I am unreasonably competitive. I get so excited about winning that I can work thru vast amounts of trouble to achieve a goal. I've learned though, that while in sports it may be true, in most enterprises your goal does not need to be a zero sum game. You can win without creating any losers.
Because if anybody loses, it's not over. If anyone perceives that they were taken advantage of or abused or cheated -- or even if they just feel like they lost without a chance to get what they really wanted -- the struggle is not over. They'll be back. The conflict will rage on. Unless.
Unless when you win your opponent also wins. It does not take some imaginary Valhallo to achieve this. It starts with identifying what each person wants. What is the goal? Then, carefully, compassionately, courageously creating many alternatives. The more possibilities you can generate the better your chances are of a victory that won't sour your relationships.
What stands in your way when it comes to achieving your goals?
Life will give us lots of obstacles. We have to learn how to deal with them. But, we also give ourselves some unnecessary barriers. We build walls out of our limiting beliefs.
Limiting beliefs are those thoughts that we believe so strongly that they prevent us from doing what would otherwise be possible. They are different from person to person, but they often sound like this: "I'm not good enough...they would never appreciate me...I failed at this before so why try again...that's the kind of person who always gives me trouble..." and on and on.
Our limiting beliefs are so deeply ingrained, many of them formed when we were very young children, that we often are not even aware that they are there -- or that they are limiting our possibilities.
Our job is to increase our possibilities and choices, not limit them. Not to take unnecessary risks or subject ourselves to danger, but to overcome the little hurdl…
So you think you understand? How many times have you been wrong?
I've been wrong too many times to count, even if I only counted this week. Usually it's about something that I think I understand, but do not. I'm not sure I'll ever understand romantic love, for instance. Just when I think I do, SURPRISE!
I'm not sure I'll ever understand why good teams fall apart. We work hard to build them, we make our customers happy, and then one day SURPRISE! our team squeaks and bleeds.
To understand keep learning. The facts keep changes. The faces keep changing. Life keeps rearranging. Don't get it yet? Don't worry, just roll up your sleeves and keeping asking questions. Keep the inquiry active and you'll keep moving ahead. One humble step at a time, perhaps, but moving ahead.
It's dangerous to pretend we understand...so often we do not.
Have you ever pretended to understand something that someone said, even though you didn't? Maybe it seemed like too much effort. Maybe you were just trying to be polite. I've done it. The quiet smile, the gentle nod, the secret "I've got no idea what you're talking about" whispering in the background.
Sure, it takes longer to ask more questions. It requires us to stop in our tracks and LISTEN. But it's worth it. Because it's dangerous to pretend we understand when we don't. Feelings get hurt (I know, I've hurt them.) Ideas get misunderstood (I know, I've misunderstood.) And trusts get broken when we pretend.
Today, I'm going to do everything I can to actually understand when someone tells me something important. How about you?
And, how do you know it's important? They're telling you!
Leaders do not settle. Good enough is not enough. Almost will never do. As my dad used to say, "Anything worth doing is worth doing right," and leadership must be done in a fully attentive, fully focused, high performance way. High performance leaders insist on ever increasing performance. To get there, they encourage positive action after positive action. Step by ever reaching step to a higher level, to a better degree, to a higher quality.
It's what high performance leaders do.
High performance leaders provoke positive actions.
What positive action will you provoke today?
-- doug smith
Leadership Call to Action
The next conversation you have with anyone on your team today, take a moment to provoke a positive action. Encourage your team member to do more, to add quality, to add value to something otherwise routine. Keep provoking until that positive action is a reality -- and then keep provoking until that positive reality is a habit.
How do they know? Is it from your flexibility? Is it from your discipline? Is it from the time that you take to talk with each and every one of them on a regular basis?
Times are tough for many team members. They are wrestling with issues that we don't even know about, plus some issues that we DO know about. How leaders respond makes the difference between a functional team and a dysfunctional one.
Go for the functional, fully moving forward team that delivers on performance. Build trust, build relationships, spend time getting to know your team and letting them get to know you. The payoff is immense.
Lead with clarity, courage, compassion, and creativity. If you don't know where to start, start with compassion.
Leading with compassion builds trust.
And trust propels high performance teams to success.
Go for that success. You can do it. You're the boss!