Many leaders I come in contact with seem to operate from a “throw it at the wall” approach. When I’ve challenged managers and supervisors on their lack of planning, lack of time is one of the main excuses. So, they continue to throw things at the wall and are surprised when nothing of importance sticks.
In this time of economic uncertainty it’s seems to me the time spent navel gazing, gossiping, looking for dark clouds, and generally being negative, could be better spent in planning. Ten-minutes of solid individual or group planning will bring more results than all the chatter and “what ifs” can ever bring. Effective planning will also cut down on what many spend most of their day doing—redo!
My schedule as a leadership trainer is split between conducting sessions and working on my business, which includes planning new sessions. When I’m conducting sessions my clients have my undivided attention. My business operation takes a back seat. So, when I’m not in front of clients I must use my time effectively. As much as I hate it, I schedule my tasks and my time so I’m as effective as possible. For someone who can be a very random thinker, this is hard work.
Picture an expert juggler you may have seen at a convention, a circus, or a lounge performance. Now picture yourself on stage. In your role as the leader, hopefully not just a manager, you are a juggler. Leadership is the juggling contest. Each one of us can only keep a certain number of balls in the air at one time. Think of yourself as the juggler— 3, 4, 5, or six balls in the air. Those balls represent projects. Add a new project and make that ball a new color. Which of the previous six are you going to drop or pass on to another juggler? Maybe the other juggler isn’t as good as you are, maybe the person is a novice or maybe the person’s better. What will happen to that project you cared about?
We’re all jugglers in leadership, juggling projects, juggling people, juggling time. How many of you would think of getting on stage in front of 10, 20, 100, or 200 people having never taken any training in juggling? The reality is any juggler has to have training and put in hours of practice, practice, and more practice. What training have you had lately and what training have you provided to your people?
Conversation makes the world go round. Good conversation makes life an incredible journey. Leaders who understand the art of conversation tend to be inspiring leaders. If you’re struggling with your conversations or if you just want to continually improve, I recommend Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott.
I learned a long time ago that how I talk has a direct impact on how effective I am as a leader. Only recently have I discovered Susan’s book and I know my conversation skills have gotten even better since I began applying her principles.
Fierce Conversations is all about achieving success at work and in life, one conversation at a time. If you want to learn how to interrogate reality, come out from behind yourself, and to take responsibility for your emotional wake, pick up this book.
To learn more about fierce conversations, check out www.fierceconversations.com
There’s a new, international movement to bring compassion back into our lives. Read the charter below and then visit the website.
Charter for Compassion
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.