And that’s the end of our first full month (already!), back home in the Netherlands.
One thing that has struck me is the importance of 𝐟𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩.
We have spent a large chunk of our first month making lots of new friends and reacquainting ourselves with many old ones too.
As we have visited together, we have laughed, cried, talked, sung, enjoyed meals, walked, played games, hugged, encouraged, helped and above all really listened to one another’s stories and experiences.
It has been a real joy to be with such wonderful friends.
My experience is that all of our interactions together are made more enjoyable and productive when they are accompanied by genuine feelings of friendship.
I remember years ago the counsel from Ralph Waldo Emerson who said “𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐟𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐞.”
To be a good friend, show genuine interest in others, smile, care about them, be kind, be grateful and show respect. Above all…
– 𝐁𝐞 Real
– 𝐁𝐞 You
– 𝐁𝐞 your authentic self!
Being who you are is key!
What kind of friend are you?
Joe Biden spoke last week on #unity. We all know that in society today, you don’t have to look very far to find disunity, disharmony and distrust.
Consider this story, shared by Barbara Lewis…
“A young boy visited his uncle, a lumberjack. At the lumber camp, the boy saw a huge tree standing alone on the top of a hill. He enthusiastically pointed the tree out to his uncle, saying, “Look at that big tree! It will make a lot of good lumber, won’t it?” His uncle looked down at the boy and shook his head. “No, son, that tree will not make a lot of good lumber. It might make a lot of lumber but not a lot of good lumber. When a tree grows off by itself, too many branches grow on it. Those branches produce knots when the tree is cut into lumber. The best lumber comes from trees that grow together in groves. The trees also grow taller and straighter when they grow together.”
Similarly, so it is with all of us.
We are better individuals, more useful timber, when we grow together, unified, rather than alone. Unity begins with you! With a common goal it is the glue that holds us all together.
We build unity when we serve others, showing that we genuinely care. Unity is a critical ingredient for harmony and success.
Let’s build unity and live without disputes among us.
A recent experience reminded me that as a leadership coach, one of the greatest lessons I ever learned was that the best leaders have sense enough to pick good people to do what needs to be done. But more importantly, they also have self-restraint enough to stop themselves from meddling with them, while they do it!
My invitation today is a gentle reminder to all of us – to stop meddling! Instead, remember to trust others and simply let them get on with it!
Remember – leadership is a lifelong learning process.
Why is 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭 so important in building relationships of trust?
Years ago, whilst attending an annual sales conference gala dinner, to celebrate our successes, I recall an experience which has had a long lasting impact upon me. This is a short story of respect in the workplace.
In all of the usual jubilee, back slapping, festivity and party atmosphere, my boss of the time approached me (he’d been directed by his boss, the sponsor of the evening to speak to me). Alistair quietly asked me if I would offer grace to commence dinner. It was an unexpected honour and a request that I’ve never forgotten. Both leaders knew of my strong christian values and beliefs. I said “Yes, of course.”
A few moments later, when invited to do so, I stood and a quiet reverent hush was felt in the large conference room. I offered a simple prayer of thanksgiving and blessing upon the food, then the gala dinner commenced.
I’ll never forget that all evening long, I answered questions on faith & belief! Not quite what I had expected.
Thank you Bruce Ginnever, for teaching all of us a powerful lesson about respect that evening. It was a simple, little thing, yet it had a big impact on many, a lesson that I have never forgotten as I do my best to respect others too.
How can you be more respectful to others?
Yes – that’s me, I was 19.
It was November 1984 and I was in my first leadership role, working in Luton, England. Every month our team would meet together and the principle of accountability was front and centre. We held each other responsible for the success and failures of the month gone by. As an extremely young and enthusiastic team leader, I decided that I’d spice up the accountability reports! Not only did I hire an American Footballers costume, but I adopted the hype and persona of a typical player! Yes, hard to believe that mild mannered old me, has an extrovert crazy streak running through me (thanks dad!). Subsequently, I recall (and my journal entries confirm) that the monthly reporting session was a tremendous success, even although the numbers and KPI’s themselves weren’t the best!
Through many experiences over numerous years and in a multitude of leadership roles I’ve served in since then, I’ve learned all too well, that “It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable.” Moliere. Actions or lack of action even, almost always have consequences.
The dictionary defines accountability as: “Someone who is accountable is completely responsible for what they do and must be able to give a satisfactory reason for it.” Accountability then has to do with one’s exercising his own will in making decisions and following a course of conduct. It implies self-initiative and a measure of self-reliance. But it requires more than the ability to act for oneself. It must be guided by a knowledge of true principles.
In my home, family, community and business life, I have learned that true principles of accountability, are essential for success. So, what are these guiding principles of accountability?
- No matter whether you succeed or fail, it is much, much better to take ownership of the responsibilities given to you. Simply stated, people want to know who is responsible for certain actions and who is accountable for the consequences of these actions. I’ve failed on numerous occasions, but I can also choose to pick myself up, dust myself down and get on with starting over.
- Little by little, day by day, follow up on actions, be responsible, live your personal values and do what you say you are going to do.
We live in the most difficult of times and also the most amazing of times. It is absolutely critical to be truthful, honest, moral and ethical in all of your dealings at home, at work and in the community. To be anything different will cause you grief, heartache, misery, pain, leading ultimately to failure and despair.
- No matter how difficult the challenges may become (and oftentimes they will), carry with you a sense of humour that will allow you to see the bright side of things even on the darkest of days.
- In a recent article Humility vs Pride I suggested that “Humility is selfless not selfish. In fact I believe that humility is being authentic without any pretence or arrogance. It is really about being true to yourself and knowing your limitations, from the inside out.” see – https://www.darylwatson.org/2019/05/13/leadership-essentials-humility-vs-pride/ I believe that a humility builds loyalty and responsibility.
- The most effective accountability moments are held one by one. Whether that is with your children in a personal interview, or with your boss or a subordinate in an important conversation. Be aware of the importance of taking time to do that. In Paterson etal’s “Crucial Conversations” there are numerous tips and ideas about how to make the most of those critical accountability moments.
My early attempts at motivational accountability in 1984, taught me valuable lessons about being present, in the moment and having some fun at the same time. Throughout the ensuing years, I’ve had to sit through some pretty tedious accountability interviews and meetings, some of my own doing too (thankfully only a few!)
I’ve found that consistently following these simple guiding principles will build great relationships over the long term. In closing remember this quote from Thomas S. Monson; “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates!”
“The job’s yours – when can you start?” asked Tony. It was December 1988, a new chapter in my career was about to begin.
A few weeks earlier, Tony was visiting his brother in Dunfermline and heard me give a talk, on journals and building good daily habits. After my talk, we spoke for a while and he asked about my current work situation – Tony was a Sales Director. Shortly thereafter he invited me down to Doncaster for an interview. We found that we had similar interests, lots in common and were hungry for success. The job was mine if I wanted it. Thus began my career in sales.
The last few days, working with new clients, building trust has been at the forefront of my mind. Recalling the story with Tony, reminded me of three core foundations of trust.
– Open, honest, candid and direct in our conversation
– We listened to really understand one another
– We honoured our commitments.
In the days that followed we began to rely upon each other for success. Quickly, our trust and respect grew for one another and the next 12 months proved to be a winning formula.
What is your winning formula for building trust?
The energy in the room was high. Then in a reflective moment one participant shared “I can relate to that” and tears started to flow freely.
The atmosphere changed.
We had already created a safe environment for sharing that day, but the authenticity in the room soared to a different level. Attentively, everyone focused on the personal story being shared. It was a moment of high emotion and an intimate turning point in the workshop. In opening up in such a manner the participant had taken a great risk in approaching a vulnerable area in their life by sharing it so deeply. The silence was palpable.
Unwittingly, by speaking so candidly and tenderly, the participant had completely engaged everyone in the room.
Then it happened.
I watched, as those on either side felt impressed to reach out in a compassionate and reassuring way by physically touching our storyteller.
The whole experience had a profound effect on all of us in the room. There was a feeling of connection, togetherness and unity for a fleeting moment in time.
Deep and meaningful learning moments come quite unexpectedly at times. When they do, don’t be afraid to welcome them, gently explore them, embrace them and cherish them….forever.
Can you reach out and touch someone today?