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A Beach Ball Lesson in Leadership
Summer is around the corner and soon colorful beach balls will be seen around pools and at outdoor concerts. I never thought about leadership when I was batting that ball around with friends.
Life Without Limits
When I was young, my mother used to say, “You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond.” Such a powerful statement and yet we too often give others the permission to determine our response because we don’t take the time to first think of the outcome we want. We don’t pause after we tell ourselves a ‘story’ in our mind. We immediately jump to an emotion and a reaction that didn’t necessarily make the situation better. Sometimes, we can rectify the situation and sometimes, the damage is ugly.
It’s all about mindset. What you think is what you get. A few years ago I read a great little book by Carol Dweck, PhD called “Mindset, The New Psychology of Success: How we can learn to fulfill our potential” and I had a huge ah-ha moment. I love the science behind what makes us tick and Carol’s research at Stanford University on achievement and success really spoke to me. Dweck explained that success is not just about our skills or talents but whether we approach our goals with a fixed or growth mindset.
Go Now or Wait
When we talk about personal growth, we often get hung up on what isn’t laid out in front of us to help pave our way. Or we feel the need to do what others think is wise for us, disregarding our own head and heart. We give up because the roadmap or GPS is taking us a different route than we expected. Sometimes, we don’t have a guidance system at all.
There is a great story I heard many years ago about a man walking past a construction site. As the man watched the construction progress, he leaned close to the fence around the site and asked a worker, “What are you doing?” The worker looked up with an annoyed face and said, “I’m laying bricks, what does it look like I’m doing?” The man walked on and came upon another worker several yards down the road. “What are you doing?” the man asked again. “I’m building a cathedral” the worker replied with a smile.
Basic Needs and Values
Imagine starting a business to make or sell a product or deliver a service. You put an inordinate amount of time identifying what you want to do and how you will do it. You are proud of you ‘product’. As a small group of committed people, you are all working together to grow and prosper. But as that happens, you hire more people. You teach them the ‘job’ and expect the same level of commitment as the original core group. However, not everyone follows you as you wish.
Who’s responsible for employee engagement?
I was always fascinated by the “chicken or the egg” theory discussion — was the chicken created first and then eggs followed or was an egg discovered and low and behold, chickens hatched? Over the years, as I periodically pondered this question, I began to see a correlation with workplace culture and employee engagement.