Image by pheαnix – off 6/29 – 7/8 via Flickr
Where is your focus today? Is it forward focus for leadership success? Does your job success or failure define who you are? According to Clotaire Rapaille in The Culture Code who we are is what we do or our work in the U.S. This means we measure our success by our work not as a measure of ourself – a potentially dangerous proposition.
Here’s where it can be dangerous to let your company define your entire identity. I’ve seen entrepreneurs who would rather lose their marriage than their business – and, in some cases, they did. I’ve seen CEOs who pride themselves on having a balanced life, not realizing that every activity or hobby (whether golfing, or being president of the PTA, or sitting on the board of the local arts council) is still tied, in some way, to promoting the company’s growth. And I’ve seen plenty of guys like Jason who think they have personally failed if their company doesn’t outshine everyone else’s, no matter how unreasonable the comparison.
Unfortunately, Jason couldn’t get out of his own way. Because he couldn’t detach his ego from his company, he missed out on an excellent transaction-;one that would have been great for the company and great for Jason personally.
When you start to see any criticism of your company as a personal attack on you, there’s a problem. Make decisions based on what’s best for your company, and not what’s best for your ego.
…More at Is Your Ego Blocking Your Success?
If you see yourself and your success as what you do, it can skew your forward focus. It is important to focus on our goals not just the company goals. As suggestted by David Lonsdale our ego can get in the way. Remember to set your own goals for success in addition to those required of your job. Your Forward Focus for Leadership Success is based on your goals.
We don’t often take time to reflect in leadership. And some don’t ever use reflection as a tool. So I was excited to see Mike Myatt‘s post today:
I love history, and have always enjoyed being a student of history. Earlier this week we launched a new project: The History of Leadership. The project consists of an interactive historical timeline of the world’s greatest leaders dating as far back as 2000 BC. Since history has been recorded, so have great lessons in leadership. The ultimate test of leadership has always been, and will always be, whether or not it can endure the test of time. Time tells a story, validates or invalidates theories, positions, and philosophies, and ultimately, time shapes a leader’s legacy. While anyone can be great in the moment, few can sustain greatness over time. Put simply, there is much to be learned from viewing anything through a historical lens – especially leadership….More at Leadership & History
Reflection gives us an opportunity to evaluate where we have been and plan where we want to go. The project outlined by Myatt provides an additional line of reflection. It allows us to reflect on leaders of our past. An opportunity to find leaders we wish to further explore to learn from not only our past, but their’s.
Knowing that The History of Leadership site is still new and they are looking for feedback, I can forgive oversights in the timeline. I look forward to checking the timeline for leaders to spend some reflection time on leadership. I challenge you to do the same.
Image by eilonwy77 via Flickr
The ideas of leadership and play when combined provide an opportunity to lead creativity through forward focus. What do I mean?
Think back, way back, to when you were a kid with all the energy and imagination that went with it. Can’t think back that far, then look at the world through the eyes of a child. One that comes to mind is with my son. All of 2 years old at the time, he decided that I must lay down on the kitchen floor to watch as two ants scurried across it. My first thought – get the ant spray and squish the ants. Yet I hesitated just long enough to lay down on the floor and listen to my son explain that the ants were on a parade and all the fun places the parade would see. Such as going down a slide,stopping at the beach, and visiting a picnic or two along the way. For that short time, I watched the ants through his imagination. He saw the possibilities that lie ahead, he had forward focus. I will do my best to make sure he doesn’t lose the creativity of that moment.
After all only about 20% of us will retain creativity in our lives. Not sure where you fall? Consider this – when you think about leading your team are you seeing the cannot or the can?
If you are among the 20% that thinks creatively, you are thinking about the can and changing the cannot to can. For the other 80% the to do list is daunting list with lots of cannot. As children our creativity flowed endlessy from crazy made up creations with Legos® to acting out whole scenarios with Barbie® orG.I. Joe®. Somewhere along the way we have lost many of these needed skills. How can we maintain it or find it again?
Leo Babauta had some similar experiences to my ant parade and explores how to infuse your day with creativity (play)….
You can’t always enjoy what you’re doing, right?
Actually, you can. You just have to remember what it’s like to be a child.
Sure, there are things we have to do every day that we might think are boring: household chores, errands, routine tasks at work, being in a meeting that’s makes you want to pound your head on the table. But those are only boring because we’ve chosen to make them boring.
Let’s take my 6-year-old daughter Noelle as an example. She had to go to the dentist, which is a pretty routine thing for most people. We took the train and then walked a few blocks. In the train, she sang, found things fun to see out the window, played games with me. As we walked, she talked about how the building the dentist is in might possibly reach the blue stuff in the sky, and wanted to bet me that it actually did (10 hugs if I won, $1 if she won). The elevator ride to the 18th floor was like a roller coaster ride to her.
Everything she does becomes a game, an opportunity for wonder and exploration, or at the very least an opportunity to sing a song. She’s never bored. Why is that?
Because she doesn’t see anything as boring. Everything is new, and there’s always a game you can play.
We can do that too. Every chore can be turned into play. Every walk to the store can be infused with beginner’s mind, so that we see our surroundings afresh, ripe for exploration. Every boring work task can be turned into a challenge, a game.
It is amazing to see what we can learn from the children around us. They bring creativity to everything they do – now is the time to begin leading creativity. Do you want to know the benefits of leading creativity through forward focus? Look for the 7 Benefits to Leading Creativity Through Forward Focus next week.
Play fosters belonging and encourages cooperation.
- Stuart Brown, MD
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