Sources of Insight Better Insights, Better Results 2015-02-01T00:24:02Z http://sourcesofinsight.com/feed/atom/ WordPress JD <![CDATA[Interview with The Entrepreneurs Library on Getting Results the Agile Way]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=25309 2015-01-30T18:31:01Z 2015-01-30T18:25:26Z In this interview with The Entrepreneur’s Library, I take listeners on a guided tour of Getting Results the Agile Way, and how to make the most of the book.

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Agile Results Interview with The Entrepreneur's Library

“Do your own thing on your own terms and get what you came here for.” — Oliver James

If you want to learn more about my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, this is a great way to do it.

In this interview with The Entrepreneurs Library, I take listeners on a guided tour of Getting Results the Agile Way, and how to make the most of the book.

Here is a link to the interview:

Interview with The Entrepreneur’s Library on Agile Results

In the interview, Wade Danielson, the creator of The Entrepreneurs Library, asks me:

  1. What was the inspiration behind writing this book?
  2. What makes this book different from others regarding this same topic?
  3. If the reader could only take one concept/principle/action item out of the entire book, what would you want that to be?
  4. Do you have a favorite quote from your book?
  5. If there was only one book you recommend to our listeners based on the way it has impacted your life, what would that be?

Here is a quick summary of Agile Results, if you’ve never heard of it before.

Agile Results is the system that I teach in Getting Results the Agile Way.  Agile Results is a simple system for meaningful results. It helps you master time management, productivity, and work-life balance.  It’s also a way to play to your strengths, and use your best energy for your best results.

Agile Results is a set of habits and practices to help you become what you’re capable of and realize your potential, while living and learning as you go.  In fact, you might say Agile Results is a learning system for life.

After all, who doesn’t want better results in work and life?

Moms use it.  Teachers use it.  Students use it.  CEOs use it.  Social workers use it.

Whether you’re a high-achiever, or an underdog who wants an unfair advantage, or simply want to be a more productive artist, Agile Results works with you to dial up your strengths and capabilities to amplify your impact, while having fun along the way.

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JD <![CDATA[Warrior Leaders are Positive and Exude Positive Energy]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=25224 2015-01-27T18:40:38Z 2015-01-27T18:28:10Z Warrior Leaders know how to find and focus on the positive, no matter what. They don’t get stuck in the negative, and they find the positive in situations and people, everywhere they go.

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“Learning is a gift. Even when pain is your teacher.” — Maya Watson

It’s easy to dwell and ruminate on the negative.

But Warrior Leaders know how to find and focus on the positive, no matter what.

I’ve known a lot of leaders.  Some loud.  Some quiet.  Some popular.  Some unsung heroes.

The ones that stand out in my mind are the ones that see a situation as it is, and how it could be.  The ones that pretend everything is hunky-dory, lose credibility fast.  People are smart.  They figure things out.  The ones that get stuck in the negative, bring everyone down.  Effective leaders recognize the negative, focus on the positive, and find a way forward.  And the best, are more consistent than the rest.

In the book, Warriors At The Helm: A Leader’s Guide to Success in Business, author Juan Carlos Marcos reminds us that great Warrior Leaders don’t get stuck in the negative, and they find the positive in situations and people, everywhere they go.

Warrior Leaders Don’t Get Consumed by Negative Things

Stuff happens.  But the best leaders don’t stew in it.  They don’t get consumed by the negatives.  They get up and get going and inspire others to do the same.

Via Warriors At The Helm: A Leader’s Guide to Success in Business

“A large part of any leader’s role is to solve problems, remove barriers, and deal with unpleasant issues.  There are stretches of time when the leader’s role can be burdened by negative situations or issues.  At these times, the Warrior Leaders shine the brightest.  Regardless of how unpleasant or challenging the circumstances may be, the Warrior Leader exudes positive energy rather than being consumed by the negatives.  This does not mean the leader is oblivious to the negatives or tries to spin communications to make negative things appear good.  It means that they recognize the problem, deal with it, look for the lessons learned and move on in a positive manner.”

Warrior Leaders Look for Positive Attributes in People

The best leaders know how to find the diamonds in the rough.  Everybody has flaws, so if you look you’ll find them.   But the best leaders don’t look for the flaws.   They look for the positive attributes and help them shine.

Via Warriors At The Helm: A Leader’s Guide to Success in Business

“Finally, Warrior Leaders look for the positive attributes in their colleagues and subordinates.  They build relationships on what is positive about people rather than focus on the negatives or the weaknesses that people may have.  Certainly with subordinates they will try to change the negatives but always with a focus on leading with people’s strengths as a foundation to improving the weaknesses.”

Whether you focus on the positive or the negative is a choice.

It’s you use your choices that sets you apart and forges your character.

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JD <![CDATA[Zig Ziglar on What It’s Like at the Top]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=25119 2015-01-26T18:50:10Z 2015-01-26T17:12:58Z In a moment of inspiration, one that Ziglar described as one of his most creative moments, he wrote what it’s like to be at the top.

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A while back I heard Zig Ziglar describe what it’s like to be at the top.

I remember his powerful words and his signature Southern drawl, as Ziglar spoke his profound words of wisdom.

His words echoed in my mind.

Zig Ziglar had a way with words, and he painted a very vivid picture of what life can be like when you focus on success from the inside out.

As the story behind his prose goes, Zig Ziglar was visiting his wife’s sister who had MS.  Ziglar likes to fix problems, but this was a problem that couldn’t be fixed, and he struggled with that.

On this particular visit, Ziglar was really feeling down and out.  Then, in a moment of inspiration, one that Ziglar described as one of his most creative moments, he wrote what it’s like to be at the top.

And, he wrote his words on the back of a motel bill, which was the only paper he had available at the time.

You are at the Top When …

Here is how Zig Ziglar described what it’s like at the top …

You are at the top when:

You clearly understand that failure is an event, not a person; that yesterday ended last night, and today is a brand-new day.

You have made friends with your past, are focused on the present and are optimistic about your future.

You know that success doesn’t make you, and failure doesn’t break you.

You are filled with faith, hope and love; and live without anger, greed, guilt, envy or thoughts of revenge.

You are mature enough to delay gratification and shift your focus from your rights to your responsibilities.

You know that failure to stand for what is morally right is the prelude to being the victim of what is criminally wrong.

You are secure in who you are, so you are at peace with God and in fellowship with man.

You have made friends of your adversaries, and have gained the love and respect of those who know you best.

You understand that others can give you pleasure, but genuine happiness comes when you do things for others.

You are pleasant to the grouch, courteous to the rude and generous to the needy.

You love the unlovable, and give hope to the helpless, friendship to the friendless and encouragement to the discouraged.

You can look back in forgiveness, forward in hope, down in compassion and up with gratitude.

You know that “he who would be the greatest among you must become the servant of all.”

You recognize, confess, develop and use your God-given physical, mental and spiritual abilities to the glory of God and for the benefit of mankind.

You stand in front of the Creator of the universe, and He says to you, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

By painting a picture of what life is like when you are at the top, Zig Ziglar also painted a picture of what life is like when you are at the bottom.

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JD <![CDATA[Warrior Leaders Focus on the Highest Value Activities]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=25104 2015-01-24T20:14:49Z 2015-01-24T19:57:23Z Warrior Leaders that focus on high-value activities, help the team, help themselves, and help the business by focusing on the essential and concentrating their efforts.

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“Don’t mistake activity with achievement.” — John Wooden

Whether you’re a corporate warrior, lead a small team in a garage, or you are a one-person band,, there’s a strategy that works:

Focus on the highest-value activities.

Warrior Leaders that focus on high-value activities, help the team, help themselves, and help the business by focusing on the essential and concentrating their efforts.

In the book, Warriors At The Helm: A Leader’s Guide to Success in Business, author Juan Carlos Marcos reminds us that the most effective leaders, focus on the minimum set of high-value activities.

Some Leaders Don’t Know How to Say No

Effective Warrior Leaders know how to say No to lower value activities, so they can focus on higher-value outcomes.

Via Warriors At The Helm: A Leader’s Guide to Success in Business:

“Some leaders don’t know how to say no and therefore over-commit themselves and their people. Some leaders are addicted to activity.  Their logic is that if there is a lot of work and a lot of things going on, they are doing well.  The reality is that unfocused activity is just that.  Warrior Leaders constantly ensure that they are focused on the few but most value-added activities that will have the biggest influence on achieving results.

Corporations are complex, with different functions trying to do their part to contribute to the success of the enterprise.“

Warrior Leaders Challenge How Activities Contribute to the Goals

If you want people to stick to the strategies and the priorities, you need to first articulate them clearly.  From there, you can challenge whether activities help support the cause.

Via Warriors At The Helm: A Leader’s Guide to Success in Business
”To achieve true focus, all functions within an enterprise have to be on the same page regarding key strategies and the actions necessary to achieve them.  This is harder to do than it may appear.  First, it requires clear communication about the strategies.  More importantly, it requires commitment from everyone on the few key strategies.  One way to obtain commitment is to require each major department within that enterprise to clearly articulate how what they do or what they may be asking other departments to do will contribute to the achievement of the key strategies.  If departments are recommending or imposing expectations on others that do not contribute to the achievement of strategies, Warrior Leaders challenge them and, if appropriate, eliminate these activities.”

Warrior Leaders Eliminate Non-Essential Activities

To help everybody stay focused, Warrior Leaders eliminate or push non-essential activities down the priority stack.

Via Warriors At The Helm: A Leader’s Guide to Success in Business

“At times, in order to retain focus, a shift in resources may be required.  Fiduciary responsibilities may not contribute anything to producing better products or services, but to ignore  those invites legal and safety concerns.  Accordingly, the enterprise must have the necessary resources to ensure that fiduciary responsibilities are executed but never lose sight of the primary strategies.  For anything that does not fall under the fiduciary responsibility umbrella, every function needs to ask, ‘Is what we do contributing to the key strategies of the enterprise?’ Warrior Leaders ensure that activities that are not essential to execution of the key strategies are eliminated or pushed down the priority list.”

Do a Few Things Well

The fewer the better, so you can channel your focus..

Via Warriors At The Helm: A Leader’s Guide to Success in Business

“Think of your daily life.  Most of us have literally hundreds of things that we wish we could do and that we have to do.  Those of us who do not focus and prioritize invariably fall into one of two camps.  You try to be all things to all people and soon realize that you are not doing anything well and pleasing no one.  Then there are those who do only what they like to do and ignore the rest.  That usually leads to some disaster down the road.  Whether it is your personal or corporate life, to succeed requires clear strategies and goals.  The fewer goals and strategies you pursue, the better.  Ask yourself: Would I rather do a lot of things at a mediocre level or would I rather do fewer things at an excellent or outstanding level?”

Check If It’s Working

Keep your eyes on the prize, but check whether you are actually making progress in the right direction.

Via Warriors At The Helm: A Leader’s Guide to Success in Business

“To agree and commit to the highest value-added strategies and activities for the enterprise is important.  However, regular and brutally honest calibration about progress or failures is also important.  If changes in resources or tactics are necessary, they should be made.  Blind commitment to strategies that are not working is a drain on the organization’s people and its assets.”

Keep in mind that focus is not a static thing.

New challenges, issues, and distractions will compete for your attention on a daily basis.

The Warrior Leader rises above the noise and finds the higher ground through fierce focus on the vital few outcomes and essential activities that really matter.

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JD <![CDATA[Are You Living Above or Below the Line?]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=24887 2015-01-24T04:33:57Z 2015-01-19T16:05:16Z Conscious Leaders spend more time living Above the Line. We can spend time Above the Line or Below the Line. Above the Line is where we are learning, growing, and thriving. It’s a place of abundance.

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“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough” — Oprah Winfrey

We can spend time Above the Line or Below the Line.

Above the Line is where we are learning, growing, and thriving.  It’s a place of abundance.

Below the Line is where we are defensive, stuck, and surviving.  It’s a place of scarcity.

Spend more time living Above the Line.

In The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, authors Jim Dethemer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Warner Klemp remind us that Conscious Leaders spend more time living Above the Line.

We are Either ABOVE or BELOW the Line

In any given moment, we are either living Above the Line or Below the Line.

Via The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership:

“In our experience, at any point in time we are either ABOVE the line or BELOW the line.  When we are defensive, closed, and committed to being right, we are below the line.  Or put another way, we are committed to the survival of our ego.

When we’re open, curious, and committed to learning, we’re above the line.”

Below the Line is “To Me”

When we are Below the Line, we are a victim.  Things are done to us.  We play the blame game.  We are stuck on being right.  We are operating from a scarcity mentality.  We are operating out of fear.  We are closed.

Via The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership:

“The grip of toxic fear drives behaviors and beliefs below the line.  Presence brings forth behaviors and beliefs above the line.  Below the line is a ‘To Me’ experience, whereas above the line is a ‘By Me’ experience.  When we go below the line, our ego is fighting for survival and we become firmly entrenched in the scarcity belief: that there isn’t enough–not enough love, time, money, energy, security, control, and approval.”

Above the Line is “By Me”

When we are Above the Line, we are flexing our freedom.  We are open.   We are exploring.  We are operating from an abundance mentality.  We are operating out of love, understanding, and forgiveness.

Via The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership:

“Above the line is opening to the big fun game of learning and growing, and we trust ourselves or Source (people have many different words for source like God, Allah, Universe, Presence, Love, Jesus, the Tao) to provide us with plenty of love, time, money, energy, security, control, and approval.”

Conscious Leaders Spend More Time Above the Line

Lead yourself and others better by spending more time Above the Line.  That’s what Conscious Leaders do.

Via The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership:

“In our experience, Conscious Leaders choose to spend a lot of time Above the Line in high learning states.  This ‘learning agility’ mentioned in the beginning of the chapter, gives them a competitive advantage, since most people today are knowledge workers. In contrast, unconscious leaders spend too much time trying to be right, defending their ego, and being defensive, thereby diminishing their edge in the marketplace.”

Awareness is half the battle.

When you realize that you are operating Below the Line, challenge yourself to take the high road.

The more you practice, the better you’ll get.

When you shift out of blame, you change your game.

When you operate from abundance, the world mirrors you back.

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JD <![CDATA[The 4 Great Predictors of Sustained Success]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=24869 2015-01-19T01:16:55Z 2015-01-19T01:08:51Z Successful people seem to get better over time. They age like a fine wine.What are the key attributes of successful people who know how to create and sustain their success for the long haul?

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Some people seem to sustain their success and get better over time.

They age like a fine wine.

They learn about themselves as much as they can, and they play to their strengths, while limiting their liabilities.

They compound their success as they create and take advantage of more opportunities.

Successful people that sustain their success also know how to use and choose their words carefully so they can relate with others, and influence others.

What are the key attributes of these people who are able to create and sustain their success for the long haul?

In The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, authors Jim Dethemer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Warner Klemp share what the four most important predictors of success are.

The 4 Competencies That Trump All Others

According to the authors, the four main predictors of sustained success are:

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Learning Agility
  3. Communication
  4. Influence

Internal View of Reality + External View of Reality

Self-Awareness and Learning Agility are a reflection of your internal relationship with the world, while Communication and Influence are a reflection of your external interact with your world.

Via The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership:

“Current research shows that over the course of our career, four competencies trump all others as the greatest predictors of sustained success: self-awareness, learning agility, communication, and influence.  The last two deal with how leaders interact with their world, and the first two address leaders’ internal relationships to ‘reality.’ “

Learning Through Curiosity

Learning Through Curiosity is a way to address Self-Awareness and Learning Agility.  A commitment to Learning Through Curiosity can also help you avoid getting Stuck on Being Right.

According to the authors, Learning Through Curiosity is a commitment to the following:

  1. I commit to growing in self-awareness.
  2. I commit to regarding every interaction as an opportunity to learn.
  3. I commit to curiosity as a path to rapid learning.

Successful people seem to have a knack for knowing their own strengths and weaknesses.  They are life-long learners that keep learning and adapting.  They stay curious and exploring the views of others.

This helps inform, enhance, and shape their views of their world, so they can survive and thrive.

And that’s the stuff that sustained success is made of.

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Image by Jeremy Bronson.

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JD <![CDATA[Stuck on Being Right]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=24836 2015-01-23T06:16:58Z 2015-01-17T19:58:13Z Don't get stuck on being right. The need to be right, limits your own growth, and sucks the energy out of everyone involved.

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“You never really learn much from hearing yourself speak.” — George Clooney

What if people didn’t need to be right?

Or, to ask it another way, how much more energy would everyone have, if people didn’t debate as if their ego depended on it?

I grew up in a group where people were encouraged not to be right, but to ask better questions, and to learn through feedback.

The idea was that if you fell into the trap of needing to be right, you would stop learning from the people, the ideas, and the insights all around you.  The very information that you need to do a better job.

Looking back, it was some of the best training for life.  I learned to stay curious.  When you need to be right, people won’t bring you the information you need to survive and thrive.

In The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, authors Jim Dethemer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Warner Klemp help leaders see how the need to be right, limits your own growth, and sucks the energy out of everyone involved.

Being Right Sucks Up a Lot of Energy

When a leader needs to be right, it hijacks the group energy, and brings everybody down.

Via The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership:

“Once she left, the entire group breathed a collective sigh of relief.  They  recognized that Sarah’s defensiveness was consuming huge amounts of group energy and was no longer supporting their learning and growth.  (By the way, this often happens in organizations: a leader’s defensiveness hijacks group energy, bringing down the entire collaborative effort.)”

Don’t Get Stuck on Being Right

One of the most effective things that conscious leaders do, that others don’t, is that they stay open and curious.  They commit to curiosity as a path for learning and growth.

In other words, they don’t get stuck on being right.

Via The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership:

“Quite possibly, no other commitment is more central to the core of unconscious people than the one to being right.  This is for good reason.  As we said in the introduction to the book, being right is connected to survival and survival is all that matters.  Our brains are hardwired for self-preservation–we are constantly seeking to protect not only our physical well-being but our ego as well.”

We Don’t Have to Use Much Energy to Defend Things We Believe are True

When you know you’re right, you don’t need to spend much energy, and you don’t need to fight as though your ego or identity depended on it.

Via The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership:

“Please understand, the issue isn’t ‘being right’ but rather ‘wanting to be right’ and ‘fighting to be right.’ and proving we are right.’  When talking to a group, we often illustrate this by asking everyone to think of a simple, unarguable arithmetic axiom that they’re confident is ‘right.’ 

Once this comes to their mind, we ask the how attached they are to being right about this rule.  How much energy do they have to fight for or defend  the fact that 2 + 2 = 4 (the arithmetic axiom most people think of)?  Usually they observe that they have very little energy to fight for the rightness of their belief.  Why? From our perspective, it’s because they know they are right and don’t need to defend this law as though their identity or ego depended on it.”

What is Right Doesn’t Need to be Defended

Attachment is all about the ego.  What individuals really want is validation and appreciation.   Getting stuck on being right is really about individuals wanting to be validated and appreciated.

Via The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership:

“Next, we ask the same leaders to bring to mind an ‘issue’ that they are fighting to be right about at work or in their private lives.  It doesn’t take them long to find one.  When we invite them to notice the difference between their need to defend, justify, and explain why they are right about this issue and their need to defend 2 + 2 = 4, they often have an epiphany.

Unusually they discover two things.  First, if they are honest with themselves, they see that they aren’t nearly as certain about the ‘rightness’ of their viewpoint as they act.  Second, they realize that wanting to be right, being seen as being right, and being validated and appreciated for being right are what they really want.  This attachment is all about the ego.  What is ‘right’ doesn’t need to be defended.  The equation 2 + 2 = 4 doesn’t require us to fight about its validity.”

Don’t get stuck on being right.

Stay curious.

Help others see what they don’t see.

Find out what others see, that you don’t see, or how they see it, in a way that you don’t.

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JD <![CDATA[Presence is Something You Can Learn]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=24791 2015-01-16T15:25:15Z 2015-01-16T15:05:16Z This is a guest post by Bandita Joarder, a Sr. Business Strategy Consultant at Microsoft, on learning the power of presence.

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Bandita

This is a guest post by Bandita Joarder, a Sr. Business Strategy Consultant at Microsoft, on learning the power of presence.

If you know Bandita, you already know she’s amazing.  Wherever she goes, she has a way of showing up with power, presence, and warmth.

If you don’t know Bandita, let me tell you a little more.

Bandita is in the business of business change.   She is a thought leader and a seasoned practitioner in digital business transformation.

Bandita helps business leaders and businesses adopt technology to help grow their business, and get better, faster, cheaper .  She is also an expert in adoption and change, and knows how to drive workforce transformation in the real-world for companies of all shapes and sizes.

When Bandita talks, people listen.

But this is not the story of Bandita’s amazing career as a female in the technology space.  

This is a more personal story about how Bandita learned the art and science of presence, and how the ability to show up in a powerful, positive, and fully-engaged way, changed her life forever.

Without further ado, here’s Bandita …

I Just Didn’t Command Presence

One day, I was demoted.  Actually, it was presented to me as a ‘role correction.’  The startup company (where I worked countless hours) was trying to better define those individuals who were aspiring to become a Project Manager, and realized that the Associate Project Manager role was too broad in both seniority and skill set.  So they created a new role, which was Associate Project Manager Candidate.  I was now a Candidate, and while there was much debate about me given my skills, experience and contribution, it boiled down to the fact that I just didn’t command presence.

I cried.  I mean, really sobbed.  What does ‘presence’ mean?  How do you show it?  I was 24 – I had no idea how to grow myself on such an intangible skill!  What is the path to become someone with presence?  No one could give me an answer.

Presence Was Not a Part of My World

Looking back, I realized that there was a reason why presence wasn’t even in my vocabulary.  I am female.  I am short.  I am Asian.  These are three things that have culturally communicated to me that I, in fact, should strive to NOT have presence.  I didn’t know this when I began my career, but am able to parse it out now:

  1. Let’s start with being Asian.  My parents are from a very traditional Indian background.  As children, we speak only when spoken to.  We do not provide ideas or opinions to elders, even someone one year older.  You are praised for being gracious, quiet, and non-abrasive.
  2. Being short – If you look around at prominent leaders, celebrities, sports figures, etc. chances are, they are not 4’11”.  Short people are supposed to be cute, bubbly, and sweet.  And in both middle and high school, whenever I did not fit that bill, I felt people looking at me very strangely, teachers included!  I quickly stopped challenging the norm.
  3. Being female.  Just earlier this week I read an article about a study where men who spoke out more were praised and rewarded for doing so, while women who spoke out more were viewed in a neutral or negative way.  I think many women have experienced being interrupted or talked over when they try to present their thoughts, and I was no stranger to this.

I Thought Good Work Would Speak for Itself

What this all added up to…was that I was pretty much bred to not show presence.  To give my opinion only when asked, and just do my job otherwise.  When I graduated from MIT, I thought that this knowledge would serve me well as I launched into the working world, since I could demonstrate good work and results respectably.

Soon after the correction (which was then re-corrected back to APM), I was moved to London to help start a new office for the company.  My first engagement was being the worldwide Y2K Program Manager for a large investment banker.  I sat at my desk, created my plans, answered the questions my client boss asked, and provided status when requested.

A month later, the customer asked to meet with the sales rep and VP to boot me out of the position.  I was mortified.  Geez, how could someone who did so well at school and volunteer work and honor societies be struggling so much in the real world?  Again, it came to lack of presence.  Ugh, that word!

My Transformation Begins

One of the directors at my company took me on to help turn this around.  Although she was working full time on a crazy project miles outside of London, she would make time to meet with me either at 7am before she caught her train or 8pm after she returned.  She calmly coached me on minute detail.  Some things I recall are:

  • Always take notes, even if you’re smart enough to remember what they said.  It shows that you’re listening.
  • Don’t apologize for everything.  Sometimes you are a few minutes late for a meeting – it was probably for a good reason.  Just get on with the work.
  • Practice standing up straight and looking people in the eye.
  • If you have been sitting at your cubicle for over an hour, get up and connect with someone.  If you’ve finished a major milestone, don’t be scared to pop into your client manager’s office and share the news – he will want to know!
  • Provide information and status proactively, not reactively.  Then people know you are ahead of the game.
  • Do your hair, nails, and makeup – be polished.  It will make you feel better and exude more confidence.

Presence Pays Off

I worked at it – I did everything.  I had a weekly global status meeting on Y2K at the client site and TOOK OVER leading it, instead of my client boss.  And TOLD people when things needed to get done, not asked meekly if it were possible.  And the clients started listening to me more, I stayed on the project for almost a year, and was given a positive review.  This helped me land my next position which was to lead an entire project team for a $2M project, and the director who helped me said ‘Look at you now – you walk around with presence.  People are drawn to you, and younger women want to be like you!’  I couldn’t believe, it, but I did it.

Collaborative, Confident, and Capable

My key lessons learned was that for others to have confidence in you, it is okay to have confidence in yourself.  You can be respectable to others, and a great listener, but it doesn’t have to be one way – you can contribute as well and it’s not considered being arrogant, just collaborative.

I still can’t believe it when someone says I have great presence, given I had none when I started out.  I just wanted to share that something so intangible can definitely be learned and attained…and kept.  Hope this helps.

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JD <![CDATA[The Value Creation Habit]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=24733 2015-01-15T15:31:30Z 2015-01-15T15:13:50Z The Value Creation Habit, is spending more time giving your best where you have your best to give creating value.

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“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman

I’m giving a name to one of the most important habits I want to work on. I’m calling it The Value Creation Habit.

By giving it a name, I can focus on it. I can evaluate how much time I spend in it. And, I can get better at it over time.

The idea of The Value Creation Habit, is simple:

Spend more time giving your best where you have your best to give.

The idea is to spend more time in high-value activities, and less time in overhead, or things that don’t generate value for your and for others.

So many days (weeks, months, years) can fly by, without spending much time, if any, in creating the value that only we can create, if we don’t deliberately focus on it and invest in it.

At the same time, every day is a chance to find ways to spend more time in The Value Creation Habit.

Spend More Time In Value Creation

What The Value Creation Habit means is spending more time in your strengths, creating value for whoever you serve.

Life’s better with a mission: “I help people ________” (fill in the blank.)

And your mission is better when you play to your strengths, and create unique value, that only you can create.

It’s how you fill the great, gaping void (and don’t add to the overflowing shelf of “Me, Too”s).

That’s the stuff that great craftsmen, great authors, great entrepreneurs, and great companies are made of.

We all have a knack for something, but we don’t always use it.

Well, use it or lose it.

If you don’t use your gifts, you lose the opportunity to realize your potential and to make your greatest impact, and to touch the lives of others in your most awe-inspiring way. (One way to measure a life is to measure the people whose lives you’ve touched.)

Do What Makes You Come Alive

Don’t die with your music in you.  Whether you think of it as doing what you were born to do, or simply doing what makes you come alive, or your One Thing, do more of it.

As a friend of mine would say, “Do more art.” What he means is it’s easy to let stuff get in the way of the things you truly want to do, and are gifted for.

Don’t ask for permission, don’t wait, just do more art—your art– and you’ll come alive in anything and everything you do.

The Value Creation Habit is another way to achieve more Flow.

Create More Fulfillment

There are three paths of happiness. One way is to enjoy the moment. It’s right here, right now. Another way, is to spend more time in your values. The third way, and the way of deep fulfillment, is in the service of others, giving your best where you have your best to give.

They aren’t mutually exclusive, and the three paths to happiness help give meaning to the things you already do every day.

And, they help identify things you should do more of if you want more impact and more fulfillment.

You Get What You Give

You might think of it like Karma, where what goes around comes around.

Or, you might like how Zig Ziglar put it:

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

Or, you might simply think of The Value Creation Habit as a way to leave your tiny footprints on the sands of time.

Apply the 80/20 Rule

20% of our activities, generate 80% of our results. Do more of the 20%. Your 20%. Squeeze out the low-value stuff, by spending more time on high-value stuff. As Bruce Lee would say, “Hack away at the unessential.”

Who would you rather be around? The you that spends a bunch of time on things that suck your life force out. Or, the you that spends time doing what makes you come alive, where you rise and shine, find your flow, get your groove on, and make magic happen.

I want to surround myself with people who thrive doing what they do best, in their element, and en fuego.

Do What You Do Best

Do what you do best, and do more of it.

This is how you amplify your impact.

If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a runner, run.  If you’re a developer, then code. If you’re an entrepreneur, then start, ship, and grow more ideas. If you’re a leader, then lead.

But give it your twist, and do it your special way. Be the poet who makes the world feel.  Be the developer who builds the apps that change the world.  Be the teacher that molds the minds of the future.

Create Your Personal Dojo Wherever You Are

At home or at work, practice your craft, and master your craft.

Your create your dojo wherever you go.

Whether you think of it as Deliberate Practice or Deep Practice, create a learning loop.

You’ll get better and better at value creation, through focus and feedback.

If you listen, and really listen, and apply what you learn, you’ll compound your value creation ability.

Make The Value Creation Habit a Habit

The idea of a habit is to focus on practice and learning.

Making something a habit means you don’t have to get it right.  It means you work at it, and get better.

Creating little routines and rituals for your habit, will make it easier to practice your habit.

Don’t just get up to bat once and swing for the fence. Make it batting practice. Keep getting up to bat. The more you get up to bat, the better you’ll get over time. And, the more time you spend in your high-value activities, and your place of strength, the more you’ll multiply and compound your results.

Getting Started with The Value Creation Habit

Let’s keep it simple.

  1. Create a personal appointment on your calendar where you will spend time giving your best, where you have your best to give.
  2. Do it.
  3. Review how you do, and find ways to spend more time in The Value Creation Habit.

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JD <![CDATA[Don’t Let Work Turn You Into Who You Don’t Want to Be]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=24718 2015-01-23T06:31:28Z 2015-01-13T19:05:25Z Sandy Shugart, PhD, helps us see how we can use our work to become the person we want to be, and avoid becoming the kind of person we never want to be.

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Can work turn you into the person you never wanted to be?  Or, can you use work to shape you into the kind of person you want to become?

Work transforms people.

It happens as they learn how to work within the system, to work with other people, and how to get ahead, or, just even survive.

The heat and the stress of work can very easily turn people into the kind of person that they swore they never would become.

Yes, work can take it’s toll.

But it can also be a place of growth and greatness.  It’s the ultimate form of self-expression.

Whether you become the kind of person you want to be, or a shadow of your former-self, or the kind of person that you never wanted to be, it comes down to self-reflection and mindfulness.

In the book, Leadership in the Crucible of Work: Discovering the Interior Life of an Authentic Leader, Sandy Shugart, PhD, helps us see how we can use our work to become the person we want to be, and avoid becoming the kind of person we never want to be.

The Deeply Convicted and Punishing Leader

Beware and be aware of who you are becoming.

Things aren’t always what they appear to be.  Some leaders and teams seem effective on the outside, but when you look on the inside, it’s a house of cards, or, worse, a house of fear, or even a cage.

Some leaders talk the talk.  Others actually walk their talk.  Some leaders bring out the best in others.   Other leaders clip the wings of those who might otherwise flourish.

Do you lift others up and grow their greatness, or do you hold them back, or do you keep them down?

Via Leadership in the Crucible of Work:

“I know a leader of a great servant institution in our own community whose organization has been so damaged by the toxicity of his habits of control and manipulation that no one can work there long without sustaining permanent wounds. Outwardly, he projects competence, wisdom, even servant hood, but his staff knows him as a deeply conflicted and punishing leader.  His own unhappiness in this miserable condition only ads to the vitriol waiting to be unleashed when anyone fails to comply with his ever-shifting expectations.  His organization seems from the outside to be effective enough, until we consider what might have been, what creative possibilities have crushed, and what gifted colleagues have been exiled.  And he is gradually awakening to the prison he himself has fashioned.  How sad.”

Wisdom Begins with Awareness

As simple as it sounds, just becoming aware of the kind of experiences you are creating, the type of results you are getting, and the type of perception you are creating, can help you instantly

Via Leadership in the Crucible of Work:

“Just knowing, becoming conscious of the nature of the tools we are using and how they can effect us is a very good beginning and worthy of continual reflection and self-examination.  Some do this work of reflection in a  journal; others give themselves a good talking to on a long walk or a run; still others have found or created relationships for accountability, friends who can ask the hard questions and receive our answers both skeptically and unconditionally.  The point is to do this interior work and to make all the day-to-day details and signposts of our work the raw material for these self-inquiries.”

Gaze Boldly Into the Mirror Others Hold Up To You

Feedback is a gift.  You can ignore it, or you can use it.

The key is to look for signs of erosion and growth.  Are you becoming more of who you want to be?  Would other people agree?

Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself is, what do your daydreams reveal about your heart?

Via Leadership in the Crucible of Work:

“In this process, we do well to look for signs of erosion and growth in our characters through the ways we are engaging our work.  Signs of erosion, for example, light be when our approaches to accountability begin to slide slowly toward coercion, or when persuasion becomes spin, or proper discretion moves toward stealth or even ambush, or when negotiation begins to look like manipulation.  Pay attention to your feelings in this process what makes you angry, what delights you, what do idle daydreams reveal about the condition of your heart? Feelings can lead to very productive inquiry.  Also, as unpleasant as it may be, from time to time, graze boldly into the mirror others hold up to you.”

Work Becomes a Platform for Growth and Greatness

You can use work to become all that you’re capable of, and to inspire and lift others to their potential, along the way.

Via Leadership in the Crucible of Work:

“You may well find that you feel a little hamstrung by this at first.  All all, rivals and competitors are using these tools without compunction and are often gaining a competitive advantage.  Perhaps.  But I’m asking you to have a little faith that wisdom will lead where shrewdness cannot: to work and places of work that can become, in spite of all our human frailties, places to grow into maturity and grace, much to the long-term benefit of ourselves, our co-workers, and even the enterprise itself.”

It’s a small world.  Life is short.

Flourish.

And, help others do the same.

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