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Normal

We’re quite protective over the notion of normal.

Before we rush back to “normal” can we just pause and think about what parts of “normal” we really want to rush back to.

For starters – what exactly is normal?

In our present day, normal is perhaps most often used to mean “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern,” or “ordinary or usual; the same as would be expected.” But types, standards, and regular patterns (or what is considered “regular”) unquestionably shift, as we have seen in the last few weeks during lockdown. Yet each of these definitions can lead to different (and contradictory) interpretations of what normal could really mean.

What is normal for one person may be abnormal for another.

As I have started to ponder what normal actually means, over time I have attached my own meaning to the words normal and abnormal. Ultimately I’ve realised that normal has a very different meaning for everyone!

Whatever your new normal is, ask yourself what have I discovered about myself? Then, going forward together, lets choose to build a more humane, compassionate and sustainable world – please!

So, what new normal are you creating for yourself?

Change – Speed & Agility

In our topsy-turvy, commotion-filled world, the pace of constant change is accelerating faster than superhuman Usain Bolt can sprint 100 metres.  Change can be dizzying and exhilarating!  Yet for many frightening too!

Mindset is key

It is our mindset and how we view things that is critical. Your mindset is effectively the way you think.  When faced with a change we must consider how we process those thoughts in our mind.  We need to fight against our natural instinct to resist change and our negative thought patterns that usually come at breathtaking speeds – unconsciously even.  Instead, we should embrace a more agile mindset, grasping hold of and looking ahead to the opportunities that are presented before us.  How we think about and perceive change is key.  For example, paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

Our world is filled with disruption, indeed all things are in commotion and everything that can be shaken – is being shaken!  For daily evidence of that fact – simply watch the news!  My thoughts turned to Dylan Thomas “Do not go gentle into that good night (as I considered President Trump’s latest remarks) …. Rage, rage against the dying of the light” – will be his repeated hyperbole until he leaves the world stage.  As the acceleration and hastening influences in our world through technology and globalisation continue at warp speeds, clinging to and living our values each and every day will be the key to dealing with the changes set to come.

Do you know what your core values are?  Have you established what matters most to you?

Pause for a moment in amongst the turmoil and vicissitudes of the day.

Determine to embrace change.  Choose to change your thoughts, to change your world.

What will you do to reconsider how you view that change today?

 

 

Be true to who you are

Our values are under attack…. personal, societal, organisational – open your eyes and see. This is a momentous challenge of our day.

Actions speak much louder than words. Know your values. Live them. Know your organisations values. Live them. Walk your talk. Be true to yourself, and those who you lead. Act, do not be acted upon.

In organisations when values are ignored and people don’t live by them, they have no meaning. When this occurs, I’ve witnessed business cultures becoming hypocritical, and employees losing respect for the organisation and its leaders. Conversely, when values are put into action, people feel engaged, energy, enthusiasm, and the drive to go beyond the ordinary all come to the fore.

“Vertigo to values brings a special dizziness” – Neal A Maxwell.

Identify the obstacles on your own path, get rid of the roadblocks and eliminate them! Always remember to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong. Strongly-held values create powerful foundations in personal, family, societal and organisation structures. Be true to who you are and stand by your values.

Start today. Pause, reflect, identify your values and what matters most.

The Loneliness of Leadership

This image of Theresa May in Brussels a few months ago – sparked a series of memes – poking fun at her lone figure. Reflecting on this image and many others like it, I thought of the terrible loneliness of leadership.

When the chips are down, no matter what other advisers and supporters are around – it is the leader who has to face the world alone. Forget your political colours for a moment, as I watched the demise of Theresa May, I sensed the loneliness of leadership. While watching her, there came to my mind some powerful words (applicable to us all who are in a leadership role) from William Shakespeare: “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown” (King Henry IV, Part II, act 3, scene 1, line 31)

There is a great loneliness in leadership, the pressure and strain can be overwhelming, but like so many in these challenging roles, you not only have to live with yourself, your conscience and the inner feelings that come, but also the feelings of a nation too. Ultimately, the PM’s demise was inevitable.

As the old joke goes “it might be lonely at the top, but the view is terrific”…well, maybe for a little while.

Top Tips:

– Work with a trusted coach

– Encourage your senior team to speak up and challenge

– Get out and about, listen and get rid of your ego.

Preparation

Are you ready to lead? Are you sure? Why should anyone be led by you?

Many years of preparation and following others had led to that moment. A challenging situation, required decisive action. When the call came, I was ready. Instinctively I knew what to do. A leader steps up to make difficult decisions.

Don’t wait for an invitation – see the potential in yourself! If you’re starting out your career, say “yes” when someone sees the leader in you and offers you a chance to practice and develop new leadership skills. I recall many years ago, a wise leader said to me, “Daryl, what are you doing here?” It was a powerful challenging call to action, and it set my career direction. He and I both knew I needed to take another path – I just needed a push.

Are you aware of your personal values, do you know what they are? If not, then you need to know what is important in your life and what really matters most to you. How can you influence others if you don’t know what really matters to you?

Alexander Graham Bell observed “Before anything else preparation is the key to success.” Start early, be steady, observe, listen and learn how to follow. Be open to learning and growing.

What can you do now to prepare for the call to leadership? leadership

Wisdom

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” – Albert Einstein.

Day in, day out, I work with leaders. I know many good leaders, in fact great ones. Conversely, in my 30 year career, I have also met others who have been mean and condescending, whose motto was simply “Its my way or the highway” as they say. Perhaps you have met someone like that?

I believe that wisdom is crucial to the field of great leadership.

Simply stated, wisdom is the ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgements. However much you might want it, wisdom is not something that you go out and get. It’s something that you must be open to receiving. It’s also something that comes not only through success, but failure too.

What then are some of the characteristics I’ve observed in wise leaders?
– They are self-aware
– They love people
– They serve others
– They are selfless
– They empower others
– They work hard
– They know their why
– They are trusted
– They are kind
– They are humble
– They are compassionate

Leadership is a way of behaving, whereas wisdom is a way of thinking.

Who do you know who are wise leaders?
What do you need to do to become more like them?
Are you becoming a wise leader?

Momentum

England and Scotland’s remarkable match on Saturday was a game of two halves, each filled with momentum – “the force that keeps an object moving or keeps an event developing after it has started”. England had it in bucket-loads in the first half and Scotland, oodles of it in the second.

Watching the match I went through a rollercoaster of emotions from despair to elation and then (yes) disappointment with a draw!

What happened? How could England giveaway a 31 point lead?

Momentum built for England, try after try in the first half, and then a tiny opportunity – a chink of light, appeared at the end of the half for Scotland.

Half time. Reflection time for both teams. For England, I found this quote, which resonated with me – “Sometimes thinking too much can destroy your momentum” -Tom Watson. For the Scots, pause, build some respect in the second and with a bit of luck, maybe give the Scots fans something to sing about by winning the half?

A quick try, English confidence collapses, momentum builds for the Scots, try, and another, and another – unbelievable! And yet, somehow, England dig deep, and come up with a try in the closing seconds.

Momentum in your life, in your family, in your team and your organisation is whatever your attitude determines it to be.

What action can you take to build momentum toward success in your own life or in your organisation?
#belief #attitude