The Executive Roadmap to Self-Reflection

Strategic self-reflection can help a leader expand their viewpoint and decision-making capability, acknowledge alternative beliefs and create a bridge between information and wisdom.

As stated by Talmud, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talmud

“We do not see things as they are; but as we are.”

 

This doctrine from the eighth century speaks to our perceptions and questions our ability to understand people and situations accurately.

In a competitive and fluid corporate environment, executives make decisions based on their experiences and ability to navigate complex change situations. But many leaders fail to look through the lens of the opposing viewpoints and limit their decision quality by projecting only their own thoughts, insights and experiences into a situation without acknowledging alternative angles or beliefs. Strategic self-reflection can enable leaders to create a bridge between information and wisdom.

Executives rarely receive direct feedback, and some may develop a distorted vision of the corporate reality. They likely don’t test their ability to understand organisational behaviours. Consider the following scenario. It’s the last executive team meeting, and everyone agreed to implement a new process. Six months pass, and there is still resistance and limited progress on that process.

During the original meeting, heads nodded in agreement; the new process would streamline processes, but leaders may have missed organisational behavioural cues that indicate disagreement, covert resistance, or a misalignment of agendas.

Leaders should not be surprised at this common symptom of a failed change management attempt. Understanding organisational behaviours is a nebulous task. Employees can see, interpret and understand situations differently even when everyone experienced the same event. Many things influence a person’s perception and how they experience the world around them, such as personal experiences, memories and beliefs. These experiences help formulate how we interpret external stimuli, which develops our personality, perceptions and viewpoints.Continue reading

Be Inspired: Social Entrepreneur Teresa Scott

Teresa Scott is helping candidates secure sustainable employment.

Company: Kennedy Scott Ltd
What it does: Highly regarded supplier of training and employability services to Government
Founder: Teresa Scott OBE, MBA
Founded: 1989
Size of team: Total staff 70
Your name and role: Teresa Scott, Founder and CEO

How did your entrepreneurial journey begin at Kennedy Scott?
I had been working for another organization designing and managing training schemes for young people and blue chip companies and had been pretty autonomous in my role for a few years. I was more or less a one-person operation and thought- you know what? I could do this for myself! So, with the help of friends who backed me financially, I started the company in 1989. Kennedy Scott is now the highest performing provider of Employability support services to people most marginalized from the labour market in the UK.

How is your business challenging the traditional recruitment industry?
Using a bespoke and ‘revolutionary’ assessment process, Kennedy Scott’s trained caseworkers quickly identify the real issues affecting an individual’s rehabilitation and work together to address the barriers impacting the individual’s ability to secure sustainable employment. Through this ‘Circle of Support’, the individual is supoorted with a suite of interventions designed specifically to create a routemap to rehabilitation and employment.

What problems are you trying to solve?
I want to bridge the employability gap for people with disabilities or mental health challenges. We are soon launching a new service for the corporate sector providing advice and guidance to companies wanting to recruit candidates from such backgrounds. We are a catalyst between the candidate and the company, bridging the gap by supporting both parties to get the best from the working relationship. We aim to help candidates in the workplace if they have a health challenge or mental health concerns.

How do you make money?
We run Government-funded contracts, and offer independent advice to companies for a consultancy fee.Continue reading

Book Reviews: Emotional Fitness Coaching

In this era of massive information, the latest technologies are transforming the way people work and live. Emotional fitness coaching, as set down in Warren Redman’s book, is a piece of new technology that enables leaders to do exactly what the title says.

This book is a good, easy to use, interactive guide to emotional fitness coaching. It is very timely in answering the needs of modern professional life. Warren Redman is an award-winning author, counsellor and emotional fitness coach with a wealth of experience in manufacturing and commerce management. He is a leading developer in the science of emotional fitness and founder of the Emotional Fitness Institute.

Redman defines emotional fitness as, first, the ability to bounce back from the latest setback or challenge. It is a series of mind habits you can learn which make you stronger and more resilient. Like any kind of fitness, the more you practice, the better you get.

The book lets you create a workout plan for your emotional health. The exercises outlined in it are about developing so-called “soft skills” for leadership and management.

The book is framed as a narrative, with a newly-appointed manager receiving emotional fitness coaching. Readers follow the manager’s experience with the coach while completing exercises themselves. They are taken through various situations and the process of identifying a problem, developing a reaction to the problem and creating a solution. There is space included for readers to record their own reactions to the problems outlined in the narrative. This interactive way of presenting things is one of Redman’s real strengths as an author and coach.

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Strategies to Develop an Unshakeable Belief in Yourself

Success requires that you believe in yourself 110 percent, 25 hours of every day.

For some, this belief comes naturally. For others, it must be learned and can take years of practice. Here’s how these billionaires, icons and world-class performers accelerated the process of developing an unshakeable self-belief.

1.Win in Your Mind First: You might be naturally confident, but enormous obstacles can shake faith in your plan and personal competence. To inoculate against the negative impact of inevitable obstacles, shore up your commitment with a crystal-clear vision of what victory looks like. It might be getting the Navy SEAL Trident, losing 60 pounds, launching a new product or raising funding— anything significant to you. Revisit your vision through daily visualisation and box breathing (inhale, hold, exhale and hold for four seconds each).

This process of “winning in the mind” develops the courage to overcome any challenge. You’ll confidently find victory in daily small wins with grace and humour until the mission is accomplished.

- Mark Divine, retired U.S. Navy SEAL commander, founder of SEALFIT, Unbeatable Mind, and The Courage Foundation; New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.

2.Uncover the Cause of Temporary Disbelief: Examine your strengths, limitations and the reality of your situation honestly every day. Some days you won’t believe in yourself, and that’s OK.

But if you can unpack and see where that temporary disbelief is rooted, you’ll identify what’s needed to move forward: a change of strategy, a talent you need to hire, some information you need to collect or verify, or something else. Relentlessly moving forward ultimately leads to success, nothing more.

Danae Ringelmann, founder and chief development officer of Indiegogo.

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Did You Send Work Emails Over The Holidays?

Companies expend untold energy building culture-defining their values, revamping their office space, organising holiday parties and volunteer outings.

And yet many leaders and managers don’t seem to realise that while company culture can be really hard to build, it’s incredibly easy to destroy. And you may unknowingly ruin it in just two steps.

 

 

Step 1: Go on holiday.

Step 2: Continue working like you never left.

It is common practice for American managers and a growing practice amongst UK leaders and managers too.

Latest research at Project: Time Off shows that just 14% of managers unplug when they’re on holiday. At the most senior levels of leadership, a mere 7% do.

The majority check in with work at least once a day.

If you’re in this camp, there is a good chance you are thinking about maintaining your own peace of mind either while you’re away (what if something crucial happens?) or when you get back (if you truly unplugged, how would you ever catch up?).

But before you hit “send,” think. All emails are not created equal, and when you’re on holiday, you’re sending more messages than can be contained in the contents of your note.

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Book Reviews: Uplifting Leadership

Uplifting Leadership - How Organizations, Teams, and Communities Raise Performance by Andy Hargreaves, Alan Boyle & Alma Harris.

From Schools To Beer and Much More: Emotional and spiritual uplift, write authors Andy Hargreaves, Alan Boyle and Alma Harris in Uplifting Leadership, is at the heart of effective leadership. “It raises people’s hopes, stirs up their passions, and stimulates their intellect and imagination,” they write. But there’s also a social and community component to uplifting people - helping people to rise above difficult circumstances, to raise their prospects, the authors write. And combining all this emotional, spiritual and social power, uplifting leaders can help people improve their performance and results, inspiring them to do better than ever before and outperform their opponents.

Both Soft and Hard: According to the authors, the process of uplifting leadership involves six interrelated factors. “Each of these factors,” the authors explain, “also exhibits some inner tensions between what people conventionally consider to be “soft” and “hard” parts of leadership and management.”

Dreaming with Determination. The uplifting journey begins by defining a dream, but that depends on determination to overcome the inevitable setbacks.

Creativity and Counterflow. Uplifting leadership inspires creativity that often goes against the mainstream.

Collaboration with Competition. Part of the counterintuitive approach of uplifting leadership is the willingness to collaborate with actual and potential competitors.Continue reading