Three Connections That Energize Every Great Leader

Three Connections That Energize Every Great Leader

Let’s face it, leadership is hard.

You give it everything you have, but sometimes, it feels like it’s just not enough. When that happened though, here’s what you have to tell yourself…

You’re not alone.

Or, I should say…you don’t have to be.

When I was in San Francisco to deliver a keynote, I visited the famous California Redwoods. Standing beside the tallest living things on the planet was astounding.

Some them are thousands of years old. I saw the tallest tree – tall as a 36 story building with a trunk that would take ten or twelve people to encircle. Wow!

When I returned to my hotel that night, I went online to learn more about these trees. Specifically, I wanted to know about their roots. The roots I had seen were shallow and short.

What I found surprised me.

I expected the redwoods to have deep root systems, but they don’t. Their roots only go down five or six feet…but they extend outward 100 feet. In fact, the roots of nearby trees entangle, connect, and even fuse with one another. Together, the trees anchor one another through thousands of years of storms, wind, and floods.

Think about that for a moment – the tallest living things on earth don’t get tall by themselves.

They do it together.

As a leader, your trajectory and success – especially when things get tough – depend on your connections. There are three connections I’ve found that energize every great leader.

Connection #1: Your Team

Of course, you are there to serve your team.

But a funny thing happens when you do this. You will find your team also serves you. You don’t have to problem-solve on your own. You can rely on them.

Where you need to grow, they’ll challenge you. When your team trusts you, they’ll do amazing work with you. When you lead well, your team makes you stronger.

You can bring the tough questions to them and they’ll problem solve with you. They’ll hold you accountable. Karin and I have both had team members confront us when we weren’t leading up to our own standards.

Connection #2: A Community of Peers

Leadership is challenging work. It’s not easy and it doesn’t always feel good. It can be difficult, but extremely rewarding to find a good group of colleagues who will encourage you and help you problem solve. If you’re looking for this kind of leadership community, consider our International Leadership Cohort of people just like you who are committed achieving breakthrough results – without losing their soul.

In addition to mutual encouragement and problem solving, you also benefit from time spent with people outside the “bubble” of your organization. You’ll see your own situations with fresh eyes and better perspective.

Connection #3: A Mentor or Coach

Who is helping you get better?
Many leaders have a series of mentors and coaches over their lifetime…but it’s your responsibility to find them.

Recently, I saw an aspiring leader sit back on a social media forum and post something like, “Hey, I really wish you’d mentor me!” It was a generic comment that felt needy and as if he were a victim, powerless to help himself.

Most mentors won’t respond to that sort of energy. You want to find people who are farther down the road, who are doing what you want to do or have the kind of influence you want to have, and then approach them with a specific and actionable request.

You might say, “I’ve noticed you are very effective at cross-departmental relationships and problem solving. I’ve been challenged in this area and have some specific questions I think you could help with. Would you be willing to mentor me in this? You’ll find that I take your suggestions seriously and put them into practice as soon as possible.”

Accept their answer. If they say yes and have a particular way they want to work, go with it, and follow through. If they say no, honor that too. The chemistry must be there for mentoring relationships to work.

There are also times you’ll want to rely on a coach. Coaches can provide targeted, objective feedback and skill-training to shorten your learning curve and help you make rapid progress with your leadership challenges.

Your Turn

Remember, just like redwoods, great leaders get to be great based on the strength of their connections to their team, to a community of colleagues, and with mentors and coaches.

Where do you need to connect?

Leave us a comment and share how you stay connected to your team, a community of leaders, and mentors & coaches who help you grow.

Bill Treasuer

The Starting Point of Good Leadership (Bill Treasurer)

Winning Well Connection

We first met Bill when he was publishing his first book– and I interviewed him to help share his message. Since then, we keep finding ourselves in the same leadership conversations and communities, and always enjoy connecting to share best practices. I love the way Bill taps into his own leadership experiences and stories to communicate the importance of confident humility.

The Starting Point of Good Leadership

Years ago I was coaching a young leader who was under a lot of self-imposed pressure. His dad was the second-generation owner of a $500-million-dollar construction company, and he had tapped his son as the eventual heir to the kingdom. But his son felt entirely unready for such an awesome responsibility. How would the company keep selling big projects to keep people working? How would he lead senior staff members, all of whom had more knowledge and experience than he? How would he, in short, live into his father’s footprints?

Complicating the matter was all the advice the young leader was getting. Everyone had a vested interest in having him succeed, so they were going out of their way to let him know what moves he should take. Though grateful, he was overwhelmed. “Bill,” he said, “I want to be a good leader, I really do. But people expect me to be tough, driven, and decisive, yet patient, friendly, and caring. I’m confused. Where do I start?”

You don’t have to be a CEO’s heir apparent to struggle with the same question. Leaders get a lot of mixed messages about what’s most important to followers. As a leader, you’re expected to be bold and calculated, passionate and reasonable, rational and emotional, driven and patient, principled and flexible, competitive and cooperative, strategic and tactical, and yes, confident and humble. Faced with all of these conflicting factors, is it any wonder new leaders scratch their heads and wonder, Where on earth do I start?

My advice to new leaders is this: if you want to be a good leader, start by being a good person. Leadership is an inside job. Before you can lead people outwardly, you have to lead yourself inwardly. Leadership starts with internal goodness, in other words, integrity. Goodness is not some pie-in-the-sky philosophical concept. It’s not some prudish, goody-two-shoes standard of stilted perfection. Goodness is practical. When you’re good, people trust you. They know you won’t cheat them, or violate their confidences, or mistreat them. They know you’ll consider their interests, listen deeply and share generously, and be respectful. They know you’ll never stop striving to do the next right thing.

Your goodness is the single most important determinant of whether followers will trust your leadership, and trust is crucial to good leadership. When people trust you, they’ll work harder on your behalf, they’ll have a higher tolerance for your idiosyncrasies, they’ll be loyal to you, and, most importantly, they’ll act with integrity too. Trust begets trust, and when you act with goodness it becomes an invitation for others to act with theirs, mutually strengthening the trust between you.

The good news is, when you focus on developing and strengthening your character, when you commit yourself to leading in a principled and honest way, and when you make serving others your primary leadership aim, you are exemplifying very essence of what my friends Karin Hurt and David Dye mean by the title of their essential leadership book, Winning Well. As a leader, you win well when your inner goodness informs all your leadership actions and decisions. You’re truly winning well as a leader when the best of you brings out the best in others. You want to be a good leader? Then start by being good.

Click on the image for more information about Bill’s book.

Winning Well Reflection

When confronted with the overwhelming number of leadership examples, much less the amount of advice, you’ll encounter, it can feel overwhelming. That’s why we so appreciate Bill’s straightforward reminder that all leadership begins with you. Be a good human being who people can trust. That is the foundation of Winning Well – and all the influence you’ll ever have.

Marshall Goldsmith

The Performance Appraisal that Really Matters (Marshall Goldsmith)

Winning Well Connection

From his books that taught us and informed our early careers, to the selflessness he consistently demonstrates, to his embodiment of professional confident humility, Marshall has been a tremendous supporter of Winning Well. We were honored when Marshall wrote the foreword for our book. Thank you once again, Marshall for your unwavering commitment to blending the bottom line with the human spirit and your support of Winning Well.

I’ve made a career out of helping business leaders develop better relationships with their colleagues and team.  In the course of that work I’ve seen many managers who struggle to achieve business success; much less build meaningful professional relationships.

If that’s you, you’re not alone. The truth is that in companies, nonprofits, and government offices around the world it’s not hard to find stressed out, frustrated, (and often hopeless) managers.  But it doesn’t have to be this way. Not for you.

It’s a message we can’t repeat often enough: you can achieve business performance without sacrificing your humanity, your well-being, or your sanity.

I often share with executives that the only performance appraisal that really matters is the one you give yourself as you look back over your life. When friends of mine interviewed people in the last years of their life, three themes emerged: be happy now, friends and family are critically important, and if you have a dream, go for it.

From a business perspective, my ultimate business advice isn’t very different:

  • Life is short – have fun.
  • Do whatever you can to help people.
  • Do what you think is right.

When you cultivate a healthy management mindset, improve business performance, experience less stress, and build better relationships with your colleagues and team, you’re on your way to a great life and great results. To me, that’s Winning Well.

Ultimately, your work as a manager is about far more than what you make or how you serve your customers. Whether you give it conscious attention or drift along, you will leave a legacy – in fact, you’ve already built one. Take a moment to ask yourself:

  • As of today, what is your legacy?
  • What do you want your legacy to be?
  • What life will you build for yourself, and your family?
  • How will you impact the people around you while you do your work?

There’s a temptation to wait for ‘someday’ before you take action, but that day will never come. Today is the only day there is where you can take action and build the leadership legacy you want to leave the world.

Life is good,

Marshall Goldsmith

Triggers

Click on the image for more information about Marshall’s book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winning Well Reflection

One of the things we appreciate about Marshall is his ability to cut through complexity and identify the MITs: have fun – help people – do the right thing. Leading well isn’t complicated when we remember that above everything else leadership is a relationship – and relationships are your greatest legacy.

why team leaders tolerate poor performance

5 Sad Reasons Team Leaders Tolerate Poor Performance

Letting slackers slide reduces your credibility, causes your best performers to bolt, and leaves the rest of the team wondering why they bother. No one wants to mire in their own mediocrity. And high-performers hate nothing more than watching their poor-performing teammates drag down results. Tolerating poor performance creates a morale death spiral that takes Herculean force to reverse.

Of course there’s also the over-the-cube talk about the two slackers– the poor performing guy and you. The more you allow the poor performance to go on, the more the rest of the team will shrug their shoulders and join the poor performance bandwagon. Now the death spiral is accelerating with centripetal force, squandering time and draining vital energy from your team.

The sad truth is that every day, team leaders around the world turn their heads and let the poor performance continue.

Don’t fall into these traps.

Why Team Leaders Tolerate Poor Performance

I’m going to start with the benefit of the doubt: that you (or the team leader you’re trying to help) cares, and is not a performance problem. If that’s not the case, same rules apply, one level up.

Beyond that, here’s a gut check for why you’re allowing poor performance to continue.

    1. Guilt- You worry you haven’t done enough to develop to support, develop, encourage, and build confidence, empower, or recognize. If that’s truly the case, you’re right. You’ve got more work to do. Get going. BUT, if you have invested and invested again and it’s still not working it’s time to face that this job may not be the right fit. Stop feeling guilty. You need to do what’s right for the greater good of the company and the team
    2. Morale – I’ve seen so many team leaders so worried about building great morale, that they actually destroy it. If everything everyone does is just great then the folks who are really giving their all wonder why they do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the rest of the team thank me for addressing poor performance. Of course such things are private, but trust me, your team is more astute than you may think.
    3. Saving Face – You hired the guy. Perhaps you even convinced you boss that he was the one. If you’ve done everything you can to make it work, and it still isn’t, it’s far better to admit you were wrong, learn from your experience and move on. Don’t magnify one poor decision with another.
    4. Confidence – You’re scared. You’re not sure how to approach the situation. Get some help. There’s nothing harder for a leader to do than to address poor performance, or remove someone from the team. It never is easy, but it does get easier. Practice your conversation with a peer or mentor. Plan the conversation and anticipate responses. You can do this.
    5. Lack of Alternatives – I can’t tell you how many times someone has called me for an internal reference for a poor performer they are about to hire, and after I share the issues and concerns, they hire them any way. I actually had one guy say recently, ‘well, Karin you have a very high standards, I’m not sure that’s realistic. The funny part is that I had back-filled this guy with someone who was running circles around his predecessor. Hire slow. The great ones are out there and deserve a chance.

If you’ve got a struggling performer on your team, do all you can to help. And if It’s time to let them move on, help them to do that gracefully.

Team Chemistry: Leveraging Diversity to Drive Team Performance

There is much good research on the characteristics of high-performing teams. It is possible to structure teams in ways that maximize performance (e.g. small number, shared vision, complimentary skill sets). A great resource for this is
Katzenbach and Smith’s The Wisdom of Teams.

I have been on teams that are identical in these criteria, and yet there is an invisible factor that seems to drive performance– chemistry.
When I was in my early twenties, I played Sergeant Sarah Brown in a Community Theater production of Guys and Dolls. Young Sarah is a spunky Salvation Army worker with a logical list of characteristics she is looking for in a man. Sarah meets Sky Masterson, an attractive con artist and gambler, who laughs at her long list of desired traits and gives her his one-factor list, “chemistry.” Well, of course it’s a musical, chemistry wins, they fall in love and sing happily ever after.

The thing is, in both love and teams chemistry matters.

And yet, when we make hiring decisions, we often start with a list of desired competencies, backgrounds and skill sets at an individual level. Like Sarah, we work to attract the best talent for the individual roles, and then after the fact, work to pull them into a high performing team. Chemistry is even more vital when looking to select the leader of the team.

I am not suggesting hiring based exclusively on DiSC, MBTI or some other personality profile. However, all other things being equal, hiring for diverse backgrounds, experiences, skills and approaches can help to create some serious positive combustion.

I recently went through a DiSC workshop with my larger team. After the session, one of the women on my team came up to me and asked, “Did you do that on purpose?” She was referring to the very eclectic mix of personalities on both my direct report team and throughout the organization.

At first, my reaction was “no, I hadn’t even thought about DiSC.” But the truth is, having had a unique opportunity to build the team almost entirely from scratch, I had been very deliberate about hiring leaders with different backgrounds, experiences, expertise and styles. They in turn did the same. As a result, we have a team that works hard to leverage one another’s strengths and make up for gaps. They have each other’s backs. They have chemistry and results on are on fire.

Opportunities to Build Team Diversity

In addition to the more traditional views on diversity (race, age, gender), there are other important factors to consider when hiring for a high-performing team

  • Expertise, attracting unique skill sets helps to foster respect, creates interdependency and enables cross-training
  • Background, hiring people with diverse experiences helps to provide different perspectives to complex problems
  • Styles, not always comfortable, but hiring a team with different personality preferences can offer richer approaches and solutions
  • ??? what other factors do you find important?

Where Similarities can Help

I also find there are some characteristics were similarities are quite helpful. I find having a team unified by these factors helps them to work more effectively with their diversity.

  • Passion: I see teams come together best when they all share a common passion for a unified vision. They all care deeply about accomplishing something important. I look for passion from the moment they enter the job interview.
  • Gumption: This manifests itself in various ways in different people and personalities. But energetic commitment and strong work ethic matter. High-performing teams seem to operate on a similar gumption frequency.
  • Receptivity: Openness to feedback and change. High-performing teams have members who are able to adjust and learn from one another and the environment. They are hungry for feedback and willing to share.

Think about the teams that you have worked on with the best chemistry.

My "Energy Project"

As I have been doing more writing, I have been paying a lot of attention to which leaders I find most inspiring–and why. For me, energy is a big factor in both whom I want to follow, and who I want on my team.

Leaders with strong, positive, engaging energy inspire others towards great results. It is much harder for the team to run out of steam when the leader keeps showing up strong.

When building teams, I always look for those with an engaged heart and spirit who are fired up with positive intensity. A lot of the other key skills can be taught if a person is wired that way. People have come to understand that this is how I roll, so it is getting easier to attract people who want to live in a fast paced, intense environment. Energy attracts energy.

So with all that outward focused energy, why do I get so tired?

In preparing for this week’s writing, I looked to what others are saying on the subject. My friends at Chatsworth (Chatsworth on Forget About Managing Your Time, Manage Your Energy Instead),  have good thinking on managing energy versus time and using those patterns. That work then turned me on to Energy Project.

 

The Energy Project hones in on four key areas which drive our energy: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. They offer a free “energy audit” for people to self assess how they are doing in each of these key areas, and then email the results with recommendations. The cool part is that they also offer a sliding energy tool that provides suggestions based on the importance each of those factors has to you.

Take the Energy Audit Here

My results from the audit showed strong energy on the mental, physical, and spiritual dimensions, but that I was on the cusp of “an imminent energy crises” on the emotional front. Suggestions include “taking more time for activities I deeply enjoy” and “having more quality time with family and friends.”Consistent with what my husband said to me just this morning, “I think you need to go do some more yoga, not by yourself, with your friends.” Turns out he is a good energy barometer as well.

So, this weekend I did some yoga, had dinner with my husband, bowled with Sebastian, and paddle boarded with Ben. And now from a calmer emotional heart, I head into a vital week at work and explore energetic leadership on my blog each day. Hope you will join the conversation.


My “Energy Project”

As I have been doing more writing, I have been paying a lot of attention to which leaders I find most inspiring–and why. For me, energy is a big factor in both whom I want to follow, and who I want on my team.

Leaders with strong, positive, engaging energy inspire others towards great results. It is much harder for the team to run out of steam when the leader keeps showing up strong.

When building teams, I always look for those with an engaged heart and spirit who are fired up with positive intensity. A lot of the other key skills can be taught if a person is wired that way. People have come to understand that this is how I roll, so it is getting easier to attract people who want to live in a fast paced, intense environment. Energy attracts energy.

So with all that outward focused energy, why do I get so tired?

In preparing for this week’s writing, I looked to what others are saying on the subject. My friends at Chatsworth (Chatsworth on Forget About Managing Your Time, Manage Your Energy Instead),  have good thinking on managing energy versus time and using those patterns. That work then turned me on to Energy Project.

 

The Energy Project hones in on four key areas which drive our energy: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. They offer a free “energy audit” for people to self assess how they are doing in each of these key areas, and then email the results with recommendations. The cool part is that they also offer a sliding energy tool that provides suggestions based on the importance each of those factors has to you.

Take the Energy Audit Here

My results from the audit showed strong energy on the mental, physical, and spiritual dimensions, but that I was on the cusp of “an imminent energy crises” on the emotional front. Suggestions include “taking more time for activities I deeply enjoy” and “having more quality time with family and friends.”Consistent with what my husband said to me just this morning, “I think you need to go do some more yoga, not by yourself, with your friends.” Turns out he is a good energy barometer as well.

So, this weekend I did some yoga, had dinner with my husband, bowled with Sebastian, and paddle boarded with Ben. And now from a calmer emotional heart, I head into a vital week at work and explore energetic leadership on my blog each day. Hope you will join the conversation.


Kermit the Frog as Leader? It's Not Easy Leading Green

Growing Leaders of All Ages:

Part of my mission for this blog is engaging leaders of all ages in the leadership conversation.  Today, I present a guest post from Jared Herr, age 12.  If you are a leader of any age, interested in collaborating on a guest post on leadership, let’s talk more.

Kermit is a strong leader in many ways:

  • He works to make the muppets the best that they can be
  • He is inspiring because he always tries his hardest
  • He brings misfit animals together and makes them a team
  • He always has a plan
  • He is a collaborative decision maker 
  • He is self-reflective 

What are Kermit’s leadership challenges?

  • He takes things too personally
  • He has trouble giving tough feedback
  • He needs more work-life balance

Jared’s advice to Kermie

You are a caring amphibian and always try to make others the best they can be. You put the muppets in roles where you know the can succeed.  You are a role model of hard work, and get all of those crazy animals pulling together as a team.  You inspire them to care about one another.

Kermit, one of your greatest strengths as a leader, self-reflection, is also your challenge.  You may want to check out Karin’s post (is strength your weakness).  For example,  you will double and triple check yourself to make sure every muppet is in a part of the show. But when things go wrong, you take it out on yourself. You always point out things you messed up with or things you should have done. I think you feel a lot of pressure being a leader.

I wish you could have more confidence in your decisions.  Once when you fired Miss Piggy (she deserved it), you ended up face down on the floor (of course, that may have something to do with dysfunctional love, but that’s another post).

You are so nice.  I worry sometimes you have trouble confronting or giving the tough coaching messages.  You always lead to victory in the end.  You might save some time if you could give more direct coaching along the way.

Kermit, you sure seem to face a lot of pressure as leader of the muppets.

I worry that you feel like as their leader, you need to be with them 24/7, and you don’t get much personal time.

All said, it is not easy leading green.  And you have a nice track record of results.  Keep up the great work.  I know you will continue to grow into an amazing leader.

Kermit the Frog as Leader? It’s Not Easy Leading Green

Growing Leaders of All Ages:

Part of my mission for this blog is engaging leaders of all ages in the leadership conversation.  Today, I present a guest post from Jared Herr, age 12.  If you are a leader of any age, interested in collaborating on a guest post on leadership, let’s talk more.

Kermit is a strong leader in many ways:

  • He works to make the muppets the best that they can be
  • He is inspiring because he always tries his hardest
  • He brings misfit animals together and makes them a team
  • He always has a plan
  • He is a collaborative decision maker 
  • He is self-reflective 

What are Kermit’s leadership challenges?

  • He takes things too personally
  • He has trouble giving tough feedback
  • He needs more work-life balance

Jared’s advice to Kermie

You are a caring amphibian and always try to make others the best they can be. You put the muppets in roles where you know the can succeed.  You are a role model of hard work, and get all of those crazy animals pulling together as a team.  You inspire them to care about one another.

Kermit, one of your greatest strengths as a leader, self-reflection, is also your challenge.  You may want to check out Karin’s post (is strength your weakness).  For example,  you will double and triple check yourself to make sure every muppet is in a part of the show. But when things go wrong, you take it out on yourself. You always point out things you messed up with or things you should have done. I think you feel a lot of pressure being a leader.

I wish you could have more confidence in your decisions.  Once when you fired Miss Piggy (she deserved it), you ended up face down on the floor (of course, that may have something to do with dysfunctional love, but that’s another post).

You are so nice.  I worry sometimes you have trouble confronting or giving the tough coaching messages.  You always lead to victory in the end.  You might save some time if you could give more direct coaching along the way.

Kermit, you sure seem to face a lot of pressure as leader of the muppets.

I worry that you feel like as their leader, you need to be with them 24/7, and you don’t get much personal time.

All said, it is not easy leading green.  And you have a nice track record of results.  Keep up the great work.  I know you will continue to grow into an amazing leader.

How to Pick the Right Big Goal

Want more success and fun for your team? Try picking one BIG goal.

When looking to make a difference for the business, I always look for the “one big goal” that we can accomplish that will really make an impact. As Covey would say, what is your most “Wildly Important Goal”?  What will be dramatically different (better) after our team is done with it? What needs to be transformed?

Of course, organizations are complex and it’s impossible to have a singular focus. However, I have found that planning for one BIG success, along with one or two other related goals, creates a clear path that is easy to follow. You will know if you have accomplished this if years later, people are still talking about the contribution that team made.

4 Ways to Grow Your Goal

Pick the Right BIG Goal

  • What does the business need most?
  • What are others struggling to accomplish?
  • What do people think can’t be done?
  • What is this team best positioned to do?
  • Are you passionately personally committed to this?

Gain Alignment

  • Do your boss and other key stakeholders see this as vital (even if they don’t think it is doable)
  • Are at least a few strong and energetic people on your team aligned (I have found in real turnaround situations, it usually takes some time to get everyone there)
  • Develop a zealous engagement and communication plan
  • Reinforce the vision non-stop (I have been accused of being a “maniac” about the vision)
  • Create imagery to align with the goal (use it to tie everything together)

Engage the Team

  • Involve everyone in the planning and execution
  • Involve them more
  • Break the problem down into manageable pieces, celebrate every milestone
  • Celebrate the big contributors, have them teach others
  • Learn from your skeptics, that bring them in to help
  • Celebrate the skeptic turnaround stories
  • Communicate constantly on the subject

Recognize Every Little Win

  • Create a rally cry, celebrate every contribution and link it to the bigger picture
  • Pay attention to what is working everywhere you go
  • Make success easy to notice, celebrate loudly and everywhere
  • Stay the course

In a complicated world we must do many things well. We must be “AND” leaders. I have also found that it is much more fun to also pick the home run in advance and leave nothing on the field when playing toward that goal.

 

One Person at a Time

My favorite work as a leader is the time spent one on one, digging deep, helping to bring out the best in someone. The other fun part is motivating large teams toward a vision and strategy to get something important done. And then there is the in-between.

What I find most difficult as I have assumed larger roles with bigger teams is the strong desire to connect one on one, and the almost impossible task of getting to know everyone in a large organization to the depth that I would like. I do my best to be as fully present as I can in each encounter, but it can be tough to do this well. Intimacy is hard to scale.

One Person at a Time

This challenge hit me in the face this week.

Intimacy is hard to scale

I was talking to an extended member of my team who does important work in my organization hundreds of miles away and a few levels down the org chart. I had not seen him in about 6 months. He said to me, “Karin, I think about what you said to me every day.” Oh boy, I smiled and waited. It turns out that once he reminded me of the challenge I had given him, I recalled the entire conversation, including exactly where we had been standing at the time. However, if I had been really on my game, I would have had immediate recall and perhaps have even been the first to bring it up.

I was so pleased that the conversation had helped him, and so disappointed in myself for the lack of proactive follow-through.

Time Well Spent

As timing would have it, the next day I walked into my office to find the very large stack of books I had ordered to give away at an upcoming summit I was hosting for some of my team. My intention was to inscribe them with a personal messages for each team member. That seemed like a good idea weeks ago, but now with literal wildfires burning in the West, and other emergencies that were consuming my day, it seemed like a daunting task.

That evening, I dove in and was surprised to find that what had felt like a difficult time-consuming exercise turned into a calming and useful experience. Somehow, moving deliberately through the team, one person at a time thinking about each person very specifically and the gifts they were giving, felt magical to me. Time melted away in a peaceful meditation. I left that night feeling tremendous gratitude for the people in my organization and their contributions to the work and to one another. It also became obvious to me that I knew some folks much better than others, and had much work ahead of me to be an effective leader for them.

Can intimacy scale? Tough question. There are certainly ways to be completely present in our relationships even in a large team setting. And, of course ways to do better with follow-up. I also found value in thinking quietly about each person one at a time, and seeing what surfaces.

Would love your comments and ideas