Please stay with this one, even if you’re not a football fan – there’s a really interesting point here, honest!
Yesterday Southampton Football Club annouced that striker Shane Long has signed a two-year contract extention. All very normal. Except it isn’t.
He’s 33 years old. Very much at the end of his career. Most don’t get a two-year contract at a Premier League club at that age.
Shane Long is a striker. In the last four seasons (including this one) he’s scored twelve goals in the Premier League. Three per season. At one point last year he had scored each of his last four goals under four different managers. These are terrible stats by any standard.
And yet when the announcement was made I, a Southampton fan, was delighted and, judging by social media response, I was not alone.
It seems we love Shane Long.
Not just fans though. Watch/read any interview with his team-mates. They love him too. They love working with him. They love what he brings to the team. His efforts make others’ jobs easier. He helps his collegues excel.
Why is this?
Unselfish, positive, humble, tireless, kind, helpful, caring, good fun.
These are just some of the words used to describe the way he is on a football pitch or generally around the club and, importantly, in the community.
He’s also an absolute nightmare for the opposition because he never stops running!
It’s clear the contract extension is not just about what he brings on the pitch but also his all-round contribution, his influence on younger players, his positive contribution to the whole environment.
Of course we’d love it if he scored more goals, but we would absolutely hate it if he wasn’t around.
I’m sure you have some people like that where you work. Maybe it’s you?
We looked previously at how success can be defined as progess towards achieving your own meaningful goals. By that definition, everyone can be (and feel) successful. Going back to where we started looking at goals, this is the perfect antidote to the negative feelings that we can all be susceptible to if we find ourselves measuring our success by comparison with others.
Ok, so success is in our hands if, AND IT’S A BIG IF, we learn to regularly set our own goals. It sounds simple. In many ways it is extremely simple and yet so many aren’t doing it. There are two really important keys here:
Learn a system for goal-setting and customise it to your own needs/style/situation/preference.
Make using that system a habit.
We’ll look now at the steps for setting goals as laid out in the LMI Goal Planning System. Next time we’ll talk about how to make using it a habit.
Before we get into that though, a brief intelude. Could you take a few seconds just to imagine the impact it will have if you get seriously good at this? What if every month for the rest of your life you could identify the most important work and personal goals in your life and work effectively to achieve them?
Ok, back to the system in ten steps.
Define or describe something that you’d like to be better in some way.
Write a specific goal(s) that supports this intent.
List the benefits gained and the potential losses avoided by achieving the goal.
Write down possible obstacles and list potential solutions.
Write detailed action steps and deadlines to achieve the goal.
Integrate the action steps into your planning system.
Determine a method of tracking your progress.
Write affirmations to encourage you and keep you on track.
Develop a visual representation that effectively reminds you of your goal.
Celebrate the accomplishment of meaningful goals
It’s a simple and immensely powerful system where each step plays an important part in making the whole system work.
We talk more about this in the Foundations of Success workshop I run. If what we’ve been looking at around goals is an area you’d like to improve in, and the LMI Goal Planning tools would be helpful, you’d be really welcome to join one of these sessions.
The last post ended with a promise that we’d look at how to set goals that work for you whatever you are currently facing.
And let’s face it, some of the goals we may have had are not very helpful to us right now. That one about getting 5000 people to that big May event, anyone?
I’m sure you’ve had at least some negative experience with setting goals. You may even be in that bracket of people who have sworn never to go down that road again having found it only led to guilt, frustration, disappointment (insert any additional / alternative negative emotion here) when the goals weren’t reached.
Let’s start really simple. A goal is simply the expression of an intended outcome; something you want to achieve, do, have or become. Let’s call it ‘being intentional.’ I find this really helps. I don’t need to start with, “Be the best in the world at….” or “Double my income by….”
The psychology of being intentional is incredibly interesting. When I set a goal, no-matter what it is and regardless of how small it may seem, it gives me a sense of purpose and direction. Again, this may be very small but we have to realise that great habits and big successes begin with small actions and are often the result of years of small accumulations. When I achieve that goal, I can’t help but feel a little bit more successful which in turn helps me feel more motivatied to take on another goal.
My apologies if this is way too basic for you but I have so many conversations with people where this is exactly where they need to begin, especially if they find themselves in a state of lockdown lethargy or experiencing the guilt/frustration/inferiority challenges that we discussed last time.
Write down something that you’d like to do today, no matter how small. Something that you’ll feel pleased, relieved, delighted, triumphant (insert any additional / alternative positive emotion here) about when it’s done. Then do it. Start really small and ultra-achievable. See how it goes. If it works for you, then repeat.
Even really big goals work in exactly the same way.
We are just beginning to scratch the surface with the whole goals shebang so please, stick with it because it will make such a difference to your life, your family and friends, your work and even the world if we all get seriously good at this!
Next post we’ll look specifically at the goal-setting system we use in LMI to help people consistently achieve the goals they set. It’s a good one. See you then.
I’m writing with a fairly heavy heart today as someone who cares about leadership and really wants our leaders to do well. Everything works better when leaders lead well and now, perhaps more than ever, we need things to be done well. We certainly can’t afford to waste time, effort, money and resources in the global fight against Covid-19.
There were two situations that arose over the weekend that saddened me. The first was the announcment by (the hugely profitable) Liverpool FC that they would furlough certain non-playing staff and claim the assistance from the government for 80% of their wages.
The criticism of this has been widespread and well-covered so no need for me to rehash the detail. I do feel extremely sorry for those who have an afiiation with that club. People want to believe in the organisation they work for, the team they support and the people they follow.
In taking this decision the leaders (owners) have caused untold damage in ways which are hard to repair. Trust, integrity, shared values, connection and community are not easily built but are quickly lost. Such a waste.
I know that other football clubs have done the same by the waym though I think that Liverpool has grated more due to its famously integral place at the heart of that community, a fondness founded in togetherness, belonging and shared values.
The second situation was that of the Scottish Chief Medical Officer, Catherine Calderwood, who was forced to resign after flouting the non-essential travel rules that she herself was the media face of. She was clearly doing an important and seemingly good job and it’s such a waste of ability, as well as the time and effort of those left picking up the pieces to deal with the fall-out and organise a replacement.
I make no harsh judgement of Calderwood for who hasn’t at times facesd their own hypocrisy? This is such a stark reminder though of the imperative for leadership integrity when there is so much more at stake than just that invididual’s reputation.
Neither of these scenarious have anything to do with competence in the job. It’s all about character. Personal Leadership. The most important aspect of all leadership.
Where leaders fail the character test, there’s just so much waste. Invest in your own personal leadership. Invest in others anywhere you have influence.
My intention, as you know if you’ve read the previous couple of posts, is to write every day. It doesn’t have to be long, but it does have to be every day.
You’ll notice that I failed!
This is my first post this week and it’s Thursday morning. Thing is, writing hasn’t been a habit recently and thinking you can just start something new and stick with it is unrealistic.
It’s one of the core ideas I share almost weekly in the Foundations of Success workshop – to create lasting change you have to build a habit. To build a habit you need to change behaviour. To change behaviour you have to form new attitudes – ways of thinking – and you do this by conditioning – the practice of spaced repetition. The repeated exposure to ideas and activity that changes the way we think and behave for the long term.
To build a habit we have to build some infrastructure. I hadn’t done this. I have now. I’ve written the goal. I’ve set up a tracking sheet. ‘Writing’ now appears on my day plan ‘Must do today’ list.
As you know, none of this guarantees success, but it gives me a much better chance if I stick to the pattern.
In these days when you have to adapt and live differently, what is one new daily habit that you’d like to develop that might just change your life…or that of others? Worth thinking about.
In clearing things out yesterday, as many people are doing these days, I came across this plaque that my dad received in 1986. He worked for the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) for all of my childhood, I think about 25 years in all, starting his own businesses just a couple of years before he died in 1991.
In our home I remember we had DEC towels, DEC pens, DEC bags and we went on DEC holidays! Occassionally we still come across some old DEC merchandise in an old cupboard!
As I mentioned in my post yesterday, my goal is simply to write each day, not knowing exactly where it will go but practicing the discipline and building routine. I see this post going down two distinct paths.
Firstly, the personal one. We lost my dad when I was 16, he was 49. Not ill, just gone suddenly due to undetected heart disease. There are many times over the years when I would have especially loved to be able to chat to him, this being one of them. My response it to be grateful. My family are well. We are restricted in what we can do but the five of us are well and in the same house. We can talk. Let’s make sure we do that. Live deeply. Connect. Don’t just exist in the same space and look back one day wishing we had lived deeper. The very precious gift of time and proximity is not to be unappreciated.
The second is the Leadership pathway. DEC is a tragic story in many ways, from the world’s second largest computer company when I was a kid, to rapid decline and extinction in a very short space of time. There’s a good review of the story here.
Simon Sinek also talks about the DEC decline in one of his books. I can’t remember it was Start With Why or The Infinite Game (both are excellent reads by the way). Fundamentally, it seems, that DEC leadership failed to adapt to a changing world with a clear vision of their part in the future. I would love for that company to still be around and to feel proud to own DEC stuff – a tangible connection to our family history. They had the opportunity and resource to be a key player in the new and emerging digital world, but they failed. It reminds me also of the Wright Brothers story compared to their well-funded rivals at the time to launch the first successful manned flight. Passion, purpose and commitment trumped ‘corporate wealth.’ In my business now, as with every other, as leaders we need to lead well. Be clear. Inspire. Take brave decisions. Communicate clearer than ever. Be human. Empathise. Set direction. Exude passion and purpose.
That’s all for today. More tomorrow. Have a great day.
Someone who is always able to inspire you. Someone who deeply understands your own drives and desires and always knows how to motivate you to great effort and exploits.
Someone who knows just what to say when you are really going through tough times that will help you through. Someone who is able to give you just the right support to help you carry on with determination.
Someone with vision for a great future that seems to match just right with your own hopes and dreams. Someone able to give you exactly the right tasks and responsibilities to bring out your very best.
We easily get into ‘getting on with it’ mode. Days and weeks go by. Months pass in multiples. Suddenly we’re more than half way through the year, it’s nearly (or already for some) the summer holidays, then September and we rush headlong towards Christmas.
I’m in the ‘relaxed and positive’ rather than the ‘doom and gloom’ camp when it comes to the passing of time, with one caveat. Am I doing worthwhile things with all these hours or am I just busy with activity that, on review, will count for very little.
It all comes down to whether we have clear definitions of what success is and how to measure it. Answering this question is a crucial aspect of leading yourself and leading others. Once that’s done, here’s a few questions that can help keep us on track:
What progress & victories have we achieved today / this week / this month that are in line with our definitions of success?
What have we done that’s contributed most to those victories that we can do more of?
What new things can we try to achieve more?
What have we done that’s not contributed to our success that we can do less of, or stop doing entirely?
All seems a little bit simplistic when we put it like that, doesn’t it? Regardless, it works incredibly well. It’s often the simple things that do.
If it’s been a while since you reviewed what success means to you, can I strongly encourage you to do so? And not just at work or in business by the way. At home, with your family and friends, your health, your contribution to society and your giving to others. Your success needs defining for all of these. I’ve got plenty of simple tools to help you do this so please do get in touch if you need a hand getting started.
Right now as England face a World Cup Quarter Final against Sweden in two days, the talk of the town is not the players – usually the focus of most of the hype when it comes to football (Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar etc) – but the England manager, Gareth Southgate. It seems that everyone loves him.
I am very firmly in that camp too – Gareth Southgate comes across as an absolutely top class man. He conducts himself with humility, grace and calmness. He doesn’t make it all about him (take note Jose Mourinho). He encourages his players to fulfil their potential. He speaks honestly. He obviously cares deeply and understands that so many others do too; whether that’s the fans in the stadium whom he takes time to acknowledge after a match, the press corps, the English public etc.
One extraordinary photo, published after England beat Colombia on penalties in the previous match, shows Gareth embracing the Colombian player who missed their crucial penalty. In light of the particularly spikey nature of the on-field contest, this is especially remarkable. Contrast this with the German coaches who invoked the wrath of the Swedish manager earlier in the tournament by celebrating their last minute winning goal wildly right in front of the Swedish bench in an act of gross unsportsmanship which saw then banned by the German Football Federation.
Who knows what will happen in the rest of the tournament but there’s no doubt that the England manager has shone as an outstanding leader and his players (those on the inside) and the rest of the country (those on the outside) are firmly behind him in wishing him every success.
Leadership is about having clear goals, vision, communication, strategy, KPIs, performance measures and the like, but (and it’s a really big but!) it’s at least as much (I would argue more) about character – being a leader others trust and will gladly follow.
It’s why Personal Leadership is step 1 in LMI’s Total Leader process – it comes before Productivity, Motivational Leadership & Strategic Leadership. Leadership is influence through relationships. It’s a people thing. Gareth has got this part of it spot on and, best of all, it seems entirely genuine. He is being authentic, true to himself rather than following some leadership playbook. All leaders take note – the world’s a much happier place and results are much more likely to be good when you have this level of goodwill towards you.
Best of luck Gareth and the team. YOU have won us over and we would be delighted to see you succeed (not sure I could have said this about your predecessor).
P.S. If you’ve not seen it yet, check out the Twitter feed #GarethSouthgateWould for some light entertainment!