Leading in the Culture of Human Potential

March 7, 2011

What is it like to hang out at your work place? Are people vibrant and alive and fresh to serve? Here’s a trend at work where staff are moving ahead faster than management can keep up. Have you got first hand experience of what I am about to share with you? Enjoy…

Employees are changing and evolving in regards to how they see themselves in relation to their work and their expectations for finding connection, fulfillment and success. Professional development programs, HR practices, leadership styles and even meeting processes must reflect this change and feed staff and management who are hungry for new ways to gain satisfaction from the work-a-day world.. Leaders who ignore this hunger and unknowingly starve the desire for attitudes and tools that will help their people feel excited and be more fully alive at work risk making the culture of entitlement the default environment.

The culture of entitlement works like a bad apple in a barrel. Unchecked, it spreads its increasing influence until all is rotten to the core. In this “me first” environment you will find staff on their tiptoes reaching for their performance expectations only when the supervisor is watching. People take more mental health days and TBIF is the most effective incentive program. Precious management time is consumed by mitigating lost productivity, replacing the smart ones who jump ship and refereeing covert power struggles and suppressed conflicts.

Successful leaders in the culture of human potential recognize that the life force of corporate performance is personal performance. In order for fast companies to grow and thrive they must find new ways to help staff feed their desire to self manage. People who are driven from within to create harmony, find greater purpose with daily tasks and leave on Friday with more energy than when they started the week. Leaders are increasingly called to generate better working environments, both personally and culturally where people are serving in a climate that encourages enjoyment and a sense of ownership. This culture of human potential must support its people who are willing to change in order to live productively.

This is the new ROI. A Return On Imagination where the individuals are encouraged to contribute to something greater than themselves. It is a work culture where real answers are sought to the question, “How can leaders inspire people to self-manage and motivate themselves from within?” The awakened culture of human potential is more than fresh faces, light hearts and bright ideas. It is ultimately the result of a welcomed invitation for management and staff to unite in a joint venture and become part of a growing movement throughout the world to transform our corporations, communities, families, and individual lives into more balanced, respectful, and conscious environments.

Here’s a bit of the old “how to”

1. Invite overt dissent: There are two sides to every proposal or initiative. Invite the naysayers to voice as much as the yes people. Hear them out face-to-face or risk suppressing negativity that will eventually ooze out in barbs in the lunchroom or worst still, taken home.

2. Encourage and recognize virtues: Values based leadership expired when Enron execs valued lining their pockets more than serving the people. Values are too subjective, too malleable by circumstance. Virtues are the traits of character and not subjected to history or greed. They exist across all cultures as the foundations of personal integrity.

3. Be the change: Role model gratitude, balanced living, passion, presence and purpose and any other lead-by-example traits you expect of others in a thriving culture of human potential.

4. Flex your identity: When the giant awakes it can be very threatening to old school management styles because people want to participate, feel heard and validated for their suggestions and that could mean you just might have to think differently.

More on Engaging People

Body Vibes

June 8, 2010

What’s your favorite body part? No not on them….on you. Your favourite part?

This is a leadership series on the four dimensions of successful servant leaders I wrote and published with Youth Action Northern Ireland.

Four Dimensions of Inspired Leaders

Successful leaders engage four dimensions in holistic attempts to be their best and bring their best in everything they do in the pursuit of excellence. The four dimensions explore the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of everyone’s life as we pursue health, well-being and success.

1. Physical Dimension of Leadership

Do you every find your self to busy driving to stop or gas? Physical dimension is about personal self-care and honors the physical body as a harmonious electrical organism that requires charging and tuning. As a leader you cannot lead with a drained battery. You can’t start the car and doesn’t go anywhere if the batter is dead. Think of the car as your organization think of you as the battery and that current jumpstart currently gets things going make things happen. Your commitment and dedication to supporting your physical dimension of energy will keep your personal health in order for you to do good it work day after day.

“It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; but the grain of sand in your shoe.” – Robert Service

There are three main areas of challenge that hard-working leaders often neglect during their demanding days.

A. Diet: It is well known that the quality of the food and liquids you consume has profound effect on your bodies capacity to thrive and function at an optimal level of energy. Eat as fresh and as local as you can and hydrate the body with good water and use common sense. For more complex considerations consult a health care practitioner or nutritionist for professional advice and remember dark chocolate is good for you!

B. Exercise: The simple rule is “move it or lose it.” Movement stimulates natural chemicals in the body called endorphins that give you a feel sense of well-being and help reduce stress. You can get this natural high by committing to some form of exercise at the style and level of challenge that’s best for your body and personality. Spend between a minimum of an hour each day dancing, walking, riding, laughing, swimming, or other creative ways to get moving. Link Here to Laugh More

C. Sleep: Many people talk about life balance and think of balancing work versus home life. Unfortunately many people forget about one the greatest balance relationships. This is the balance between giving energy during the day and restoring energy at night through rest and sleep. Don’t under estimate the importance of sleep. The average persons spends 26 years of their life in bed so do the best you can to make what ever is left the best sleep possible. Download a free guide to better sleep at http://www.peterdavison.ca/wakehappyguide.html

William Shakespeare underscores the value of deep restoring slumber, “Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care, the death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath, balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, chief nourisher in life’s feast.”

I See You!

March 29, 2010

When I was a kid I watched my fair share of television on our 3 channel (including the French channel) black and white TV. One of my favourite shows delighted as much as it disappointed me. The show was called Romper Room. It had a 40 year run starting in 1952. Simple concept. Have a proper looking “Miss Betty” dressed in the fashion of the decade entertain a handful of polite, cute and active, but not too active, kids in a playroom on a TV set.

The best part was when the hostess would look into the camera and talk directly to me, and of course countless other kids at home. Thanks to the magic of this mysterious technology we kind of in the room with our TV friends. When it came time to wrap up the show, Miss Betty held up her magic mirror and looked directly into the camera lens. The screen went all psychedelic and then faded back to her looking through a ring with a handle. That’s when the anticipation would start to build.

“Time to see our friends at home. Romper Stomper Bomper Boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic mirror tell me today did all my friends at home have fun at play?”

As that question was formed untold thousands of kids sitting in front of the blue glowing box would sit tall, stop squirming or poking their sibling and wait. And wait. Would Miss Betty say my name? Would she see me? I would shift to the edge of my chair or even slide onto the floor closer to the box as if that might prompt her to get to the names that start with “P” faster.

“Who do I see today? I see Bobby, and Erin, I see Jacob and Sally, Betty, Suzie and John, and P… woo this is it, P…aul.” Ahh nuts.

Each episode the survey contributed another handful of lucky ones to the elevated status of the chosen few and left the ignored masses to hope for another day.

It saddens me to this day to report that during my entire career as a TV kid Miss Betty, or the Miss Whoever’s that followed her, never uttered the sweet rhyme of a simple two syllable name – Peter.

There’s an old adage that reminds us that our greatest voids become our greatest values. Hard to say how this profound disappointment in the formative years of healthy social attachment have shaped thousands kids in the club we could call, “Never mentioned my name on Romper Room.” (Facebook group anybody?)

I did come across a telling comment left on YouTube (Yes, there are Romper Room clips on YouTube) by one bereft soul who, while somewhat tongue in cheek, expresses the angst of generations. “She never said my name. And that’s why I had to become a serial killer to get any validation….SIGH…”

Who really knows what combination of experiences shape our values and personality. But as one recovering unseen child my adult passion to see and be seen has become a cornerstone of my professional offering as a thought leader on recognition as a key to employee engagement and service excellence.

Recognition: The experience of appreciated belonging

One fun exercise I share in my workshop is a personal applause session. I invite someone who’s had a tough week to come up and answer a few questions. Simple questions like name, roles, hobbies, etc. The group is instructed to applaud and cheer every time the volunteer speaks. After a while everybody is in a great mood. Why/ Because it feels good to see and be seen.

Comedian Ellen Degeneres says it beautifully in the opening line of her comedy stage act. As she comes on stage to the thunderous warm and appreciative applause her first line is, “Thank you, what a great way to start work.”

If you were named on the show then you can well imagine a work culture or community where everyone you connect with could feel seen and recognized for who they are. I believe there is a deep longing for such simple gestures of recognition by far more people than us Romper Room orphans.

This desire to be known by others is likely what Director James Cameron was appealing to when he created the movie Avatar. The Na’vi creatures, who are steeped in deeply spiritual and a nature-aligned lifestyle, approach each other with the simple, yet profound, greeting, “I see you.”

I had the honor of sharing recognition exercises with leaders in early childhood education. While the applause action is meant to be a metaphor, I was delighted when one preschool director emailed me after the program and said that they started to quite literally applaud their 3 to 4 year old’s who had great separation anxiety at drop off time. Soon the parents and other kids cheered as well and distress at transition time has all been replaced by celebration!

Do you see the people in your life as much as they would like? If not, it might be time to dig out the modern version of the magic mirror.

Footnote: I researched several archived Romper Room episodes on YouTube and actually found a clip from 1953 where Miss Nancy actually said “Peter!” Six years before I was born! After all Peter was among the top 10 boys names the decade I was born so the odds were in my favour. Sigh…

Flash back to Romper Room 1984 Courtesy of YouTube

Engagement’s Holy Grail?

June 21, 2009

Is there a Holy Grail that truly inspires employees to dedicate to their life’s work with heart and soul? Perhaps one cup of plenty with an elixir that solves all loyalty, performance and retention issues in the workplace?

The Challenge

I was sitting in the parking lot of a mall outside a Tim Horton’s coffee shop waiting to pick up my wife from a dentist appointment. Three Tim’s employees ended their shift in succession. The first one out the door noticed the discarded coffee cup beside the garbage can and walked past. The second employee to leave kicked the cup. The third employee deposited the cup in its rightful place.

Q. Who would you rather have on your team? Hint: Who needs less management? A. The staff that acts with discretionary effort.

Download Your Free 7 Minute Engagement Audit

The Global Research

Employee Engagement can be defined as “a heightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organization, that influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to his or her work”.

Towers Perrin Global Workforce Study (2007), the largest of its kind, identifies the drivers of attraction, retention and engagement through the eyes of employees at mid-sized to large organizations worldwide.  Summary results of surveying over 88,000 workers in 18 countries:

o Engaged: 21% – providing full discretionary effort, with scores approaching 100% on all three components of engagement: rational, emotional and motivational.

o Enrolled: 41% – partly engaged. They know what to do and tend to get the work done (higher scores on rational and motivational aspects), but they are not connected emotionally, which is why they’re not truly going the “extra mile” with discretionary effort.

o Disenchanted: 30% – partly disengaged. Their scores are significantly lower on all three components of engagement, but dramatically lower on the emotional connection*.

o Disengaged. 8% – completely disconnected rationally, motivationally and emotionally. The manager’s nightmare.

Download the Global Workforce Study Here.

The Opportunities

To answer the question, there is no one Holy Grail. But the research puts us on the right path because we know with absolute certainty that the quest for engagement must include greater emotional connection in order to succeed.

Since 1985, I have been offering programs that inspiring connection with self, others and service. I invite you to attend the following opportunities or contact me to explore how we can enrich relationship and deepen engagement with you and your people.

Contact Peter Today

Right With Self

January 22, 2009

Do you think people can sense when you’re having an off day? Can you tell yourself when your vibration’s out of harmony? How do you think not being in right relationship with yourself affects your ability to influence others and build trust when it counts?

Does your front line staff or sales team have what it takes to build interpersonal harmony to inspire or help others effectively? If not, how do your create and sustain a vibration that just feels right for you and draws others into your circle?

Below is a link to an interview I did for a Comcast sales team in Pittsburgh.

It’s 9 minuttes long and concludes with one of the best quotes I have ever heard on this topic of harmonizing the emotional dimension of energy. Enjoy!


>> Peter Davison is a Motivational Employee Engagement Speaker who makes his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada>>

Success Formula

September 15, 2008

The Four Great Questions of Life

From the dawn of civilization rulers, nation states, religions, advertisers and corporations have provided answers to these questions. Success in personal mastery is accepting the invitation to answer these questions for ourselves with gusto. The size of your response is the size of your life. The bigger your answer the bigger your life.
1. Where have I come from?
2. Why am I here?
3. Who am I?
4. Where am I going?

Whether from Job to Career to Calling, the journey continues…

Success Formula

1. Life Purpose – You have a purpose, a chief aim for life that is greater than you. If you can achieve it, it is not your life purpose. When you perceive yourself fulfilling this purpose you grow in self worth. Usually two words consisting of a passionate verb and a heartfelt subject.

Listen Here to Four Ideas on How to can Find your Life Purpose (20 minutes)

2. Vision of Success – You are not here to self gratify. Living in service of your vision and purpose will bring both pleasure and pain. You have a vision grander than yourself to build, create, heal or develop. Your personal definition of success is the vision of what the future will look like.

3. Goals – Goals are stepping stones to Vision. Do what you love and link what you do to what you love – what you can link you build, what you cannot you sabotage. Goals play out in all seven areas of life and are expressed in three ways, by your state of being, your doing and your having.

4. Objectives – Concrete and specific. Observable and measurable markers of success and progress towards each goal. Should state when, how much, where, in size and shape. God is in the details, the more detailed your goals and objectives the more you will manifest them.

5. Action – Ease creates dis-ease – commit your whole body, mind and spirit to act on the things that build your dreams.

6. Habits – Today’s actions, tomorrow’s life. Daily , weekly, monthly habits in service to your purpose. Value time – value self-worth. Time is the one thing you cannot replace. Time is spirit. Discipline – Is the highest ingredient of success. The pain of regret outweighs the pain of discipline.

7. Thoughts – Today’s thoughts, tomorrow’s body. An affirmation is a strong, positive statement that something is already so. Affirm and plant a flower where weeds are pulled.

Thought affirming activities

Writing – Inspired writing takes ideas to form and gets them out of your mind. Writing is a commitment. Write 3 pages of free flow thoughts the first thing when you awake in the morning. Don’t lift your pen.

Gratitude – That which we cannot be grateful for will run us. Appreciation builds – Depreciation destroys. Giving thanks for the universe. Make a gratitude list of everything that happens to you. If bad things happen, think of the benefits to you or others and give thanks for the life lesson.

Meditation – Silence, listening and receiving from the universe. Sit quietly with a candle and empty your mind. If you have cluttered thoughts, tie them to a balloon in your mind and let them float away. Write down inspired thought messages.

Visualize – If you are waiting to see it to believe it you’ll be waiting a long time – the soul thinks in pictures. Surround your self with images of success and dress and present yourself as a successful person.

Love Your Work?

September 15, 2008

Do you love your work? If you do you are in the top 30% of the workforce. Fast Company magazine recently reported that 1/3 of the workforce hates their job, another 1/3 like and or dislike their job depending on the day, the week or the assignment and that 1/3 actually report loving how they exchange their time for money.

So for 2/3 of the workforce there is a conversation that ought to include new ways to see work and life so at the very least they can feel satisfaction with what they do. If not, what’s it all about and who or what are you waiting for to make your shift towards the top third. Life’s too short.

I recently spoke at a Human Resource professionals event in New Brunswick. It was a great session full of wonderful people who really care about the human element in the world of work. I love human resource professionals because beyond the daily duties of hiring, firing, performing and paying, rewarding or laying off they are very committed to the quality of life at work. This audience was particularly lively, and it was a breakfast meeting!

I thought I would share what some of they remembered from my presentation. Some of the comments are picking up what they took away from what I said but there are also many reminders and reaffirmations that were rekindled because they took time from their busy schedules to sit with colleagues for a while and explore the question I was presenting, “How do you help people love what they do and feel happy and productive in work and in life?”

Here is some of what they shared:

– What you think about you bring about
– Attitude is contagious, make yours worth catching
– Stress is an imbalanced thought
– Bring what you love to work
– Positive thoughts inspire “positivity”
– Take time to talk to people
– Happy at work = happy at home
– Bring something you love to your work
– Given empathy brutality isn’t possible
– Don’t be afraid of success, embrace it
– You should not need a vacation from work if you love it
– Be happy at work by bringing love to my job and hope to inspire others by being so positive
– Create instead of gossip
– We have a choice of how we think
– Don’t separate work and life
– Keep that belly laugh rolling and set influence on the office by smiling
– The definition of success.
– Work should be an extension for you life
– Shift from TGIF to TBIF (Too Bad its Friday, cause I love what I am doing)
– If you feel happy, you should tell your face