Leading Transformation

This was me, back in 2007!

It was over nine years ago when I was sitting at my desk working on a global, cultural change initiative. It was a dream gig!  A culture rich in total conflict; emerging ideas and concepts clashing with the old-school mentality of military constructs. It was if the skies opened and the waters parted. I could not have been in a more enriched place for group dynamics than this. I LOVED IT. Then, while I was on a phone call, I was told one of the higher ups was waiting for me outside my office. He had been there waiting for over twenty minutes. I had no idea who this person was, I was completely focused on something else. Then I started to notice a small crowd growing outside my door. When someone finally came into my office, he demanded I get off the phone because this “higher up” was still waiting to talk to me.

“You must have screwed something up” he added. I rapidly ended my phone call and then I found the senior leader of the organization sitting in my office, asking me one question after another regarding my approach. I honestly answered each and every question asked. Finally, there was a chance to tell the real truth or just keep continuing to answer his questions. He said, of course, he wanted the truth. With a quick and honest assessment, I nailed the culture issue he had been struggling with for years.

Here is what happened in a nut shell—Leadership IS NOT a position. It is an action to move a group of people from where they want to go to where they need to go. I was not in any formal role at the time where I could coach or guide this senior leader. I had the courage, however, to speak my truth about where the issues were and what was needed to get his staff unstuck. Never in his leadership history had someone spoke the truth in such a compelling way. Why? Because leaders tend to do what they have seen. In the military, there is a culture and culture rules–that is until COURAGE in leadership emerges from within the ranks with people speaking the truth. Courage means looking at and seeing the whole system, not just a piece of it. That truth is much different than the personal truths that serve the self. It’s not a safe role to take up, however, it is needed for organizations, teams, and people to thrive!

Take one step, add a cup of courage, two cups of positive attitude, and 100% commitment.

The recipe for transformation: It doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be simple in context, but without all the ingredients in place, difficult in execution.

  1. Nothing can change without awareness. One must be willing to see the unseen in order to begin to transform.
  2. Be an active OBSERVER. Although I take pride in having an opinion and expressing it, there is great value in being an observer. Notice what you notice. It’s not about judging what you can or cannot do. Just notice what is happening inside of you.
  3. Reflection is a key to knowing how what you are seeing and noticing are impacting you. Why is it important? You will recognize and realize the impacts on you just by simply observing.
  4. Muster courage to follow what is needed to get what you desire. Know that the destination is not what is important, but the journey.
  5. One step. That’s all that is really needed–one step.
  6. Respond with action. Responding to what you are seeing is critical in gaining movement and momentum.
  7. Ensure you have a supportive environment. If need be, get a coach like me who believes in possibilities.
  8. Always give 100% of yourself. That means you never, never give up.
  9. Pace yourself. Like the saying goes: It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Train yourself to establish a pattern of success. Find your stride and stick with it until you know you need to make a course adjustment.
  10. Attitude determines your wellbeing. Science shows you heal faster when you have a positive attitude. Learn to see the good not in one thing but in everything. Train your attitude to reflect your accomplishments already happening right now.

Live. Love. Thrive.

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