Archive for the ‘Personal development’ Category

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Inclusivity in diversity paves the way

DH fireworksThere is energy and vibrancy in the air. The sun is about to set but this signals even more adventures to come. The night is just beginning for all the thrill-seekers, celebratory parties and even the odd, quiet observer like me.

There are young women dressed to the nighs, groups of ‘hen parties,’ hand holding couples – the newly in love as well as the vintage variety and other groups about to board the harbour cruise.

What delights me as I make my way through the throngs in Darling Harbour is that within meters I’m picking up the many different accents. I recognize a few – Turkish, Hindi, Spanish, Chinese and Punjabi. (more…)

Leaders: Where are you being willfully blind?

How many times in our lives – at work or personally have we known that something isn’t quite right be it about a particular situation, a business transaction or a person and yet we have chosen to be willfully blind.  According to Margaret Heffernan in her insightful and engaging book, “Willful Blindness” – why we ignore the obvious at our own peril, this is far more common and pervasive than we would possibly care to think about.  With real case studies, she answers questions like, why do we choose to keep ourselves in the dark, what are the forces at work that make us deny the big threats staring at us in the face and not heeding the warnings and why as individuals, companies and countries we regularly look back in the mirror and howl: How could we have been so blind?

Here are  twelve factors at play that she covers in this highly recommended book.

1) Affinity and beyond – familiarity does not breed contempt.  It breeds comfort and a sense of safety. Madoff’s  crime is described as an affinity crime,  preying on people like him who knew others like themselves, who didn’t ask questions because their level of comfort was so high that they felt they could take shortcuts.  Our blindness grows out of the small, daily decisions that we make which embed us snugly inside our affirming thoughts and values.  We think we see more but in fact the landscape has shrunk.

2) Love is blind – we blind ourselves to inconvenient or painful facts. Because our identity and security depends on our loved ones, we don’t want to see anything that threatens them. It is easier to be blind than deal with uncomfortable feelings. Neuroscience shows that love activates those areas of the brain associated with reward such as food, drink, money or cocaine.  The chemical processes stimulated by love disable much of the critical thinking about the loved one. There is the paradox of blindness – we think it will make us safe even as it puts us in danger. We make ourselves powerless when we pretend not to know.

3) Dangerous convictions – Psychologist Anthony Greenwald called this the “totalitarian ego.” It operates like a police state: locking away threatening or incompatible ideas, suppressing evidence, and re-writing history, all in the service of a central idea or self-image. (more…)

What is the one thing if you did would make a real difference to you?

In coaching, it becomes evident that often it is NOT that the talented executives do not have the answer but more – they are not practicing ‘IT’ – whatever this happens to be for them. This gap between knowing and not doing gets put down to a number of reasons – not having time, not making a serious commitment and or having a plan.

Our default patterns are not always the best ones.  According to Marshall Goldsmith, executive coach to over 150 CEOs and their teams and author of  32 books including the very readable and thought provoking  “Mojo “our default response in life is to experience inertia.   In other words, our most common everyday process – the thing we do more often than anything else  – is to continue to do what we’re already doing.”

 The longer these important things are put off and or avoided, the easier it becomes to stay in the groove of the known rather than step out in do what is required. And yet when we do take action the sense of progress, breakthrough and results feel totally pleasing!  These feelings are even more accentuated when these actions are in aligment with our bigger sense of  meaning and purpose.

So the question for you is, ” What is the one thing if you did would make a real difference to you?”

As managers and leaders, this is also a great question to ask your direct reports in your coaching session with them. The range of answers I have received to what can be a game changing question include: (more…)

The gift of reflection to be a better leader


Taking time to reflect helps give perspective and make greater sense of events and experiences.  The reflective process inquires, poses questions, gets insights, sees things anew and it builds.  It helps us get to know ourselves and others in a deeper way and is  a healthy and necessary activity for executives and non-executives alike.  As a business leader, if  you are too entrenched in the detail, it is likely that you are not making time for reflection and therefore missing out on the bigger picture of your business and life. (more…)

13 tips for starting that book still inside of you

Launch Pictures 052I get asked quite frequently-  by people wanting to write their book  –  what helped me write   “Get your groove back.”   Here are some tips that might help you if you are thinking about getting started on your book or e-book:

1) Passion helps!  Write what you have passion for, what you are excited about and what gives you a buzz and or sense of meaning and purpose. Write what you feel is inside of you that needs to come out.
2) Commit your thoughts to writing.  If you feel you have a story or message to share, don’t leave it in an amorphous thought phase only.  Translate it into written words – whether you commit it to paper, word document, whatever.
3) Have a draft working structure. Start your book along the lines of this draft structure knowing that this will change as your thoughts, story and message evolves. (more…)

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