I have recently been awarded the 2013 Athena Award, which recognizes women who represent excellence in business, community service and leadership that empowers women to grow, lead and succeed in business and in life.
Welcome to ROI Wisdom. The second addition I shared some wisdom I gained from David Allen's presentation at the 2013 Chick-fil-A Leadercast in May. This month is what I learned from what Dr. Henry Cloud had to say about "Boundaries for Leaders." Enjoy!"
“We equip People and Organizations to grow, lead and succeed!”
Dana’s notes from Dr. Henry Cloud:
Dr. Henry Cloud spoke about Boundaries for Leaders. His premise from my understanding was that it was important to recognize as a Leader your limits and your organization’s limits as well as their strengths. He stressed the importance of planning and getting people to work the plan and that by providing that structure, it helps people to actually follow you as a leader and clarifies performance expectations. When you have a plan and clear expectations, you can better recognize what he calls "necessary endings". When you are clear on the outcomes you need to produce, your plan will help you to reveal what might not have the level of influence or effectiveness it once had and therefore needs to go. In other words, what do you need to stop doing!
His analogy is the pruning of a garden or plant. When you cut the dead blooms off it helps the rest of the plant to flourish, grow and bloom more. That is because the resources feeding the plant are not being wasted on something that is already dead. How many times do we as leaders hang onto policies or procedures or people who are already “dead” and there is no reviving them. We hang onto them only because of the history we have with the person or policy that we have grown attached to and fear the consequences of letting go. All the while, we are limiting the “life” of the company to about 20% of the employees, which drains resources. As leaders, we need to have the courage to clip what we don’t need and disengage from attachments that we hold for all the wrong reasons. By doing this we can make sure we are using the resources we have to keep the best buds blooming.
Now, having said all that, it is not so easy to do as a Leader. Why is it so hard to let go? It is because as Leaders, we have been taught that we need to be THE Source or Resource and if we let something go, sure enough, a week later we fear we might need it. However, what Dr. Cloud has found is that by letting go, you are actually increasing your capacity and access to resources. So what do I need to let go of? In order to have the freedom and energy to effectively do tomorrow’s work or what you need to do today, you need to let go of yesterday. And I am not just talking about the day before. I am talking about all that has come before that might be clouding your vision and clear innovative thinking that is needed for today.
So Dr. Cloud suggests this pruning exercise:
Go for a listening tour throughout your company and here is what to listen for…
1. What is good, but not best?
2. What is really relevant and is that kept in front all the time?
Remember that if everything is important than nothing is important. In the workplace, it is not only desire that gets things done; it is more importantly what gets prioritized.
As Leaders, we need to lead people in the ways that their brains can actually follow. We need to create focused attention so people can work. Dr. Cloud uses this equation…Frontal Cortex = Executive Function. Basically for maximum performance we need to engage the left (logical) and right (creative) sides of the brain. Dr. Cloud says we accomplish this by:
Attend to what is relevant and to know what to do. You only know what this is when you have a clear vision and purpose for the organization and have set measurable goals and developed actionable plans to achieve those goals.
Can’t be doing anything else. What Dr. Cloud means by this is that the brain is actually designed to only handle or focus on one thing at a time. We do our best and most efficient work when we have that laser focus.
Create a working memory (honestly, I do not remember or have any notes on what he meant by this, but some of you I think attended a book club that Jack Kinsley had at the Delco Chamber and maybe you can fill us in!)
Some final thoughts...
Remember the brain runs on oxygen, glucose and relationships. As Leaders we need to take time to breathe, reflect and renew our energy levels in order to be able to show up at our best. Showing up at your best strengthens relationships and helps us to have the capacity to make good decisions, especially under pressure.
Remember to keep listening...What is it like for you to do business with you? What is it like for your clients? Are you a business hoarder or do you have healthy boundaries and know what you need to let go of and when?
Riker Opportunity Institute provides corporate education to bring out the best in people and organizations. For more information call (610) 566-8272 or visit www.RikerOpportunityInstitute.com