Three Thoughts for Thursday – June 2020!

Photo by McKenna Phillips on Unsplash

When I took my first course in Emotional Intelligence, I was asked to tell and own my story, my history, my past, the moments and people and events that had served to shape me and make me who I am.  I was terrified the truth would isolate me, but I summoned the courage and owned the good, the bad and what I deemed, ‘the ugly’.  What I found was human connection in those dark moments of pain and suffering, and what I finally felt was acceptance and understanding. 

I have been thinking a great deal about this phenomenon, that the moments we hide and find embarrassing or shameful are often the moments that connect us as human beings, not on the surface but at the core.  In our humanity, we are connected by our sadness and anger and shame and fear.  In our suffering, we are united. As I learned this lesson, I became more open about sharing my tender moments, my struggles, my fear and my pain, and rather than judgment, I found acceptance, support and a great network of humans inherently alike in our human story, our humanity. I have never ceased to be grateful for the moments when I show up authentically and share deeply and am met with the same gratitude and authenticity.  In the relationships where I have shown up with vulnerability, the connection has been strengthened.  My friendships and relationships now consist of trust, depth, commitment and reciprocity. We are more alike than we are different and yet we focus so much time and energy on the differences.  When will we begin to see and own our humanity and our inherent value as human beings?

What is your story?  Who and what have shaped you into who you are, the values and beliefs you hold, what you fear, what you hide, what you show to the world? What connects you to humanity? How might you show up differently? What pieces of yourself might you find the courage to show and how might this connect you with others? How might things begin to change if you dare to offer the world the authentic you? How might your relationships benefit if you have the courage to be vulnerable and true? How might things change if you dare to see the humanity in others?

Photo by Laura Dewilde on Unsplash

Quote I am sitting with, pondering and finding inspiration:

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”
James Baldwin

When our hearts are small, our understanding and compassion are limited, and we suffer. But when our hearts expand, we have a lot of understanding and compassion and can embrace others.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

Podcast I’m Listening to:

HBR IdeaCast

Great Leaders Use Tough Love to Improve Performance

Frances Frei, professor at Harvard Business School, says that trust, empathy – and even a bit of tough love – are all essential ingredients to strong leadership in today’s world. Successful managers focus on the effect they have on others, not themselves. They also define a strategy and create a culture that drives employee behavior in their absence. Frei is the coauthor, along with Anne Morriss, of the book “Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You” as well as the HBR article “Begin with Trust.”

My notes and highlights:

  • Strategy and culture are important at the team level, too, and both are too often not fully utilized.
  • Elevate, expand capacities, empower those around you so there’s leadership even in your absence
  • Pay attention to your impact
  • Trust is the starting point and is reliant upon three actionable components
    • Authenticity – be authentic as a leader and create the conditions for people to be authentic – safe, welcome, celebrated for authenticity.  Pay attention to what triggers most authentic version of you and others to show up.
    • Logic – establish credibility and careful communication.  Communication is made up of substance and style – style is often where things go wrong.  Start with the point then give supporting evidence.  Don’t talk about things you don’t know well.
    • Empathy – most important piece in time of crisis!  Have to be present to needs of others, not self-distracted. Everyone is self-distracted right now.  Put your own oxygen mask on first, be aware of distraction, and choose to hold meetings and one-on-ones when you can be present.
  • Love – In order to bring out the best in others, you need to set really high standards AND also have deep devotion to your employee’s success.  Display this intense devotion to their success without lowering standards.
  • Carol Dweck (Mindset, highlighted below) says there are two ways to parent.  You can prepare the path for the boy or prepare the boy for the path.  This goes for employees, too.  Prepare the boy for the path, to thrive even in your absence.

Staying Agile Beyond a Crisis

Darrell Rigby, partner at Bain & Company, says many firms have rapidly adopted agile principles to react to the coronavirus crisis. Namely, they’ve been ditching bureaucratic planning processes and instead fast-tracking ideas, holding focused meetings, and empowering decisions at lower levels of the organization. He argues that C-suite leaders should keep this newfound organizational nimbleness for good and explains how they can. With Sarah Elk and Steve Berez, Rigby wrote the HBR article “The Agile C-Suite” and the new book “Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos.”

My notes and highlights:

  • Agile – a mindset and a method for improving innovation through deep customer collaboration and adaptive testing and learning.
  • Maintaining our newfound agility as we return to the workplace is essential and can be done.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Book I am Reading:

Revisiting Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.

In this edition, Dweck offers new insights into her now famous and broadly embraced concept. She introduces a phenomenon she calls false growth mindset and guides people toward adopting a deeper, truer growth mindset. She also expands the mindset concept beyond the individual, applying it to the cultures of groups and organizations. With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love—to transform their lives and your own.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Please check out my latest blog posts on Lessons from the Run, Part 1: Mile 18 – Endurance, and Lessons from the Run, Part 2: Resilience, and stay tuned for the next addition Lessons of the Run, Part 3: Rest, as well as my upcoming blog post on My Vision: The Power of EQ to Create Change!  As always, thank you for your continued support and readership! Stay strong, stay brave, stay true to you!