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It it is not uncommon in working one-on-one with an individual leader to hear a forlorn claim of lost purpose. We only lose sight of purpose by losing consciousness of our purpose; individually and/or collectively.

Call me a fool if you must, but I know purpose has been with you since the beginning. Purpose is never really lost. Yes, one may find self seemingly lost in a fog. But know this, and find encouragement, your purpose is still here.

I was sitting in my office trying to see through the fog into the day ahead of me when Bill tapped on the door frame. He sat down and seriously stated, “We are worried about you.” I asked, Who is we? He replied, “All of us.” He was speaking of my team of managers and the eighty plus who reported to them.

It’s not important why I was in that particular fog; and I’d been in it for about two weeks. What is important is that those I led noticed … and cared. They cared enough to talk of it and send an emissary to inquire.

As my mind whirled in the wind of Bill’s question, the cause of their collective concern hit me. Each day I was not traveling I would stop by each person’s desk and speak, at least recognizing we were here together in the day before us. I had not done this in two weeks.

They were comfortable and confident in checking on me because they knew, and followed, my Trueness!

It is only part and parcel that we at times lose sight in the fog of life and living. As our leader, we aren’t upset with you in times of fog and confusion, not when you’ve proven your authenticity to us in how you have guided us to the present. And we know the fog settles on us all.

We know that your light of purpose is still there.

We walk together in the steadiness of A New Confidence brought about by a collective purpose empowered by individual purpose. This is The Work of Trueness; your consistently conscious commitment to living & leading from your authentic self.

… and yes, sometimes we might need to remind you!

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Your Desire & Intent is a melody of flow.

It is the energy of desire and the vision of intent that cooperate to release Trueness into this 21st Century age of consciousness and awareness.

How do you consciously root a bit deeper into the soul of your Trueness?

Driven down into desire, our distorted self is confronted by our true self. Drawn out toward intent, Trueness builds through what seems, at first, a contradiction.

Your Trueness is the impact of your presence.

And the reality is that your impact is in the melding of desire and intent. In the desire that drives you, control never appears in the cross-hair of impact. But when you add the intent that draws you out, control enters the frame−or more specifically, what you cannot control is now suddenly brought into awareness. Such suddenness can leave you vulnerable and exposed to the elements of reality.

Desire speaks truth from the core of who you are; a selfless presence. Intent expands desire from a need greater than any selfish ego.

As you think on all this, keep in mind that your Trueness is reality.

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Being brought to this work I have the privilege of doing was no accident. It is work built on a foundation of being: an authenticity present since the beginning.

In 2000, I had LASIK surgery to correct severe astigmatism and significant nearsightedness. Until that option I had no memory of seeing without the assistance of an optical device.

Years before when a junior in high school, I began to wear contacts. At the time I was hanging out with my best friend, his girlfriend, and her sister. Each time Joe and I went to visit, Carol would pull the glasses from my face and state that my eyes were too pretty to hide. I tell you this for the symbolism in the rest of the story.

After being examined and fitted for contacts, I was given the choice of tinting to enhance (change) the color of my eyes. Vainly altering the color of my eyes seem disingenuous to me. I chose clear. Did Carol have something to do with going to contacts? Yes. What about the tinting/alteration? Even then I had a deep need−and dedication−to the Trueness of the Individual. And yes, to my own Trueness.

My Desire & Intent is that you lovingly lead others to their own authentic confidence as you embrace the power of who you are and act on this Trueness!

And now I’ve dedicated my energy to The Work of Trueness.

My Desire & Intent formed the vision that pushed me into this work full time. And from this vision I’m asking you to be a participant in The Work of Trueness. I invite you to be a part of a collective of individuals committed to living and leading from their authentic self.

The Impact needed in this world must come from individuals who have learned to be then do.

To join us, you simply commit to receiving encouragement and giving encouragement to others.

Your Impact is your Trueness practiced.

Join in The Work of Trueness!

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What is the power of Story?

To put it as simply as I know how, I will answer with one word; Why.

I remember being asked to lead a major project in my last 2 years of corporate experience. The work included staff reductions in three states. Rick, who enrolled me to lead the project, gave me 3 pillars around which to build: 1) Achieve the cost savings 2) Maintain and even improve the quality of the work we would be moving around, and 3) Do the right thing by the people.

He made no attempt to tell me how to do what I needed to do. In his 3 pillars I knew what to focus upon. And, even though it may not seem like it at first glance, I had the Why. For me, the 3 pillars became the Story that I, and my project team, had to tell.

What is for the mind. Why is for the heart. −Dave, Coaching Client

Why is the core of compelling narrative. And what and how hold powerful support data if we help others make the connection.

I’ve been booked for a day in Illinois where I will serve as a feedback facilitator. A selection of technical leaders are learning more about the consultative part of their individual roles. As part of this learning experience is practice and application of meeting with an executive, listening, gathering info, and then creating and delivering a compelling presentation to pitch solutions and create partnerships. Through experience these leaders will learn the power of story and storytelling in business.

Years ago I received some similar training. The trainer, Bobbie Lawrie, was an expert in helping executives and politicians speak to the media. While she gave us many tips, tools, and tactics, I came away with 3 simple steps to help me improve in the important task of forming a compelling message:Skill 7

  1. Consider my audience. What’s in it for them to hear from me?
  2. Develop my One Main Message point.
  3. Provide vivid support to this 1 point.

Considering your receivers opens you to the reality of what. Your main message is the heart of the matter−Why. And, as you provide vivid support, you tie how to the heart, making ever more clear the message.

Confusion can never compel; that takes clarity.

Storytelling is the 7th 21st Century Skill for the leader. Storytelling balances, or pulls together, the objective and subjective into a compelling and ongoing narrative.

Leading from the clarity of your Desire & Intent others are compelled by your purpose (your story). In such clarity, together we are transformed, driven by individual purpose and drawn into a collective vision.

For more on your Voice in the process, see post; Shadow Strengths – Chapter Seven (Love)

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The 21st Century highway of management is jammed with those speeding to solve as they exercise limiting judgment, fixes, and attempts to otherwise set another straight.

We manage process and we lead the individual. As a leader you are a facilitator. To Facilitate means “to make easy.” This doesn’t mean you ignore conflict or difficulty. Quite the opposite is true as you facilitate the necessary holding together of good process and desired outcomes.

“For peace and agitation are stitched together and, tugged on, they unravel a thread of Oneness.” −Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

I was very fortunate in my corporate career to have opportunity to take advantage of good learning experiences. Such learning was in the balance of classroom and application; practicing knowledge into a skill. The skill I treasure is that of Listening. This skill has served me well in my coaching, and molded me into a facilitator who can create and navigate dialogue.

Listening is the foundation of 21st Century Skill 6: Collective Facilitation.

In my corporate experience I was given much opportunity to practice as a facilitator. Early on I knew enough to be moderately effective and dangerous at the same time. Let me illustrate.

My customer service manager and his team approached me and asked that I facilitate a session to assist them in working through an important issue with their service work. We scheduled everything, gathered together, and got to work. So there I was standing in front of them facilitating. The team came together around the information needed and I dismissed them to go and collectively implement what they thought best.

A week passed and I had not heard any follow-up or follow-thru on their decision. I called Bill, the manager, to my office and asked what they had decided to do. His response, “We did what you told us to do.”

I was stunned. I asked Bill to tell me what he had heard from me. He did. And I was stunned even further−not by him or the team. I was slapped with the reality of the lack of neutral focus in my brand of facilitation. As I supposedly facilitated, I had unconsciously also participated: participation at a level that was easily perceived as an order or a request from their division leader.

I had unintentionally held their loyalty in a manner that diminished their full creative abilities and individual and collective contribution.

Skill 6If left apart, good process and desired outcomes pull against one another.

If focused upon one at a time, as is usually the case, they are left in conflict causing us to ignore one or the other.

To expertly be with the skill of Collective Facilitation, you must hold the two circles together where they merge in support of the depth of listening required.

You then facilitate in the power of a neutral focus.

 

Read about the shadow strength related to Focus; Shadow Strengths – Chapter Six (Focus)

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Things go the way they go, as opposed to the way I’d like them to go.

Very often what is in any situation is in opposition to what I would prefer−and both are most likely okay; full of their own truth. And so here I have opportunity for a mandorla. What might I discover in a specific situation by holding the two together for a bit? What might I see and learn in the overlap of the two circles−which in the overlap itself is the teaching mandorla?

The example is my mind and heart in some proposed work with a favorite client in Oklahoma. My mind wants it finalized, adding nicely to my year. My heart desires to hold the moment and trust all will be okay. And maybe for now my learning, and holding, is in the simple recognition of the mind-heart mandorla.

This overlap (tension) is, I suppose, Creative Presence.

Skill 5As with any two sides to any one issue−seeming opposites−there is tension. It just may be that this overlap of tension is when we are at our best with Giving. And here lies the paradox with Skill 5, the skill of Giving. This skill is about giving in and through our work at all levels.

At the core of all brands of giving is listening. In the mind circle, listening is at the surface focusing on outcomes. In the heart circle, listening is at the source of what’s most important to you.

You’ve heard it said, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” You’ve also heard it said, “The heart wants what it wants.” In the mind circle is the timing aspect. Once you’ve done your part, you expect an outcome in return. The heart circle wants to trust the process and desires freedom in giving−a brand of presence that is not distracted by the sometimes trivial pursuit of the mind.

As the two circles collide, we are presented with one of the most troublesome challenges, waiting.

“Paradox is brought to its next stage of development by a highly conscious waiting. The ego can do no more; it must wait for that which is greater than itself.” −Robert A. Johnson, Owning Your Own Shadow

If  you can bear with the overlap of the two circles, hold it long enough, the mind and heart begin to push you into the necessary Creative Presence.

So, holding this overlap as best I can I find myself carefully reviewing how I can give in my network at a deeper, more contextual level; hopefully taking proper advantage of my waiting.

What is an important issue where you need to create a mind/heart mandorla and enter your Creative Presence?

For more on Presence, see post Shadow Strengths – Chapter Five (Presence)

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Networking, in order to be effective, must leverage your Voice. If you are a regular reader of mine then you know I’m not referring to an audible voice. I’m referencing your authentic self−how who you really are shows up in your interactions.

The networks we need today are the ones based in mutual respect. They are built on the common understanding that comes from a genuine meeting of the minds. They are fueled by generosity and kindness. They are reciprocal because of a desire to help the other, not out of obligation. They are connections that allow gifts to be exchanged, not favors tallied up. −Ric Gonzalez

What is Networking in this 21st Century? I like what Tim Sanders says in Love is the Killer App. He calls networking Biz Love, and says your network exists for you to:

  1. Share your knowledge; and what you continue to learn
  2. Share your web of relationships; and experience
  3. Share compassion; your ability to reach out

It seems, over the last three years, that my network has, for the most part, frozen; causing me to question the fruits of networking. The freeze has two sources. There is the outside force of an attention-demanding 21st Century culture, and there’s the inside failure to apply my voice consistently and confidently.

And then I must ask what it would take to thaw it. For the longest time the answer has been stuck in the personal confusion of the slow freeze. But now I know the only thing I can know, and do: I must allow my voice, in more full engagement, to thaw the connections.

So how do we apply the fullness of sharing in our networks? It is by sharing our own brand of love in our own network. And that brand of love is resonate in your voice. (see post, Shadow Strengths – Chapter Four (Voice))Skill 4

The paradox one must face, and hold, with the skill of Networking is the external competing demands colliding with the internal focus needed to stay true.

As you stand firm and hold these two for a while, you may more easily see the warm application and need for your voice.

From this middle stand you hold what you do with how you do it, until your voice presence reminds you of why you do what you do.

And so in my own network and networking I must reengage with both my Voice and my original Why I do what I do.

I’ve got some fresh Networking to do!

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