Archives for October 2017

7 Clues You’re Unknowingly Sabotaging Your Strengths

By Kevin Cashman; originally posted on Success.com on October 30, 2017

One of the most effective ways to take this journey to a more integrated, authentic understanding of ourselves is to explore our personal belief systems. Few psychological dynamics are as fundamental as our beliefs. Beliefs literally create our reality; they are the lenses or filters through which we interpret the world. Some of these lenses focus on new horizons; others dim our view and limit possibilities. Beliefs are transformational. Every belief we have transforms our life in either an enriching or limiting way. As Bruce Lipton wrote in The Biology of Belief, “Our beliefs control our bodies, our minds and our lives.” In a sense, beliefs are the software of leadership, our deeply personal operating system that runs the show on the surface.

One of the most dramatic examples of the transformational power of beliefs comes from heavyweight fighter George Foreman. In the 1970s, Foreman was renowned for being one of the toughest, nastiest human beings on the planet. Angry and antisocial, he often came across as a mean, uncommunicative person—not at all the person you see today. He was not known for social graces, self-awareness or his big smile. However, immediately following his surprising loss to Jimmy Young in Puerto Rico, George went to his dressing room, laid down on the training table, and reportedly had an overwhelming spiritual experience. After that experience, George changed. He changed his entire life, everything: his personality, his relationships and his life purpose. He transformed them.

George peeled the onion of his personality, and the delightful, humorous, self-effacing George came forward. The important thing to note here is not whether George Foreman actually had a spiritual revelation. Many medical professionals say he suffered from severe heat exhaustion, and that’s what caused his experience. That’s not the point. The key principle is that George Foreman believed that he had a spiritual transformation, and that belief changed his life. What we believe, we become.

Through years of coaching people, we have consistently observed two distinct types of belief systems operating in people: Conscious Beliefs and Shadow Beliefs. Conscious Beliefs are the explicit, known beliefs we have. When asked what our beliefs are about ourselves, about other people or about life in general, we can articulate many of them. Although it might take some effort to access and clarify some of these beliefs, they are accessible to us on an everyday level.

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How To Help Your Senior Team Rediscover Its Core Purpose

By Kevin Cashman; originally posted on ChiefExecutive.net on October 26, 2017. 

Research conducted by both Harvard and colleagues at Korn Ferry has demonstrated one unsettling fact: senior teams are often the worst performing teams in organizations. But why? There are many possible reasons, but one of the biggest is a lack of shared purpose.

I’ve lost track of the number of times an experienced CEO has approached me wondering, “Why isn’t our senior team more engaged with the new strategy? What we need to do and how to get there are crystal clear. But the more I push, the less motivated people seem to be. What’s missing?”

Senior teams face three big realities that have to be placed in meaningful relationship for our enterprises to thrive:

  • The big ‘what’ question (vision): What is possible for us to become?
  • The big ‘how’ question (strategy): How will we get there?
  • The big ‘why’ question (purpose): Why is it so important that we exist in the world?

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Leadership from the Inside Out Introduction to New Material

The new edition of Leadership from the Inside Out is now available!  Order your copy here.

How to Know When You’re on Thin Ice at Work

By Sue Shellenbarger, originally printed in Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2017. 

WSJ

It starts with an uneasy feeling: You’re left out of meetings you used to attend. The boss stops offering suggestions. Once-friendly colleagues turn cool.

How can you be the last one to know you’re failing or flailing at work?

“I never saw it coming,” says Nancy Halpern of a layoff on a previous job years ago as a division head for a retailer. “I thought I did a great job. I ran a department and had achieved great results. I prided myself on being very dedicated and committed,” she says.

She sometimes had disagreements with her boss, and her boss occasionally canceled meetings with her, Ms. Halpern says. But she didn’t respect her supervisor enough to try to forge a closer bond.

She realized too late that her boss placed a high value on loyalty and saw her behavior as insubordination. She should have asked her for frequent, specific feedback, such as, “What should I do less of? What should I do more of?” says Ms. Halpern, principal of KNH Associates, a New York leadership-development consulting firm. And she might have taken a few cues from peers her boss favored and picked up on strategies they used.

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Leadership from the Inside Out: Eight Pathways to Mastery

What does mastery of leadership mean to you? To many people it is mastery of something: mastery of the skill to be a dynamic influencer; mastery of strategic planning and visioning; mastery of consistent achievements and results.  Instead of being an ongoing, internal growth process, mastery is usually seen as mastery of something outside of ourselves. When you think about it, it’s no wonder our ideas about mastery and leadership tend to be externalized. Our training, development, and educational systems focus on learning about things, not the nature of things. We learn what to think, now how to think.  We learn what to do, now how to be.  We learn what to achieve, not how to achieve. We focus on what and rarely ask why. We fill up the container of knowledge but rarely consider comprehending it or applying it more effectively.

In organizations, this external pattern continues.  As leaders we receive recognition for our external mastery. Revenue, profit, new product breakthroughs, cost savings, and market share are only some of the measures of our external competencies.  Few would question the value of achieving and measuring external results.  This isn’t the real issue.  The core questions are:  Where do the external results come from?  Is focusing on external achievement the sole source of greater accomplishment?  Could it be that our single-minded focus on external results is causing us to miss the underlying dynamics supporting sustainable peak performance?

An Inside Out Leadership Definition
Our definitions of leadership also tend to be externalized.  Most descriptions of leadership focus on the outer manifestations (i.e., performance, achievement, power, drive, etc.) instead of getting to the foundational principles of leadership itself.  Leadership from the inside out takes a different view. We cannot split off the person from the leader. The leader and the person are one. We lead by virtue of who we are.

We decided to do a deep, comprehensive examination of the most effective leaders we had assessed, advised, and developed over last thirty years to discern leadership patterns.  Our research premise was, “What is foundational to the most effective, results-producing leaders?  What supports their various competencies or styles on the surface?”  Three essential patterns became clear …

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