Sunday, January 28, 2018

When You Demand Integrity

I often get to facilitate visioning workshops where management teams or entire organizations determine their organization’s vision, mission and core values.  Whenever we get to identifying core values, there’s always someone or some people proposing Integrity as one of their core values. I have no problem with that. If it is indeed their core values, that’s well and good! I have a very strict criterion for helping companies identify their core values. This criterion is are the leaders of the organization capable of modeling them?

This is what Collins and Porras say about what core values are; “Core values are the essential and enduring tenets of an organization. A small set of timeless guiding principles, core values require no external justification; they have intrinsic value and importance to those inside the organization.” It’s an enduring tenet that the company must align with whether it rewards them or punish them.  In this society and country, demonstrating integrity will both reward and punish you!

There’s a very good reason for demanding integrity from your people. It’s the easiest way to explain compliance, avoiding pilferage, and committing to what people agree to do as they are paid for.  However, integrity can have an empty meaning very fast when leaders of the organization, from the top to the front line can’t model them. They become meaningless slogans.  When an identified core value like integrity loses its meaning in the eyes of the people, the other core values are also put to question and when people are not seeing visible examples of how they are demonstrated, they lose interest in the whole exercise and get their cues from how their leaders act. When they feel they are being cheated, they cheat back, or those who truly have integrity as their personal core value feel misaligned and go away if they can afford it.

90% of the time, when someone recommends integrity to be part of the core values, they change their mind whenever I ask, can you model it? As an organization, can you demonstrate integrity in your decisions and actions? The room would go silent, people will start thinking of a way to justify integrity even when, they don’t pay their taxes right, they bribe government, they get personal commissions from suppliers, or even if they don’t give employees what they’re due according to law. I tell them there is no such thing as limited integrity, or selective integrity. It defies the meaning of the word itself.

In my entire career, I only worked for one company that truly embraced the value of integrity. When that company was bought by global investment company, that value was eliminated, and the character of the company changed drastically. I only have seen a handful of companies who truly demonstrate integrity. Many of those who put it as their core value don’t really show it and you can immediately see how the rest of the core values are just there for posterity and are way away from how people conduct their work and business.

I believe integrity is important. To demand integrity from your people is to model the way in demonstrating it. People follow their leaders. Not what they say but what they do. The easy hint that people are not following what you say is maybe because you don’t follow it yourself. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

First, Go the Extra Mile for Yourself

Today, I decided to add an extra kilometer to my daily jog/walk. On my last kilometer, my id started negotiating with my ego.  I started asking myself if an extra kilometer would really make much of a difference. I also threatened myself by saying this could cause me some over-exertion injuries. I’m just glad that my id lost to my superego, so I won, I ran/walked an extra kilometer and a half.

I could have lost that internal conversation had I not recognized that this conversation is happening and that I’m taking a side – that of my superego.  Whenever we face a challenge in our life, those conversations happen, and it is not always clear which is id and which is superego. We often go back and forth, weighing our options and decide which we want more, instant gratification or  the bigger yet delayed rewards.

I’m sharing this with you because I think that as our leadership responsibilities go bigger, we need to equip ourselves to meet those increasing challenges. We can’t do that if we don’t know where we last drew our lines of limitation and decide when and how to cross them.  This reminds me of the safety orientation given by the flight crews before a plane goes up. The flight staff would advise that you put your mask on first before helping another. I think this is a metaphor for leadership. Before you help others, you must make sure that you are in a position or condition to help them. You know what they say, you can’t give what you don’t have.

I’ve been dismissive of my health these past many years and as a result, I gained a lot of weight.  I used to love exercising. Now, I can’t even remember when I started hating it. I started exercising again a few months back after joining the “biggest loser” challenge at work. It was a hard start, but I finally found the love for exercising the I lost a long time ago. Now, my goal for 2018 is to be healthy. I realized I can’t help a lot of people, specially my family if my health limits me. In that journey, I know that I have to tussle with my id some good countless times. I have to be aware when those negotiations happen, so I know where I’m putting my bet on – my superego.

So here’s a call to action; what extra mile are you taking for yourself? Which lines of limitations are you crossing? What are you going to do to draw you closer to your higher future self? It would be hard to take an extra mile for others if you don't go the extra mile for yourself first. Decide what to do and be aware of the pulls. Are your fears pulling you back or are your aspirations pulling you forward? You have to decide which way you want to be pulled. Your growth depends on it.

You know, people are not always comfortable talking about these stuff because they think it's too touchy-feely. However, we need to recognize that managing ourselves is everyone's (yes, you and I!) biggest challenge! Join me on January 16-17 so we can tackle these things that impact on our emotion and decision-making and see how we can achieve self-mastery.  Click below for more details and to register. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Underneath the Iceberg of Leadership

I’ve been conducting Leadership and Management Training in The Philippines for a long time. I’ve also been an observer of how Leadership Training is being conducted by many organization.  What I notice in my past practice and those of others too is that a lot of focus of the training is on how to lead or manage. We talk about leadership practices, We talk about how to plan, organize, direct, and control. We facilitate the walk-throughs of various leadership and management processes like problem solving, decision making, managing performance, developing strategies, coaching, mentoring and the likes. It makes a lot of sense because the what, how and whys help build knowledge, skills, and habits – the behavioral components  of whatever a leader or manager needs to demonstrate.  These are parts of the peak of the iceberg of leadership. It’s important to equip learners with the necessary skills to apply theories and processes of leadership and management in their work. However, addressing just the peak of the iceberg is not enough. We need to look at what’s underneath and make sure that there is enough in there to float the iceberg.

What are the elements underneath this proverbial iceberg?  Near the surface are attitudes that bring to surface a person’s behavior.  Without the right attitude, a learner will hesitate to  accept new knowledge, not practice the skill, and fail to demonstrate the desired behaviors that lead to success. If you want to facilitate change in a person’s behavior, you have to facilitate the change in the person’s mindset. This means addressing the stuff that are even deeper than attitude, the one’s that affect it; Self-image, programming, beliefs, awareness of one’s emotion, aspirations, and values. I believe this to be fundamental to a person’s development and even more so in one’s leadership development.

I designed a program to address what’s underneath the iceberg of leadership and I am inviting you to join me in my public seminar on January 16 and 17 or invite me in your organization to facilitate this program for your managers and supervisors or for people you are grooming to take on a bigger responsibility.  
Leadership Personal Mastery Training
In this training, I hope to help the learners become aware of how all these things below the surface affect their behaviors and influence their leadership. I designed a number of self-awareness exercises to help them take inventory of their personal leadership capital, recognize their leadership values, be aware, and ultimately be in control of their emotions. I will help them use Appreciative inquiry to recognize their strengths, their opportunities, their aspirations and their success indicators.  These figure in their commitment to whatever it is that they need to do.  I will also help them take charge and be accountable for their behaviors, through management of their emotions. There are two very powerful and grossly hindering emotions that I want to help them with particularly, these are fear and anger. A lot of bad decisions come from one’s failure to manage these emotions.  We will practice techniques that can be used to effectively deal with these feelings, how to articulate emotions both internally and externally and more effectively.

Eventually we deal with the stuff right before and near the surface of leadership which are social awareness, empathy, and connecting with others. These are important. We often teach leaders how to empathize without really understanding empathy.  That’s why we often see leaders who make such superficial demonstration of empathy without the authenticity.  There are a lot of training on how to be eloquent or articulate in a way that impresses but not connecting. I’ll facilitate exercises in assertive communication to help the learners get used to exercising their communication rights without ignoring their communication responsibilities.  These are essential to building trust, gaining respect and successful relationships.

At the end of the program, the participants will create a personal leadership journey road map that directs to their highest future selves as leaders which will guide them in applying the learning in their work and in learning more skills about leadership.

Many leaders hesitate to attend training like this because they are afraid of being vulnerable. We often try to project a facade of stability and certainty but deep inside, we struggle to address the challenges of leadership in front of us. I believe we all need to address what's below the surface so that our true leadership potential may surface. 

I invite you to join me or to send the leaders of your organization to this learning event.