Friday, April 24, 2015

Do You Use The Power of YET?

Earlier this month a good friend and a colleague of mine from Colorado witnessed what no parent should ever endure. While watching his 15 year old daughter exercising her competitive spirit in pursuit of a USASA National Free Skiing Championship at Copper Mountain, CO. she experienced a traumatic crash on the slope style course. The injuries were significant, including a broken pelvis, dislocated hip, and most concerning a fracture of her C-7 vertebrae impacting the spinal cord. 

In that single moment…everything changed…and yet…

When faced with the realities of her injuries and the long road of recovery she faces, this brave young lady acknowledges the facts when told she can’t, but expresses her determination in a small, precise, 3-letter word…”yet.”

That simple word implies I’m on my way, I will not give up, it’s not here right now, or in a week, or a month…but it IS coming…it will arrive…it’s just not here…YET. The word offers hope, purpose, and motivation to her and to those who believe in her and her abilities to make things happen. It reminds us all to be patient, to have faith, and to believe in ourselves.

Although Kailyn sees herself as a 15 year old dare-devil skier, I see her as a true leader who inspires us all with the power of “yet”.

If you’d like additional information on this incredible young lady CLICK HERE

Be good to yourself…

Friday, April 17, 2015

What Does An Egg Have In Common With Your Organization?

I’m not sure I’ll ever look at an egg the same way again! Recently I saw a picture giving me pause to ponder. Such a simple illustration. Such a simple idea. Such a powerful message…

Imagine an egg, slightly cracked with beams of light emitting through the various crevasses piercing out into the light of day as if trying to escape the inner regions of the egg. The question which begs to be answered revolves around how the egg was cracked, from the the outside in…or inside out ? In the final analysis does it really matter? The egg is cracked. And then…to force us to think deeper, statements float above the picture which draw parallelisms to systemic change in organizations.

“If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends.” Rather dramatic, yet meaningful. How many mandates from outside an organization or a team are met with reluctance, resistance, fear, or defeat? Do outside forces cause more “deaths” in organizations rather than offering the support or change they originally intended?

Conversely, the illustration continues with a phrase of hope. “If an egg is broken from an inside force, life begins.”  Powerful! For an idea or project to “take flight” it is better to come from the inside out, rather than forcing the outside in.

Many times we overlook and under consider our biggest and best resources; those who work directly with the challenge. To ignore the force within, to yield to an outside force, may produce undesirable effects for the entire organization. As leaders we must help facilitate change from within. To do so offers the hope of a new and healthy beginning.

Be good to yourself...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Are You A Leader Who Rocks The Boat ~ Or One That Prefers Smooth Sailing?

I was born and raised in the 50’s when life was simpler. Grew up in the turbulent 60’s where the tensions of civil rights, women’s rights, the cold war, and Viet Nam permeated the morning papers.  By the time the 70’s rolled in, we were all hungry for the message of love and encouragement to “get along.”

Much of my life, I tried to do just that. I was a peacemaker. Rocking the boat was not my forte, and for the most part, I avoided conflict like the plague. But as I grew into various leadership roles, I discovered that tension wasn’t necessarily a bad thing…in fact, putting the correct amount of tension into the formula produced desired results.

Tension creates a “check and balance” system to keep us on track. (Can you imagine the Democrats and Republicans getting along on EVERY bill that came their way?) Great leaders have used tension in a creative, useful manner creating a culture where tension is used as potential energy, a driving force to get a job done.

Consider the bow and arrow. Should the arrow be placed in the string without the draw of the bow and the tension it brings, the arrow would simply be useless, as would the bow. It’s the tension which gives the arrow the energy to move forward.

As leaders it’s our responsibility to know how much tension is needed - when to crank it up, and when to back it down. As with that guitar so many of us played “back in the day” the right amount of tension on those strings played some great music…too much and the strings snapped rendering the room silent.

If we avoid tension and simply try to get along, we are robbing our organization of a growth potential that they may never attain.

Be Good To Yourself...

Friday, April 3, 2015

To Decide Not to Decide...Is that a "Cop-Out"?

Do you ever find yourself arguing…with yourself? Not only do I engage in this exercise, but I encourage others to do the same. I find that it helps clarify a particular belief or value, it forces me to acknowledge a different point of view, and typically the “argument” leads to other questions which need resolution and the cycle begins anew.

Sometimes the arguments are short and sweet, other times they linger for years as some issues are more difficult to sort, not everything we encounter is black or white. In fact, I’d dare say that the “either/or” debates are easier to solve than those which offer various paths to follow.

As leaders, we all feel the need to be decisive. Our followers expect that we have all the answers. There are times that we drive ourselves to the brink of insanity because we weigh too many options. For those of you who believe that you MUST make a decision on everything…consider…to decide not to decide is to decide…

So…go ahead…make the decision not to decide and have a good ol’ fashioned argument…with yourself! You may find that you grow from the discussion, you may find that there is no “right” answer, or that “and and both” is better than “either/or.” Whatever you decide is probably better than any decision that you didn’t really discuss...with yourself…just sayin…

Be good to yourself…