Thinking at a Higher Level: Develops Leaders who Lead at a Higher Level

I recently spoke to a group of people and shared information that challenged their thinking and their behavior. Afterwards several people approached with questions and comments.

One woman had received the message and wanted help in taking the next step.

Another woman expressed her gratitude for the message.  She admitted that she had always struggled in one particular area – but until today, she hadn’t realized it. Now she was actively processing the new information and beginning to visualize what a change in her behavior would look like.

Then a man stepped forward that was actively rejecting the message.

Strategically NOT THINKING – Is it really safer and easier?

Have you ever worked in a place that is caught in a cycle that is NOT working?

  • But instead of digging for the root cause, titled leaders wave “magic wands” that cause some people to disappear and others to appear?

Have you ever wondered if anyone recognizes that new faces are just another Band-Aid that is being used to cover a growing cancer instead of treating it?

Once upon a time, I had a conversation with someone about a problem that needed to be solved.

We’d faced this problem before.

  • The first solution had been to replace a person.
  • A few months later we were having a very similar problem with a different person.

We both agreed that the problem was not only unresolved, it had gotten worse.  And we agreed that we needed a solution.

  • But we disagreed about what that looked like.
  • I wanted to know why a second person was struggling in the same position that someone else had failed in.
  • He didn’t want to waste time flipping rocks trying to understand why, he simply wanted the new person replaced, as quickly as possible.

When problems surface, it is so tempting to rush for the magic wand.

It may appear to be faster, easier or even the “safest” way to appease the investors or the CEO.

  • However, waving magic wands that make some faces disappear while new faces appear, doesn’t solve deeper issues.
  • And titled leaders that prefer magic wands to real solutions  – won’t be around very long.

Below are two true stories:

 1.  A high-potential employee is constantly promoted within a company for more than a decade. 

When he is promoted again he can’t get the tools and support he needs and begins to struggle. He’s not a quitter and doesn’t know how to fail, so he sacrifices all of his vacation and family time and works instead.  But no matter how many hours he puts in, he is treated as if he is the problem and eventually fired.

Then another high potential/long-term employee is relocated to take the same role, in the same place, with the same leader, in the same environment.

And the cycle begins again…

What if:

  • The employees that are continually recruited for this role are not the problem?
  • The training and support needs to be improved?
  • The culture in that department is causing people to fail?
  • The titled leader in that department is the source of the problem?

*What is it costing the organization to continually lose long-term, high performing employees in this one black hole?  

2.  An owner of a couple of small businesses is frustrated with dwindling profits. 

He blames his staff, treats them badly, moves them to different locations, stalls their vacations and refuses to listen to their feedback.

What if:

  • The employees need more training and more support?
  • The declining business is caused by the owner’s lack of presence and engagement with his customers?
  • His customer are leaving because competitors have better service, pricing, equipment and facilities?

*What is is costing that business owner to continue to operate in this way?  


Please share:  

  • Have you ever worked in a culture that discourages thinking?

Want more on this topic?  

Benefits of Learning from Those That Think Differently

Real Growth - No Pixie Dust! -Really!

In 1999 I read Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for the first time.  One of the stories in that book that captured my attention was about David Lilienthal, a man that was commissioned to head the new Atomic Energy Commission.

He brought together a very diverse bunch of influential individuals. And although they had a huge agenda and the press was pushing them for results he believed that efficiency was not the first priority – synergy was. So he wisely invested time facilitating relationship building, causing them to deeply understand each other’s history, goals, passions, and perspectives and transforming a group of individuals into a passionate team.

This is how Stephen Covey describes the result: “The respect among the members of the commission was so high that if there was disagreement, instead of opposition and defense, there was a genuine effort to understand.  The attitude was, “If a person of your intelligence and competence and commitment disagrees with me, then there must be something to your disagreement that I don’t understand, and I need to understand it.  You have a perspective, a frame of reference I need to look at.”  

For the crazy ones who think they can change the world…

 

~This is one of my favorite quotes…

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”  Apple

Paid to think? …Or to check your brains at the door?

Last week I was facilitating a leadership development session for people from every department and every level of a large organization.  During our discussion I asked them if they realized that regardless of their title they are paid to think.  …Their immediate response?  Silence.

Later in the week I re-opened the book The Secret and as I skimmed through the pages this quote jumped off the page, “Check your brains at the door.  They will be returned to you as you leave the building.  ~The Management”

How about you?  Are you paid to think?  …Or to check your brains at the door?  

…As we near the start of a new year I wonder:

  • How many people work in cultures that expect them to check their brains at the door?
  • How many organizations have actually invited their employees to think?
  • How many organizations have provided the tools and the training to help their organization unleash the knowledge that exists within their own walls?