The Importance of a Great Board Culture: Part 2

The Importance of a Great Board Culture: Part 2

Every organisation, regardless of its size, and whether or not it is a for profit concern, has its own unique set of rules, both written and unspoken, that create the protocols and establish the traditions, of how each member of the organisation expects others within it to act. Culture is the direct offspring of an organisation’s purpose, mission, goals and values, and the leadership of each organisation sets the tone and creates its culture.

Culture is more than an organisation’s mission statement, or a values statement that is written and published by its CEO and board of directors. It is also the actions of the board and other members of management and leadership that either support and substantiate these statements and policies, or undermine them.

While most of us tend to think of governance and oversight when we think of the roles and responsibilities of the board of directors, establishing and enforcing cultural norms is equally important. An organisation’s board of directors, Chair, and CEO are the creators, as well as the ultimate guardians and gatekeepers, of its culture.

 
The Benefits of a Great Corporate Culture

Culture driven companies gain several advantages over their competition, particularly in the areas of innovation, the ability to recruit and retain top talent, employee morale and engagement, and customer satisfaction.

Companies that focus on their values and their purpose, and that actively take steps to create a more humane workplace where associates have greater freedom, autonomy and authority reap a wide variety of benefits, including greater creativity, sustainable growth, lower costs, higher revenues, and higher profits.

A strong culture serves to unify groups of individuals who have different backgrounds, experiences and skill levels, helping them to increase their focus and marshal their efforts to work together in cooperation and collaboration towards common goals and objectives.

Efficiency is increased, as well as performance, providing greater value not only to employees, leadership and shareholders of the company, but to all stakeholders, including vendors, clients and customers, and the community at large.

Even in non-profit organisations, the ability to achieve goals and objectives, secure funding and achieve sustainable growth, as well as the ability to increase the level and number of services offered within the community, are all directly tied to the non-profit’s culture.

 
Changing Corporate Culture

Changing the culture within an organisation begins with its leadership. The CEO, board Chair, and board members are equally responsible for creating and communicating the organisation’s culture. Leaders that want to change the culture of their organisation, must first change the culture of their board and lead by example.

Leaders that want to increase the engagement, morale, collaboration and effectiveness of their organisations must first begin the hard work of changing board culture so that it models the actions, values, traits and behaviours that it wants and expects from the rest of the organisation.

 
Actions Speak Louder than Words

For example, if leaders are serious about increasing diversity and gender balance within their organisations, they must first show that these are goals and values that truly matter to the board. Mere words, policy announcements and press releases are not enough, but actions must match speech, beginning at the board level. If you want a more diverse, gender balanced organisation, the makeup of your board should match this value.

In a similar way, if you want to encourage greater autonomy, engagement, creativity, morale, collaboration and problem solving within your organisation, the board must first model this behaviour for the rest of the organisation. Actions speak louder than words.

 
Communication is Key to Changing and Improving Corporate and Board Culture

Increasing engagement and collaboration within your organisation as a whole begins with increasing communication and relationship building on the board. CEOs, board Chairs and allies for change from among the members of the existing board must work together and lead by example to move organisational boards and its members from static, passive positions to more independent and dynamic ones.

CEOs, Chairs and board members must develop and then use their bonds of mutual respect and trust to create open dialogue where significant issues are identified, researched, and discussed. The board’s agenda must be revamped so that the board transitions from a passive body that seeks recommendations to an active one that seeks diverse opinions and perspectives and looks for multiple options to solve key issues.

The strategic capacity of the board and individual board members must be developed and increased in order to improve decision making and learning processes that develop policies and best practices for the organisation.

As boards become more engaged, and their actions become more transparent, board culture improves, and directly influences corporate culture for the rest of the organisation.

 
Recognition and Other Rewards Reinforce Culture

In addition to creating and communicating cultural standards and norms, the board is also responsible for monitoring adherence to their culture. Boards can strengthen their corporate culture by taking steps to recognise and reward those who model the behaviours and standards that reflect the preferred culture.

Salary and bonuses tied to performance can go a long way in influencing the adoption of culture, other rewards such as publicly recognising those who model appropriate culture, and offering perks such as greater freedom and flexibility in the way that work is accomplished in the organisation, and even using the intentional design of the workspace to be more open and encouraging greater communication among colleagues, can also reinforce and strengthen culture.

 
Creating Greater Opportunities for Learning and Development Help Strengthen Great Culture

In addition to facilitating open dialogue and offering recognition and rewards to those who adhere to appropriate culture, boards and other leaders can strengthen great culture on both the board and throughout their organisation by offering more opportunities for learning and personal and professional development.

There is an old saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and this adage is very true when it comes to the performance and effectiveness of boards and their organisations. If you want a culture that supports growth and performance, you must give people the tools and training that they need to develop the skills that will support their expertise.

Skills that can be learned and developed are wide ranging and run from key leadership skills such as improving communication to skills that improve computer literacy and knowledge about cyber security and risk management.

As opportunities to learn and develop increase, leadership and other skills are developed and honed. This increases the performance and effectiveness of both the board and organisation as a whole. As individuals on the board and throughout the organisation grow and develop on personal and professional levels, both competency and morale are increased, improving co-operation, collaboration and adherence to cultural norms established and modelled by the board.

 
How strong is the culture of your board, and your organisation? Does everyone feel comfortable enough with one another to work together to tackle tough issues and truly debate and discuss key facts and possible solutions, or do factions, territorial behaviours and passive members continue to hold your board, and organisation, back from achieving its full potential?

Do you and your board need help creating a strategic plan for incremental cultural change, or, do you need help starting a true cultural revolution? Regardless of the level of change that your board and organisation need, we’re here to help you develop the skills and leadership attitude that you need to effect change and develop a strong board culture!

Board Leadership: Part 1

Board Leadership: Part 1

The ability of to oversee and govern your organisation, define its values, mission, and goals, and also create its culture, comes down to your board’s relative strength. Building a strong board is a difficult task for CEOs, board Chairs, and allied board members, but it is more important than ever.

Over the past several years, news reports from around the world have been filled with stories of various financial scandals, including product liability lawsuits, insider trading, internal theft and business failures. While the names of the institutions involved change, and the specific details differ on a few points, the one constant thread in all of these situations is a failure of leadership, an absence of integrity in the culture, and a failure on the part of the board of directors to actively provide direction.
 

Challenges to Effective Board Governance

One reason why we are seeing more boards that are weak and lack strength is because the challenges that our top institutions face are rapidly changing. In addition to traditional governance and oversight areas such as strategic planning, recruiting top talent, and weighing in on potential mergers and acquisitions, organisations now contend with a host of other more complex issues.

These issues are wide ranging and include dealing with the effects of technological advances that both improve and disrupt the way that we live and work, seeking options for how to succeed despite increased competition from domestic and international rivals, and even how to survive actual battles for control of the direction of the organisation from activist investors.

To meet all of these competing demands, it’s imperative that boards intentionally move from traditional, passive roles and embrace a more dynamic and active approach. The following are four core areas that your board must focus on improving in order to create a stronger and more effective board.
 

Lead by Example and Start at the Top – The Case for Ambition

If you want a stronger board that is more engaged and directly involved with providing governance and oversight, you must literally start at the top. Boards must appoint Chairs that will push themselves and their fellow board members to take a more active role in investigating the key challenges facing the institution and developing strategies and solutions to these challenges that remain consistent with the organisation’s core values, mission statement and goals.

The Chair sets the tone and the pace for the rest of the board, so ideally boards need Chairs that are ambitious and that will actively seek out new ideas, diverse opinions, multiple options and even contrarian viewpoints in order to find the best direction in which to guide the organisation.
 

Cooperation, Partnership and Collaboration

One of the greatest challenges to effective board leadership is a lack of trust and mutual respect among its members or between the board and the CEO and other management. In order to have a strong board, the board Chair and CEO need to be able to work together in partnership and cooperation, rather than in competition with one another.

Board Chairs need to able to work with their fellow board members, and their CEO, and each must facilitate more frequent opportunities for communication and more open communication styles.

Boards must do the hard work of taking an active approach to developing relationships with one another, their Chair, and the CEO, so that they are able to more freely discuss all issues that the institution faces and have frank, direct and sometimes even pointed discussions so that they can make better, more fully informed decisions.

Strong bonds enable boards to be able to get to the heart of the matter without fear of causing offense or otherwise stepping on anyone’s toes. In the end, this more active, direct, and dynamic approach helps boards to develop better strategies for dealing with all of the changes and disruptions that are taking place within their organisation and the marketplace.
 

Dive Deep and Encourage Diverse Ideas and Perspectives

Building strong bonds between the Board Chair, the CEO, and the board members, and facilitating more open communication is just one part of strengthening the strategic capacity of a board. While the board Chair and CEO must cooperate and work in partnership with one another, boards and their Chairs must still maintain their independence from the CEO and other management.

As part of their oversight and governance duties boards and their Chair must actively seek out alternative viewpoints and ensure that they have a full and unobstructed view of all of the issues and details surrounding a specific challenge. Oftentimes this means that boards will need specific training and development in order to be informed and competent in specific areas.

Rather than serving as a rubber stamp for the CEO and management of an organisation, boards and their Chairs must dive deep into issues and challenges and the organisation’s comprehensive strategies. From IT and risk management to digital trends, media, marketing and branding and even the safeguarding of the organisation’s reputation, nearly every performance area of an organisation should come under the oversight of the board.
 

Make Meetings and Agenda Items Count

Many boards only meet a few times a year, but strong boards make these meetings count by getting actual work accomplished. Board Chairs can strengthen their board and increase its impact and effectiveness by setting an aggressive and ambitious agenda.

Ideally, board meetings should first begin with a short reception that will allow members to mingle, connect and bond with one another before getting down to business. This sets a collegial tone for the rest of the meeting and helps put everyone in the right frame of mind and be more willing to cooperate and work with one another.

Next, the key challenges facing the organisation should become the focal point for the rest of the meeting agenda and should include potential options for strategy and other action items. To keep the board’s morale and momentum moving forward, Chairs should allow strategic thinking and planning to take up the lion’s share of the agenda, and save old business and follow up reports for the end.

As boards become more actively engaged in the governance and oversight of the organisation, they should periodically review their performance, as well as that of their Chair and their CEO, to see how well they are doing at transforming their board and the organisation as a whole.

Setting ambitious goals for organisational change and comparing the results against industry metrics can help boards to evaluate their performance in a more unbiased manner and help them to be able to identify and focus on new areas for improvement.

How active and strong is your organisation’s board and how effective is your board at managing change? Do you know in what areas your board excels and can you identify what areas your board should focus on to improve its effectiveness? Get in touch today to learn more about how executive coaching can help you to develop the leadership skills that you need to help you strengthen your board and increase its effectiveness.

Future Leadership – Globe’s Most Critical Issue?

Future Leadership – Globe’s Most Critical Issue?

Is the development and focus on our Future Leaders the globe’s most critical challenge? I know this might seem to be an interesting question to ask and yes there are many key issues and challenges across the world today. Many of which are fundamentally essential to our globe.

Last year the World Economic Forum stated some key challenges and why they matter to the world such as politics, climate change, equality, poverty, and unemployment.

In turn, Business Insider published The ten most critical problems in the world, according to millennials and as mentioned that despite the dire state of the world today — and the stereotype that millennials’ are selfish and apathetic (I disagree) — the generation aged 18 to 35 cares deeply about global issues, and they’re determined to tackle them.

They state; in fact, 70% of millennials see plentiful opportunities for themselves and their peers, and 50% believe they can significantly contribute to decision making in their home country.

In turn, last month I spoke at Griffith University at their Future Leaders Summit and many who attended were 15-17 year olds. It was one of the most incredible days of my life. I spoke about Leadership Attitude and how those leaders in that room are vital for our world. The insights and questions were mind blowing. One question from a student was – “What do you think is going to be the greatest challenge for our generation in the future?”. I stood silent for a while and said this was another topic all together. I said I think there are going to be a number of challenges; and I see leadership being the biggest and most important issue. To hear them say to me that I changed how they saw themselves, leadership and how they could make a difference, was beyond inspiring.

As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. Bill Gates

The thing is, in our research and work we are finding many of our future leaders who care so passionately about the globe, and it’s challenges, don’t see themselves as leaders. Why? They see leadership as a role; a leader is a title. Leadership is not about position or title. It is about Attitude, Mindset, Behaviour and Action.

What are we doing today to build and cultivate our future leaders to guide and empower them to have the mindset and courage to lead? To be leaders.

Have a look at politics today. Look at the pool of leaders what are running our countries? Is the calibre of leaders we have to choose from today? Is the best of what the world has to offer when it comes to leadership? No…!

We need to step up. We need to lead.

We need great future leaders who can lead these critical issues. Yes, you might be saying what about the leaders of today, and of course, they matter. However, it is our future and emerging leaders that we need to give them the skills, confidence, courage and mentoring to lead our future.

We need leaders who are authentic, aware and know who they are. Leaders, who have the courage to stand tall, believe in themselves and demonstrate complete compassion, empathy and integrity. Leaders who only speak the truth and walk the talk. Leaders who want to be significant to others and create a legacy of leading the way.

Leaders who are inclusive and embrace the diversity of our world. Leaders who inspire and empower others to be the best they can be and lead change. Leaders are vulnerable and who are not afraid to say I am scared and I know I am going to make mistakes. Leaders who ask for help. Leaders who will keep moving forward and believe they have a purpose on this planet. Leaders who are the ripple effect.

Leaders who see leadership as an action and attitude.

We need leaders who will lead our global challenges with a whole heart, conviction and courage. We need to take care of your future leaders and make sure we are truly connecting with them. We need to be asking them how we can help them be better and be the best they can be.

We ALL have these global challenges. However, it is the small things we can do today and each day to lead the way. It is those things that could have the greatest impact for future leadership and the globe tomorrow.

I am so passionate about Leadership; building leaders of today and for tomorrow. If you would like a Leadership Attitude, grab my latest book on our website or via Amazon, Kobe or Nook – or you can order it via your local bookstore too. Or talk to me or my brilliant team about our Emerging Leaders program – it truly rocks!

Please share with us what you are doing today to make a difference in leadership for tomorrow and why.

First FIVE will receive a FREE copy of Leadership Attitude.

Remember You Rock!

5 Reasons Even Execs Need Coaching

5 Reasons Even Execs Need Coaching

Reaching the executive level on the totem pole in business doesn’t mean you should stop the pursuit of greater knowledge and skills to support you in your role. We can all benefit from additional knowledge and executives are no different.

What is the benefit to executive level coaching?

The benefits for coaching are multi-faceted. Some intertwine and others are very clear but ultimately there are benefits for everyone, regardless of position. As an executive, you not only have company requirements but also personal requirements that coaching can assist with.

Below are 5 reasons we believe execs can benefit from coaching:

1. Life becomes boring without something new. Regardless of where you reach in the corporate world, if you don’t continue to push yourself to expand your knowledge or improve the way you handle your role, then you run the risk of every day becoming ground hog day, and that can only lead to burnout.

2. Personal development. You may be in the top position now but what if your company folds? What if something else happens that means you no longer hold the position you are in? Would you be well enough prepared to move into a new role? Coaching can also help you identify the limiting beliefs which are holding you back in life. He or she will help you break out of the comfort zone you are in and support you while you grow.

3. Times change. It is important to stay abreast of new techniques to being an efficient leader and for how to proactively implement the changes required. If you have been in an executive role for some time, it becomes all too easy to continue as you have been. You do things the way they have always been done without noticing the new and more streamlined techniques you may be able to implement. Coaching can support you in not only learning about the new ways, but providing you with the tools and techniques to implement them. The real pay-off is in your improved productivity and capability.

4. Personal sounding board. Your coach is an impartial, unbiased person with whom you can share the challenges you are facing and who will provide you with the necessary feedback and suggestions to help you navigate those challenges. Your coach will also call you out on thoughts, attitudes and actions that are no longer serving you. It’s true that you might not like everything your coach says, but you will know it’s being said for your benefit, and you have their complete support.

5. Identity. An executive level coach can assist you in not only cultivating, but maintaining a business brand as opposed to your private persona. It is important to have a very clear understanding of who you are as an executive leader, and understand how operate comfortably within your brand. Your brand – your leadership identity – represents your beliefs and values. Your coach will work with you to build a brand you are happy to become known for.

Coaching may seem like a luxury, however, with most executive positions lasting less than three years, it is more of a necessity to ensure your continued growth and continued viability at an executive level. The changes we see in executives in our coaching programs are not only inspiring but crucial to the overall success of everyone at executive level.

If you are at exec level and have not considered working with a coach, ask yourself why not. Don’t hold yourself back any longer, contact us today and make 2017 your year!

Creating a Culture

Creating a Culture

If there’s one thing that today’s leaders understand it’s that you can’t impose a culture on the workplace. No leader can dictate the way the people and the organisation work together. Instead, they need to grow and nurture the culture they want to see flourish in the organisation.

So how do they do that?

Set the scene

We have previously spoken about why reward and punishment doesn’t work when you want to bring about change. Instead we need to activate the part of the brain which makes decisions and helps us think about our actions. To do that we need to set the scene. People need to be able to visualise the scene and experience the change before it happens. Set the scene that you want to reach and together you can analyse what’s happening, how and why.

Write the script

The way you communicate about change has a big impact on whether or not it will be successful. The more you listen to your team members, the more you will understand about what is going on in their minds, and the more easily you will be able to guide them towards change. The more you speak with your people, the more you will develop a common language and expectation. Remember, the fear of being left behind is greater than the fear of change. They will want to come with you and the rest of the team.

Run the rehearsals.

Set the example for the culture you want to create. Modelling the behaviour works because, when you are a great leader, everyone wants to do what you do. Create opportunities for your team to “rehearse” and become used to the new way of doing things. . Remember every repetition rewires our brains into new patterns of thought and behaviour.

Are you trying to create a specific culture in your organisation? LeadershipHQ worked with a leading government organisation this year and we partnered with the Executive Leadership team to create such a culture. It was fantastic to see the turnaround after a few months. We did an analysis of the current state using one of our leading Organisational Cultural Tools, then worked closely with the leaders within the business to create and implement a culture and strategy. It had to be meaningful and high impact for THEM; they had to OWN it, DRIVE it and MODEL it. And it ROCKED! We love our work and these stories, because culture and leadership truly matter.

Try these suggestions and let me know how they work for you.

If you would love to know more about how to create and build a culture that truly rocks, contact the team at LeadershipHQ today at info@leadershiphq.com.au or click here to find out more.

Amplify: Making women leaders heard

Amplify: Making women leaders heard

I recently read an interesting article from Quartz which discussed a communication technique adopted by  women at the White House to make themselves heard.

Politics has long been a man’s game so it’s no wonder that women are outnumbered in the White House, particularly as the President’s Aides. Quartz makes the point that women are typically interrupted by men, no matter what the setting, and that has led to the introduction of the new term “manterrupting.”

However, women at the White House have developed a new technique which they call Amplification, helping each other be heard.

The technique is simple but clever, and it’s one that women could apply anywhere they really want to get their message across.
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The technique

The article says “When a woman made a good point, another woman would repeat it, and give credit to the originator. This made the idea harder to ignore, or to steal. The women called the technique ‘amplification.’”
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Why does it work?

Constantly repeating yourself so your message is heard is a waste of time. All that happens is that the intended recipient switches off. Your voice becomes little more than ‘white noise’ blocking what other people are saying.

The key to amplification is that someone else picks up your message and repeats it, acknowledging that the contribution is yours.

Immediately, your message gains credibility because someone else has recognised its value. It’s much harder to ignore two or three people saying the same thing, than it is to ignore just one.
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What does it rely on?

The technique will only work if you have someone willing to support you in getting your message across.  It’s based on cooperation and not competition. You need an ally at hand. As women, we naturally collaborate well especially when we have a common goal. I would suggest building your alliance before you head into your important meeting so each woman knows what the message is and how best to help you (each other) get it across.

The article comments that “Obama noticed and began calling on women more often.”

So we know the technique works and we understand why it works. Why aren’t we using it?
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Would you use this technique?

Would you consider using amplification in your next important meeting? I’d love to know your thoughts on the subject. Your experience and thoughts might help others who are reading this post. Please leave me a comment below and let’s start a conversation.

Will you bend or break?

Will you bend or break?

You are a leader – a change maker in your organisation.  You know what’s happening in the organisation.  You know how to inspire your team and lead them through change.

You are very skilful when you know that change is coming, but how do you cope when the change is unexpected?

It takes a different set of skills to cope when change is not planned, but sneaks up on you.  As leader you are expected to cope even if you are unprepared.   If you struggle in this situation it may not be your fault.  Your brain may not be supporting you.

Neuroscience has shown that leaders who are able to adapt quickly to change have a different brain structure to those who struggle.

The American Psychological Association reports on the results of a survey they conducted, saying “Brain networks in the frontal and prefrontal lobes of the most complex and adaptable leaders — areas associated with self-regulation, decision-making and memory — were more complex and differentiated compared to those of leaders who were determined not to be very complex, according to neuroimaging.”

Adaptability shows itself in many ways.

Not all great leaders were highly adaptable in responding to sudden change. Instead, they were adaptable in their choice of leadership styles.  They knew when to work collaboratively on a project and when they needed to take control. They understood their strengths and weaknesses and learnt to draw on skills from within their team.

If you struggle to cope with unexpected change, perhaps you need to stop seeing yourself as the driver and see yourself as leading a team of change agents.

Leadership Development programs which incorporate brain training can enhance your ability to be an adaptive leader.  To be adaptive you must have strong connections across the neural pathways in your brain. Brain training builds and strengthens those connections so you can switch behaviours and leadership styles as the situation demands it.

If you are worried that you will break and not bend, all you need to know is that you don’t have to be born with all the skills of a natural leader.  You can learn and develop them.  Now that’s what I call adaptive.

What I’d Tell My Younger Self about Leadership

What I’d Tell My Younger Self about Leadership

Becoming a confident and consistent leader is both an attitude and a process. Like many undertakings, developing the ability to lead is one that benefits from experience. In fact, when it comes to gaining the insight that we need to learn how to lead ourselves and others, there really isn’t a substitute for experience.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all go back in time and share our experiences with our younger selves (minus the pimples and glasses!)? The lessons that I’ve learned from my personal journey are priceless in value! If I could go back in time I would share the following five leadership development strategies with my younger self.
 

Want to Be a Leader – Start Early

It is never too early to start working on your leadership skills. Regardless of your age, or current position in your career, take steps right now to learn more about the skills and qualities that all effective leaders share. Look for and read books on leadership, and look for coaches and mentors that can help you get started and guide you.

Life itself will present enough challenges and obstacles to your dreams. So, it’s important that you seek out literal cheerleaders to inspire you to keep giving your best effort even in difficult times.

Pursuing a path of excellence and authenticity is hard enough without being drained by negative attitudes. Early on, learn to multiply your energy by surrounding yourself with individuals who believe in you and support your efforts.
 

Embrace Opportunities to Lead

As you focus on developing your leadership skills, look for opportunities to lead. Whether it’s at home, in the office, or within your community, look for areas that need improvement and where your actions can make a difference.

Leadership is not defined by our job titles. Actively seek out more challenging roles in your workplace and be a leader by pursuing excellence and improvement.
 

What Direction Should You Take – Play to Your Strengths

Being a great leader really comes down to knowing who you are at your inner core and consistently being your most authentic, honest self. Learn your natural talents, preferences, abilities and limitations and make choices that play to your strengths.

It’s impossible to be exceptional at everything. Don’t waste precious time and energy trying to master everything, but narrow your focus and work on developing your strengths.
 

Define Your Mission by Focusing on Your Vision – Know Your Purpose

It may seem like a strange question to ask yourself, but do you know why you want to lead? What is it that you want out of life? What are your values, what do you stand for? Learning the answers to these questions is part of developing your vision.

Without vision, you can neither plan nor lead, because without vision, it’s impossible to define your mission. Great leaders have the ability to motivate others and bring out the best because they know and have defined their mission in four key areas: passion, purpose, philosophy, and presence.

Being an effective leader is about knowing your “why” and owning it! Take the time to focus on yourself and learn what energises you and brings you joy and don’t hold back from sharing your authentic self with others.

From this passion, find your purpose for leading. Discover what it is that you want and then plan out the steps that you need to take to achieve your purpose.

Avoid shortcuts that seemingly offer success at the expense of your personal philosophy. Be mindful of your plans and actions and take steps to ensure that they are consistent with your values.

Allow your passion, purpose and philosophy to shape how you present yourself to others. Be confident in your abilities and allow your presence to honestly reflect your vision.
 

Embrace Risk – Jump Off the Cliff!

It’s tempting to play things safe in your career, but you will never achieve anything exceptional or great without taking a few risks. New ideas, innovation and creativity are fuel for our vision and all require risk.

Don’t be afraid of change, don’t be afraid of failure! Embrace risk and jump off the cliff! Shake things up, discard the status quo, do something different.

Our best lessons come from our mistakes and failures. So, when you fall, move on. Pick yourself up and keep going forward!

If you want to be the BEST Leader you can be, why not check out our AWESOME programs here!

Who Helped Me?

Who Helped Me?

I decided to have a Thai massage and whilst lying there, reflecting on the past and getting a sense of real relaxation, I heard the lovely Thai woman say to me that I am really tight in my back, to which I just smile and say I know. We all get so busy and caught up in the doing and peddling as someone once told me, that we forget to reflect on what we are thinking and feeling…we are just doing.

My mind wondered to my back and why I was feeling stressed. It might be due to the fact I have been running around like a mad woman, meetings, coaching, writing leadership training, conducting interviews, making a million phone calls, headhunting and looking after a daughter…ugh…now do you understand the massage! But my first thought was the floods occurring in Brisbane at the time and how I hadn’t been able to work with one particular client as the construction site was submerged. Then I began to think about what I have been frustrated by and around how I haven’t been able to work or help those people I coach and develop on my client site. I really missed it and really missed them. I love my work and I love that I make a difference but I also learn something from them. I was terribly frustrated I couldn’t help them and was eager to get back into the swing of things!

Sometimes we forget who helped me? And in turn whom, are we helping. In my coaching sessions, which really focus on a number of areas but mostly on self-awareness and building leadership capability, I talk to my clients about “Who Helped me?” A powerful exercise around thinking of people in our lives who have helped you most in your life, career and the people whom you would say, “Without this person, I could not have accomplished or achieved as much as I have. Without this person, I would not be the person I am today.” I love that saying, people come into your life for a reason. I truly believe this.

This exercise and reflection really does make you think about the people who have impacted you – but also you become aware of yourself and how you are impacting others around you? Yes?! What did you learn from these people?

Then you start to think about the feelings and sensations you are feeling when you think about what they said or did – or in some cases didn’t say or do. And what do these memories want to make you do today?

I find you typically experience warm and emotional reactions to the memories of the individuals who helped them. They remember how deeply affected they are or were. I know when I think of a few people who really helped me, I find I begin to think about their long lasting impact and how profound that impact was in my life. They helped me discover my true strengths and values and ultimately my personal vision and learning for myself…Pretty powerful!

So the next time you are stuck in traffic or having a Thai massage (Note: Yes, I know what a life – but I really deserved it! And by the way we all do!), think about Who Helped Me? How do you feel about that person…what do you remember? Then think about Who Are You Helping? What impact or difference do you think you make as a leader to those around you? Or as a father, mother, friend, sibling, sports coach…it impacts many areas of our life. An understanding of how people have helped us and how we help those around us, helps us learn and grow and creates a fascinating set of guidelines for professional and people development…and you don’t need to massage to begin to discover that one!

5 Exciting Discoveries About Our Brains (plus eBook)

5 Exciting Discoveries About Our Brains (plus eBook)

Day after day, neuroscientists make amazing new discoveries about our brains that can help us learn more about the way we function and how to become happier, more efficient and more productive.

At LeadershipHQ we know how important it is to understand the way our brains function in order to get better results, to maximise business performance and to become inspirational leaders. We are so passionate about Neuroscience and the difference it has made to our clients, leaders, teams and organisation’s effectiveness and productivity that we launched an Amazon Kindle Ebook – get your copy today!!!

These 5 discoveries have changed our understanding of leadership and influence the way great leaders behave.

Is it worth the risk?

According to Brian Knutson and Charlene C. Wu at Stanford, it is possible to explain why people risk even when the risk is not worth taking. According to them, there are two brain regions particularly associated with the making of financial decisions – the nucleus accumbens and the anterior insula. The former is particularly active when someone expects to win, and the bigger the sum, the more activity is recorded. The latter, on the other hand, is linked to disgust and anxiety and tries to “warn” you that the risk is not worth taking. However, according to their findings, the willingness of people to take risks increases proportionally to their excitement. Hence the success of the National Lottery; people become really excited about winning a lot of money, which helps them forget that their chances are close to zero.

Make sure they remember.

As a leader who wants to convey a certain message, you can use this neuroscience finding to make sure your audience will understand and remember what you say. Basically, scientists have found that what people hear, read and see is recorded in different parts of their brains. So, if you are making a presentation, make sure you include not only text, but also images – this will not double, but triple the chance of people remembering what you said, because they will hear it, and read it, and see it. Why? Well, when a message is first received, it enters the immediate memory, and it will sit there for just a few seconds unless you give it something to link to. When you present a message in the three different ways, it is all brought together into working memory, somewhere in the prefrontal lobe of the brain. Now the message is going to last long enough for you to build on it.

Keep calm and…

Research has shown us that the human brain uses words to interpret events. Think about situations that make you angry or scare you. You probably think of them as nasty, disgusting, terrible, dreadful… Next time you are in such a situation, try to label your emotions with bland or even positive words – curious, exciting, and indifferent. What you are actually doing is calming your amygdala, which is where the fight or flight response is triggered. If you can stop it from triggering a flight response, you have much more chance of remaining calm, and remember – a calm leader leads a calm team.

Optimistic Leaders – The Better Leaders.

It’s human nature that we want to be with people who make us feel good rather than those who suck us into negativity. Team members experience a leaders emotions through their mirror neurons, which are the tools in our brain that wire us for sympathy and empathy. Emotions are contagious and as leaders, we want to spread only the constructive emotions to our teams.

Optimism is attractive and in a leader, it’s an essential quality because it’s contagious. An optimistic leader creates optimistic teams who are then able to work collaboratively and creatively together.

Built-in GPS?

A few months ago, Professor. John O’Keefe shared the Noble Prize for physiology or medicine with Edvard and May-Britt Moser. Back in 1971, O’Keefe discovered that the brain has something like a “built-in GPS”. His experiment with rats showed that when the rat is in a particular area of the room, there was activity in certain cells of its bran, while another area of the room activated other cells. More than 30 years later, the Mosers found a part of the brain that basically serves as a nautical chart. This discovery may give some answers as to why people with Alzheimer cannot recognise their surroundings, but it has also opened the door for more discoveries about the way we think and plan.

We hope you enjoyed the 5 neuroscience discoveries we selected for you. Do you know about any other remarkable discoveries related to the brain? We would be delighted if you share them with us in the comments section below!

Remember to get your Ebook on Amazon Kindle Ebook! It ROCKS!

We Lead Our World

We Lead Our World

I remember taking a leap of faith in myself and focusing on my passion, purpose – and what made me different! I owned that difference to start LeadershipHQ. It took courage, passion, determination and guts to do this. To not try and compete or be like anyone else. To be just me. Just different. And there have been times where that difference has been applauded and celebrated, and other times judged and criticised.

We are not born to judge, discriminate or hate someone because they are different. We learn this. We can also learn to love, respect, and care for everyone despite of the differences.

I remember Martin Luther King saying “I have a dream, I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”

The thing is, even though we have made progress, we still seem to be playing the same game now. We have just found 100 different ways to play it.

I have a dream, too, but I want a world where we are not having the diversity debate or discussion. It is not about race, disability, gender or age. It is about appreciating that we have a world of 7.3 billion humans where we are each different. We celebrate uniqueness and 7.3 billion people’s diversity of thought.

I want a world where instead of ‘The Business Case’, it’s just part of Business.

Instead of ‘it starts with me’, it starts with ‘we’.

Instead of ‘gender intelligence’, we see intelligence in all.

I want a world where we know that creativity and innovation is within each one of us.

A world where we feel truly safe for authentically being who we are.

A world where we see you, truly see you!

I want us to commit to not the word ‘diversity’ but to the action of embracing our differences.

Since going on my journey, taking a leap of faith to start my own company, I focused on what was unique and different about me, and I owned it. I owned my difference. I’m not perfect. None of us are, but it is our imperfections that make us real. We may have disabilities, but they are what give us the ability to be our unique selves.

I ask you, what are we really doing about diversity? Are we hard wired to see what we want to see, no matter what we are? Or can we do something about it?

What if we could lead everyone towards the ideal world?

What if we could show people what the world looks like when diversity was not the buzz word but part of how we live? What if we could model in our language and actions such things as acceptance, appreciation of difference, the value of the unique, human respect, inclusivity and vulnerability?

What if we could lead people to a world where there was no judgement, and we are truly seen for how we are, respected and being respectful.

This is my dream.

I invite everyone to stop the conversation and take action. Stop the debates and start showing up as the leaders we are.

We are all capable of experiencing and learning to enjoy this brand new world, but not everyone is able to take us there.

The world won’t change while we talk about it. We can only create a world where it is safe to be who we are if we start leading and showing the way.

If you and I don’t do it, who will?

I see and lead that world….we lead OUR world

LeadershipHQ and Griffith University Business School held an amazing event called LED – Leaders Engaging Diversity. The speakers were brilliant and the messages clear – we lead our world.

We know you can lead the way with Diversity and Inclusion. Contact the team at LeadershipHQ to find out more.

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry

If you are looking for a OD process that makes a difference, have a look at Appreciative. I attended the AHRI Leadership Conference and the HR Team at Brisbane Treasury Casino implemented this process and had fantastic results!

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is an organizational development process or philosophy that engages individuals within an organizational system in its renewal, change and focused performance. AI is based on the assumption that organizations change in the way they inquire and the claim that an organization that inquiries into problems or difficult situations will keep finding more of the same, but an organization that tries to appreciate what is best in itself will find/discover more and more of what is good.[1].

Appreciative Inquiry was adopted from work done by earlier action research theorists and practitioners and further developed by David Cooperrider of Case Western Reserve University and Suresh Srivastva in the 1980s. Cooperrider and Srivastva say that an organization is a miracle to be embraced rather than a problem to be solved. According to them, inquiry into organizational life should have the following characteristics:

  • Appreciative
  •  Applicable
  • Provocative
  • Collaborative

It is now a commonly accepted practice in the creation of organizational development strategy and implementation of organizational effectiveness tactics.
Appreciative Inquiry is a particular way of asking questions and envisioning the future that fosters positive relationships and builds on the basic goodness in a person, a situation, or an organization. In so doing, it enhances a system’s capacity for collaboration and change.
Appreciative Inquiry utilizes a cycle of 4 processes focusing on:

  1. DISCOVER: The identification of organizational processes that work well.
  2. DREAM: The envisioning of processes that would work well in the future.
  3. DESIGN: Planning and prioritizing processes that would work well.
  4. DESTINY (or DELIVER): The implementation (execution) of the proposed design.

The basic idea is to build organizations around what works, rather than trying to fix what doesn’t. It is the opposite of problem solving. Instead of focusing on gaps and inadequacies to remediate skills or practices, AI focuses on how to create more of the exceptional performance that is occurring when a core of strengths is aligned. It opens the door to a universe of possibilities, since the work doesn’t stop when a particular problem is solved but rather focuses on “What is the best we can be?” The approach acknowledges the contribution of individuals, in order to increase trust and organizational alignment. The method aims to create meaning by drawing from stories of concrete successes and lends itself to cross-industrial social activities.

There are a variety of approaches to implementing Appreciative Inquiry, including mass-mobilized interviews and a large, diverse gathering called an Appreciative Inquiry Summit (Ludema, Whitney, Mohr and Griffin, 2003). Both approaches involve bringing very large, diverse groups of people together to study and build upon the best in an organization or community.

The basic philosophy of AI is also found in other positively oriented approaches to individual change as well as organizational change. As noted above, ” AI …fosters positive relationships and builds on the basic goodness in a person, or a situation ….” The principles behind A.I. are based in the rapidly developing science of Positive Psychology. The idea of building on strength, rather than just focusing on faults and weakness is a powerful idea in use in mentoring programs, and in coaching dynamics. It is the basic idea behind teaching “micro-affirmations” as well as teaching about micro-inequities.

Taken from Wikipedia
Read: The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change
Diana Whitney (Author), Amanda Trosten-Bloom (Author), David Cooperrider (Foreword)
Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change
David L Cooperrider (Author), Diana Whitney (Author)

Are you a FAKE leader?

Are you a FAKE leader?

Are you a successful leader but sometimes feel like it was a stroke of luck instead of hard work that made it happen? Do you think you give the impression of being more competent than you really are, or when you receive a promotion or an award, you struggle to accept it until you see it on paper?

You might feel like you’re the only one who has these feelings, but what you are experiencing is more common than you think. It actually has a name; Imposter Syndrome. Discovered in the 1970’s, the phenomenon described a group of high achieving women who felt they were not actually as capable as other people thought, and showed how that effected their motivation and performance.

Feeling like a fake can hamper performance and stop you from reaching your full potential as a leader. It may hold you back from applying for the next step in your career for fear of drawing attention to your so called short comings.

It can be hard to take credit for achievements or feel confident in your skills, and receive recognition of competency by way of promotion. But that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it.

Imposter Syndrome most often strikes when people achieve their first leadership or executive role. That’s when you might be questioning whether the interviewing panel made a mistake when they chose you, or wondering if somehow you were the default choice or just the best of a bad bunch.

If you don’t take inventory and start to recognise your skills and capabilities, it is almost impossible to own your success. Instead you dismiss your talent and achievements and assume they are due to luck or anything else, other than the fact you have worked hard and done well.

Taking stock, and documenting your strengths and achievements can take you from feeling like the fake who is only a short time away from being ‘found out,’ to a leader who feels confident and secure in your role and rewards.

Making a list of personal achievements is a good starting point, but this self-assessment may be insufficient for leaders who have doubted themselves longer than they can remember. Old habits die hard. Working with an external coach or mentor may be required to stop the feeling of fraudulence from holding back your career climb, hampering your performance and reducing your authenticity due to a lack of confidence.

A circle of people who support you, and have faith in you, in combination with coaching, can help cull the self-talk that feeds the negative feelings.

Are you a fake leader? Probably not, but if we can help you undertake a self-audit, list your strengths and recognise why you have achieved your goals to date, we can help break the invisible and sometimes unconscious barriers that are holding you back. We use a range of tools and diagnostics to help you discover what’s real and what’s not about your talents and the way you view them. It can change your whole career perspective!

Contact us at LeadershipHQ to discuss your needs and we will tailor a program to help you achieve your full potential!

When Teams Work Best

When Teams Work Best

Teams are everywhere in business and industry, and in government, schools, hospitals and professional associations — indeed, almost everywhere where people gather to get things done. But some teams work better than others. What does it take to make teams work effectively?

To answer that question, more than 6,000 team members in a variety of organizations were surveyed. They assessed their teams, their team leaders and each other against a common set of criteria and responded to open-ended questions. From the safety of confidentiality, they identified what encourages teams to success and what discourages them into failure.

Five crucial areas emerged.

1. Team Members

2. Team Relationships

3. Team Problem Solving

4. Team Leader

5. Organisational Environment

A must read is the book by Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson titled When Teams Work Best; 6,000 Team Members and Leaders Tell What It Takes to Succeed. Discover more here!

 
Related Reading:

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, by Patrick M. Lencioni, John Wiley & Sons, 2002, ISBN 0787960756.

The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork: Embrace Them and Empower Your Team, by John C. Maxwell, Thomas Nelson, 2001, ISBN 0785274340.

The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization, by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K.Smith, HarperBusiness, 1994, ISBN 0887306764.

Building Tomorrow’s Workforce – Supply Chain & Logistics Conference 2012

Building Tomorrow’s Workforce – Supply Chain & Logistics Conference 2012

The opportunity to work with inspiring leaders is rare, but I had the opportunity to sit on a fantastic panel of industry leaders at the Supply Chain & Logistics Conference in Brisbane. What a panel with Hayley Gibbs from Transpacific industries group, Greg Muscat from DP World, Bree Pitcher from Stanwell Corporation, Paul Kahlert from All Purpose Transport (WINNER of the Training, Education and Development award) and finally Louise Perram Fisk from Transform (WINNER of the Industry Excellence Award). And what a fantastic topic – 5 Steps to building tomorrow’s workforce through a multi-generational view. The 6 leaders at the panel focused on:
1. Attracting multi-generational talent
2. Recruitment for the future
3. Retaining top talent
4. Onboarding
5. Branding your business for talent attraction

It was such a great discussion and the panel put so much work into sharing their knowledge and thoughts, that I thought it would be powerful to share the highlights in my blog and which I am sure you will gain a lot of valuable information and tips.
 
1. Attracting multi-generational talent
• Treat all employees or potential employees as individuals regardless of our generation / gender / age etc.
• Gen Y want to be developed and challenged by good leaders, and want to see how their work contributes to the bigger picture. However, amongst Gen Y’s more broadly, they certainly don’t all want the same things! We think there are some key points that seem to appeal across most generations, i.e. fit between personal values (whatever they may be) and company values.
• A welcoming and supportive work environment
• What you put in is what you get out and a willingness to spend the time coaching and developing – allocation of mentor, emphasis on training and development
• Opportunity to learn about the business, what makes it tick and where my role fits in – we think down the track this helps with loyalty as people feel like they are contributing to the business
• Leadership -Leaders who lead by example and challenge and inspire their teams to grow and improve
• Treat your people as individuals… don’t assume they fit a stereotype – engage, engage, engage
 
2. Recruiting of the Future
• Be proactive in sourcing the talent that you require, i.e. If you want to employ more female truck drivers, you might need to take it upon yourself to widen the talent pool by including full licensing/training as part of your offer.
• Gen Y is certainly active in social media, so recruitment into the future should continue to focus here if targeting that audience. This may mean we unfortunately lose touch with face-to-face networking interactions; hence “head-hunting” is becoming more of an online thing as opposed to networking.
• Ensure the PD (position description) correctly reflects the role;
• Graduate programs should utilise university based placements not school based;
• Behavioural based interviews should be used when sourcing candidates;
• Cultural/team fit is just as important as a technical fit and needs to be assessed as part of selection;
• Security and ongoing development key to sourcing good candidates; and
• Ensure manager of that role is involved in the recruitment process.
• Make talent spotting a core requirement for all people in your business, all the time.
 
3. Retaining Top Talent
• Think of your people as your competitive advantage.
• Retain top talent / high potentials by talking to them and understanding them as individuals, what motivates them, what frustrates them, and what it takes to keep them engaged… Then foster an environment that challenges and supports them.
• Ensure you have high calibre leaders who “walk the talk”, are committed to empowering people and can understand the importance of effective communication and collaboration.
• Use the valuable data collected from Exit Interviews to establish a picture of why people are leaving your business.
• Encourage and provide the individual with challenging and developmental activities and tasks – you may need to give them a little push once in a while!
• Capability building needs to happen quickly, constant thirst for knowledge and professional development, don’t let things stay stagnant otherwise boredom sets in and individuals become disengaged
• Voices and opinions need to be heard, don’t discriminate by age or experience treat suggestions on their merits and create an environment where people feel comfortable in sharing their opinions
• Recognition for positive contributions and celebrate successes
• Organisational and team culture very important, again leaders who lead by example in these areas
• Organisation that ‘moves with the times’ positive about the future and always looking for opportunities to improve
• Organisation that embraces flexibility and technology – flexible work hours, use of technology
• Make them valued, recognised and challenged in a learning environment
 
4. Retaining Top Talent
• Take a genuine interest in every candidate and employee (as you would a customer), understanding that every interaction is moulding his or her view of your business.
• Throughout the entire process, ensure new employees have the resources they require, and ensure regular and open communications.
• Also apply onboarding techniques to internal promotions/transfers during transition!
• Onboarding needs a formal process, but the experience of how and what happens is what will retain them.
• Consider an onboarding coach or buddy
• Great link to some ideas! – http://blogs.hbr.org/hmu/2008/02/rapid-onboarding-at-capital-on.html
• Great book on onboarding! – http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Onboarding-Programs-Energizing-Orientation/dp/0071736794/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1346035740&sr=8-2&keywords=onboarding
 
5. Branding your Business for talent attraction
• Brand your business in a way that is appealing to the specific talent pool you want to attract, as this is your future labour pipeline.
• Define a genuine Employee Value Proposition supported by the Executive, which is an accurate reflection of day-to-day reality.
• Raise awareness of your business and EVP by investing in an online/social media presence and attending careers expo’s etc. Don’t assume the general public knows your business and the types of opportunities available.
• Think of employees and potential employees as customers – are you selling them an attractive product?
 
Thank you all for a fantastic conference and being part of a wonderful panel of leaders – with fantastic tips on attracting, engaging and retaining Talent today!
If you have anything you would love to share with us, please email me at sonia@leadershiphq.com.au

Building a Female Eco-System in Leadership

Building a Female Eco-System in Leadership

To have the best shot at lasting success, it is important that women in business don’t remain on the surface of the business world. Business women need to weave themselves into an eco-system where they can offer and receive professional support. The ‘boys club’ might not seem as exclusive as it once was, but the playing field is still far from equal, and there are definite benefits for women in business to network and collaborate with one another.

There are a lot of existing networking opportunities, from groups for small business owners to come together and discuss their issues, to CEO roundtable discussions for the heads of companies to discuss theirs. There are opportunities for brainstorming, troubleshooting, training, networking and even access to capital through leadership communities who understand that a viable business can be fronted by a person of any age, colour or gender.

Many of these groups can be accessed online, which is perfect for those women leaders who are already challenged by time constraints. A web search yields many results, and locally based groups are often a good option. Australia-wide groups include Women’s Network Australia, Business Chicks and She Business. These groups offer online sign-up and content, opportunities to participate in discussions as well as information about live events.

Each group will have its own pros and cons, and each will suit different individuals. There is no harm in trying a few to find the best fit. What they all have in common is the platform for networking and collaboration.

By building a female eco-system we will support women now and into the future. It’s what we do well. Once the system is formed, women will be able to find support for whatever steps they want to take as leaders.

When women work together, put aside competition and focus on building each other up, greatness is practically guaranteed. There is still truth in the adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Who can you meet to further your leadership goals?

Gender Diversity – Why We Need Men Involved

Gender Diversity – Why We Need Men Involved

Although things are slowly starting to change, women are still not represented in any great numbers in management and leadership positions. The top roles are still dominated by men. Despite evidence showing that gender balanced organisations are more successful, change isn’t happening as quickly as it should.

One of the reasons for the slow change could be that gender diversity is seen as a women’s issue. Women are seen to be talking about it. Women are seen to be driving it. Where are the men? Until gender diversity is seen to be a workplace issue rather than a feminist cause, men aren’t likely to want to be involved. Yet without men, this change can’t happen.

Men need to be involved in the building of gender diversity. After all, male is a gender, too! We can’t build diversity when one sex is excluded from the conversation.

But what holds men back?

Catalyst found that there were “two barriers to men’s engagement: fear of losing status or of being seen as part of the problem, and apathy — sense that issues of gender do not concern men.”

Conrad Liveris, in an article for Women’s Agenda, says that Gen Y men in particular, don’t see gender diversity as an issue – pretty much because they aren’t old enough or don’t have the life experience to recognise the problem.

“Gen Y men can fail to see any future limitations on women because many are yet to see women have to choose between career and kids or the systematic discrimination that halts a woman’s professional life – particularly at the ten-year experience mark.”

Catalyst research shows that the more men know about gender inequalities, the more likely they are to lead efforts to close the gender gap. And we need men to lead the change effort alongside women. Men are already in the right places and at the right levels to be listened to, and we know that other men will follow what their leaders say, if they respect them.

The first step in improving gender balance is to help men see that there is an issue and that correcting the balance will benefit them, too.

Gender diversity isn’t about us and them. It’s about balance in the workplace for the benefit of all. If men are left out of the conversation we will never achieve balance. We need their input and expertise. We need their leadership and we need their acknowledgement and understanding. It’s all there but while the focus is on women rather than diversity, we are automatically excluding men from the conversation.

Keep your brain in good shape

Keep your brain in good shape

When it comes to our daily or weekly workout, we often discount our brains as part of the program. We may focus on fitness or fat loss, and stretching and strengthening various body parts without considering the grey matter inside our skulls as requiring that level of attention.

Our brains, like other organs and tissue in our bodies, need to be exercised and trained too. Like our muscles, for example, where if we ignore them and don’t give them the stimulation they need, they become weaker and atrophy. Brains are no different, and giving it a good work out each day will strengthen it.

Thankfully, most of the things you can do for a healthy body will also work towards keeping your brain in good shape.

Exercise your body

Exercise increases blood flow, which means more oxygen and nutrients travel to the brain. It also stimulates the production of blood vessels to various parts of the brain which means it has access to more oxygen when it needs it.

Synapses are also strengthened, so like muscles in the body are trained and are quick to respond when required, so too is the brain. Decisions and reactions are clearer and quicker.

Exercise your mind

Although exercising your body does wonders for your brain, doing activities to stretch and strengthen your brain, specifically, is just as important.

Whether this is doing puzzles, brain challenges or problems solving is up to you. The important thing is to keep challenging your bran and mind. You don’t have to do formal brain training activities, just reading books, writing, and testing your mind one way or another will benefit.

The idea is to push your brain past the point of comfort, and try different things that it’s unfamiliar with. Even trying a new recipe, or reading a book genre you’ve not done before can challenge your mind.

Eat Well

Eating well serves a number of purposes. If you put good fuel into your body, it will reduce the risk of diseases, but it will also help your body and brain. Blood will flow more easily, and that blood will also contain more of the nutrients your brain needs.

If you think about it, your brain can only use the fuels that you feed it. If those fuels are nutrient poor, it doesn’t have a lot to work with. On the other hand, if the fuel is full of the good stuff, then performance will be improved.

Congratulate Yourself.

BJ Fogg says “Frequency of success matters more than the size of success.” The more often you can be successful, the more the brain becomes predisposed to it. When you take the time to acknowledge all the small wins throughout the day, the brain stores the information away and helps recreate the thought processes and actions you used to get the wins whenever a new challenge arises.

Get social.

Get out and build your social networks. Not only does your brain find stimulation in the interaction with others, it strengthens the related pathways in the brain leading to smoother social behaviour. Humans have a need to belong in their groups, clinging to the feeling of safety and comfort that it brings. When we feel safe, the pre-frontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for higher-level thinking and problem solving, is able to work at full function, and that’s when we produce some of our best results.

A strong brain will help you to make decisions more easily, provide clarity, and help you to deal with stressful situations. Connections inside your brain become stronger, your nerves fire off more quickly, and just like a well-tuned body, you’ll be ready for just about anything.

Looking at keeping your brain in good shape –

get a leadership executive coach! Sonia McDonald and her team of experts can help you be the BEST you can be! Contact us at info@leadershiphq.com.au or find out more HERE! 

Are you a good mentor?

Are you a good mentor?

Formal mentoring in the workplace is being adopted by an increasing number of businesses to boost competency, morale and employee retention.

History of Mentorship

The concept of Mentoring has been around since the ancient Greeks. The practice is named for Mentor, who was the trusted guide and counsellor of the fabled hero Odysseus. He was also the guide and teacher for Odysseus’s son while Odysseus was off fighting battles.

Many of us can point to a special teacher, coach or friend whose attention and influence made a difference in our lives. While mentors in the workplace share some of the characteristics of mentors in other areas of our lives, they also have specialised knowledge and actions that set them apart from other types of mentors.

What it Takes to Be a Good Mentor

As leader you are well positioned to become a mentor but you do need to possess specific skills to be truly exceptional.

While many leaders may exhibit a high degree of competency in an organisation, not everyone is cut out to be a mentor. A good mentor is not only efficient and exceptional at their own job, but is also someone who has a passion for sharing knowledge, has a great deal of patience, and is willing to invest time and energy in helping others without expectation of a reward.

A good mentor is also someone that the employee feels that they can trust. The protégé must feel as though they can turn to their mentor with questions without the fear of reprisals or ridicule.

We know that people blossom when someone takes an active interest in them and their development. Genuine interest from you as leader and an approach based on that person’s specific strengths, talents and weaknesses, will also increase a protégé’s ability to learn specific tasks and model appropriate cultural behaviour within the organisation.

Providing feedback on a regular basis, and praising and even rewarding accomplishments is another way to reinforce what you wish your protégé to learn, and is the hallmark of a good mentor.

In addition to teaching the specifics of the job, you can guide your protégé on the specific etiquette and best business practices expected in your team or organisation.  Let’s not underestimate the importance of business etiquette – it’s often what makes or breaks a team or a career.  It’s also the secret that existing team members may keep secret if they feel threatened by a new arrival.

When you take on the role of mentor you are also making yourself responsible for balancing the relationship with your protégé with the relationship with your team. That’s an aspect of the role that is not often discussed but which is important to maintain the smooth running of your team.

Learning More about Mentorship and Coaching

At LeadershipHQ we specialise in coaching and mentoring programs to suit the individual needs of your organisation and its employees. If you would love more information on the available coaching programs click here.

Millennial Leadership Style

Millennial Leadership Style

As each generation takes up the reigns of senior leadership, they bring with them their own lessons and sensitivities concerning how best to manage not only their employees, but also their customers and companies. These values are based from the unique impressions of the current tone of the generation, and ensure for smooth and beneficial profits and communications that lead to improved business conditions. For millennials, their unique leadership style leans toward a socially focused management style.

Inspiration

It starts with an eye for the creative, where solutions take form in inspiring possibilities. Leaders in today’s industries strive to inspire their teams to go beyond the expected and offer unique perspectives and solutions.

Strategic Thinking

This aspect of the millennial leadership style is an ingrained skill, where today’s leaders condition themselves to always be thinking beyond the current project. This means paying attention to the impact of choices on the environment, on their customers, and most importantly, on future projects.

Interpersonal Skills

Communications have proven to be an area of great focus by this generation of leaders simply for the proven track records for results. Open lines of dialogue and idea flow ensure a wider approach to a project, where outside the box thinking is encouraged by all members of a team. With this aspect in mind, employees are empowered to bring new and innovative ideas to the table that can be acted upon without barriers to productivity or creativity.

Vision

Simply put, the vision of a millennial leader looks to the long term, where one action today can inspire and blossom into untold possibilities. The blinders are off, and the future stands open for potential growth, both in a business and personal sense.

Passion and Enthusiasm

Knowing that satisfaction comes not only from a job well done, but also in loving what one does, more and more leaders are finding themselves in positions not because the money is good and they are capable, but because they are truly working in the field they love. This passion and enthusiasm comes through with each project, improving it immeasurably.

Decisiveness

Though an ages old aspect of leadership, this trait remains one of the most difficult to attain. It takes a special leader to act without hesitation, working under the confidence that everything is working as it should. Decisions today impact not only the current project, but the future projects as well.

All of these traits combine to create an environment that stresses the significance of the company’s impact on society in conjunction with the financial performance of the business.