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Monthly Archives: March 2013

What? An Old, Out-Of-Touch Institution Demonstrates The Number 1 Twenty-First Century Mega Trend?

Un-Game Principle: Authentic leaders know the importance of inner work. Self-mastery opens the gate to extraordinary results.

Woman Riding Galloping HorseIt’s been said “Ride the horse in the direction it’s going.” Anyone who’s ever tried to control a run-away horse will agree with that advice. And so it is with a mega trend. Resist trying to control it. It’s hopeless. A mega trend is a trend that’s reached a tipping point and thereby becomes unstoppable.

We’ve been fascinated with mega trends at least as long as John Naisbitt’ and Patricia Aburdene’s Megatrends was an international best seller in 1982. In Patricia’s more recent book, Megatrends 2010, The Rise of Conscious Capitalism, she identifies the #1 megatrend of the 21st century as spirituality.  Spirituality  here is not synonymous with religion but rather with a search for meaning,  purpose, and revival in this time of shameless assault on the principles that serve the public good. Aburdene asserts, as others have recently, that capitalism can be the good guy which does no harm, not just to itself, human life, and to our planetary umbilical chord that sustains all life. Conscious Capitalism, anyone?

In times of massive change and uncertainty people turn inward.  We ask provocative and penetrating questions. And we want leaders whom we trust. Those leaders who have a broad view but with whom we can identify. Leaders who we think are more like us.

So it’s no surprise that the world is watching the new pope and being thrilled that he is more like us. Pope Frances pays his own hotel bills, takes public transportation, personally greets his parishioners. His humble, down-to-earth leadership is like water cooling a hot stone.

It’s not only the Catholic Church that’s desperate to regain the public trust. We too are desperate. We want leaders who will make our shredded trust in public institutions whole again. We no longer want to give our leaders a pass when their bloated salaries and benefit packages are 500 times ours (Whole Foods, John Mackey’s salary is only 19 times his managers’ I’ve heard). We never thought their work was actually worth that. With recent fiascos we no longer just think it. We know it for certain.

We want leaders who have enough compassion to ask themselves the question “If I were bound by the same rules that we’re instituting as policy, would I support them?”  So if Marissa Mayer didn’t have the option to build a nursery next to her office, would she be as likely to ban employees from working from home (By the way, companies in Germany have had on site day care for children for decades.)?

We don’t only want leaders to be more like us. It helps, of course, because we feel safer and more connected. This is someone we know. What’s more important, however, is that the leader be authentic, and that’s ultimately what the spirituality in all our affairs is all about. Authenticity.  Self-mastery.We trust people who dare to be themselves and who have the self-knowledge to intentionally call upon their best self. I say ‘dare’ because it is an act of courage to get off the horse on the merry-go-round. I use ‘merry-go-round’ because the leadership we’ve been witnessing for quite some time is not a new mega trend. It’s an old rut. Round and round we go doing what we’ve always done. It’s standard, customary, and unchallenged, at least in recent memory.

The leader who challenges the standard and customary gets off the merry-go-round. How come they can? They have trained themselves to have an inner life. They are self-aware, can self-observe, and act from values and principles no matter what. They have will, and they have wisdom. Bluster and arrogance don’t light their fire.

These leaders communicate in action not in words that they are their COMMITMENT, not their narcissistic DESIRES. They may have those desires, but they call upon their will and their wisdom to keep those in check. Pope Frances’ small but powerful actions in his first week of the papacy demonstrated in action his commitment to a new-to-the-Vatican type of leadership. His meta-message is one we hunger for from all our leaders: “We’re in this together. We’re a team. United we stand. Divided we fall. I will unite not divide us.” It’s leadership ultimately based on love, connection, and the valuing of life. It’s spiritual leadership. And we will see more of it. And mercifully, not only in church.

For what spiritual leadership looks like in action, read Mid-Course Correction, the story of Ray Anderson and Interface. For a fictional account of 4 simple choices that open the gate to self-mastery, authenticity, and extraordinary results, read The Un-Game: Four-Play to Business As UNusual. And check out John Mackey’s 2013 Conscious Capitalism as well as Mega Trends 2010,  The Rise of Conscious Capitalism for many examples of companies who are ‘riding the horse in the direction it’s going.’

Ingrid Martine, MA, PCC, author of The Un-Game and mind-ZENgineering coach works with organizations and individuals to empower them to move their lives from a 7 to 10 at work, home, and play.  For her FREE report, “Reap the Harvest of a Quiet Mind:  Empower Self, Empower Others”, or “Management Training for Business as Unusual”, visit:  http://www.yourleadersedge.com, or connect with Ingrid at:  www.Twitter.com/ingrid_martine and www.facebook.com/coachmartine. 

Coaching Your Team to Success (Part 3)

13-03-13 Coaching Your TeamWhether you’re a corporate manager, a teacher, or a parent, you know more than you think you do about “coaching your team” to success, especially if you’re an American fan of team sport. The skill required is transferring knowledge from one domain to another. Try it.

Does your team have all of the support it needs to be successful?

When a team steps onto the field, they have support for playing the game. The field is ready and the equipment on hand.

How are you doing in providing support for your team? Have you invested in the technology needed to reach your goals?  When was the last time your support staff was offered training? If you’re a teacher or a parent, do any of your charges need tutoring on past skills to be successful in keeping up with current demands?

Have you asked your team what support they need to improve their performance? By providing the support they request, each person will be motivated. If you don’t see how their request will serve the team, ask. Perhaps “the how” will become clear to you. And the team member will focus on doing what they’re best at. If so, your entire team will benefit.

Is your team following the rules of the game?

Are you a well-respected leader? Does your team have a reputation of playing dirty? Is your team admired by the competition for being good opponents? Do you violate your values on “technicalities?”

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, consider what you’re willing to do to find out. The failure of our biggest financial institutions and the recent more and more common exposures of “dirty play” (See lead article in March 4, 2013 Time magazine on rip-off health care charges) are prime examples of what happens when those responsible ignore these inquiries or refuse to act on the information they receive.

To have a team with enduring success and to attract professionals with high standards of integrity, become a model for integrity.

Does your team huddle regularly?

How often do you connect with others on your team? Would you know if one of your team members had experienced a death or a serious illness in their family?

Who is invited into the conversation? Is it only on a quarterly basis? The leadership only? Do you routinely include support staff or seven suppliers when they have valuable contributions to make to the discussion?

Inclusiveness and the diversity of those at the table will ensure multiple perspectives, and multiple perspectives are better than one or two. Do you ask to be challenged? Do you play devil’s advocate? Challenge can be a great form of support. The more engaged everyone is in the conversation, the more rigorous the inquiry and the better the ultimate decisions.

Do you relentlessly work your players until someone is injured?

Workaholism abounds, and we secretly think it’s an admirable strategy. It’s not. It’s the foolhardy coach who works the members of the team without rest. How often do your people skip breaks? Eat lunch at their desk? Work 7 or more days in a row?

When leadership doesn’t encourage rest and rejuvenation you begin to see anxiety, stress-related illness, or substance abuse in response to being relentlessly driven. That’s a no brainer, so act on knowing this truth.

To keep the members of your team healthy, take responsibility for insisting that there be a work environment where every player is required to sit on the bench. You’ll have a much greater depth to your team. In the last few minutes of play this could be a critical advantage.

Are there cheerleaders for everyone on the team?

In a workaholic environment people easily forget a most important truth—people feel more and more invisible, and they are hungry to be acknowledged. As a manager you’re in the position to let others know how much you value what they bring to their work. You can make it clear where and how their efforts are a real contribution. The more specific you can be, the more powerful the effect of the acknowledgment. And, of course, only where acknowledgment is merited. Empty acknowledgment is like empty calories. It doesn’t sustain us.

When people know they are valued, they will gain the yards that count. And each yard counts! When people don’t feel appreciated, they look for a place where they will be. Appreciation doesn’t have to cost money. A genuine pat on the shoulder with a friendly “Good job!” goes a surprisingly long way.

Do you celebrate your victories?

Most people are achievers, or at least they want to do a good job. For that reason alone they easily fall prey to trying to do more than is physically possible. For most people a positive self-regard is closely related to perceived success at work. What helps conserve and even enhance your team’s energy is to celebrate your victories.

Are you celebrating your team’s victories? Don’t wait for the completion of the next project. There are probably some milestones before you reach the final goal. Acknowledge those too. And when you actually score the winning point and complete the entire project, acknowledge yourself and your team before racing on to the next project. This is the single most omitted and costly step team leaders forget to take. The energy loss is tremendous. The celebration actually is a way of recouping lots of energy, so that you’re ready for the next project. As team leader it’s on you to initiate the celebrations.

In reviewing what we need to consider to coach our teams to success, are you noticing that you already know how? I hope you’ll follow your own wisdom. At the end of this or any season, you’ll be glad you did.