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Entries from June 2014

The Growth Cycle

26th June 2014
How often do you stop and think about the process of
personal growth?
If you are like I was when I was in a corporate role
probably never! You’re way to busy and just get on with what you have to do.
Your development actions become part of your task list and you may do some
reflection on the way home.
 If you follow
any process you use Kolb’s learning cycle. Whilst this is a great process to
get your head around learning it doesn’t quite address some of the deeper
things you need to consider as a leader if you want to grow. So, I thought I’d
share this process that I have taken from the work I do with archetypes.
There are basically 3 stages:
·      
Preparation
·      
Learning and Growth
·      
Application and Celebration
Preparation
Here you get clarity on what it is you want to learn or how
you want to develop. You may set a goal, an intention or outcomes and identify
any tools or support you need on the way. This includes your own mental
preparation and readiness to start.
Learning and Growth
This is almost a cycle on it’s own with four parts to it:
  1. Exploration: To experiment, study, understand, and
    discover the topic you set out to achieve.
  2.  Commitment: Determine what it is you will commit
    to. What will you do differently?
  3. Let Go: Having made the commitment let go of
    anything that no longer serves you. This may be an old habit, a belief, people
    or tools and techniques. There may also be more than one thing!
  4. Create: Start doing, being and or thinking
    differently.
You may go around this several times before you move on to
the last stage.
Application and
Celebration
The final stage is to practice and practice and practice and
celebrate your achievements. This may sound easy and it’s the one most people
do less consciously or give up if something doesn’t work.
To get good at something we have to continually fine tune
and we may also need to adapt for differing situations. So always recognise
your progress and celebrate!
“The voyage of discovery is not in seeing new landscapes, but in
having new eyes.”
Marcel Proust

Is Good Enough Enough?

19th June 2014
As a
leader you have probably spent years making things happen with the resources
you have.
In
response to projects, many organizations figure out the resources they’ve got
and then work hard to do something ‘good enough’. On time, within budget.
Meeting spec etc. etc., after all, it is your job.
You
end up, if you’re lucky, with something that
works.
Is
that enough? Is that what you are prepared to settle for? Don’t get me wrong I
know there are few perfect scenarios, however do you/we ever question what we
are faced with and adapt to produce something that is great?
As a
leader your growth and potentially recognition and promotion comes down to 2
things:
  • What
    you do with challenges
  • What
    you do with opportunities

Do
you see opportunities in challenge?
Do
you shy away from opportunities by either ignoring them or offering them to
others?
Do
you play small rather than play big?
What
is your default setting?
What’s
the next step for you to be better than good enough?
Feel
free to leave a comment with what it is for you.
And……  if you need some support and
encouragement on the way from a coach give me a call. I’m more than willing to
help you achieve things you never imagined you could.
“Awkward
is the barrier between us and excellence.”
Seth
Godin

Calling all Leaders in Pursuit of Excellence

12th June 2014
Some things are not new. They are as old as the
hills.
So, rather than share my own thoughts, on this
occasion I thought I’d share one from my collection of quotes from Epictetus.
Epictetus was a Greek philosopher (55 – 135 AD).
His view was all external events are determined by fate and therefore, we have
no control over them. We should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately……. sometimes easier said than done!!
However, individuals are responsible for their own action, which they can
examine and control through rigorous self-discipline. Here are some questions
and thoughts for you to consider from his perspective:
 
“Who exactly do you want to be?
What kind of person do you want to be?
What are your personal ideals?
Whom do you admire?
What are their special traits that you would make
your own?
It’s time to stop being vague.
If you wish to be an extraordinary person, if you
wish to become wise, then you should explicitly identify the kind of person you
aspire to become.
If you have a daybook, write down who you’re
trying to be, so that you can refer to this self-determination.
Precisely describe the demeanor you want to adopt
so that you may preserve it when you are by yourself or with other
people.”
If
you do not have a personal development plan in place yet why not use this as s
simple way to get started. Identify what you want your first step to be and
take it.
Then
on a daily or weekly basis review how you are doing. Ask yourself these
questions:
1.    What is working for you?
2.    What could you do a little better?
3.    What is your next step/action to continually improve?

Have
fun with it and celebrate your progress!

Leaders! Are you Being the Best that you can be? The 3 Building Blocks to Personal Mastery

5th June 2014
Some of you will have heard
me say this before; leadership is work in progress. By that I mean we are
always being confronted with new situations and new challenges to take on. This
may be in the form of a team member who requires some additional support and
mentoring, a stakeholder who isn’t on board yet or a new project which requires
you to learn some new skills or approach things differently. 
There are 2 approaches to all
of these situations:
1.   
To
be reactive and let the situation control and dictate what you do and where you
go, or:
2.   
To
be proactive and take charge, which requires you to first of all take charge of
your self. Not until you take charge of yourself can you begin to take charge
of others or the task in hand.
One of my fundamental beliefs is that you cannot lead and
develop others until you first learn to lead and develop your self. This is so
important because the only thing you have control of is you!!
Every human is a free spirit and has choice, so all you can
ever do is help those around you make the right choice – for them.
I realise that this may be a revelation for some of you and
if you stop and think about it I’m sure you’ll agree.
When it comes to leadership then the first place to start is
with YOU!!
If you want to continue to be at the top of your game you
have to constantly review where you are and how you are doing.

Being Proactive

This
is a discipline based on a number of key principles and practices:
·      
Your
personal vision,
·      
Your
personal mission,
·      
Playing
to your strengths
·      
Understanding
your limiting beliefs and overcoming them
Another
term for this is personal mastery.
Peter
Senge says, “Personal mastery goes beyond competence and skills…it means
approaching one’s life as a creative work, living life from a creative as
opposed to a reactive viewpoint.”


Senge
links personal mastery to effective leadership stating, “The core leadership
strategy is simple: be a model. Commit yourself to your own personal mastery.”
It
is about creating what one wants in life and in work.

Practitioners of personal mastery exhibit the following characteristics;
·  Their vision is more of a calling than
a good idea
·  They have a sense of purpose that lies
behind their goals
·  They see current reality as an ally,
not an enemy
·  They are extremely inquisitive
·  They work with, the forces of change
·   They feel connected to others and to
life itself
·  They feel they are part of a larger process
that they can influence not control

The Building Blocks

The
path to continuous improvement requires self-discipline around three building
blocks that I call the 3 C’s:
Competence : Do
you have all the skills you need to do your current role? As a leader these
tend to be soft skills rather than knowledge based skills. Do you have
sufficient knowledge to be able to do your current role or the one you aspire
too? How often do you stop and reflect?
Do you know what your next area of growth or stretch is?
Do you engage in regular feedback from those around you?
Confidence : Do
you feel confident in all areas of your job and your life? In what situations
do you not feel confident? Are you in the driving seat or is someone else? If
you are not feeling confident what is holding you back? What limiting beliefs
are getting in the way? What assumptions are you making?
Commitment : How
motivated and dedicated are you to your role? What de-motivates you? What
areas, if any, are you less committed
to or tolerating? It is about taking responsibility for the direction that your
life is going to take. Are you taking action that moves you forward?
Take some time to explore this. You may surprise yourself
and discover how self aware you are or identify your next area of growth.

The path to being the best you can be guides you to being more aware of your
beliefs, attitudes and behaviour. It enables you to accept yourself and be
responsible for your action, attitude, and thought and the impact you have.


Wherever you are on your journey take time to first celebrate all your achievements, something we often forget to do; and then
decide what’s the next stretch for you?
Your decision will not only make you a better leader who
inspires others to grow, your improvement will influence others and eventually
change the world!
“From this instant on, vow to stop disappointing yourself.
Separate yourself from the mob. Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need
to do — now.” 
Epictetus 

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