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.”

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

November 30, 2009

Three Examples

Two young men were charged with trespassing in the Calgary Zoo after hours. They not only climbed the fence around the zoo but also the first perimeter wall around the tiger enclosure. One of the interlopers was mauled so badly his arm may have to be amputated. The Calgary Sun newspaper summarized the public sentiment on the event with editorial cartoon that depicted a tiger with the thought balloon caption “Well Duh!” What were they thinking?

Hurricane watching is a bit of a sport in Nova Scotia. We get a lot of fading storms caressing our coast blown up from the Gulf of Mexico. The storms bring big waves for surfers (yes we surf in NS) and spectacular seascapes. Arguable the best view is at the historic lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove. During a recent storm three people we posing for pictures well beyond the permanent “dangerous surf” warning signs. They were swept off the rocks and spit back on the shore by the next surge with broken bones but luckily no life threatening injuries. What were they thinking?

There is construction zone traffic merging from 2 lanes to 1. The cement truck to my left pulls ahead leaving a gap in the lane in front of a red dump truck. As I nudge into the gap the dump truck rolls ahead. “Oh yeah”, I think, “I’ll show him.” And I play chicken and keep going determined not to get stuck in a jam. He keeps on truckin’ and in slow motion rubs rubber off his tire up my driver’s side to the back door. Thankfully my baby in the passenger side car seat doesn’t wake up. What was I thinking?

What do the stupid people in these stories have in common? What were they thinking?

It’s temptation to judge stupidity. Before you cast stones from glass houses I invite you to ponder the answers to the questions.

What they were thinking were typical of “box thoughts.” They are thoughts that arise when we think we are better than others and focus on two very simple questions: Who and What?

Who Focus : Self (My world view is all about me)
What Focus : Justifying (My thoughts and rationalizations keep my “me first” viewpoint)

In order to maintain a grip on a world view that is all about me (self-first) I need to create a box of built by justifications. Take a minute to review the 3 scenarios above and imagine the internal dialogue that must take place in order to override the common sense that usually protects us from doing stupid things.

Step 2: Invite yourself to reflect and grow by reviewing a recent incident in your life where you put self first and justified your actions till the point of stupidity. Feel free to share your insights on this blog. I’d love to hear that I am not alone in a stupidity haze.

Step 3: Read the book “The Anatomy of Peace” Click Here for More

Next week: How to have “who and what” focus of a Joyful Servant Leader

Stupid Does

Stupid Does