Sources of Insight Better Insights, Better Results 2015-07-05T15:58:22Z http://sourcesofinsight.com/feed/atom/ WordPress JD <![CDATA[3 Habits to Grow Your Mindfulness]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26728 2015-07-01T17:33:26Z 2015-07-01T17:29:56Z Three ways that leaders can practice mindful leadership and develop their mindfulness. Mindfulness is a way to capture more moments, and to make the most of them.

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iStock_000049564762_Large“Always hold fast to the present. Every situation,indeed every moment,is of infinite value,for it is the representative of a whole eternity.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It’s easy to be mindless.

In fact, mindlessness is a natural part of the human condition.

We go into auto-pilot for so many things everyday, and this often helps us make it through our day.  But it can also hurt us.

We can break out of mindlessness and become more mindful.

In the book, Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead, Rob-Jan De Jong shares three ways that leaders can practice mindful leadership and develop their mindfulness.

1. Grow Your Mindfulness by Creating New Categories

One way to grow your mindfulness is to create new categories.  Creating new categories helps us gain new insights and see things in a fresh way.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“The first has to do with relabeling, reframing, and re-categorizing–an existential awareness and willingness to challenge the mental constructs that drive your thinking.  It’s what children do automatically as they engage with their creative and imaginative side, but adults often lose this capability over time. 

The experience we gained throughout our lives has been categorized and fixed in our minds, creating a belief system that we depend on and feel motivated to keep as is. 

Mindful re-categorization will bring us new insights and more options to consider. 

But it requires a willingness to challenge our belief system.”

2. Grow Your Mindfulness by Welcoming New Information

Another way to grow your mindfulness is to be curious.  It means challenging what you “know” to be true.  It means dismantling your “truths set.”

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“Second, a mindful state implies openness to new information.  This might sound simpler than it actually is.  Most of us consider ourselves to be open-minded, but we all get used to a set of ‘truths’ we discover in our lives that become helpful, reassuring, and practical to hold on to. 

We dislike when this ‘truths set’ is challenged or dismantled

It’s unsettling and results in an unpleasant state of confusion. 

That’s why we have a natural tendency to shield ourselves from information that doesn’t conform to what we like to believe. 

We maintain a status quo of beliefs and a deluge of new information.”

3. Grow Your Mindfulness by Adopting More than One View

Another way to grow your mindfulness is to add multiple perspectives and to play out multiple possibilities.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“The third aspect of mindfulness as defined by Langer is the adoption of more than one view, and being mindfully aware of and open to other views

Once we realize and embrace that there are as many different views as there are observers, we allow ourselves to see a more complete picture. 

Pierre Wack’s quest, which led to the art of scenarios planning, is fully in line with this aspect: Exploring scenarios and preparing for different futures is mentally liberating, providing you with a richer palette of options to consider.”

Mindful Leadership in Practice

Rob-Jan De Jong shares the story of a friend who practices leadership mindfulness.  His friend is a purser on a Boeing 747 and practices mindfulness with every take-off and every landing.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:
”Well, she knows experience along is not enough.  Mindlessly relying on it to help her act in times of stress would be too risky, regardless of how well trained she is. 

Instead, she has adopted some purposeful practices she applies on every flight. 

Because takeoff and landing are the riskiest moments of a flight, she takes 30 seconds once she is seated to mentally rehearse the emergency procedures.  On every flight. Every time they take off and every time they land. 

That’s a form of mindful leadership put into practice.”

Mindless is a Natural Part of the Human Condition

Mindlessness is a natural thing.  We all fall victim.  The way to reduce mindlessness where it counts is to first become aware of it, and then practice mindful habits.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“It’s important to understand that mindlessness is part of the natural human condition; it would be difficult to find anyone who doesn’t fall victim to it at times. 

The best way to avoid falling into ever-present mindlessness traps is to first become aware of them; you can grow this awareness through periodic assessment and honest reflection on your recent actions and behaviors. 

Next, you can develop some practices that will help you reduce the risks of mindlessness in your own role and responsibility, just like our family friend has done, since she knows that her automatic behavior might not cut it when she needs her mindfulness most.”

Mindfulness is a way to capture more moments, and to make the most of them.

There is a lot of power in the now.

Don’t throw your power, or your moments, away.

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JD <![CDATA[Apply the Artful Approach to Human Relationships]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26653 2015-06-28T19:04:53Z 2015-06-28T18:02:12Z Apply the artful approach to human relationships. Giri is a positive force of mutual trust and appreciation.

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“In real life, the most practical advice for leaders is not to treat pawns like pawns, nor princes like princes, but all persons like persons.” — James MacGregor Burns

As we were wrapping up the deal, the RV salesmen turned to me and said, “We have Giri between us.”

I asked him what he meant, and he said if I read Alchemy of a Leader, by John E. Rehfeld, I’ll understand.

At the time, I figured it had something to do with good will and integrity.

More Time Ahead of Us Than Behind Us

The RV salesman was sharing his experience, and really helping me understand my pains, needs, and desired outcomes in an authentic way.  All of his help and guidance was based on long-term mutual benefit vs. short-term gain.

He was making decisions with the idea that we have more time ahead of us then behind us, and it’s a small world.

Giri: A Positive Bond

Giri, simply put, is a positive force of mutual trust and appreciation.

Via Alchemy of a Leader:

“Giri is another Japanese  term with no direct English equivalent.  It refers to what North Carolina State University professor Linda S. Dillon calls ‘a range of obligation’  or what Japan scholar Edward Hall describes as ‘indebtedness to others.’ 

In my experience, Giri is almost always a positive force; it is what remains after business or personal relationships have deepened through exchanges of mutual trust and appreciation

Occasionally, only after some grave personal offense has been committed, Giri takes on a negative, ‘getting even’ connotation. 

Usually, however, the need to get even because of Giri refers to the duty to do something nice, like return a compliment.”

“We Have Giri Between Us”

When you say that we have Giri between us, you acknowledge that positive bond.

Via Alchemy of a Leader:

“Giri is the result of all Japanese relations-building. 

It is that palpable, yet intangible, sense of personal honor, the ‘I can’t do that to do-and-so because we have Giri between us’ attitude, or, ‘of course, I’ll come in and work on Sunday to help my colleague, with whom I have a relationship built on Giri.’ 

The goal of Japanese manager and worker alike is to build and maintain Giri, a pattern of honorable interactions, as widely as possible.”

Treat Each Other as Longtime Allies

Instead of treating people as a means to an end, people are the end.

Via Alchemy of a Leader:

“Western managers might well ask themselves what they or their companies can do to create among their employees the sense of personal honor, of Giri, which serves the Japanese so well. It is crucial to have employees and customers when possible, bound to one another by some higher moral force. 

This may mean occasionally forgoing a business or management opportunity to make a fast buck if the opportunity comes at the expense of a customer, business partner, or employee. 

The essential strength of Giri is that it grows out of individual’s sense of self-esteem and esteem for others

In Japan, Giri sometimes feels like a socially regimented emotion, lacking in warmth, but its existence is a manifestation of profound loyalty.  Once the Giri mentality is established, it acts as an internal regulator and helps lead workers and managers to treat teach other as longtime allies.”

Each Individual Relationship is Important

Each one matters.

Via Alchemy of a Leader:

“A young employee who witnesses his supervisor honoring a longstanding business relationship or obligation gets a powerful message from that interaction; it demonstrates that, to the manager, each individual relationship is important and, potentially, long –lasting. 

It lets employees know, almost subconsciously, that they also have an opportunity to develop such mutually reciprocal and beneficial relationships with their co-workers, managers, and subordinates. 

Modeling this behavior is perhaps the best way a manager can reinforce the sense that success in business is directly linked with each employee’s relationships with customers and colleagues.”

Make Business More Pleasant, and Enjoyable

Enjoy the process.  Enjoy the people.

Via Alchemy of a Leader:

“For example, I recently had an opportunity to start a new relationship with a major Japanese consumer electronics vendor.  First, we met in my office to review progress on our product development activities.  Then we played golf.  Golf was followed by dinner at my house, punctuated with an end-of-evening picture-taking session. 

The next day, after a one-hour wrap-up meeting in my office, my guest hosted me for dinner at one of his favorite restaurants.  Outside the office, very little business was discussed.  However, when my guest departed we both had the feeling of being long-lost buddies. 

We could have, of course, concluded our business discussions in far less time.  Instead, we took the time to get it right; both of us now feel a responsibility to help each other in ways we might not have considered if our personal relationship was not as strong. 

On a less intense basis, I try to nurture similar relationships with all of my key business contacts.  Doing so improves the working relationship and, in addition, help make business much more pleasant and enjoyable.”

Hone Relationship-Building to a High Art

Building effective relationships takes practice and with practice you can hone it to a high art.

Via Alchemy of a Leader:

“Relationship-building is perhaps the most compelling and satisfying part of doing business Japanese-style.  In a highly effective and culturally unique way, many of the Japanese I have worked with over the years have won permanent places in my heart.  I have fond memories of man of these individuals and a strong sense of Giri exists between us. 

For the Japanese, relationship-building is, indeed, a daily practice honed to a high art.  Within limits, most managers would do well to learn to apply this artful approach to human relationships.”

Interestingly, Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, had this to say about the East vs. West approach to relationships in business:

“Companies in the East put a lot more emphasis on human relationships, while those from the West focus on the product, the bottom line. Westerners appear to have more of a need for achievement, while in the East there’s more need for affiliation.”

When you remember that life is short, it’s really a small world, and people are the difference that make the difference, your natural ability to establish Giri starts to shines through.

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JD <![CDATA[Live Without the Fear of Death in Your Heart]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26639 2015-06-28T23:49:00Z 2015-06-26T17:31:23Z Imagine if you could live without fear. Imagine a life of self-expression where you live your life, and not the life that others expect for you. Imagine a life without regrets.

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image“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” — Dr. Seuss

Living in fear is no way to live.

That’s how some people live their entire life.

For some, fear holds them back in some small way, or in many small ways.  For others, it’s more obvious and they lead a fear-driven life.

But what if there was another way?

Imagine if you could live without fear.  Imagine a life of self-expression where you live your life, and not the life that others expect for you.  Imagine a life without regrets.

That’s the life Chief Tecumseh wrote about in his inspiring poem.

Live Your Life that the Fear of Death Can Never Enter Your Heart

Beautify all things in your life.  According to Chief Tecumseh:

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.”

Show Respect to All and Grovel to None

Stand up for yourself, and respect other people.  According to Chief Tecumseh:

”Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.”

Find the Joy and Be Grateful for What You’ve Got

An attitude of gratitude will see you through your days.  According to Chief Tecumseh:

”When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.”

Be Able to Sing Your Death Song Like a Hero Going Home

Don’t be wishing for more lives, more time, or do-overs.  According to Chief Tecumseh:

”When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

Live strong.

Live valiantly … the Tecumseh way.

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JD <![CDATA[How Women are Changing Leadership]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26628 2015-06-25T14:52:32Z 2015-06-25T14:45:55Z How women are changing leadership by using their attributes of openness, collaboration, inclusiveness, transparency and trustworthiness to achieve leadership success.

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image“Some leaders are born women.” — Geraldine Ferraro

Women are redefining leadership and changing the rules of how business is being conducted to better reflect their strengths.

Recent global research shows that feminine attributes are the most desirable for leadership in the twenty-first century.

In the book, Been There, Run That, Kay Koplovitz writes about how women are using their attributes of openness, collaboration, inclusiveness, transparency and trustworthiness to help their colleagues achieve success.

The Emerging Power of Connection and Collaboration for Effective Leadership

If you want to get ahead, connect and collaborate.  The power of people shines through the power of networks and helping others bring out their best.

Via Been There, Run That:

“You can really capture the emerging power being wielded by women using their human capital networks in the world of business and power in Pamela Ryckman’s book, Stiletto Network: Inside the Women’s Power Circles That are Changing the Face of Business. 

It came ‘on the heels’ (pun intended) of two other powerful books that came out in spring 2013, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and The Athena Doctrine by John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio.  Each of them captures the changing world of women, business and power from different perspectives.”

The Leadership Landscape is Shifting to Active, Confident, and Collaborative Female Leaders

Whether it’s women helping women find their footing, or simply lifting each other up, it’s changing the leadership landscape.

Via Been There, Run That:

“Pamela started out on the road to her research to fill a personal need.  She has written for the New York Times, the Financial Times, Fortune, CNNMoney, the Observer and many more.  But when she took a break to raise her children, she should on her return that she had lost her footing.

Then she attended a women’s conference in California and an amazing pattern started to unfold.  She met woman after woman who introduced her to others, and Pamela started to realize that the landscape was shifting. 

Not only were women not balking at helping each other achieve their goals, they were promoting their friends, business associates and colleagues.  The women were active, confident and collaborative, and intuitively knew who Pamela needed to know next.  The electronic Rolodexes came out, and one connection after another was made. 

This is the power of women using their human capital network to effect change.”

Collaboration, Diversity, and Self-lessness are Strong Leadership Attributes

Characteristics that support empowerment and encourage everyone to be a leader, reflect a shift from the industrial age and hierarchical management to the flatter and more connected, collaboration economy.

Via Been There, Run That:

“Time after time, you learn that the characteristics of women hold and cherish are becoming more the norm for business today. 

Attributes such as collaboration, diversity, judgment, intuition, partnership. listening, inclusiveness, flexibility, self-lessness and loyalty means a lot.”

The Business World is Moving Toward Feminine Leadership Attributes

There’s a shift of the mix in attributes that people value when it comes to leadership, which reflects our changing world.

Via Been There, Run That:

“Interestingly, these are the attributes that are documented in the extensive global research done by John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio in The Athena Doctrine. 

They tested the gender associations of one hundred twenty-five attributes among sixty-four thousand men and women and came up with some pretty conclusive results. 

The business world is decisively moving toward leadership in the attributes most commonly described as feminine.”

Effective Leadership is a Combo of Male + Female Leadership Attributes

Male leadership attributes aren’t dead.  The point is that you are a more effective leader when you balance and blend a combination of male + female leadership attributes.

Via Been There, Run That:

“One might expect that the attributes more characteristic of men would be going out of fashion, but neither The Athena Doctrine nor Stiletto Network takes that position. 

Male attributes of decisiveness, authority, power, ambition, aggressiveness and the like have their place too.  It’s the combination of both gender attributes that will be required for leadership as we move forward.”

True leadership lessons are timeless.

Whether you are a leader, or plan to be one, or are simply practicing personal leadership, take a page from Athena’s playbook as you balance and blend the best of male and female leadership attributes.

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JD <![CDATA[Effective Leaders Develop Multiple Future Outlooks]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26619 2015-06-23T15:27:00Z 2015-06-23T15:24:31Z How effective leaders plan for multiple futures so they can respond with skill.

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“You realize that our mistrust of the future makes it hard to give up the past.” — Chuck Palahniuk

Rather than lock yourself into one future, you can plan for multiple scenarios.

This way, you can evaluate your options and choose better paths if things change.

You’ll be surprised less, and you’ll be better equipped to respond to things that you didn’t expect.

By planning for multiple future outlooks, you’ll develop an agile mind and you’ll be better able to adapt to changing circumstances as they unfold.

In the book, Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead, Rob-Jan De Jong shares how effective leaders plan for multiple futures so they can respond with skill.

Should Leaders Anticipate Multiple Futures?

If you want to be a more effective leader, you should anticipate multiple futures.  But that means giving up appearing to know it all, to have it all figured out, and to confidently know the one sure path.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“But a question we struggle with is whether developing multiple future outlooks fits with the expectations we have of a leader and a leadership team.  Don’t we admire those leaders who emanate confidence in the path they have set out for the organization, rather than those who don’t disguise their doubt and anticipate various different future outlooks?

Aren’t those that explore exit strategies before before they even get started in realizing their vision just too insecure to stand the heat of resolute decision making?  Wouldn’t it therefore be detrimental to their leadership persona if they exposed their uncertainty by anticipating multiple futures?”

Leaders Must Be Both Stubborn and Open-Minded

It’s the Leadership Paradox.  You have to be bold and stubborn, but at the same time, curious and open-minded.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“Simon Sinek, the author of Start with Why, fittingly observed that ‘one of the best paradoxes of leadership is a leader’s need to be both stubborn and open-minded.  A leader must insist on sticking to the vision and stay on course to the destination.  But he must be open-minded during the process.’”

Brilliant or Foolish?

De Jong shares a story to illustrate the Leadership Paradox in action. In this case, Glenmark, an India-based pharmaceutical company followed a high-risk innovation strategy in drug discovery.  In 2001, Glenn Saldanha reoriented Glenmark from a generic drug producer since 1977 to an innovator, focusing on drug discovery and research.

This strategy paid off during 2004-2007, but took a downturn in 2008.  Glenn Saldanha persevered with the high-risk innovation agenda, despite the warning signs and increasing challenges.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“What should we think of this leadership position? Dedicated or stubborn? A leader who stands for what he truly cares about, or a leader unwilling to challenge his own assumptions? It’s Sinek’s leadership paradox in action. 

We tend to admire leaders who dare to make a bold decision and take courageous positions.

Being dedicated, persistent, and decisive is admirable and undoubtedly a leadership quality, but it becomes foolish when it arises from stubbornness and a  fundamental, dogmatic unwillingness to change course–even if in hindsight that strategic choice turned out to be successful.”

Brilliant Leaders Review Options and Alternatives with an Open Mind

If your choose your path as the best alternative among the choices, that’s brilliance in action.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“If Saldanha carefully and without preconception reviewed his options and alternatives, including exit conditions and strategist (possibly using scenario planning as a technique), and eventually, with an open mind, arrived at the conclusion that continuing his path was the best alternative at that point in time, it would lean toward brilliance.”

Foolish Leaders Attach Beliefs, Persona, and Self-Esteem to One Point of Reference

If you stick to your path because you are emotionally invested and you attached your self-esteem to one course of action, that’s a foolish choice.

Via Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead:

“Unfortunately, the case does not reveal this part of the story.  But as the remarkable British thinker Gregory Bateson once said, ‘There is no wisdom in only one point or reference.’  I think that is what Saldanha opted for: overconfidence in the point of reference to which he attached his beliefs, persona, and self-esteem. 

If I am right, it would have been foolishness–and in some way mere luck that things turned out well

We should not confuse luck with brilliance as we try to distill lessons from a case like this one.”

Maybe you can’t predict the future, but you can anticipate and plan for it.

If you plan for multiple alternatives you also help free yourself up from the emotional attachment that comes with putting all your eggs in one basket and you can choose smarter paths.

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JD <![CDATA[Achievers and Connectors]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26614 2015-06-22T16:01:01Z 2015-06-22T15:45:00Z How Achievers and Connectors can build better relationships by understanding the differences, knowing what to expect, and working on key areas of improvement.

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“I love those connections that make this big old world feel like a little village.” — Gina Bellman

If the Achiever in you is strong, great.  Your strong work ethic, high productivity, and high performance will serve you well.

But when it comes to relationships, be sure to work at your cooperation, presence, and empathy.

If the Connector in you is strong, great.  Your ability to relate to others will serve you well.

But when it comes to relationships, be sure to work at taking care of your own needs, avoid becoming a people pleasure, and don’t get overly concerned with what others think.

In the book, The Love Fight: How Achievers & Connectors Can Build A Marriage that Lasts, Dr. Tony Ferretti and Dr. Peter Weiss share insights into how Achievers and Connectors can build better relationships by understanding the differences, knowing what to expect, and working on key areas of improvement.

Achievers vs. Connectors

Achievers want to change the world.  Connectors want to bring the world along with them.

Via The Love Fight:

“Both achieving and connecting are valuable but distinct aspects of most individuals’ personalities.  Achieving can be expressed as the desire to get things accomplished, while connecting is the desire to be in community with others.  Although we do not view them as complete opposites, we believe they are often conflicting, and we think that few individuals possess both characteristics to a high degree.  For discussion purposes, you can envision them at opposite ends of a continuum.”

The Drive for Achievement Can Cause Failure in Interpersonal Relationships

The drive for achievement is both a blessing and a bane.   While it can be helpful for achieving success in some areas of life, that same drive can also be counterproductive for relationships.

Via The Love Fight:

“Like other personality traits, sometimes the achieving or connecting  trait can be so strong as to be in some ways counterproductive to the individual.  The central theme of this book is that the achievement drive is so strong in some individuals that, while they may become very successful in their careers, this same drive causes failure in their interpersonal relationships

Connectors, on the other hand, are more motivated to be in relationship with others.  They have an internal drive to be part of a family, a church, or other formal or informal community.  Friends and personal relationships are very important to them.  Of course, Connectors build careers and achieve things as well, but their success doesn’t come at the expense of their relationships.

Both achieving and connecting are valuable but distinct aspects of most individuals’ personalities.”

Achievers

What is an Achiever?  An Achiever is somebody who is driven by accomplishment.

Via The Love Fight:

“An Achiever is a person whose identity is built around accomplishments.  Their personal sense of value comes from their accomplishments—often with an implied ‘what have you done for me lately?’ They may feel a relentless internal pressure to produce and aren’t able to gain self-worth from other sources of activities.

Achievers get satisfaction from accomplishments—the bigger the better.  They relish challenges and have a strong orientation toward problem solving, but often lack interpersonal skills.  Achievers may prefer to ‘Do it myself to make sure it’s done right.’  Avoiding delegation and difficult conversations, they often expect others to fall in behind or get out of the way as they march down the path of production. 

Although Achievers may make a great deal of money, achievement is the primary motivator, and the money either comes along with success or represents a way of keeping score of what’s been accomplished.”

The Upside of Achievers

Achievers are, with their personality characteristics, poised for high-performance and a life of learning and growth.

Via The Love Fight:

“A high drive to achieve has obvious value.  A strong work ethic, high productivity, and top performance lead to success in many arenas.  Achievers work very hard to get ahead in life and apply themselves fully to accomplish great things. 

Goal-oriented, driven, and perseverant through challenging times, Achievers often view demanding tasks as opportunities for growth

Achievers are the people you want at your company.  They take initiative, are committed to a project from start to finish, and are open to learning as a means of improving.  Achievers’ motivation and drive are powerful traits that can serve them well in many aspect of their lives.”

The Downside of Achievers

With the need to achieve, Achievers can miss chances to stop and smell the roses, or may have a tough time turning “off” or taking time to relax.

Via The Love Fight:

“But Achievers can have a difficult time turning off their intensity, drive, and determination.  Setting high (even unrealistic) standards for themselves and others, Achievers can be all-or-nothing individuals unable to approach many issues with moderation. 

Typically they are usually thinking about work or other items on their to-do list.  Relaxing or taking some time off may be very hard for an Achiever unless some major success has been achieved and nothing else is pressing.

Some Achievers are also perfectionists, which further complicates their already intense approach to life.”

Achievers and Relationships

Achievers can improve their relationships by focusing on cooperation, compromise, and empathy.  Otherwise, their achievements and accomplishments will fall short when it comes to building lasting relationships with the very people they care about.

Via The Love Fight:

“In general, Achievers like to be their own boss, in charge of their own destiny, while striving to maintain an image of competence and control. 

They are self-reliant, independent, competitive, and self-critical. 

Achievers also tend to be analytics, logical, and rational in their approach to problems and conflict.  Unfortunately, some of these characteristics are not conductive to relationships, which require cooperation, compromise, and empathy.”

Connectors

Connectors are at their best when they do what they do best – connecting with other people.   They know how to relate and they find their energy by sharing their feelings, hopes, and dreams, and aspirations with others.

Via The Love Fight:

“Connectors, by contrast, find meaning in their relationships with others.  They experience joy through emotionally intimate relationships—specifically, deep and emotionally intimate relationships—specifically, deep and personalities with family and friends.”

The Upside of Connectors

People are social creatures, so Connectors have a lot of upsides when it comes to health, happiness, and well-being.

Via The Love Fight:

“Being connected to people in this deep and meaningful way is a good thing, individuals in healthy relationships with others tend to have the highest levels of happiness, manage stress better, and live longer.  They also tend to have better physical health and experience less loneliness and other negative emotions.

Creating deep relationships requires time, energy, and attention to others’ emotions and needs, and Connectors are willing to make the investment. 

Practically all of us feel some need to belong, but Connectors are better than average at relating to others, and they expend more effort in the process.  Connectors share their feelings more openly than most people.  Often social, outgoing, and extroverted, Connectors gain energy from being with others and experience warm feelings from togetherness. 

They seek to be of service to others and to make good friends, the kind of friends that stick with you in bad times as well as the good.”

The Downside of Connectors

Connectors need to be careful not to lose themselves in the process of connecting with others.

Via The Love Fight:

“However, sometimes the need for connection can be taken too far.  Some Connectors may be overly dependent on relationships in order to feel fulfilled. 

Building their identity on their relationships, they can become people pleasers and approval seekers, placing themselves last in an effort to connect with others. 

Their self-worth comes to depend on the judgment of others.  Praise and recognition keeps them feeling well, but perceived or anticipated rejection can overwhelm them with negative feelings.”

As with anything, moderation and balance seem to be the key.

You can balance your need to achieve by improving your ability to connect.

And you can balance your need to connect by improving your conviction.

As an Achiever, work on your cooperation, empathy, and presence, and prioritize your relationships.

As a Connector, work on your sources of self-worth from the inside out, avoid falling into a people pleaser trap, and nurture your own needs, without overly depending on others, or expecting too much.

By balancing the upsides of Achievers and Connectors and by reducing the liabilities, your relationships can thrive in work and life.

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JD <![CDATA[Leadership Skills for Making Things Happen]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26602 2015-06-21T17:07:34Z 2015-06-20T19:26:49Z Leading Implementation is a category of leadership skills for making things happen, and it includes the following leadership skills: Coaching and Mentoring, Customer Focus, Delegation, Effectiveness, Monitoring Performance, Planning and Organizing, and Thoroughness.

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“A really great talent finds its happiness in execution.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Strong leaders are able to translate strategy and ideas into execution.

Leaders that make things happen and have a strong “ability to execute” attract and retain raving fans and helpful followers.

One category of leadership skills is Leading Implementation, and it includes the following leadership skills: Coaching and Mentoring, Customer Focus, Delegation, Effectiveness, Monitoring Performance, Planning and Organizing, and Thoroughness.

In the book, Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have, Thuy Sindell and Milo Sindell share their insight on the art of execution and the hidden leadership skills required to make things happen.

Leading Implementation

Leading Implementation is a set of leadership skills that anyone can develop to improve their ability to execute.

When you can effectively lead implementation, you can set a strategy, inspire action in others, get the right people working on the right things, and deliver great results, the kind that can “wow” your customers.

It’s possible you already have hidden strengths in these leadership skills already.  You simply need to identify these latent leadership skills and focus on the ones that will help you the most.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“This category of leadership skills is all about how you get things done–the execution of the strategy.  One interesting thing we have noticed is that those with strong creativity, innovation, and vision skills tend to focus less on execution and implementation, and vice versa.  Strong leaders are able to excel at both categories of skills.”

Coaching and Mentoring as a Leadership Skill

Leaders that excel are good at growing greatness in others.  To do so requires strong coaching and mentoring skills.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“Coaching is the skill of helping other people to solve their own problems and learning through experiences so they can function autonomously.  Leaders who coach help to shift their team members’ mind-sets, change behaviors, improve performance, and take accountability for their own successes. 

They help people find their own answers.  In contrast, leaders who mentor provide others with insights from their own experience on how they can be more effective.  Mentors provide the knowledge, wisdom, and direct guidance to assist others in their short and long-term career goals.”

Customer Focus as a Leadership Skill

Leaders with a strong customer focus have empathy.  They work hard to know what their customer’s pains, needs, and desired outcomes are.

The job of any business is to create a customer.   With strong Customer Focus as a leadership skill, you have a competitive edge in any job you take on, or in any business you create.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“Customer Focus is about being proactive in ensuring that customers are well served.  Customer-focused leaders are clear on who their customers are, work hard to understand their needs and how best to serve them, and solve their problems.”

Delegation as a Leadership Skill

Leaders who develop their delegation skills empower people and empower themselves.

The advantage of working in teams is to bring out the best in each person by maximizing their strength quotient.  When people spend more time in their strengths, they achieve more, in less time, and they grow faster, than spending time in their weaknesses.

Leaders that delegate effectively help people rise and shine and achieve what they are capable of, while operating at a higher level.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“Delegation is the ability to assign responsibility for certain tasks to others to increase individual and team productivity. 

Leaders who practice Delegation empower others to ‘own’ their project and motivate them to excel at their job.  They give others the opportunity to shine.”

Effectiveness as a Leadership Skill

Effectiveness is a leadership skill that can set you apart from the pack.

If people know they can count on you to do what you say you will do, and to effectively communicate action and results, you will quickly build trust as someone to count on to make things happen.

People will look to you with hope and admiration in your ability to articulate plans that make sense in a way that people can relate to.  And they will admire your ability to bring people along on the journey, and to bring out the best in each person involved.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“Effective leaders get the job done and do it well.  They ensure the right people are involved to get the work completed and that key stakeholders are kept informed through proactive communication. 

They combine their abilities to execute on well-organized plans and create strong morale and spirit in their teams. 

They bring out the best in each team member in terms of performance responsibility.”

Monitoring Performance as a Leadership Skill

Leaders that know how to monitor performance are good at creating learning loops, as well as providing opportunities for feedback and course correction.

When things get chaotic, a skillful leader can create clarity from the chaos, and point to real progress, as well as identify true bottlenecks.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“Monitoring Performance is the ability to measure and track the performance of staff, projects, and overall objectives. 

It combines systematically tracking metrics, assessing progress toward identified milestones; holding others accountable; and providing feedback, guidance, and coaching.”

Planning and Organizing as a Leadership Skill

Leaders that can effectively plan and organize work, quickly earn respect from their peers because they can turn strategy into execution, and ideas into action.

The leadership skill of Planning and Organizing is not to be confused with planners that never act.

Too many people treat plans as a list of things that will never happen.

Effective leaders implement plans.

Leaders with strong leadership skills in Planning and Organizing are good at creating pragmatic plans that help everybody see what the outcomes are, what the roadmap is, and what the steps to get there are, along with how each person can help move the ball forward.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“Planning and organizing is a core management skill.  Leaders with strong Planning and Organizing skills can successfully conceive, develop, and implement plans to accomplish short- and long-term goals.  they ensure a thoughtful and systematic course of action in everything from strategic forecasting to allocating resources to everyday scheduling.”

Thoroughness as a Leadership Skill

Some leaders are good at knowing what they want to accomplish.  They know the end-in-mind.  But that’s where they stop, and that’s where plans fall short.

Effective leaders are able to decompose the end-in-mind into chunks of meaningful work that can be executed.  They don’t depend on hero models to make things happen.  They focus on understanding the work in a way that they can help remove roadblocks and set people up for success.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“Thoroughness necessitates a focused attention to detail without losing sight of the big picture.  Thorough leaders prioritize both the end goal and the individual steps they need to take to achieve it.  They have an intimate understanding of how each step contributes to the next and the committed to seeing a project to the end.”

One of the most important insights when it comes to building your leadership skills and improving your ability to execute is that you first and foremost need to depend on yourself.

Don’t let yourself down.

When you know that you can count on yourself to execute, your confidence will go up in all areas of your life.

This confidence will shine from the inside out.

As you develop your leadership skills, always think from the inside out and first model the behavior for yourself before others depend on you.  Work on self-leadership.

Leadership is a sphere of influence that expands, but it always starts with you and your personal leadership skills.

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JD <![CDATA[Transform Your Hidden Strengths Into Learned Strengths]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26594 2015-06-17T16:01:49Z 2015-06-17T15:55:18Z Rather than focus on just your top 20% of strengths, you can develop your Hidden Strengths to become more well-rounded with an edge. Developing your Hidden Strengths is also a way to realize your potential, operate at a higher level, and create an unfair advantage with your unique skills and abilities.

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“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.” — Marilyn vos Savant

What if you had potential leadership skills already within you, waiting to be developed?

You already do.

The key is to find those hidden leadership strengths and develop them.

Rather than focus on just your top 20% of strengths, you can develop your Hidden Strengths to become more well-rounded with an edge.

Developing your Hidden Strengths is also a way to realize your potential, operate at a higher level, and create an unfair advantage with your unique skills and abilities.

In the book, Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have, Thuy Sindell and Milo Sindell share an approach for developing your hidden strengths into learned strengths.

Why Hidden Strengths?

If you only focus on your Natural Strengths (your top 20% of skills), then you leave a lot of potential on the table.  You miss out on taking advantage of  a wider range of skills that you have to offer.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“Unlike Natural Strengths, identifying and transforming your Hidden Strengths into Learned Strengths are actions you control and drive.  You decide how to evolve, grow, and change to meet the demands of the world around you.  We look at this as not only empowering but exciting!  Even if the stars don’t align and endow you with all the right Natural Strengths, you can still become a leader and top performer in your chosen field.  The first critical step is an awareness of your Hidden Strengths.”

Natural Strengths Defined

Your Natural Strengths are where your talents, knowledge, and skills come together naturally.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“The subject of strengths in both popular and business culture has been a positive force helping raise the bar on personal and professional development.  In Now, Discover Your Strengths (the book that ostensibly created the strengths movement, Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton define a strengths as a combination of the following:

  1. Your talents (natural traits or propensities)
  2. The knowledge required (both content/classroom-related and experiential)
  3. The skills (or steps) you need to actually do it.”

Natural Strengths are Your Top 20% of Skills

Your Natural Strengths make up about 20% of your overall skill set.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“When these three components–talents, knowledge, and skills–come together naturally, we call it a Natural Strength.  What is the likelihood of this occurring? The answer is about 20 percent–as in your top 20 percent of skills.”

Focus on Natural Strengths Over Weaknesses

While you should eliminate or reduce weaknesses that are liabilities, you’ll be more successful and effective in work and life by focusing on your Natural Strengths.

Or, to put it another way, don’t spend all of your time in your weaknesses.  That’s not where you’ll shine.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“Understanding what you are naturally good at is very valuable in finding the right job or career path.  The more overlap there is between what you are required to do and what you are inherently good at, the easier your life will be

Conversely, finding yourself in situations where you are forced to rely on your Weaknesses–meaning areas where you have no talents, knowledge, or skills–will make it much more difficult to be successful in your chosen profession.  From a job security and personal well-being standpoint, you should not be in a role that requires you to rely heavily on your Weaknesses.”

Develop Your Middle 70% Strengths into the Top of Your Skill Set

If you identify your middle set of leadership skills, those that are not quite in the top 20%, but that you show potential in, you can develop them into strengths.  The cumulative effect will amplify your impact and give you more options in more scenarios to apply your strengths.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“Developing Hidden Strengths is fairly straightforward.  Anybody can do it!  First, it requires identifying which of your skills fall in the middle 70 percent range.  You can find the Hidden Strengths Self-Assessment to help you with this first step at HiddenStrengths.com.  Second, you must identify which of your Hidden Strengths you want to focus on (there will be many to choose from!), depending on your professional goals.  Third, with practice and focus, you can begin to develop those Hidden Strengths and move them from the middle 70 percent to the top of your skill set.”

Example of Hidden Leadership Skills

Jenny didn’t realize that she could potentially be a great leader, and she could take on more leadership roles.  She never knew her potential was already there, just waiting to be realized and put to good use.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“Take this example: Jenny is an individual contributor in the Finance Department.  She has a natural talent for Influencing Others, but she has never had the opportunity to use it.  To unleash this Hidden Strength, she needs the knowledge and skills to reveal it

But what if her boss never gives her the opportunity to lead?  Because she is not familiar with the existence of this Hidden Strength, she may never ask for leadership responsibility, resulting in a lost opportunity to grow into a leadership role.”

Example of Hidden Leadership Skills Developed into Learned Strengths

Reese knew he had leadership skills, but he also knew he would have to work at it.  By working on his latent leadership skills his boss knows Reese will be ready when the time comes or leadership opportunities present themselves.

Via Hidden Strengths: Unleashing the Crucial Leadership Skills You Already Have:

“Here’s another case to consider: Reese, a middle manager in a paper factory, is intent on moving up the career ladder.  At the moment, his Natural Strengths seem to be well aligned with his job, but he is ambitiously focused on what comes next.  He takes the Hidden Strengths assessment and discovers that Influencing Others is one of his Hidden Strengths. 

He sees how this skill would be helpful if he were to be promoted to regional manager, so he takes the time to learn about it and practice developing it.  Unfortunately, influencing others doesn’t come naturally to him–it’s not a talent–but with time and experience, he develops the knowledge and skills to be quite influential.  Influencing Others becomes a Learned Strength for him, and by practicing on the job, he has proven to his boss that he’s ready for more leadership responsibility.”

The 28 Hidden Strengths at a Glance

You can think of the Hidden Strengths as a set of leadership skills.  The leadership skills are grouped into four themes: Leading Self, Leading Others, Leading the Organization, and Leading Implementation.  You can develop these leadership skills through practice and feedback to round-out your ability to lead yourself, lead others, lead an organization, or drive execution and make things happen.

Here are the 28 skills or Hidden Strengths according to Thuy  Sindell and Milo Sindell:

Leading Self Emotional Control
Flexibility
Integrity
Resilience
Self-Confidence
Executive Presence
Work / Life Balance
Leading Others Assertiveness
Conflict Resolution
Influencing Others
Listening
Partnering and Relationship Building
Teamwork and Collaboration
Verbal Communication
Leading the Organization Creativity and Innovation
Entrepreneurship
External Awareness
Inspirational Vision
Organizational Awareness
Service Motivation
Strategic Thinking
Leading Implementation Coaching and Mentoring
Customer Focus
Delegation
Effectiveness
Monitoring Performance
Planning and Organizing
Thoroughness

The middle 70% of your strengths is fertile ground to realize your potential and become all that you’re capable of.

Enjoy your new playground of possibility.

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JD <![CDATA[Let Go of a Feeling to Let Go of Thoughts]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26580 2015-06-15T16:02:21Z 2015-06-15T15:56:10Z Negative emotions can wear you down and tear you down. One negative feeling can generate thousands of negative thoughts. You can let go of a feeling, to let go of associated thoughts.

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“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” — Havelock Ellis

Negative emotions can wear you down and tear you down.

One negative feeling can generate thousands of negative thoughts (or you can recycle the same negative thought, thousands of times.)

Over time, a negative feeling can bog you down to where you feel stuck, and maybe even helpless.

What if you could feel light-hearted and free? … But what if the very idea of that feels so foreign and so far away?

The truth is, the answer is within you.  If you know where to look.

You can let go of a feeling, to let go of associated thoughts.

The Mind is Driven by Feelings

We are feeling creatures that think, not thinking creatures that feel.

Via Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender:

“The mind, with its thoughts, is driven by feelings.  Each feeling is the cumulative derivative of many thousands of thoughts.  Because most people throughout their lives repress, suppress, and try to escape from their feelings, the suppressed energy accumulates and seeks expression through psychosomatic distress, bodily disorders, emotional illnesses, and disordered behavior in interpersonal relationships. “

We Call Our Negative Emotions “The Human Condition”

We carry the burdens of negative emotions in our minds and bodies.  And we affectionately call it, “The Human Condition.”

Via Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender:

“The accumulated feelings block spiritual growth and awareness, as well as success in many areas of life.

We carry around with us a huge reservoir of accumulated negative feelings, attitudes, and beliefs.  The accumulated pressure makes us miserable and is the basis of many of our illnesses and problems.  we are resigned to it and explain it away as the ‘human condition.’  We seek to escape from it in myriad ways.  The aver human life is spent try to avoid and run from the inner turmoil of fear and the threat of misery.  Everyone’s self-esteem is constantly threatened both from within and without.”

Thoughts are Painless, but Feelings are Not

The thoughts themselves don’t need to be painful.  But the feeling we associate with those thoughts can be.

Via Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender:

“It is not thoughts or facts that are painful but the feelings that accompany them.  Thoughts in and of themselves are painless, but not the feelings that underlie them!”

One Feeling Can Create Thousands of Negative Thoughts

One feeling can be a never-ending flow of thoughts.

Via Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender:

“It is the accumulated pressure of feelings that causes thoughts.  One feeling, for instance, can create literally thousands of thoughts over a period of time.  Think, for instance, of one painful memory from early life, one terrible regret that has been hidden.  Look at al the years and years of thoughts associated with that single event.  If we could surrender underling painful feeling, all of those thoughts would disappear instantly and we would forget the event.”

When We Let Go of Feelings, We Free Ourselves from the Associated Negative Thoughts

We hold the power to let go of negative thoughts.

Via Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender:

“This observation is in accord with scientific research.  The Gry-LaViolette scientific theory integrates psychology and neurophysiology.  Their research demonstrated that feeling tones organize thoughts and memory (Gray-LaViolette, 1981).  Thoughts are filed in the memory bank according to the various shades of feelings associated with those thoughts.  Therefore, when we relinquish or let go of a feeling, we are freeing ourselves from all of the associated thoughts.”

The Surrendered State: Be Free of Negative Emotions

Put the bags down.  Don’t carry feelings forward that limit you and all that you’re capable of.

Via Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender:

“The great value of knowing how to surrender is that any and all feelings can be let go of at any time and any place in an instant, and it can be done continuously and effortlessly.

What is the surrendered state? It means to be free of negative feelings in a given area so that creativity and spontaneity can manifest without opposition or the interference of inner conflicts. 

To be free of inner conflict and expectations is to give others in our life the greatest freedom.  It allows us to experience the basic nature of the universe, which, it will be discovered, is to manifest the greatest good possible in a situation. 

This may sound philosophical, but, when done, it is experientially true.”

If you’ve been stuck in your thoughts, maybe you need to let some feelings go.

Imagine a lighter feeling you.

Imagine a you that is no longer burdened with holding on to feelings that no longer serve you, or never served you to begin with.

Feel your way through it, and find your way forward, by letting go of feelings that you no longer need to feel.

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JD <![CDATA[Knock Assumptions Down with Assumption Bowling]]> http://sourcesofinsight.com/?p=26541 2015-06-10T14:59:25Z 2015-06-10T14:53:50Z Assumption Bowling is a simple technique for challenging assumptions and testing deeply held beliefs. By testing assumptions, you can break out of the box that you put yourself in, or that others put themselves in.

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“You must stick to your conviction, but be ready to abandon your assumptions.” — Denis Waitley

Are you sick of other people’s assumptions holding you or your ideas back?

Or, are you stuck because of your own assumptions? (and maybe don’t even know it)

Maybe you need to try some Assumption Bowling.

Assumption Bowling is a simple technique for challenging assumptions and testing deeply held beliefs.

By testing assumptions, you can break out of the box that you put yourself in, or that others put themselves in.

In the book, Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead, Rob-Jan De Jong explains the practice of Assumption Bowling to knock down assumption “pins” and re-frame how you see things.

Two Steps for Assumption Bowling

According to Rob-Jan De Jong, there are two steps to Assumption Bowling:

  1. Determine the top 10 assumptions about your reality.
  2. Knock over the assumption pins, one at a time.

As you perform step 1, identify the way things are.  Note the assumptions around your customer’s needs, your products, your ways of working, your success to date, etc.  These should be unchallenged truths that are effectively your core assumption pins.

As you perform step 2, ask yourself, “What if the reverse of that became true?” De Jong provides an example.  Let’s say one of your core assumptions is that your customers value you for your superior customer service.  And let’s say you also believe that customer service is the name of the game in your industry and you are the best at it.

Knock the pin down by asking yourself, “What if superior customer service is no longer as highly valued as it used to be?”

How Steve Jobs Used Assumption Bowling to Reframe Assumptions

According to De Jong, Steve Jobs was asked to find a successor in 1983.  John Sculley was at PepsiCo at the time and had reservations about joining Apple.

After several negotiations, time was running out and Jobs realized that more arguments wouldn’t work.  He asked Sculley a cutting question:

“John, do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

Via

“The question hit a home run, and Sculley conceded.  It’s a classic example of the power of reframing assumptions, the psychological direction in unlocking your imagination.  The picture Jobs painted of what could be, together with the persuasive final punch line, broke through Sculley’s deeply rooted belief system.  Describing the product that was dear to him as ‘sugar water’ was nasty but ultimately true.  And Jobs didn’t persuade Sculley with the CEO role, but instead offered him to come along to ‘change the world.’  Jobs’ radical, frame-breaking pitch worked and Sculley conceded.”

Gamify your strategic thinking and start knocking those assumption pins down.

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Image by Jason McElweenie.

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