Leadership from the Edge
The best place for a leader to stand is at the edge of his/her organization. From the edge a leader can step more deeply into the organization if needed and, just as quickly, step outside the organization for an external perspective…. Click here to read entire article.
The Laws of Systems (Learning to Think Systemically)
Today’s problems come from yesterday’s “solutions.” Solutions that merely shift problems from one part of a system to another often go undetected because…. Click here to read entire article.
Do Something -Or Not
America is a "doing" culture. We constantly ask: What are you doing? How are you doing? Why have you done? The premise is ‘if you don't do you won't succeed’. When times are bad the first response is to do something even if you are unsure what that something is. Yet, in the current economic environment so many things are shifting simultaneously we often aren't sure what to do. It's like trying to find our balance on a rolling ball.
Perhaps this is a time to stand still. Does that sound scary? Or just un-American? How can we possibly stand still when there is so much to do - customers aren't buying, market share is at risk, capital isn't available, the Indians are smarter, the Chinese are cheaper, etc. etc. The drive to do something is bumping up against our not knowing what to do. The resulting anxiety can cause so much emotional dust that it is difficult to see or breathe.
What does standing still look like?
First, when we stand still we often experience the greatest movement. Because we aren’t doing, we can often see further and understand more deeply. New patterns can begin to emerge and previously unseen pathways can be identified. Secondly, the quiet of stillness enables us to internally convert information to knowledge. From this place of enlightenment we are provided a framework for determining future actions that are connected with but not limited by what is currently known. Lastly, standing still gives us time, and leaders need time. Time exposes the unimportant and reaffirms what matters. Therefore, our eventual actions are more likely to be purposeful and effective.
When coaching leaders, I encourage them not to get overwhelmed by the “doing dust”. I suggest sorting through to identify what absolutely has to happen now, what is being driven by external forces that don’t serve their goals, and what is an unwanted result of the “doing” habit. We then work on creating time to stand still. Perhaps you can challenge yourself to an hour a week of standing still. See what happens for you. It may be a path to more effective leadership.