Watch & Read - For Leaders Who Dare To Be Human&Real
A couple of years ago, I started pondering about changing my career. Because I simply realized that I was far more interested in people than IT, which had been “my” business for a good 30 years.
I hatched a plan rather quickly. It would still take me more than a year to finally come out telling the world what I was doing now. And another 2 years to let go of the “old” business.
So why the heck was that?
I had done my research, my trainings, combined all of that with my decades of experience and had a great offer in my hands. I had tested the service, got consistent results, built a website, and still, I hesitated telling people in my network that I was now focusing on being an Activator for Personal Leadership instead of a Sales Director for an online magazine.
Obviously I asked myself WHY I was so hesitant?
Have you ever faced the situation where a crisis hit you out of the blue? Silly question, right? As I literally don’t know anybody who did not, at some point in their lives.
This could be the loss of a job, your partner telling you that they want to leave, a diagnosis from your doctor which turns your world upside down.
That’s the kind of crises I’m talking about.
Often the first reaction is pain, panic, shame, fear…..or we’re utterly and completely paralysed, our brains literally not functioning anymore. Maybe accompanied by crying, shouting or acting out.
We might feel victimized on top of all those difficult emotions. Why does that happen to me? Why do I have to suffer through this?
Typical (yet rather destructive) questions to ask ourselves – let me come back to that in a minute.
Maybe we’re even looking for someone to blame for the situation.
When the first rage or pain settles...
Tell me something my friend – are you happy in this world – or do you need more, is there something you’re searching for? Something you're longing to change?
This is (almost) the line from a song I fell in love with while listening to it the other day (Shallow from the movie "A Star is Born").
And it resonated with me and triggered a number of thoughts.
There might just be this little feeling creeping up from time to time that despite things are (kind of) good and still, something’s not quite right. There might be this deep seated longing to change something and we might not allow it to come up or we simply ignore it as it could make our life really difficult.
It’s so tempting to just go through the motions and to not look closely if there has been a void developing - in our job, in our relationship, in our life.
And also tempting to rather avoid it and fill it with lots of work, entertainment, excessive gaming, sport, sex - you name it...
Right – buckle up….this is going to be a very open and honest article on something that’s been on my mind for a while.
The coaching industry is booming. And for good reasons.
NEVER before there were so many people lost, confused, overworked and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work (or the opposite…and they are bored….yep – have seen that indeed), never was life so exhausting as it is now.
In my corporate life I personally loathed coaches and consultants (who are clearly not the same – so don’t confuse them), as I had the impression that they were simply overpaid so-called experts telling us what we know already, just packaging it in a plethora of fluffy words and terms.
Admittedly I only worked with a coach once during that time – and that was when I lost a job and the employer paid for some outplacement coaching. In a way that was helpful, still it could not really heal the wounds the situation had created.
I’m living with my partner. And raised two children. I worked in a number of corporates and have started two businesses. So, I had my fair share (and still going on) of conversations. And quite a lot of them were also difficult.
A gigantic playing field for learning how to have successful conversations. Or to mess them up and miss the mark. I succeeded in both.
According to research done by Stanford University, 9 out of 10 conversations miss the mark.
What do I mean by missing the mark?
Well, that’s fairly simple: when there is no result. Or not the desired one.
When we fall into set patterns instead of using our conversational skills to create trust and healthy connections. When we talk past each other instead of with other, maybe even banging our heads or letting fear and judgement taking over.
Every conversation has some objective: maybe just a simple sharing of information, maybe tasking someone with something, maybe to find solutions for issues,...
"It's easier to deal with processes and technical things than with people" - one of the first things Christian told me in our recent chat (which we happened to record - and hence you can watch it here. Lucky you ;-)).
Christian Delez is Agile Software Leader at RUAG Defence and Co-founder of www.responsive.org - an organisation who is looking into the future of work - hence the perfect person to ask some questions around the topic I've been looking into for a while now.
I asked Christian a number of questions around humans in the digital transformation - something that goes in almost every organisation on this planet right now - after all we're living in the middle of the digital era.
We touched upon topics like fear, creating space for difficult conversations, how to deal with mistakes and conversational intelligence - and what makes a good (digital) leader.
Have you ever had one of those meetings where you basically stayed alert every second so that you could jump in with your answer or comment to what someone else said? I mean, before another colleague was quicker than you.
Or - while you’re having this conversation with a colleague or your spouse (or friend…) you’re so enthusiastic and impatient to bring across what you think that you just talk over the other person or interrupt– hey, after all this shows your engagement, right?
What it does show is that you’re not listening.
I used to do that. Both of the above.
Why (as I supposedly know it better now)?
Because having those meetings in corporates (and also smaller enterprises – this behavior is definitely NOT reserved for big companies) felt like being a fish in a shark tank. If you’re not quick enough you’re going to be eaten.
In other words – if we don’t jump in...
The other day a friend sent me a video from one of those Indian gurus talking about parenting. Well, this ship has sailed for me, so I checked out what this guy had to say on other topics and came across another video, talking about the 3 things we should all do in the morning.
Arghh….another one of those “morning routine” things? Those really start to come out of my ears meanwhile. All those super disciplined people who trigger my bad conscious as I cannot seem to get all those little ducks in a row: 7.30 shower, get ready – tick, 8.00 Yoga - tick, 8.30 drink lemon water - tick, 8.35 plan the day - tick, 9.00 breakfast - tick…. you get my gist.
My days are far more chaotic. Sometimes yoga happens, sometimes not, I don’t shower every day (gasp) and do not do extensive planning every day….
So – this video triggered something completely different when I listened to it, as it was NOT about a...
Last year, I had the idea to start an interview series with experts and executives who'm I intended to ask about "The Human Factor" in the wake of (or better in the middle of) the Digital Transformation.
Everybody talks about the infamous transformation and one thing is for sure: it won't leave us like a flu. It's here to stay. In our daily private life AND in all areas of business.
Dividing lines between "work" and "life" disappear (they were pretty artificial anyway) and the radical and fast changes often trigger deep seated fears. And they don't care if this is business or private.
Alright - back to the topic: I will interview all sorts of people who are responsible for transformation, affected by it, lead it, consult on it, live with it (good or bad) - so that finally we're going to see a more detailed picture: about what's happening, what could happen, where the trends are, what the ideas are, and how those influential people deal with it...I guess that is still...
Well, I'm coming almost to the end of what I decided to tell you - this one is a really long one - AND probably the most important step on the journey.
Get yourself a cup of coffee and come along.
Self-explorative journeys are great - I’ve gone through a few, only one was really effective though - I’ll come back to that later.
So last time I talked about my PERSONAL VISION, which I finally got to grips with.
And the next problem that this resulted in: learning about - or better: re-connecting with parts of me that I had forgotten or ignored for a long time.
The playful me.
The ridiculous me.
The casual me.
The swearing me.
The soft me.
The lazy me.
The big dreamer-me..
The courageous me, who speaks up.
The bubbly and YES, compassionate & spiritual me.
Jeez, these were completely new attributes I would have NEVER described myself with in the last few decades.
More likely I used words like strong, confident, pragmatic,...