I was talking with a client who is going through the LMI Effective Personal Productivity programme and expressed embarrassment at the fact they are still hindered by what are, in essence, very simple challenges. The reality is that these ‘simple’ challenges are not easy to deal with and it takes time, practice and grace towards ourselves and others.
What we know from experience is that knowing what to do and doing it are two very different things, which is why it takes a process, over time, with practice, feedback and accountability, to make lasting, long-term changes.
Sports commentators say a lot that is instantly forgotten and then, occassionally, utter words that become ingrained in our minds for ever. It may not endure in the same vein as “There’s some people on the pitch, they think it’s all over…” but one comment at the end of the England v Denmark semi-final this week caught my attention more than any other.
The standard of the leaders in the past couple of years in this country has been poor but look at that man there… he’s everything a leader should be: respectful, humble, tells the truth, genuine. He’s fantastic, Gareth Southgate.
Whatever your thoughts on many other leaders, there seems to be consensus on this matter. Most agree with Gary Neville that the current manager of the England men’s football team is a great guy and an excellent leader.
He’s not ‘showy’, he’s not egotistical, he seems to genuinely care. He speaks out clearly and thoughfully on important issues. He makes it about his team, not him.
In an interview after this historic win that takes England to their first major final since 1966, astonishingly, Southgate gives special mention to members of the original squad who were then excluded from the final group of 26 that were selected for the tournament. That is remarkable inclusivity and awareness in such a heady moment.
Lots more will be said and written about him, especially if he leads the team to victory in the final, and rightly so. Who wouldn’t want to work with this kind of leader? Clearly his current team do.
This seems to be the big question for many right now and the impact of how we answer it will be huge in the coming months.
I had two appointments postponed last week, both because the other party had a one-hour meeting slot booked and then discovered they should attend in person, thus doubling (or more) the amount of time that meeting would consume. Cue the reorg of everything else that day to accommodate.
It seems so clumsy and inefficient.
Ah, but in the previous few weeks I’ve had my first in-person meetings in what feels like years, and loved them! I enjoyed the journey, the traffic, the parking, even the signing in at reception. It may have taken nearly half a day instead of 60 minutes but I returned refreshed and energised. So much so, I booked some more, including the first LMI UK team non-Zoom get-together since 2019!
I could make this a long post but it really doesn’t need to be. There is one simple message: THINK!
It would be easy to say yes to everything and go back to how things were. Equally, we could decide to keep everything virtual and miss out on the magic that happens when people are together in the same room. That ‘magic’ that is so much more than just ‘achieving the meeting objective’. Think relationship-building, fun, connection, wellbeing, ideas, inspiration and more.
My plan is to still do an awful lot of meetings remotely, feeling delighted about the efficiency and simplicity of it all. I’m going to choose which appointments to attend in person, treating them as special occasions and valuing every minute in the real-live company of other human beings.
We have a unique opportunity to shape the future in really positive, productive ways if we’re mindful of the decisions we make.
Oh, and whatever you decide each time, best make sure everyone else knows too!
If you can understand yourself and what motivates you then you can make choices that enable you to live with more energy, enthusiasm and happiness, as well as generally getting better results in whatever you put your hand to.
If you can understand others’ motivation, then you can help them do the same and that’s powerful.
One way to experience high levels of motivation is to be consciously connected to the value of what we’re doing.
This is important because…
If you can’t complete that statement above in a meaningful way for what you are currently doing – both from a ‘big picture’ perspective and in the nitty-gritty of your current tasks – you are most likely feeling demotivated.
This leads to two options – either there isn’t a good reason for doing it and you should stop. Or, and this is really common, there are mulitple good reasons for doing it and they’ve just been forgotten or drifted out of mind.
Here you should definitely stop and revisit the purpose that was there in the beginning.
Blank piece of paper. Big heading, “This is important because….”
There’s so much talk about what we could and should be doing during lockdown and equally as much talk about people feeling guilty / inferior / down because they are not achieving what others seem to be doing during this time.
My last-but-one post about empathy is super-important here.
Just as important though is to recognise why we experience these negative feelings about what we’re not doing. This is a complex issue however one common reason is that we’re not confident in what we are doing.
This is why the art of goal setting is such an important skill.
Paul J. Meyer said,
Success is the progressive realisation of worthwhile, pretermined, personal goals.
In other words,
Success isgoal directed action
Success is personal.
When I’m good at setting my own goals, whatever they may be, I feel successful when I’m making progress towards achieving them. When I’m focussed on my own goals and I’m feeling good about working towards those, I’m far less likely to be worried about what others are doing and what I’m not doing.
It’s a big subject so more on this next time when we’ll look at how to set goals that actually work for you whatever you’re facing right now.
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.