Back in our years of working together, I came to know Mark well. I became accustomed to Mark’s intense presence – a way of being in a task that I learned to appreciate as part of who he is at the core. If one had asked me to briefly describe Mark’s management style, I might have used the word “impulsive” in my analysis.
Many years passed between the time we worked together in operations and the time Mark enlisted me as his coach. I was not surprised, and greatly pleased, when he shared one particular outcome he desired from the coaching relationship; reduce the impulses. While intensely present in those earlier years, Mark was not always attentive to what was being heard in the moment. It is a conscious observation, being open to what is occurring in the moment, that leads to understanding.
Entering into an experience conscious of our own purpose increases our ability to respect the potential of another. Understanding releases the tension in subsequent action. Freed from any debilitating self-judgment, we more easily facilitate the flood of information of any given moment into a flow that moves the distracted many into a focused whole. Facilitating the importance of what, you align all behind the right approach to how; releasing the tension in subsequent action. As a facilitator, you possess an understanding of self that gives you control over your own behavior to best influence the behavior of others – moving us toward our desired collective story.
As much as anyone I have known, Mark is committed to the collective story. As he learns more about himself as a leader and facilitator, he will continue to leverage personal commitment to create the collective commitment. He understands that collective commitment is prerequisite to collective focus.
Clarity empowers the individual to focus on the most productive personal strengths to honor the collective commitment. Intent fires commitment; and focus makes the commitment real to the individual and in the collective.
Focused on purpose – both yours and that of the whole – you facilitate clarity and freedom. People need freedom to see purpose as the door to individual and collective focus. Purpose frees us to confidently focus, without apology, on what is most important.
Leading and facilitating in a purposeful, focused manner is not about consensus. Based on the control factors of time, ownership, and involvement, consensus is simply one of many choices in the decision-making process. Leading and facilitating through purpose and focus is about creating alignment. Consensus is about agreement inside a controlled, narrow situation. Alignment is about unity around a dynamic path toward the collective story.
Alignment quickens the intent of the many into a collective whole. Alignment purifies the water in which our collective vision flows. You facilitate this alignment and then you lead us through the natural dip and distractions. As a leader, you keep us individually and collectively focused on our desire in both the final vision and in the intensity of the moment.
For more like this and the developing series around the 7 skills, see: 21st Century Leadership Skills