Saturday Sage: 7 Steps to Blow-up Logjams

Saturday Sage: 7 Steps to Blow-up Logjams

In the early days of logging, specialized loggers called River Pigs pushed, pried, and pulled logs off rocks and debris to prevent logjams.

On June 13, 1886, a log jam developed in the St. Croix River in Wisconsin that was described by a local journalist as “the jammedest jam” he had encountered. It took hundreds of men working for six weeks to clear it, eventually using steamboats and dynamite.

Logjams in life can feel like “the jammedest jam.” They lead to boredom, painful dissatisfaction, discouragement, even jealousy. Be a River Pig when you see logjams forming. The good news is enticement is better than dynamite.

Logjams block the flow of life, but a sage uses enticement to blow them up.

logjams block the flow of life, but a sage uses enticement to blow them up. Image of a logjam.logjams block the flow of life, but a sage uses enticement to blow them up. Image of a logjam.

Blow-up logjams:

The skill of enticement is like a River Pig’s ability to release the flow of logs, but we’re talking about the flow of life, not logs stuck on debris.

Enticement is using a known interest to motivate a person to experience a renewed flow of life.

Enticement makes blowing up logjams fun:

Enticement blows up logjams by redirecting attention toward unexpected possibilities.

Passengers on Southwest Airlines from Long Beach, CA, to Hawaii experienced enticement when they found a ukulele on their seat. Most of us dread long flights, but this crew gave a ukulele lesson.

Some passengers didn’t love the chaos, but it’s an example of enticing someone into a new experience. Blowing up the jammedest jam can be dangerous, but it’s worth the effort.

Enticement: 7 practical steps to blow-up logjams:

  1. Know what needs to be accomplished.
  2. Explore the highlights of their life since high school.
  3. Facilitate free creative thinking by asking questions that tap into their interests.
  4. Watch for revelations to appear out of nowhere.
  5. Challenge by asking, “What would you be willing to try that you have avoided?”
  6. Develop an agreement to hold them accountable.
  7. Celebrate the first sign of accomplishment.

Tips:

Use something like a ukulele to capture interest.

Create a safety net that instills confidence.

Create a safety net. Image of a person helping a child learnt to ride a bike.Create a safety net. Image of a person helping a child learnt to ride a bike.

An example of blowing up a logjam:

  1. Take someone for a coffee at a place neither of you have ever been.
  2. Ask, “What have you wanted to try but something stopped you?”
  3. Agree with them, “There are probably too many valid reasons not to try this.”
  4. Entice them with, “What are 5 things…

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2 Ways to Ask Questions Like an Expert

2 Ways to Ask Questions Like an Expert

A leader who doesn’t ask questions is a know-it-all with a closed mind.

“My greatest strength is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.” Peter Drucker

A leader who doesn't ask questions is a know-it-all with a closed mind. Image of a prison cell.A leader who doesn't ask questions is a know-it-all with a closed mind. Image of a prison cell.

7 things good questions do:

  1. Build rapport.
  2. Unlock minds.
  3. Discover new ideas.
  4. Create unexpected value.
  5. Encourage learning.
  6. Gain respect. Impress the boss by asking smart questions.
  7. Inspire creativity and innovation.

2 Ways to Ask Questions Like an Expert

#1. Ask questions frequently.

The path to expertise begins with repetition.

A person who becomes an expert has done something many times. But leading many meetings doesn’t make you an expert at leading meetings.

Focused practice makes you an expert.

  1. Set aside the first five minutes of your next conversation to do nothing but ask questions.
  2. Ask people what questions you should be asking.
  3. Spend time crafting a few questions before your next meeting. You think too much about things to say and not about things to ask.

The higher you go, the more questions matter. Image looking up at tall trees.The higher you go, the more questions matter. Image looking up at tall trees.

#2. Follow questions with questions.

The second question yields better results than the first.

Ask a new employee, “What do you do for fun?” Avoid the seduction of stealing the conversation. Don’t respond with, “I have fun when ….” Instead ask…

“What got you interested in (Insert the thing they do for fun here. Say, sky diving.)?”

Use the speaker’s own words. People prefer their words to yours. Don’t say, “What got you interested in that?” Instead ask, “What got you interested in sky diving?”

First questions address obvious issues. Second questions explore meaning, purpose, method, and value.

First question: What’s your mission?
Second question: What makes your mission matter?

First question: Who are your best customers?
Second question: What made them become your customers?

First question: What’s frustrating?
Second question: How can you address your frustrations?

Why don’t leaders ask more questions?

How can leaders become experts at asking questions?

Still curious:

Life is About Questions

Questions Proactive People Ask

Source of the Drucker quote: How to Consult Like Peter Drucker

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The Journey to True Success

The Journey to True Success

I have, in large part, become who I was when I was a kid. True success is becoming your best self. Don’t waste years trying to become someone you aren’t.

What happens when you try to become someone you aren’t? Disappointment and frustration.

True success requires you to become your true self, not the person others expect you to be. Bill George and Zack Clayton have written a book that enables leaders to pursue true success, True North: Emerging Leader Edition.

True success: I have in large part become who I was when I was a kid. Image of two kids playing in water.True success: I have in large part become who I was when I was a kid. Image of two kids playing in water.

The journey to true success:

Beginnings determine endings. When you pursue material success and neglect self-awareness you lose yourself to possessions, position, power, and prestige.

The journey toward true success begins with self-awareness. “Developing self-awareness by understanding your life story and reframing your crucibles should be the starting point on every person’s path to becoming a leader.” George and Clayton

Self-aware leaders know their strengths and accept their weaknesses. Gaining self-awareness requires introspection and feedback.

Introspection apart from feedback leads to distortion. Feedback without introspection gives too much power to others. “… lack of self-awareness leads to self-deception and errors in judgement.”

  1. Self-awareness leads to self-acceptance.
  2. Self-acceptance leads to self-compassion.
  3. Self-compassion leads to self-actualization.

“Self-actualization is the full realization of your talent and potential. Psychologist Abraham Maslow refers to it as, ‘the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.” True North: Emerging Leader Edition

The sticking point:

“The hardest part of being self-aware is facing our weaknesses.” George and Clayton

Dave Pottruck, former CEO of Charles Swab, said denial is the biggest challenge we face on the journey to self awareness.

  1. Practice being honest with yourself.
  2. Reject excuse-making.
  3. Avoid blame.

True success is worth pursuing. Thanks to Bill George for his contribution.

What suggestions do you have for leaders who aspire to true success?

Still curious: The First Step Toward Self-Knowledge is Realizing You Don’t Have It

This post is based on my conversation with Bill George and his new book, True North: Emerging Leader Edition.

Learn from Bill yourself:

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A Free 10-Minute Plan to Include Leadership Development in Team Meetings

A Free 10-Minute Plan to Include Leadership Development in Team Meetings

Successful leaders develop leaders. High performing team members crave development. But your hair’s on fire.

What if you don’t have time to plan leadership development?

Successful leaders implement a plan for leadership development. Image of a team huddle in the office.Successful leaders implement a plan for leadership development. Image of a team huddle in the office.

Leadership development in team meetings:

#1. Identify:

Identify the top two or three strengths of everyone on the team. Display your team’s strengths on the wall or create a slide in your meeting deck. It might look something like…

Mary:

  1. Relationship building.
  2. Encouraging.
  3. Communication.

Bob:

  1. Constructive feedback.
  2. Listening.
  3. Kindness.

Sue:

  1. Persistence.
  2. Energizing people.
  3. Asking great questions.

#2. Schedule:

Schedule each team member to discuss one of their strengths. Mary might kick off the next team meeting with a three minute discussion on how to encourage people.

Possible topics:

  1. What makes encouraging so important to you?
  2. What is the mindset of an encourager?
  3. When did encouraging become important to you?
  4. Who helped you learn how to encourage people? What specifically did they do?
  5. What are some simple steps to becoming a leader who encourages people?

You can’t answer all the above questions in three minutes. Choose one or two.

Post each team member's top strengths on the the wall. Image of an empty conference room.Post each team member's top strengths on the the wall. Image of an empty conference room.

#3. Behaviors:

Ask Mary to suggest three behaviors that express encouragement.

Allow time for questions.

#4. Commitment:

Ask each team member to choose one behavior they will intentionally practice before the next team meeting.

#5. Accountability:

Ask one or two team members to report on their experience at the next team meeting.

Final thoughts:

  1. Limit the time for leadership development in team meetings to 10 minutes.
  2. Schedule the entire team in one sitting. Get it done or you will forget it.
  3. Record the names of the people who are giving reports in your notes.
  4. Set small goals.
  5. Honor progress.
  6. Participate with everyone.
  7. Use an assessment like StrengthsFinders or VIA Character Strengths to identify strengths. (VIA has a free version.)

How could you modify or improve the above plan?

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5 Ways Arrogance Struggles on its Own

5 Ways Arrogance Struggles on its Own

Meaningful service and happy feelings don’t always go together. But arrogance – the hidden enemy of leadership – makes the burdens of leadership heavier.

Leadership is fulfilling but ease feels better than constant challenge. Leaders care more, worry more, and struggle more than people who checkout and go home at 5.

Arrogance creeps in and chokes your potential. Arrogance carries weight on its own.

Arrogance creeps in and chokes your potential. Image of greasy hands reaching to choke something.Arrogance creeps in and chokes your potential. Image of greasy hands reaching to choke something.

5 ways arrogance struggles on its own:

  1. Giving answers but not asking questions.
  2. Pouring energy into face-saving.
  3. Needing to save the day. Look how splendid I am!
  4. Hoarding responsibility, authority, and power.
  5. Rushing to help but refusing to receive help.

Anything that puts you at the center and pushes others out adds weight to the burdens of leadership.

Responsible offloading:

Leaders practice humility by sharing authority. Yes, you’re always responsible even when you delegate authority.

Trust competent people. Place weight from your shoulders on competent others. Anyone who is 70% to 80% ready is ready to take on new responsibilities.

Don’t throw weight on the unsuspecting. Discuss taking on new responsibilities. High performers love weight. Reluctance to take on weight is figuring out how to succeed.

Growth requires struggle. When you rush to lift weight from people, you restrict their potential. Reject false compassion. Protecting people from struggle makes them weak.

Let people struggle and monitor discouragement or frustration. Stay available. Check-in. Don’t save the day. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do it.

Don’t do competent people’s work for them. Saving the day puts you at the center and leads to incompetence in others.

Before lifting weight from someone’s shoulders, ask if there is someone on the team who can help.

Make it safe to tap out. The only way to maximize potential is to try, fail, and try again.

Who on your team is ready to carry weight?

How can leaders learn to expand potential by putting weight on competent people?

Still curious:

You Want People to Take Ownership – But How

5 Easy Ways to Delegate Authority Without Losing Control of your Team

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Humility: 10 Simple Ways to Quiet Arrogance in Yourself and in Others

Humility: 10 Simple Ways to Quiet Arrogance in Yourself and in Others

Arrogance produces poverty of spirit.

Humility enables you to become your best self.

Practice a new skill. Being a novice quiets arrogance and increases humility. Image of hands on a piano keyboard.Practice a new skill. Being a novice quiets arrogance and increases humility. Image of hands on a piano keyboard.

Comparison and contrast

Humility says:

You have room to grow.

Others have untapped genius.

The world goes on with or without you.

You are a wisp of air in the story of time.

Arrogance says:

Everything revolves around you.

You are indispensable.

Others need to change.

You have arrived.

Humility: 10 simple ways to quiet arrogance

#1. Reflect on the staggering regularity of the evening sky.

#2. Acknowledge that animals do things you can’t.

  1. Fleas jump 50 to 100 times their body length. You could jump over a 50 story building if you could jump like a flea.
  2. Dung beetles push the human equivalent of an 80 ton poop ball.
  3. Emperor penguins dive over 1,000 feet in freezing water.
  4. Great white sharks sense blood in the water three miles away.
  5. Star fish regenerate body parts.
  6. Birds fly.
  7. Fish breathe water.

Beauty is humbling.

We don’t aspire to become animals, fish, or bugs, but they are remarkable.

#3. Notice sameness.

You’re not special. Everyone on earth is fundamentally the same. Commonality quiets arrogance.

#4. Know you don’t know.

Things you don’t know exceed things you know.

Everything you know began with someone else.

#5. Admit you depend on others.

Independence is a destructive myth propagated by arrogance.

#6. Embrace frailty.

Small changes in temperature, air pressure, or air quality cause death.

#7. Seek corrective feedback.

#8. Notice others.

Focus outward.

Honor people’s achievements. Express gratitude. Show appreciation.

#9. Practice a new skill.

Being a novice quiets arrogance and increases humility.

#10. Be firm with grace and kindness.

Arrogance blusters.

Humility is tough and tender at the same time.

Everything good in leadership begins with humility. Image of a red apple.Everything good in leadership begins with humility. Image of a red apple.

10 advantages of humility

  1. Human connection.
  2. Self-knowledge.
  3. Grounded confidence.
  4. Openness.
  5. Wonder.
  6. Learning.
  7. Kindness.
  8. Broad perspectives.
  9. Generosity.
  10. Forgiveness.

Everything good in leadership begins with humility.

How are you quieting arrogance?

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Saturday Sage: 12 Quiet Quitting Remedies

Saturday Sage: 12 Quiet Quitting Remedies

Thanks to TikTok everyone is talking about ‘quiet quitting’.

Definitions of quiet quitting:

  1. “People who are not going above and beyond at work and just meeting their job description.”
  2. “Clocking in and doing the bare minimum at work.”
  3. “You are still performing your duties, but you are no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentally, that work has to be our life.”
  4. “Doing the bare minimum required to avoid being fired.”

Quiet quitting doesn’t mean that an employee has quit, but they are setting boundaries at work and refusing to go above and beyond in completing their duties. 

Quiet quitting: Going above and beyond is beyond me. Image of a person resting their head on the desk.Quiet quitting: Going above and beyond is beyond me. Image of a person resting their head on the desk.

5 quiet quitting misfortunes:

  1. You focus on self-serving and neglect other-serving.
  2. Being underutilized feels ok.
  3. Feeling entitled is a way of life.
  4. Lack luster commitment makes work a drudgery.
  5. A quiet quitting attitude is not attractive to your next employer.

Quiet quitting culture:

Quiet quitting got traction during the pandemic.  Remote work set the stage because people found it difficult to set boundaries.

Workplace expert, Lynn Taylor, says, “Younger generations have watched their overachieving parents allow work stress to consume them. They don’t understand the notion that working endlessly for them has been a badge of honor.  They have noticed their parents and grandparents to have been so involved with their careers that they suffer emotionally and have simply sacrificed too much to work that hard for that many years”.

5 clues of a quiet quitting culture:

  1. Negative attitudes about work affect team members.
  2. People shy away from new projects.
  3. Team members wait to be asked before contributing.
  4. Employees withdraw and seem to fly solo.
  5. Joy is low. Boredom and frustration are high.

Corporate panic over “quiet quitting” is real.

Gallup finds quiet quitters make up at least 50% of the U.S. workforce — probably more.

Gallup says it’s being “psychologically unattached” to employers because their “engagement needs are not being met”.  A passive aggressive attitude is not new. But younger generations are turning it into a movement that causes a great divide between the high commitment people and low commitment people.

Kristin Hancock, an Indianapolis-based communications professional, said that for her quiet quitting is a futile pursuit.  There have been times in her career when she was dissatisfied with a job and wanted to coast, but she found herself unable to do so.  Doing less felt frustrating and made her work feel even less meaningful.  Some people will always be driven by ambition, enjoyment, perfectionism, or insecurity to do more than is asked of them, but if you expect everyone to do that, by definition, it isn’t…

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E.B. White: On Hope – Leadership Freak

E.B. White: On Hope

E.B. White received a letter from a man who had given up on the world. The letter below is White’s response.

I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock as a contribution to order and steadfastness. Image of sunlight sparkling off droplets on grass.I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock as a contribution to order and steadfastness. Image of sunlight sparkling off droplets on grass.

North Brooklin, Maine,

30 March 1973

Dear Mr. Nadeau:

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day. Image of grass blowing in wind.Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day. Image of grass blowing in wind.

It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right.

Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.

Sincerely,

E. B. White

Source: https://amzn.to/3RwTcrR

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Organizing for an Innovative Culture

Organizing for an Innovative Culture

New Book Giveaway!!

20 copies available!!

Leave a comment on this guest post by Bella Rushi to become eligible for one of 20 complimentary copies of her new book, The Innovative Executive: Leading Intelligently in the Age of Disruption.

Deadline for eligibility is 09/12/22. International winners will receive electronic version.

Leadership is not about feeling comfortable, but about finding opportunities as they occur even when the numbers suggest otherwise. Image arrows on a road. Leadership is not about feeling comfortable, but about finding opportunities as they occur even when the numbers suggest otherwise. Image arrows on a road.

Organizations that don’t organize for innovation organize for stagnation.

Business leaders struggle to build a company that stands the test of time and remains effective no matter what the change. They must organize for innovative culture.

Growth is important, but it can also lead to chaos and confusion if not managed correctly.

  1. Structure enables risk taking.
  2. Clear boundaries create focus.
  3. Small experiments and fast iterations reduce risk of failure.
  4. Identify who manages innovation projects, teams, and goals.
  5. Measure your company’s ability to enter new markets or create new business models.

Leaders play an essential role in setting the direction and strategy for their company, and in order to create an innovative culture, they need to understand the norms, values, and behaviors within their workplace.

Your organization's future depends on creating a competitive advantage that cannot be copied. Image of paintbrushes on whitewashed floor.Your organization's future depends on creating a competitive advantage that cannot be copied. Image of paintbrushes on whitewashed floor.

4 ways to organize for an innovative culture:

Build a culture that promotes innovation, has an entrepreneurial mindset and sustainable value creation.

CEO’s steer organizations toward opportunity.

  1. Make innovation everyone’s duty.
  2. Train managers to spot and seize opportunities.
  3. Use an ideation platform to ideate.
  4. Expand diversity. The best ideas come from collaboration between diverse people.

Your organization’s future depends on creating a competitive advantage that cannot be copied.

Create an environment where innovation becomes second nature for everyone in their day-to-day functions.

Leadership is not about feeling comfortable, but about finding opportunities as they occur even when the numbers suggest otherwise.

What suggestions do you have for building an innovative culture?

Bella Rushi is an innovation management consultant and founder of Symmetri Consulting, which specializes in helping business leaders prioritize and align organizations for efficient innovation. Rushi is the author of, “The Innovative Executive: Leading Intelligently in the Age of Disruption,” and host of, “The Innovative Executive,” podcast.

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