March 29, 2012

Leapforward's Blog

The Bucket List was on last night – a great insight into two men who have to deal with their own mortality. A question I often ask to help people get clarity on their true values “if you had only 6 months to live what would you do, who would you see, how would you spend the time?”

A point I particularly enjoyed was them sitting on the top of the ancient pyramid and discussing the following 2 key questions. Morgan Freemans character notes “You know, the ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death. When their souls got to the entrance to heaven, the guards asked two questions. Their answers determined whether they were able to enter or not.”

What were the 2 questions? They were
1)‘Have you found joy in your life?’
2)’Has your life brought joy to others?’”

Well. What were your answers?

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Creating that “x factor” leader

June 20, 2010

Great leaders all have that “x-factor”. In a workshop for Victoria University I looked at what makes the style of an “x-factor” leader.

What is this x-factor in leadership?

Mastery of self: “to thine own self be true”. X-factor leaders are genuine and know who they are. They have high emotional intelligence, they know their own strengths and weaknesses and use these to help identify the strengths and weaknesses of others and they have integrity. What are your unique strengths and talents? What situations do you thrive in? What do you stand for and would you not compromise on?

Empowering other people: X-factor leaders not only know themselves they are “good-finders” – they can see the good in others and draw it out in every situation. They encourage and help people to unlock their talents and strengths and create the environment where these can be used to maximum effect. Think of a leader who believed in you and helped you discover your strengths – how did they do this for you?.

Having a clear vision: a relevant inspiring future: People follow a purpose, not a plan. It is human nature to want to make a difference in the world and follow a plan that is inspiring. The x-factor leader sees the bigger picture and can see the impact that this will have on the wider organisation. Every day we are given stones but what do we build? Do they just stay stones or do we build a castle?

Effective communication: X factor leaders not only have the vision but they know how to transfer it to others. They put it in language that appeals and is relevant to those they are speaking to. They listen first to understand and then put their message across. What are the key components of effective communication that you would like to develop? It may be speaking with confidence, presentation skills or simply being able to speak to people one on one. The great thing is that these skills can be developed.

Credibility: “To be rather than to seem”. It comes through what people do, not what people say. Can you think of an example where you had a leader that would say one thing yet do another? Relevant experience is a key component to credibility, hence a key component to x-factor leadership is being able to take the gold nuggets from your experiences and tranfer them to multiple situations.

Top tips to effective lead volunteers – keys to getting great results

May 10, 2010

Below are some of my keys insights from my work in the field of leading volunteers. This includes coordinating over 700 volunteers at the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind and working with senior business leaders include:

Form follows function.It is essential that the focus of the ministry be clear so people know what impact they are trying to achieve. A key question I ask leaders involved in fundraising is “if you closed your doors tomorrow what would be the impact”. What would you like the impact to be? What factors do you need to put in place in order to get there?

Protect your enthusiasm. Without enthusiasm of the ministry leader, nothing else will work. There are several quotes pointing to the power of enthusiasm, one of my favourites is “There is only one thing more contagious than enthusiasm – lack of enthusiasm”. Thus a key component is ensuring the leader keeps themselves energised and puts systems in place to do so. Having clear boundaries, taking time for oneself, working in a tidy, positive environment are just a few of the tips to avoid burnout and ensure leaders remain positive.

Don’t be shy asking about motivations People volunteer for a reason and as a leader it is important we know what that is. With so many competing elements for a volunteers time, clearly asking “what do you hope to get out of this” ensures you can tailor the role to the outcome that they want. Volunteers often do things for “love” or a “passion” but if we can link this to other opportunities such as “building greater networks” or “becoming part of the wider family” – it helps

Be prepared to say no. The biggest time waster in leadership is the inability to say no. People often confuse volunteering with helping – this is only the case if they have the motivation, skills and ability to be able to do the role. As a leader time is one of your most precious resource – so effectively managing this by setting boundaries and saying no to volunteers who “don’t quite fit” remains you stay empowered.

Delegation vs. abdication. Counselor, Dave Riddell makes the distinction between delegation and abdication as a leader. Delegation means you still retain responsibility over what you have asked someone else to do. Abdication means you have passed it off, hoping it will get done. Ensure if you have asked a volunteer to do a role you keep in the loop as to how performance is going and give them the support they need. Ultimately as the leader you are responsible for the outcome.

A great article I often refer clients to read is – “the call for leadership”. If you are interested in finding out more about this topic email grant@leapforward.co.nz. I can send you the call for leadership article and also offer a free 15 minute consultation to discuss your needs in becoming a more effective leader.

Look forward to hearing from you and go well. Be Strong.

With 6 months to live what would you do? The Bucket List questions

April 6, 2010

The Bucket List was on last night – a great insight into two men who have to deal with their own mortality. A question I often ask to help people get clarity on their true values “if you had only 6 months to live what would you do, who would you see, how would you spend the time?”

A point I particularly enjoyed was them sitting on the top of the ancient pyramid and discussing the following 2 key questions. Morgan Freemans character notes “You know, the ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death. When their souls got to the entrance to heaven, the guards asked two questions. Their answers determined whether they were able to enter or not.”

What were the 2 questions? They were
1)‘Have you found joy in your life?’
2)’Has your life brought joy to others?’”

Well. What were your answers?

Keep positive thinking positive – review of Kim Hill’s interview with Barbara Ehrenreich

April 4, 2010

After reading the Listener article “Down with Positivity” (March 20-26th, 2010) and Kim Hill’s interview of Barbara Ehrenreich (3rd April), I am concerned that many readers and listeners will throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to positive thinking. They will buy in to the “down with positivity” perspective rather than realising that constructive positivity, at the right stage, is a powerful tool for overcoming adversity.

Barbara’s challenge of positive thinking and its lack of sincerity ring true in many situations. However with all her calls for a scientific, well validated viewpoint, she does not appear to offer one herself. She simply picks at the proponents of positive psychology without giving a viable alternative.

Thus I thought it useful to summarise a few points from reading and listening to the material:
– There is no arguing a persons individual battle to overcome a major adversity such as cancer, major illness, losing a job or death of a loved one. Each person goes through an individual emotional experience to get through to the other side.
– There is a cycle that people go through when dealing with/ managing adversity, similar to a cycle that people go through when handling grief.
– Prescribing “positivity” at an inappropriate stage of this cycle does do more harm than good. I call this Toxic positivity. A related example of this is told by John Kirwan on his depression advert of his mates saying “harden up”, when hardening up is not what you need to do when depressed.
– Seeking help, being easy on oneself, getting love, support, & encouragement during the first stage of adversity are useful.
– At a different stage in the cycle, once people have the mental/emotional space to look at their options, is of merit.
– During this phase trusting that things will get better, taking responsibility for what can be done under the circumstances are part of the puzzle to recovery
– Taking into account the facts of the situation into account and choosing to take the best possible option given ones circumstances and options is what I call CONSTRUCTIVE POSITIVITY.
– From my experience of working with clients – taking this approach does have beneficial effects on a person’s sense on well being, prognosis of recovery and ability to handle adversity.

In conclusion – it is important we do not throw the baby out with the bath water and mix toxic with CONSTRUCTIVE positivity. Taking an approach that is a “one size fits all” runs the risk of alienating people against taking a positive viewpoint at all.

What it takes to remain at the top of your game – leadership thoughts from John Key

March 25, 2010

I asked Prime Minister John Key this week what it took for him to stay at the top of his game and he responded – building a great team and being focused on what you need to do were his two responses.

Around 80 people were at the Wellington Young Professionals Breakfast on Tuesday where Prime Minister John Key spoke to budding professionals in the first 15 years of their career. It was a great forum when the Prime Minister shared his thoughts on how New Zealand economically can do a lot better. Ideas ranged from maximising New Zealand mineral wealth (yes we do have one – apparently the 2nd most wealth country in the OECD after Saudi Arabia) through to improving infrastructure in the IT space. A key aspect of interest for me was the role Young Professionals can play especially since those that are well educated, with high potential have a tendency to go overseas (1/4 live overseas).

Key points I picked up included
1. Focus on the things that make a difference
2. Imperative of having to believe in ourselves. John Key used the example of when he beat Helen Clark in 2008 and how he had to be fully focused and always believed
3. Surround yourself with great people that can help you get to where you want to go
4. Standing still is not an option “it means you lose”
5. Do whatever it is you are doing “a lot better than everyone else”

Driving in the car this morning John Key was on again on Radio Sport. He seems to be everywhere – the David Letterman show – what next Oprah! Go get em John! I thank you for your time and sharing some of the key principles of great leadership .

“Developing unshakable self confidence”

March 21, 2010

Developing Unshakable Self Confidence

Over the past week a key issue that I have seen facing people I have come across in a variety of situations is self confidence. Whether it is going for a dream role, becoming an inspirational leader or simply going for your dreams – confidence is the key to making it happen. Some insights for you to consider:

1. Know who you are – fully understand you are uniquely and wonderfully made. There has never been and will never be anyone like you – with the individual strengths that you have at your disposal.
2. Know what you want – through goal setting. Goals are the rudder on the ship of life that ensure that we remain on track while experiencing the inevitable changes of life
3. Know what you value – the why’s of life. If there is a great enough why, the how will take care of itself. Take time to reflect on your top 5 values that mean the most to you. How are these being expressed in your life?
4. Take personal responsibility for your success. Maturity is realising that no one else will be coming to the rescue. Make the commitment to do what it takes to get the results you desire out of life. No excuses
5. Break things down to the ridiculous. Eat your elephant (big goals) with a lot of small bites.
6. Let go of FEAR. FEAR is an acronymn False Evidence Appearing Real. Let go of your hang-ups and trust that it will all work out. If you can’t do this – speak to someone who may be able to help.

Fantastic story of Clay Dyer and how he handled adversity

March 11, 2010

If you would like a pick me up and to see things from a different perspective here is the link to that bass fisherman – handling adversity, an amazing thing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glrU4JKV1SI.

Why Don’t More Members of Gens X and Y Join Boards?

February 26, 2010

From http://boardlifematters.org – to inspire and engage the next generation in nonprofit board service.

The BoardSource Nonprofit Governance Index 2007 found that 2 percent of board members were under 30 years old, 36 percent were 30-49, 49 percent were 50-64, and 13 percent were over 65. These statistics suggest a lack of Generation X (generally defined as those born between 1963 and 1980) and Generation Y (generally defined as those born between 1981 and 2002) serving on nonprofit boards. Why?

There are a few sides to the story. Research presented in BoardSource’s Next Generation and Governance Report on Findings found some boards are hesitant to recruit members of Generations X and Y because there is a:

•Tendency to recruit others like themselves – and some boards are uncertain of where to find “younger” board members
•Skepticism about the need to have various generations on boards
•Preference for a “C-Suite” or corporate officer type profile on the board•Concern of isolation (that the individual would be an “only” on the board – i.e., the only person from their generation)•Misperception about their commitment.In turn, work we’ve done with organizations promoting board service to Generations X and Y, as well as some informal polling and focus groups, has revealed that some in these demographics are hesitant to pursue board opportunities for the following reasons:

•They hold the perception that board service is not accessible
•They think they’re not qualified
•They don’t know what is involved in joining a board
•They’re unaware of the impact of board service on an organization’s mission or what board service can do to help a cause.

The challenge of change

February 26, 2010

What motivates people to change? Why is it that some people make dramatic progress in a short period of time while others never reach the point of change?

1. The Pain When the pain of “staying the same” outweighs the “pain of change” things will start to happen.This is a vain hope -the hope of the self deceived-that it’ll all work out OK, and I won’t have to go against myself and my feelings or put some effort into it. “How much will you have to suffer before you get serious about getting help?” “When desperation exceeds our fears, progress begins.” 2. Hope; that I can become my dream for myself, and that I can reach the ideal of myself which is my desire.
3. How to – Insight; with truth-coaches, new insights, training and effectual and relevant understandings, not previously grasped or understood.
4. Love; that somebody who is significant to me – whom I want to please – isn’t pleased, but that it is within my power to please them. It may be a counsellor, coach, spouse or employer. It may be someone who has the courage, the conviction and the compassion to get ‘in my face’ and persuade me to change course.
Insanity is “continuing to do what I have always done and expecting different results”. The greatest struggle we will always have is with ourselves – with our thoughts and feelings.

Questions to check where you are:
•What is stopping you from changing?
•How much will you have to suffer before you get serious about getting help?
•What is the thought or feeling that continually persuades you to stay the way you are?
•What deep persuasion would you need to effect true change?
•What or who is in charge of your life, are you in charge or are you enslaved to someone or something?
•Are you fully persuaded that you can change? – Believing that you can change is a big step towards making it a reality.