation. They are going down rabbit holes and asking questions that they may never have foreseen before this process, and certainly not before their own Transformational Leadership experience.

Their journey is an ongoing one, and the results to date are insightful and inspiring. One inspiring part of this process is watching Leaders use their curiosity. They are exploring better ways to learn about what motivates others, and what meets the collective needs of the team in a collaborative process where dialogue, curiosity, exploration, and vulnerability are encouraged. Providing the tools and context to facilitate a Transformational Leadership process for an organization is a rewarding and heartfelt experience for us at Change Innovators. What reinforces our commitment to what we do is when we see Leaders use those tools to further cultivate their skills personally, and within others. Here we are witnessing the seeds of a culture of accountability be sown. All because they are empowered by their own curiosity, and open to the adventures and growth that will follow.

Are you brave enough to be just as curious with your team?

Sharon Blady Ph.D.,

Faculty Change Innovators Inc

Why is Leadership Development So Hard?

Everything we have ever known about leadership and management is being challenged. Our hard-wired beliefs about how to improve performance and create engagement is being pushed to the limits every day of every week.

Leadership Development is a completely new game if you want to have a sustainable transformational impact that is felt at every level. Here are just a few of the things we are being challenged with.

Tell vs. Sell vs. Simply Make a Connection

We have moved from a tell mentality to a sell (buy-in) mentality to one that is about making a real connection. A leader’s ability to make a meaningful connection with team members is crucial to building a high-performance team. As a species, we have a natural and innate need for connection. This is a brand-new skill for many leaders and one that takes time and often a completely new look at relationships at work.

Feedback Doesn’t Work?

Recent studies show that feedback doesn’t work. OMG… who would have thought. If we really think about it, this does make complete sense. How do you feel when someone says, “Can we chat for a moment?”. If you are a frontline employee or frontline supervisor and you hear these words, I want to meet to give you some feedback, from your boss it can invoke a rush of cortisol that impacts brain function. Then we wonder why our feedback sessions don’t really work. We still hear leaders refer to the sh…t sandwich. OMG

Action Combined with the Right Energy vs. Instructions and Expectations

Leaders are being watched, observed and monitored by their employees every single day. What we do and how we do it matters significantly more then what we say. The leader’s energy tells the story and the story is what matters. Energy management is at the core of great leadership.

Self-Development vs. Developing Others

How can any leader believe that their role is to develop others when they won’t take the self-development to challenge themselves? Creditability and authenticity are at stake very time a leader tries to push, pull and / or coach another towards development when they themselves are unwilling to be on the self-evolution pathway.

As artificial intelligence and machine learning are on the rise so is our need to fully understand the human condition, positive human psychology and what the human truly needs to be in a state of high performance. We are being challenged to step up to the leadership plate in a way we have never been asked to before.

We hope you take the challenge. Our New World Leadership Series is coming to your city.
Please check out the cities, times and locations at https://changeinnovators.com/leadership

The Power and Vulnerability of Leading Self

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.” Brené Brown
When we think of leadership, and leadership development, how often do we think about power and strength, rather than vulnerability? Power and strength are seen as assets and vulnerability as a liability. But is that really the case? Are we missing out on transformational and powerful leadership by not addressing, and exploring our vulnerability as leaders?

Traditionally leadership development focuses on how to lead others, but how can we do something for others, if we can’t even do it for ourselves first?

Transformational Leadership is more than ‘practice what you preach’ or modeling behaviors, it is about being a leader that others want to follow. We do this by embodying strength through our willingness to explore vulnerability as part of personal and leadership development.

Leading is a verb, an action. We are truly a leader when others choose to follow us, not because of a title, giving direction, or that they are direct reports. The first step in exploring our vulnerability as leaders is recognizing how much is out of our control. This includes the reality that team members choose whether or not to follow. In accepting that and embracing what we can control – Leading Self – we demonstrate the ‘courage to show up.’

It is easy to pick up lists of “do’s and don’ts” for managing others. It is much more powerful to consider one’s emotional intelligence, areas where one relies too heavily on strengths or avoids places of potential growth. This exploration is crucial to Leading Self, and where openness to vulnerability provides potential for strengthening our leadership capacities. In Leading Self, we are liberated and empowered.

Leading Self is also the first-step in the creation of an Accountability Culture in an organization. In such an environment, teams are also liberated and empowered. We can’t give them something we don’t have – we have to Lead Self before we can lead others.

As leaders, our courage to Lead Self by exploring, and growing from our vulnerability, is one of the greatest strengths we can offer our teams, our organizations, and ourselves.

Accountability and Culture… What’s Really Going On?

 

When we take the time to ask ourselves the really hard questions while digging deep for answers we often find truths that we never considered. Many of the results we get in our corporate cultures are unintentional. Meaning that we never set out to create environments where people feel disempowered, with minimal control and where the victim mentality can thrive and yet this is often exactly the environment created.

All we have to do is look at the number of policies and procedures we have combined with the layers of management. Then consider how little most organizations know about human behavior, optimal brain function, resiliency and high performance attributes. It is no wonder so many leaders struggle to make a real connection with their team contributors.

Breaking this down is so much easier then we think. Ask yourself what do I need to feel engaged? What do I need to feel connected? What do I need to truly feel trust and trusted. What are all the attributes one really needs to feel a true sense of belonging. Then ask yourself why would my employees want anything less.

Leaders have to ask themselves, what do I believe about human behavior? What are my biases and how did I come to these conclusions. Most of what we know and believe was given to us by well meaning parents, grandparents, managers, clergy, and community leaders. The question is; are they actually my beliefs or someone else’s. Did I accidently and unintentionally adopt these beliefs because it is what I was told over and over again until I firmly believed it to be true.

Unknowingly and unintentionally we often find leaders using shame, guilt, fear, consequences, subtle threats, expectations, politics to name only a few. This is not because leaders are bad, mean or nasty but more often they are leaders who learned this from their managers and their managers manager. The old heavy energy of corporate life can be riddled with undesired, unwanted and unintentional behavior that is rewarded. It is what many leaders have personally experienced.

When a leader learns to go inside, to that quiet place underneath it all and ask themselves what is the right thing to do in this moment; Slowly reflecting while listening to that inner voice. Everything changes. Humans have innate goodness and a sense of compassion and love that goes beyond any corporate endeavor however most have not been encouraged to tap into this side of our humanness at work. We also have been taught to run at break-neck speed with quantity over quality at the core of performance. Or worse a sense of perfection combined with quantity. Lets pretend to be perfect while we compete to see who can do the most work. Learning the skills of quiet reflection…presence… inner voice listening is easy but takes some practice. The moment we begin to do this consistently we begin to see our role as leaders completely differently. We change our approach and begin to build the necessary relationships where contributors want and do take full responsibility for the outcomes they get. This is human nature at it’s best.

Working at the executive level in Canada, USA and Europe we have seen culture shifts that are so remarkable and almost impossible to imagine as leaders, teams and entire organizations re-invent themselves through a simple yet highly effective process. We don’t teach anything the leaders don’t already know; we simply become the signposts for what is already there. We hold the mirror and create a safe space for leaders to become exactly who they have always been!

#leadselfandtherestwillfollow #lifechangingleadership #newworldleadership