Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fearless: Can the Spirit impact Electrons?

I find this absolutely fascinating: reading up on J.C. Eccles and his theory that the human spirit can impact the behavior of electrons - which supposedly cannot be impacted.

The speed of an electron inside a braincell supposedly can be anywhere from 0 to that of an ICBM (fascinating!)

If the spirit can choose among this range of speed to create a physiological process that leads to a physical task, then the true "free will" is no longer a paradox.

Obviously all of this is old news by now, several books have been written with the latest results in neuroscientific research - but to simply take this and apply it (REALLY apply it) on a daily basis to our leadership behaviors is quite a challenge.

A Fearless Leader takes on that challenge.

Let's see what will happen in the next few days......

Be fearless.....

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fearless Leadership & Schroedinger's Cat

It's been a while since my last post (violating blogger rules?), but sometimes it's necessary to step away from something in order to strengthen it (paradox).

Fearless Leadership also includes a "fearless" attitude towards the unknown - in all aspects. How can we use information about quantum physics to further our understanding and use of fearless leadership?

As a brief refresher (or initial info, depending on where you're coming from) here are two items that I find particularly helpful in furthering fearlessness in leadership - on a daily basis, the practical approach in dealing with business "challenges".

(From Wikipedia - excerpt): Many minds

The many-minds interpretation of quantum mechanics extends the many-worlds interpretation by proposing that the distinction between worlds should be made at the level of the mind of an individual observer.

The "Many Minds" Interpretation fascinates me particularly because it links to Schroedinger's paradox (see "Schroedinger's Cat" on Wikipedia, or "Schroedinger's Cat for a 6th grader at http://www.mtnmath.com/cat.html). I dare say that Schroedinger's thought experiment applied to business challenges can/will bring about easier solutions.

How can we use this information and apply it to our leadership challenges? The situation as such exists already (or does it?) and/but we as the observer change the situation simply by observing it or the way we observe it.

I have a draft thought interpretation that is based on recent successes in my own business strategy implementation and plan to use this concept in a more focused way in the coming days now.

I am planning to use this approach every day for the next 5 days and see what happens.

Fearless leadership is also trying new concepts that go way beyond our current way of thinking or understanding "business/work reality".

Be fearless.....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fearless Leadership and Perspective!

I wasn't planning on posting again so quickly but just got the urge to reinforce PERSPECTIVE AND LEADERSHIP. It's just too important.

Think about it: are you facing a stressful or potentially stressful situation at work? Been upset or frantic about a deadline or a conflict situation? Facing a problem with your corporate strategy implementation or your leadership succession planning in the organization? A BIG problem? Dreading it already, going over it and over it in your mind?

Think PERSPECTIVE. Put it in PERSPECTIVE. Ask yourself:

• Am I missing an arm or a leg?
• Am I living in a war torn country?
• Am I dying of a terminal illness?

If the answer to all – or ANY – of these questions is “no” – then you really have no problem!

Trust me – you can work out any “problem” at work – much easier than having to deal with missing your eyesight or a leg. Or having to run from bombs exploding over your head or right in front of you, or snipers shooting at you. Are you experiencing any of that in your corner office or cubicle? I bet the answer is no….. (and if it is “yes” then you don’t need this advice ...).

Just felt the need to reinforce this point for instant “stress-relief” and getting the job done ….. remember how important PERSPECTIVE is.

• Ask yourself any or all of the questions above
• Understand the importance of perspective
• Appreciate the power and control over your stress that putting things in perspective gives you
• Move ahead – you’ll be fearless now (or at least more fearless than before… save yourself the expensive therapist)

Simple. Healthy. Common sense.

Be fearless!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Quan-To-Cho-Se and Fearless Leadership?

I've been reading a bit of Deepak Chopra here and a bit of Eckhart Tolle there.... over the last few months/years. Now - I am one of the biggest skeptics when it comes to spirituality (and religion - which I used to throw all in one pot until recently - never distinguished between spirituality and organized religion - it was all the same thing to me to stop people from thinking and accepting responsibility for their own actions).

I've always been the "I believe it when I see it" person .... "prove it to me - otherwise don't even go there..."

Most of that stemmed from not understanding the difference between spirituality and religion.

I am still not a fan of the big organized religions that just take people's money (usually from the ones who don't have much to begin with) and tell you it's ok to suffer in this life so you can be happy in the next life/heaven (funny how the people who are telling you that usually seem to have plenty of money themselves and I don't think they actually have been to heaven or the next life... hmm).

Anyway - having educated myself a bit more recently about spirituality and the big "quantum soup" (I am still a big fan of science - trying to make sense of it all and find the reasons why we are here) I am now in the "it's all one big energy soup" phase - somehow that seems to make the most sense (for now).

Certainly makes it a lot easier for us to accept a lot of situations in our professional (and personal) life that until now were potentially problematic or at least more challenging than they should be.

My current winning combination seems to be Quantum/Tolle/Chopra/Secret (which really is all one thing, isn't it?! Let me call it Quan-To-Cho-Se for now. Here is one interesting technique that is somewhat easily applied
in challenging management and leadership situations;

"Surrender/Accept" the situation you are in and things will suddenly go much more smoothly - "don't try to fight the universe". This is such a tough one to practice in everyday management/stress situations, but it is so enormously helpful! I tried to apply this simple concept for 4 weeks and whenever I have been successful, the results amaze me. For example:

I was in one of the gazillion meetings we all seem be in all the time, they seem to be non-stop these days, hard to get any work done sometimes..... and there must have been about 12 people in the meeting room to talk about something that is really actually a very simple matter. I went into the meeting, already annoyed at the thought of having to be there in the first place (but kind of had to be there since it was one of my projects ;-)

When I sat down and looked at everyone, I thought about what I've been reading: Instead of fighting the situation just accept it for what it is, surrender into it. Let go, be at ease and at peace.

So, I did that. Didn't say anything, just relaxed and waited to see what would happen.

Cool stuff: since I did not say anything (just sat there with a Buddha like smile on my face, looking at everyone in a friendly way - they probably thought I had taken a tranquilizer) the colleague sitting next to me started the meeting and it all just kind of flowed from there, people said what they had to say, a productive discussion ensued, we covered several milestones and most everyone went away satisfied (after only 45 minutes instead of the planned hour).

Now, I don't recommend this for every meeting, but I do notice that whenever I come upon a stressful situation and just "surrender" - things really do take care of themselves. "Things" start coming to you. Maybe there is something to it - if everything - and everyone - is all just energy soup, then positive energy will attract other/more positive energy - and everything will go your way. Pretty cool - and consistent. Wow.

I will continue to apply the "surrender" thing to my business situations and see what happens. Wish it were easy all the time....we do tend to get in our own way so often...

My advice: the next time you are in a stressful situation at work, drop everything and relax. Totally surrender to the situation...
Let go....

Let the positive quantum energy soup take care of everything - it will. Pretty amazing.

Did I mention that this is amazing? Deepak says "don't fight the universe". He's right, we can't. Or shouldn't. When we do, "it" fights back......



Let go....

...and voila! Success!

How does this relate to "Fearless Leadership"?

It takes true fearlessness to "let go". It's not easy to let go - as a matter of fact - most of the time it is the absolutely hardest thing to do for leaders. Leaders take care of things. Leaders are in charge. Fearless leaders ........... surrender!

Let go....

Be fearless......in a different way........and be successful!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Fearless Leader & Crisis Mode: "Stay Calm - Water Rises Slowly"

Yes, our business world is very hectic and in constant flux these days - doesn't it seem like everything (!) is always urgent, everything is an "A" priority, and we hear "we have a real problem on our hands" or "this is REALLY important/urgent" almost on a daily basis?

I always think it's so funny (yes, really!) when people come to me, all stressed out and in crisis mode - in the work place.....(no, not because someone is holding a gun to their head, but because of a project or task they/we have to deal with):

Here's my Fearless Leader's answer to crisis mode (trust me, it ALWAYS works):

Someone came to me last week with a facial expression like a deer caught in headlights, and all hectic and stressed out and told me that "we have a real problem, this is really urgent, this could have a really bad impact".

Well, I have first hand information from grandparents, parents and others regarding REAL problem and real crisis situations (usually experienced during war and post-war situations). I also pay attention to what is going on in the world, on a daily basis - and, as we all know, there are many countries/locations where people live under horrific circumstances, many of them in countries that were stable at some point before the "crisis", some very recently.

We absolutely must not forget to put things in perspective!!

So here are my counter questions to the person who came to me in "crisis mode":
  • Question 1: Do we live in a war torn country? (the answer is usually "no")
  • Question 2: Have you had anyone threaten you with a gun this week? (again, the answer is usually "no")
  • Question 3: Are you missing an arms, legs, hands, feet and/or eyesight? (and again, the answer is usually "no")

...and so on - you get the idea.....

I am usually adamant about having the person answer all three questions - after that, my obvious statement is "well, then we DON'T have a problem, do we?!" Sometimes I cannot help but react first with an initial, healthy "Are you kidding me?"

We may have a challenge that we need to address, or an item that may need our immediate attention - but we do not have a PROBLEM! Let's keep our perspective at all times, NOTHING is as important as our health and well being (as anyone who is not well and healthy can easily tell you!).

As leaders we must be role models:
  • Keep calm at all times - put things in perspective - use your common sense
  • Address the issue with the respect and seriousness it deserves - but let's not overdo it please - it's not life threatening after all
Ok, so why the title "Stay Calm, Water Rises Slowly"?

During World War II, my grandmother lived in Hamburg, a city that endured air raids several times a day. During one of the raids, the house that my grandmother lived in, was hit and collapsed on top of the basement, in which several people had found shelter (including my grandma).

In the basement there was a hand painted sign on the wall, saying "Immer mit der Ruhe, Wasser steigt langsam" (Keep calm, water rises slowly).

So, here they were, caught in the basement, no way out, the house on top of them....and then water started to come in from burst pipes..... Long story short: eventually they all got out (and ten had to run through the burning streets), but they kept as calm as possible and looked for the quickest way out of the basement. They were lucky, many thousands of people died in basements during those nights.

So - when people talk to me about a business crisis or a problem, I often quote that sign and quickly put things in perspective for myself. Much easier to go on from there.....duh!

Common sense? Absolutely!

Common practice? No way.....!

Be fearless.....


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Instant Confidence

Whether you are truly confident in a situation, or just acting as if you are - usually it is very hard for people to tell the difference!

Once you have put yourself into that confidence mode (again, even if you have to fake it), you can usually master your challenges quite easily. This works extremely well in all kinds of situations, such as asking for a raise, getting your budget approved, or getting support from senior management for one of your projects.

Let me know if you want to have some concrete examples, I'll be happy to provide several that REALLY worked fabulously well, from my personal experience.

Quite often "offense is the best defense".... don't forget that many senior leaders really value a self-confident (not cocky) manager. Hey, after all, who likes to work with wimps? I certainly don't!
  • Take a deep breath and stand up straight (very important!) This will already make you feel a lot more self-confident.....
  • Pretend you are an actor and playing the part of a successful, super confident manager/leader: ACT confident. Trust me, in most cases no one will be able to tell the difference.
  • Walk swiftly (remember to keep holding your head high)
  • Take 3-4 deep breaths and speak loud and get to the point fast, avoid unnecessary words. Avoid phrases and sentences that include "would like", "want to try", "will attempt", "want to", etc. - you get the idea. Use "I need", "we will", "I am going to", etc.
  • Keep the conversation short and focused. Wrap it up quickly, don't "hover".....
  • ALWAYS have a business case and link your desired project or activity to concrete impact!

More to come soon.....

Be fearless.....


Friday, April 11, 2008

Your Sales Behaviors....from your Client's Perspective...

Welcome to Fearless Leadership!

Today I talked with a friend who is a Senior Recruiter with an Executive Search firm that specializes in Sales Management, and we discussed the incredibly stupid behavior of many salespeople. Sales or Account Managers who are so stuck in their ways and haven't yet figured out the way to a client's heart and budget.

What does this have to do with Fearless Leadership? We are always selling one thing or another (or ourselves) in nearly all professional interactions. "Sales principles" can apply to many situations - management and leadership development, board meetings, budget meetings, strategy execution, performance evaluations, etc.

How do you sell successfully? Easy - just use your common sense....Ok, pretend I am your potential client:
  • Put yourself in my shoes. I am always amazed at how many sales people forget this simple rule. Why would I buy from you if you're not even making an effort to understand my side of the business, or my perspective?
  • Be sincere! Simple but effective. What have you got to lose? Drop the fake stuff, it's not working anyway and I can see right through you (even on the phone, trust me...)
  • Be honest. If you don't know something, say so. Say that you will get the information, but don't try to bluff or wiggle your way out of the situation by providing the WRONG INFORMATION. Don't you think it will come back to bite you in the butt?
  • Please do not use the same phrase over and over like "our unique approach".....Unless your approach is REALLY unique (rarely the case these days)....and even then - it's enough to say it ONCE. Nothing turns me off like canned sales conversations...I've heard too many of them.
  • Good salespeople partner with me. You find out what my situation and pain points are and provide me with information and options - and be sure you are not telling me something I already know. Nothing turns me off like someone who treats me like I have never been to a website before and researched your products and the products of your competitors. I mean - what are you thinking?!! Seriously....
  • .....and most of all: SHUT UP! Listen and process the information that I, your client, am providing you with. Ask focused questions. I am not interested in the fabulous solution you have for me if it doesn't match my needs or doesn't help me solve my problems.
  • Be FEARLESS...Honestly - what have you got to lose? You have everything to gain by treating me with respect and as you would a business partner. Don't be afraid to walk away from the conversation with "NOTHING"! You will earn my respect and confidence by giving me the space I need to reflect and think about our conversation. I may come back to you within a short time - or much later - or I may recommend you to someone else. Your chances of doing business with me INCREASE tremendously when you show me your confidence.
Just a few thoughts for now. Common sense? Absolutely! Common practice? No way!

More to come soon...

Be fearless!

Happy Weekend,